Author Topic: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?  (Read 1052 times)

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Offline tryagain

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Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« on: July 21, 2020, 10:22:52 AM »
So when COVID-19 hit, I was thinking the used market for campers would take a dive due to people being forced to sell for economic reasons, what I didn't think about was that with international travel being off the agenda in the near term, a greater number of people would be looking to holiday locally and so far more than taking up any extra supply, this seems to have lent itself to somewhat of a boom in the caravan/camper industry. This coupled with people being forced into lockdown and into the more simple things in life, like going for a walk with the family, kids riding their bikes etc and many people enjoying that aspect of it, seems to have disproportionally benefited the soft floor segment of the used market. I often keep an eye on the used market and what things are selling for, and have noticed soft floors going for comparatively reasonable prices (previously people had to almost give them away due to supply and demand).

I have bought a few bits and pieces recently from people (hoarders/with auction fever) who bought lots at the MDC auctions and have had them advertised for a long time with no takers, since the restrictions have lifted here they have said stuff is flying out the door (there were other people arriving when I was there)

Then I see an unashamedly plain soft floor has taken out the under 25k camper trailer of the year, yes I take these results with a grain of salt, but that I still found it surprising.

So I wonder if they are experiencing somewhat of a postmodern resurgence, wherein the industries rush to the latest and greatest has led some people to realise that they miss the simplicity that has been left behind. I am not expecting a massive resurgence, where lots of manufacturers reintroduce soft floors, but I suspect the days of huge price disparity on the used market between soft floor campers and other days might be a thing of the past. Only time will tell though, whats your thoughts?   

Offline SimpleSi

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2020, 11:21:38 AM »
Have been contemplating selling mine, but can't fund a replacement.
The soft floor really is a great versatile option.  It's perfect for what most camping families need - One week at the beach.
I have an Aus made Camel, and have taken it across the country twice.  200ah batteries, 60L fridge,  3-5 days water supply, queen size bed, can fit 3 teenage boys on the ground with all our bags, store 5 days worth of food, and several cartons of beer, all in light package.  Mine is perhaps 1.5T fully loaded, drag it anywhere.
Would be great to see a resurgence....
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Offline Beachman

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2020, 12:35:21 PM »
One of my mates is looking to buy a 2nd hand camper around Brisbane and made a comment about how many campers with 3 letter names are up for sale. I originally thought he was looking in the new section by mistake so I also jumped online.

I was also shocked as there are pages and pages of them and just goes to show how many people were enticed by a cheap trailer. But some of them are still expecting really good money  ???

Offline chester ver2.0

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2020, 01:36:54 PM »
I personally think soft floors will make a big comeback. The hard floor camper market has now gone over the top and with some hard floors hitting the 60k mark. People are now going 1 of 2 ways

1. No way in hell i am paying that much so why bother
2. I am virtually in caravan territory so i may as well join the bikki dippers club and go full luxury.

I think in the current climate a back to basics quality soft floor (think Jonnos basic offroader) with a price range of 20k will sell like hotcakes
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Offline tryagain

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2020, 03:14:29 PM »
Recently read someone lamenting that increase in used 4WD prices at the cheap end of the market recently, someone else commented that there could be an element of people withdrawing from their Super do to the COVID arrangements and adding to the demand side of the equation, I hadn't previously hadn't considered this but could also be a similar thing at play with campers as well.

Offline sparksy

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2020, 09:56:03 PM »
Not a camper, but I sold my 1990 poptop van this week for probably $3k more than what I would have expected pre covid.

Offline Agent009

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2020, 09:52:46 AM »
I appreciate soft floor campers, but no way would I ever want to go back to one. There's also no way that the best camper under 25K is a soft floor (Marlin Escape Deluxe)...those reviews aren't worth a grain of salt anymore, it's all about lining their wallets and I haven't heard them say a single negative thing about anything they have reviewed. Not saying the Marlin is bad, I'm sure it's great...but for 25K you can get a lot better.

For me, it's all about Forward Folds....love the design! Quick to setup, spacious, still feels like camping, outdoor living, club lounge, big bed, sleeps 6 (if you go Slide variant)...absolutely brilliant. I don't like caravans (just not the same camping feel) and those hybrids are ridiculously over priced, too heavy, too stuffy inside and I wouldn't want an ensuite in such a small space.

