RV Review: TrailManor 3023
When set up for camping, the line of TrailManor solid wall, folding travel trailers can range in size (depending upon the model) from 26 to 33 feet in length. Closed for travel or storage they go from 19 up to 26 feet in length. These folding travel trailers combine the best of two unique and very different RV trailer worlds: the convenience of a small folding camping trailer (with its low profile and reduced weight for towing); and the livability and luxury that only a full-size solid wall travel trailer can offer in camp.
TrailManor has been building its solid wall, folding travel trailers for a quarter century and now offers eight models. We recently took delivery of the 3023-model trailer (one of the company’s most popular) and put it through it paces. Among the larger of TrailManor models, the 3023 is every bit as easy to tow and to set up for camp as any of its smaller siblings.
Our tow vehicle was the 2007 Chrysler Aspen SUV, equipped with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine, and it had no trouble pulling the approximately 3000-pound trailer. It should be noted that towing the TrailManor 3023 can be nicely managed by a smaller vehicle such as a mini-van or down-sized SUV with at least a 3500-pound tow rating.
The trailer’s tongue weight did not mandate the use of any kind of load leveling or weight-distributing hitch. Nor was there any kind of sway-control required for no trailer sway or fish tailing was experienced. All we needed was an electronic brake controller installed in the Aspen and we were good to go in a matter of minutes.
A single torsion axle soaks up most of the vibrations and road irregularities, keeping them from reaching the “coach” above when it’s being towed over rough road surfaces. This is achieved by surrounding the shaft inside the axle tube with a hard rubber core that stretches just enough to allow the inner shaft to rotate as the axle works, and then forces the inner axle shaft to rotate back to its original position after a bump or pothole has been encountered. The torsion axle is more expensive, but offers a much better ride than the typical leaf-spring suspensions on most small travel trailers.
LIGHTWEIGHT BUT STURDY
Two design features make it possible for TrailManor to create and engineer this lightweight, solid wall folding travel trailer. First, is the way the floor, roof and walls are built. TrailManor uses a lamination construction process that sandwiches high-density polystyrene foam insulation between two sheets of aircraft grade aluminum. It’s more expensive than stick-and-tin construction, but it reduces weight and offers better control over interior temperatures. The floor structure is bolted to the five-inch rectangular-tube steel chassis/frame that TrailManor builds in-house. To this the lower sections of the walls are lagged. The upper portions of the walls are lagged to the roof structure that has a 1-_-inch crown to facilitate rainwater runoff. The furniture and interior appointments are placed inside, and then last, the torsion-spring-loaded lifter bars that permit almost any adult to easily open and closed the forward and the rear roof/walls sections are mechanically fastened to the upper half and lower halves of the trailer.
A rugged, yet pliable bulb-style rubber seal between the top and bottom halves of the walls holds dirt and moisture at bay, preventing its intrusion when the unit is being towed or stowed. This bulb-seal also provides a moisture barrier between the front and rear roof sections after they are lifted into place in camp. Panels of hook-and-loop-backed fabric are custom cut to seal off spaces on the inside when the unit is set up for camp. You simply press them into the right places, and an airtight barrier is created.
The windows that grace the upper street and curbside sections of the walls are sliders, with the windows at each end of the unit being a jalousie type that permits the bottom portion of the pane to be cranked out to the desired angle. This jalousie design allows ventilation even in inclement weather. The standard roof air vents can be cranked open to enhance natural convection. Exterior UV-resistant ABS shields protect the end windows from road debris when traveling, and each can be raised and used as awnings when a campsite is reached.
When set up and ready to live in, the TrailManor 3023 seemed just like any other high-quality travel trailer we have been inside. The coach-wide galley is a full service venue that is complete with an LPG (three-burner) cook-top, a large stainless steel sink and a three-way-power 3-cubic-foot refrigerator with a freezer compartment.
The cabinets found on the upper wall above the cook-top and above the galley sink are removable for travel. They feature latching devices that permit you to easily slide them into place for camp use, or remove them and stow them on the floor for travel. The wardrobe setup mechanism includes a rail that allows it to glide effortlessly into place for camp use, or over to the center of the unit where the hinges at the bottom permit it to be lowered to the floor for travel. There are two modules that each include a laminated top with a drawer inside that are set into place to create the countertop adjacent to the cook-top when setting up housekeeping. It’s all very easy. To reduce overall weight, the countertops are designed and built using the same lightweight foam core lamination process as found in the walls and floor. The maple finish cabinetry is appointed with polished pewter hardware.
