Which camper-trailer is right for you: forward-fold or rear-fold?
As with the choice between a soft- or hard-floor camper, whether it is rear- or forward-fold is not really a deal-breaker in the grand scheme of things. Your selection is really not going to impact tremendously on your life of camping either way; it’s more a matter of personal preference and what suits your planned usage of the camper.
So, should you choose a rear-fold or forward-fold camper? Read on.
In the grand tradition of stating the bleeding obivous, a rear-fold camper unfolds to the rear of the camper-trailer’s body.
The roof of the camper-trailer is firstly unlatched, released, and then raised via a winch, similar to how a winder handle is used to raise a pop-top camper’s roof, and then the roof unfolds and extends to form a tent-style set-up, with the camper-trailer’s roof flipping to become the camper’s hard floor when fully set up.
Check out our brief set-up video to better understand this winch-based process.
It’s a pretty easy process and most of the hard work is done by the camper itself – weight and gravity help it to unfold and drop, in a controlled fashion, into place. Then all you need to do is extend and lock the floor’s support legs in position – as well as the main camper body's support – and make sure everything is securely clipped.
In general terms, a rear-fold camper, with only a bed inside, has more interior storage, for example under the bed, but no furniture, so users are forced to spend more time outside of it than in it, except when sleeping – which is fine because that’s why you’re camping in the first place: to get outdoors.
These campers work via a winch as well but they unfold to the front of the camper-trailer rather than to the rear. Actually, some use two winches – one to engage the camper and one to return it to its travel position.
The main bed generally unfolds up off what becomes a rather comfortable dining/living area (which can also be converted into a bed) and ends up, when fully established, positioned over the forward storage area and draw bar.
While they are quite simple to set up and pack up, forward-fold campers do, however, lack storage space – except for under the seats and clever hidey-holes on some models – and what they do have can be quite difficult to access.