Camper Trailer vs. Tent - This time a bit more details.

Bru9

Active Member
To me, a tent means:
Bare essential external setup, not just a swag or a RV 5 coz that would be ridiculous right? So Sleeping quarters, shelter, basic kitchen. Without those 3 you are dead in the water.

While the 3 above can be in some way incorporated into a solo vehicle setup, so 270 awning and RTT, these solo vehicles to me don't mean tenting it out. They can't coz they are so expensive and full of monumental problems, but that's a whole nuther topic.

If someone came to me asking exactly why you get a CT over just tenting it out, here is how I'd put it. Before I start,. Newbies to camping often are utterley oblivious to what it takes to get a good lite tent setup, so a CT may be just easier right?

The 3 essential things you need (shelter,sleeping quarters,kitchen) can be setup much much easier and quicker on a CT.
Any real camper knows setting up a tent takes about say 6-10mins for a lite synthetic and 8-15 for a canvas tourer.
First you gotta rake ground, layout groundtarp, peg alot of stuff, all that puts stress on your back and knees, then self inflating mattresses realistically take another 5mins because being rolled up always (for space) takes alot longer, take out blankets etc.
By comp, a CT may take 5mins to setup the sleeping qrts, but it's 5easy mins with minimal back bending and the bedding is usually half made with no time consuming self inflating mattresses. It's off the ground and so you don't have to deal with the sticks, rocks, and mud. Oh but the price you pay is carrying a 1.6tonne burden behind you!

Anytime you hear freestanding tarp or shelter run away! It once suddenly dawned when I was looking at some old photos of a mates camper trailerol, why a CT destroys a freestanding tarp setup. Coz a free standing tarp must be able to stand up to strong winds and so required big poles, many many hd screw pegs and guy ropes, again back bending work and genuinely very hard to setup in windy conds.
By comp, a CT is literally a massive anchor and wind block so this explains why it's a lot easier to setup by a single person and only requires minimal guys and pegs. To put it bluntly, a tarp is very inefficient.
Kitchen again, all slides out and just needs a few things plumbed up. Try getting a kitchen setup on your own! Never gonna happen.

Despite all this, I know largely that CTs are in many situations smoke n mirrors, they exhibit major problems. For example, when my 3.6x4.9m polytuff tarp craps itself in 4yrs of solid camping, i simply toss it in the bin, go online get another, next day a new one is at my door.
After a trip, let's say worse case it's raining at home, all I do is open it in yard (even small really) and hose it off, shake it off and take it inside, dry with a towel, an hour later it's rolled up back in storage.
You just can't do that with wet canvas on a CT, well for many it's impractical and thus begins the journey of hard work and being a burden when you simply got no time and have to get back to busy life.
When anything packs up on a CT you gotta go through hoops and the whole problem becomes a spanner in your life.
There is a reason why I saw some 50plus hybrids all towed by mostly dual cabs holiday time over some 200km of freeway.

Of course a camper trailer is fantastic in certain cases esp long trips, but I ain't drinking the koolaid, I know they are around 50% major problems.
 

Outrage

4x4 Earth Contributer
Pros and cons to all options. And different people have different needs / difficulties.

Example is the comments about setting up tents and pegs putting stress on knees/back. This can simply be called exercise. A good thing to most, or a forbidden word to others :). Depends on the camper too, some campers are hard work.

While some people have injuries and a caravan is their best option.

Camped on many occasions with groups with a variety of setups. (I use a tent myself). Those that are well practiced and have a routine, whether it is tent or camper, time between all is very similar. The exception is the family that has a soft floor camper and has set up the entire awning with walls/rooms etc...they take three hours by the look of it :).
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
Pros and cons to all options. And different people have different needs / difficulties.

Example is the comments about setting up tents and pegs putting stress on knees/back. This can simply be called exercise. A good thing to most, or a forbidden word to others :). Depends on the camper too, some campers are hard work.

While some people have injuries and a caravan is their best option.

Camped on many occasions with groups with a variety of setups. (I use a tent myself). Those that are well practiced and have a routine, whether it is tent or camper, time between all is very similar. The exception is the family that has a soft floor camper and has set up the entire awning with walls/rooms etc...they take three hours by the look of it :).
Exactly. This seems a pretty pointless thread to me. Why try to dictate to everyone what the best set up is?

Tents are very personal for situational needs. I have 2 tents, a camper and a swag. I use them all depending on the situation from time to time. None are perfect.
 
