From space-age teardrops to retro-inspired trailers, this year was big for campers here at Curbed. We reported on dozens of fun, interesting RVs and delved into must-read topics like RV repairs, what you need to know before buying a camper van, and why so many RVs have the same boring, swoopy graphics. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
To celebrate the end of a camper-filled year, we’re looking back at some of our favorite RVs of 2019. Today’s highlight: travel trailers. They range in size, price, and style, but all of our picks wowed readers and sparked conversation in our Facebook camper group. From a futuristic teardrop to our review of a transforming trailer with retro vibes, here are the ten best trailers we reported on this year.
This 40-foot Airstream was renovated and restored by Colorado-based Timeless Travel Trailers with midcentury design in mind. Only five 40-foot Airstream trailers are in public possession, and this one is a beauty. A wide center aisle welcomes people inside, and the trailer gleams with an aluminum interior skin. Wide-plank bamboo flooring is rich and cozy, while walnut veneer cabinetry and built-ins pay homage to the midcentury era’s love of wood paneling.
Large horizontal windows let in light and provide views to the outdoors. In the kitchen and bathroom, white solid surface counters help break up the wood, and a geometric black-and-white ceramic backsplash provides a touch of whimsy. The longer you look, the more midcentury references you’ll see, whether it’s the spaceship-inspired lime green lamps, the spindle cabinetry, or the sleek couches. Read all about it, here.
In the biggest debut of the year, North Carolina-based SylvanSport showed an innovative hard-sided trailer with a jaw-dropping bathroom. Measuring 21.5 feet long and 7.9 feet wide, the Vast features oversized European windows, a full lift back tailgate, and sleeping areas for four people.
It’s the transformative aspect of the Vast that make it stand out in a sea of travel trailers. A patented all-season, indoor-outdoor sliding kitchen is a trick we’ve never seen before. When traveling, the kitchen fits into the shower area, but once you arrive at camp it unfolds at cooking height to become an outdoor kitchen. And unlike some other outdoor kitchens that store away at your feet when not in use, the Vast can be used both from inside the camper (in the shower area) or outside. For more details, head here.
The eye-catching Carapate rounds out the teardrop shape into a trapezoid and has a yacht-like feel thanks to its wood, white, and navy coloring. The 10.5-foot trailer is built from marine-grade plywood with a lift-gate side entry that opens up to take advantage of views. There are also large windows on three sides of the trailer that are outfitted with coverings for privacy and night time darkness.
The lightweight trailer can sleep two adults thanks to three single-sized mattresses measuring 55 by 25 inches that stack into an L-shaped sofa during the day, and a kit is available for a third child to sleep next to the front window. Check it out, this way.
A bit like a spaceship and a teardrop trailer had a baby, the Polydrop trailer uses wood and skinned aluminum to create an all-new take on what a modern camper can look like. Based in Los Angeles, it’s refreshing to see an angular and innovative version of the small camper trailer, and Polydrop’s design is akin to the much-loved trailers from Taxa Outdoors.
At 12.4 feet long, the Polydrop trailer was created by Kyung-Hyun Lew—an architectural designer. On its website, Polydrop says “this is not a camping trailer. It’s your own space that you can travel with.” All PR-jargon aside, Lew used the polygonized teardrop shape as a portable study space while he was finishing architecture school. Even more impressive, he pulled it around with his wife’s four-cylinder car. Find out more, this way.
At first glance this trailer looks like your normal boxy, gear-hauling trailer. And like adventure-minded gear haulers, the AntiShanty is an aluminum-clad cargo box that can handle mountain bikes, dirt bikes, surfboards, and the like. A full size lift gate swings up so you have plenty of space to load things, and inside there are plenty of tie-downs to secure your gear.
The AntiShanty’s differences come once you roll into camp. Pull out your gear and the camper transforms into an A-frame inspired cabin with a manual roof that pops and slides into place. The peaked ceiling gives you nine feet of head clearance, while triangular end panels fill out the holes at the front and rear. Take a look, right over here.
The HC1 wasn’t new in 2019, but it was the year that Curbed’s veteran camper expert, Megan Barber, took the tiny camper for a spin. The fiberglass trailer is cute-as-a-button with a large rear hatch, wide entry door, and classic fender design. Available in a plethora of colors (like Pacific blue, Bishop red, Topanga turquoise, and Mojave sage), the two-tone paint job only adds to the adorableness of the camper, as does a port window on the door. It’s a trailer that makes people stop and do a double take, and a welcome break from the tired swoopy graphics found on most RVs.
The best part? The Adaptiv system created by Happier Camper lets you customize the trailer on-the-go, creating different layouts easily. Each standard cube is 16 inches tall, 20 inches deep, and 20 inches wide, and the camper starts with a base of six cubes. These cubes nest into the floor, a bit like Legos, and are made from lightweight, weather-resistant plastic. Check it out, this way.
Unlike the rather sturdy and compact teardrops we often see, the Earth Traveler uses a skeletal frame of lightweight composite that makes for an airy and breezy design. And while we’ve reported on lightweight campers in the past, this just might be the lightest trailer we’ve ever covered.
Earth Traveler’s first trailer is the T250LX, a full carbon, four-person fiber trailer with an estimated weight of around 216 pounds and an asking price of $30,975. The second model, called the T300, is more affordable, costing $10,000, thanks to a feather-based composite made from chicken feathers and resin. This material will provide insulation and weather protection, while load-bearing structural elements will be made out of traditional composite and Corecell. The T300 hopes to measure-in at an impressive 298 pounds. Find out more, over here.
We’ve covered Living Vehicle a few times since their debut in 2017, and in 2019 the company debuted a brand new version of its signature trailer, the 2020 series. Think of it as a modern take on the iconic Airstream trailer, especially because it now features a 100 percent aluminum structure.
The 2020 series measures 220 square feet (just slightly larger than the previous model) and sleeps four or six people. A master bedroom holds a queen-size cool-touch 10-inch memory-foam mattress, skylight, and home theater system. A dining lounge can be rearranged to create another queen in the living room, and you can also add a “Euro Loft” option—a full-size bunk that lowers from the dining room ceiling when needed.
Living Vehicle’s use of oversized windows, skylights, and an eight-foot sliding glass door is what makes the trailer stand out. Take a look, over here.
The expandable French campers from Beauer continue to prove that some concept campers can become a reality, and this year they debuted a smaller two-person model. The trailer starts small when towing and then expands at camp in 60 seconds to reveal slick interiors. While other Beauer campers use three modules that nest together like cans and then expand horizontally to add more room, the new 2X model uses two modules instead of three.
It still features a semi-circle shell that doubles in size to provide a little under 90 square feet of living space over two rooms. On one side is a bedroom or lounge area with a sofa that transforms into a double bed. The other room features an L-shaped kitchen with sink, gas stove, fridge, grill or oven, and plenty of cabinets for storage. Between the two areas is a wet bath with toilet, shower, and sink—all hidden by an accordion style door. See more, over here.
This popular European camper is coming to the U.S. NüCamp RV has announced that they will bring the Barefoot Travel Trailer to the North American market in early 2020. We saw the Barefoot in person at RVX and its cute style didn’t disappoint. At about 16 feet long, the monocoque, egg-shaped body features a compact living space that can sleep two. The inside boasts a small kitchen area with a fridge, a two burner stove, solid oak countertops, and a sink.
We saw the Barefoot in person at RVX and its cute style didn’t disappoint. At about 16 feet long, the monocoque, egg-shaped body features a compact living space that can sleep two. The inside boasts a small kitchen area with a fridge, a two burner stove, solid oak countertops, and a sink. Read all about it, this way.