Adventure Awaits: Your All-in-One Guide to Buying a Used Camper Trailer

Camper Trailer Road Trip

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of setting off on an adventure, knowing you have the freedom to set up camp just about anywhere you choose. This is the benefit of camper trailers, which blend the raw camping experience with the added bonus of convenient amenities and a quick and convenient setup. 

Whether you’re planning a long touring holiday or a relaxing weekend getaway, the right camper trailer can make all the difference to your experience. And where better to start your search for the perfect camper trailer than Gumtree? With a huge selection of makes and models from all over the country, Gumtree is your go-to platform for new and used camper trailers for sale.

The Benefits of Buying Used Camper Trailers

Opting for a second hand camper trailer offers several advantages. Firstly, there’s the obvious cost-saving benefit compared to spending money on a brand-new model. Often, buyers can find themselves a great deal on a used camper trailer that suits their needs perfectly. And the money you save buying a second hand camper trailer, you can spend this on accessories, upgrades and customisations. Plus, there’s the undeniable environmental benefit. By choosing to reuse and recycle, you’re reducing waste and promoting sustainability.

Camper Trailers vs. Campervans, Caravans and Traditional Tents

Camper trailers offer a unique blend of flexibility and simplicity that neither campervans nor caravans can match.

Benefits of Camper Trailers vs. Campervans

Unlike campervans, which are a combined vehicle and living space, camper trailers can be unhitched, allowing for independent vehicle use. This flexibility means you can head into town for supplies or explore nearby sights without packing up your entire campsite. This is especially handy if you’re planning on staying in the same location for a few days. Plus, if you have a 4WD, this gives you the freedom to explore rugged bush tracks that a campervan would not be able to access. Just unhitch your camper trailer and set off! 

Benefits of Camper Trailers vs. Caravans

Compared to caravans, camper trailers are generally lighter, making them easier to tow and manoeuvre. This can be a big benefit for those who have a smaller vehicle that would not safely be able to tow a large, heavy caravan. Camper trailers also offer a more authentic camping experience compared to campervans and caravans, blending the comforts of a caravan with the closeness to nature of tent camping. 

Benefits of Camper Trailers vs. Traditional Tents

A traditional tent can give you an authentic camping experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature. Tents are also cost-effective and lightweight, meaning they can be set up almost anywhere. 

However, the main benefit a camper trailer has over a tent is the added protection it offers from the elements and the sheer ease of setup. Depending on the kind of camper trailer you have (more on the different types below), you could have your campsite set up in less than half an hour. But with a traditional tent, it could take much longer than this as you struggle with poles, lines and pegs. A camper trailer also offers you plenty of storage options as well as additional protection from adverse weather. 

When it comes down to it, a camper trailer can give you an authentic camping experience but with the added luxury of a comfortable bed and some basic amenities such as gas cooking, running water and maybe even a private toilet and shower. 

Key Considerations When Purchasing a Camper Trailer
caravan car on highway

Embarking on the journey to purchase a camper trailer, especially a second hand one, requires some forethought. It’s not just about the aesthetics or the price—you also need to consider whether the trailer aligns with your personal preferences, the nature of your trips, and the number of travellers. For instance, a solo traveller might have different needs compared to a family of four. 


When considering a camper trailer, storage is a pivotal factor. Think about the gear you’ll be taking along, from camping essentials to recreational equipment. Will the trailer accommodate your bikes, fishing rods, and other outdoor gear? 

It’s not just about the volume but also the accessibility and organisation of storage. Some trailers offer storage solutions like pull-out drawers, overhead compartments, and even external storage boxes. Ensuring you have ample and efficient storage can make your camping experience that much smoother.


The amenities in a camper trailer can make a world of difference. Some camper trailers come equipped with a small kitchen setup or a place for you to securely store a BBQ. A typical camper trailer kitchen set-up may include a small sink with a water connection and a gas burner or two for you to cook on. For higher-end models, there may even be space for an electric fridge and microwave, or an indoor private toilet and shower.

On the other hand, you may not want or need any of these additional extras, and are just looking for a basic model that can provide you with a weather-proof roof over your head while you’re exploring the great outdoors. 


