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Folding Campers / Trailer Tents

3452 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  pdman
Does anyone have experience of trailer tents/folding campers?

We bought our Antara with the long(ish) term view of purchasing one (Conway or similar) to upgrade from our current 4 man tent but as a cheaper alternative to a caravan.

Will be looking around this year but may not purchase until next year so looking for pros/cons of trailer tents from anyone who has actually owned one...

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I have a caravan and used to holiday with friends who had a trailer tent, from memory the pros are
Easy to tow, even with a small ish car
Easy to store, you can fit one in your garage (if you have one)
You can save money against a caravan

Your limited with space for personal items so the majority has to go in the car.
A little more exposed to the elements, harder to keep warmer etc

But the biggest pain was drying the thing out, if you pack up wet it has to be allowed to dry at the earliest opportunity, this meant they regularly were using my garden to put the trailer tent back up for a day, so you come back off your holiday having to do this and at times if the weather is really bad it could take a few weeks before you get chance, if stored wet they quickly go down hill.

Personally I would look out for a cheap caravan, see if you like it then move on, my first caravan cost me £250 and needed a bit of tlc but it was worth knowing it suited us before we invested in a brand new one.
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Had both Conway Cruiser Folding camper and 3 caravans

Cruiser has storage space inside basically caravan lower with a tent top so all you lose are upper storage lockers and some length. I had matching awning to attach so makes up for lack of interior space.

Dead easy to tow in fact sometimes easy to forget it is there :). If going to Europe it isnt seen behind car and most tolls you get through at car rate :). On arrival just wind down corner steadys pull out ends and pops up like a pram hood.

Disadvantages cant just nip in it and make a brew on a longer journey. Canvas so have to have somewhere to dry it out if you fold it away damp. Not as warm as modern vans.

Fuel economy hardly affected as lighter weight and no real drag as smaller than car.

SO it comes down mainly to what you want it for. We loved our conway on the med, but it was damp holidays in UK that made us swap to a van, But only after 5 years of ownership :)

Edited by: HoneyMonster
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Here is a pic of conway and current van, 30 years age difference between the two.. If you can find one the Conway Cardinal is worth a look at as hard top Canvas sides caravan base so not as much canvas but still all the advantages of a Lightweight device for towing similar to this one in link

Edited by: HoneyMonster
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Thanks for the link and pics Iain, it's a 'van like that that makes me want to make the jump straight into a 'van instead of going the folding tent route.

But then finances (and the wife!) bring me back to my senses and admit I'll have to probably go the folding camper route. Hadn't really considered the hard top option on the folding campers but did a bit of searching over lunch and there looks to be several options available.

Any advice on what to look out for when shopping around - common problems, issues, etc.?
I hate to say it and the thought of lugging a caravan behind me does not appeal to me but my missis has started talking us going caravaning. My parents have a van and I used to go caravaning as a kid and loved it so maybe its time to think about it again. I always used the excuse the car wasnt big enough etc but not now. We also have the dog now and at least he could come with us so i might look into it a bit more. I would be able to use my parents van any time I want in fact they are thinking about selling it.

BTW nice Van Iain a proper hoose on wheels
Baz, damp check all the corners van or folding camper, Damp is the killer of them all, Damp meter can be bought sub £20 best getting one with probes on a lead if you can as easier to get in small corners.

Check operation on putting it up and down, no rips or tears at all in canvas all zips free to move. Similar to a car history is good having all brochures leaflets etc normally means better looked after.

Check age of tyres this is found on sidewalls and load ratings. Once again dont want a blow out on old tyres check there is a spare and age of it as well. If old tyres no spare bargaining points to knock price down. If there is a spare check it fits before going on holiday :). This lesson was learnt hard way. Had correct size tyre as spare on first van and space between bolts was correct but centre hole was too small as i found out on side of M20.

Gas and electrics check all working

Not a complete list by any means but some good starting points.

Only other thing is if buying a caravan check you have correct licence to tow. Applies for those who passed test after 1st Jan 1997.
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Cheers Grumps, that was our treat for 30 years in RAF changed from a 20 year old secondhand van to brand new. They have come on a bit :)
I'm resurrecting this post for an update...

We had a very wet trip to Weymouth back in May where torrential downpours and our tent literally falling apart at the seams when we came to pack up led to it being ditched in the campsite dumpster!

We've been looking for it's replacement and my wife found a Conway Cardinal local to us which we went to take a look at. It was in great condition and we're now the proud owners of it! Picked it up at the weekend and managed to get it put up when the sun was shining yesterday (between downpours!).

Really chuffed with it, it's in great condition for being nearly 20 years old and came with loads of awnings (full width, toilet extension, porch awning and sun canopy) so ample living space for us and the kids whichever set up we go with!

Antara tows it like it's not there, will need to remember when I hit the motorway as driving home was all local roads.

Hoping to get away over the next couple of weeks - any advice on where to find late booking for pitches? I've found but wondered if there are any other good sites out there...

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Hi Baz I have a pennine Pullman, great piece of kit, I use a fan heater in cooler times otherwise the only downside is if you have a wet pack up you have to re-erect it on returning home and leave it up until it is dry, if weather is dry usually a couple of hours had ours 6 years only had one wet pack. I look for sites on

You can find adult only or sites with kids etc just put in your criteria, enjoy your camper yourantara won`t know its there
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