FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This is the Folding Trailer (Pop-up) FAQ, which is occasionally posted to the rec.outdoors.rv-travel and rec.outdoors.camping USENET newsgroups.
Please send your inputs, suggestions, changes and additions to me (curator) at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Introduction to Folding Trailers (FAQ) Wes Fujii 1/2/2000 Ver. 2.18
I. Table of Contents
Section I. Table of Contents
Section II. Introduction (What is a Folding Trailer?)
Section III. What are Typical Folding Trailer Sizes?
Section IV. What Equipment and Accessories are Typical?
Section V. What Lift Systems are Used?
Section VI. What Axle Systems are Typical?
Section VII. What about Construction?
Section VIII. What do the Terms Hardside and Softside Mean?
Section IX. What about Security in a Folding Trailer?
Section X. What Must I Consider for Towing?
Section XI. What Other Miscellaneous Technical Information is Useful?
Section XII. What Special Care is Required for Fabric Side Walls?
Section XIII. What are Some of the Things to Consider When Shopping for a Used Unit?
Section XIV. What Shall I do to Prepare for the First (maiden voyage) Trip Out?
Section XV. What Information is there on Folding Trailer Brands?
Section XVI. Final Words
A. Folding Trailers, Tent Trailers, Camping Trailers or Pop-ups as they are commonly called are foldable or collapsible camping units which typically attempt to approximate many of the conveniences of a basic Travel Trailer, while being of lower cost and easier tow ability than their full sized counterparts. The usual construction is a rectangular box on a trailer, with a larger, expanding tent which is attached to the box. Most modern models incorporate a rigid roof and lifting system to aid in setup.
B. Advantages of Folding Trailers over
Travel Trailers are mainly in the size departments. Weight and physical
exterior size while being towed are significantly less, extremely
important for those who are using small or low powered tow vehicles.
With the minimal weight and minimal frontal surface area, towing is
excellent for the occasional user. Maneuverability of the smaller
trailers is very good, and in many cases there is full viewing over and
around the trailers while towing. Interior size while set up is
remarkably large, especially compared to the towed size. Folding
Trailers are short and low enough to be stored in a garage so finding
storage space while not in use is easier.
C. Advantages of Folding Trailers over traditional tent camping are obvious. Once you have camped in a tent in inclement weather will show you what advantages there are with being off the ground and in structured shelter.
III. What are Typical Folding Trailer Sizes?
A. Small - Generally 8 foot box length and under. These units are the best for very low powered tow vehicles. Weight of these units typically range from 800-1200 lbs. These are usually basic inside with beds, sink, table, stove and sometimes an ice cooler.
B. Medium - Generally from 8 foot box
length to 10 ft. These units are the best compromise for those who want
more accessories and more storage room while still being of reasonable
weight and price. Weight of these units typically range from 1200-1600
lbs. These units are almost always equipped with everything the smaller
trailers have and in addition often have a porta-potty, heater, water
tanks, closets and storage areas.
C. Large - Generally anything with a box
length over 10 ft. long is considered a large Folding Trailer. These
units are usually for those who desire more interior room and the most
conveniences. Weight of these units ranges from 1600 lbs and up, with
the well equipped large ones over 2000 lbs. Accessories on the large
units are only limited by the creativity of the owner, although ovens,
washers and dryers are typically not among the appliances usually found.
D. Folding trailer lengths reported on
registrations usually indicate the folded length from hitch to rear
bumper. This is usually 3 or 4 ft longer than the box length. Extended
lengths depend on the trailer design and how long the beds are.
E. Typical box widths are around 6 to
6.5 ft. A few models are around 7 ft wide or more. There are also some
that are more narrow than 6 ft, but those are pretty basic. The width
of the trailer can greatly affect the floor plan and spaciousness.
IV. What Equipment and Accessories are Typical?
A. Typical Equipment most commonly found
in Folding Trailers includes sleeping for 5 or more, sink, table, ice
box, stove, some storage and porta-potty. They usually have both a 12
volt lighting system and 110 volt plug-in system. Water can be usually
pumped up from an onboard tank, or more conveniently turned on via
faucet from a hose connected to an exterior water source.
B. Common Accessories include (but are
not limited to) sleeping for 6 to 8, divided sink, inside-outside
table, gas/electric refrigerator, built-in potty, hot water heater,
shower, inside-outside stove or multiple stoves, closet, mirror, roof
vent, forced air heat, additional drapes or blinds, pantry, spice and
magazine racks. Multiple water sources, electric water pumps, 110V to
12V converters are common as are outside awnings, screen rooms and
outside lights. Underneath, spare tire carriers, built-on stabilizers
and built-in water tanks are also common. On top, many can be equipped
with air conditioning, bike and accessory racks. In front, up to 2
propane tanks and 12V deep cycle battery are often seen. Many of the
larger trailers have large front or rear incorporated storage areas.
C. Not-so-common but available items include interior overhead racks/cabinets, double queen sized beds, tandom axles, doors on both sides and side slide-outs.
V. What Lift Systems are Used?
A. Cable system - One common roof lift
system is a cable and pulley system. Cables are pulled via a crank or
hydraulic cylinder which lifts vertical assemblies on each corner of
B. Flexible rod system - Another very
common roof lift system is one which incorporates flexible rods which
push up on the 4 corners of the roof and lift it straight up. These can
also be crank or hydraulic cylinder actuated.
C. Exterior linkage system - This older
style of lift system is one which incorporates mechanical bars and
pivots exterior to the trailer box. This often requires manual pivoting
and lifting in order to raise the roof. This system is probably the
easiest to troubleshoot during a failure, although probably one of the
easiest to damage, too.
D. Other - There are miscellaneous other lift systems that have been used in the past. Some incorporate a rack and pinion and linkage system, while others use gear boxes of sorts. Most of these systems are not used in current model trailers.
VI. What Axle Systems are Typical?
A. Straight Axle - This is a common
trailer type axle which has a fixed member connecting both wheel
spindles. Connection to the trailer frame is usually via leaf springs
on two points per side. Advantages include more even distribution of
the load on the trailer frame and simple parts and repairs.
B. Torsion Axle - This is the other common axle type used. Each wheel spindle is connected to its own torsion bar/axle assembly. This axle type enables fully independent suspension with very little space requirement in a very simple design. Since the load is not as evenly distributed, this axle design requires a little more attention for frame support. The advantages include smoother riding of the trailer and contents.
