Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Spartan Luxury

Here's a rig that will redefine your concept of "independent living".

Here’s a rig that will redefine your concept of “independent living”.

There was a rig in camp that stayed for a week or so, and caught my attention. You will soon see why. Jeeps are formidable off-road vehicles, but are very limited as to what they can tow. This one was serious without the bravado of glamour pieces: massive front bumper with built-in power winch, four auxiliary off-roading lights, no top, overhead rack holding at least two spare tires and a spare steel wheel for the Jeep, plus the standard spare on its factory rear carrier. The front bumper projected outward far enough that a fiberglass rod was mounted at each corner to help gauge clearance in tight spaces – a sign that the thing wasn’t just there to impress others. Another clue of actual usage: nobody but nobody spends money on this many extra spare tires just for show. Were they there to offer a more aggressive tread design instead? I didn’t notice, but it’s unlikely.

Okay, the sky is pretty distracting here, but it just highlights the goal of what this rig is all about.

Okay, the sky is pretty distracting here, but it just highlights the goal of what this rig is all about.

If the Jeep was notable, what was behind it was arresting – it was a tiny 4×6 lawn equipment trailer fitted with what looked like a 7×6 home-built box. On that box was mounted a front window, a roof skylight/vent, twin propane bottles, a gas generator, and two spare wheels and tires. A few feet away was a satellite dish on a tripod. The stained wood rear panel was decorated with two bundles of Indian corn. Its dutch door entry had a twin-hinged lower section which appeared to open from a split in the center. A half-moon cutout in the upper door section completed the motif. Also, mounted in one upper corner was a very small residential window air conditioner! No doubt run by the generator, it allows this person to take this tiny, high clearance rig out to some commendably rough areas in the “wrong” season down here and still avoid baking in a box, for as long as the gasoline holds out, anyway. Explore all day, then watch some TV in cool comfort after dinner. Once the cooler night air finally hits, turn off the generator and A/C.

The generator chosen was sometimes running when I walked by, and was in the middle as far as noise levels go. Cheap Chinese loud ones are extremely affordable, while whisper-quiet ones like Yamahas or Hondas are wallet-busters. On the other hand, I didn’t notice a fuel tank either onboard or on the ground while the generator was running. I may have been propane-powered for all I know.

With a combination of practicality, charm, and humor, this little RV apparently gets the job done. I never saw the owner outside to escape the confines.

With a combination of practicality, charm, and humor, this little RV apparently gets the job done. I never saw the owner outside to escape the confines.

I’d be astounded if this was a full-timing travel trailer but still, dollar for dollar, it’s an impressive and amusing way to get exactly what you need at minimum cost. While it’s far from a true off-road trailer, those tend to serve as tent platforms at best, to keep a low center of gravity. A combination of decent ground clearance and minimal overhang should let this little cube get well off the beaten path, though. Just don’t get crazy and tip it too far to one side. Replacement parts are generic, and the typical trailer capacity itself is 1,750 pounds. Should you somehow screw it up royally, jack up the cube a bit and slide in a $450 replacement from Tractor Supply or some other place. Transfer your license plate, plug in the lighting power connector, and go.

The front reveals a generator, propane, and spare tires. A towel over what appears to be a front window offers shading.

The front reveals a generator, propane, and spare tires. A towel over what appears to be a front window offers shading.

What amenities does it have inside? Unknown. Bed, of sorts. This thing didn’t really look long enough in any dimension to lie down flat, so I don’t know how that worked. Maybe a sink, jug of water, and 5-gallon bucket catch basin. Probably a Luggable Loo or Porta Potty-type toilet, since the rig was parked too far from the campground restrooms for a convenient walk. and there’s obviously a TV in there somewhere. Never did notice any cooking equipment left outside, hmmm…

At any rate, this little rig should get you thinking. If you were going out on a regular basis for a few weeks at a time, how much would you want to spend? How much comfort is enough?

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13 thoughts on “Spartan Luxury

  1. What I found interesting was the wheel-chair outside.

  2. Good Luck Duck on said:

    Yes, the wheelchair caught my eye first. Independent living, indeed!

    • Yes, to both of you. My photo of the Jeep does not clearly show its license, but it resembles a veteran’s plate. The strong possibility that this person is disabled kind of redefines what “adventure living” is all about. A very gutsy approach.

  3. Clever and no doubt economical! 🙂

    • Yep. If you wanted to go larger and avoid a cargo trailer to allow for special materials, appearance or construction features, I notice Tractor Supply and others go all the way up to 6×10 for $1,700 or 7×12 for $1,800. All you have to do is watch your weight of materials.

      • Definitely has me thinking that is for certain! 🙂 First order of business would be getting a hitch on my van, but I like the possibilities! 🙂

        • I should mention that these cheapo bare trailers can only hold about 2,000 pounds, so building on them would be an exercise in building light but strong.

          • I know…I would need to do more research but aluminum framing and walls though expensive …hmm thinking thinking! 🙂

            • Steel 2x4s are extremely light because they’re so thin. The wall surfaces to use, I’m not so sure of.

              • Steel is tough yes. I guess I have aluminum in mind because it is not as conductive. 🙂 since I have issues with electromagnetic fields too…ah well! Something to add to my list of maybes! One thing I do not know is how badly my gas mileage would be affected by towing anything. The best I have been show to get out of my Windsor 8 is 12 mpg in ideal conditions. typically I get 10.8 or so.

  4. Camilla on said:

    It’s also interesting that he has two chairs out besides the wheelchair. Wish you could have seen him outside. I’d love to see the inside. Perhaps it’s a she who isn’t very tall? Perhaps he doesn’t need a lot of space to lie down because he has no legs? That rig gets you to thinking for sure!

    • Camilla, I had to smile when I read your comment – I wondered the exact same things! And how does he resolve a wheelchair with the kind of terrain he can reach? But since I value my own privacy/solitude, I’m loathe to go a-knockin’ on doors just to satisfy my own curiosity. Not all mysteries are problems that need to be solved.

  5. Pingback: Update to “Spartan Luxury” | Strolling Amok

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