Soft floor campers: The pros and cons

By: Michael Borg, Photography by: Matt Fehlberg

There’s room for all (and sundries) in a soft floor tent.

Soft floor campers: The pros and cons
You can’t beat a soft floor for accessible storage at camp

You can’t beat a soft floor for accessible storage at camp. We worked this out when all the extra camping and photography gear found its way into the soft floor’s tub. Even with the cupboard space offered in a hybrid camper, for sheer storage versatility, the soft floor wins hands down!

If you’re fully loaded, the weight sits nice and low for maximum stability on the tracks.


Setting up a soft floor tent can be a challenge. To begin with, most command a fair chunk of land, especially side-folds, so you need to consider where the canvas will fall on arrival.

The campground needs to be prepared for the tent which takes time in the bush. It took us a few minutes just to clear away rocks. Next up, level ground is a dead-set must as the tent skews on rough surfaces, sometimes to the point where a corner won’t touch the ground. And if the canvas stretches too much, good luck closing the screen door flap! There’s lots of canvas to manage and pegs to plant, often making it a long, labour-intensive setup.

The increased internal living space is the payoff, which with practice, gets easier especially when everyone lends a hand! Although, it’s still not ideal if changing campsites every second afternoon!


The soft floor’s internal living space is unparalleled. Tent sizes vary between manufacturers, but options are usually extensive. Some models even incorporate a king-size bed! The trailer-tub mounted mattresses are high, with access via a ladder or stairs. Getting down can be hard, especially in side-fold types with ladders which may require crawling over your sleeping partner.

For families, there’s heaps of room to roll out a mattress on the floor for the kids and, if it rains, you’ll count your lucky stars there’s enough room for the whole clan, too!


Some people forget about daily campsite maintenance. A few days on the tracks showed the soft floor attracted dirt. As the tent floor is at ground level dirt and sand is easily walked or blown in and, once inside, sweeping it over wrinkles in the canvas (and the entrance’s 3in canvas flap) is a chore. Then there’s the issue of cleaning mud, grass and condensation from the tent’s underside. Routine and a few rules keep it manageable but, make no mistake, there’s more involved with a soft floor, and if you don’t at least sweep the floor before packing it up, it’ll funnel straight into your bed!



  • Offers flexible storage that’s easily accessed inside and outside
  • Generally weighs less with weight distributed low
  • Provides plenty of room for kids and guests
  • Provides plenty of room for kids and guests


  • The bed is high and usually in an east-west layout, impairing access when cohabitating
  • Setting up can be time consuming
  • Campsite preparation is often required, especially at a bush camp
  • Requires maintenance to keep clean



20-30 MINUTES  






Part-time weekend warrior: "We needed to justify the initial purchase".

What made you choose a soft floor camper trailer?

We knew we wouldn’t be able to get out and use the camper every weekend, so we needed to be able to justify the initial purchase price versus how often we thought we’d be able to use it.

What don’t you like about soft floor campers?

A lot of canvas is exposed to the elements. Although the tent’s kept us dry in all sorts of conditions, we’ve had to pack it up wet and set it up again to air and clean it once we’ve arrived home.

Any advice for people looking to purchase a soft floor camper trailer?

A tough, well-built trailer made from Aussie steel was high on my priority list. Look for solid strip welds not tacks, and check that rubber grommets are used where the wiring passes through steel.

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