I’ve been researching and looking for camper / trailer options for a few years now. Eventually I came to the decision that buying an aluminum, covered, utility trailer was going to provide the best shell for me to start with. Yes, that means I was planning on finishing it out as a living space on my own. There are a few advantages that a utility trailer was going to provide:
- All aluminum shell and load bearing structures.
- Possibly insulated from the factory, but very doable manually.
- Basic electrical installed from the factory to include 7-pin hitch connector.
- Side door and rear doors for my wheelchair access, including a ramp!
- Good size for towing behind my van and 3500 lbs axles.
A good trailer, new, was going to run me in the $8,000 range. Then I added the costs of the stuff I wanted to install:
- Solar and expanded 12v electrical inside
- Possible insulation
- A fold down bed
- Kitchen area
- Shower, drain and under carriage water storage
- Air conditioner
- Camera system for backing up and security.
Turned out that the end product was going to land me somewhere between $15K and $20K and about a year of my time working on and off as my health allowed. WHEW.
Then, one night while chatting with my brother Matt on his IRC channel, we shared some links to interesting camper-trailers and in one of the related links on one of the pages I saw the Cricket Trailer. This had just about everything I wanted and is designed so much better than I could have done. The only 2 things it didn’t really have was a rear door that I could pull my wheelchair directly in to and the axle is rated for 2200lbs. instead of the 3500lbs. I would have preferred. Regardless, when I configured it as I liked it ended up being priced at just over $17,000.
- It’s all aluminum and uses solid core insulation
- The “spine” of the Cricket is 100% aluminum
- It’s got lots of mounting holes for bungee cords and whatever you like
- Integrated shower with a floor drain and a sprayer on the end of a hose. The hose is too short for me but I’ve been told that the hose can be changed quite easily.
- The shower option includes a portable “potty” that is a standard type you can dump in a regular toilet. Not dependent on dump stations!
- The whole floor is rubberized
- I chose the fold out couch/bed and one child berth
- It’s all 12v electrical and can come with up to 2 batteries (I got 2)
- They use GoalZero solar technology and the solar package comes with 2 each 30watt panels (the folding briefcase model).
- The solar package also comes with a GoalZero power inverter
- While the back door does open up like a van tailgate it’s not designed for a wheelchair to roll up into. But I can easily transfer in through that door, so no major biggie.
- The kitchen has a sink and I got the optional 112v GFCI outlet (with cover) installed. Good storage and shelving there too.
- I also got an integrated 12v refrigerator. Fits in nicely.
- The main entryway is 30″ wide, so I can put my wheelchair in through that.
- The standing space is also large enough for me to sit at the kitchen sink in my chair as well.
- Full sized spare tire mounted under the carriage frame.
- 12 gallon clean and grey water tanks underneath as well.
- 7-pin hitch connector and standard shore power connectors.
- A garden hose can be hooked up as well so you don’t have to carry water in the tanks.
- The top “pops up” to give lots of ambient tent-like light and room enough for a 6′ 2″ to stand comfortably. It’s on gas springs and is counter weighted so it’s easy to deploy and stow.
- I did not get the roof racks … but they’re standard Thule mounts.
- A small A/C unit takes the space of one of the windows; it can only be run when you are connected to shore power or a generator.
- The lights it has on the inside are LED and the over head reading lights by the couch/bed include a red light option to keep the eyes from dilating. I love it when people put thought in to this kind of stuff. There’s even a light by the main entry way so you can see it easily in the dark.
- The windows open and have a pull up shade and pull down mosquito “shade”. they’re integrated in to the window frames and seem to work very well.
As configured it weighs in at just over 1200lbs. My van can tow 3500lbs, so with myself, my wife, my two wheelchairs, and the trailer we’ve got room for 1500lbs. of our stuff. That’s more than enough! We just have to be smart about what we tow in the trailer and what needs to stay in the back of my van.
The downside is that there’s a considerable lacking of video on the internet about this trailer. It’s fairly new on the market so I’m not too surprised. I’ll likely be making a trip to Texas to pick up my Cricket in November. At that time I plan on making a more detailed video with my Hero2 video camera and posting it/them on YouTube.
I plan to add a few things that do not come stock with the trailer <surprise>. Here’s a few:
- Explorer 2 SUV Tent – I’ll put this on the back of the Cricket … it should fit very nicely.
- Honda EU2000i Generator and an external ext. gas tank.
- This rock climbing fly will cover my wheelchair if/when I opt to store it outside the trailer at night (I’ll also lock it up with a bike lock or something).
- And a few key Pelican Storm cases.
And, as far as emergency preparedness goes … this is a nice bug-out option as far as I’m concerned!