I added reverse cycle aircon to my FF for a bit of luxury and that will keep me happy for years and years to come. But as I said, I do appreciate the soft floor campers and if they are making a comeback, that's great to see!!!!!!!!!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 10:29:44 AM by Agent009 »

Offline tryagain

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2020, 11:38:22 AM »
I appreciate soft floor campers, but no way would I ever want to go back to one. There's also no way that the best camper under 25K is a soft floor (Marlin Escape Deluxe)...those reviews aren't worth a grain of salt anymore, it's all about lining their wallets and I haven't heard them say a single negative thing about anything they have reviewed. Not saying the Marlin is bad, I'm sure it's great...but for 25K you can get a lot better.

For me, it's all about Forward Folds....love the design! Quick to setup, spacious, still feels like camping, outdoor living, club lounge, big bed, sleeps 6 (if you go Slide variant)...absolutely brilliant. I don't like caravans (just not the same camping feel) and those hybrids are ridiculously over priced, too heavy, too stuffy inside and I wouldn't want an ensuite in such a small space.

I added reverse cycle aircon to my FF for a bit of luxury and that will keep me happy for years and years to come. But as I said, I do appreciate the soft floor campers and if they are making a comeback, that's great to see!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, the competitions are basically a marketing exercise from what I can tell, they do take into account value/price too so being half of what most of the forward folds are would have helped it, with the FF to it looks like most of them roll off the same production line with only a few tweaks differentiating them so hard to pick a winner from them too I guess.

Forward folds I think are the pic if you are just a couple, one or two kids and they lose some of their advantages, 3 or more and I think the storage you gain (coupled with losing space in the TUG) starts to even them out, they're not for touring, but most families seem to like to set up a base and head out from that for day trips. All comes down to what you are using it for, with 4 kids, it's a soft floor that suits us best, yes you can get FF that now sleeps up to 6, but I don't see them offering many advantages over the soft floor (other than everyone being off of the ground) at a significantly increased price.

Offline Agent009

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2020, 01:10:36 PM »
BIG difference in the quality of FF's from China when comparing them to each other. Yes there is a $hitload you could group in the same bucket, but there is definitely some that are well and truly better than the rest (chalk and cheese). If there wasn't, people wouldn't fork out 43K for a Bluewater Lachlan from China. I paid 34K for my Wild Boar and the quality was night and day (I upgraded from Jayco Swan to Black Series Dominator to Wild Boar Tuff Grunt) between them and most of the competition. HUGE upgrade over my Black Series Dominator!! I actually preferred it over the 50K Aussie Cub.

Yep spot on with the competition....it's definitely a marketing exercise which is a shame, I guess that's the way the world is these days.

We have 3 kids and that's the main reason we chose FF Slide Variant....they are amazing for families and sleeps 6 with ease (which nothing else in the "hard floor/hybrid/caravan" price range comes close to doing). Plenty of folks tour in them, but I do agree that if driving every single day, there is probably a better option. My next upgrade will be something like a Mountain Trail 18ft hybrid but at six figures I have plenty of saving to do :)

I do heavily disagree on FF 6 berth not having many advantages vs Soft Floor....there is sooooo many more advantages with FF but I'd literally run out of fingers and toes to list them all! ;)

Anyway, as I said, I'm glad there is a soft floor comeback as too many people think glamping = camping these days. One of the reasons why I like Patriot Campers, they are sticking to their roots....but I couldn't justify the price difference over my FF and the wife liked the FF much better anyway.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 01:38:10 PM by Agent009 »

Offline hawks667

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2020, 05:28:17 PM »
I look at it this way, my soft floor owes me well under $10k and makes a fantastic home away from home. For trips where we stay in the same spot for a week or so, its fantastic. But if we were doing a lap or similar, i reckon i would get sick & tired of the set up.

We can get the set up done in around half an hour now, that's including the annex. We leave the canvas attached & those RAAWcon Awning connection conversion kits are worth their weight in gold.

What i love about it is the space, both when set up and the the storage space it has. Gone are the days of having the 4wd loaded right up, apart from the Fridge & pillows, everything is pretty much in the camper.

We even take a portable Air Con when its hot. Makes those stinking hot nights bearable. Just need to ensure the Honda gennie doesn't annoy people..  :angel: 

But their is a good chance i will upgrade when things return to normal (hopefully)

Might even go a Caravan...  ;D



     
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Offline Agent009

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2020, 06:48:33 PM »
Well said hawks! And yep I love the Raawcon connectors too!

