Australia's climate is as unforgiving to the camper trailer owner as it is to everyone else, and while keeping your trailer cool in the summer months can be a struggle, keeping it warm in winter can be equally difficult. Naturally, this is even more challenging for those with large camper trailers and/or awning extensions, as exponentially more heating power is required to keep spacious interiors warm.
Luckily, the camper trailer accessory market offers a wide array of different heating options for the varying needs of campers. From small, tabletop electric fan heaters to diesel-powered furnaces, there are heating options available for even the largest camper trailers.
Electric convection heaters
These heaters bear a passing resemblance to standard home radiators, and generate heat with internal heating elements powered by a standard campsite electrical hookup. These heaters are generally inexpensive, and surprisingly powerful, able to heat large trailers and awnings effectively and evenly. Most models come with an adjustable thermostat, but other than this most convection heaters contain very few moving parts - this makes them very reliable, and able to withstand a fair amount of punishment on the road.
The main downside of the convection heater's simple design is that, without a fan, it cannot heat large spaces very quickly. The hot air escaping from the vertically aligned vents does create some air movement, but this is sometimes not enough in trailers or awnings with high ceilings. You can achieve better results in large spaces with multiple convection heaters, but bear in mind that this will eat into your wattage allowance at most campsites.
Electric fan heaters
Essentially these heaters are convection heaters with a fan attached, to blow hot air across a wider area and heat spaces more quickly. These units are compact and generally not significantly more expensive than convection heaters, but much quicker when it comes to heating large spaces. High-end fan heaters can be among the most powerful heating solutions on the market.
Unfortunately, the addition of a fan also leaves the internal workings of the heater significantly more vulnerable, and a fan heater won't take nearly as much of a beating as a convection heater. They are also less safe, as the open vents of the fan can take in debris and become a potential fire hazard. The best solution to this problem is to only use them while the trailer is occupied and supervised, but this leads you to the other big downside of fan heaters - the intrusive noise they generate.
Diesel heaters aren't seem too often these days, but there's a lot to be said for them when it comes to heating the largest trailers and awnings. Diesel heaters use surprisingly small amounts of diesel fuel to generate heat, and in some models electrical power, and are capable of holding back the chill of even the harshest winter. Because they use so little fuel, they are remarkably cheap to run, a particular boon on campsites that don't charge a flat rate for electrical hookup usage. As for the heat they generate, it is powerful, rapidly generated and quickly distributed.
However, there is a price to pay for this convenience - metaphorically and literally. Diesel furnaces are among the most expensive options out there, with high end models costing well over a thousand dollars, and it will take a while to recoup this cost with the savings you make. They are compact, but can be heavy and difficult to lug around. They do also generate small amounts of noise and pollution, making them a poor (and unpopular) choice for crowded campsites.