By Tony Barthel
One of the fastest ways to my heart is to take a space and make it more than one thing. For example, the Murphy bed in my own travel trailer. Bedroom at night, living room (and office!) by day. So when reader Dennis N suggested I look at the AntiShanty travel trailer, I don’t know if he realized how intrigued I would be.
The AntiShanty is a super lightweight all-aluminum travel trailer that epitomizes flexible storage and unusual thinking. The design and inspiration come from the overlanding world where rugged build, good insulation and lightweight materials are all cornerstones of success. And this hits all the marks.
Essentially, the AntiShanty line is three different configurations of roughly the same trailer. In its most basic form the trailer is a box, as they all are, with provisions for accommodating the things that make it less of just a box.
There are all sorts of points for attaching things inside and outside – places to hang the gear necessary to facilitate an adventure.
Perhaps the biggest trick this pony has is the roof. It’s comprised of two panels that fold up, converting the box-shaped trailer into a chalet-shaped trailer. But the panels are hinged along the sides of the trailer so the roof makes a pretty heavily sloped cathedral ceiling when deployed.
Triangular panels seal the front and back edges when the roof is up. These are hinged to the roof panels, as well, and are held up with magnets. There’s a screen available to keep the smallest pests out if you’d like to leave the ends open but not invite the local bugs.
Inside the AntiShanty
Inside the trailer is essentially a box with ribs and attachment points along the sides. There are several aluminum panels that can be fitted across the width of the trailer. This can make for a bed when you add padding. Or, if you put some of the panels on the higher rail and others on the lower rail, it turns into a table and chairs. Take the panels out altogether or lay them along the sides of the trailer and you have a toy hauler.
As for beds, there is also one along the ceiling of the trailer if you choose to do this. So you could configure the movable panels so that there’s a lower bed and an upper bed. Each of those would be a full-sized queen bed. Not bad for a 14-1/2-foot-long trailer.
The trailer is fairly simple and basic. But there are lots of options from the company and, of course, you can bring your own goodies as well.
Insulation is something the company is proud of. The whole trailer is built of an insulated and bonded, riveted, hard-sided structure. The roof panels are movable, but are still the same flat, hard build. The windows chosen for the build are Arctic Tern double-pane models.
Much of the trailer is aluminum, including the frame. But there’s a single tube that extends from the tip of the hitch at the front to the tail of the trailer. It houses a 2-inch receiver at the end. This helps make the whole structure more rigid, according to the manufacturer.
Easily add ramps to make the AntiShanty a toy hauler
In the frame itself are cut holes such that you can store a ramp or two in them. These would be useful if you’re going to use this as a toy hauler and need to load motorcycles or that sort of thing. Clever. Since they use a Timbren axle-less suspension, you don’t have to worry about the axle interfering with the ramps, if you’ve chosen to have them.
Since they’ve used this suspension, it means you can have the trailer shod with the same tires as the tow vehicle. So those 17” rims and 35” tires on your Jeep or 4Runner can be the same as used on the trailer. That would make spare tires much less of a concern. Of course, spare tires are available.
There is a lot of thinking that went into this space – including on the subject of resources. For example, there is no provision for propane whatsoever. Instead there’s a diesel tank at the front which can operate the heater and the stove (in models so equipped).
The solar panel is exactly how it should be done
On the subject of energy, the company is using a single Zamp Solar® portable solar panel. But there’s a provision to attach it to that cathedral ceiling panel. This is brilliant because the panel’s up there during travel or when the angle of the roof matches where the sun is, but you can pull it down and place the panels in a spot to maximize their exposure to the sun. Watch for this feature in my favorite features article at the end of the year – this is exactly how it should be done. Son. Er, sun.
Roof-top solar is great, especially for charging batteries during transit. But, oftentimes, we choose camping spots based on finding a shady spot, and that makes roof-top solar almost irrelevant. Rather than have multiple sets of solar panels, this one set of panels solves all the problems.
Depending on the model chosen, the specifications can be quite different. For example, the Pro model includes an air conditioner and a 270° awning that covers the front and side of the trailer. The back of the trailer is a huge panel/hatchback that lifts up so you have that as both shelter and a way to get your gear or toys or even your self in and out. Both that hatchback and the side entry door utilize numeric keypads so you don’t have to bring your keys with you when surfing or enjoying adventure.
Another unusual thing I saw was that there are actually two tongue jacks at the front. These come more from the marine industry than travel trailer. These two beefy jacks are mounted essentially where the tongue meets the body of the trailer. They can be used to help level the trailer and support it. It’s really a nifty and simple and rugged solution, which sort of defines this whole trailer.
The more I see these overlanding trailers, the more I like them. The idea of a flexible, simple but usable space really appeals to me. Funny thing – I believe a lot of RV Travel readers feel the same way as the overlanding trailer reviews get the most traffic, generally speaking.
There are things you won’t find in this trailer – like a bathroom, per se. But you can bring a composting toilet along or a cartridge toilet. Or just stop at the hardware store for a five-gallon bucket and some trash bags and kitty litter.
If adventure’s your thing, this is certainly a viable option in a trailer that seems extraordinarily well made and capable.
One thing I’ve noticed, the better these trailers are made and the more lightweight the materials used in accomplishing that, the more money you’re spending. That’s just a reality of life. I’ve noticed in the comments a lot of people indicate that they can buy many other traditional trailers for the same money, and you can. But they’re built very differently.
I would like to see more of this kind of adaptability and flexibility in more different trailers including more traditional trailers. But, until then, I’ll just pine over these overlanding models.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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