The Cricket Trailer is what happens when NASA engineering meets camping trailers. This funky shaped trailer is designed to be towed by all kinds of vehicles and offer you exactly what you need without the excess you don't.

Garrett Finney has had a fascination with small, outdoor-connected living spaces since his childhood in the 1970s. He transformed that passion into a logical career path as a NASA engineer working on habitation modules for the International Space Station. But, he later decided that he wanted to apply some of that passion to something a little closer to home. That something is the Cricket Trailer.

Finney has applied his engineering experience toward building a simple, lightweight, flexible outdoor living space for family camping. The Cricket is a natural extension of his experience building small, efficient living quarters for outer space, and many elements of the camper are inspired by his work at NASA.

The basic idea isn't all that new. The Cricket fills the gap between the RV and the tent - along with numerous other pop-up trailers. What is somewhat unique is the level of flexibility and customization built into the Cricket. The Cricket isn't just designed to be any camping solution, it's designed to be your solution.

The Cricket starts off with a thoughtful, lightweight build underpinned by composites and aluminum. By keeping weight down to around 1,300 lbs. (591 kg), Finney and team create a trailer that is flexible in terms of tow vehicle. The company says that many six- and four-cylinder vehicles - including the Subaru Outback, the quintessential American mountain car - have the needed capacity. The idea is that you don't need a big, burly Hemi to tow this thing to camp. The Cricket's odd, unmistakeable shape increases aerodynamics.

The Cricket has a wide door for easier access and a series of plastic windows with interior mesh and privacy screens. The hard roof pops open in about 20 seconds with the help of gas springs, expanding head room to 6 ft 2 in (1.9 m). In back, there's a lift gate to make loading and unloading easier and to provide a shady place to sit down and enjoy a beer or read a book.

Inside, the Cricket is sized to sleep two in either folding couch configuration - for couples that don't mind being close - or V-berth bed configuration - for buddies that don't want to share a single bed. Buyers can also opt to add loft bedding for up to two children. There's a rotating table for dinner, kitchen counter with stainless steel sink, clean and grey water storage, drainage, and a 12-volt electrical system. By using some efficient space-saving measures learned at NASA, the Cricket Trailer packs a lot of equipment into a package that's 15 feet long by 6.5 feet wide (4.6 x 2 m).

From there, it's up to you. Cricket Trailer beckons you to "Make It Yours." It offers a variety of options - from basics like a cook top, refrigerator, shower system and portable toilet to more advanced conveniences like air conditioning, heating and photovoltaic panels. The idea is that you decide how you want to camp and make a trailer that meets your needs. Cricket also sells smaller accessories like dishes, tools and storage solutions.

Pricing starts at US$21,700 and goes up from there depending upon other options you wish to add.

View gallery - 16 images