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There comes a time in every camper's life when they consider upgrading from a tent to something more advanced.
Maybe you've gradually gone from a 2-person dome tent to a family-sized contraption and still find yourself in need of more space.
Maybe you've had enough of trying to stuff your tent, your family, and all your camping gear into the car.
Some campers might already be towing an ordinary trailer and find themselves thinking:
"What's the point of towing this when I could be towing and sleeping in a camper trailer?!"
In our opinion, that's a pretty good question!
In the points below, we're going to present 11 scenarios that tell you it's time to upgrade from a tent to a camper trailer. We'll also provide some information and advice about camper trailers to help you get started with your research.
For camper trailer sceptics, the idea of camping in something that is essentially a mini-caravan is one of the highest forms of sacrilege. But most camper trailers are much closer to a tent than a caravan.
When you're travelling to your campsite, a camper trailer looks like a trailer (hence the name). You connect the camper to the back of your car and travel to your destination. Once you arrive, the camper trailer folds out into a tent section with its own large bed. This tent section is located on the trailer itself, meaning you're elevated off the ground and always on a flat, even surface.
This main section connects to a larger tent area where everyone else can unzip their sleeping bags, blow up their mattresses, and sleep for the night.
Camper trailers are generally divided into soft-floor camper trailers and hard-floor camper trailers. In soft-floor campers, the extra tent area is located on the ground. In hard-floor campers, the extra tent area is also slightly elevated, ensuring everyone sleeps on a flat, even surface.
Camper trailers are also known for the extendable awnings on the outside of the structure, fully equipped and powered outdoor kitchens, plenty of built-in storage, and 12V power setups to charge and plug in various electronic devices.
If you're reading this article, we're sure you've slept in a tent before. Maybe you used to go camping in Victoria a lot and you're getting back into it. You could be wondering whether to invest in a tent or check out the range of camper trailers in Melbourne.
When it comes to tents vs camper trailers, the main things people look at are storage, convenience, set-up time, size, and price.
You can't beat a tent when it comes to price, but a camper trailer is likely to come out on top in every other category. Camping trailers not only provide more storage, but they also take up less space in your car because they can be towed behind you and contain a lot of your camping gear. They offer spacious living and sleeping areas, and they undoubtedly provide more convenience and creature comforts.
You might have also used roof tents in the past, which are mounted on your vehicle's roof. While these rooftop tents keep you off the ground like a camping trailer, they're generally small, and you can't really move your vehicle again until the roof tent is completely taken down.
Back when camping was just you and a few mates, pitching a tent or two was perfectly fine. But now you have that special someone, and you want to share your passion for the outdoors with your partner and kids.
Tents can certainly get pretty big, but if you want a no-fuss camping adventure for the whole family, upgrading to a camper trailer might be the way to go. Many camper trailers are designed so they can add extra rooms, meaning the whole family can sleep in one structure while still maintaining separate areas.
More importantly, because you tow a camper trailer (and everything that's in it) behind your car, you have room in the vehicle to pack all the extra stuff you need to take with you when you're camping with kids. With 12-volt power, there are also more ways to entertain restless children on a camping trip.
When you were young, blowing up a basic mattress and rolling out a sleeping bag might have been all you needed on a camping trip. But as you get older, you or your camping companions might want the finer things in life, including a plush queen-size mattress with sheets and comfy pillows!
Some might scoff at the idea of sleeping in a bed when you're camping, but honestly, they probably haven't tried it! A camper trailer gives you the very best of the tent camping experience while offering you a comfortable, flat, stable surface to sleep on.
No more sleeping on slopes or contorting into weird angles! And better yet, kids can be in a separate area with a camper trailer, meaning you won't have stray legs kicking you in the middle of the night!
Picture this. You arrive at your campsite and everyone immediately runs off in different directions. The kids run into the bush or start kicking a ball or your mates just want to sit down and have a drink.
That leaves you to try and navigate the pegs, poles, and seemingly never-ending canvas that's involved in setting up a tent. Some larger tents can be a real logistical exercise to set up, even when you've got all hands on deck. By the time you're finished assembling it, a good chunk of your first day is out the window. And that's before you've pulled everything out of the car that needs to go in the tent.
This situation is even worse if you've arrived late and you're losing light! And you have to do it all again when it's time to pack up and go home.
Depending on the camper trailer you purchase, set-up time can vary. But generally speaking, camping trailers are quicker and easier to set up and pack up because they are designed to unclip, unfold, and set up with ease, especially the parts of the camper that extend from the trailer itself. You will still have to navigate a few pegs and poles, but overall, a camper trailer can be set up and packed up faster than a tent - including the awning, outdoor kitchen, and additional sleeping spaces.
Additionally, many parts of the camper are built-in and ready to use from the moment you've finished setting up, meaning you don't need to run back and forth to the car to pull everything out!
As well as the tent itself, there's also the issue of cramming the table, portable cooker, and every other piece of camping equipment into your car or conventional trailer. The tent and your fellow travellers are already taking up plenty of space, so packing for your camping trip can become like the worst game of Tetris ever!
Instead of trying to shove everything into a car and a standard trailer, switch to a camper trailer. This way, your tent is never located in your car and many of your favourite camping items are already integrated into the camper's generous storage.
Even better, you can leave many of those items in your camper trailer for next time. A lot of your kitchen, bedding, chairs, and other camping equipment can be left in the camper trailer at the end of the trip, meaning less packing and unpacking.
When you’re ready for your next adventure, simply connect the camper to the car, pack up the extras and the family, and hit the open road.
When the sun is shining extra enthusiastically, your camper trailer’s awning offers extra shade and relief, so you can enjoy the great outdoors. The high-quality canvas materials of most camper trailers also offer better protection from the cold and rain when winter weather hits (although you're still essentially in a tent, so temper your expectations).
