Tell me about small tent trailers

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
I wonder if there's a spray that can be applied to the tent trailer's fabric to enhance its water resistance. Something that would work like Rain-X (for windshields). There probably is something like that, and when applied, would likely help the fabric bead and not absorb water.
That all depends on the fabric.

It will still need to dry though, even if it's 100% waterproof it can mold like crazy.
 

Grassland

Well-known member
Pros:
Decent aerodynamics. Low height helps against the wind at highway speeds.
Spacious interior. You don't feel cramped inside compared to an enclosed trail of the same box size.
Ventilation. Open up all the windows and left a breeze flow through.
Two beds. And the beds aren't the table. Depending how many people you sleep, you don't need to take down the main table every day.
3 way fridge. Having a 1.9 cu ft fridge than can run on propane saves a lot of ice on a two week road trip.


Cons. They are built like complete garbage. One of my past pop ups literally had some 1x2s with one staple holding a pair together and that held up the bench seat.
You will have to go through and drill holes and then screw a lot of cabinetry and seating etc together so it holds up. Plus tighten what few screws are already there. I honestly could go on for a while how poor they are built. You really need to go over every square inch of caulking outside because one unnoticed water leak will mess these turds up. Particle board and OSB love water, they are great sponges. And these things are built floor up, so if you have floor damage, good luck fully repairing anything.

Fixed equipment. Some stuff in the newer campers are fixed in place. Our unit has an inside/outside stove that's a heap of junk, and that's great because I took it out. Newer models of the ESP I was looking at have a built in grille inside, and u pay extra for an outside grille. These appliances are generally not very good. My Coleman two burner stove outperforms the grille that came with my pop up, as an example.
Cost.
I was quoted over 21k for a Rockwood ESP locally. I had to look hundreds of kms away in eastern Ontario to see 17k
Places in the USA were retailing them for 12k which is more inline with how poorly they are built, but I'd say 8-9k is reasonable.

You'd probably be better off finding a like new used unit with the layout you like and doing an axle lift and larger tires.
 

eatSleepWoof

Explorer
Pros:
Decent aerodynamics. Low height helps against the wind at highway speeds.
Spacious interior. You don't feel cramped inside compared to an enclosed trail of the same box size.
Ventilation. Open up all the windows and left a breeze flow through.
Two beds. And the beds aren't the table. Depending how many people you sleep, you don't need to take down the main table every day.
3 way fridge. Having a 1.9 cu ft fridge than can run on propane saves a lot of ice on a two week road trip.


Cons. They are built like complete garbage. One of my past pop ups literally had some 1x2s with one staple holding a pair together and that held up the bench seat.
You will have to go through and drill holes and then screw a lot of cabinetry and seating etc together so it holds up. Plus tighten what few screws are already there. I honestly could go on for a while how poor they are built. You really need to go over every square inch of caulking outside because one unnoticed water leak will mess these turds up. Particle board and OSB love water, they are great sponges. And these things are built floor up, so if you have floor damage, good luck fully repairing anything.

Fixed equipment. Some stuff in the newer campers are fixed in place. Our unit has an inside/outside stove that's a heap of junk, and that's great because I took it out. Newer models of the ESP I was looking at have a built in grille inside, and u pay extra for an outside grille. These appliances are generally not very good. My Coleman two burner stove outperforms the grille that came with my pop up, as an example.
Cost.
I was quoted over 21k for a Rockwood ESP locally. I had to look hundreds of kms away in eastern Ontario to see 17k
Places in the USA were retailing them for 12k which is more inline with how poorly they are built, but I'd say 8-9k is reasonable.

You'd probably be better off finding a like new used unit with the layout you like and doing an axle lift and larger tires.
Good info, thank you.

Yes, totally expecting to have to fix a lot of the issues that'll come with it. The unit I'm looking at is listed for $13.5k new, so it seems like good value. Portable stove that I'd never use (I've got a partner steel), and some other interior fixtures which I'd probably remove to save weight. One of the things I like about this unit is that it doesn't have "too much" junk for me to have to maintain/fix.

I'd re-seal the entire thing, possibly line-x any wood that ever gets exposed, fluid film the undercarriage, etc. Basically do everything possible to prevent water ingress... anywhere.

https://aliner.com/ for the win

Easy to lift and upsize tires if needed.

Back in the day we had a popup trailer and carried 3' bridging ladders for the trailer. This would get us to some awesome spots.
Oh I'd love one. But the only dealer that stocks them (also 6hrs away from me) has prices starting at $22k for the most basic Scout model. That's a lot of money for what you get. Titanium 12 models are $25k. I've been scouring classifieds and there are literally zero used options on the west coast of Canada :(. Importing from the US is not an option given the current exchange rate & pandemic closures.