VII. What About Construction?
A. Typical construction is a wood-frame
box with aluminum skinned exterior. This is supported on a metal
ladder-style frame. Some manufacturers use metal members in the box
construction. Flooring and bed construction is usually a waterproof
plywood or construction board. Tenting material can be of various
fabrics. Cotton, vinyl and acrylic are some of the common materials. If
the tenting material is not mildew resistant (or even if it is, for
that matter), it is extremely important not to store the Folding
Trailer in a closed state with the tenting wet for an extended period
of time. The sealed, often hot conditions are excellent mold and mildew
promoters. Dry rot of the wood in the box and roof construction can
also be adversely affected with enclosed moisture while being stored.
Most Folding Trailers have a hard roof, although there are a few with a
fabric roof. The tenting material is often a very large one-piece sewn
item, although many are built in sections which are zippered together.
Attachment to the rest of the trailer is via Velcro, snaps, clips and
clever tucked-in folds into custom aluminum extrusions.
B. Most Folding Trailers open so they extend over the hitch and out the back with entry from the side. Although some allow being setup while still being attached to the tow vehicle, most have to be unhooked before being set up. There are a few models which open out the sides with entry either over the tongue or out the back. These are not as popular these days, especially when using the typical RV camping site set up for use with a travel trailer.
VIII. What do the Terms Hardside and Softside Mean?
A. A softsided trailer is a trailer that
has only fabric surrounding the living area of the trailer (which, on a
Folding Trailer, means above the box). This is the typical Folding
Trailer description. A hardsided trailer is one which has rigid walls
around the living area. This describes your typical travel trailer.
B. There are a few hybrid pop-up
trailers that are worth noting. These are the hardside or semi-hardside
versions in a Folding Trailer package. These have folding hard sides
(and sometimes ends) which eliminates some, if not all of the tenting.
C. The advantages of hardsides include
somewhat warmer shelter, more protection against wind, support for
items/kids/animals that may lean against a wall, glass windows (which
are optically much better than the flexible ones), easier to clean than
fabric, less movement of the roof because of better mechanical
attachment, less fabric to tear/rot/rip, less likely to "burn" a hole
in the trailer if an interior light is left on while folded and are
somewhat quieter inside.
D. Disadvantages of hardsides include added weight, greatly reduced air circulation, possibly more elaborate assemblies/parts to break, higher overall cost, sometimes taller folded size and sometimes (not always) more complicated setup.
IX. What About Security in a Folding Trailer?
A. There isnít much security in the
typical Folding Trailer. Most of the time, the different sections of
the trailer are held together with zippers, cords, snaps and other
miscellaneous catches. It does not take very much time to enter the
typical Folding Trailer, and one does not usually need to break
anything to do so.
B. Some of the full hardsided Folding
Trailers a minimal level of security, depending on how well the walls
and panels attach to the frame, roof and to each other. If security is
a concern, then you should check into these models instead of the
C. The best security in a less-than-full-sized trailer is something like a folding Travel Trailer, instead of a folding Camping Trailer.
X. What Must I Consider for Towing? (written for newbies)
A. When towing the smallest of Folding
Trailers, often all that is needed is to hook it up and go. With units
1000 lbs and less, most tow vehicles can handle these trailers safely.
Standard recommended safety equipment includes safety chains, marker
lights, turn signals and brake lights.
B. Over 1000 lbs, it really depends on the size of the tow vehicle as to the ease and safety of towing. For trailers 1500 lbs and over, it is recommended (sometimes required by law) to have independent wheel braking on the trailer. Brakes usually come in one of two styles, surge and electric.
1. A surge braking system is one which
hydraulically actuates the brakes as the brake system senses pressure
on the tow ball in the trailer tongue when the trailer decelerates
against the tow vehicle. Advantages include simplicity in attachment to
the tow vehicle and fully automatic braking. Disadvantages include more
complicated adjustments, some amount of "pushing" on the two vehicle
while braking, occasional uneven action when coasting down hills and
inability to actuate the trailer brakes independently.
2. Electric brakes incorporate electromagnets inside the brake drums which actuate the brake shoes, in proportion to the amount of voltage put across the system. For this system, a brake controller must be installed in the tow vehicle and connected to the tow vehicleís braking system. Some systems are connected directly to the tow vehicleís hydraulic brake lines. These systems provide smooth, well controlled stopping but can suffer from leaks or hydraulic mess. Many vehicles with anti lock brake systems will not operate efficiently with the hydraulic type of brake controller. For these users, an electronic brake controller is necessary. These units detect when the brake pedal is pressed and control the trailer braking through the use of pendulums or accelerometers. Advantages of the electric brakes are the simplicity of the braking system and the fact that the trailer brakes can be actuated independently. Disadvantages include the fact that the tow vehicle has to be wired for the electric brakes and that bad wiring can cause a brake system failure.
C. As with all trailers, one should use
safety chains to connect the trailer to the tow vehicle in the event
that the trailer becomes uncoupled or the tow ball comes loose. The
chains used should be strong enough to securely connect the trailer to
the back of the vehicle, and should be crossed so the tongue of the
trailer could possibly fall into the cross if it ever becomes
unattached. If the hooks are installed so they are inverted as they are
passed through the safety hook loops, the hooks are much less likely to
be bounced out in normal use and accidentally become disconnected. The
safety chain slack should be such to allow full movement without
binding, but be off the ground to avoid unnecessary dragging.
D. In addition to trailer brakes and
safety chains, it is common (and often required) to have a system which
automatically actuates the brakes if the trailer ever becomes totally
disconnected from the tow vehicle. This is called an emergency
breakaway braking system.
E. Some tow vehicle-trailer combinations are more susceptible to fishtailing than others. In general, if the wheelbase of the tow vehicle is short or the trailer is a very large one, then you might want to pay special attention to the weight distribution. It is very important to have at least 10%-15% of the total trailer weight to be on the tongue. First, check the manufacturerís rated weights as published. Next, add for things like water (8 lbs. per gallon), propane (20 lbs. for one small tank), battery , etc. Then you can estimate the personal belongings that you may put in. Pay attention to where heavy items are packed, as in packaged foods, canned foods, pots, pans, water and other appliances. These items are best to be packed forward of the axle if at all possible. Lighter, bulky items like clothing, sleeping bags, pillows and plastic ware can be packed in the rear. Trailers with a rear galley and/or rear dinette encourage packing the rear of the trailer heavy, because of the available space and close proximity to where the items may be used. If you have one of these trailers, then beware. If you question your particular setup, you can either weigh your combination at a public scale for a nominal fee, or sometimes get a fairly good feel using a bathroom scale, some boards (for leverage so you donít break your scale) and a calculator. Ask a seasoned RVíer how to do the bathroom scale method and theyíd be happy to help you out.
