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Trailer Tents - An ideal Halfway House

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You either love trailer tents or you hate them.

Falling as they do, somewhere between family tents and, at the high end something that costs as much as a caravan, why would you choose them when you could have one or the other?

The great merit of a trailer tent is that they all have proper beds, and most of them have somewhere to sleep off the ground. So, for the squeamish, or for someone wanting to try camping for the first time, they might provide the ideal halfway house which gives you the camping experience, but keeps you well away from the ground. For children, of course, this makes them about the most exciting thing in the world. What could be more fun than climbing that ladder and imagining you are on the top of Everest!

Generally speaking, the term trailer tents is used to cover four different products: trailer tents, flip-flop trailer tents, folding campers and American imports. We will discuss each of these in more detail in another post and concentrate on what to look for if you are in the market for one:

Try before you buy

The most important adage is, of course, "Try before You Buy!". This might seem obvious, but you need to see the tent in action. Get the seller to put it up and to take it down, so you can judge for yourselves how good it is. If you are sure of nothing else, be sure you are happy to put it up and to take it down.

Check the towing weight

 In most cases, trailer tents are relatively light, certainly compared to a caravan, but even so, be sure that the weights are within legal towing limits. If you don't know what these are, go and check out the Government site

The other reason for checking the towing weight is to find out whether or not you need a trailer tent with brakes. By law, the total weight of an unbraked trailer, including the weight of anything you choose to carry in it, must be less than half the kerbweight of your car. If you don't know what the kerbweight is, then go and check in your vehicle manual. There are plenty of good guides to good towing vehicles online, such as the ones at the Camping and Caravanning Club if all this is confusing you.

Checklist

It's worth making a checklist to make sure that you get the right product.

  • Do the electrics work, and if it is a second-hand tent, have they been checked and certified by a qualified electrician.
  • Does the cooker work (assuming one is connected). It should give a straight-burning blue flame.
  • Are the windows clean, clear and without any splits
  • Check seams and zips for fraying, and ensure that everything works well
  • Check any water pumps and lighting
  • On second hand trailer tents you should also look for general wear and tear:
  • Doors, lids, hinges, poles and fastenings should all be in good condition and while you are at it, check for rust, water leaks or damage.
  • If there is mildew, then this is a sign that the tent has not been stored correctly. The best advice is to walk away if you find any evidence of this.
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