Why is the Camper Trailer Company I am interested not a part of the Guild?
All AMCTG members are required to not only qualify for Engineering Compliance by a certified Australian Engineering Company but to also prove they manufacture the chassis, body, suspension, as well as purchase their canvas entirely in Australia.
If the camper trailer company you are considering purchasing from is not a member of the Guild they most likely would not pass the audit.
Why does this matter? Some of the issues found during our Presidents 50+ years in this profession is that when imported flat pack camper trailers are assembled in Australia and are then falsely referred to as “Aussie-made” consumers rightly assume they have undergone the same Australian Design Rules as genuine manufacturers of camper trailers must do, which is obviously not the case. Add to this the poor quality of imported canvas used to make the tents and awnings and you will quickly see why the costs of manufacturing in Australia is much higher – see below for what to be aware of.
Why does Australian made matter for the canvas on a camper trailer?
While camper trailers, at face value look very similar they can be vastly different in not only visual quality but also in what, if any, chemicals are used in the manufacturing process. Australian made canvas does not contain formaldehyde and is made using the highest quality products available to suit Australian conditions, which includes the stitching. In order to reduce overheads, importers use cheaper overseas chemically enhanced canvas that looks fine and feels fine but when it really rains, well the cream of Aussie-made will always rise to the top!
This recent CSIRO analysis of imported 14 ounce “ripstop” canvas is a very worthwhile read:
See the report here
The canvas leaks water when it rains, when you pack up and drive home mildew will form on it – in some cases making it necessary to replace the canvas:
Ripstop Fabric problems
How do I identify if it really is Aussie Canvas on the Camper Trailer?
Aussie-made canvas will have a “Care” label on it that identifies the manufacturer of the canvas. If you can’t locate it on the canvas tent or the care label does not identify the canvas as Australian Made it almost certainly is not.
This Camper Trailer is advertised as “Australian Made” but they are not Guild members – is it really?
Guild members are audited to obtain their certificate – in some cases a manufacturer is not a member because they may not have passed our auditing process but to be 100% certain, ask for a tour of their factory. Sadly, as there is no real policing in the Camper Trailer industry to the practice of importing flat-packed Camper Trailers and simply ‘assembling’ them in a warehouse and referring to them as “Australian Made” it has become quite widespread. It is akin to a furniture company using Ikea products, assembling them and calling the end product “Aussie-Made”! Some “Australian Made” organisations are becoming increasingly lax, and as a result you may find certain logo’s placed on imported camper trailers referring to them as Australian Made. Once again, we highly recommend, if you have any concerns whatsoever, ask for a factory tour and if one can’t be provided, your concerns, either way have been addressed.
Are imported Camper Trailers bad?
Absolutely not – some imported camper trailers are of a higher quality than others and they may simply fit the limited budget of some consumers. What is bad is the practice of importing Camper Trailers, canvas tents etc and referring to them as “Aussie Made” instead of “Proudly Built in the USA, China, South Africa etc.” when the majority are simply assembled in Australia.
What does the AMCTG membership mean in terms of product quality?
All members of the Australian Manufacturer Camper Trailer Guild must qualify for Engineering Compliance by a certified Australian Engineering Company, as well as provide irrefutable proof that they are Australian Manufactures of their Chassis, Body, Suspension and Canvas. This is your guarantee of quality and of high performance with any brand of Camper Trailer that is associated with the AMCTG, which is why we strongly urge you to look for our logo when researching your next purchase.
Are there laws to stop camper trailers that do not pass Australian Standards from being sold?
Unfortunately, those importing Camper Trailers do not have to meet current Australian Standards if the Camper Trailer weighs less than 4.5 tonnes. The industry is referred to as, self-regulating meaning the importer certifies their own trailers. As we see it this is the biggest problem we face in our industry which is one of the main reasons why the AMCTG was formed. This lack of policing simply encourages importers to reduce their specifications and costs until you, the consumer ultimately fall victim to inferior and un-road worthy Camper Trailers. Unfortunately there have been too many incidents for us to report but we strongly suggest you read the following article prior to committing to an imported Camper Trailer: (read about a near miss here).