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Cricket Trailer: "The covered wagon for the new frontier"

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April 23, 2012

The lightweight Cricket was designed for tow by many cars, SUVs and trucks

The lightweight Cricket was designed for tow by many cars, SUVs and trucks

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The Cricket Trailer is what happens when NASA engineering meets camping trailers. This funky shaped trailer is designed to be towed by all kinds of vehicles and offer you exactly what you need without the excess you don't.

Garrett Finney has had a fascination with small, outdoor-connected living spaces since his childhood in the 1970s. He transformed that passion into a logical career path as a NASA engineer working on habitation modules for the International Space Station. But, he later decided that he wanted to apply some of that passion to something a little closer to home. That something is the Cricket Trailer.

Finney has applied his engineering experience toward building a simple, lightweight, flexible outdoor living space for family camping. The Cricket is a natural extension of his experience building small, efficient living quarters for outer space, and many elements of the camper are inspired by his work at NASA.

The basic idea isn't all that new. The Cricket fills the gap between the RV and the tent - along with numerous other pop-up trailers. What is somewhat unique is the level of flexibility and customization built into the Cricket. The Cricket isn't just designed to be any camping solution, it's designed to be your solution.

The Cricket starts off with a thoughtful, lightweight build underpinned by composites and aluminum. By keeping weight down to around 1,300 lbs. (591 kg), Finney and team create a trailer that is flexible in terms of tow vehicle. The company says that many six- and four-cylinder vehicles - including the Subaru Outback, the quintessential American mountain car - have the needed capacity. The idea is that you don't need a big, burly Hemi to tow this thing to camp. The Cricket's odd, unmistakeable shape increases aerodynamics.

As with NASA habitation modules, the focus is on keeping things small and efficient

The Cricket has a wide door for easier access and a series of plastic windows with interior mesh and privacy screens. The hard roof pops open in about 20 seconds with the help of gas springs, expanding head room to 6 ft 2 in (1.9 m). In back, there's a lift gate to make loading and unloading easier and to provide a shady place to sit down and enjoy a beer or read a book.

Inside, the Cricket is sized to sleep two in either folding couch configuration - for couples that don't mind being close - or V-berth bed configuration - for buddies that don't want to share a single bed. Buyers can also opt to add loft bedding for up to two children. There's a rotating table for dinner, kitchen counter with stainless steel sink, clean and grey water storage, drainage, and a 12-volt electrical system. By using some efficient space-saving measures learned at NASA, the Cricket Trailer packs a lot of equipment into a package that's 15 feet long by 6.5 feet wide (4.6 x 2 m).

From there, it's up to you. Cricket Trailer beckons you to "Make It Yours." It offers a variety of options - from basics like a cook top, refrigerator, shower system and portable toilet to more advanced conveniences like air conditioning, heating and photovoltaic panels. The idea is that you decide how you want to camp and make a trailer that meets your needs. Cricket also sells smaller accessories like dishes, tools and storage solutions.

Pricing starts at US$14,330 and goes up from there depending upon other options you wish to add.

Source: Cricket Trailer

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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15 Comments

Is there a picture of it before the accident?

MBadgero
24th April, 2012 @ 04:58 am PDT

Is there a picture of it before the accident? MBadgero, that is funny. :)

I think it is a very clever idea. It seems on the pricey side but still cool. I wonder if one could build something similar but at a lower price?

BigGoofyGuy
24th April, 2012 @ 06:22 am PDT

Looks awful, like a bomb has blown up inside it!

Terry Pardy
24th April, 2012 @ 07:17 am PDT

$14,330?!!!

yrag
24th April, 2012 @ 09:14 am PDT

I'm sorry but aero this is not. Nor is it that light.

I think the designer needs to google NASA aero truck and see what needs to be done to actually make this aero and maybe think about looks. No need for the door, etc looking like that. Put it in the rear where it belongs.

I'm designing my own and have went though the many variations and this one is ok at best.

I do aero, hydro and composites and for no more money, maybe less, this could be done in 800lbs and so aero it would lower mileage little. Just better design.

jerryd
24th April, 2012 @ 09:38 am PDT

Thanks, BigWarpGuy. I think you are right, it has some clever features. But basically it is a tow-version of a VW pop-up van. I like the aluminum and composite construction for reducing weight, but this also ups the price a bit. The complex looking design has to come with complex manufacturing and I am sure this is where most of the cost comes from. And of course it has the aesthetics of the Lunar Excursion Module. I guess they are hoping that, beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all, that they find a high class of campers with poor eye sight.

MBadgero
24th April, 2012 @ 09:45 am PDT

I was pretty excited about this- Mojave National Preserve camping trips towing it with my Chrysler Concorde, then I saw the 14 thousand $$$$ price tag.

Oh well, I guess I'll keep on looking.

morongobill
24th April, 2012 @ 09:56 am PDT

The English do it better. It's too heavy, way too expensive, and unnecessarily complex.

