Off-road Camper Trailers

Off-road Camping Trailers: A Buyer’s Guide

NOTE: It is NOT the purpose of this guide to promote the products of one trailer manufacturer over those of any other, or to denigrate the products of ANY trailer manufacturer. Therefore, the listings of Off-road Camping Trailer manufacturers on this website are presented for reference and informational purposes only, and no manufacturer listed here paid us to list its details. Moreover, the mere fact that any given manufacturer is listed here does not represent an endorsement of that manufacturer and/or its products, nor does it mean that manufacturers who are not listed here, produce camping trailers that are not worthy of consideration.

Camping Trailer Contents:

While there is no doubt that a properly fitted out camping trailer can extend one’s range of movement throughout Southern Africa considerably, the questions of which trailer is better than any another in terms of value for money, reliability, ease of use, and the level of technical backup that is available should something go wrong, are as difficult to answer objectively as is the issue about which car manufacturer makes the best off-road vehicles.
Part of the problem in answering these questions in a manner that is fair to all trailer manufacturers involves the sheer number of off-road trailer manufacturers in South Africa today. A simple internet search will turn up several dozen manufacturers, and each has his own ideas about why his product is better than anything his competitors are producing. Sometimes they are correct; at least, as far as some aspects of their designs go, but more often than not, the product(s) of one manufacturer has the exact same (or similar) faults, shortcomings, design flaws, and problems with reliability that the products of any other given manufacturer may have.
However, most trailers also share many of the strengths, advantages, and great ease-of-use features that can be found on all, or most of the best trailer designs, so how do you make sense of it all? How do you decide which trailer represents the best answer(s) to you needs and requirements? Do you rely on magazine reviews, or are word-of-mouth recommendations more reliable?
In this article we will attempt to answer these questions, and also explain what an off-road camping trailer is, but also what it is NOT. We will also explain what an off-road camping trailer should include in terms of equipment, gadgets, and must-haves, as well as what to look for in a trailer in terms of its construction and build quality. Having said all of the above, let us start with-

An overview of off-road trailer manufacturing in South Africa


One of the biggest issues affecting the off-road trailer industry in this country is the fact that anyone can put up a manufacturing facility and start building trailers. The industry is largely unregulated, which has serious implications for the quality of many trailers produced in anything from large, relatively sophisticated facilities, to small, one-man operations on agricultural holdings and even backyards in some cases. So does this mean all locally produce trailers are of poor quality?
No, it does NOT mean that all locally produced trailers are bad, although it takes some effort and perseverance to pick out a good one. Here are some pointers on how to do it-

– Look for SABS-approved builders

While it is not a legal requirement to register a trailer design with the SABS (South African Bureau of Standards), many trailer manufacturers do this to ensure that their designs conform to the laws that regulate such designs. In this regard, some of the most important requirements involve the-

– Maximum allowable downward force the tow hitch can exert on the tow bar

This maximum allowable force on a fully loaded trailer generally falls between 25 kg and about 50 kg at the upper limit, and a trailer that exceeds this force does not comply with the law. It may sound unimportant, but the fact is that a nose-heavy trailer can serious affect the handing characteristics of the towing vehicle, and especially during high-speed towing or emergency braking. Trailers that are too light in the nose hold similar dangers, but with the added danger that the trailer can set up an oscillating swaying motion that can cause even experienced drivers to lose control of the towing vehicle.

– Quality of the axle

By law, trailer axles have to conform to strict standards regarding tensile strength, shear strength, length, and rigidity. Moreover, approved axles are rated according to the total weight of the trailer, and if the correctly rated axle is used in particular trailer design, there is almost no chance for that axle to break, bend, or deform during normal use.
However, correctly rated axles are not always at the top of the list of some manufacturer’s priorities, so if an axle breaks or bends, there is a more than even chance that the wrong axle was used, that an inferior made-in-the-far-east axle was used, or even that a previously damaged (but illegally repaired) axle was used.

– Quality of the tow hitch

The locking mechanisms of trailer tow hitches have to conform to strict and rigorous standards to prevent them opening by themselves on rough road surfaces. While most off-road trailer manufacturers use approved hitches, there are some that do not. However, many tow hitches are very similar in appearance and recognizing an illegal (and therefore dangerous hitch) is not always easy, which is why the manufacturer must provide documentary proof that the tow hitches on his trailers are fully compliant with ALL current SABS regulations, including those regulations that have to do with the quality and operation of the brake over-run mechanism if the hitch is fitted with such a device.

