The Smart Prepper

Life is hard, it's harder if you're stupid – John Wayne

November 13, 2015

10 Awesome Small Camping Trailers

A boat and a camping trailer combined into one – The Sealander

What a novel idea! I looked at renting a houseboat on Lake Pal a while ago and the cost for one night was near $1000. This trailer allows you to go camping on land or on the water. You can hook up a small trolling motor and go anywhere on the water you want. When the Sealander small boat camping trailer was released it had a price-tag of $20k. I predict this will go down over time.

Small camping trailers - the boat trailer - sealander

Beautiful homemade teardrop camper

I love working with wood. This person did a beautiful job making a wooden teardrop small camping trailer. The teardrops are neat because the don’t create the same low pressure on the back of the trailer like almost all other campers. What this translates to is when you are driving you don’t have a low pressure pocket behind you creating resistance – ultimately making your mpg higher than it would have been with a normal trailer.

Small camping trailer - beautiful homemade wood teardrop camping trailer

Bicycle camping trailer

A very interesting concept, but if I was traveling any distance on bike I think I would just camp on a sleeping pad with a very light backpack. If it rains there are plenty of places with pavilions or just find a bridge and camp under it. I can’t image this is very light weight and easy to pull by bicycle, but nevertheless it’s pretty cool.

Small camping trailers - go cross country on a bike

A trailer Bilbo should have had on his incredible journey

Small camping trailers - hobbit hole trailer

Small motorcycle camping trailer

My dad had one of these motorcycle pop up tent trailers when he first got married. He and my mom used it to honeymoon all over Oregon and Washington. These types of small camping trailers are great because they are so light weight – making them ultra portable.

small camping trailers - trailer for a motorcycle

Australian UEV 440 Conqueror

The UEV 440 Conqueror is the ultimate in off road campers. From the moment I saw this video I wanted one. They use every possible nook and cranny to conserve space. The price is around $62,000, which is a quite a bit above my budget. This camper is seriously badass!

Happy Camper Van

There are so many variations of small camper vans available on the market. I like vans instead of RV’s because the fuel economy of camper vans can be as high as 22 mpg, whereas a recreational vehicle averages around 10-15 mpg. This camper van is simple, but it has lots of features. It would be fun to travel from coast to coast in one of these and just sleep in Walmart parking lots across the way.

The Prius Tent – The Ultimate Cheap Way to Travel

I bought a Toyota Prius last year. I don’t really care what people say about the car – I ABSOLUTELY love it! My wife and I were planning on taking a trip to Florida and back in our Prius. With a $50 foam mattress pad, one of these tents, and at 50 mpg we could have traveled for cheap. Much to our surprise we had a kid instead. I’m not complaining – my daughter is super sweet, but having kids definitely puts spontaneous trips like this on hiatus.

Truck Campers

couple's pan american 2 year tripI read an article on about a couple that decided to take a two year trip driving the Pan American highway. I thought this would be a great addition to my bucket list. I have always loved the campers that sit on the back of a truck. I know they are not the most popular, but if you ever are taking a cross country trip using this type of camper is so much easier than dragging a full trailer everywhere with you. Generally you can park in any restaurant or tight parking with a small truck camper. Even though this is technically not a trailer I count it as one because you can always park this on stilts and drive your truck around if you stay in an area for an extended period of time. A truck can be far more fuel efficient than an RV or an SUV with a trailer. Back to the idea of traveling the Pan American – just throw some solar cells on the roof and take a portable wind turbine with you.

Hallmark Cuchara is an awesome small camper that fits on the back of your truck.

Hallmark Cuchara

Asian Tricycle House

It’s constructed of translucent polypropylene plastic and it retains its strength during folding so it can open up and expand for increased space and connect to other units. This tiny structure contains a kitchen with a sink, a bathroom with a small tub and a water tank, a living/sleeping area with storage and even an attachable outdoor garden. Currently the Kenchikukagu designs are only available to dealers and cost between 7,000 and 10,000 Chinese Yuan or about $1,120 to $1,600.


November 03, 2015

Primitive Survival Shelters


Primitive Survival ShelterIf you are ever in a survival situation you may need to build your own shelter. This is true especially true if you are in a wet or cold area. If you don’t protect yourself from the elements you can put yourself in extreme danger of becoming very ill or dead. As a young boy I loved building forts just like every other young kid my age. I would build forts every time my dad took me camping. As a teenager I built a snow fort and slept in it for boy scouts (see image below). Being an adult gives me more physical strength and more ideas of how to build forts. In a survival situation a fort becomes a shelter. A good strategy of being prepared is to practice. You should practice building a fort. This can also be a great family activity. If you build a fort and sleep in it at least once you will learn from experience things you like and don’t like about your fort. No matter where you go or what happens to you in life you take what you know with you. Your experience is what helps you be prepared for survival situations.  What qualifies a place as a shelter? Here we have some basics of what a shelter should be. Check out these awesome shelters people have built and get some ideas of what you can go try.

primitive survival shelter

What does a wilderness need to be?

In any survival situation the moral can be torn down very easily. There are a few things that help build moral more than others. The biggest moral booster is having a fire. The second biggest moral booster is having a good nights rest, which can directly correlate to having a shelter that meets your basic needs for the night or nights you will be using it.

  • Relatively quick to assemble. Most survival situations you will not have a lot of energy input into your body – AKA food. A wilderness shelter should not expend all your energy to build or you will not be able to continue on with another day’s activities. The decision of how much energy you put into a fort is really determined on a case by case basis. Ask the questions “How long will I stay here?” or “What is the risk of not building a good shelter?”
  • Protect from the harsh elements. In cold areas the wind is going to be your worst enemy. Sleeping in snow is cold, but not as cold as sleeping in the wind on top of snow. A wilderness shelter in that type of environment should block out the wind as much as possible. Alternatively if you in a rainy area you will want a shelter that helps block out the rain. Sleeping in the rain is so miserable. It is like Chinese water torture. I had a tent break on me one time in a freak hail storm and I ended up attempting to sleep in the rain. Needless to say I didn’t get much rest that night.
  • Protect from animals.  Everywhere in the world has insects. Sometimes they are bad enough to the point you cannot sleep on the ground. No matter where you are in the world you will need to protect yourself from some dangerous animal. You don’t need to build Fort Knox, but some type of a fort that creates a deterrent will help you from being easily attacked.
  • Sturdy. If you are above ground because of insects you don’t want the shelter to fall out from under you in the middle of the night, or if you are in the snow you don’t want a collapsed roof on top of you. The last thing you need is to have something go wrong when you are trying to sleep. The frame of your shelter should use the strongest materials you can find.


Check out these awesome primitive survival shelters

Lowland Wilderness Shelter

High Mountainous Wilderness Shelter

Simple Woven Mud Hut

Winter Survival Shelter

Long Term Wood Cabin Base Shelter

Basic Wood A-Frame Wilderness Survival Shelter