$2k is a good price point, 600 lbs a good and achievable weight. This one is just an expensive gadget.

Ormond Otvos
24th April, 2012 @ 09:58 am PDT

By way of comparison, a brand-new Starcraft Starflyer 10 conventional popup trailer is slightly shorter, 135 pounds lighter, sleeps six, has way more interior space, and costs $5,362.

http://www.generalrv.com/inventory/185135/New-2012-Starcraft--Starflyer-Starflyer-10.aspx

Jon A.
24th April, 2012 @ 10:54 am PDT

I like it, but at first glance it looks like the victim of an unfortunate fender bender - right down to the tail lights in the over lapping side panels!

seth d. ross
24th April, 2012 @ 11:33 am PDT

Dang!!! Who forgot to do the tow hitch up?

ELM
25th April, 2012 @ 04:50 am PDT

I wonder if anyone was hurt in the rollover?

James McAllister
25th April, 2012 @ 12:06 pm PDT

not very modern looking at all. no real innovation even.

Zune Max
25th April, 2012 @ 07:54 pm PDT

A regular pop-up camper is a pain in the backside, at least for me, because it's not that much different than just setting up a tent. Pop-ups are also not usable in any way without the time spent setting it up. The Cricket is usable without the extra height from the pop-up roof. It can also be used to put stuff in to, like a regular trailer, while you move from site to site. The insulated walls also offer much better thermal performance than tent material not to mention nice structural rigidity. Pop-ups also don't have the features like a fridge, sink, shower, power outlets, etc.

A standard camper-trailer of this size is cheaper, but also much heavier and less efficient when it comes to the use of the space (making it actually and effectively smaller inside). Standard trailers are also made kinda crappy by comparison; wood frames, little to no insulation, flimsy wood paneling, etc. From what I can tell the Cricket will far outlast any crappy pop-up or standard ultra-light trailer. The goofy shape of the Cricket is to give the interior a more spacious feeling, an inch here and there makes a big difference, and feeling like you have more space is just as important as actually having more space.

Not sure why they went with a 2200lb axle though ... why not just start out with a 3000 or 3500lb axle? Cost I suppose ...

I've looked high and low for trailer options in this size/class and anything that has any features for comfort and efficient use of space jump up in to the $10K range to start because they are custom made and are of way higher quality than mass produced flimsy campers. I really like the Camp-Inn Tear Drop and Rain Drop trailers ($9K to start to $23K loaded) but they are much smaller than the Cricket and only 200lbs lighter. If you seriously think this is way too over priced then it seems to me that any trailer you look at is going to be over priced and you should just get a $200 4X8 utility trailer, spend $200 and make a wooden frame/roof for it, buy a $100 tent and set it up inside the trailer: $500 cheap-o camping trailer .. I've considered it.

Also keep in mind that an all aluminum utility trailer of this size, weight and quality start in the $5-$8K range anyway. And that's just the empty shell with maybe a single light. I was actually putting together plans to buy a used aluminum, covered, utility trailer (like a Haulmark) and put doors, windows, seating, electrical, etc. in to it and make my own camper. Then I ran in to the Cricket site and the math turned out that I wouldn't save much money doing it myself. Trailers like Airstream start at $40K for the smallest one and that one is too heavy for my vehicle to tow ... plus I don't want to spend THAT much on a trailer.

I wonder how durable the fold out bed/couch really is? It looks pretty solid but lacks mid-way supports. Seems to me that a 6'1" 200lb guy might be too much for it over time.

I also don't really like the way the sales end of the Cricket has bundled some options together to force you to buy some things you likely don't want, or already have, in order to get the things you'll likely want. For example the Road Safety option has the spare tire (want) and also a first aid kit and rechargeable road flares (don't want). The solar electrical option has the solar panels and electrical you need but includes a 400watt 110v inverter that I don't want/need. The bathroom bundle has the porta-potty (don't want), shower curtain and shower hose (want). The shower hose is too short to start with. They say that the host connector is proprietary but can be safely removed so a new or longer hose can be attached.

All-in-All I think that the Cricket "team" has done their homework on pricing and they come in at market rates for what they are selling. If you want something cheaper there are options ... but you will get something that's made cheaper and will not last as long or wear as well or not have the features and basic comforts.

Samuel David Self
17th June, 2012 @ 03:24 am PDT

i have been busy working on a design that is similar in concept,except that i would incorporate a small toilet,shower,and sink behind a sliding 'infinity wall'which would include a small closet and fridge! a 'fold-down' cot would be positioned above the wheelwells on the port and starboard walls. entry would be aft with a 'fold-down' tailgate' and grill post! when everything is 'closed-up', it would 'give the effect' of a 'high-rise penthouse'!

redjeff53
16th September, 2014 @ 10:57 am PDT
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