Where you intend to take your camper trailer plays a significant role in your purchasing decision. If you’re planning to stick to well-trodden paths and established campgrounds, a standard on-road camper trailer might suffice. However, if you’re the adventurous type, dreaming of off-road escapades in remote locations, you’ll need a tried and tested off-road camper trailer. These are designed to handle rough terrains, from rocky landscapes to river crossings, ensuring you can explore everything this beautiful country has to offer with confidence.

Vehicle Towing Capacity

Before you get swept away by the allure of a spacious camper trailer with all the bells and whistles, it’s essential to consider your vehicle’s towing capacity. The last thing you want is to invest in a trailer that your car can’t safely tow. Check your vehicle’s manual or manufacturer’s website to find out its maximum towing capacity. Then, ensure the camper trailer’s weight, when fully loaded, falls within this limit. Remember, towing a trailer that exceeds your vehicle’s capacity can be dangerous and may also void your car’s warranty.

Camper Trailer Kitchens

One of the best features of many modern camper trailers is the inclusion of a small kitchen. This means that you don’t need to solely rely on a campfire when cooking meals, which is a bonus in Australia where there are often total fire bans in the warmer months.

Many camper trailers will come equipped with a small kitchenette that usually slides out of an outdoor storage compartment. These open-air cooking spaces usually include one, two or three gas burner rings, as well as a small sink for washing up. All you need to do is hook up a gas canister and a water source, and you’re ready to go.

Camper trailers with more interior space may offer internal cooking facilities, which can come in handy if the weather turns bad.

Different Camper Trailer Types

Camper trailers fall into two general categories: hard-floor camper trailers and soft-floor camper trailers. Let’s look at what sets these two types of camper trailers apart.

Hard-Floor Camper Trailers

The primary advantage of a hard floor camper trailer is that it’s elevated off the ground, which offers you protection from dampness and the cold. Hard floor camper trailers are also relatively easy to set up and maintain. 

There are two main types of hard-floor camper trailers:

  • Flip-Over Style: The top part of the trailer flips over to become the floor once it’s set up. This action creates a tent structure on top. The process is straightforward and quick, making it a favourite for those who want a quick, hassle-free setup. The flip-over style also tends to offer a larger living space, as the entire length of the trailer is utilised.
  • Wind-Up Style: The wind-up style of camper trailers may put you in mind of a pop-up book. The roof of the trailer is wound up, typically using a winch system, revealing the living space inside. The sides then get pulled out, and the canvas walls are attached. The wind-up style offers the advantage of a more rigid structure, often with built-in amenities like a small kitchenette or sleeping area. It’s a great choice for those who want an added level of comfort and convenience for their camping experience.

Soft-Floor Camper Trailers

These are the lightweight champions of the two types of camper trailers, offering easy manoeuvrability and plenty of space. Soft-floor camper trailers resemble a tent more than a hard-floor camper trailer, and they sit directly on the ground like a traditional tent. 

Soft-floor camper trailers generally offer more sleeping space compared to hard-floor camper trailers, which makes them a good choice for families and groups. 

On-Road vs. Off-Road Camper Trailers

When it comes to choosing a camper trailer, it’s essential to consider where you’ll be travelling. Standard on-road camper trailers are resilient and perfect for those scenic coastal drives or countryside getaways. However, if you’re the adventurous type, looking to tackle challenging terrains and venture off the beaten path, an off-road camper trailer is your best bet. Built with robust construction, these trailers are designed to handle rough conditions, ensuring you can explore those hidden gems without a hitch.

Pros and cons of on-road camper trailers:

  • Cost-Effective: Generally, on-road camper trailers are more affordable than their off-road counterparts.
  • More lightweight: They tend to be lighter, making them easier to tow and manoeuvre.
  • Fuel efficiency: Due to their streamlined design and lighter weight, they often result in better fuel efficiency for the towing vehicle.
  • Simple maintenance: Typically, they require less maintenance as they’re not exposed to the rough conditions that off-road trailers might encounter.
  • Limited terrain: On-road camper trailers are designed primarily for sealed roads and might not handle rough dirt tracks well.

