In July 2018 we took receipt of our Swan Outback Camper Trailer – the ‘Well Oiled Wagon’. We’d previously had a soft floor camper trailer, which we brought brand new in 2016 and due to its complex and timely set up, we were done. Also, my husband thought he wanted to go off road – one motorbike trip away showed him that we’ll never be going off road, not full on ‘off-road’ anyway.
When we were researching what to buy originally, we were tossing up between the soft floor camper and the Swan Outback. Yes there is a big price difference, but I had the feeling that we’d end up with a caravan style camper anyway so we might as well dive right in.
The Swan can’t go off road. Corrugated yes, but not full on off road so that was the main differentiator. We were also concerned about space. The soft floor camper had oodles of space, I loved it but we were box central!!
Set up or pack up with the soft floor camper took around 2 hours. That includes beds made, fridges out, annex up – everything put in its spot. If it was a hot day – man it was sweaty work!
I also felt like we were packing up our home, throwing everything into boxes and then we couldn’t find a bloody thing when we got where we were going…that was never frustrating ha ha
When the Swan arrived I was nervous, there are lots of moving parts and it was something new to learn. I had learnt that I needed to be an active participant in the organising and set up/pack down otherwise it was frustration city, and I was keen to avoid that.
I haven’t told you about our first camper trailer experience…we borrowed one off a friend to ‘try it out’. Chris was mad keen to camp and had been buying things for ages, so we borrowed the camper trailer and headed to the coast with friends. We were late leaving our home, there was a problem with the lights on the trailer. We have a Landrover Discovery, European made – opposite wiring to Australia, so they wouldn’t work. We then had to get petrol and met friends on the road.
We were taking a ‘back road’ which would be quicker – I was up for that. The trip to Cooma was fine and the initial part of the ‘back dirt road’ was picturesque and relaxing. Then the ‘fun’ started. The electric brakes locked up – the wiring issue again. Teddy vomited for the first time. I was still going with the flow at this point.
The 2 hours trip took 5 hours, we arrived at our destination in the dark – setting up a camper trailer for the first time. Admittedly everyone at the park was amazing and helped Chris – I was done. Teddy had 5 vomits on the way, he’d eventually passed out just as we arrived at the camp site, I was worried that he wouldn’t sleep but thankfully he did. On the trip we’d had an issue with an unexpected rise and fall in the road, which meant the wiring connection between the car and trailer broke and we were worried about damage to both vehicles – thankfully that didn’t happen but for me it was the last straw and representative of the trip.
That trip broke me and we didn’t buy the camper trailer for another 12 months. It’s still a sore point with me, I’ll laugh sarcastically, even roll my eyes and on reflection it was up to me to take responsibility – I get that. So why get another one, because Chris was keen, Teddy was older and I would be engaged in the process – including making rules about where we go and how we do it. I refuse to go on that dirt road, someone suggested we do it this year – enough said.
Being on the road for over 2 weeks now the Swan has been a dream. We’re set up in 25 minutes – yep 25 minutes! Everything has a place and the only think I would improve on is ‘less is more’. I always wear the same clothes – so why do I pack a denim skirt thinking ‘I might’ wear it – LOL shorts have been just fine.
Chris made some improvements before we went with sky rails and shelving – which has been awesome and really helped for quick access to things. These will be particularly good on longer trips. We can use one of the sky rail bags as an over night bag. We stopped at a friends place for 1 night and instead of opening up the camper trailer I’d pre-packed the bag – too easy.
I’ve loved eating ‘clean’. I prepped food before we left and we had our first 3 nights of dinner with us, so the biggest decision was do we eat at the camp kitchen or in our camper trailer! I also had snacks – fruit and vege, bliss balls and keto cookies. I could re-fresh these each day and we had them in the car which meant healthy snacking.
One of the biggest things for me is making sure we either tidy as we go or do a tidy up at night. Whilst the Swan is small, its actually really big. We have 4 sitting areas – 2 x beds, lounge and table. Teddy can be playing in 1 areas, whilst Chris and I are sitting or lounging in another. The big windows make it feel really open and spacious – they’re one of the reasons we loved it.
I’m truly looking forward to going around Australia in it. The open road. Stopping where we want to, staying as long as we want. Exploring our beautiful country and watching us all grow through the experience.