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Camping in Australia: caravan or camper trailer?

Camping in Australia doesn't have to mean struggling with a tent. If you're planning a road trip around Australia and you don't want to have to rely on hotels, buying a caravan or camper trailer could be ideal – but which one?

There's no easy answer, as it depends on the type of trip you're planning, your budget and the level of comfort you want. Here are the main reasons to consider both options when travelling around Australia on your own schedule.

Travelling Australia in a camper trailer

Camper trailers are a popular choice for a budget Aussie road trip. Not only are they cheaper to buy than a caravan, they're also much lighter to tow. This improves fuel economy and means you don't have to hire a larger car.

When you've reached your campsite, you simply unfold the trailer and sleep inside the canvas walls and roof. Nature lovers can appreciate breathing in the fresh air – as long as you're not downwind of a campfire – but gaps between the sides mean that bugs and dust can enter more easily than in a caravan. The thin canvas walls also mean less noise resistance, less privacy and less protection against strong winds.

The smaller size of camper trailers means they can go to some places caravans can't, as well as being easier to handle on the road. However, the lack of storage space and toilet facilities could be a deal breaker for first-time campers.

Travelling Australia in a caravan

Caravans are a bigger investment than camper trailers, but owners will tell you they're worth it. Their sturdier structure offers all-weather protection, safety and security, the privacy of a hotel room and the comforts of home. Higher-end models come with a range of luxury appliances for a five-star camping experience.

The major downsides of a caravan are its bulk and weight. They need to be towed by a more powerful vehicle, which increases fuel costs, and more difficult routes may be inaccessible even in an off-road model. Parking and maneuvers such as reversing can also be a challenge in cities.

For even more comfort and convenience, you can travel around Australia in a campervan (or RV). With your accommodation and vehicle all in one, you or your family can move back and forth between the cab and the living area, bedrooms and bathroom without having to pull over.

Getting a good night's sleep on your road trip

Caravans and camper vans can offer a more comfortable sleep than a camper trailer, but it's still important to park somewhere you're not likely to be disturbed.

A restless night's sleep will affect your ability to drive safely the next day, so you should also avoid caffeine and other stimulants and choose a good quality caravan mattress or bed to improve the chance of a restful sleep.

If you need a new caravan mattress in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne or other cities, get in touch with your local Clark Rubber store to ask about our custom mattresses for caravans and camper trailers. We've partnered with mattress experts Slumberest to provide individually made mattresses to order.

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