Last November I wrote about the SylvanSport GO Multipurpose Trailer, that is easily converted from a pop-up tent trailer to a utility trailer. Now there are some new products on the market that challenge the unique market position of the GO, promising portability and flexibility.
Coleman takes a direct shot at the GO with their new Switchback multipurpose trailer that combines similar pop-up tent and utility capabilities. The Switchback is built on a traditional steel frame, using a leaf-spring suspension system for the axle. It has a similar unloaded weight as the GO (850lbs vs. 800lbs), that uses an aluminum frame and a torsion suspension. The weight of all that steel is evident in the Switchback’s 500-pound cargo capacity, though, which is 300lbs less than the GO.
Interior wise, the Switchback features two fold-out 78″ x 51″ beds, with a 51″ wide floor in between. In contrast, the GO has two 78″ x 35″ beds, with a 48″ floor, but the interior of the GO can also be configured as one large 78″ x 118″ bed – an attractive option for families.
Another newcomer, the RTV Camper looks similar to Switchback and the GO, but offers many additional amenities like a stove, refrigerator and yes, even a kitchen sink.
Those extras add-up, though, both in weight (2,600lbs) and cost (the base configuration starts at $26,488). Don’t confuse the RTV Camper with other pop-ups, though. It’s made to go wherever you can take it, with a 4-inch steel frame, 18-inches of ground clearance, and big tires for plenty of offroad flotation.
The RTV Camper’s offroad roots also carry through to the tent, which is a real-deal, military DRASH (Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter) shelter – the same kind used by our forces all over the world. This is a serous double-wall tent that is all one-piece construction, so there are no seems to leak, and it’s fully tested at temperatures ranging from -50ºF to 131ºF. You can even operate a heater or air conditioner with the available 3.6KW generator.
This new generation of tent-based campers is the hottest trend going in RV’s right now. In fact, it might be the only shining light in an industry beleaguered by the one-two punch of the recent high fuel prices and the current economic downturn. People are no longer eager to purchase specialty vehicles just for camping use. These new campers are towable by most regular vehicles and they are small enough to fit inside your garage. At least after a yard sale, or two.