By Mike Payne
The old stigma about camper trailers is long dead. No longer the chartreuse-fringed vessel of retiree grandparents, the camper trailer has been reshaped by a new generation of designers, dreamers and adventurers. The concept remains the same: A camper trailer provides comfortable independence on road trips, camping vacations and tailgating overnights. It’s just that now the design and technology are beyond state-of-the-art.
These five campers represent some of the most exciting and futuristic trailers in production today, and they’re begging to be attached to the back of your all-new 2014 Silverado 1500. After all, that trailer hitch is more than a little metal gadget; it’s a license for adventure. And with the available Max Trailering Package, the Silverado offers a class-leading trailering capacity of up to 12,000 pounds.*
The Grand Puccini Camper by Tabbert is a home-on-wheels fit for a king. It provides some of the most luxurious interior amenities of any trailer-based camper. Laced with leather, wood grain, granite counters and more, it’s dressed to the nines from front to back—poised to redefine the notion of “glamping.”
You don’t need to decide between hauling a camper or a boat for your weekend getaway. The Sealander Swimming Caravan is two-in-one, a comfortable camper that can take to the seas with an outboard engine. It may be the only one of its kind—an amphibian trailer that can park on land for resting or thrive in the open water.
I’d say that the Mehrzeller Individual Camper is possibly the most visually striking trailer camper ever designed. Each one is individual, built to the specifications requested by the online buyer. Its exterior features a wild faceted shape that makes trailer camping look very appealing. Its interior is like a contemporary urban loft, with angular walls and ceiling panels that surround a comfortable living space. This design is about as progressive as it gets for camper trailers; it’s admirable for that alone.
In perfecting the engineering calculations necessary for a collapsible tent, designer Axel Enthoven discovered a shape similar to the famed Sydney Opera House. Thus, the Opera Luxury Camper was born, a contemporary pop-up for high comfort while camping on the road. A far cry from the pop-up campers of the 20th Century, this high-style sleeper trailer blooms like an architectural flower when opened. Unfortunately, the Opera Camper ceased production in 2012, making it a collector’s item if you can find one.
While the Opera Camper and the Grand Puccini may be suited to the luxury traveler, the SylvanSport GO is for the adventurous spirit. It revolutionizes the traditional pop-up trailer by cutting the extra fluff and substituting truly ingenious design. The result is a lightweight tent-style pop-up that can be used as a camper, a boat trailer, a bike transporter and more. At less than $10,000, it’s also the most price-accessible option on this list. For those who don’t mind the real camping experience, you likely won’t do better than the SylvanSport GO.
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Mike Payne is founder and publisher of TheCoolist.com, the web’s finely curated encyclopedia of cool. Mike’s interest in design, technology and the study of trends is part of his nature, having grown up in a family of automotive designers and visual artists in Detroit. When he’s not managing TheCoolist, Mike moonlights as a commercial photographer, photographing architecture and food for hotels, restaurants, architects and corporate clients.
*2WD Double or Crew Cab with the available 6.2L V8 engine and Max Trailering Package. Maximum trailer ratings are calculated assuming a properly
equipped base vehicle, plus driver. See dealer for details. Class is half-ton full-size pickups.