Solving Problems with Camper Trailer & Pop Up Camper Latches

Most camper trailers and pop up campers use several conventional over centre latches with a variety of applications including;

  1. To secure the pop up roof to the trailer.
  2. Securing the spare wheel to the trailer.
  3. Securing canter lever cargo / dinghy rack.
  4. Securing solar panels.

The general operating principal of an over centre latch is that as the latch handle is pulled down the latch reaches an over centre position, where the latch is locked in place. The latch cannot be released unless a certain amount of force is used to pull the handle and get over the over centre position.

Unfortunately, many owners of camper trailers and pop up camper vans are discovering that the over centre latches are not as secure as they thought (they can and do accidently decouple from the catch or hook) with sometimes devastating consequences.  This problem is solved by our Snap-Flat over centre latch.

The Snap-Flat latch is a heavy duty, stainless steel over centre latch. The Snap-Flat latch’s ‘FAIL-SAFE’ feature ensures the camper trailer latch will not accidently de-couple from the catch / hook, even if the latch has not been secured into the over centre position. This is achieved through the inclusion of 2 springs to the latch that deliver constant tension to the latch arm and hence prevent it ‘de-coupling’.

Below are some of the common problems we have observed with conventional over centre latches (non sprung) deployed on camper trailer and pop up camper vans which can now be eliminated by installing the Snap-Flat latch instead.

Camper Trailer Pop Up Roofs

Over Centre latches are often used to secure a camper’s pop up roof panel with the trailer’s base. When on rough terrain or roads the latches can ‘de-couple’ because of excessive movement between the panels.

Photo showing Snap-Flat latches securing 2 panels on Camper Trailer
Snap-Flat latches ensures the pop up panel remains secured to the trailer in the roughest terrain.

Cargo & Dinghy Canter Lever Racks

Over Centre latches can be used to secure canter lever racks for additional cargo or a small dinghy. In the example below the latches are installed upside down which increases the likely hood of a conventional over centre latch accidently decoupling when travelling on rough terrain.

Clearly this could result in the loss or damage of valuable equipment / cargo or worst still could result in a catastrophic accident with another motorist.

Photo showing Snap-Flat latches on Southern Cross camping trailer
Snap-Flat latches secure canter levered rack to the trailer – even in the upside down orientation

Solar Panels

Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular on camper trailers and camper vans. Over Centre latches are also a popular method for securing the solar panels to the camper trailer as they enable to panels to be easily removed and securely stored away from potential thieves. This can be particularly important if you are parking your camper trailer at the front of your house where it can be easily accessed by the public.

The failure of your over centre latch could result in the loss or damage of your solar panels or a tragic accident as was the case when this caravan user loss his solar panels in Tasmania in 2019. The flying solar panels were believed to be the cause of a multiple vehicle accident resulting in the death of three people.

Spare Wheels

In some camper trailer models, over centre latches are sometimes used to secure a spare wheel to the camper trailer. Excessive flex between the rear panel and the ‘drop-down’ spare wheel arm mounted on the rear of the camper can cause the traditional over centre latches to ‘de-couple’ from the catch plate when on rough road conditions.

Example application of Snap-Flat latch, fitted on a Lazy Lizard camping trailer, where the fail safe feature resolves a problem caused by traditional over centre latches

Additional Features & Benefits of the Snap-Flat Latch

The 2 spring fitted to the Snap-FlatTM  Over Centre Latch also ensure that when the latch is dis-engaged or released from the catch / hook, that the latch and handle ‘Snap’ back into a secure FLAT POSITION. This prevents the latch from flapping around and protruding from the camper trailer.

The Snap-Flat latch’s design and use of 304 stainless steel ensures strength, long-term durability and prevents corrosion of the latch in harsh Australian environments. The latch has a rated breaking strain in excess of 1 tonne, so is suitable for heavy-duty applications.

The brochure below contains further details concerning the Snap-Flat latch (model SFM8 304), including detailed measurements.


Purchasing the Snap-Flat Latch

You can purchase the Snap-Flat latch online, here:

or you can buy from our resellers.

If you have any additional queries please feel free to call us on 0414 646 321 or email your queries here.


Other Snap-Flat Latch Applications

For other Snap-Flat latch applications see the following:

Pop Top Caravan Roof Clamps / Pop Top Latches

Trailer & Ute Trays