I’m surprised how many readers continue to find my articles on turning a cargo trailer into a camper. But one of the more common things that happens is folks get interested, as I have, and then realize that the process of taking an empty box and turning it into a proper camper is much more involved than originally anticipated.
I was recently turned on to the Stealth Nomad series of travel trailers. They are built by Stealth Trailers, a company that has a long history of building cargo trailers and car haulers. The Stealth Nomad is a toy hauler that has many of the features you would normally associate with a cargo trailer, but with the functionality of a travel trailer.
Looking at how most RV trailers are made, they start with a chassis designed for a travel trailer which often focuses on being light weight. From there the pieces of the trailer are mounted to the chassis and, voila, you have a trailer.
Depending on how the body of the trailer is made, you can either get a wood frame to which aluminum skins are mounted, or a laminated sidewall comprised of aluminum ribs and a fiberglass outer wall.
On the other hand, a car hauler, which is a trailer designed to haul your classic or other car, is different. Obviously the frame has to be able to withstand the weight of the trailer plus the heavy cargo inside. So, too, does the suspension.
The Stealth Nomad is a very strong trailer
The Nomad starts with this heavy-duty frame but then a steel cage is welded to that, including steel ribbed ceiling/roof. From there, aluminum sheets are bonded to the steel and then the same “block foam” insulation (it looks like styrofoam) that is used in laminated trailers is fitted.
The roof of the trailer is also different from a normal travel trailer, being a single sheet of aluminum.
Rather than sourcing the frame itself from an outside supplier, the Nomad’s frame is built right in-house by Stealth Trailers.
The suspension is a torsion axle suspension which has no leaf springs. Instead it uses torsion bars mounted in a rubber block and then surrounded, again, by steel tubing. I like this type of suspension and there are travel trailers and fifth wheels that use it, but it’s not very common.
The bottom line of this is that you get a very strong trailer, in general, with a frame that’s stronger than many travel trailers. Plus you get suspension that minimizes road shocks while also requiring less maintenance.
What’s inside the Stealth Nomad
The first thing you’re going to notice is that the bias between a trailer designed to haul and one designed to be luxurious is definitely biased toward the hauler side of the equation in these units. Travel trailers are typically outfitted more like houses with cabinets that either are wood or look like it, and finishes and upholstery that are very “homey.”
The Nomad is not this. The interior looks like it was built by a company that builds cargo trailers with finishes that match the exterior of the trailer. The cabinetry is framed in aluminum and the surfaces are colored to match the trailer.
Unlike most travel trailers, the Nomad is available with a variety of exterior colors from somewhat bland to quite lively including things like bright reds, matte black, blue and such. This is extended to the interior, as well.
Some of the folks I’ve seen who have turned cargo trailers into travel trailers or haulers have really done an outstanding job of making their creations feel very, very homey, indeed. But in many cases, what I’ve seen is that some functionality that you’d expect in a travel trailer isn’t there yet, or isn’t planned for at all. Many times the home-built conversion from cargo trailer to travel trailer is missing out in some key functionality, often related to plumbing and wiring.
That’s not the case here, where there are all the functions you’d need for life on the road. You’ll find a stove, propane-electric refrigerator, bathroom with shower and all of those things.
The Stealth Nomad—Friends with benefits
For those of us who have the idea of taking a cargo trailer and turning it into a travel trailer, the good news is that the Stealth Nomad has done all of that and done so professionally so that you could take it to an RV park. Or get it insured. And financed.
One of the big disadvantages of crafting one’s own trailer is the fact that you can’t normally just get a loan to cover the entire build. Sure, there are ways around this, but you’re typically not getting an RV loan if that’s what you need. With having Stealth build the whole thing, you can utilize normal RV financing to get a completed trailer because, well, that’s what they sell.
You can also use the insurance company you planned to use for your travel trailer. Also, the warranty covers the entire build as with any travel trailer, rather than your having to be your own warranty department if you do a self-build.
In fact, owing to the way these are built, the company stands behind them with a three-year structural warranty.
Most of the RV resources that I look at refer to distinctive graphics, innovative features (they’re not, they all come from the same suppliers), and residential interiors. But Stealth’s information on the Nomad series uses quite a bit of their information to talk about the steel and welded construction used in the trailers, the suspensions, the build quality and the durability.
You can get the Nomad in a variety of lengths—from one that would be quite sufficient for a few eBikes to one that could literally swallow your Jeep or classic car. In addition to the hooks in the floor for tying down that cargo, you can also get eTrack all over.
One of the things I noticed is that the vast majority of the company’s floor plans feature convertible or HappiJack beds as the main sleeping area. But there is a range of models that feature a proper queen-sized bed, as well. So, the one I will be looking at is the Queen Bed floor plan, the shortest of which is the QB24.
This trailer features a 12,000 pound GVWR, which leaves more than two tons of cargo-carrying capacity. There’s a queen bed in the V-nose up front. On board are 53 gallons of fresh water and 43 gallons, each, of black and gray capacity.
This model also has a 10’ interior cargo length, so I could easily set up an office and also carry my eBikes.
But I could also tell that my wife’s sense of style wouldn’t jive with the interior from the factory. But we could use things like Spoonflower temporary wallpapers to make it more “homey.” The advantage of these is that we could use the type that’s removable, so if our tastes change, so could the trailer.
I think a trailer with aluminum-framed cabinets would very likely last quite a long time. The flexible interior design would match our camping styles even as those change over time. They certainly have since we bought our last new travel trailer just five years ago.
Stealth Trailers brags about their build methodology and quality
As the son of an engineer, I also appreciate that Stealth Trailers brags more about their build methodology and quality than anything else. True, there are aspects of this trailer that aren’t universally appealing. For example, I do wish that the ramp door had the option of being a patio. But I could see this being a really smart alternative to a home-built cargo trailer conversion, especially when your abilities or time constraints mean building your own trailer might not be a reality.
There are only a very tiny number of companies in the RV space that really detail how their trailers are built and, usually, that’s because they are proud of how they’re built. The Stealth Nomad series absolutely falls into this category and I am very intrigued by these units.
No interior photographs
One thing—There were no photographs available of the interiors of these trailers. I have included a company-provided video that shows a walk-through.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
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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