Over the past few years, we've seen a barrage of tiny, ultralight camping trailers hit the market. We won't say that it's a new trend, since man has been constructing lightweight road trip shelters for nearly as long as he's had an automobile to tow them, but some interesting ideas and designs have definitely been bubbling to the surface lately. The Mogo Freedom trailer is the latest member of this rising tide, opening the walls of camping trailer design to create a super-simple, ultra-versatile shelter and toy hauler.
While tightening the proverbial belt during tough economic times, Mogo founder Matjaz Korosec went on a search for a more affordable type of holiday. He wanted a small, light vessel that he could fill with recreational gear like bikes and kayaks and tow with a small car. While a few of the designs we've covered – especially the Teal Tail Feather – seem like they could have fit the bill quite nicely, Korosec decided that the current market didn't have exactly what he was looking for. So he did what many other start-up founders had done before him and created his own design to fill the void.
Korosec's original parameters weren't necessarily unique, but the trailer they birthed certainly is. In following the "cheaper, lighter caravans for the masses" approach taken in 1949 by British Sprite caravan designer Samuel Alper, Korosec and his team came up with a simple, 772-lb (350-kg) trailer that very easily converts between gear hauling and sleeping configurations. They formed Mogo Freedom last June and spent the remainder of the year finalizing and testing a prototype and touring events to gather feedback. The company incorporated the feedback into the "Free" package it showed at last month's Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show in Birmingham, UK. "Mogo" is derived from the idea, "Whatever your M.O., GO."
Unlike other small trailers, which include various furniture, fittings and appliances, the cabin of the 12.1 x 6.3 x 6.4-ft (L x W x H/370 x 191 x 195-cm) Mogo trailer is virtually empty. All that's inside is a floor-filling double mattress. During transit, the mattress lifts out of the way and secures up under the ceiling, freeing the interior for hauling up to 882 lb (400 kg) of recreational toys, such as bicycles, kayaks and surfboards. The floor of the trailer includes storage compartments for organizing smaller gear and tools. When you arrive at camp, all you have to do to set up is remove the gear and drop the mattress – no wrestling around with shock-corded poles, cranking pop-up tents, or assembling interior fixtures.
Another interesting aspect of the Mogo trailer is the two wing side doors that are used for loading – the trailer doesn't include a rear tailgate – and also work as sun-shading, weather-sheltering rooftops at camp. Given the large space these doors open up, campers can leave their folding chairs at home and sit atop the trailer mattress, tailgate- style. They can also use the open wings to essentially triple the size of the interior by affixing canvas walled awnings, creating additional weather-protected space for sleeping, cooking, storage and more.
The wing doors close and lock from inside via central handles, letting occupants escape from cold weather, mosquitoes and other pesky discomforts of outdoor living. The windows can then be used for ventilation.
In terms of construction, the Mogo Freedom trailer body is built from balsa wood sandwiched inside a shell made from an impact-resistant plastic. Mogo claims the plastic, also used in the marine and housing industries, offers better strength, insulation and impact resistance than traditional trailer materials like aluminum or fiberglass. The body is bonded and screwed to a chassis supplied by AL-KO.
The Freedom's boxy shape looks a bit rough for aerodynamic performance, but it's not designed simply for visual effect. Mogo explains that it chose the rounded rectangle packaging to increase structural integrity when compared to the more popular teardrop design.
"Mogo Freedom departed from the commonly used way of caravan assembly," the company explains on its website. "We preserved the ancient way of keeping the walls in line with the edge of the roof. This assembly process has been lost in caravan production when the search for more aerodynamic front compromised the building integrity extending the front and increasing the pressure between the wall and the roof seam. Since the seam in Mogo between the wall and the roof are in the same line, the stress points have been reduced and the shell integrity improved."
Mogo plans to build each Freedom to customer specifications and offers four equipment packages to make product selection easier (but make/model a bit strange). The four packages are the company name split up: the Mo, Go, Free and Dom options. Prices start at £7,230 (US$10,750), which buys you an empty trailer with rear window, braked chassis and dual wing doors – mattress and other equipment not included. From there, each package adds select equipment options like front window, mattress, wing-door awnings, chassis suspension, Grub Hub roller kitchen and Hubi solar-charged lithium battery power kit. The all-inclusive Dom package retails for £12,870.
Buyers can also add specific options a la carte, saving money on things they don't want. You can view a full price list at Mogo's online shop (we had to submit our email to view, otherwise we would link directly to the price list). Prices include delivery within England, Wales or Scotland.
We like the Mogo trailer's simple, functional design, but no matter how many times Mogo Freedom drops the buzzword "glamping", we have to point out that there's really nothing very glamorous or luxurious about it. Its wing-doored, rectangular-donut design gives it a cool look, but it's basically just a hard-sided tent with a cozy mattress. It leaves you fending for yourself when it comes to the amenities that other small camping trailers have built-in, such as cooking, showering, seating, etc. Nothing wrong with that, but not many people outside of Mogo headquarters would call such a bare-bones trailer a "glamper."
In addition to being a small, light camper, Mogo also advertises its trailer's potential for business use. Thanks to its large wing doors, we could see how it would make a handy vendor's trailer for events like county fairs and farmers markets. Fill it with merchandise, tow it up to your space, pop one of the wing doors, and you're open for business. The company even turned the trailer into the "world's smallest cinema," equipping it with two salvaged movie theater seats and an entertainment center during last year's Tea Break Film Festival, not too different from what Dethleffs did in designing the Mini Movie Campy.
Source: Mogo Freedom