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Problems with Imported Campers – AMCTG

Unfortunately, a number of imported camper trailers claim “100% Australian designed and built”, “Proudly Australian owned” or “Australian made and owned”, so it is not easy for the customer to determine the country of origin.
All Australian made tents have a “care for canvas” label provided by the Australian canvas manufacturer sewn into the tent. Buying from a Guild member with this logo, is a guarantee of Australian manufacture.

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Australian Canvas is the best in the world

Australian Canvas is the best in the world

Australian Canvas is the best in the world – and yes, Canvas is still made in Australia.

Wax Converters Textiles is the leading canvas manufacturer and is based in the Hunter Valley of NSW. They produce their canvas using the DYNAPROOFED process.

Made for Australia Conditions

Dynaproofed Australian Canvas The Dynaproofed range of canvas fabrics are tried and proven with many customers still having camper trailer and caravan tents performing well for over 20 years. This is due to only the highest quality ingredients being used for manufacturing with UV Stabilisers, Colour Pigment, rot proofing agents, mildew inhibitors, acrylic binders and water proofing waxes all scientifically and carefully selected. With Australia being the harshest outdoor environment in the world – other canvas manufacturers based in Europe, America and/or Asia do not require such high standards for their canvas to perform in their local markets. This means that their fabrics are not really suitable for the Australian climate.

Dynaproofed Canvas is produced to achieve 2 performance properties:
1. Keeping the rain out during storms, and
2. Allowing airflow inside the tent in hot and tropical environments. Thus, no condensation inside the tent.

The 2 aspects are not readily achievable and have come about with technically superior weaving constructions and production processes that WCT has developed over decades of canvas manufacturing.


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Warnings: Trailer Ball Weight, Breaking Chassis, Canvas


Warning on Trailer Ball Weight

There is ample evidence that the ball weight on imported forward fold campers often far exceeds the maximum allowed of the towing vehicle and therefore is illegal to tow and voids insurance in the event of an accident.

Specifications on these campers neglect to state the ball weight and sales people often under state the ball weight.
The design of forward fold campers locates the axle near the rear of the trailer and with tool and fridge boxes, jerry can holders and gas bottle holders on the drawbar making the ball weight excessive particularly when loaded.

Reports from a number of very unhappy customers is that the actual ball weight when loaded is more than 250kg thus exceeding the allowed ball weight of the towing vehicle And refusing to refund the purchase price.

Warning on Breaking Chassis

Reports of suspension and chassis failures on imported campers are increasing.
This is not unexpected as experience from many former users of Chinese steel is that it can be brittle and fails under vibrations caused by outback conditions particularly corrugations. Australian steel is equal or better to the best in the World.

Investment in a Guild members product may cost more but consider it an investment for reliability, peace of mind and resale value.

Warning on Canvas

The most important component of a camping trailer is the tent because if it leaks can ruin a holiday.
Tests carried out on a number of samples of Chinese can as by the CSIRO and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology show that the canvas is far short of Australian Standards.


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Camper Trailer Buying Guide – Tips and Hints

Q. What is the most important component in a camper trailer?
A. The canvas tent.

Q. Why?
A. If it leaks or has condensation or mildew problems a holiday can be ruined and the camper is not fit for the purpose.

Q. How do I know if the canvas is fit for the purpose?
A. It should comply to the Australian standard for canvas AS 2001.2.18.1987 which is also the military standard.

Q. How do I know if the canvas meets this standard?
A. Australian canvas manufactured by Wax Converters, Bradmil and Defab meets this standard.

Q. Does imported Chinese canvas meet this standard?
A. Tests by the RMIT carried out on the canvas of three-leading importers of Chinese campers show each is very similar and falls far short of the Australian standard.

Q. What are the main tests for waterproofness?
A. The cone test. Results, Australian canvas leaks less than 1 ml. Chinese canvas leaked in the RMIT tests an average of 54ml.

Q. Is there another waterproofness test?
A. The hydrostatic head test.
A. Australian canvas averaged 53 KPA
Chinese canvas averaged 6 KPA

Q. Is imported 14 Oz ripstop canvas really 14 oz?
A. CSIRO tests carried out on typical Chinese canvas claimed to be 14 oz averaged only 11 to 11.2 oz.

Q. How do I know if the canvas is Australian?
A. Read the labels sewn into the tent.

Q. Does the canvas appearance indicate quality?
A. No. The performance properties are invisible. Only prescribed tests will give the answer. e.g. UV stability.

After studying the test results of imported Chinese canvas RMIT textile department have issued a report that the three samples of imported Chinese canvas supplied do not comply with the Australian standard AS 2001.2.18.1987

Based on these results expert opinion is that Australian canvas is far superior to the imported canvas of three leading Camper Trailer importers and based on these results the Chinese canvas is not fit for the purpose for camper trailer tents.

Conclusion – A purchaser can have complete confidence in purchasing a camper from a Guild member knowing that the canvas is Australian made and conforms to the Australian standard.