– Placement of lights, reflectors, and reflective strips

By law, all exterior lights such as brake lights, turn indicators, and tail lights must be at a specified minimum height above the road surface if the trailer is on a level surface. The placement of reflectors and reflective tape is also prescribed by law and while most manufacturers follow the law in this regard to the letter, some do not.
Therefore, it is always a good idea to obtain a copy of the relevant regulations from the local traffic authorities when shopping for a trailer. Since these regulations change from time to time, you want to be sure that the trailer you are thinking of buying is road-legal in all respects.

– Total weight of the trailer

One of the main advantages of being registered as a vehicle builder with the SABS is the fact that such manufacturers are allocated a series of chassis numbers. In practice, this means that the SABS has approved the structural design of the trailer, which in turn, means that the trailer you buy does not have to undergo roadworthiness tests at a testing station, or a process of registration (normally performed by the buyer) in the buyer’s name at the local traffic authorities.
The manufacturer merely uses one of his allocated chassis numbers, which he engraves on a legally-approved aluminum plate, along with both the empty and maximum allowable weight of the trailer, and of course, the trailer’s license plate number. The manufacturer then registers the trailer in the name of the buyer using these numbers and weights. So, what can possibly go wrong?
Plenty, as it sometimes turns out. However, we are NOT suggesting that some manufacturers deliberately manipulate the TARE and GROSS weight figures to make it look like their trailers can carry more weight than they actually can before going overweight. However, it has happened that the TARE weight rating of trailers from some manufacturers has on occasion proved to be inaccurate. Anyone can make an honest mistake, but to avoid having to deal with an overweight trailer, insist that you be allowed to have the trailer weighed at an approved weigh bridge to confirm that the weight on the ID plate corresponds to the actual weight of the un-laden trailer.
The few pointers listed above will go a long way towards ensuring that the trailer you buy is road legal in all respects. However, being legal does not equate to the trailer being functional, reliable, or fit for the purpose for which you are acquiring it, and the real problems in choosing a trailer that is right for you are many and varied, with the most important question being-

What is a proper off-road camping trailer?


The term “off-road camping trailer” means different things to different people, but semantics aside, let us look at what the term should mean to people who are serious about wanting to extend their range of movement throughout Southern Africa and beyond.
Essentially, a proper off-road camping trailer should, and must carry everything you need to survive in the remote wilderness areas of Southern Africa, and it must do so without breaking down, or hamper your travels because it is too heavy, too big, too small, or otherwise not fit for its purpose.
Put in a nutshell, a-fit-for-its-purpose off-road camping trailer must-

  • provide shelter against the elements, including rain and wind
  • be reasonably water and dust proof
  • have equipment to store and prepare food
  • carry sufficient water for at least 7 days for four people
  • offer sufficient packing space for all your goods and chattels
  • have sufficient stored energy in the form of batteries to provide lighting and power to equipment for at least 4-5 days
  • have the ability for you to recharge the batteries with the towing vehicle.

All of this is asking for a lot, but with some planning, shopping around, research, and of course the means to pay the asking price, it is possible to buy a miracle on wheels that can do all of the above and more. However, weighing all of the issues listed below is no easy task, but to save time, hassle, frustration, and to avoid the distinct possibility that you won’t get what you have paid for, we do NOT recommend that you use magazine reviews of trailers as the basis of your buying decision. Here is-

Why magazine reviews of trailers are useless


With the exception of a handful of manufacturers that produce trailers in meaningful numbers, and who can afford to have a trailer tested to destruction, the vast majority of manufacturers produce fewer than ten trailers each month, and some produce as few as one or maybe two per month.
As such, a trailer represents a significant capital outlay to these manufacturers, which means that there is no way any of them are going to hand one to a journalist for the purpose of testing it to destruction under real world conditions. So how do these manufacturers know what their trailers are capable of? Simple really, they often don’t, and here is why.
Very few trailer manufacturers use construction methods that even approximate automated processes, which means that essentially, trailers are hand-built, but the problem with this is that quality control sometimes takes a distant back-seat to production. However, while most manufacturers take the quality and integrity of their designs seriously, most manufacturers do not have the means, time, money, or expertise to perform definitive testing on materials, welding processes, or the effects of sometimes- excessive numbers of welds on the structural integrity of a trailer chassis. Put in another way, too much welding can prevent a chassis from flexing, which can cause metal fatigue, which can in turn, cause unpredictable material failures.
So does this mean that the majority of off-road camping trailers will fall apart? No, it does NOT: a properly designed and constructed trailer can give many years (if not a lifetime) of excellent service, while taking everything African off-road conditions can throw at it. So how do you know you are buying a properly constructed trailer, and not one that will fail the first time it encounters a bit of corrugated gravel road? Again, you don’t know, and neither do most magazine editors. The only way to make reasonably sure that you are buying a good trailer is to follow the guidelines in the section following directly after this. However, we digress, so back to magazine reviews.
What sometimes happens is that an outdoor or camping oriented magazine decides to have a “shoot-out” type feature in which the products of several manufacturers are “compared” under controlled conditions. These “comparisons” usually take the form of a leisurely 2 or 3 hour drive on good roads to a weekend getaway destination, after which the cosmetic features of each participating trailer is listed. In most cases, the intentions of the magazines are honourable, but they are prevented from performing long-term, exhaustive tests that are designed to reveal latent design flaws and shortcomings in the construction of the trailers they are “testing” or “reviewing.”
In addition, magazines make a lot of money through advertising, and there is no chance that any magazine will run down, or publish negative comments about any trailer that they advertise for a considerable consideration from the manufacturer. Again, there is no evil intent on the part of the magazines, but the nett. result of all of this is that you, the potential buyer of an off-road camping trailer, have no real, objective information on which to base your buying decision.
Furthermore, no manufacturer of off-road trailers will ever publish negative information or reviews of his products on his website, which given the exceedingly small volume of trailers some manufacturers produce, is not to be wondered at. Nonetheless, after hours or even days of researching all possible choices on the internet and in magazines, you will almost certainly still don’t know which trailer is the best fit for you, so we recommend you do the following-