XI. What Other Miscellaneous Technical Information is Useful?
A. Tires and Wheels - Most Folding
Trailers incorporate small high-speed trailer wheels. Because the
diameter of these tires is so small, their rotational speed is much
higher than that of most other tires. Tire inflation and overall
condition should be checked frequently. Often, with the larger Folding
Trailers, these small tires are operating at near their weight
capacity. Care should be taken not to overload these wheels and axles
when filling water, propane tanks, and storage areas. At least one
manufacturer has tandem axles on their largest test trailer. Other
manufacturers have larger wheels and tires on their larger units.
B. Wheel Bearings - Because the hard use
with the small wheels, care should be taken to service the wheel
bearings on a regular basis. Wheel bearing packing with grease is
usually recommended at least once a season or every 2000 miles if used
C. Lug Nuts - Wheel lug nuts tend to
loosen up on the small trailer wheels quite frequently, so it is
recommended to check wheel lug nut tightness about every 500 miles.
D. Bearing Buddies - Bearing Buddies are
attachments which mount on the ends of the wheel hub where the usual
dust cap resides. They are spring-type devices with a grease fitting on
the outer end. When grease is pumped in, the spring provides constant
pressure on the grease and forces the grease into the wheel bearing
cavity through the outer wheel bearing. The primary application for
Bearing Buddies is in acquatic applications where the axles are
frequently submerged in water. In those cases, the rapid cooling of the
assembly will draw the water into the bearing cavity. By using Bearing
Buddies, the spring-action will force grease into the same location,
thus keeping the water out.
For most trailer axle use, Bearing Buddies ARE NOT RECOMMENDED. By using Bearing Buddies, the grease can fill up the bearing cavity and cause overheating of the bearings. The Bearing Buddies also will not force grease through the inner bearings, either, until the entire bearing cavity is full of grease. At that time, however, the grease will be forced through both the outer and inner bearings, working past the axle seal, and getting onto the drum and brakes, if so equipped. This can cause braking failure. Using Bearing Buddies does not extend the periodic maintenance interval for the axle bearings. If it is necessary to use Bearing Buddies, then the wheel bearings should be regreased at the normal recommended intervals.
XII. What Special Care is requried for Fabric Side Walls?
A. Mold and mildew prevention and treatment-
1. Always ensure that the canvas is
absolutely dry when storing the trailer for long periods of time or in
heat. Moisture that is trapped inside the trailer while it is folded is
a primary cause for undetected mold/mildew/rot damage. Mold and mildew
can easily grow in some fabrics or on dirt on the surface of the
fabrics. Folding trailers with wood-box construction are susceptible to
structural problems if wood-rot is allowed to exist, especially in roof
2. Once mold and mildew is allowed to start, it should be dealt with as soon as possible. The fabric can be lightly brushed to remove any loose mold and mildew on the surface. Then the imbedded mold or mildew should be treated.
a. If the fabric is strong (see
explanation on fabric strength test), then the mold or mildew may be
killed using a chemical solution. Some people have reported that a weak
bleach solution will do the trick. A tent and canvas repair
establishment may recommend a commercial mold and mildew treatment.
b. If the fabric is weak, or the mold and mildew damage is excessive, then chemically treating the fabric may damage it beyond usefulness. In those cases, it is highly recommended to seek professional help from a tent and canvas repair expert.
B. Holes and Tears-
1. Observe the hole or tear and see if
you can identify the source of the damage. Be particularly observant to
check for sharp edges of extrusions, woodwork, springs and clips. If
the source can be located, then maybe it can be remedied by lightly
filing, sanding, padding or removing the offending object.
2. Repairs can be simple to difficult. It mostly depends on the condition of the fabric, damage location and fabric strength.
a. Repairs to strong fabric- Hand
stitching, machine sewing and patching are all common methods of fabric
repair. Your Folding Trailer dealer may even have repair kits available
for your particular trailer color and material. You may choose to
reinforce the area during the repairs, if it is in a high-stress area,
say around a corner or near a structural member.
b. Repairs to weak fabric- Hand stitching and patching are about your only choices of repair. Attempting to sew weak fabric may get you an even larger hole as the thread used during the repairs may pull hard enough to cut through the fabric being repaired. In other words, you may end up with a large hole, shaped exactly the same as the path you made as you sewed on the fabric. There are different styles of patches that can be used. Patches with an adhesive may be available (such as an iron-on patch). If you use an iron-on patch, be sure that your tenting fabric is of a material that will not melt when it is in contact with the iron. If an iron-on patch is something that you would rather not do, you can also use something similar to a latex tent roofing material to "paint" the area, then imbed some fabric into the goo, and "paint" over the top. Once dried, the latex material is the binding material in the repair and the imbedded fabric is the strength and supporting member. Latex paint color may be added to the latex roofing liquid to help color-match the area.
1. Many seams can be re-sewn if the
fabric itself is not torn. For repairs where the fabric is torn next to
the seam, it may be necessary to reinforce the area prior to
re-stitching the seam. It may be necessary to remove the fabric from
the trailer to efficiently conduct the repairs, however.
2. For seams located where water may enter the trailer, it may be necessary to waterproof the area after the repairs are made. Spraying the area with Scotchguard ™ may be sufficient, or carefully painting the seam with a flexible sealant may be required.
D. Fabric strength testing-
1. Testing fabric strength is a
destructive test and should only be conducted if major repairs are
necessary and commercial machine sewing for the repairs is being
considered. The reason for testing fabric strength is to determine if
the fabric is strong enough to withstand the strong thread stitching
involved with commercial sewing machines used for tent repair. If the
fabric is not strong enough for commercial sewing, repairs should be
done by hand and using patches may be recommended for major repairs.
2. To test fabric strength, locate an
area of single thickness which is out of the way, not in a stress area
and representative of the remaining tenting fabric. Fold the fabric
over onto itself and squeeze the fold flat with your fingers. Firmly,
attempt to make a tear in the fold, perpendicular to the fold line
using your fingers in a shearing fashion. If the fabric starts to tear
easily, stop immediately and evaluate your repair options. If the
fabric will not tear using this method, the fabric should be strong
enough to withstand commercial sewing methods.
3. As mentioned earlier, weak fabric may be unsuitable for treatment for mold and mildew. Seek professional advise before treating weak fabric infested with mold or mildew.
E. Sources for moisture inside the Folding Trailer-
1. Camping in wet weather is an obvious
source. Inadequate seals and seams in the exterior box may be
contributors. Check the corners of the box and roof carefully, looking
for areas that may have pulled apart due to vibration and age. Rubber
seals between the roof and box have a tendency to shrink in time, thus
providing leaks at the corners. Ensure that the roof latches draw the
roof down enough to compress the seals, especially in the front.
