Newb whose about to embark on this whole trailer thing


What's up, new guy here, found the site as I am bidding on a few M101 trailers on Govplanet. I really want something that can make family camping in the summer, and hunting trips in the fall, more comfortable. Use will mainly be in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Montana.
A few questions I have so far.. What price point would you say a "decent" M101 a2 or a3 should be? I lost out on the last auction I was bidding, at the last minute, and found out the trailer sold for $650. It was nice, with no visible rust from the photos, had the canvas and bows. However, I am seeing a few pop up on Craigslist for 2 times that.

How much weight can you shed by going with a civilian axle/brakes? Is it really "necessary", or is the military surge brakes and axle adequeate?

Why the roof top tents? Seems like everyone is running them, but I am a bit concerned with winds, especially in Wyoming and Nebraska, where I have seen winds roll travel trailers over, and level every tent in a camp ground. For that reason, I own a big 8 man Alaska Guide tent from Cabelas, which is pretty much bomb proof as far as wind goes. I was also thinking of getting a 12x14 wall tent, maybe getting Davis tent or someone similar, to make a custom wall that would allow the tent to pitched and the end "joined" to a wall tent. My idea or theme is "modular". Meaning, I would like the option to use the trailer to sleep just me comfortably. Have a lighter family tent for summer camping (which we already have), and a more rugged, heavy duty tent for fall/winter hunting camp. Again though, what are the main reasons guys are running RTT's on all these trailers? Are there distinct advantages that I might be overlooking?

Personally I'm planning on a Roof Top Tent for a few reasons. To be off the ground, where we are, there is a lot of rock and we are planning on primarily back country camping. I work 45 kms from town approximately 27 miles, and just between here and there my wife and I have scouted at least a half dozen excellent camp sites on old logging trails, oil exploration roads, etc. This area is trees, rock, hills, and some lowlands. The rock averages from 3/4" gravel to soccer ball sized. Finding enough dirt covering that rock close enough to the trails usually involves in among the trees.
Bears. In that same area I know there is a mother black bear with twin cubs, a 3 year old male black, 2 male grizzlies, and a mother grizzly with twin cubs. Fully planning a food smart camp, I simply prefer to not be sleeping nose level. Even if we sleep only on top of the trailer, we'll still be above snuffling along the walls. Bears are curious and smart, I'd rather not give them any temptation. I lived in Jasper National Park for 11.5 years, in that amount of time I heard of way too many non friendly tourist encounters. Of course most of those situations could have been avoided with common sense.
Weather, we live in a town that has a higher elevation then the lower chalet at Marmot Basin Ski Hill, AB. Weather can come in fast, and overnight you can't see it coming. In the summer I have extended days off when the weather is too wet. Just last summer I only worked 8 days in June and only 16-20 in August. If I'm in a RTT I can set up camp in the wet, fast. Odds are, if I have extended time off for camping, rain will be involved. Once your bed is wet, camping sucks.
I've looked long and hard at the outfitter tents, but in this area finding an area large enough, level enough, and dry enough always involves rocks. If I was camping with my full size truck and a small trailer I'd just take a stack of lumber with me and build a raised floor large enough for the tent. My truck won't go where my Jeep will, and I know I will have 4 legged visitors.

Mark Harley

Expedition Leader
I paid $500.00 for my M101A2 several years back.
They have become more popular and have increased in price
A nice A2 with side rails bows and a cover will be close to $800.00 Plus.
The Surge brakes are fine and work well and the original axle is stout.
I had a non working surge lunette on mine and took it off It weighed around 75 pounds.
The axle is heavy but I kept mine for the matching 8 x 6.5 bolt pattern.
They are heavy trailers but can be lightened some. 1350 is what mine weighed from the start.
After add on it is around 1100 pounds.

Keep us posted on your build.
There are many older and newer M101A1,2,3 builds on Expo.




My pros and cons for a RTT vs a ground tent:

Quick(er) setup
Doesn't matter what the ground is like
Fewer critters and bugs
Better view of surroundings
More space in a smaller footprint (especially if you have an annex)
Fairly bombproof

Still need to air it out when wet
Not exactly space efficient

In addition to my RTT I have a large Kodiak Canvas tent with screen room, Coleman 10-man cabin tent, and a Eureka 3XTE dome tent. They all have their time and place, but my Tepui Auntana really does take the cake for convenience when offroad camping. The weather is going to do what it does without regard for the gear you have. 50mph winds blowing heavy rain sideways is going to be a rough time in 95% of the ground tents on the market. Most RTTs can handle it, but you will definitely know you're in the middle of a late summer supercell or monsoon. I've used my RTT in 20-30* sleet and snow as well as scorching 90* summer weather and the overall experience with it was wonderful. It can be a pain in the rear to put away when it is frozen stiff, but that's going to happen to any tent. I just ran my buddy heater for an hour and it was good to go until I got home.


For me the greatest advantage of a RTT is the comfort sleeping. Am not a fan of air mattresses because I always felt like I was sleeping on a beach ball. I have used sleeping mats when backpacking and military style cots when tailgate camping, but nothing was as comfortable as that first night I spent in my RTT. A couple of down comfortors, some big, fluffy pillows and it was almost as good as sleeping in my own bed.

Because my tent is mounted on a trailer and only about 4ft off the ground, there isn't enough room for an annex. I usually bring my REI 6 man tent for gear storage/changing room when camping in a group and is especially useful during inclement weather. This past Memorial Day weekend we were in the mountains of southern Utah and it rained most of the time. All my friends had problems with water and mud in their ground tents while we were high and dry.

I agree a canvas wall tent is almost bombproof and are great for multi-day trips, but they tend to be heavy, take up a lot of space when packed and require some time to set up/take down.


OK, an update and some time to rant a little... I won an auction for an 87 M010a2 located in Arkansas. I am in Colorado. No biggie, I thought, I dont mind driving a long ways, I won the auction for $450. Well, I get in touch with the Govplanet guy, and he says he can only be there to release the trailer on thursdays or fridays. First friday, I took the day off from work earlier in the week, got everything prepped, and call the guy to confirm before I start driving. No-go he says, he cant make it down there. The following weekend is Fourth of July, so the base is closed that friday. I had all this week off, sold Red Rocks tickets I had for this friday nite, and start the drive. I tried all week to confirm with the Govplanet guy, he was waiting to hear back from his supervisor. Well, just about to the Kansas border today, he calls and again, No-go, they cant have anyone there to meet me to release the trailer!! Now, I have to take another day or two off of work and try and schedule this again. God, this is frustrating. Note to self, if I ever buy something at government auction again, make sure its closer to home....
It sounds like they got one or two Govplanet guys that cover several states, so coordinating pickup from a long ways away must get tricky. . Anyone else had problems coordinating pickup ?


I just paid a little more for mine and bought it locally from someone who already jumped through the hoops. Sorry to hear about the run around your getting. It will be great when you get it though. The military surplus stuff is a lot of bang for the buck and fun to play with too! Good luck and keep us posted!