Do your homework


Make a list such as the one that follows below, and contact each manufacturer individually to obtain the information you need. Bear in mind that trailer manufacturers are scattered all over the country, and none have real dealer networks, which means that if you do not receive convincing, truthful information on your enquiries, you may need to travel hundreds of kilometers to a manufacturing facility to verify the information you do receive.
With this in mind, you don’t want to know whether the cutlery that comes with a trailer is locally made or imported from China; nor do you want to know if the crockery comes in different colours. Keep in mind that since you are going to spend a small fortune on a camping trailer you want objective, truthful information on important aspects of the design, reliability, and functionality of that trailer, so start your checklist with questions such as-

Warranty and technical backup policy

Warranties and guarantees are without doubt the most important aspects of a camping trailer, simply because trailer manufacturers do not have dealer networks with branches all over the country, as car manufacturers do. This means that if something does go wrong, you probably have to deliver the broken-down trailer to the factory to have it repaired, and at your expense to boot.
Therefore, it is critically important to know what is guaranteed against what types of defects, and what happens when such a failure does occur within the warranty period. For instance, you need to know exactly what constitutes “reasonable use”, what constitutes “abuse”, and most importantly, how the manufacturer defines his “discretion” when you need to claim against the warranty.
For instance, should any part of the trailer start to rust, say, six months after you bought it, you need to know exactly under what circumstances the manufacturer will repair the rust damage, or if the trailer is guaranteed against rust in the first place. Similarly, you need to know what constitutes “reasonable maintenance”, and at what intervals you need to have the wheel bearings inspected/replaced, the brakes (if fitted) inspected/adjusted, etc.
You also need to know what, if any, special precautions must be taken when the trailer is stored for extended periods, as well as what happens when the tent develops faults, leaks, or other defects. Bear in mind that while some manufacturers fabricate their own tents, and can therefore repair a tent in-house so to speak, many other manufacturers buy the tents on their trailers from third parties, which means that having a tent repaired that is covered by warranty conditions can sometimes be problematic, to say the least.
Equally importantly, you need to know exactly what components and types of damage are specifically excluded from the warranty, whether the warranty is included in the purchase price or not, and if the balance of the warranty is transferrable to the new owner should you decide to sell the trailer during the warranty period.

Can the trailer be financed?

Most of the bigger manufacturers are registered with the SABS, which means that most financial institutions will finance the purchase of their trailers, subject of course to their normal credit checks and internal processes.

How is the trailer constructed?

