Guide to 2022 trailer tents and folding campers
The Editor of Camping magazine, Iain Duff, explains all the benefits.
- An introduction to trailer tents and folding campers
- What is a trailer tent?
- What is a folding camper?
- What am I allowed to tow?
- What can my car tow?
- The latest 2022 trailer tents and folding campers
- About our magazine
An introduction to trailer tents and folding campers
Trailer tents and folding campers provide a comfortable option for campers who want a bit more luxury than a typical camping tent but aren’t quite ready to buy a caravan or motorhome.
They are the ideal option if you want to combine the freedom of a tent with the comfort and convenience of a caravan or campervan.
Trailer tents and folding campers are still about living under canvas, even if it’s right at the top of the comfort and price scale.
But both offer significant advantages over normal tents, in terms of comfort and convenience.
What is a trailer tent?
A trailer tent is a unit where the roof and all of the walls are made out of canvas or another type of heavy-duty fabric.
The fabric and structure of the tent are all contained within the trailer and are folded out and pegged out in much the same way as an old-style frame tent.
Inside, trailer tents have off-the-ground beds with mattresses that usually fold out from the trailer and can be used as a seating area during the day.
In larger units you’ll find further inner tents in the awning for more sleeping space and some trailer tents allow you to increase the sleeping accommodation by fitting under-bed compartments.
The living area is usually in an integral awning, which offers plenty of space for tables and chairs and other camping furniture. Some models have their own built-in groundsheets, while others are open to the ground.
Higher-spec trailer tents have their own kitchen units, but with more basic models you’ll have to bring your own camping stove and other gear.
What is a folding camper?
Packed away in their trailers, trailer tents and folding campers look almost identical, but a simple way to tell the difference is that if it looks like a tent when it is pitched then it is a trailer tent and if it looks more like a caravan with a canvas top, then it’s a folding camper.
Folding campers are lighter and easier to tow than caravans, which means you don’t have to invest in a new car to pull your mobile home. Storage at home is also easier, with folding campers able to be fitted into many garages.
They are built on a trailer unit that looks like the bottom half of a caravan. In storage and when it’s being towed, a heavy-duty tarpaulin covers the inner workings of the camper and on site the bedroom units fold out at each end and overhang the front and rear of the base.
Many modern folding campers have hydraulic struts that make opening it out much easier, while the self-inflating Opus Air can be put up at the touch of a button.
Inside you’ll find what looks like a compact caravan, with a cooker, sink, fridge and sometimes even a toilet. Most campers have bench seats with a table at one end that can be converted to a double bed.
Some folding campers are as luxurious as a caravan inside, the only difference being that they have fabric walls and roof. With the addition of an optional awning the living area can be vastly increased.
What am I allowed to tow?
A trailer tent or folding camper can be a great option for family holidays but If you've never towed a trailer before, you might be a bit wary.
There are a few things you need to know before you get started, but don't worry!
Since late 2021, all drivers are allowed to tow trailers with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of up to 3,500kg without the need to take a car and trailer driving test.
If you've never towed before, we would advise you take a starter course to get to grips with the basics, especially when it comes to reversing.
What can my car tow?
Check your car’s manual and consult the section dealing with payload capacities and towing.
Some car manufacturers expressly state that their small cars aren’t designed for towing and to do so would invalidate the warranty.
If this is the case, it’s inadvisable to tow anything, but the majority of cars should be capable of towing a trailer tent of up to 750kg.
As a rule of thumb, as long as when fully laden, your trailer weighs no more than 85% of the car’s kerbweight, you should be able to tow it safely.
The other important factor is your towcar’s noseweight limit, which should also be listed in the payload and towing section of its manual. The noseweight limit stated by the manufacturer should not be exceeded.
The latest 2022 trailer tents and folding campers
Iain Duff looks at a selection of trailer tents and folding campers that are available to buy in 2022.
#1 Camp-let North
(Photo courtesy of Isabella)
323 x 160 x 95cm (closed) 575 x 400 x 230cm (open)
Trailer tents are all about finding your freedom and being able to spontaneously head off in search of exciting adventures. New for 2022, the Camp-let North brings together the best features of two previous models and is the perfect choice when you want to explore in first class.
