The Bug Out Trailer or The Camping Trailer

by suburban on June 27, 2011 · 5 comments

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teardrop 300x200 The Bug Out Trailer or The Camping TrailerRecently, I read a post over at Scott William’s, Bug-Out Survival blog called 4×4 Tent Trailers for Hauling Your Stuff Off Road.  Without going into great detail, I have looked at these before with great interest, primarily because I drive an SUV.  There are a couple different manufacturers of “survival trailers.” that would allow you to use them for camping or bugging out.  So, this prompted me to do a little more research. Pricing, availability, etc…

Living in an apartment in northern NJ, you might think I am a little wacky, and honestly I currently have nowhere to park it.  If I were to invest in one of these trailers (I will get into the different brands/models shortly) I would have to find a place to park it.  I would prefer indoors, which means that I would have to find a garage to rent basically indefinitely.

I need to preface, that if I were to look into purchasing one of these units that I certainly would use it for both a Bug Out Vehicle and for the camping experience that it might be able to provide.  This is especially true if I am paying 100+ dollars a month to rent a garage bay near my home so that I have “easy access” to the unit.  From a no debt perspective, another $100 a month adds up.  From a better preparedness perspective, and given that I can store preps in the trailer for both camping and bugging out, and have easy access to it.

The pros to this are that camping and boondocking do not have to always happen at a campground only.  Parking lots, wilderness, and campgrounds can become your home for the night.  In addition, it would not be hard to retrofit these options with a few creature comfort extras assuming they are not already options you can purchase.

Another reason, or so I thought, for looking at a small trailer option for camping and bugging out is cost.  I figured that a trailer like this might fit into my financial budget more effectively, and just give me more flexibility.

There are a few companies to look at if you are looking at if you want to look at any of these trailers.  You will notice the above picture is a teardrop trailer.  There are many manufacturers of teardrop trailers.  Listed below is just one of them.  You should “Google” them and judge for yourself what might be right for you after talking with the companies if interested.

I like the idea of the teardrop trailer, but I like the idea of more open air camping.  They do, however offer more protection from the elements than the below above ground safari tents attached to the trailers.

drs The Bug Out Trailer or The Camping TrailerAs for the trailers, there are a couple different ways you can look at.  Scott’s post 4×4 Tent Trailers for Hauling Your Stuff Off Road does a good job of outlining Overland Trailers.  But there are a couple additional companies you may be interested in looking at:

  • Campa: Camp USA has both a Trailer and an Expedition Vehicle.  Both the trailer and the EV are built for disaster recovery, off road camping, and many of the other adventures you can come up with.  Both vehicles have a myriad of features and options that you can add on if you have the funds.
  • Wells Cargo:  Wells Cargo is a trailer manufacturer that I found online that seems to make a good trailer if all you are looking to do is haul your gear.

The most interesting thing I found, however, was a website by a gentleman named Scott Chaney.  Scott lives in the Pacific Northwest and runs a small company that sell the plans to build your own camping trailer called “The Explorer Box.”  Interestingly, it is a “Tent Topped Camping Trailer™.”  In Scott’s own words from the introduction to his 85 page step by step instruction book, that I purchased recently are:

setup mombasa table HR smal The Bug Out Trailer or The Camping TrailerThe Explorer Box design is strongly influenced by the simplicity of vintage tent trailers.  It’s a rolling camp box, of sorts, with a kitchen/galley area that includes organized storage and counter space on the front and general storage area in the rear.  On top is a mounted tent unit for sleeping which can be used without unloading the trailer.  It is the perfect compliment to a smaller fuel-efficient  vehicle for folks who enjoy camping adventures.

The plans are a step-by-step instruction manual showing yow to build “The Explorer Box.”  I have been looking through the plans and realized quickly three things.  First, I do not have the room to buy the parts and store them until I build the trailer.  Second, I have nowhere to actually build the trailer.  And, third, I know that I would have to spend a LOT of time reviewing the documents prior to building the trailer.  I also realize that it would not be too hard to make a few custom modifications to add a solar panel, battery, 20lb propane tank, water reservoir, etc…

For the record, the drawings are very detailed and augmented with clear black and white images.  The parts list and the tool list are detailed, as well.  The manual is broken into 18 chapters or steps…  Scott certainly took the time to make it as easy as possible for someone to build The Explorer Box.

The plans I purchased for this trailer are $29.99, and were delivered to my home in two or three days tops.  You can get them here.  Scott included a nice note based on our email correspondence prior to my order.  In my price range, based on what I have seen I think this might be the route I am going.  Take a look at the below videos and order the plans, just in case you get ambitious.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Arsenius the Hermit June 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm

My brothers both have trailers for their SUV’s and they can go almost anywhere with them. I never had any luck towing a trailer, so I opted for a long bed truck. The truck, I think , is more reliable and less trouble off road. The SUV and Trailer is WAY more convenient, since you don’t have to haul the trailer unless you need it. Just depends on individual “druthers” I guess.

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suburban June 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm

In hind sight (five years ago) if I had given it more thought a four door pick up truck with a bed and cap might have been the better choice, both for utility and fir the concept of bugging out. To be completely transparent, I have never towed a trailer before, and figure it should not be that bad, however, a 4′ x 4′ trailer will be practically invisible behind the truck, so I am not so sure. I just like the concept of being able to get to it when / if I need to or want to.

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j.r. guerra in s. tx. June 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Pretty cool idea. You have probably seen that ‘redneck’ camper that has a small trailer house box mounted on a low boy trailer, but it actually makes some sense. Gets your floor above grade to minimize dirt and rain intrusion, and gives you an area where you can set up poles at corners for a bug net if you camp in mosquito country. Big disadvantage – not much ground clearance. The above handles it pretty well.

On the cheap, you could probably buy a truck bed trailer already made for $200 or so. Not nearly as classy as the above.

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A Car Top Camper August 6, 2011 at 1:22 am

I built an off-road trailer topped by a 3-person roof top tent and a lightweight 950 lbs capacity sailboat. The entire rig weighs less than 1000 lbs and is low enough to store in an underground parking garage. You can see this on my site http://www.cartopcamper.com. Since I’m by the coast, I carry a hand-operated water desalinator, fishing poles, as well as sleeping bags, rain gear, first aid gear, woodgas cooking stove, rechargeable lanterns, solar charger etc. on board.

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suburban August 6, 2011 at 9:01 am

Thanks… I’ll take a look at it!

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