The method of construction has serious implications for a trailer’s weight, rigidity, durability, and general ease of use, which is why you need to know as much about the structure and upper body as you can before you sign anything.
For instance, even some of the biggest camping trailer manufacturers use common lip channel with which to construct the chassis, and even the draw bar. While this is not necessarily a problem in itself, many manufacturers use the thinnest gauge lip channel they can reasonably get away with, which in some cases, means that a chassis constructed in this way can flex too much, which in turn, can cause welded joints to fail. Nonetheless, in the interest of fairness toward lip channel chassis-ed trailers, this construction method has been in use for decades, and chassis failures are exceeedingly rare on trailers built by reputable manufacturers.
However, given that most camping trailers are only ever used on reasonably good roads, the fact that lip channel is used as a construction material need not be a deal breaker. Be aware though that lip channel is NOT capable of withstanding serious off-road conditions, such as could be expected on an overland expedition through the hinterland of Africa.
If you want to venture off-road with a camping trailer, a more suitable construction method/material would be a stepladder-type chassis constructed from 50mm × 50 mm square tubing with a wall thickness of at least 2mm, and a draw bar made from heavy gauge channel sections. This combination produces an almost bomb-proof trailer, and it is more likely that a leaf spring will break during a mishap, than that a chassis failure will occur- provided of course that all welded joints are made by qualified welders, and conform to generally-accepted engineering standards.
Of course, the chassis is only half of the story, and much depends on how the upper body of the trailer is constructed, how well the doors and hatches fit, and how resistant to shock and vibration the upper structure is. In general, most trailer manufacturers use automotive-grade rubber extrusions to seal doors and hatches, but no matter how well a door or hatch fits, or how well latches hold doors and hatches in place, dust and water WILL leak past even the best-designed seals if excessive vibration occurs in the trailer’s upper structure.
However, there are as many ways to construct the upper body of a camping trailer as there are manufacturers, and there no single “best” way to do it. There is also no definitive test that can reveal potential problems with dust and water leaks, except maybe to rock the trailer from side to side on its wheels while checking for relative movement between all doors and hatches, and the main structure. Any relative movement is a clear sign that water and dust will leak into the trailer, but then again, if no relative movement between the doors and the main structure is present, it does not necessarily mean that water and dust will not leak past the door seals.
The fact is that there is simply no practical way to prevent water and dust from leaking into a camping trailer. Dust leaks are part and parcel of owning a camping trailer, and the best one can hope for is to get a trailer that does not leak excessively.

Does the trailer have stabilisers?

Most designs use only two stabilisers at the back of the trailer to aid in levelling the trailer on uneven ground, with the jockey wheel serving as the third. However, some manufacturers use complicated jacking systems that work with screw jacks that retract the stabilizer to a position under the floor pan, like those in use on caravans.
At first glance, this might seem like a good idea because the stabilizers are out of sight when they are not in use, but the reality is that water, dust, mud, and sand tend to collect in and on the mechanism, which can render them inoperable in almost no time. The last thing you want or need is to do battle with a seized screw jack when you set up camp in the dark, or any other time for that matter. For this reason, you want stabilizers that simply slide up and down through a tube, and are held in place by a simple bolt with a welded-on handle. All that is required to keep the moving parts in place while on the move is a simple safety pin that passes through both the tube and the stabilizer.
All you need stabilizers to do is prevent the trailer from rocking once you have set up camp and the simpler the mechanisms are, the easier they are to use, and the less chance there is that anything will break, or seize up.

Is the electrical system reliable?

While the general wiring of the majority of camping trailers is relatively simple and do not usually present issues and problems, the same cannot be said for the battery chargers and power control modules in many trailers. Some manufacturers go to great lengths to design and build the most intricate battery chargers and power control systems that human ingenuity can devise, often using computer chips and custom designed and built circuit boards. In fact, in some cases these modules are so different from off-the-shelf battery chargers that trailer manufacturers take out patents on them.
This is both good and very bad at the same time: it is good because if the power control system works as intended, there is almost no chance that the batteries can be overcharged, regardless of the charging method (12V DC, or 220V AC). On the other hand though, if the power control system fails, you are often left without power to external lights, the fridge/freezer, or water, if the water delivery system works with an electrical pump. Worse though, if the failure involves more than a blown fuse, you can almost never restore power without replacing the power control module because most proprietary designs generally do not contain user-serviceable parts.
There is no easy way around this issue, especially since trailer manufacturers will generally not change the design and/or layout of the electrical systems on their trailers to accommodate an off-the-shelf battery charger that can be easily replaced if it fails. However, some manufacturers do allow customers some leeway when it comes to specifications, so it is possible to order a trailer with only the basic wiring in place. If you do it this way, you can hire a qualified auto electrician to fit a standard off-the shelf multi-voltage input battery charger and other things like battery isolators, fuse boxes in low voltage circuits, and the required wiring to enable the towing vehicle to charge the batteries or to power the fridge/freezer while on the move.
You may also need to hire a regular electrician to install as many 220V AC plug points as you require, as well as everything else that is required to run the fridge/freezer on 220 V AC current if the unit has that capability.
The point to all of this is the need to keep the electrical system as simple as possible with off-the shelf components to make it possible to repair faults and problems easily using standard, and easily obtainable parts. Bear in mind though that if you do decide to go this route, the trailer manufacturer will almost certainly NOT guarantee ANY electrical appliance, light, or other electrical component that he supplied with the trailer.

Are external light included?

While some manufacturers include one or even two external lights in the price, others do not, while still others can custom fit lights at positions you specify, albeit at a price. Nonetheless, ask about the type, and colour of the external lights, since white lights attract insects, and yellow lights do not.