Pros and cons of off-road camper trailers:

  • Versatility: Off-road camper trailers are designed to handle a variety of terrains, from rocky trails to sandy beaches.
  • Sturdy construction: Able to withstand rough conditions, these trailers have been built with strong materials and reinforced features.
  • Increased ground clearance: A higher clearance means less likelihood of the trailer bottoming out on uneven terrains.
  • Adventure ready: They often come with additional features like off-road brakes, reinforced chassis, and off-road tyres.
  • Expensive: Generally, these trailers can be more expensive due to the enhanced features and rugged construction.
  • Significant towing weight: They tend to be heavier, which might require a more powerful vehicle to tow and can also add to fuel consumption.
  • Regular maintenance: Exposure to harsh conditions might mean more frequent maintenance checks and potential repairs.

Inspecting the Condition of a Camper Trailer

Before you commit to purchasing a used camper trailer, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough inspection. Here’s our camper trailer inspection checklist to help you make the most of your inspection and ensure you’re getting good value for money.

1. Exterior Check

  • Body and frame: Look for any signs of rust, dents, or damage. Ensure the frame is straight and free from any significant bends or warps.
  • Windows and Seals: Check for cracks in the windows (if there are any) and ensure all seals are intact to prevent leaks.
  • Tyres: Ensure they’re in good condition, with plenty of tread left. Also, check the spare tyre.

2. Interior Inspection

  • Flooring: Walk around inside and feel for any soft spots that might indicate rot or water damage.
  • Upholstery and bedding: Check for stains, tears, or signs of mould.
  • Roof and ceiling: Look for any signs of water damage or leaks.

3. Electrical Systems

  • Lights: Ensure all interior and exterior lights are functioning.
  • Battery: Check the battery’s age and condition. Test all sockets and switches.
  • Appliances: If the trailer comes with appliances like a fridge or stove, ensure they’re operational.

4. Plumbing

  • Water system: Turn on taps to check water flow and ensure there are no leaks.
  • Toilet and shower: If included, ensure they function correctly and are clean.

5. Gas and Cooking Systems

  • Gas bottles: If gas bottles are included, check for any signs of rust or damage. Ensure they’re correctly stored and secured.
  • Stove and oven: Test any cooking appliances to ensure they light up and function as expected.

6. Brakes and Suspension:

  • Brakes: If possible, take the trailer for a test drive to ensure the brakes are responsive.
  • Suspension: Look for any signs of wear or damage.

7. Additional Features:

  • Awnings and annexes: Unroll and inspect for any tears, broken zips, or damaged poles.
  • Storage compartments: Ensure they open and close smoothly and are free from rust or water damage.

8. Documentation

  • Ownership papers: Ensure the seller has the appropriate ownership documents.
  • Maintenance records: Ask for any records of past repairs or maintenance to get an idea of the trailer’s history. Be sure to check if the trailer has been in any accidents or had major repairs.

Remember, when inspecting a used camper trailer, it’s essential to be thorough and not rush the process. Taking the time to check every aspect can save you from potential headaches down the road. And if you’re unsure or not confident in your ability to inspect the trailer, consider hiring a professional to do a pre-purchase inspection. This can provide peace of mind and ensure you’re making a sound investment.

Navigating Gumtree for the Perfect Camper Trailer

Gumtree is your one-stop-shop for used camper trailer sales. At Gumtree, we make finding the perfect second hand camper trailer online with Gumtree simple and easy. As one of Australia’s biggest online marketplaces, we can offer plenty of choices all across the country. You can easily filter results to hone in on specific features or offers only within a certain location. 

Whether you’re after a specific model, looking within a certain price range, or even searching for camper trailer accessories, Gumtree can offer you a wide variety of results. Plus, you can also set up customised alerts to ensure you’re always in the know. 

If you’re also in the market for a second hand 4WD to tow your camper trailer, then make sure you take a look at our four-wheel drive buyer’s guide for tips and info and see what new and used 4WDs are available near you. 

Happy trails, campers!

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