A little history
Since I was a young boy, I have sought out adventure. I found it exciting to explore new, unchartered, territory; never knowing what I might discover. I grew up in the wild west of Montana and spent much of my time in the great outdoors. As an adult, after becoming a casualty of the bursting dot com bubble at the turn of the century, I relocated to southern Arizona. It was here I added another chapter to my book of adventures. Along with camping and exploring, I discovered a passion for rock climbing. Shortly after moving to southern Arizona, rock climbing graced the top position on my “adventure activity” list. Being a family man with a wife, and children who were fast approaching the teenage years, I didn’t want to lose those outdoor excursions. To ensure my family was comfortable while camping, I purchased a pop-up camper. It was a great purchase that included the conveniences that catered to my teenagers, while continuing to supply me with the tent camping experience; compliments of those canvas walls! As each of my children has moved into those "teenage" years, I have found it increasingly difficult to take longer getaways. To satisfy my appetite for adventure, I started taking shorter, overnight trips, close to home. These quick trips became known as my madventures. Hitching up the pop-up tent trailer, hauling it down a rough road, leveling and setting up the camper, only to tear it down the following afternoon, took away some of the fun and defeated the purpose of the quick getaway. My adventures where often taking me to more remote areas without pop-up camper accessibility. After years of enjoying the comfort of a bed while camping out (not to mention I was getting older) it was becoming more uncomfortable to sleep on the hard ground inside a pitched tent. And so began my search for a solution.
The search for something better
What were my criteria? Most importantly, I wanted to sleep in a tent. Eating around a campfire, telling stories, and sleeping in a sleeping bag under canvas, is what I’ve always envisioned when I think of camping. However, the complex, time-consuming setup can often make it seem like a chore. Then add the hard, uneven sleeping surface of the ground to the camping scenario, along with the stiff, sore muscles in the morning, and camping can quickly lose its appeal. I wanted a trailer that I could keep stocked and ready to go at a moments notice. By reducing packing time, I could then enjoy more camping time. With a pre-packed trailer, there would be less likelihood that I would arrive at my destination, only to discover I had forgotten something essential. A trailer would also free up my vehicle. Once I was at my destination, I could simply unhitch my “camp site” and still have my vehicle available to go exploring. I own a 1980 Datsun (yes Datsun) 4 wheel drive pickup with a whole 97 horse power engine. This requires a light weight, rugged, compact and maneuverable trailer that I could get into tight spaces and easily park at home. I wanted the ease of a quick set up and take down; something under five minutes. With my list of requirements in mind, I was eager to begin my search. After searching high and low, I was disappointed when I came up empty-handed. The closest thing I found was an expedition trailer, also known as an adventure camping trailer. They're tough, easy to setup and provide a lot of storage. You can purchase them with a fold open, roof mounted tent, which I immediately fell in love with; easy setup along with a comfortable mattress, not to mention I would still be in a tent. The problem I discovered is they are built for serious off-road use, which also meant additional bulk and weight, including large, over sized tires. This is a super setup for those who drive a Jeep, but not so great for the Subaru owner. The tent was on the smaller side and I was looking for a unit that could sleep 3 or 4 people.
The Madventure Camping Trailer
In the process of my search, I came across the teardrop trailer. These trailers were first introduced in the 30s, increasing in popularity through the 40s and 50s. When gas prices dropped and the big motor home emerged, the teardrop went by the wayside. Today, with gas prices rising, they are making a considerable comeback as people seek out a less expensive means of recreation. They are compact and contain the amenities of the larger RV. However, they were still missing some of the crucial criteria I was desperately seeking. The teardrop trailer was heavy and the sleeping quarters were lacking the roominess I desired. It lacked the rugged compactness, and that true adventure tent camping feeling that I was trying to find. Although I never found what I was looking for, I was definitely inspired. I decided to design and build my own camping trailer; combining the vintage style of a teardrop camping trailer with the rugged compactness of an expedition trailer. The Madventure Camping Trailer was born!