Braked axle vs. un-braked axle

Brakes on a trailer are a legal requirement on trailer with a gross weight of more than 750 kg, but whether you decide to pay the added costs of a braked axle or not, depends on more than just the weight of the trailer.
The two most important factors to consider are the rated towing capacity of the towing vehicle, and where, and on what types of roads and terrain the trailer will be towed. For instance, with a few exceptions, most camping trailers weigh in at well under 700 kg fully loaded, and some are as light as 400-450 kg fully loaded. However, most “normal” double cab trucks (bakkies) in South Africa are rated to tow braked trailers of between around 2 500 kg, and about 3 500 kg. These vehicles are however limited to towing un-braked trailers of no more than 750 kg gross weight, which leaves a generous margin of safety if the loaded trailer only weighs , say, 450 kg to 500 kg.
It must be noted though that this safety margin is only valid if the towing happens on relatively flat terrain. If towing happens over hilly terrain, or up and down steep mountain passes, we strongly recommend that you buy a braked trailer, since even at 60 km/h down a mountain passes, a 450-kg trailer exerts a significant “pushing” force on the towing vehicle, whose brakes may very well overheat or even fail after prolonged use. Therefore, from a purely safety perspective, anything that reduces the load on the towing vehicle’s brakes is a GOOD thing, and well worth the added expense of a braked axle on the trailer.
However, we often hear the argument made by detractors of braked axles that prolonged engagement or activation of the trailer’s brakes causes overheating of the brakes, which can in turn cause wheel bearings to fail. While it is true that overheated brakes can cause wheel bearing failure, the cause of the overheating is never normal operation of the brakes, and here is why-
Assuming that the trailer’s brakes are fully functional and properly adjusted the brakes only come into operation when the trailer’s speed is higher than that of the towing vehicle, such as happens when the towing vehicle slows down for some reason, even momentarily. The speed differential then overcomes the slack in the overrun mechanism, which activates the brakes but only until the trailer’s speed once again matches that of the towing vehicle, after which the brakes are released or disengaged.
Thus, the trailer’s brakes can almost never be in operation for prolonged periods, even when moving downhill since the friction in the overrun mechanism is often high enough to keep the trailer’s brakes disengaged- provided of course that the towing vehicle’s speed remains constant, or nearly so.
From the above it should be obvious that price alone should never be the deciding factor in the decision whether to buy braked trailer or not, but then again, unbraked trailers do not have handbrakes, which can be invaluable when the trailer has to moved around manually on uneven ground, so choose wisely.

Wheel size and PCD

The wheel studs in the drums on standard trailer axles usually have PCD’s (Pitch Circle Diameters) that are different from PCD’s found on vehicles, which means that the wheels on the trailer and the wheels on the towing vehicle are not interchangeable. However, it is possible to order an axle from some trailer manufacturers with the same PCD as that of the towing vehicle, which gives you the advantage of suddenly having more spare wheels.
For instance, if you have already used the towing vehicles’ spare wheel, you can then use the trailer’s spare wheel should you suffer another flat tyre. However, this type of modification usually comes at a price, but since you are going to spend a fortune anyway, you may as well order an axle with a length that makes the trailer’s wheels follow exactly in the towing vehicles’ tracks, which makes towing a trailer in mud or sand a whole lot easier.

What is included with the trailer?

Included equipment varies greatly between trailer manufacturers, but what is included should be presented in such way that you would not need to buy anything to make it work. For instance, the tent should come with all poles, ropes, pegs, fly-sails, and whatever else is needed to erect and secure the tent. Most manufacturers have a sort of standard list of equipment that comes with the trailer, which equipment should include the following apart from a tent-

Battery

Some designs feature two batteries, but whether one or two, batteries should be new, and of the deep-cycle type. Batteries should also have a minimum 100Ah rating, properly secured with steel clamps, and preferably be maintenance free.

Water tanks

The capacities of water tanks also vary greatly between manufacturers, but the minimum capacity should not be less than 100 liters. However, the location of the tank is vastly more important than its capacity: filling the tank should NOT alter the weight distribution between the front and rear of the trailer by more than a few kilograms at most.
Additionally, the tank must be vented to prevent air locks during filling, and the venting system must contain a dust filter to prevent dust from getting sucked into the tank as it is drained during normal use. The tank must also be fitted with a drain valve that will allow COMPLETE draining of the tank before the trailer is stored for any length of time.

Fridge/ freezer

Since you will be storing perishable foodstuffs in the fridge/freezer, you want to be sure that your food will not spoil. For this reason, it is well worth the expense to invest in a unit that can run off 12V DC, 220V AC, as well as gas should no power be available. Be aware though that these units are expensive, but paying the asking price is insurance against running out of food.