Sorry..., take a seat..., this took longer than I expected........,
In the future I can see myself going to the dark side and getting one of those big 'off off' 'gin palace' caravans(without yappy silky terrier). However, while I am still relatively fit and able bodied I prefer to go to locations that are remote, peaceful and free of bogans in their 'jacked up' penis extension vehicles. Locations that are especially inaccessible to CT's and caravans that resort to gen-sets when they cant get sunlight onto their panels !
I'm not dictating to anyone..., but I am sharing what I do for my trips..., I use an old 2011 4X4 Hilux(extra-cab tray back), with canvas canopy, side awning and RTT. Inside the cab and on rear bench sit dry food box, clothes, electronic kit etc(stuff that needs a higher level of accessibility, security and/or dryness). Passenger seat can be significant other or other important cargo(just purchased food and/or alcohol). The tray space can contain a very large variety of things that can all be tied in place and very easily accessed..., anything from a basic camp kit - fridge, kitchen stuff(in 2 large boxes), chairs and other basic stuff..., right up to a fully loaded 'chuck wagon' - kitchen stuff, toys(surfing/diving/fishing/prospecting etc), dunny, plough disk fire pit, extra tarps, rope bag(contains tarp grippers, various lengths of cordage and rope, heavy duty 'shock cord etc), telescopic tent poles(I like a bit of 'tarpitecture' as in bush tucker man's "Kimberly kitchen", star picket's of varying lengths. Box of rechargeable tools(chainsaw, drill, grinder, charger,), extra tools(and portable vice). Box of solar gear(solar kit, LED lighting, inverters, various leads, small batteries et), 120 a/h L-ion battery in Batt box with controller, fold up 200w solar blanket. I made up 3 alloy brackets that straddle across the inside roof of the tray to hold long and light items - shovel, telescopic alloy tent poles, umbrella, spearguns, fishing rods etc. Having said all that I always try and travel as lite as possible and drive to the conditions of the expected roads and tracks. I'm actually close to fully loaded and ready for a south coast trip..., but there's a MF storm front approaching the whole west coast..., due to impact here(South West corner of WA) around next Thursday..., some rain predicted every day till then. I'll keep my powder dry....,
But wait..., there's more..., but I reckon that's enough.
 

shanegtr

Well-Known Member
Pros and cons to all options. And different people have different needs / difficulties.
Agree, when travelling we have very little storage space in the vehicle due to having 4 kids so a trailer is required. If I need to tow then it might as well be a CT to make the most of it.
 

mikehzz

Well-Known Member
I have an off road trailer with a lightweight roof tent on it. All up under 500kgs loaded. It goes pretty much anywhere and has a lot of the advantages and few of the disadvantages. It costs me a litre or two extra per hundred and suits me. Otherwise it's a stretcher tent if I don't feel like dragging the trailer.
 
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LongRoad2Go

Well-Known Member
Going to the other end of the spectrum is a similar discussion.

I use a Macpac Microlite tent, which has proven itself in all environments and weather including a foot of snow overnight near Mt Jagungal and waking up to find the ridge pole had deflected so much the aluminium was chilling my nose! Weighs in at a total of 1.6kg and rolled up it measures 41cm x 14cm. So, with a down sleeping bag, groundsheet and thermal mat, that's a VERY small load and volume.

Compare that to the bulky, heavy swags, not including all the bedding material, and these days people put them on a stretcher bed too!

The weight savings - read that as fuel and vehicle wear & tear - means I can load up with more important gear and creature comforts: extended water/fuel range, booze, whatever.

Depends on what you're trying to achieve and mindset: long term base camp, quick in/out, minimalist or a home away from home.
 

mikehzz

Well-Known Member
Going to the other end of the spectrum is a similar discussion.

I use a Macpac Microlite tent, which has proven itself in all environments and weather including a foot of snow overnight near Mt Jagungal and waking up to find the ridge pole had deflected so much the aluminium was chilling my nose! Weighs in at a total of 1.6kg and rolled up it measures 41cm x 14cm. So, with a down sleeping bag, groundsheet and thermal mat, that's a VERY small load and volume.

Compare that to the bulky, heavy swags, not including all the bedding material, and these days people put them on a stretcher bed too!

The weight savings - read that as fuel and vehicle wear & tear - means I can load up with more important gear and creature comforts: extended water/fuel range, booze, whatever.

Depends on what you're trying to achieve and mindset: long term base camp, quick in/out, minimalist or a home away from home.
I'm looking at ultralight stuff myself. What down sleeping bag are you using and does it keep you warm? I'm also looking at a Nemo Tensor insulated mat. My idea is to get all my sleeping gear into a small pack.
 

John U

Well-Known Member
The weight savings - read that as fuel and vehicle wear & tear
Increased weight often results in reduced vehicle capability, so less is always more in this circumstance (at least it's always something that I'm always considering when packing).

I'm looking at ultralight stuff myself. What down sleeping bag are you using and does it keep you warm? I'm also looking at a Nemo Tensor insulated mat. My idea is to get all my sleeping gear into a small pack.
I had a Nemo mat and it was a POS. Was noisy enough to wake everyone in the tent. Only lasted a couple of trips before it couldn't hold air.

A stretcher is an item I'll sacrifice a bit of weight for. Combined with an average everyday Thermarest it's one of the most comfortable combo's I've used.

