Cargo Camp turns boxy cargo trailer into light, simple home-on-a-hitch
The modern camper market has a dizzying array of complex, ornately-finished motorhomes and caravans that try to recreate the comfort of home ... bringing much of the price of that home along with them. But what if you want to get away from all that and just enjoy the outdoors, without remortgaging your house? A tent is still an obvious go-to, but Texas-based Cargo Camp offers a sturdier, four-walled alternative – a big, rugged box trailer simply outfitted with a convertible bed/dinette, plenty of storage space and an available auxiliary screen room. It's everything you need to get out of the city and stay a while, without the bells and whistles emptying your bank account.
We've been seeing a rather steady deluge of fancy, premium-priced caravans that could double as Design Week exhibits, but we've also noticed a discernible move in the opposite direction – dirt-simple trailers with four-figure price tags that provide the barest basics and leave you alone to enjoy the wilderness. No wall-spanning TV, silk or leather trim, or matching stainless steel oven and refrigerator – just four walls and a roof, somewhere to store a cooler and cooking gear, and maybe some extra room for a few fishing rods and folding camp chairs.
Wee Roll offers just that type of camping trailer, and now we see another style from Cargo Camp. Whereas Wee Roll focuses mostly on the exterior structure, leaving the interior more to the customer's imagination, Cargo Camp has spent a little more time structuring out its interior as a camper. And we guess it had to in order to put a stamp on its product, because it starts with an existing cargo trailer – the Continental Cargo V-Series, which brings a 3-in tube steel chassis, leaf spring suspension and plywood construction below an aluminum skin.
Cargo Camp largely leaves the V-Series structure and shell alone, outside of adding camper-specific details like windows and mounting hardware where necessary to support awnings and roof racks.
The bulk of Cargo Camp's work happens on the inside of the box, where it looks to strike a balance between the unrefined bed-in-a-box cargo trailer and more homey teardrop trailers. It separates the interior cabin from the rear doors with a walled-off rear storage area. This isn't the tailgate kitchen you'd see in teardrops and other small trailers – really just a few cabinets, a side shelf and plenty of open space for your gear. Photos show it as a functional indoor/outdoor kitchen space stocked with things like a portable gas grill, big ol' 137-L cooler and coffeemaker.
While the rear storage area falls short of a full camper kitchen, the interior leans a little bit more toward "full-blown caravan," featuring a dual-bench dinette set that easily transforms into a 56 x 84-in (142 x 213-cm) bed when you drop the tabletop down to join the benches together. The 4-foot 11-in (1.5-m) standing height will require most adults to duck down, but if you compare that to the lie-down/sit-up-only sizing of many teardrop trailers, it looks plenty roomy.
Cargo Camp fills out the cabin's wedge nose with cabinetry that looks like it could work nicely as an entertainment center ... should you decide you want that TV after all. Additional storage is available under the structure of the benches/bed.
Cargo Camp's design is nice in its own right, but we wonder if it isn't missing out on a chunk of its potential market. The beauty of tall, boxy cargo trailer-cum-campers, including those from Wee Roll, is that the large rear doors and open interiors invite owners to haul motorcycles, bikes or other toys before rolling them out at camp and overnighting inside. That's a key advantage of towing around a big box, as opposed to a smaller, sleeker teardrop or mini-camper. But Cargo Camp cuts the interior off from the generously-sized rear double doors, so its trailers are definitely not optimized for toy-hauling.
Cargo Camp trailers come with an insulated ceiling and walls, a 30-amp shore hookup, LED interior lighting, interior outlets and USB ports, and an exterior GFCI outlet. Those who want to use the trailer off-grid can opt in on the available 200-watt solar package with dedicated battery.
The model described above features a 5 x 10-foot (1.5 x 3-m) trailer box and starts at US$8,000. It weighs in at approximately 1,400 lb (635 kg), offering a 1,590-lb (721-kg) payload. The smaller 1,200-lb (544-kg), 5 x 8-foot (1.5 x 2.4-m) box trailer starts at $7,500 with the same layout and features, but a smaller bed and dinette and higher 1,790-lb (812-kg) payload. Both trailers are two-sleepers, though Cargo Camp reckons you can also invite your dog inside the 5 x 10 model.
Along with solar, options available directly from Cargo Camp include the ARB awning and screen room shown in some of the photos, Honda generator package, 78-L ARB fridge/freezer or 137-L roto-molded cooler, air conditioning and heating.
Source: Cargo Camp