Camping equipment

While camping trailers do not generally come with items like camping chairs, gas cylinders, gazebos and the like, almost all trailers come with a two-burner gas stove, and a kitchenette that almost always comes with cutlery and crockery for six people. Nonetheless, the design and layout of this aspect of some trailers is sometimes a whole lot less than ideal, so do not be misled by advertising slogans such as “perfect”, well-designed”, “practical”, and even “your perfect kitchen away from home.” For one thing, you need to have the crockery and cutlery stored in such a way that nothing rattles, shakes, or breaks. Most manufacturers use foam blocks with cut-outs to accommodate the various bits and pieces, and long experience with camping trailers has taught this writer that there is no better way to secure crockery.
Make sure the gas stove is properly secured at a height that is comfortable for you, and won’t cause you to sustain burns and scalds because you have to stand on your toes to cook anything on it. Also, make sure that the gas cylinder is stored securely and far enough away from the stove to be safe.

Table

One of the most overlooked items is a table: while most manufacturers include a table with the trailer, many of these tables are often rickety plastic folding jobs that are always in the way of something else. Ideally, you want a steel folding table that can comfortably seat six people, and that has its own dedicated storage space that does not encroach on anything else’s space. On many designs, the table slides in and is secured under the tent, where it is completely out of the way, yet easily accessible.

Accessibility

The object of owning a camping trailer is to make life easier for you in the bush, so you do NOT want to have to unpack everything to reach anything. For instance, you want to be able to slide out the tray on which your plastic crates holding your pots, pans, non-perishable foodstuffs and other equipment is secured to easily reach what you are looking for. While most trailer designs make extensive use of sliding trays, some do not, so make sure you have easy access to your stuff.
Ideally, the fridge/freezer should be accessible from both sides of the trailer, and it should also slide completely out from the body of the trailer to make it easier to clean and service. The trailer should also have a separate storage area for clothes, valuables, and everything else that you need quick and easy access to, even with the tent erected. Lastly, the trailer should have sufficient means to properly tie everything down, as well as positive locking mechanisms on all sliding trays, doors, and hatches.

Trailer Options

Most manufacturers have a long list of available options that can either be built into the trailer, or bought separately. Typical choices include, but are not limited to, hot water geysers (gas operated), shower heads, chemical toilets, braai grids, and many more. However, many optional extras take up space that can seriously limit the amount of equipment you can take along, so resist the temptation to buy “nice-to-haves”, just for the sake of having them.
It is very important to make an objective assessment of your needs and requirements before you sign anything. Being five hundred km way from home is no time to discover that you don’t have something you need because you did not have the space for it, or discovering after your fifth trip that you have a load of stuff and equipment that you don’t want or need. These are very expensive mistakes to make, so watch out for this particular pitfall.

Maintenance costs of Off-road Camper Trailers

Generally speaking, camping trailers are not expensive to own or maintain, provided that as with your vehicles, you attend to small problems and issues as soon as they appear. However, one typical cost that many owners incur is repairing damage to tents caused by mould and mildew during storage. It is vitally important that the tent never be collapsed when it is wet, that it is aired regularly, and that it is inspected for signs of mildew and mould at least one a month or so. Untreated mould and mildew can destroy a tent in a matter of weeks, if not days, so keep a sharp lookout for this.
It is impossible to provide accurate maintenance costs here due to the large number of variables involved, but in general, the only recurring costs should be the trailers’ insurance premium and annual licensing fee. Of course, it is never as simple as that, but the advantages of owning a proper camping trailer far outweigh any reasonable costs you may incur in maintaining it.

One more thing…

Sadly, camping trailers do not retain their value very well, and it is indeed possible to lose as much as 50% or more of its value after just two years of ownership. Some manufacturers offer a buy-back service, and although this option may not give you much more than the open market will, at least you have the knowledge that you can get of the trailer should you need to. Bear in mind though that a good camping trailer can easily set you back by as much as R200 000 or more, you need to do proper due diligence into every single aspect discussed in this guide, since you will almost certainly not get your money back if you decide to sell your trailer.
Nonetheless, we hope that you have found the information in this guide useful, and that it helps you find the camping trailer that answers all of your needs and requirements. Happy trails!