BTW, I got your jack adapter (bought through 'mud) the other day - it's a beauty!
 

LandCruiserPhil

Expedition Leader
Good info, thank you.

Yes, totally expecting to have to fix a lot of the issues that'll come with it. The unit I'm looking at is listed for $13.5k new, so it seems like good value. Portable stove that I'd never use (I've got a partner steel), and some other interior fixtures which I'd probably remove to save weight. One of the things I like about this unit is that it doesn't have "too much" junk for me to have to maintain/fix.

I'd re-seal the entire thing, possibly line-x any wood that ever gets exposed, fluid film the undercarriage, etc. Basically do everything possible to prevent water ingress... anywhere.



Oh I'd love one. But the only dealer that stocks them (also 6hrs away from me) has prices starting at $22k for the most basic Scout model. That's a lot of money for what you get. Titanium 12 models are $25k. I've been scouring classifieds and there are literally zero used options on the west coast of Canada :(. Importing from the US is not an option given the current exchange rate & pandemic closures.

BTW, I got your jack adapter (bought through 'mud) the other day - it's a beauty!
Sorry I missed you were in CDN

Hopefully, your JA is used to loan to a friend. Thanks for the support.:cool:
 

jadmt

Well-known member
Tent trailers suck, bears love them tho and so do other two legged predators lol. We looked at the rockwood 1640 esp and its flagstaff twin and disappointing quality. Popupportal.com is a tent trailer forum with some good info. We ended up with a ranger 12 Off road when we were looking we found some canada prices were really good but That was before all this crap that is going on. None of these mass produced trailers are Going to hold up even on forest service roads.
 

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ukrboy

Observer
We had a tent trailer.
It did take me at least an hour to 1 1/2 hrs to set up. Remember, you can’t really store anything inside of it. So you have to pack/unpack every time.
They are spacious inside though. But even with the furnace going - it was still not that warm inside. Wife was constantly cold.
We switched to a roof top tent. And we love
It. Much quicker setup for me.


 

jeepers29

Active member
We used to have a rock wood pop up. I could set it up in about 45 minutes, busting my butt. As far as quality goes, there name should be rock bottom. I seriously doubt anything they make will last very long being taken offroad. I know ours was constantly having pieces fall off just going down the highway.
 

CampStewart

Observer
I just skimmed the thread so I may have missed mention mention of quicksilver brand. All aluminum construction, built very similar to boat construction. I owned a 10.0 for a few years but was too big for my needs. They were bought out by Thor who destroyed the brand and they are no longer being made. They fold out with a soft top more like a tent than conventional pop ups. Before quicksilver Cox Cadet was built along the same lines and was very well made. Get rid of the furniture to an empty box and you have a good amount of storage. Both of these brands could be lifted for larger tires. Google will turn up a lot more useful information. FWIW in my experience the discussion about putting these away wet is a bit overblown it has been a non issue for me in the midwest. Setup is much quicker than traditional pop ups
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Major downside is you have to make sure the fabric/canvas is 100% dry before packing it up.

Might me a big deal out west, but in the south east it destroys them quickly.
Seems like anything fabric will have the same concern. I've never worried about packing tents up wet, which is inevitable, but storing them wet. You have to leave it open for a while the next time you see the sun. Which seems like an advantage to a tent trailer in that you don't have to drive it to work on Monday. I've sometimes had to have my WilderNest open in the work parking lot to dry. OTOH that means you have to find a place to store it where you can leave it open like that. Not to mention having a place to store it, period. Another thing about a trailer is you can leave it and go 'wheeling, which is a major downside to using the truck itself as basecamp.
 
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eatSleepWoof

Explorer
True. And also true of ALL camping trailers and RVs. It is an industry built of sticks, staples and OSB. And the really well built welded aluminum or steel framed offroad trailers are insanely expensive. Who would have thunk one could pay $30K-$40 for a tear drop?
That's how I see it, too.

The trailer I really want starts at $33k CAD. By the time it's optioned out and taxes are paid, I'm looking at $40k CAD.

Conversely, this crappy-quality tent trailer is about $14.2k all said and done. For that price difference I think I can deal with the quality issues and fix/improve just about everything.
 

billiebob

My Uncle drove a government issued Jeep in Europe
I wonder if there's a spray that can be applied to the tent trailer's fabric to enhance its water resistance. Something that would work like Rain-X (for windshields). There probably is something like that, and when applied, would likely help the fabric bead and not absorb water.
There was for canvas tents, but I'm pretty sure the new fabrics don't need it.
 
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