The marketing material for the GO camper on Sylvansport’s website is undoubtedly impressive. But of course, that’s the purpose of marketing material. The marketing material and specification information that Sylvansport presents details all of the many possible uses that one can put the GO camper to. And I have to say, I was impressed. (For more information on the GO’s specs and features, check out the on review article.)
Marketing copy is one thing, but how a product performs in real life is something else entirely… and the performance of the Sylvansport GO is what’s made me fall in love with it.
It all starts with getting to the campground. Thanks to the incredibly light 850-pound weight, the GO can be pulled by any vehicle with a hitch. Have a towing ball on your Ford Focus and want to pull a camper? The GO is the camper for you! Pulling it with our V6 Ford Explorer Sport, we could feel the weight a little… but it didn’t slow us down. Cruising across the Great Plains at 80 miles per hour was no problem even with the GO in tow.
Since obviously we are mountain bikers here on Singletracks, we are constantly hauling gear and bikes around, and the GO is specifically designed to haul all that gear. We hauled three mountain bikes, a massive cooler, water jug, and a tool box with the GO setup in the tall trailer position, with plenty of room to spare.
However, if I win this camper for keeps, I am immediately going to invest in bike trays to put on the stock rack. While the trailer configuration is nice, for long-haul road trips it’s crucial to keep the bikes from touching the trailer frame and each other to prevent damage. Also, wind drag should be less with the camper in the lower position and bikes on top. Conveniently enough, you should be able to mount bike trays to the stock rack on the camper using universal mounts (i.e., you don’t need to purchase cross bars and towers).
Tongue weight on the GO is only about 70-80 pounds, meaning that it’s extremely easy to pick up and wheel around by hand. Pick it up by the tongue and maneuver it into position, or put down the front support wheel and just push the whole unit around. The ease of movement means you don’t have to be an expert trailer backer to get the camper in the perfect spot… and you might even be able to get this camper onto a tent pad that isn’t even designed for a camper! Check out this video clip to get an idea of how easy it is to move:
Once the camper is in position, it literally takes about 10 minutes to set up. Here are the steps:
- Level the camper.
- Put the support legs down and lock in place.
- Crank the top up.
- Flip sides down and insert support poles.
- Open the tent compartment and lower it down.
- Fasten hooks for tent to trailer frame.
- Insert three tent poles
If you want, you can also put up an awning for shade from the sun and shelter from the rain when you’re not in the camper. But this is no dinky, little awning: the awning stretches out longer than the entire rest of the trailer!
Once the outside is setup, it’s time to go into the camper. The inside of the camper can be configured in six configurations, but we have found just a few to be truly useful:
- If you want to snuggle up next to each other, or want to sleep four good friends or a small family, both of the tiles can come down from the overhead storage compartment. An additional two inflatable camping pads are included (total of four), turning the entire camper into a king-and-a-half bed. However, in this configuration there’s a tiny bit of floor space near the door (with plenty of storage under the bed), but not much.
- The configuration we have used the most is the two standard outer beds with one tile spread across as an end table between them. We’ve found this to be most convenient because there’s plenty of floor space for walking around, standing up, and dressing, and because we feel like the plastic tiles that are used for the base of the pads on the outer beds provide a little more flex and more comfort than the harder white tiles.
- One tile can be turned into a table in the middle of the camper, with the use of a ratchet strap. This is great for eating or playing cards if it’s raining outside (or there are lots of bugs).
This trailer isn’t a mere tent, and it isn’t a full-blown popup camper (it’s not meant to be, either). It’s somewhere in between.
Compared to tent camping, we have loved the extra space the GO affords! We have plenty of room to stand up in the camper, move around, change, store gear, eat, sleep… you name it.
Compared to a standard tent, we have slept so much better in the GO! The level beds, combined with plenty of head space, the super-comfortable plastic base tiles, and inflatable pads, had us sleeping like babies for the entire month that we lived in this camper. My wife usually can’t sleep well when camping, and she commented, “I even look forward to sleeping in the GO!” Hearing that even after three straight weeks of sleeping in the GO is more than enough endorsement for me!
Also, the GO provides additional protection from the elements. While the sides are indeed mostly tent-like, the back side and middle upper roof are constructed from hard plastic. The frame holds the tent securely in place and being up off the ground guarantees that you’ll never get flooded out.
Compared to a popup camper, the GO is much lighter, more maneuverable, and much more versatile. A traditional camper is designed for pure luxury and indulgence, whereas the GO is a versatile piece of high-quality technical gear that is designed to perform well on the way to the campground, at the campground, and on the way back. Add to that the fact that most popup campers easily retail for over $10,000 (some luxury popups breaking $20,000), and the GO outcompetes them in price as well.
Still, with a price tag of about $8,500, the American-made GO (check out my factory tour article for more info) will definitely not be for everyone. But for those who are looking for an ultra-versatile camping solution that can haul tons of gear and is much more comfortable than sleeping in a tent, the Sylvansport GO might just be the perfect solution.
Your Turn: Despite this 1,200 word review, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this camper is capable of. If you have any questions about the Sylvansport GO, please ask away in the comments section below!