 

Request your off-road camper trailer listing via the Contact 4×4 Africa Page


Buyers guide for: Offroad Camping Trailer Manufactures and Suppliers 


African BackboneAfrican Backbone Trailers

170 Brae Avenue, Willowbrae AH,
Equestria, Pretoria East

012 940 8295

http://www.africanbackbone.co.za/


Afrispoor-CaravansAfrispoor

Unit 4 Victoria Park, Sassword Road,

Glen Anil Ind Est, Durban, KZN

031 569 4323

http://afrispoor.co.za/


Aluglide Aluminium TrailersAluglide

28 Garder Rd, Spartan Ext. 16

Kempton Park, Johannesburg

011 392 2259

http://www.aluglidetrailers.co.za/


Alu Predator All TrerrainAlu Predator Off-road Trailers

 

Note: All Predator is currently not open for business,

but keep checking!

http://www.offroadtrailers.co.za/


Alu-StarAlustar

7 McCregor street,

SvenMill Building

Svenprop Park, Beaconvale, Parow
http://www.alustar.net/index.html


Bantam TrailersBantam

Nr 8, Atom Park, Uranium Street,

Stikland Triangle

021 945 3416/26

http://www.bantamtrailers.co.za/


Bermac TrailersBermac

11 Loram Road, Merrivale, Howick,
KwaZulu-Natal 3291

033 330 2344

http://www.bermactrailers.co.za/


Bundu off-road camper TrailersBundu

Plot 33 Tielmann Street/R27
Schoemansville, Hartbeespoort Dam, 0216

082 741 6715

http://www.bundutrailers.com/


Burnco 4x4Burnco

11 Gamka Street
Stikland Industrial, 7532

021 949 1713

http://www.burnco.co.za


Bushlapa Off Road CaravansBushlapa

31 Alkmaar Str
Dal Josafat, Paarl, Western Cape

021 870 1277/38

http://www.bushlapa.com


Bushman Off-road TrailersBushman

Plaston, Nelspruit

Mpumalanga

012 743 6109

http://www.bushmantrailers.com/


Bush Nest 4x4 Off-Road TrailersBush Nest 4×4 Off-Road Trailers

16th Avenue,
629 Rietfontein, Pretoria 0084

082 924 4076

http://www.bushnest.co.za


BushTrotter off-road trailersBush Trotter Offroad Trailers

Unit 13, Edison Bell Park,

Bell Street, Hennopspark, Centurion

083 253 9069

http://www.bush-trotter.co.za/


Bush Warrior CamperBush Warrior Camper

26 Lower Germiston Road

Heriotdale, 2019

011 626 2720

http://www.bushwarriorcamper.co.za/


Bushwakka Adventure Trailers AfricaBushwakka

13 Krone Str.
Worcester, 6850 Western Cape

023 342 3438

http://www.bushwakka.co.za


Buzzard IndustriesBuzzard

70 Marseilles Crescent
Briardene, Durban North, 4016

031 564 7575

http://www.buzzardindustries.co.za


CampmasterCampmaster

At any:

Makro, Game, Builders

http://www.campmaster.co.za

 


Camptech TrailersCamptech Trailers

184 Beaulieu Est.
Richmond

083 660 6917

http://camptechtrailers.co.za


Camptech Campworld

 

Campworld Dealers: http://www.campworlddealers.co.za/

Store Locator: http://www.campworlddealers.co.za/1.Dealer-Store-Locator.htm

 


Challenger TrailersChallenger Trailers

96 Thabo Mbeki

Mookgophong, 0560

014 743 1151

http://www.challengertrailers.co.za


Chase TrailersChase Trailers

Montana Stud Farm, Waarburgh Divisional Road,

Muldersvlei, Stellenbosch

083 589 4350

http://www.chasetrailers.co.za/


Conqueror Offroad CampersConqueror Off-Road Campers

C/O Chris & Reitz Street,

Heidelberg, Gauteng

016 349-6531/2/3/6

http://www.conqueror.co.za


Desert WolfDesert Wolf

26 Humilis Crescent, Garsfontein
Pretoria, Gauteng

0866 107 137

http://www.desert-wolf.com


Echo 4x4 CampersEcho 4×4

19 Regency Avenue, Route 21 Corporate Park,
Irene X30 Centurion

012 345 3333

http://www.echo4x4.co.za


EZI TrailersEZI Trailers

43 Willowbrook Office Park, Block C
Van Hoof Street, Willow Brook, Ruimsig, Roodepoort, 1724

010 040 3690

http://www.ezitrailers.co.za/


Gecko OffroadGecko

P.O. Box 45

Haenertsburg, 0730, Limpopo

015 276 5059

http://www.gecko-offroad.co.za/


Getaway-TrailerGetaway

16 Motor City, Bonza Bay Road,

Beacon Bay, East London

043 748 3893

http://getawaytrailers.co.za/


GirdmGirdm

 

