a look around my camper trailer

Ian & Sue's Marlin Escape




ian & sue's
marlin escape

life before our camper

We had tried a couple of borrowed tents before buying a BigW special that was too tall for Sue to help me set up and coming and going from the tent in the rain was a pain. Then at Sydney's Rosehill Caravan & Camping Show we purchased an OzTrail Tent that was easier to erect. It went with us on a trip to WA. But we only used it for three nights. The BigW tent has recently seen good service when our son-in-law used it on a trip to Queensland when his brother and family visited from Norway.

After many years of saying that shed never sleep in a tent, Sue was getting used to it but we wanted something a little better than just a tent. So after the Western Austalia trip we pretty much decided that we should consider a camper trailer.

acquiring the camper

Despite the encouragement of good friends to buy a caravan, we felt that we didnt want to be hauling something big and heavy around. So at the Dubbo Caravan & Camping Show in 2010 we had a look at a number of different camper trailers. We were impressed by the Marlin Camper Trailer's with the OzTrail tent. The people from Marlin were nice and they were offering them at a pretty good price. Five Star from Belmont NSW, had the same tent on a slightly different trailer so they were well in the running. But the Five Star sales people, both at Dubbo and Belmont, didnt seem very interested in our business.

Anyway, the basic decision was made. We were going to acquire the slightly bigger OzTrail camper from either Marlin or Five Star. We knew what it would cost and had an idea of the cost of the additional stuff we would need for storage, kitchen, etc.

Then fate lent a hand and Sue spotted the tiny classified ad in our local paper on a Saturday morning Marlin Escape Camper Trailer - $4,000. Apart from the fact that she rarely reads the local paper in any detail (it can usually be read in full over a morning cuppa), either of us tend to take much notice of the For Sale classifieds. But there was this little ad for something wed been considering. Better have a look we said and we were off to town for a squiz.

The sellers had bought the camper trailer new about 18 months before and they had used it for twenty nights on a couple of trips. It was the smaller tent model but when we looked at what was included for the price we decided that wed deal with that. So before we headed home that day, wed paid a deposit and arranged to come back with the rest of the cash on the following Monday. Quick as that, we were going to own a camper.

the first set up at home set up for a week at Lane Cover River Tourist Park

camper mods

The original owner was a handy sort of a guy with access to a good workshop whereby he added lots of things to the camper. After I got the camper home I discovered all the things hed done made the $4,000 purchase price seem very good value.

The items added by the previous owner included
- alloy storage box - not waterproof
- alloy stone guards
- twin 35 litre water tanks - linked by a pipe underneath
- proper eye to eye spring hangers as opposed to slipper springs
- Sunraysia wheels
- spare tyre mounted in a carrier underneath the trailer
- auxiliary battery with alloy cover, twin 12 volt outlets and wired Anderson plug for charging
- 4.5kg gas bottle with mounting bracket
- slide out drawer with table incorporated
- slide out heavy weight 10mm plastic sheet to access items stored beside drawer - behind bucket in photo
- folding table on tail gate
- tailgate stay

The side walls for the annex were included with the camper purchase price.

loaded up & ready to roll

The camper ready to roll showing front box, stone guards, water tanks, battery box, gas bottle in holder, spare tyre underneath and Sunraysia wheels.

storage drawer & table arrangement

This is the drawer installed in the camper. There is storage to the right for tent poles, annex walls, tent pegs, ropes, etc. Theres a bucket and broom in there as well. Everything we need to set up camp, cook and eat is in the drawer. The table on the tailgate is great , however the table on the top of the drawer, while a good idea, is not very practical. The drawer takes up too much space in the annex so we usually push it back into the trailer.

The only thing I've added to the camper trailer was a couple of screws on the end of the drawer to hang a four outlet power board on. Ive have set up an arrangement to connect a battery charger to the 12volt battery. This is rather than installing an auxiliary charging circuit in the car.

Ive also acquired a tarp and some tent poles that I use to minimise the impact of the sun on the tent roof. The tarp is stored in the drawer. For travelling we lay our foam floor mats inside plastic bags on the bed and our card table and chairs travel under the cover.

Only other thing I want to do is work out if I can carry an extra spare tyre for the Tiguan on the camper. The Tig only has a space saver spare and Id really like to carry two spares for travel into remote, rough country.

the camper gets plenty of use

In the hands of the extended Hallett family, the camper has had plenty of use. In the 18 months that weve owned it the camper has been used by us and our kids probably four times the amount that the previous owner used it.

Sue and I have had some extended stays in the camper at Lane Cove River Tourist Park, Iluka, Blacksmith's Beach near Swansea and Narrabeen. One of our daughters spent a week in the camper at Huskisson and another daughter, her husband and two kids use it regularly for weekends at Burrendong Dam.

Weve yet to try quick overnight stops but hope to perfect that process on our planned trip to Lake Mungo, the Flinders Ranges and other parts of South Australia in May 2013.

Because we bought the camper for such a good price, we intend hanging on to it for many years. Even if we decide to upgrade, our first little camper will be tucked away in its shed ready for the kids and friends to use whenever its needed.

Thanks to Ian & Sue Hallett


January 2013