The next consideration (across all types of campers) is the quality of the canvas. Search online forums and you’ll soon realise that there are a lot of varying opinions on what is the best, and in particular, what to stay away from, with many cheaper camper trailers (often imports from China) copping a lot of flak about the quality of their canvas (i.e. how well they stand up to the sun and rain in the tough Aussie conditions). Before buying, do your research on where the canvas is made and, most importantly, its waterproofing. The cheaper canvases will have a spray- on coating, whereas a quality canvas will have been immersed in the waterproofing agent until it is fully embedded in the fabric. For more information on canvas see the Australian Manufactured Camper Trailers Guild website (details below).
Other important considerations include a 12-volt power set-up (especially if you are mostly bush camping), although you can usually upgrade this down the track and as required, and a basic kitchen set-up including stove, bench space for food preparation and storage, as well as a water tank with plumbing to a pump (electric or hand) for easy water access. Many campers have a built-in kitchen either attached to the tailgate or a slide in-model. Both have their benefits and as long as you have room to cook and prepare food you’ll have the basics covered.
Finally, consider how much extra storage you’ll need to make your camping experience a comfortable one. You’ll want space for chairs, table, fridge or esky, toys and games, fishing gear, cricket bats, kids’ bikes… and for adequate food and refreshments, of course. All these things take up room, yet are mandatory for a great family holiday.
Whichever way you go, the most important thing is that you are getting out there, so if your budget doesn’t stretch to cover exactly what you really want straight away, consider what you can add at a later stage. Also have a good look around at second-hand models, as there is a lot around that’ll have all the extras already added by a previous owner.
To find out more, consider joining up with one of the camper trailer forums online and talk to the people who are out there doing it right now. Everyone was a beginner once upon a time, and campers are usually very happy to share what has worked for them.