011 894 3592

 

http://www.girdm.co.za/


GT Camper Offroad TrailersGT Camper Offroad

Stormvoël Auto Centre, Shop 15,20 & 21
18 Stormvoël Road, Kilner Park, Pretoria

0614618543

gt.camperoffice@gmail.com


Hippo TrailersHippo

Fichardtpark
Bloemfontein, 9317

086 144 7769

http://www.hippotrailers.co.za/


Imagine trail-van CampersImagine

Unit 38, Scientia Technopark,
Pretoria (Next to CSIR)

012 349 2636

http://www.imagine-trailvan.co.za


Infante 4x4 TrailersInfanta

P.O. Box 45
Buffeljagsrivier 6742, Cape Province

028 512 3663

http://www.infantatrailers.co.za/


Invader-Off-Road-CampersInvader Off-road

Fergie Building, Corner of Goud Crescent & Staal Street,

Brackenfell Industria, Cape Town, 7561

021 982 0715

http://www.invader.co.za/


IZA 4x4 BushIZA Metal Fabrications

Plot 72 Wheatlands,

Randfontein, 1759

011 416 1239

www.izametalfabrications


JAGUAR 4x4 TrailersJaguar 4×4 Trailers

Unit 29, Hydro Park, Hydro st
Stikland, Bellville

073 333 5554

http://www.jaguar4x4trailers.blogspot.com/


Jurguns TrailersJurgens

Find them at:

Campworld and Safari Centre

http://www.jurgenstrailers.co.za/#!contact-us/cco8

http://www.jurgenstrailers.co.za/


KaretKaret

3rd Avenue, Industrial Area
Bothaville, 9660

056 515 4333 / 4 / 5

http://www.karet.co.za/


LeBusha TrailersLe Busha Trailers

116 Phillip Str,

Rosslyn, Pretoria

083 416 7157

www.lebushatrailers.com


Loma Africa TrailersLoma Africa

Louis van den Berg

072 660 6620

082 772 2208

www.lomaafricatrailers


Lynx TrailersLynx

117 Hartbeesfontein weg
Stilfontein

018 484 1234

http://www.lynxtrailers.co.za/


Metalian TrailersMetalian

34B Fabriek Street,

Kuilsriver, Cape Town

021 903 9623

http://metalian.co.za http://www.facebook.com/Metalian4x4


Mission Trailers - Calculus ProductsMission Trailers (Calculus Products)

 

021 873 3372
https://www.calculus.co.za/
http://missiontrailers.com.au/

 


Moolman TrailersMoolman Trailers

12A Milner Str.

Strand, Western Cape

021 850 8335

www.moolmantrailers.co.za/


MultiTrailMulti Trail

Svenmill Building (Unit3), 7 McGregor st.

Beaconvale ,Parow in Cape Town

021 931 1781

http://www.multi-trail.co.za


Off Trax off-roadOfftrax

473 Jasmyn Street

Silverton, Pretoria

012 804 3075

http://www.offtrax.co.za/


OPUS CamperOpus Camper

Unit 2, Technipark, 322 Alwyn Street,
Waltloo, Silverton, Pretoria, 0184

012 813 8528
enquiries@opuscamper.co.za

 


Quattro Trailers PolokwaneQuattro

Industria Street
Industria , Polokwane

015 297 2691

http://quattro.polokwane.info/


Ramkat TrailersRamkat

Grootfontein Plaas, Annex 716/29
Anywortel Rug Pad, Klapmuts

021 300 1770

http://www.ramkattrailers.co.za/


Sherpa LeisureSherpa

 

Unit 4, 36 Plantation Road
Eastleigh, Edenvale, Johannesburg

011 452 8188

http://www.sherpaleisure.co.za


Skipper Tent and trailerSkipper

14 Payne St,

Park Rynie, KZN

039 976 0500

 

http://www.skippertenttrailers.co.za/


SummitSummit

284 Kuit St,

Pretoria, 0184

012 803 6535

http://www.summittrailers.co.za


Torsion TrailersTorsion Engineering

Johan le Roux

Meyerton, 1960

016 362 4123

torsion@mjvn.co.za


TrailriteTrailrite

6 London Lane,
Park Central, Johannesburg, Gauteng

011 493 8433

http://trailritetrailers.co.za/


Trans-Africa

Unit4, 28 Beechgate Cres,

Southgate Ind Park, Amanzimtoti, 4126

info@transafricatrailers.co.za

http://www.transafricatrailers.co.za/


 

Ultimate Overland CampUltimate Overland

 

964 Sibelius Turn, Wilgeheuwel Ext. 3

Roodepoort, Gauteng

011 675 3333


VenterVenter

41 Granville Avenue
Lea Glen, Roodepoort, Gauteng

011 288 9000

http://www.ventertrailers.co.za


Wildebees off-roadWildebees

636 Ella Straat
Rietfontein, Pretoria

012 751 7700

http://www.wildebeestoffroad.co.za


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