If one too many camping trips has turned sour because your tent was ill-equipped to handle the weather, then upgrading to a camper trailer could be the right move for you.
Most people don't think about the payload of their 4WD or car, but if you're overstuffing your vehicle with camping gear and a tent, then you could be exceeding your safe payload.
If your vehicle is poorly packed or dangerously overweight, you're at greater risk of flat tyres, rolling your vehicle, losing control of the car, or misjudging braking distance. If you've had a bit of a car scare while carrying extra weight, it might be worth upgrading to a camper trailer.
Of course, you could always increase your payload and free up space by towing a conventional trailer that suits your vehicle's towing capacity. But then you could be at risk of overstuffing your trailer.
Because everything is integrated carefully into your camper trailer, poor packing or overloading isn't really a problem. A camper trailer is a much easier towing vehicle compared to a caravan, and the aerodynamic, light, low-profile nature of camper trailers even makes them easier to tow around than many older conventional trailers. Even if you don't have a 4WD, many standard family cars are capable of towing a camper trailer.
Cooking damper in a fire pit is a unique experience, and cracking open the canned spam and baked beans will definitely make you feel like you're in the great outdoors. But if you want to prepare and cook proper food with ease on your next camping trip, switching from a tent to a camper trailer is the way to go.
The outdoor kitchen in your camper trailer can include flip-out benchtops, drawers, sinks, a fridge, gas leads for BBQs and stovetops, and a wide range of other cooking, cleaning, and storage accessories.
If you're anything like us, then the more you've gone camping, the more you've wanted to go camping. Over time, you will probably want to go further and for longer, reaching parts of the country where it's just you, your crew, and the great outdoors.
The good news is that Australia is a paradise for off-grid and isolated camping trips. But you might need more than your tent if you want to go further and camp for longer.
With camper trailers, you can travel with bigger water tanks, more fresh and non-perishable food, and extra gadgets and technologies thanks to the option of an electrical system and even solar power.
Camper trailers can come with a fridge, a better bed for those extra nights, and even a toilet, shower, and sewerage system in more advanced hybrid camper setups.
Maybe you're in a situation where the people you go camping with want more than what a basic tent can offer. We've already mentioned many of the creature comforts of a camper trailer, from a proper bed to more access to lighting and electricity, an outdoor kitchen and the possibility of toilets and showers. Some camper trailers can even house TVs and coffee machines, although these are more likely to be hybrid campers.
The point is that everyone camps differently. Young kids might want some access to electronics. Your friends or partner might want a good bed and better cooking facilities. You can't achieve this with a tent (at least not without cluttering your car with endless extras). But you can easily access these creature comforts with a travel trailer.
For some camping enthusiasts, their unwillingness to embrace a trailer might be a bit of a matter of pride.
Maybe you're a tent camper who is holding onto the idea of traditional camping because it’s “real camping”. But camper trailers give you the ability to go further, more remote, and for longer - and there's nothing more "real" than that.
Beyond this, camper trailers are set up for the outdoor living experience. The generous awnings and outdoor kitchens mean you can cook a meal with a few added luxuries while staring at the stars, gripping your hot cup of coffee, and swapping stories.
With no disrespect to our caravanning family and friends, the camper trailer experience isn't about heading indoors the second the sun goes down! It’s still the camping trip that everyone knows and loves – and it still retains all the best elements of the tent. It just offers more!
Some people have decided that it's time to move on from a tent but they're not really interested in a caravan. This is where a camper trailer is perfect!
As we've already mentioned, camper trailers are easier to tow than a caravan and they offer a camping experience more focused on outdoor living and embracing nature. But at the same time, they provide some of the luxuries that a tent can't, like a kitchen, better bedding, and some access to electrical power. Depending on the style you choose, a camper can also be cheaper than a caravan.
Are you looking for a camper trailer that essentially functions as a tent with some extra storage and added luxuries like the outdoor kitchen, built-in mattress, and off-ground bedding? Check out our soft-floor and hard-floor range of Patriot camper trailers for sale. With the Patriot range, you can enjoy a handy step up from a tent without having to commit to a full-blown caravan with all the unnecessary extras that you don't want or need!
If you've been coveting a hybrid camper trailer like the range of Lifestyle campers for sale, that's definitely a good reason to move on from your tent. Hybrid campers are a world away from tents and even a step up from standard camper trailers.
These are the models that include indoor showers and toilets, coffee machines, TVs, and other luxurious accessories. Hybrid campers generally have hard floors and walls while still retaining some soft canvas tent-like sections. They shift the focus a bit more toward indoor living but still retain a focus on the outdoors compared to caravans. The vast majority of hybrid campers retain the outdoor kitchen, but Lifestyle's Reconn R4T LRX even includes a gourmet indoor kitchen section.
Hybrid campers and camper trailers aren't for everyone. Not all travel trailers are equipped for off-road tracks, so if you love combining off-roading and camping, then you'll need to research compatible off-road camper trailers. Because you're towing, camper trailers also mean increased fuel consumption compared to camping setups without a tow vehicle.
And if you're just an occasional camper sticking to popular sites for short stints, a trusty tent could be a great option for your camping style!
But if any of the scenarios above sound familiar to you, then it might be time to consider upgrading to a camper trailer. The self-contained experience and added luxuries of a camper stand head and shoulders above a standard tent, and hybrid campers take this a step further.
At Camping Adventures, we are authorised dealers of Patriot and Lifestyle camper trailers in Hobart and Melbourne. Whether you're looking for a soft floor, a hard floor, a hybrid, or you're really not sure, we can provide you with advice to help you on your way.
We might be camper trailer stockists, but we're also outdoor enthusiasts! We would love to provide you with genuine advice on whether a tent or a trailer is right for you.