2. Water leaks from plumbing can lead to
severe damage if not taken care of. Always use a water pressure
regulator, and periodically check for pin-hole leaks around fittings,
fixtures and flexible tubing runs.
3. Be aware of the non-obvious. While parking the trailer in your yard for storage may be convenient, ensure that your automatic sprinklers do not spray and force water onto the trailer. You could be unpleasantly surprised the next time you open the trailer up and find that your sprinklers have been forcing water into the unit for extended periods of time. Consider covering the trailer with a tarp for added protection.
F. Sources for Replacement Canvas
1. First, see if the manufacturer of your trailer is still in business and can get replacement tenting.
2. Check with your local tent repair
shop to see if they work with any specialized tent repair/remanufacture
companies that can order or make what you need.
3. Try this company (not necessarily endorsed but their name and address is being supplied as a courtesy for those that have not found any other sources):
CANVAS REPLACEMENTS BY CAMPER & RECREATION INC. W2299 State Highway 98, Loyal, WI 54446; (800) 232-2079 (715) 255-8142. http://www.canvasreplacements.com Replacement canvas tops. Will manufacture canvas for any folding trailer even without pattern if old canvas is available.
BEAR CREEK CANVAS N7972 Hwy Y Spencer, WI 54479 (800) 701-TENT 715-255-8216 fax. http://www.bearcreekcanvas.com e-mail is email@example.com Replacement canvas tops.
XIII. What are Some of the Things to Consider When Shopping for a Used Unit?
A. The first thing you need to do before
you purchase a used unit is to ask yourself exactly what the purpose of
the unit will be. This seems obvious - camping. But, what you need to
be asking yourself are questions relating to your needs. There are
several major need-related questions that should help you with your
1. What is the size of your long-term
tow vehicle? If your goal is to always use a short, 4-cylinder sedan or
SUV, then a modest, lightweight unit is for you. This is just one
example where your desired trailer may be highly dependant on your tow
vehicle. Other examples are similar - if you will be towing it behind a
full sized crew cab pickup, then you may not need a trailer with
additional storage compartments front or rear. If you will be towing
over a lot of steep hills, you may need a smaller unit. There is
nothing more frustrating than being under powered with traffic stacking
up behind you.
2. Will this trailer likely be a
stepping stone to a nicer unit once you decide if you like this type of
camping or not? In this case, you will be more interested in features
and conveniences to try out. You may be more interested in floor plans,
accessories and how easy it is to set the trailer up.
3. How handy of a repair person are you?
If you can fix anything, then you can get great deals on units that may
have a bug or two that the previous owners donít want to deal with, or
you can keep an old model on the road, even though replacement parts
are not available. On the other hand, if you are all thumbs, then youíd
better stick to a fairly recent unit of a major brand so you will
always have a way to keep it going.
4. How much money can you afford?
Remember, this unit will be with you for more than one trip (hopefully)
and you donít want to get stuck with junk that is not worth having. It
may be better to purchase a smaller unit in good shape than a larger
unit in poor shape. Repairs can really eat up money fast, even if you
are relatively handy. Many items are custom or can be costly, as in
extrusions, tenting, lift mechanisms or plumbing components. Keep that
in mind when pricing.
5. How long of a camping season are you
planning to use the trailer with? There is no substitute for a good
forced air propane heater and a fairly leak free enclosure when the
temperature is cold outside.
6. Will you be taking the trailer on
real back-country trips, that is, will the terrain be rough? For dusty
environments, the gaskets and seals need to be in exceptional working
order if you want to keep the dirt out of the trailer. Also, look
carefully at the ground clearance if it is likely that you will be on
non-paved roads. Some trailers have very low ground clearances. Try and
see what items may get hooked or damaged if they contact the ground.
Some trailers have push-rod guide tubes or mechanisms for the roof
lifting mechanism that hang down rather low below frame level. If one
of those gets damaged, you may have trouble lifting or retracting the
top. Folding steps, spare tire carriers, and stabilizing jacks can also
hang down underneath the trailer frame. Some frames, hitches, plumbing
and propane lines are very low to the ground as well.
7. Are you very image conscious? If you
are, then you should consider a very new unit with modern colors,
modern styling and the conveniences you will be happy with.
8. How quickly do you need it? If you
can stand to wait, then good deals can be had following an RV show, or
in off-season times. It does pay to look around a bit, especially with
a friend that owns a Folding Trailer. Get to know the prices in the
area. Then when you think you are ready, wait and check the
advertisements and trading papers frequently, especially when new
issues come out. Great deals do not last very long and sometimes you
have to look, inspect and purchase - all in one visit. If you miss a
good deal, just be patient and keep trying. You will eventually find
B. Inspecting a used Folding Trailer can
be difficult, especially when first entering the market. Some key areas
should be checked very carefully. Careful inspection here will pay in
the long run-
1. Check the condition on the tenting
material. Is the canvas worn, torn, or otherwise damaged? Is the damage
something that can easily fixed by hand? How much damage is there? Does
the canvas look weak? If so, the entire tenting may be too weak to be
repaired by machine (the repair stitching will pull right through the
weak material) and might have to be replaced. Replacement tenting for
the average older Folding Trailer costs on the order of $900.
2. Check the condition of the windows,
screens and zippers. If it has Velcro, does it still work? These items
get a lot of use, and are there to control ventilation, humidity and
insects. If a component is not in good shape, then it may not be useful
on an outing.
3. Check the condition of the lift
system. Is the action easy and smooth, without alarming pops, squeaks
and clicks? If it has a pushrod system with external guide tubes that
hang down below the frame, check and see if any of them are bent or
damaged. If you canít get the roof up, then you canít use it for
4. Check the box, roof and bed areas for
wood rotting. Look especially on the corners, where seams tend to pull
apart. Pay particular attention to the fit and sealing toward the front
of the unit. When you tow the trailer in the rain, the water will be
forced into the front and you donít want water entering the trailer
there. Repairs on older units can be tedious and time consuming,
especially if major disassembly is required.
5. Look for areas that may have leaks,
either in the roof or in the bed areas. Getting wet in a storm is no
fun, especially considering that you may likely be plugged into 110
volt electrical service while you are camping.
6. Have the sellers hook up the water,
electrical and gas systems. Make sure all of the appliances work and
that there are no leaks. Look for traces of water leaks inside cabinets
where water fittings reside.
7. Check the electrical system as much
as you can. Intermittent electrical connections in old light assemblies
can be a headache to maintain, especially in marker lights and brake
8. Check the condition of the door when
the unit is set up. Does it swing, latch and unlatch freely? Is there a
lock, does it work and is there a key?
