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RV Review: Western Range Camps have shepherd history

RV companies have their roots in all sorts of places, but I bet you haven’t seen a company who started by building sheep camps. Yet. But that’s exactly where Western Range Camps had its roots. They continue to build sheepherders campers but now can build one of the same caliber for us RVers. 

Western Range Camps

Headquartered in Mount Pleasant, Utah, Western Range Camps started out catering to shepherds as the company founders were in this profession and had several Camps (trailers) but needed several more. The format and configuration of these hasn’t changed in generations. Many of this style of camper have stayed in the family for generations. 

The company today builds to the same standards that have proven successful over many generations, but uses modern methods for doing so. For example, today the company employs modern CNC computer-based routers to make cabinetry and interior components. 

But the walls and chassis are done how they have been for some time. 

Western Range Camps are custom-built and heavy

Starting with the steel chassis these are custom-built by the company to their specifications. Then they employ 2X6 flooring and use rolled insulation between the layers. 

Wall construction is half-inch plywood with 3/4-inch bracing and then 3/4-inch foam insulation. The corners are 2 X 2 steel angle iron. The entire floor is enclosed in sheet metal to keep rodents out. 

Yes. These are heavy trailers. But their design originated in being used heavily in a harsh environment. Oftentimes one of these Camp trailers will spend months in the field as the sheepherder tends his flock. The interiors have to withstand heavy use, and the exteriors have to withstand whatever weather Mother Nature chooses from her palette of climatic challenges for the day. 

Tradition continues

One of the things I noticed is that heating for many of these is done by a wood stove. Again, tradition. But you can opt in a propane furnace if you so choose. 

In fact, there are all the modern amenities available you might expect in an RV. These include propane-electric refrigerators, propane stoves, air conditioners and even fancy indoor plumbing. 

As to plumbing, there are several paths you can take with these. You can opt for a simple system that draws from a portable tank. But there are also options to have your typical RV plumbing system with fresh, gray and black tanks. 

Typically, if they do this type of system, the 40-gallon fresh water tank resides under the bed inside the trailer so that it’s resistant to freezing. The black and gray tanks ride underneath, but with 12-volt heating pads on them. 

You can also opt for things like composting or cassette toilets. 

Options

One of the hallmarks of Western Camps is that each trailer is a unique machine. The company works with the prospective owner to build exactly what they want rather than have every trailer be the same unit. 

So there are options like decks on the tongue of the trailer, cargo bays that can swallow a side-by-side, propane-fired furnaces, wood stoves, multiple sleeping surfaces and more. Yes, there are standard floor plans, but you can really tailor the trailer to what you want. 

What is typical from model-to-model is that these have very high ground clearance—24” being typical. They are designed to go places where there may not be anything even thought of as a road. 

In speaking with Heidi at Western Camps she is a camper herself and said that she recently spent some time camping with a few others. Her Camp doesn’t have air conditioning and she found it to be so well insulated that it didn’t need air conditioning, whereas others were upset when generator hours were over and they had to suffer in the heat.

In Summary

While these trailers aren’t for everybody, they absolutely serve a purpose. Plus, they would appeal to folks who might not be thrilled with how mainstream RVs are built. 

Since each unit is unique, the company can also customize details of the trailer. Heidi indicated that they have built trailers from as short as 19’ to as long as 47’ in length. Sleeping, storage and other components are customized for the owner. While the price indicated on the chart might be an average, the price also varies based on the size, options and details chosen by the customer. 

Incidentally, they also build a chassis that’s more like a wagon chassis with the wheels at each end of the trailer rather than in the middle. I’ve wondered why this wasn’t a more common thing in the past. Apparently, they’re quite difficult for most folks to back up. So while there are advantages in weight bearing, there are enough disadvantages with backing and behavior on highways, so that’s why you never see them. 

Western Range Camps builds an unusual trailer

When it comes to building an unusual and quite solid trailer, you could say that Western Range Camps isn’t sheepish about doing so. I hope you don’t dislike this final paragraph and force me to go out on the lamb.

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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Build quality
Off-road capability
Insulation
Limited availability

SUMMARY

Western Range Camps is a company that can trace its roots back to building shepherd's cottages and continues building in that tradition even as the line expands to include offerings RVers would be interested in.

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Bryan
7 months ago

We saw these sheep trailers out west…love them. They are built tough. You can drag them anywhere. High clearance.

Don
7 months ago

I ran across a guy with one of these in A casino campground. I forget what he did for a living, his wife was (I think) a nurse, when got a long break on her shift rotation they would take off in the trailer. Very unique unit, had a front porch over the tongue. The interior was fully to his spec, all hardwoods and his layout. This was a really well built unit, heavy, but rugged like the military would have specified.

Steve
7 months ago

PS–you don’t need AC to sleep at night in the Rockies, which is where sheep herders still spend their summers. Just open a window and make sure you have a warm blanket and a heavy bedspread and you will sleep like a baby!

Steve
7 months ago

If they built it with a “Vee” (wedge) front over the tongue, it might have a little less drag. And that new “compartment” could house two 30# propane cylinders and, in a heated portion, a couple of 24v lithium batteries and a 2000w inverter-charger. Maybe eight 100w, 12v flexible solar panels wired in series-parallel in 4, 24v pairs might easily be made to fit on that curved roof and provide most of your power requirements for a nice, long boondocking stay. Especially with that wood stove and composting toilet!

Just add a Hummer H-2 or Toyota Land Cruiser to tow it. Then you would have an “Overlander” that you could park in a very rugged, remote site. But you could still drive 50 miles to town and park in a normal parking space when you have to buy food and get water. You might even be able to boondock in one spot for a month or more in a rig like that. The sheep herders spent months by themselves with only a herd dog for companionship–no TV, cell phone, or Internet!

Donald N Wright
7 months ago

This is a well designed unit. Little wood stove a good idea. All practical ideas,

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago

I like this unit better than some of the “RV’s” you’ve reviewed in the past.

Bob p
7 months ago

Had all the roughing I’ll ever need thanks to the USMC. No thank you.

Spike
7 months ago

A very interesting review. Thank you.

If my wife and I were ever to go back to a towable some day, we have decided we would be using a “custom” builder versus purchasing any of the low quality junk manufactured by the big names.

From the prices we recently saw at an RV show, this company is not charging much extra for a custom design and real quality.

Les
7 months ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Tony, please elaborate!

Traveler
7 months ago

I wonder how insurance would look upon the wood stove? I’d be so much warmer than propane heat!

Travis
7 months ago

Make a nice hunting cabin on wheels. Looks top heavy but I would assume these type units don’t see much highway time.

Don
7 months ago

Wow! A truly unique trailer, but as always you pay for what you get…

Primo Rudy's Roadhouse
7 months ago

A Special trailer built for a limited special customer with specific needs. A lot nicer set up that the sheep herder’ I had seen in my youth. The layout brings back memories of those days.

RV Review: Western Range Camps have shepherd historyWestern Range Camps is a company that can trace its roots back to building shepherd's cottages and continues building in that tradition even as the line expands to include offerings RVers would be interested in.