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Guide to buying a trailer tent or folding camper

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September 12, 2023
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As any trailer tent or folding camper devotee will tell you, these handy units can offer the best of both tent and caravanning worlds – but you need to know a few key things before you start on your crossover camping experience. We answer some of your FAQs about getting on the road with a trailer tent or folding camper.

trailer tent

First thing’s first: What’s the difference between a trailer tent and a folding camper?

The main difference between a folding camper and trailer tent is that the latter is a tent in a trailer that pulls out and pegs to the ground. It uses the trailer for a bedroom area. Once pitched, the only thing visible to distinguish it from a frame tent is probably the trailer hitch.

 A folding camper is where there is no canvas pegged directly to the ground. Usually, bedroom areas will fold or slide out from the trailer unit, remaining off the ground once erected. 

Folding campers are usually easier and quicker to put up and take down than trailer tents

Which is more expensive, a folding camper or a trailer tent?

Folding campers provide higher levels of equipment than trailer tents and because of this they cost more. The price points tend to even out on the second hand market which is very healthy. 

A good condition second hand folding camper or trailer tent can cost anything from about £2,000.

If trailer tents and folding caravans are so good, why are there so many used models up for sale?

There always tends to be a good supply of second hand trailer tents and folding campers because leisure campers like to regularly upgrade their equipment.

The best time to test the market is probably in the early autumn after campers have packed their kit away and are thinking about upgrading for next year’s summer holiday.

What advantages do folding caravans and trailer tents have over regular caravans or frame tents?

  • They are easier and more economical to tow
  • They are easier to pitch than an equivalent-size tent
  • They have ready-made beds raised off the ground
  • Living space in folding campers is off the floor
  • There is a lot of on-board storage which means you can keep your camping gear in the unit at all times
  • They are easier to store at home than a caravan. Many trailer tents can even be adapted to stand on their sides or ends, meaning they take up even less space.

trailer tent

Is there anything else I need to check before I buy?

There are a number of legal considerations before you invest in a trailer tent or folding camper. These include:

Check your car is able to tow the trailer you opt for

Most trailer tents are fairly light, so you should be able to tow one unless you have a particularly small car. You do need to check though. The combined weight of your car and trailer must not exceed the gross train weight of your car.

The maximum weight you can tow should be listed in your car’s handbook, it can also be found on the vehicle identification number (VIN) plate on the car, usually under the bonnet or inside the driver’s door.

A combined weight of up to 85%  of your car’s gross train weight is advised for safe towing.

If you buy a trailer without brakes, it must weigh less than 50% of the kerb weight of your car.

Check what your licence will allow you to tow

The weight and size of trailer you can tow will depend on when you passed your driving test – was it before or after the 1st January 1997? For full details of what you can legally tow, visit the government’s driving licences page.

Read our useful blog with 12 tips on how to safely tow your trailer.

Will I need special insurance to tow a trailer tent or folding caravan?

Third party road risks will be covered by your car insurance policy, so if your trailer strikes another vehicle or person then you will be legally covered.

However, the trailer and its contents will not be covered under your car insurance policy, so it is advisable to take out cover for the trailer itself for accidental damage and theft.

trailer tent

Does Adrian Flux provide cover for trailer tents or folding campers?

We specialise in providing cover for all types of trailer tent or folding camper, and can also provide cover from just £26.50 a year for all of your other camping equipment, including tents, luggage, cooking equipment, furnishings used for camping, personal possessions and bedding and linen. 

Call us on 0800 369 8590 for a quote or book a callback at a time that suits you. Our best deals are always available over the phone.  81.5% of customers in August 2022 were able to get a cheaper quote over the phone, based on information they provided.

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