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RV Review: SylvanSport VAST trailer—true innovation

For some time now I’ve been watching videos of the SylvanSport VAST trailer, eagerly hoping to see one in person. So what’s the big deal? Well, at the inaugural RVX trade show a number of industry folks voted the VAST the #1 trailer for outdoor adventure. Nice start.

The VAST is a unique take on a trailer for the outdoor life. Essentially it looks like a green box trailer with huge windows on the side. Inside it’s much more than that. The first thing that surprises people is that the VAST features two actual queen-sized beds.

One of those two beds is comprised of an L-shaped lounge bench that slides rearward and has a folding back rest. When made flat, it turns into that promised sleeping surface. The second is on a power lift mechanism and motors down from the ceiling. The two beds are stacked sort of like bunk beds when they’re in sleeping position.

But wait, there’s more. On either side of those beds are huge European-style Lexan dual-pane windows along with another of these windows on the rear lift gate. Yes, lift gate. Like in your SUV.

Those European windows can be tilted upward and locked into place so, essentially, you have a huge pass-through port into the side of the trailer. I can’t be the only one who thought of a coffee trailer or catering trailer.

These windows have both a screen and a privacy shade that disappears or can be deployed individually or as a pair. That means you could have half the window covered by the shade and the other half covered by the screen.

As having a lift gate might imply, the VAST can store a bunch of cargo in the back. This single-axle trailer also can store some of those adventure toys you’re wanting to bring with you. But the interior isn’t the only place to store stuff.

There are also sliding racks on the road side of the trailer where you can hang kayaks or surf boards or things of that nature.

Kitchen magic in the VAST

Surprisingly, I haven’t gotten to all the innovations in this trailer just yet. The biggest one is the kitchen, which is on a downward-sliding system. When the kitchen is “up” you can access the two-burner stove, sink and cooler-style fridge along with the microwave inside the trailer, as you would expect in a travel trailer.

But you can then slide the entire kitchen down so that it’s outside the trailer and now you have that same kitchen outside. Same functionality and all, and the downward sliding mechanism means that it’s all at the proper height, as well. It’s absolutely brilliant.

More magic

But when that kitchen is in the down position, the bathroom transforms from a simple toilet and fold-down sink to a full dry bathroom with a walk-in shower.

When the kitchen is up, even in road mode you still have a proper toilet and sink in the bathroom, albeit a drop-down sink. But not a wet bath despite the smaller size of this trailer. This has to be one of the more brilliant uses of space conversion I have seen in the RV industry. But SylvanSport is a company that truly thinks outside the box.

Outside the box on the VAST

Speaking of thinking in this outside space, there are racks on the road side of the trailer so you can tote kayaks or bicycles and that sort of thing out here. Again, this means that you have full use of the interior of the trailer despite the fact that you also brought two kayaks along.

Having the racks on the side also means that you don’t have to figure out how to lift the kayaks onto the roof of the trailer—as you would with so many other rigs that have racks on the outside.

But that big hatchback at the back does translate into storage inside. The bed/couch can slide forward, leaving enough space in the rear for a couple of eBikes, for example. Or whatever adventure gear you have.

Yet, you still haven’t lost the functionality of the interior. There is still as much seating in here as there was before you loaded that gear.

Other innovation

When I got to speak with Tom Dempsey, the lead visionary at SylvanSport, he also mentioned that this trailer is outfitted with the NoDirtyWater filtration system, which is an advanced water filtration system. This one is built in.

Another nifty thing is the lighting on the ceiling of the trailer. Yeah, yeah. It lights up, but you can also tie it to your smartphone and change colors and such. Further, you could even set it up to react to the music that’s playing, if that’s your thing. I dig this.

What’s missing

While a lot of RV manufacturers make a lot of noise about innovation because they painted their cabinets black this year (yuck), this truly is an innovative trailer. The kitchen, the variable interior space, the outside racks, the build methodology. It’s different. And better.

But this isn’t the trailer if you’re a schnickelfritz. You’ll be sad because there is no hanging storage. In fact, there’s not a lot of designated interior storage. Now, you could use totes and there’s certainly space for those, but this isn’t for everybody.

There is a big storage bay at the front of the trailer. All that stuff we trailer folk need such as Anderson wedges and water hoses and such can go up here. Also, the space is plastic so no worries about rust. But that storage cabinet also is on a sliding mount so you can slide it forward. That’s where you’ll find the propane tanks as well as the spare tire. This keeps the spare in great shape and also keeps naughty campers from helping themselves to your propane tanks.

In summary

If you want to be inspired by the kind of innovation that goes along with this trailer, I had the privilege of interviewing Tom Dempsey, which you can hear here. That company also announced an all-electric motorhome long before Winnebago and Thor made mention of theirs. I also love the gadgets from this company, including the Waylight.

Considering the relatively small exterior size of this rig yet incredible functionality it features, this might be one of the most innovative RVs you can get. There are a few downsides. But for the right customer, this is truly an incredible trailer.

SylvanSport Electric Motorhome

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.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong 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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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Kitchen slide
Sit/sleep system
Cargo/storage
No hanging closet

SUMMARY

The Sylvan Vast is one of the most innovative and unusual travel trailers out there solving many of the issues with space utilization that face most smaller trailers.

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Larry Lee
7 months ago

4 people at 150 pounds each plus LP and some water and it is overloaded without any gear added. Sorry Tony but that is a bad desugn no matter how innovative it is.

Don
7 months ago

Brilliant concepts, but they should increase the load capacity – which should just be a matter of upgrading the suspension/tires.

Ray
7 months ago
Reply to  Don

Agreed. I love the slide out kitchen innovation, but the trailer looks really low to the ground and prone to drag passing over unlevel entries/exits.

RV Review: SylvanSport VAST trailer—true innovationThe Sylvan Vast is one of the most innovative and unusual travel trailers out there solving many of the issues with space utilization that face most smaller trailers.