We liked the fact that the main entry Dutch style door was permanently attached in the place and didn’t need to be manipulated or lowered from the ceiling in order to be put into service. Two large platform beds (a queen size at the back end and a double bed at the front of the 3023) glided out easily and into place on low-resistance sliding rails, and bed supports on the exterior were positioned automatically when we fully deployed the beds. And as a safety feature, both beds can be tilted open to act as a pathway for exiting the TrailManor, should occupants need an emergency escape route.
The two bench-style upholstered sofas (one on each side of the TrailManor and forward of the galley) can be quickly converted into beds (yes, six adults can comfortably spend the night). These same two sofas provide seating for dining when the fold-up table (hinged at one end) is swung up and into place. New for 2007, the bench seats are upholstered in micro fiber suede that is visually pleasing, practical and low maintenance.
A full service solid wall travel trailer will always include a full service bathroom and the TrailManor 3023 is no exception. It is totally private, and offers a mini-bathtub/full-size stand up shower, a marine-style toilet, and a cabinet with countertop and lavvy. In less than 30 seconds the hinged walls of the bathroom can be erected and the bathroom made available for service. One of the important features is the marine-style electric toilet that was designed after the kind used in commercial aircraft. Furthermore, this is not a cassette type toilet-its holding tank is dumped through a valve system just as the grey water tank is dumped.
HARDWARE AND OPTIONS
Hot water for the shower, lavy, galley sink, and outside shower is provided by the 6-gallon electric/LPG fueled water heater. Heating and air conditioning is provided by a 20,000-BTU electronically controlled, forced air furnace and a 15,000-BTU roof air conditioner. We should mention that even with the roof air conditioner unit attached, the torsion bar system that raises and lowers the roof accommodates this added weight and does so with ease. A storage pod or rack can also be added to the roof halves.
Two 20-pound LPG bottles mounted on the front tongue hold sufficient amounts of fuel for days and days of camping. Twin deep-cycle glass mat batteries (also located on the tongue) will operate everything aboard that runs on DC for days on end, as well. This power supply can be augmented with roof-mounted solar panels to make primitive camping with the TrailManor a real possibility. The 3023 is wired to support 30-amp shore power, which means that the roof air conditioner and the optional microwave oven can be put into service when spending time in a campsite with an electrical hookup. With several featherweight auxiliary generators on the market though, even the air conditioner can be enjoyed in primitive settings.
Several options are available on the TraiManor 3023 to individualize the unit to the tastes and needs of each consumer. These can include an electric tongue jack, solar panels, patio awning, satellite dish and a built-in 17-inch LCD widescreen television with CD and DVD. A popular feature on smaller TrailManor models is the swing-around tongue that permits the smaller units to be stored inside a residential garage. This is also available on the 3023 and may be a useful feature if storage space is limited. A larger and optional 40-gallon fresh water tank is also offered (the standard size is 20 gallons) for those planning extended road trips.
The TrailManor 3023 solid wall folding travel trailer is a perfect fit for many families who want to begin enjoying the RV-camping lifestyle. The price is right, the size is right, and more than likely you already own the tow vehicle you will need.
Base MSRP: $ 28,770
Price as Tested: $31,467
Travel Length: 22′ 9”
Campsite Length: 26′ 10”
Overall Width: 7′ 7”
Travel Height: 65.5”
Unloaded Weight (no options): 2915 lbs.
Dry Tongue Weight: 409 lbs.
GVWR: 4838 lbs.
Fresh Water (incl. water heater): 26 gals.
Gray Water: 30 gals.
LPG: Twin 20-lb. bottle
Sleeping Capacity: 6 persons
Major Standard Features: Rubber torsion axle with independent suspension, metal underbelly, 10-inch electric brakes, four scissors jacks, 110-volt outside receptacle, 12-volt on-demand water system, Thetford 12-volt recirculating toilet, 6-gallon DSI gas/electric water heater, Norcold three-way refrigerator/freezer, Wedgewood three-burner range with oven, Suburban 20,000-BTU auto-ignition furnace, twin 20-pound LPG tanks, spare tire package, outside shower, front/rear TV/cable outlet, park cable hookup, AM/FM/CD stereo.
Major Optional Features: Air conditioner with heater, awning, TV antenna with power amplifier, microwave in place of oven, hanging kitchen cabinets, electric tongue jack, three-drawer dresser, bike carrier, swing-away tongue, woodgrain vinyl floor, solar panel, satellite dish/TV antenna combo, 17-inch LCD TV with DVD player.
P.O. Box 130
Lake City, TN 37769
/Special thanks to Custom RV of Anaheim, California, (714/630-8410; /customrvsales.com/) for the loan of the TrailManor 3023 for this RV Test./