TrailManor provides innovative trailers

September 10, 2004|by JEFF JOHNSTON/Motor Matters

In the ongoing quest for easier, more comfortable towing, TrailManor represents an innovative solution. The company has been in business for more than 25 years, but its products are not extremely well known among the RVing public. That's a shame because TrailManor trailers have a lot to offer RVing fans.

In essence, the TrailManor is a lightweight, hardside folding trailer. It combines the best properties of a lightweight fold-down tent trailer with the good points of a hardside full-size travel trailer, minus some undesirable aspects of each.

There's no arguing that the TrailManor looks somewhat unusual on the road. Its forward upper half clamshells over the aft end top half, and both top parts telescope down over the trailer's lower half. It sits a modest 65 inches tall in towing mode, which makes it look like a squashed trailer. It's at the campsite that the TrailManor really struts its stuff.


After travelers park and level the trailer, the travel latches are released and the top hold-down levers are likewise unlatched. With a modest tug, which works better for two people or one large, robust and somewhat strong person, the front top half pivots up and forward on four spring-loaded arms until it automatically stops in place. Likewise, the trailer's aft upper half swings up and back and moves into place, automatically sealing against the sidewalls and the upper roof edge of the forward roof half. Four small swing-up locking bars secure the roof sections in place, and the result is a full 6 feet 4 inches of interior headroom.

Next, the end beds are pulled out into place, a process made easier because the support arms are permanently attached to the trailer body and the bed platform. No fishing for support arms, messing with aligning brackets in holes or wrestling with tents - as with a tent trailer slideout bed.

The trailer we used was a model 3023, which means it's 23 feet long when towing and 30 feet long when camped. Our trailer also had a curbside wardrobe to set up, a simple swing up/slide out process; a single storage cupboard that hangs from clips over the streetside sink; and the bathroom walls were folded up into place and secured with latches, also an easy job.

It sounds complicated, but once prepared, the TrailManor provides a glorious sweep of living space inside with a full hardwall exterior to keep the weather and insect pests out and heat or air-conditioning in.

It's a lot easier to set up a TrailManor than, say, the average tent trailer. However, it also requires a bit of messing around that some people prefer not to do. Items stored inside are inaccessible when traveling unless you choose to temporarily set up the trailer's roof sections, which could be a chore at a rest area. Better to haul your road snacks with you in an ice chest.

No self-containment amenity has been spared in the 3023 floorplan. The trailer includes a forward double bed and aft queen bed, a forward living room with opposing sofas, a mid-trailer galley with the fridge and sink streetside and range and oven curbside. The fully enclosed bath is aft streetside opposite a low-profile storage cabinet and full-height wardrobe.

The interior layout is flexible and functional for two, and even more fun for a small family. A swing-up dining table with extension deploys between the sofas and forms a comfortable dining area for four. All told, the TrailManor works very well as an RV with easy livability.

The TrailManor also shines on the road. Our test rig weighed about 3,900 pounds wet but empty, which is compact enough to be towed by many of today's downsized vehicles. We used an Infiniti QX56 4x4, essentially the upscale version of the Nissan Armada Pathfinder. The 315-horsepower V-8 in the QX56 made small work of the TrailManor, hauling it up hills with nary a whimper.

Strong crosswinds produce very little push-pull effect on the trailer, and the lower profile offers a real chance at improved fuel economy compared to towing a full-height RV trailer. It's an overworked expression, but it's almost easy to forget the trailer is back there.

Friends who tow a TrailManor with a Dodge minivan report similar results: No-stress towing that's easy on the driver and makes the trip more fun.

For complete information about the TrailManor, contact TrailManor Manufacturing, 865-426-7426,

If the unique features and special capabilities of the TrailManor seem to fill the niche you occupy in your RVing lifestyle, you could do worse than consider one of these unusual but effective trailers.

© Motor Matters, 2004

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