Jeep Camper Trailer Review

Dec. 01, 2010 By Jim Brightly
1.	Reminiscent of the Warn locking hubs magazine ads of yesteryear, Engineer Pass just southeast of Ouray, Colorado, provided the trail for us to test the Jeep trailer’s off-roading capabilities.

Be the first in your club to be ready to go and camp anywhere you feel like. According to Jeep, this is the first time an off-road camper trailer has been designed and manufactured specifically to mate with a Jeep for trail riding, ghost town hunting, and backcountry exploring.

2.	As you can see, the trailer was level with the modestly lifted 2010 JK Rubicon Unlimited. Lockers engaged, low range pulling smoothly on the steep, rocky sections of the 8,000-foot high Engineer Pass.

While it might not be able to handle the Hammers without damage, the Jeep Camper Trailer from Mopar would be right at home on the Rubicon. It may have to be carefully snaked through some of the tight spots, its 32- or 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires (depending on model), 12 or 15 inches of ground clearance (again depending on model), and full-body belly pan skid plate make it the ideal Rubicon camper combination with your Jeep (and its lug pattern and wheels match the JK designs).

4.	It seemed that everyone who saw the trailer and its stylized Jeep logo had to stop and ask us about it.

Available in two models, the Jeep Camper Trailer is designed to accommodate four adults with a queen-sized bed and a Jeep-logo sofa that folds down into a bed. It has a stowable lightweight table and a built-in aluminum cabinet. Its construction is of lightweight aluminum box and cover, and a premium Jeep-logo canvas tent. Sold through Jeep dealers’ parts departments, the Jeep Trail Edition (MSRP: $9,995) is equipped with 32-inch BFG Mud Terrains on JK wheels and has 12 inches of ground clearance; while for the more hard-core Jeepers among you, the Jeep Extreme Trail Edition (MSRP: $11,995) has a slightly heavier-duty frame, is equipped with 35-inch BFG Mud Terrains on JK wheels and has 15 inches of ground clearance. Both models have trailing-arm suspension, diamond-plated aluminum covering, high-mounted squared-off fenders, and can be equipped with an optional 360-degree axis pintle hook/lunar ring hitch assembly.

5.	This washout was caused by a lovely waterfall, but the trailer had no trouble negotiating it.

I like towing a trailer with my Jeep, especially a Jeep Camper Trailer. Maybe it’s brought on by all those World War II films of Jeeps towing ¼-ton military trailers, or the films depicting Jeep development with GIs sitting there at attention in Jeeps flying over obstacles with trailers flying all over behind them? Maybe I was a mule skinner in a previous life—or as one editor suggested: “Maybe you were the mule?” Be that as it may, I’m beyond the age where sleeping on the ground is still fun, and I hate being limited to carrying only those supplies and equipment that can be packed into just a Jeep. And a trailer can take a humdrum trail and make it interesting and exciting again by increasing its challenge and difficulty.

6.	The legs fold out and support the bed even in rough country, and there’s plenty of room for a family of four.

So towing a Jeep Extreme Trail Edition Camping Trailer to the Ouray Jeep Jamboree in southwestern Colorado from my home in Arizona was an exciting proposition. And Jeep topped the off-road sundae with a Moparized 2010 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited to perform the towing chores. I’ve already covered the Moparized Jeeps before, so I’ll just say the Unlimited was accessorized very similarly to the two-door Rubicon I tested earlier; however, the Unlimited had more room for our stuff and dogs.

7.	Available in four colors—bright silver metallic, flame red, mango tango pearl, and natural green metallic—the bright silver looked good with the blue JK.

Capable of supporting up to 450 pounds on its closed diamond-plated aluminum top, the trailer’s top becomes the base of the queen-size bed when you and a friend fold it open on its full-length, heavy-duty piano hinge. Herein lies one of its two downsides: the sheer weight and awkwardness of opening the folding top definitely requires two people. When unfolding it, first the two adjustable legs are folded into place (these are pinned in place both for travel and for bed support), then the securing clips (same part number as the JK’s hood-securing rubber clips) are released, and then the bed is unfolded. The tent poles must be positioned correctly—including two center support poles that must be snapped into place on the three U-shaped poles—to support the tent fabric. Then the tent’s edge snaps must be locked all around the circumference of the tent (I found that holding the rubber securing clips upward eased the chore of securing the snaps around them). Roll down the fabric portion of the Dutch door, step inside the tent and enjoy the 6-foot 4-inch headroom, and the spacious multi-layer windows (all have screens and privacy shades). You can use the lightweight table or stow it and merely stretch out on the sofa bed. I felt the table was too lightweight and probably wouldn’t hold up for long under family use, so you’ll need to be careful when using it.

On the trail or on the road, the Jeep Camper Trailer followed easily everywhere the JK tugged it. Although we didn’t weigh the trailer, Jeep specs tell me that Extreme Edition tips the scales at 1,050 pounds while the Trail Edition weighs in at 850. I will say that I don’t really see the need for the pintle hook/lunar ring assembly for either model. I much prefer a simple 2-inch ball. There’s no rattling on the trails or while sleeping, and I’ve towed a small tent trailer over the Rubicon three times on a 2-inch ball without a problem, so I suggest you save a few dollars and avoid the pintle hook/lunar ring assembly.

8.	A full queen-sized bed in the fold-out and the Jeep logo sofa accommodates four folks. The small cabinet can be used to store smaller items while in camp.

If you’re a family of four who like camping together and sharing experiences with each other, and are about to buy a new Jeep JK model, Jeep tells me that you can also include a Jeep Camper Trailer in the contract and roll off the dealership floor ready to hit the trails anywhere and be able to bring everything with you but the kitchen sink! It’s definitely a worthy trail companion and can provide a much nicer sleeping situation than a pop-tent. Newsletter
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