When we first floated the idea of selling our caravan and buying a hard floor camping trailer we had no idea there were now so many on the market and that they cost so much. One of the first ones we saw was an Aussie Swag; it kind of set the standard. Every other trailer we saw after that we compared to the AS. There are so many hard floor campers out there all various prices, different quality, offering different features and comforts all with their own pluses and minuses. Different add on options at additional cost, how can one choose and compare apples to apples. We pretty well looked at every hard floor trailer we could find either via the internet, brochures sent out to us or physically either at shows or at the dealers. We even looked at and considered cross over type trailers.
It was easy to rule out the ones that didn’t meet our requirements, we wanted something tough that could handle the rough 4wd tracks, do the Cape, maybe the simmo. Excellent dust and water sealing, minimal setup, had to have a place for a fridge, decent kitchen, quality canvas etc. Then things like water capacity or the ability to add more tanks or water containers, batteries, solar, shower, hot water etc. came into it. Some of these could be added on later, we looked at all options.
135 watt solar panel stays locked into place, charging while driving or parked.
We ended up with a list of 5 trailers we felt met our requirements, all of them very good and hard to separate. So I did up an excel spread sheet listing everything that was included with each trailer, then added the cost of items to bring each trailer up to more of an equal footing as far as what was and wasn’t included. Then added the costs of what we wanted to add on like an extra battery. Wrote notes on specifications, warranty given etc. trying to make it easier to compare apples to apples and price once all these options were added on. This did rule out one as being a bit out of our price bracket even though it was an excellent trailer. We turned up at show rooms time after time asking as many questions as we could think off. When you are spending $50,000 on trailer you want to make the best decision you can and make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. We even looked at some 2nd hand options but most did not meet the extra bits we wanted and worked out to be close to the new price by the time we added the bits on.
Stone guard to protect the front from rocks.
We could have gone for a more basic trailer and added, solar, batteries, hot water and shower, fridge etc. later down the track and this was very much considered. But for us, Chris’s time spent installing the extra bits was worth something, the cost of buying the items was around the same as it was going to cost with buying them with the trailer, and some items were even more. Quality electrics and batteries cost a lot of money regardless of who is doing it and where you buy them from.
We were down to 3, a visit to a showroom was needed lots more questions, more demos in putting it up and down, we were starting to get to the nitty gritty, stuff that can’t be compared on paper. The last 3 were so close, each had pluses and minuses and if we had purchased any of them I don’t think we would have been disappointed.
We looked at how much was involved in setting it up, 2 of the 3 required some adjustment of poles to flip the tent part up, not much mind you. One had stainless internal bows which were very nice but we felt the outside jerry and gas bottle holders weren’t as good a quality as the others especially when there is rust on them in the show room. One had no back door access which they claimed offered superior dust sealing. The big down size is you don’t have access to your clothes in the draw if you want that extra jumper on the road. And biggest disadvantage you would have to set the trailer up to pack your clothes into the draw.
Great access into the under bed draw. Still with excellent weather sealing.
We looked at battery positions, ease of access, if they were going to be under our head. How easy it would be to add a 3rd battery or should I say bring the battery capacity up to around 300 amp hr. How easy was it to set up and use the shower, was it gas or diesel, we kind of liked the diesel option at first. How comfy was the bed, was there enough room to add an overlay if needed this was important to us to make sure we had a good night sleep. Could the annex roof be left on when it was packed up? Dust and weather sealing was good on all of them, kitchens were excellent on all of them, canvas quality much the same. We eventually got it down to 2.
Easy access to batteries and other electrics.
Excellent dust and weather sealing.
We were so close to signing with the other make of trailer, they were also close to home, we had visited them at their show room so many times, seen them at shows, I’m sure they thought they had a sale. We liked what we saw, I loved their kitchen then I read in a review how the fridge could be hard to access when the kitchen was out. So we started imaging using it on the road, how easy was it to access the fridge, and pantry. Yes we did see some difficulties but it was still an awesome kitchen. We took measurements of the size of the windows and doors. On a hot day big windows are a plus. We saw this make of trailer 2nd hand and were disappointed in how well it had lasted. Zinc plated was used instead of stainless steel for catches and hooks, one 2nd hand trailer had a lot of rust.
Quality stainless steel latches.
With all our looking we had only actually seen the Aussie Swag once, we had read every bit of info on their web site and in the brochures and gone from memory and used them as the standard but hadn’t gone back for another physical look. So before we signed on the dotted line we went back for another look.
From our point of view their quality and workmanship really stood out. Quality materials were used, stainless steel hooks and catches. The placement and ease of access to the batteries and electrics was the best. They had one of the biggest windows which even had zips to open them up for extra breeze. No adjustment of poles was needed, quick flip up and it was done. Because the kitchen sink area swings around along the body of the trailer the pantry can be accessed easily with nothing in the way and you can stand side on to the fridge and access all areas when the pantry is not pulled out. 2 people can very easily work in the kitchen that could be said for some of the others as well.
Ok Aussie Swag it was now to decide on which model and what extra options we wanted. That took a few more visits.
We found all the trailer manufactures and showroom staff very helpful and friendly all were or at least said they were willing to accommodate any extra bits we wanted. So can’t speak for how they would have been through the whole process and follow up service. We can speak for Aussie Swag; they were exceptional, very helpful, offered sound advice and suggestions. They did not talk us up on options in fact in some cases they advised against us spending the extra money. They were more than willing to work with us and find a way to install that third battery.
Aussie Swag was not the cheapest but they also weren’t the dearest but for us we thought they were the best. We had a large choice of trailers to choose from, we did loads and loads of research, read reviews, forums etc. and we choose the Aussie Swag. So far and we see no reason for this to change we do not regret our decision. The more we use it, sit under the awning and look at all the bits the more we say what a well-built quality trailer it is.
Excellent venting on the fridge box.
At the time we first placed our order with AS they did not do a diesel model, just before build was about to start on ours we were contacted by AS and given the option of waiting for a prototype diesel model to be build and then having the first diesel model. After much consideration and the downsides of diesel and extra cost of the trailer we decided to stick with our original order. We were thankful and appreciative that James from AS took the time to ring us, show as the new model and give us the option. That’s the kind of guys they are.