Freespirit rides the open road with lightweight Spitfire XT motorcycle/small car camper
Motorcycle camping trailers are out there, but they're not as common a sight on roadways as car and truck camping trailers. In fact, we didn't notice a single motorcycle trailer at last year's Overland Expo, a show split neatly between off-road campers and adventure motorcycles. Perhaps we should have traveled to Bend, Oregon, instead. That's the birthplace of the new Freespirit Spitfire XT, a rig that carries a pop-up tent and storage box behind any capable bike or small car.
The idea of overnighting in your vehicle as you travel the countryside is one that has enough timeless romanticism to appeal to everyone from high school graduates delaying the impending weight of everyday responsibility to retirees living out their post-career days to the fullest. When the vehicle is a freeing, nimble motorcycle that lets the open air rush over your skin, the vision of road trip camping only gets better.
Freespirit Recreation brings that vision to life in the form of a 298-lb (135 kg) tent-top trailer light and compact enough to tow with a motorcycle. The aluminum trailer features a four-season canvas pop-up tent that sleeps two on top of a high-density foam mattress. A set of 750-lb (340-kg) stabilizer jacks keep the tent platform stable at the campground.
Since man doesn't live on shelter alone, the Spitfire also includes a cargo box below the tent top. The entire lid lifts forward by way of a gas spring system, providing access inside. With 350 pounds (159 kg) of capacity, you can load up the cargo box with sleeping bags, extra clothes, food and whatever else you need for your trip, then hit the open road. The trailer measures 79 x 42 x 38 in (L x W x H, 201 x 107 x 97 cm) with the tongue attached, and the removable tongue drops length down to 46 in (117 cm) for easier storage. Tongue weight is 30 lb (14 kg).
In terms of construction particulars, the Spitfire XT is built from 5052 aluminum. Each rather-stylish-for-a-trailer MB Turbo wheel is attached by way of a 550-lb-rated Flexiride cartridge rubber torsion suspension, which helps keep the ride smooth. The low-profile 205/40R16 Kumho Ecsta AST complement the 12-spoke wheels, looking like a combination you'd see on a sports car rather than a camping trailer. Freespirit says the 8-in-wide tires give the trailer better tire-road contact, weight displacement and control.
Those who want the option of taking the Spitfire XT on gear-heavy day trips can opt for the interchangeable diamond-plated aluminum cargo lid. The flat lid can be used for mounting racks to carry additional gear, while other options include a power station and Zamp solar panels.
While the Spitfire XT is labeled a motorcycle camper, it also makes a nice solution for those that drive small cars or simply want a basic, lightweight trailer. Freespirit tells us that it's received a lot of positive feedback from small car owners and is targeting MINI and Fiat dealerships as part of its sales and marketing efforts.
In addition to the Spitfire, Freespirit also offers the Journey XL and Journey XL Off Road camping trailers. The Journey XL Off Road weighs in well lighter than the typical 1,000-lb + (450-kg+) off-road camping trailers we've covered over the years. At 829 lb (376 kg), it's closer in weight to light, road-only trailers like the 772-lb (350 kg) Mogo Freedom. That means it can be towed by daintier CUVs as well as big, grunty trucks and 4x4s. The trailer dives enthusiastically onto off-road tracks with the help of military-grade Timbren axle-less rubber suspension, steel construction and LT195/75 R14 all-terrain tires. It has 17 in (43 cm) of ground clearance.
In reading the Journey XL Off Road's specs, we wondered if lightweight design would have the same appeal for an off-road trailer as a highway-dedicated model, given that that the former is more likely to be towed by a truck or 4x4 with 2,000+ lbs (907+ kg) of towing capacity. Freespirit's general manager Tim Daiker explains that the Journey XL Off Road is really more of an "all-terrain" design built to be capable and smooth on both highway and off-road trips.
"Our goal was to create a product designed to be pulled by several vehicle types, including cars, trucks, jeeps, ATV’s (500cc or higher) and especially side x side UTVs," Daiker says. "We found customers with smaller vehicles like the lighter weight, and customers with larger vehicles like the fact there is so much room to customize themselves. By the time an off-road customer gets done putting all their own bells and whistles on, they’ve likely added a couple hundred more pounds. Now couple that with all the fuel, water, and gear, and you're right up there pushing the limits of the trailer's capacity."
The Journey XL Off Road includes a large, four-season fold-out tent that sleeps up to five people. Four 1,000-lb-capacity stabilizers ensure a solid, comfortable night of sleep on the foam mattress. Like the Spitfire XT, it has a cargo box below its tent top.
The Journey XL Off Road hit the market last Northern Hemisphere fall and is available now for US$6,999. The Spitfire XT motorcycle trailer is available for preorder at $5,995, with deliveries to begin in July. Daiker says that Freespirit will work out lower prices for customers that visit it directly at its headquarters or trade shows. The company plans to attend the Puyallup RV Show in Washington state later this week and the NW Overland Rally in June.