The Camp-let North’s integrated poles mean you can quickly put the tent up and take it down with a few basic steps.
The spacious lounge area and ventilated sleeping cabins with room provide holiday accommodation for the whole family. And if you decide to stay in one location for a while, you can easily extend with a sun canopy and annexe.
This is a long-term investment, too. With its canvas made with Isacryl material, Camp-let North is easy to clean and the material should keep its colour for years.
#2 Raclet Solena
(Photo courtesy of Raclet)
220 x 145 x 96cm (closed) 420 x 290 x 210cm (open)
The lightweight Raclet Solena trailer tent is a “quick erect” style tent with a solid floor area, with no pegging needed for the main sleeping/living area. The hard floor is a secure top for the trailer when packed away. The jockey wheel and spare wheel come as standard. And there are other options available, including awning, sun canopy, annexe, side storage brackets and bike rack fittings.Visit the website
#3 Comanche Montana Explorer
(Photo courtesy of Comanche)
250 x 166 x 102cm (closed) 351 x 242 x 237.5cm (open)
The Montana Explorer lives up to its name – and it provides you with endless options for your exploring.
It’s the ideal companion for weekend getaways, touring adventures or longer-term holidays. And with the large array of accessories on offer, including an awning, chest box and cycle rack, you can tailor the four-berth tent to your needs.
This is camping convenience at its comfortable best. The canvas is 100% waterproof TenCate cotton fabric.
Setting up the Montana Explorer folding camper couldn’t be easier. The trailer folds open easily and the main canvas structure and cotton interior rooms pop up. Simply push the poles into position and fold the beds out and you’re ready to go. The standard version of the Explorer has two cosy beds, featuring high-density foam mattresses that rest on a folding slatted base for extra comfort.
Under the mattresses you have lots of space to store all your camping kit – including furniture, utensils and luggage.Visit the website
#4 Off Road Air Opus
(Photo courtesy of Opus)
540 x 215 x 140cm (closed) 650 x 215 x 295cm (open)
This version of the hugely popular Air Opus folding camper simply screams out the word “adventure”.
It has all-terrain wheels, spring suspension and higher ground clearance, compared to conventional folding campers, making it designed to cope with rough roads. The fabric is 350g polycotton and the frame has a single inflation point – inflation takes just 90 seconds with the flick of a switch.
A pull-out kitchen is an optional extra; a sink and two-burner hob to slide out from under the chassis.Visit the website
#5 Trigano Odyssée
(Photo courtesy of Trigano)
216 x 152 x 119cm (closed) 460 x 400 x 240cm (open)
The Odyssée is a trailer tent designed for adventure and discovery. It’s compact, lightweight and easily manoeuvrable, but still provides plenty of room and comfort for your family camping holidays.
The “pram design” makes it quick and easy to pitch, so is ideal for touring. You can be fully set up in just 20 minutes, meaning you have more time to relax and enjoy your holiday.
The Odyssée’s awning is attached to the rear and unfolds at the same time as the bedrooms. Pitching is easy… first, lift the bed over then unfold the canvas. Connect the main key pole, then lift over the awning and push out the two main awning poles.
The two double beds come with slatted bases and mattresses with quilted covers, designed to give you more comfort. The beds cleverly elevate to reveal a roomy storage area below.
Large PVC windows on the front and numerous mesh flyscreen vents make the trailer tent bright and airy throughout the day. And there’s plenty of airflow to keep temperatures down on warm nights.
The Odyssée is available with or without a kitchen unit and it is made from durable high-quality cotton and is treated to prevent the material from decay or the formation of mildew.Visit the website
#6 Cabanon Mercury
(Photo courtesy of Cabanon)
760 x 440 x 220cm (open)
The Cabanon Mercury is a good-size trailer tent, with a spacious living area and an integral sun canopy with built-in wind breakers.
It can sleep up to eight people with the optional under-bed tents. Inside the cabin area there are two double beds which both have a slatted bed base. Headroom inside the cabin is excellent.Visit the website
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