Life on the Go

by smthng 11. November 2008 09:02

Ok, more like life IN the Go.  The "Go" is my new Sylvansport Go trailer/tent/camper thing.  I picked it up with the Jeep last Thursday in Sidney, OH.  I then towed it to somewhere outside Lancaster, PA and set it up for the night.  A couple of folks have been asking my opinion of it, so here are some initial thoughts...

Towing...  It's pretty much a dream to tow.  I have a 2006 Jeep Unlimited (not the new four-door version, the older two door).  It's basically a Wrangler that's been stretched about 15 inches.  The towing capacity on Wranglers is ridiculously low compared to other SUVs, so the weight of the Go was a big part of my decision (I think the max towing weight of a Wrangler is smthng like 1500 lbs).  In the Unlimited, I would notice that the Go was back there when I hit a bump or when trying to take off quickly (like turning onto a highway), but otherwise it was pretty much a non-issue.  It just sat back there and didn't make a difference.  I think it actually improved my gas mileage, but that might have just been because I wasn't taking off as quickly from stop lights.  Regardless, there really aren't any negative issues to deal with when towing it.

Set up...

Not terrible, but I did have some minor issues.  None of the issues were with the Go itself, but were more related to my not being familiar with it and trying to decipher a relatively "light" manual.  It doesn't explain one or two important points.  I made do, but it wasn't until I got home the next day and went through the setup video (on Sylvansport's web site) that I realized that I didn't have one or two parts of the tent attached to the frame correctly.  Everyone who gets one of these things should plan on having a "practice run" before actually needing to set it up.  Other than the one or two minor issues, set up is a breeze.  It goes together about as quickly and easily as my 4-person 3-season tent.  Take down is almost as easy, but it takes some patience and determination getting the tent back in it's "box".  Just be patient and be prepared to lower the roof a bit in order to reach stuff easily. 

Another thing to note is the stabilizing system.  Four "legs" are used to level and stabilize the Go.  They aren't intuitive.  Again, you pretty much have to watch the video to get it right.  It's not complicated, but it's one of those things that if you don't know the tricks, it doesn't make sense. 



Compared to a tent, this thing rocks!  A flat, clean floor, with no rocks or roots sticking up...  Waterproof... flat sleeping area...  plenty of room to set stuff up and move stuff around...  Excellent ventilation if you need it (I didn't... it was cold).  It's a big unit with a high ceiling though... expect to use a lot of lighting if you really want to see stuff at night.  I have a tent light I normally use that hangs from the ceiling of my tent.  I used that, plus an extra emergency one I had in the Jeep.  I could have used two more to get it really lit enough to read or smthng.  I'll probably go snag a few more before I go camping this weekend.  It's just a big space... one or two wimpy tent lights aren't going to cut it.

Another thing to keep in mind is heat.  I use a portable tent heater in the winter.  I brought it along and tossed in 4 extra bottles of fuel for it.  I can normally make do with one bottle of fuel all night in a decent sized tent.  In order to keep the Go warm, I ate up all four bottles!  I'm sure a lot of this has to do with how big the Go is.  It also doesn't help that the thing is off the ground.  You don't have the ground as an insulator.  If you do any winter camping and expect to run heat, expect to use a lot of fuel.  I'm converting from the little disposable propane canisters to a 10lb refillable bottle (swiped temporarily from my barbeque grill).  That should be plenty.

Finally, keep an eye on condensation... it's a tent.  If you have heat running or people breathing in it, there will be condensation.  Most of it was in the roof pod for me.  It's just smthng you need to keep in mind.  Expect to give it time to air out in the morning or plan on drying it out back home.  There's no way I'd leave it packed up damp, it's too much of an investment to risk mold and/or mildew.


I'd be lying if I didn't say that this thing rocked. ;)  It really is the bees knees for vehicle camping.  I've got a three day Jeep trip this weekend.  I'm just as stoked about using the Go as I am about getting the Jeep out on the trails.  Being able to bring a lot more camping gear is going to make a huge difference to my comfort (I can tow it all on the Go instead of cramming it in the Jeep). 

I'll post up some more detailed pictures and descriptions from that trip after it happens.

One more thing...

I'm sure each state it different, so check what your requirements are for titling and tagging it.  I had a really hard time dealing with Virginia's DMV.  At the DMV office, they wouldn't give me a temporary tag to go get the Go because I didn't have a title for it.  Duh... I don't get the title until I pick up the trailer.  It turns out that you can just print a temporary permit from the DMV web site right here.  No VIN or title needed, just make sure you get a bill of sale or delivery receipt. 

Same goes for the real tag and title... The DMV folks normally won't do it without a bill of sale stating the paid purchase price and date.  Luckily, I got a rep that was exceptionally cooperative and just said "It's okay, I'll let it go this time" whenever I didn't have smthng that was needed.  Trust me when I say that this is the first time I've EVER gotten a cooperative DMV rep.  Don't bank on it happening to you.  You need the Certificate of Origin signed by the seller and assigned to you.  You also need a completed bill of sale showing price and date of purchase.  That should be sufficient for your purposes. ;)

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About smthng

Just a guy who digs Jeeps, photography, podcasts, sci-fi, running, motorcycles, and stuff.