9. Is there an integrated step? Does it work?
10. Look for anything that is obviously bent or damaged. Does it support weight or is it in a critical area?
11. Are all poles, supports, stands included?
12. If it has an onboard water tank, can you see it and does it look like something you want to drink out of?
13. Is the frame straight, is the box free from sags and does it sit level?
14. Does it have wheel brakes? Do they work?
15. Do all attached assemblies operate
normally? Check the crank on the tongue and any attached stabilizing
feet or stands for operation.
16. Does it look like it has been
maintained? Ask the seller when the wheel bearings were packed last,
and who did it. The quickness and sureness of their answer ought to
give you a clue as to their attention to maintenance.
17. Look for any obvious damage or
abuse. Steer away from a deal that doesnít look quite right, or if the
sellers donít appear to be honest. It may cost you more in the long run
to correct something, unless it is a screaming deal and you save enough
to take the chance.
18. Keep a list of those things that you
know you will need to repair or replace. Tires, batteries, water system
components, tenting and appliances can all run the total cost of the
unit way up, in addition to taking up time and effort for repairs. You
can easily be much better off purchasing a newer unit which requires no
repairs, than an older unit that does, and your resale value will be
better in case you decide to upgrade.
C. Following are some things which fall
into the miscellaneous or convenience category that may or may not be
of value to all users. This list is by no means exhaustive, but handy
to make note of.
1. Can you open the door and access the
inside of the trailer when the top is down? This is handy for extra
storage while traveling.
2. If you can access the inside when it
is folded, how much of the storage areas, cooler, drawers, etc. can you
get to? Do you have to fully set up the trailer just to pack it for a
trip? Last minute access while folded is convenient, especially if it
is raining while you are preparing to leave. Access to the cooler or
refrigerator while folded is extra nice!
3. When the trailer is folded, is the
door only held closed by the door latch or is it also held closed by
the roof? The roof catch an advantage in that the door can not
accidentally come open while on the road, but can be a disadvantage if
you have to manually lift up a heavy roof to release the door.
4. Can the table be easily used outside?
Is it free-standing or does it always have to attach and be supported
on one end? While freestanding tables are nice to be used outside, they
often restrict foot space when used inside.
5. Does it have an outside stove and if
so, how easy is it to get set up? Does it use the same stove for both
inside and outside?
6. Do you have to tip or invert the sink while folding? If so, where will the water drip and what will get wet when it does?
7. Can you get to the porta potty when it is folded? This is a great advantage when traveling with small kids.
8. Does the roof have a dome or crown to
it? If it does not, you may have to be careful when folding the unit
after a rain storm (lots of water can pool on flat roofs) and there may
be more of a tendency for leaks.
9. Does it have an outside light? Is it
high enough to be useful for lighting the area around the trailer, or
is it only good enough to light the doorway?
10. How easily does it roll? This can be an advantage when manually positioning the trailer at a campsite.
11. Is there a place for an onboard battery, or are you required to use an external battery or 12 volt power source?
12. It is convenient to have the sink
drain to the outside through a hose fitting. There are a few which have
the sink draining into a portable, internal tank instead.
13. If you plan on doing more off-road
camping, choose a unit with ample ground clearance. Some models with
under-frame mounted spare tires have ground clearances on the order of
6 inches. Others have hitch heights that are pretty low.
14. Cabinets, closets and storage areas that tip when stowed may require secondary latches, plus contents will be shuffled around quite a bit. Keep this in mind when packing these areas. Some drawers incorporate integrated lids in those areas.
15. Tall people should consider a unit which has queen sized beds. A few models have double queen sized beds.
16. Dining table orientations vary from
either being along a side, or across one end. The advantages of having
an end-positioned table is that the table area may be somewhat larger
than a side-positioned table and it may allow better space-utilization
in the rest of the trailer. The disadvantage is that one bed area is
cut off while the dining area is being used.
17. How much of the trailer has to be
disassembled when it is folded? Some models need to have more of the
tenting unattached than others, and other models have loose
bars/poles/supports/stabilizers that must be stowed.
18. Storage room is a premium in Folding
Trailers. You might want to consider getting "smart" storage
accessories, like hanging storage bags with lots of compartments. They
keep things organized without cluttering up your unit.
19. Plastic fronts and plastic roofs may
be a consideration if you travel where there are a lot of rocks or
other projectiles. Rocks kicked up off the road and large pine cones
falling from tall trees can dent thin metal-skinned trailers.
20. Tinted windows may be an option that
you will want if you camp where it is hot and sunny most of the time.
Non-tinted windows are better for the cooler climates.
21. Since many portable appliances run
off of 12 volts these days, you may want to install additional 12 volt
receptacles, to power your radio, TV, auxilliary lights and portable
22. Portable 12 volt auxilliary lights are very handy accessories, especially for the queen-sized bed units. Some people even clip them on the horizontal awning poles and use them outside.
XIV. What Shall I do to Prepare for the First Trip Out?
A. Trailer Precheck
1. Set up your Folding Trailer at least
once at home, including the jack stands, awning, screen room and other
attachments. Test everything down to the awning "tent pegs." See if all
of your zippers and velcro works, plus ensure that all of the tenting
fits and seals. If you plan on setting it up by yourself, then donít
have any help on the dry run, either.
2. Check out all of your appliances, and make sure they work.
3. Check for gas leaks.
4. Check out your water system, look for
leaks, drips and other problems. Sanitize it if that is something that
is important to you.
5. If the Folding Trailer is used, then grease the wheel bearings and coupler.
6. Check the condition of the tires and spare.
7. If it has brakes, see if both brakes
work as well. If the trailer is equipped with an emergency breakaway
switch, pull the pin and make sure that works, too. Most Folding
Trailer electric brakes are not strong enough to rapidly stop both tow
vehicle and trailer (with only the trailer brakes on), but you should
feel some resistance with just the trailer brakes on. In a panic stop,
the trailer brakes will be very useful.
8. Check the brake/signal and marker
lights. You may need to get a heavy duty signal flasher if the
additional electrical load makes the tow vehicle directionals flash too
9. Do a dry-run of arranging all of your
boxes/supplies/sleeping/bags/suitcases/dishes/food/etc while you are
still at home. You may add/delete items depending on how much space you
have or donít have in the trailer.
