Thursday, September 28, 2023


RV Review: Armadillo Backpack Travel Trailer

By Tony Barthel
For those RVers who want a simple, lightweight RV, perhaps the Armadillo trailer might be a good choice. What’s an Armadillo, you ask? Let’s find out. 

Some folks might remember the Boler trailers from the past as a very compact and lightweight single-axle fiberglass trailer. In some ways, you can’t help but draw similarities to the Casita and the Oliver lines of trailers. This is a similar idea in that the exterior is made of two fiberglass “tubs” that are attached in the middle. This is the way that boats are made. The advantage is that there are fewer opportunities for leaks to develop. 

There are a number of floor plans that are comprised in the Armadillo and Backpack models, which share an exterior shell but different interior layouts. 

But let’s look at the Backpack model with the front kitchen, as that’s my personal favorite. 

You can get these trailers without a toilet, shower or even hot water provision if you so choose. As mentioned, to some, simpler is better, and super simple is best. 

But that front kitchen model does feature a portable toilet in a closet so while there’s no black tank, per se, you still get the five gallons in a cartridge toilet and you could get more than one additional cartridge if that’s a priority for you. 

Up front there’s a two-burner cooktop, a stainless steel sink, and a small 12-volt DC refrigerator. By my thinking, this would be a great refrigerator for all those outdoor kitchens that offer 120-volt AC refrigerators. 

The entire back of the trailer is a big U-shaped dinette. When you fold the table down it becomes a big king-sized bed, which is quite a feat in a trailer whose exterior dimensions are often significantly smaller than the actual tow vehicle. 

For anyone who remembers the Boler trailer, the interior was basically like a car headliner so all the cabinets and such had to mount to the outside of the trailer, essentially. Armadillo is particular about this kind of thing so their trailers have a layer of insulation and an interior wall. The cabinets inside are mounted to that interior wall. 

Colors of the rainbow

Those cabinets are all made of man-made Arborite®-finished material. Armadillo makes no illusions about these being some fancy wood from some exotic place. However, since this surface can be covered in almost any image or pattern the customer wants, you can have the cabinets take on the color of whatever wood you prefer, if that’s your choice. 

Armadillo will work with you not only on exterior color but also finish on the cabinets. In other words, you could have fuchsia everything inside and outside… Your choice. 

The interiors of this are fresh and modern and the colors make a difference, especially because you can customize it to the color of your choosing. This is very different from the Casita, which feels dated to me.

And while on the subject of color, there’s a color-changing LED strip around the belt line of this trailer. It’s a bit disco-ey, and not to my taste, but I believe you can also set it to a single color and just leave it there. 


As long as we’re outside, let’s take a look at the number of things Armadillo has done that are worth noting. 

The company uses a Dexter TorFlex suspension system. 

There is a huge optional drawer that slides underneath the trailer. This stainless steel drawer is literally as long as the body of the trailer with a flip-up section and two open sections. This is a brilliant idea!

The bumper of the trailer swings away like a door to let the drawer open and on that bumper is a receiver hitch for the spare or, perhaps, lightweight rack to hold a bicycle or some such thing. It’s absolutely ingenious. 

Once that tire is out of the way, you’ll see an optional outdoor shower with hot and cold water, assuming you chose to option this with a water heater. This is the only shower in the trailer and you might consider a privacy tent if you’re planning to fully utilize this feature. Or not. Impress your fellow campers at your own discretion. 

Another thing that really caught my eye is the optional canvas awning. It’s a super light awning and folds out to be longer than the trailer itself. It’s sort of like a tent in its design and the light weight doesn’t stress the fiberglass shell. There’s also a batwing awning that covers both the side and far end of the trailer. The company also offers a Rhino roof rack system. 

Armadillo steps up the way they do things by offering a variety of colors and finishes in their trailers. For example, you can get the lower portion of the trailer in all sorts of colors and they also offer a variety of wheel choices.

In its simplest form, this is a basic trailer. The water heater, air conditioner and other features you might take for granted are actually just options on this trailer. But it’s also small, light and well-built, and gives the buyer a lot of choices of finishes and colors. 

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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Fill out this form and let us know!

Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.


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2 years ago

No grey water tank? Where does grey water go?

1 year ago
Reply to  Michael

Greywater goes out a hose either into the RV sewer at the campsite, or into a container you provide

2 years ago

Scamp trailers from Backus, MN also are in this category. They’ve been around since the 60s. The Eveland brothers split up and formed the two companies, Casita and Scamp. I bought a brand new Scamp 13′ in 79 and towed it 13,500 in 72 days of leave with my 73 Fiat 124 wagon.

Donald N Wright
2 years ago

This is a cute little trailer. Wish it had a rear door instead of a side door so you could put your bicycle or Kayak inside.

1 year ago

You can mount a bike rack or similar onto the hitch at the back of the Armadillo trailer. Or see Happier Camper HC1, which has a rear door.

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