If sleeping on the ground the Exped Megamat or it's close/cheap cousin from Anaconda (which looks to have been updated to Mountain Designs as part of their incorporation of that brand) is the most comfortable and quiet option I've used. The kid wanted to trade in his bed to use one. Gotta get up from ground level though. Bulky but not heavy, shouldn't be a drama for 4wders right?
 

LongRoad2Go

Well-Known Member
I'm looking at ultralight stuff myself. What down sleeping bag are you using and does it keep you warm? I'm also looking at a Nemo Tensor insulated mat. My idea is to get all my sleeping gear into a small pack.
Buying sleeping bags is a personal choice, much like the long and heated debate on the virtues of sandshoes versus leather boots in the bushwalking community.

With sleeping bags the choice is simple: either synthetic or down. I’m old school, so opted to use down which is light, compact, and exceptionally cosy warm, never clammy. But, it needs some mindful care i.e. never allow it to get wet, after a long trip put it in a big stuff sack or hang in a wardrobe so it can loft up and breathe.

Synthetic bags can be treated roughly and will keep you warm if they get wet. But, are bulkier and don’t seem to have a cosy, dry warmth.

Like all other gear, you can buy entry level or for extreme conditions. If buying down, look for the percentage of down to feather – more down, the warmer it will be and the more expensive. Design things like baffles along the zip and neckline, and the shape (rectangular versus mummy) make BIG differences. As too whether the zip or zips allow vent control around the feet and sides. They can get oven roasting hot.

For that reason, I have two down bags: an Aussie made Downia and a New Zealand made Fairydown (Both now out of business). Respectively, one for summer/cool climates, the other for snow/arctic conditions. (I purchased these back in the halcyon days of the 1980’s when Aussies were into lots of outdoor pursuits – breaking records in caving, extreme bushwalking trips, and putting themselves on new routes up major world peaks. So gear choice was abundant and exceptionally well made in New Zealand and Oz … not Chinese shit.)

I would highly recommend getting a ‘cool climate’ version because if you do feel cold, can always wear a beanie and some light thermal underwear inside. As an example, both of my bags are so warm, I only need to wear underdaks … and only add a beanie if it’s subzero.

If well cared for, they will last more than a lifetime. I’ve had mine for over 25 years and they are both like new.

One addition too that is well worth the minor expense – a silk inner sheet. It protects the bag from body oils and adds about 5C temperature to it … it also feels REALLY luxurious.

I use a ¾ thermarest together with a closed cell mat.

So, the setup is: a microlight tent, groundsheet, one or two mats depending on weather, down sleeping bag. All very light and compact.

Obviously, the most important thing is the tent for protection. No affiliation with Macpac, but the microlight is bombproof in ALL weather including high wind … think exposed ridge in the Alps during a blizzard or torrential rain in the tropics. Just need to make sure the pegs and ropes are properly secured. I cringe at the thought of a rooftop tent = heavy piece of kit, susceptible to high winds and driving rain … can easily go mouldy.

Many of the old, experienced sleeping bag manufacturers have merged or disappeared e.g. Fairydown – thank the Twitter addicted and dirt adverse Millennials for that – but a few good brands still exist: Macpac, Mont, Paddy Pallin, etc.

Just compare the goose down/feather ratio, types of synthetic fill, and the shape and features of each bag. Don’t bother comparing down/feather with synthetic – there is no meaningful similarities. Good, long lasting things are NEVER cheap, so the decision will have a personal price point.
 

mikehzz

Well-Known Member
The roof tent on my trailer is a French built Oasis 5 by Trekking. It only weighs 17kgs and has a hammock style base. I've been using it for about 12 years now. It's the ultra light of roof tents.
 

Ol' Harley

Active Member
Pros and cons to all options. And different people have different needs / difficulties.

Example is the comments about setting up tents and pegs putting stress on knees/back. This can simply be called exercise. A good thing to most, or a forbidden word to others :). Depends on the camper too, some campers are hard work.
What he said...

For us? Short stays = swags under the awning next to the Triton.

Long stays = hard floor camper trailer.

My 5 cents worth? We can all pick up tips 'n' tricks from other people to make life a bit easier, but do what's best for you and yours. Different people want different things.
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
The roof tent on my trailer is a French built Oasis 5 by Trekking. It only weighs 17kgs and has a hammock style base. I've been using it for about 12 years now. It's the ultra light of roof tents.

Mike do you need an extra mattress in that or comfortable as it is for longer trips?
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Same. Two weeks on Fraser with the whole family and we look like the Beverly Hillbilly’s heading out with the car and camper fully loaded. We would definitely not pass a visit with transport compliance involving scales.
One or two of us will use the swags and the Ute kitchen setup. Or if I am bike packing, sea kayaking etc I have invested a lot of money in tiny stuff to live like a vagrant.
 

mikehzz

Well-Known Member
Mike do you need an extra mattress in that or comfortable as it is for longer trips?
I put the sponge base from a swag in it permanently and it's fine. There's no outside shelter for it but I don't care. It's essentially one of those two man pop up tents on top of a trailer. I don't even need the ladder and hop in from the drawbar.
 
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