10. Make a list of the special
tools/items that you could possibly need. That could include roof
crank, special lug wrench, hammer (for awning pegs), screwdrivers,
11. Check the operation of the porta-potty or toilet.
12. Set up the dinette and make sure hardware is in good shape.
13. Check the operation of any interior lights.
14. Make sure youíve got the right trailer ball. If it calls for a 2" ball, donít use a 1-7/8" ball.
15. Check the condition of the breakaway safety chain(s).
16. If the trailer is equipped with a cooler, make sure the drain tube is attached, unkinked and unplugged.
17. Charge the RV battery, if equipped.
18. Fill the propane tank, if needed.
B. Miscellaneous things to bring:
1. Heavy duty extension cord (50-100 ft. 12 GA recommended)
2. Water pressure regulator (highly recommended)
3. Water hose
4. Wheel chocks
5. Leveling blocks
6. Gray water hose
7. Gray water bucket
8. Coupler latch pin or lock
11. Keys to the trailer door and coupler lock (important!)
12. 12V hookup cable to the tow vehicle if the trailer does not have its own battery
13. 30A to 15A electrical adapter if your trailer uses one
C. Extras to take:
1. Rope or heavy cord
3. Tools that you may need
4. Butane lighter or matches
5. Fire extinguisher
6. Axe or hatchet
10. Potty Chemicals
11. Ant killer or repellant
12. Trash bags
13. Flashlight or lantern
14. Fresh drinking water
17. Outdoor area rug or artificial turf
18. Portable heater
20. Duct Tape
D. Other recommendations:
1. Start the gas refrigerator the night before you actually need it.
2. When making reservations, make sure
you give them the "open" length of your Folding Trailer if it is a
large one, otherwise, they might book you into a spot that is too
small. Some folks assume that all Folding Trailers are small mini-sized
3. When you set up the trailer, use the
leveling blocks to level the trailer when you park it. The stabilizers
and/or stands should just be used to stabilize the unit, but not to
fully support it if the parking spot is not level. Using the
stabilizers to fully support the trailer may result in non-fitting
doors or other things that donít quite work correctly. Sometimes when
you are parked on gravel or something soft, it will be necessary to
place a board under a stabilizer to keep it on firm footing.
4. Folding Trailers are not as safe as traditional hardsided Travel Trailers in bear country. Bears can easily rip into a Folding Trailer, plus food odors get absorbed into the tenting materials used in the trailer construction. For these reasons, care must be taken when choosing a camping destination. There are other recommended guidelines dealing with care in cooking, storing and handling food relative to bear country. Some campgrounds prohibit the use of Folding Trailers for safety reasons.
XV. What Information is there on Folding Trailers Brands?
A. Folding Trailers by Brand Name:
Apache- One of the few full-around hardsided Folding Trailers. Apache owners are very loyal and dedicated. Problems with the roof-lifting gearboxes rate high on the list of weaknesses.
Source for Apache Trailer parts
Courtesy of Bob Edwards <Error! Reference source not found.>
CAMP TRAILER PARTS CO. 810-664-3080
2287 MILLVILLE ROAD
LAPEER, MI 48446
Bethany-Older brand, seem to hold up over time. Typically lighter weight.
Camplite- Error! Reference source not found.
Bremen, IN 46506 Smaller brand, at least one model sports a side
slide-out dining area, which gives the interior an extremely open
Chalet- Error! Reference source not found.
Chalet RV Inc. 725 First Ave. SE, Albany, OR 97321 541-791-4610
chaletrv.com Line of full-around hardsided Folding Trailers, which have
an A-frame look to them when they are set up. Less interior space than
conventional Folding Trailer, but are exceptionally fast and easy to
Coachmen- Error! Reference source not found.
Middlebury, IN 46540 800-524-3359 Major brand. Average construction
with good features for the money. Flexible pushrod lift system and
torsion spring suspension.
Coleman-(Fleetwood Folding Trailer Division) Error! Reference source not found.
R.D.2 Somerset, PA 15501 814-445-9661 Major brand, many models cover a
wide range of buyers. Excellent construction with mediocre floorplans.
Very loyal owners. Cable lift system and leaf spring suspension.
Semi-hardsided models were offered for two years (1994/5). Larger
models have slide-out dining areas starting in 1998.
Dutchmen- 305 Steury Ave. Goshen, IN
46526 219-534-1224 Fairly new with good features for the price. Minimal
accessories offered, most floorplans are pretty basic. Flexible rod
lift system and torsion spring suspension.
Hi-Lo (actually considered a Travel
Trailer)- 145 Elm St. Butler, OH 44822-0427 419-883-3000 True
collapsible hard sided trailer. Upper half telescopes vertically over
lower half. Several different sizes offered.
Jayco- Error! Reference source not found.
PO Box 460 Middlebury, IN 46540 219-825-5861 800-825-2926 Major brand
with many different offerings. Good construction with excellent
floorplans. Deluxe models are very well equipped. Flexible rod lift
system and torsion spring suspension. Larger models are equipped with
surge brakes and the largest have tandom axles.
Maple Leaf (Canadian)-
Palomino- Error! Reference source not found.
Rockwood-College Ave. Goshen, IN 24527 219-533-5934 Major brand with good value for the price. Owners are loyal.
Shasta- Middlebury, IN 46540-0631 219-825-8555
Skamper-State Road 15N, Bristol, IN 46507-0338 219-848-7411 800-348-7563
Starcraft- Error! Reference source not found. 219-593-2550 800-945-4787 Good brand with good construction and nice floorplans. Starcraft owners are very loyal.
Sun-lite- Error! Reference source not found.
Bristol, IN 46507 219-295-5410 800-327-7684 Lightweight trailers that
are easy to set up. Exterior linkage lift system. Can be pulled easily
with low-powered tow vehicles. They also have large models with more
Time Out Campers-
Trail Manor (actyally considered a
Travel Trailer)- 304 Church St., PO Box 130, Lake City TN 37769
(615)426-7426 Full hard sided trailer, folds out similar to a
conventional Folding Trailer. Equipped like a travel trailer. Expensive
but well equipped and compact folded size (considering it is a travel
trailer). Many different sizes and amenities.
Venture- Error! Reference source not found.
Discontinued line manufactured in Topeka, Indiana. These trailers were
very similar to Starcraft, in fact, many of the Starcraft parts will
work in the Venture line. Box sizes ranged from 8 to 12 feet.
Ammenities are similar to others of the era. One source has reported
that Starcraft is currently manufacturing the Venture line of trailers,
Viking- Error! Reference source not found.
800-368-2829 Full range of model offerings. Smaller models very easy to
tow behind low-powered vehicles. Larger models can be very large.
Wheel Camper-Very old brand, aluminum skin over plywood construction, average ammenities, rack-and-pinion/coil spring assist lift system, torsion axle system. Heavy tongue weight.
