Camper trailer review – Ripstop fabric

by AMCTG on August 27, 2012

Camper trailer review - Ripstop fabric problems

“Approx 10 months ago, we purchased an ‘XXXXX’ camper trailer which we were led to believe was Australian Made. The company claims “XXXXX designs and manufactures quality off-road camper trailers. We have been involved in manufacture for nearly 8 years, specialising in custom builds. You can be assured that your 4 X 4 camper trailer is of high quality and designed for tough Australian conditions”.

We did suspect that they were using the cheap Chinese ‘ripstop’ fabric instead of genuine Australian canvas but due to the price difference, decided that we would go for the cheapie anyway and if we only got 3-4 years use out of it, we could always replace the top with an Australian Made one down the track.

We realize now that we didn’t even ‘get what we paid for’! After only 10 months of minimal use, the tent on our off road camper has literally fallen apart – 17 patches in the roof, roof support bows snapped off and speared through the ‘canvas’, stitching disintegrating, leaks everywhere…. and no warranty back up! Aside from the canvas issues, we have spent over $1600 fixing up the camper trailer and getting it to some sort of Off Road standard.

Instead of buying a ‘bargain’, we now realise we have flushed good money down the toilet! After such a disappointment, we could be forgiven for giving up on camping altogether but we do really love it and decided to take our disastrous Chinese top to the tip & order a genuine Australian Made tent made from Australian Made 15 ounce Dynaproofed Canvas from Customline, made to order to suit the height of our off road trailer & with all the features we wanted. Obviously, this is what we should have done in the first place – hind sight is a wonderful thing!”

Paul & Janelle, Birkdale QLD

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Mel Chambers October 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm

This is not the first horror story I have heard about these cheap Chinese imports or cheap Chinese canvas. My husband did lots of research and we went and looked at lots of different trailers before we too settled on a Customline built trailer and tent. Our camper is now just over 18 months old and we couldn’t be happier with it. We got caught in a fairly rough storm at Rainbow Beach when it was new and we never got any water inside. We love it!


Russ Edmondstone January 27, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Hi Mel we have also been looking around for a camper trailer and have decided to custom build one also.Is it possible that you could recommend who built your trailer .Thanking You Russ Edmondstone


John May 17, 2013 at 9:16 am

What a waste you claim XXXXX camper trailer to be rubbish and yet you won’t mention who XXXXX is. Don’t be shy. We want to know so others can avoid the trouble you had with this company


Brett July 24, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I’m sure they’d love to John but either can’t for legal reasons or the website blanks it out. Either way it sounds like the safest way to aviod the crap is to ensure the trailer and tent are genuine Aussie made and there are plenty around that make good ones you just have to sift through the chinese crap to find them! Do what I did and go to one of the camping shows where there are heaps of different companies all together, the quality of the aussie ones stand out glaringly next to the chinese ones.


Miriam Mace October 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm

We did a lot of research as well.. we nearly went with Market Direct Campers – but they were rude to us on 2 occasions, so we shopped around – and when we found out they were using cheap china tents etc… and a whole lot more bad stuff (like most of their incoming calls are complaints…!) we headed on over to Customline as well. Our tent is AMAZING.
We built the trailer ourselves and Customline was nothing short of amazing.
We spent a lot more than we originally bargained on for the tent – but we don’t regret it for one minute!
There are a lot of loopholes …. that Market Direct Claim to be Australian Made… there was one almighty loophole to jump through to get that claim….but its false. Im just glad we had someone (3 people actually) all point us away from this disaster that could have been.
At least with Customlime we could see them stitching the canvas right there in the factory! 🙂
Oh – im not sure if the XXXX is the website or not, but i have listed who XXXX is in my situation – so if there are lots of XXXXX’s… its the website not me! 🙂


Linda and Chris June 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Hi there,
Just want to confirm that as the original owners and operators of Bayside Camper Trailer Hire and Sales from Redland Bay Queensland that we have been manufacturing and designing only Australian Made Camper Trailers since 1998. We build our own trailers and use only quality Dynaproof 15 and 12 oz Canvas on all our camper trailers. We are also members of the Australian Made Guild for which we have been audited and have to prove that we use 95% Australian products on our campers.


Trevor February 6, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Have recently attended Caravan & Camping Show at Newcastle and am looking at a couple of camper trailers in the under $10,000 category. Both claim to be Australian made, but how can you tell if the canvas they use is imported cheaper Chinese product?


Ryan April 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Buyers need to be aware that some Australian camper trailer manufacturers could also be using imported canvas to make their camper tops here in Australia. By them making it here they still get away with being “AUSTRALIAN MADE”.

You need to ask the manufacturer to tell you what Australian brand of canvas they use. There are only three canvas manufacturers in Australia, and they are:
Wax Converters
If they can’t tell you or don’t know what is used on their trailer walk away…

I am in the textile industry and I can assure you that you do not want to be sleeping with imported canvas due to the harsh chemicals that they use to make it waterproof and rot proof.


Jason March 29, 2015 at 9:14 am

If there are no laws in the book regarding how a caravan is built when it is imported to or exported from, there damn well better be. It’s a matter of life and death for the owner of the caravan and/or his family.


Ian October 14, 2015 at 10:23 pm

Hello all, I want to jump on the bandwagon as well, about 6 months ago I purchased a 7 year old Customline Camper with WCT (Wax Converters) canvas. I could not be happier buying a second hand Aussie made over a cheap Chinese import, my trailer is basic but very well made and the canvas passes all standards, could not recommend them enough.


Steve August 2, 2016 at 6:44 pm

About 8 months ago we decided to upgrade from a family tent to a camper trailer. We were looking second hand, then realised that for a second hand price we could buy new from a number of cheaper suppliers … How tempting!
Then we spoke to some friends of ours who had come back from a two year round Australia camper trailer holiday with their three children. When I mentioned was looking for a camper, my friend insisted I get a Cameron Canvas camper trailer because they use only Australian canvas. Initially I was uncertain because of the cost difference, but after I’d looked at the canvas on a Cameron camper and the canvas on a couple of cheaper brands I couldn’t get an imported canvas. You can instantly fell the difference in quality. Originally I happy to go with a cheaper canvas figuring if I replaced it in 5 years I’d still be ahead financially, however my friend commented “assuming the cheap canvas actually is waterproof when you buy it”. Good point – if you’re considering a cheap imported canvas, you’re making the assumption that it will work, just for a shorter time, which it may not.
In the end we bought a second hand Cameron Canvas camper trailer and couldn’t be happier with it. The build quality is fantastic and we’re looking at it laying at least another 20 years. But Australian, buy quality and you won’t regret it.


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