I went a proper $4000 truma aircon system in my Forward Fold and it felt like I was kind of cheating on camping...but we do a lot of summer camping in qld and worth its weight in gold. I think 34k for our camper was a bargain compared to other things out there...very happy with the price.

I'll go the caravan route when I turn 60 (as long as it has outdoor kitchen/fridge which I would never be without)...25 years to go :)

Offline Rowlie

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2020, 08:39:05 AM »
I'll go the caravan route when I turn 60 (as long as it has outdoor kitchen/fridge which I would never be without)...25 years to go :)

.....and ohhhhhh how quick those years will pass. Ask any 60 yo on here. We were your age yesterday.
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Offline tryagain

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2020, 02:48:04 PM »
We have 3 kids and that's the main reason we chose FF Slide Variant....they are amazing for families and sleeps 6 with ease (which nothing else in the "hard floor/hybrid/caravan" price range comes close to doing).

There is now the Swag Raptor X13 Explorer that would probably fit the bill as a hybrid for a big family, but you are jumping up in price again to get there.

I do heavily disagree on FF 6 berth not having many advantages vs Soft Floor....there is sooooo many more advantages with FF but I'd literally run out of fingers and toes to list them all! ;)

That's fine, I wasn't looking to be argumentative, but I am curious as to what you see as some of the other advantages, I just might not have thought of them. In my head, I was comparing similarly specced campers and therefore more comparing the form factor so not sure if that was the same with you.

Offline Agent009

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2020, 09:50:47 PM »
Hey mate...all good! I'm not trying to be argumentative either.

We looked at swag 13x...it was only $7000 more than our FF. Again, we preferred the FF much more. I'm not really a fan of many of the hybrids to be honest...at least not for families. If it was just two of us I'd probably look at one. Even if I had a budget of 70K, Id probably still go FF to be honest.

To answer your question around benefits of FF over soft floor, top 20 off the top of my head:

1. Off the ground...which is worth its weight in gold
2. Sets up on its own footprint...as long as you can drive there, you can camp there
3. No need to unhitch from car, and even on uneven ground, with the D035 you just have to wind the jockey wheel up to level and leave car where it is
4. Queen sized innerspring mattress which stays permanently made up
5. Full size club lounge which is permanently setup
6. Fridge always turned on and ready to go whether at home or on the road
7. Awesome Kitchen with sink with next to no setup time (better than the kitchen in my first house haha)
8. With slide variant, room for 6 people, all off the ground in proper beds with small amount of setup time
9. Set up in well under 10min with a beer in one hand. Add another 10min for awning (raawcon makes awning a breeze)
10. Proper reverse cycle air-conditioning
11. Radio/Bluetooth/usb/cd player with internal and external speakers
12. 12v connections everywhere
13. 240v connections when at powered sites
14. Big water storage (150L on mine)
15. Integrated electric set-up...240v smart charger, dcdc charger, touch controls, water pumps, battery management system, water level gauges etc
16. Led lighting throughout
17. Still has huge annexe (mine 5.6m x 2.7m) which is great if you wanted to sleep an army like a soft floor
18. Boat rack to carry bikes, kayaks, solar panels, gear etc.
19. Storage everywhere...outdoor drawers, outdoor pantry, internal drawers, internal under lounge
20. Hot water to kitchen and shower

Offline tryagain

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2020, 11:57:06 PM »


To answer your question around benefits of FF over soft floor, top 20 off the top of my head:


I think there is about 7 out of the 20 that my softfloor doesn't yet tick, 1,2&5 are the ones that are really the main difference (they don't do the off the ground part of 8 but that's already covered with 1). Not diminishing those points though, they are deal breakers/makers for some.



Offline tryagain

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 12:00:11 AM »
Just saw this vid for the Trackabout, might technically not be a softfloor when set up as shown, but glad to see they are still going and innovating.

https://youtu.be/oKqo9RAvQho

Offline Agent009

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Re: Soft floor campers regaining some of their mojo?
« Reply #16 on: Yesterday at 11:46:26 AM »

I think there is about 7 out of the 20 that my softfloor doesn't yet tick, 1,2&5 are the ones that are really the main difference (they don't do the off the ground part of 8 but that's already covered with 1). Not diminishing those points though, they are deal breakers/makers for some.

Yeah I wasn't sure as there is so many soft floors which vary so much with their inclusions. Sounds like you have a lot of that covered which is good.