B. Some Miscellaneous Comments From Folding Trailer Owners:
I owned an Apache hardside trailer from 1979 to 1983 when I replaced it with a class A motorhome. I was very pleased with the Apache. I canít give you an exact weight, but I think that it was below 2000 lbs, which you should be able to pull with a 305 chevy. The unit performed well, but since I was towing with a Plymouth MaxiVan with a 360, it had to be disconnected from the van to set it up. The pull-out end nearest the hitch would hit the back of the van. With a car, the end would be above the trunk. This was a problem with us at lunch time, because you had to unhitch, and set up to get at the refrigerator. The unit has two gear boxes which drive a belt like member which pushes up the four corners of the roof. I lost one of these in Kansas when I hit some road work. The rear end of the van dipped, and the front gear box crashed into the ground, shattering it. At the time, Apaches were out of production but I found a used gear box in Lincoln, Nebraska. This was on a cross country trip. The only other problem I encountered was with the electric brakes. One of the kids stepped on the breakaway trip wire, and I drove off with the brakes fully engaged on the trailer. I didnít notice the drag (says something about the brakes) until I saw smoke. I had to buy a new brake drum/hub because it cracked from the heat. My only concern with a ë73 would be the availability of parts. The gearbox might be a problem if you happen to damage one. Even the brake drum was not easy to find. I live in the SF Bay area, and even in this metropolitan area, it had to be mail ordered. Dick Lucas Error! Reference source not found.
I believe that the Coleman trailers are by far the best engineered and the best finished off. Some of their current best features include the one-piece roof, ABS end caps, stepper door, one-piece doors, Swing-Level galley, and no-mold marine tenting material. Structurally, the riveted steel-framed box is hard to beat. I like the fact that their extrusions and tracks are more hidden and are less likely to hook and scrape you and your kids. Unfortunately, their price reflects the excellent construction. They are probably the highest price for the features that you get. We love our Coleman, although it is of a series that is discontinued. I donít think that their floorplans are the best, but are usable. Jayco, for example has better floor-plans, IMHO. Wes Fujii Error! Reference source not found.
I have been totally satisfied with the ë95 Coleman Utah that I purchased. The quality of the construction and materials along with the warranty sold me. Also, the Coleman literature indicates their products hold their value better than their competitors. I havenít looked at a used RV price guide to confirm this but I believe it nontheless. Jeff Spencer Error! Reference source not found.
Just to throw in my two cents worth. My wife and I recently purchased a 96í Coleman Niagra after looking at most of the makes at a few camping shows. My observations are that, while there is a price premium on the Coleman it is not only for the name. They appear to be built better. The frames are heavier, the axels are more durable the roof is far superior to any other on the market and Coleman/Fleetwood backs up their workmanship with a lifetime guarantee on most of the unit (Canvas is 5 yrs) so if it ever does prove to be of inferior construction at least its covered. Iím not knocking other makes, my brother has a Starcraft and loves it. But he is the person who pointed out how much better the Coleman was built. I loved listening to the Jayco salesman tell me that while they believe that their product will last forever they choose not to warranty it that long because it would be impractical. Kevin Connors Error! Reference source not found.
We have enjoyed 3 tent trailers since 1978. First one a tiny Coleman 900 lbs. in 1978. Next we bought a Coleman Williamsburg in 1986 1500lbs. which was the top model of Coleman then. We currently have a 1995 Jayco Designer Series Cardinal 3000lbs. Both Colemanís were great, no problems except a broken lifter cable on the ë78 (a very uncommon problem apparently caused by a slight kink in one cable when assembled.) Both towed wonder fully. The only extra maintenance was on the ë86 when we replaced the electric brake magnets. The Jayco has greatly pleased us with quality and features. We particulary like the accessibility to the fridge with the top down and the outside storage. We can really load up without popping up to fill interior with stuff. The Jaycoís have hydrallic brakes like boat trailers which also works fine despite having no fine adjustments available the way we could "dial in" the electric brakes on our Coleman. Pick the one you like and you cannot go wrong in my opinion. STEVE Error! Reference source not found.
We bought a Dutchman 1001 last year. Sleeps 6. We liked the in/out stove, awning and ërealí refrigerator. Never even used the screen room because theyíre just too small on pop-ups. The one piece roof is nice as well as the fiberglass exterior - doesnít dent/scratch. Should pull very easily with a 305 van. We pulled w/6 cyl chevy S-10. (We enjoyed camping so much (weíre tenting prior) that we bought a Coachmen 24í this year and our pop up is for sale.) Seems silly, but we looked closely at the cabinet latches. Many Mfgís use real cheap latching arrangements - if they do this on the cabinets how do they build the rest of the trailer? Error! Reference source not found.
Hi-Lo and TrailManor-
I live about 25 miles from the factory where they make Trailmanor trailers. I went to the factory and saw them making the trailers because I was considering buying one. They have a very good and light trailer. It is well built and strong. There were only two problems--- The price was high, and the way they open. I have camped all of my life in just about everything. I now am married and have one child . We had a popupó a rockwood- and we wanted something bigger with a bath. We looked at everthing. I had a chevy astro to pull with-5,000 gvw. After much debating we drove to Columbus Ohio and bought a new Hi-Lo. The Hi-Lo has more features, was cheaper, pulls as easy and opens easer than the Trailmanor. I think if you have ever set up in the rain, you will agree that the Hi-Lo with an electric lift system is a lot better than the Trailmanor that is open to the elements when you open it!! One more thing convinced meówhen traveling, with the Hi-Lo you can get to the refrigerator without opening the trailer, with the Trailmanor, you have to open it to get to it. Ron Thatcher Error! Reference source not found.
Well, if you are anything like me, you have several issues that you are considering: such as space, sleeping capacity, towing capacity (which you have already covered), and others. My family just got into the camping scene last year. We purchased a tent and all the trimmings, and had a blast for most of the year. We just attended a local Sportsman Show featuring all types of campers/trailers of all shapes and sizes. After all considerations, we purchased a Jayco 1207-DD pop-up. The "DD" denotes a Double-Door model, which has a door on BOTH SIDES of the camper. This will allow us to utilize camping space on BOTH SIDES of the camper, possibly with a screen room. IMHO, after several months of shopping around, Jayco would be my recommended vendor. Whether you purchase a pop-up, self-contained, or 5th-wheel, Jayco was our choice. We basically had ALL OPTIONS on the Jayco 1207-DD. A/C, 16,000 BTU furnace, deluxe plumbing (which includes demand pump, hot water heater, hot/cold faucets, and outside shower). We also have a desinated location for a porti-potty (night use for the wife and kid). Jayco makes a 1406 model which can accomodate a bath/toilet combo, but it does take up a bit of space. We chose to go the shower route and hot/cold water and porti-potty, knowing that we would have to utilize a bath house on demand. IMHO, after several months of shopping around, Jayco would be my recommended vendor. Whether you purchase a pop-up, self-contained, or 5th-wheel, Jayco was our choice. Kevin Emert Error! Reference source not found.
