This compact camping trailer is a multi-tasking marvel!
For the true camping enthusiast, nothing beats the experience of sleeping under the stars… you can hear the wilderness and feel the breeze as it billows the walls of your tent… it’s a return to nature, and a truly energizing adventure – but when the cold, damp ground starts to chill you to the bone, you realize that it would be nice to have a bit more protection from the elements.
That’s when the tent trailer becomes the ideal solution for family camping.
Over the years, we have reviewed a wide range of traditional fold-down camping trailers. By and large, they offer comfortable shelter from the elements, and reasonable versatility in terms of their ability to transport the gear you want on a wilderness expedition… but the design of the traditional fold down camping trailer has been frozen in the 1970s, and many young families are looking for something smaller, lighter, and more suitable for a wide range of back-country adventures.
That’s where the SylvanSport GO comes in. A compact and lightweight folding camping trailer, this unique little RV embodies so many innovations that you have to think of it as a multi-use vehicle – and from our perspective, it handles a wide range of tasks exceedingly well!
SylvanSport is located in Brevard, North Carolina, in the heart of some of the most beautiful camping territory in North America. SylvanSport not only designs and manufactures the GO in Brevard, they source 80% of the components within 70 miles of the plant.
We have been watching the growth of the SylvanSport GO since we first encountered the product a few years ago, and now that there are several Canadian dealers, we are delighted to showcase the product as the first of a new breed of family camping alternatives.
Our RV Lifestyle Magazine road test team visited Can-AM RV in Lambeth, Ontario, to check out the SylvanSport GO. We hitched the unit to a Jeep Cherokee 4×4, but you could tow this trailer with almost any passenger car or SUV on the road today – at just 840 pounds and with a hitch weight of just 75 pounds, GO rides effortlessly behind your vehicle, in its most compact configuration the little trailer slides through the slipstream with virtually no aerodynamic drag, and when you strap on your bikes, canoes, and camping equipment the trailer still retains excellent towing characteristics.
It’s a Camping Trailer…
Our primary focus at RV Lifestyle Magazine is, of course, on the camping characteristics of the trailer, and the GO is remarkably well designed in this area. The entire tent component stows in the sleek roof of the unit, and you simply lower the stabilizer jacks, crank up the corner posts, release the hinged bottom of the roof section (which becomes the front wall of the trailer), fold out the bed supports, and affix the tent material to the frame. It takes about 10 minutes to transform the trailer from its compact travelling mode to the full height tent configuration, and about 10 more minutes to place the interior components – the self-inflating mattresses, the hanging storage component, the table that converts to the centre bed support, and the floor mat.
It’s a Cargo Trailer…
Billing itself as a “Camper – Toy Hauler – Utility Vehicle,” the SylvanSport GO is a very useful addition to your camping gear – thanks to a brilliant design, you can raise the roof and use the trailer to transport a variety of cargo, from motorbikes to kayaks, and anything that has to be transported from place to place. If you need additional height, the roof section can be removed, giving you an open top utility trailer – then the sky is the limit for what you can load – up to 800 pounds.
In cargo configuration the trailer bed measures 81” long x 48” wide x 48” high and has a load capacity of 800 pounds. The trailer rides on 205/65/10 tires with maximum load of 1100 pounds per tire at 50 p.s.i., and the capable torsion suspension delivers a smooth and stable ride. GO has a Control-Tilt deck that lets you load your toys without the need for a ramp – this is especially useful for loading an ATV, or a pair of motocross bikes.
Our contact at the factory tells us that they have used the trailer to transport up to 12 kayaks – that’s a lot of boats for the four-person sleeping capacity of the tent! The ease of strapping cargo to the frame and roof of the trailer is great when you want to carry all of the gear you need for your family.
On the Road
If you are new to trailering, the SylvanSport GO is a breeze to hitch to your car, and it tows effortlessly. Just connect the safety chains and the brake/signal lights to a standard 4-pin hookup on the tow vehicle, and you are “good to GO”.
We towed the GO through the winding country roads in the London, Ontario area, and took it for a run on highway 401. Visibility was no problem at all, when the GO is in Travel Mode, it is low enough to stay below the car’s rear-view mirror, and narrow enough that your side-view mirrors see past the trailer.
For towing when the GO is raised up into Transport Mode, there are four ratchet straps that come with the GO, and you can quickly tighten up the frame in an X pattern front and back for additional lateral stability as you travel with the Top Roof section removed.
At the Campsite
While many of our RV Lifestyle Magazine readers enjoy the full amenities of three-way campsite hookups, there really isn’t anything to hook up in the GO … it is a rather basic camping experience well suited for wilderness adventures.
Your camping gear for a wilderness excursion with the SylvanSport GO could include a portable generator, a portable barbecue – gas or charcoal, a portable toilet, and a portable shower (of course, most campgrounds have you covered for the power and washroom/shower facilities). Solar power would be a great addition to this eco-friendly camper, and there are many units available to suit a range of applications. The self-inflating air mattresses that come with the unit are very convenient and surprisingly comfortable – they take just a few minutes to inflate the first time you set them up, and they become easier to use after a few outings.
At your campsite, you may decide to set up the full, zip-on entrance awning, as shown on the lead photo, or you can save some time and just camp using the basic awning incorporated into the main tent section.
The Bottom Line
The SylvanSport GO is a brilliantly engineered and beautifully built little camping trailer, that can carry up to a dozen boats or bikes or any combination… plus coolers and gear, and it has all of the basic features you need for three-season camping. Much more comfortable than a tent, but not as well equipped as a travel trailer, it fits into a niche that is ideal for on or off-road camping adventures. In a nutshell, if your tow vehicle can go somewhere, the SylvanSport GO can tag along – and that is a huge attraction for outdoor adventurers. Strap a canoe to the trailer and you can go fishing in the wilderness… use a bit of ingenuity, and you can carry a very wide range of cargo and equipment.
The SylvanSport GO should appeal to all outdoor enthusiasts – with its versatile design and sturdy construction, it is a great multi-tasking sport utility trailer, and an excellent value at a premium price.