American Dream Trailer revives vintage camper with rowboat roof

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American Dream has brought back the classic boat-trailer

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There are plenty of camping trailers that haul boats and other outdoor gear into the wild. We've covered options like the SylvanSport GO-Easy and BCT MOAB Yak within the past year. Portland-based American Dream Trailer Company has a new – er, revisited – idea for how to best transport a boat on your camper. In place of the typical gear racks, its trailer uses a matching boat that secures to the trailer roof like a fitted hat.

A camper with integrated rooftop boat may sound unusual, but it's not a new idea. Back in the 50s, the Kom-Pak Sportsman, manufactured in Medford, Oregon, roamed highways and forest roads as a towable fiberglass camper with boat roof. According to information published by Mecum Auctions in 2010, it's believed that only about 16 Sportsman trailers were ever built, with maybe half a dozen surviving to modern day. The trailers were designed to match Ford station wagons of the day, and anyone that likes vintage vehicles should find them quite the photogenic duo.

Not long after the Kom-Pak Sportsman, in the early 60s, San Rafael, California-based Trailorboat Engineering Company, a boat builder, began offering a fiberglass camper with rooftop boat of its own. Similar to the Sportsman, minus the Ford-matching design, the Trailorboat camper was a teardrop-inspired trailer with a roof boat. It was only built for a few years, and only a few hundred are believed to have been sold.

From the few photos we've seen of the Sportsman and replicas with the boat detached, that trailer relied solely on the boat for a roof. The Trailorboat camper, on the other hand, had a separate roof below the boat.

About five years ago, Paul Dahlman and his wife purchased an original 1961 Trailorboat and fell in love with it. They decided that they wanted to share the classic design and camping/boating experience with the world. Using their original model, they designed an authentic replica and developed partnerships for the chassis and fiberglass construction, putting the model into production.

The Classic American Dream Trailer has a fiberglass camper body built atop a 4 x 8-ft (1.2 x 2.4-m) steel-tube chassis designed to carry up to 2,000 lb (907 kg). After the chassis is fabricated, American Dream takes it to M&W Fiberglass and Composite for the construction of the fiberglass cabin and boat. From there, the wheeled fiberglass shell travels to the Dahlman's neighbor's garage, where they build it up to customer specification.

The rooftop boat removes via five latches. The trailer includes the separate roof below the boat so there's no worry about exposure when the boat is in use. The boat is built to carry up to three people/500 lb (227 kg). It has a motor mount and can handle a motor of 2 hp.

American Dream offers the base 650-lb (295-kg) camper at a price of US$8,900 with the boat, two-person mattress, shelving, oars, oarlocks, curtains and a checkerboard floor. The trailer includes a tailgate for gear storage and food preparation. The boat makes the camper look a little bigger than it is; it is a small, lightweight teardrop-style design, so the interior is quite compact and simple. Options include an interior table and single- and two-tone color schemes. Deliveries currently take six to eight weeks.

In addition to selling trailers, American Dream is trying to ramp up its rental business. It has already rented out its own trailer and recently turned to Kickstarter to try to raise funding to add five new trailers to its rental fleet. Barring some type of miracle or highly motivated, big-pocketed Kickstarter member, that campaign will be unsuccessful. As of publication, it raised less than $2,000 of its $50K goal and had only 40 hours left. Dahlman told us that the company figured the campaign was a long shot and will continue renting out its one trailer, with plans of adding a second and possibly more in the future.

If you like the idea of a trailer-boat, we also suggest you take a peek at the German-built Sealander amphibious camper, which is now available.

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