I have a Jayco 1206 Jay Series with shower/bathroom, outside shower hot water heater, and fridge, as well as an outside shower. We looked a lot and found the Jayco to be the best "fit" due to what appears to be a good solid trailer. We bought the thing in May of 95 and spent 31 nights in the thing. We towed it with a 91 4x4 xtra cab Toyota. It is not light, but for our truck, it was perfect. One thing I donít like about Jayco is the little wheels (I prefer clearance), although their load rating is real high when compared to others. The independent suspension is very good, as well as the ease of raising and lowering the roof. My wife does it no sweat. All the cables really are on the inside. There is no way for mice or etc. to get in. I was attracted to the Colemans as well, but the sides are very low, whereas the Jaycoís sides are at least as high as the backs of the chairs and table. The bed mechanisms, I believe, are better on the Jayco as well. Rich Error! Reference source not found. (RichKABCD)
We have a Jayco trailer that we like very much. We rented a Starcraft several times before purchasing this trailer and like them also. We looked at Coleman also while shopping but liked the construction of the Jayco better. The only problem we have had so far is that the cable used to raise the top came loose for one corner. It looked like the nuts had not been tightened on the screws connecting the individual cables to the cable going to the winch. This is not too hard to check with the top raised but is somewhat difficult when you canít raise the top, so if you do get one I would recommend checking these. Error! Reference source not found.
Also see input in the Coleman section by Error! Reference source not found.
Jayco 1995 1207-KB Jay series, w/Awning, Screen Room, Air Conditioner, 4 place bike rack Furnace, Surge Brakes I have used our pop-up for 2 seasons now, we enjoy it alot! We ordered without air and bike rack, bought bike rack from Camping World catalog, $230.00ish, had air installed this year $575.00. We donít have a fridge, (has ice box) dealer said not to spend the several hundred dollars on the fridge unless we would be camping at locations with-out full hookups. Which we donít, but instead he said go to your local discount appliance store and replace it with a dorm fridge, still havenít though, continue using coolers. I also donít have the battery, above reason is why. Our model has the wrap around front couch, dealer said instead of buying a table for $80.00 to be used for a bed, he said just cut your own plywood, which I did, $10.00 only. I can have trailer up in about 5 minutes, awning and screen room, an additional 10 minutes. We use the screen room EVERYTIME. Not sure if all pop-ups have the built in jacks for leveling, but a nice feature. I have towed it with our 1995 Mercury Villager, no problem at all, currently tow with my 1993 Chevy extended cab Pick-up. Reason we picked the Jayco: interior quality, floor plan, color of cabinetry, height of sidewalls. Never had a problem with it! We have spent 10 days straight in it, I added a TV antenna for the long trips canít remember brand, but it clamps on side and opens like umbrella, $40.00 then added antenna booster from Radio Shack $25.00. Dislikes: Trailers small tires, and low overall ground clearance. All I can say is no matter what you go with, donít compromise space to save a few dollars, youíll only regret it after you use it a few times, consider spending a day in it while it rains, will you go crazy??? David R. Goetzel Error! Reference source not found.
We purchased a 96 Starcraft Starlounge XL this fall and after 2 months of research I found it to be a good and sturdy of a pop-up. I researched the warranties on the Jayco, Coleman and Starcraft and found very little difference. We have had our Starcraft out 3 times so far and are very happy. I know that it was a tough decision for us. But I really liked the extra bed end storage that the Starcraft has. We decided on the Starlounge over the Starmaster because we determind that we did not need the extra ice chest inside, and I didnít like the color scheme. I did like the layout. I have found that I want to limit the amout of trips I have to make inside to get things. Going in and out of the camper to get drinks, pots & pans, etc, etc... was tracking in just too much dirt for me. We just added an extra exterior access door next to the exterior stove hookup area. This allows us additional access the storage area under one of the seating areas. My husband sectioned off the storage area so I can keep my pots & pans accessable without having to go inside of the camper. He even put in a sliding drawer for the silverware. Error! Reference source not found.
I had a Starcraft tent trailer for 8 years (before I upgraded to a full size trailer). Never had any problems with leaks. My tent trailer was well equipped, among other things, it had a heater, electric water pump, and a refrigerator. To answer the original questin which brand... donít forget to check out the StarCrafts. I think Colemans are a great value but donít forget that you are paying for a name as well. The Starcraft pop-up that I had has all wood construction (no pressboard) all canvas fabric, Armstrong floors and a staines steel lift system to pop the top up that was guarranteed for the life of the trailer. The bunks where high density foam (very comfortable) and the space above the bunks was tall enough to sit up in bead. The overall interior height was something like 6 foot 7 inch or so. I logged on a lot of miles on the trailer, many of which where in rough roads. The trailer performed superbly. Sometimes I regret upgrading to a bigger trailer but the wife wanted a shower and a better toilet. G. Frank Nin Error! Reference source not found.
At the time that mine was made, Venture was located in Topeka, Indiana. They made 4 models of popups. These were:
model weight hitch-weight Load Capacity Tire Size
1280 1810 210 700 6.50 X 13
1080 1535 200 600 5.30 X 12
1060 1590 210 600 "
860 1350 210 600 "
The trailers were apparently all equipped with an ice box, gas range, pump-type fresh water system, surge brakes, and 15 amp electrical service. It appears that the trailer was normally set-up to have 12 volt supplied from the vehicle via the 6 prong trailer hook-up, although this is unclear (mine was modified to have a tractor battery mounted to the front). Optional equipment included: gas heater, gas/electric refriger-ator, and a fold-down wardrobe on some models. The Venture is extremely like a StarCraft of similar time period. I had the opportunity to examine what is left of the StarCraft my Father-in-Law had (has?). He uses the "box" as a utility trailer now, and it is identical in construction as far as I can tell to the Venture. The top is identical, too. The box shape, though similar, is somewhat different. I think I already mentioned that the lift mechanism is the same, and that I used a cable from the right front on his StartCraft on my Venture whan I first bought it (it fit like it was made to go there!). The surge brakes are different, the Venture has a shock-absorber unit and is put together different than the StarCraft, but this StarCraft is maybe 4-5 years older than the Venture (1973 Venture). Keith Hudson Error! Reference source not found.
XVI. Final Words
Camping in a Folding Trailer can be a very fun, comfortable, cost effective and convenient way to travel and get closer to the great outdoors. When a careful choice in a trailer is made, the overall experience will be one which will create permanent cherishable memories. If a bad match with a trailer is made, the experience can be one which will ruin the thought of camping for years to come.