So after deciding we wanted a trailer for camping


Choosing a Camper Trailer

So we totted up what we thought we might be most likely to be using the camper trailer for and the features, gained from years of camping, a camper trailer hire and using the neighbours trailer. Here’s what we came up with

  • We want it to run in the highways pretty well
  • We want it to be light enough that we don’t need brakes and so it can be pushed around easily
  • A kitchen would be really good
  • These 20l water tanks drive you crazy, fitting the bottom tap, refilling and carrying around so something better is in order. Our first solution was to build a hand pump (trojan type into a jerry can) , The next is to get a underbody water tank. we use about ~20-30l a day so 90l and up should do it!
  • We are minimalists so like a quick pitch for traveling
  • Something locally built/ assembled  (the ebay bargains looked tempting but risky)


Next up trawling the web we find quite a few horror stories from some well known brands

e.g. http://www.myswag.org/index.php?topic=20740.0

Worse yet, there is legal injunctions on what people can and can’t say, maybe thats fair enough but maybe its suppression of opinion too http://www.myswag.org/index.php?topic=31568.0

You might think the magazines are a useful way to go, they all seem to be filled with award winning campers (that the forums don’t necessarily agree with) and so you end up realising that magazines need to make money so advertorials are a way to fund that as well as having the good informative articles you see. Heres a straw poll http://www.myswag.org/index.php?topic=35974.0 of what people think)


Then we went to a Brisbane camper trailer show and had a look at some on the market, stuff seems either to be cheap and perhaps nasty (we saw what looked like amazing welds on a trailer that was actually filler just painted over…yikes i imagine that would rust through soon enough), poor finish quality on some others…and then the really solid amazingly well built stuff.


Of the solidly built trailers they tended to be of the locally built bullet proof trailer variety that weighed a lot and really heavy “Australian” canvas that a lot of people talk about.


For us I think the price point was lets get a good quality trailer, preferably galvanised (ever seen a garden trailer that wasn’t 1/2 rusted out).  Australian trailers seem to be of better metal (or better quality control) and built for our conditions. We were happy with a Chinese tent add-on. As for the tent, every tent we have ever owned has been made overseas.  See Tent, tents, tents 


So we thought lets buy a trailer and we can add a tent later to keep the investment staggered. A few quotes later we realised that a trailer maker isn’t necessarily up on what works for camping in terms of layout and accessories, And looking into the bolt on tents for later (oztrail etc..) we realised there are quite a few important design decisions e.g. the height of the sides are important otherwise your tent may not touch the ground or might be too long and saggy, how to seal it up etc… Also the build specs for a trailer e.g. holes to let water out and the bed of the trailer doesn’t need to be thick checker plate – in fact less weight is better and smooth sheeting will work better for getting stuff in and out. So we cast around for a trailer maker that puts tents on as well so we could get something compatible for later as well as defer the full payment (ie the tent ) for later.

Emu Camper Trailer

Emu Camper Trailer

In the end we found EMU campers a good fit for us as it met our checklist and offered the above options. Though when it came time for the purchase we went with the SUV trailer and tent all at once. We added on the water tank and spent a bit extra on a Drifta swing out kitchen. The Drifta really is the business with a layout that works (Luke’s been at it awhile), keeps the weight down and has enough bench space for cooking.


Post purchase we had a few minor issues that EMU were happy enough to sort out. The build quality was pretty good and have shaken out some minor annoyances along the way. It rides well on the highway and only a 2L/100km fuel penalty isn’t too shabby. The tent is good in the heat and the rain and there are expansion options


Rego is about $100 a year and insurance much the same. We reckon insurance is a must, have heard they are a popular target so keep it well locked up at home and away!