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Filed under: Family Camping, Special Theme Weeks

Why I Camp in a Trail-Lite Bantam Flier

September 21, 2011 by · 4 Comments 


We have been tent campers for years and there is much about tent camping that we love, especially the feeling that you are sleeping out in the fresh air, with only a bit of canvas or polypropylene between you and the elements. But, suddenly about four years ago, we were struck with the desire to buy a camper. I think it came on the heels of our return from our annual trip out west when, for the first time, we had encountered a great deal of rain, and even some softball sized hail. Coupled with that, on our way home from a camping trip one weekend, we drove by a small camper for sale.

Trail-Lite Camper

Our "Bantam Flier"

We were intrigued by the idea of a traveling “home” that would provide a bit more shelter from the elements, but still have the “sleeping out of doors” feel. Also, we would not be interested in anything very large and this tiny camper really got our attention as it appeared it would meet our need for greater protection in a very small package. We stopped to look it over and took down the information, both the name and manufacturer of the camper and the telephone number of the seller.

With the new Durango

Camper with Hemi-powered Durango

When we arrived home that evening and had unpacked, Terry gave her a call. She explained that what had attracted her to the Trail-Lite was that is was, as its name suggests, incredibly lightweight. According to the seller, it was the lightest weight camper of its length (about 17 feet) made at that time. That had appealed to her as a single woman who would be responsible for hooking up and pulling the camper on her own. Now, as it happened, she was engaged to a man with his own trailer and they would be camping in his rig, which was a bit larger, so she was selling her Trail-Lite.

Ryan, on the queen bed, annoyed that I'm taking his picture

When Terry got off the phone, we discussed the camper and decided to think about it for a day or two. We were attracted by the idea of having a small, lightweight camper. We also liked the idea that the main sleeping area folded down and was covered with a tent-like material so it would be like sleeping in a tent, with an extra cover in the event of inclement weather. During that time, we also did some research on the Trail-Lite Company. Well, as you can imagine, by the time we called her back to tell her we were interested, the camper was sold. But through our research, we had discovered a dealer less than 30 miles from us that sold Trail-Lite Campers, manufactured by R-Vision.

Camper interior

Camper interior

The next weekend had us on the road to the dealer and in three days we had finalized a deal for our own, brand-new 18’Trail-Lite Bantam Flyer. Ours is a slightly larger model than the first, as it includes a fold down queen size bed on one end and a fold down full size bed on the other. It comes equipped with a 3 cubit foot refrigerator, two burner stove, sink, furnace and air conditioner. In addition it has a small bathroom area with a toilet and shower in one. We have only used the toilet on one emergent occasion, but use the shower when we are dry-camping and have a longer hike or climb planned. Trust me, even though it is small, the shower feels delicious after a mountain hike!

Camper set upWe have owned our camper for nearly five years now and are thoroughly enjoying it. We pull it with a 2006 hemi-equipped Dodge Durango. Though it is only 18’9″ long and weighs 3,754 pounds, fully loaded, our previous 2004 V-8 non-hemi Durango struggled to pull it across Iowa during the hot summer of 2010, even though towing capacity was well within its limits. Since we upgraded to the hemi, however, we have had no problems and will probably keep our little Trail-Lite for a very long time.

We were sad to hear several years back that the manufacturer went out of business as we are very happy with our little RV. The one complaint we have, especially our children, is the name Bantam Flier. “Mom why does our camper have to be named after a rooster, rather than an Eagle or a Wildcat or a Jaguar.” But if that’s the only complaint, I think we can overlook it. Just sayin…

For more information on RVs and features, check out Camping World at Find RVs for sale or rent.


4 Responses to “Why I Camp in a Trail-Lite Bantam Flier”
  1. Hello Diane:

    We have been camping with the family for about 20 years now, and our Jayco Eagle looks a lot like your Bantam. But tell your children that the Eagle takes longer to set up. The Jayco Eagle is a hard-top, crank-up camper with pull-out beds on the ends. And we do NOT have a bathroom. We use a small camp potty when absolutely necessary.

    I recount a few of our adventures camping with the family on my blog:
    ~Victoria Marie

  2. Diane Berry says:

    Victoria–I will definitely pass that along to the kids. Thanks for your comment. I will definitely check out your blog!

  3. Dave says:

    29 years of a tent trailer. When no one wanted to camp with Dad, I went alone. In 2006 I found a used 25 ft trailer and an Expedition. How great to have a shower AC and heat. National Forest, Rocky Mountain NP or full hookups, it’s very comfortable. At 70, I decided comfort is OK. My wife even agrees to occasional trips. Definitely your trailer is an excellent upgrade. What about bears? The hard sides seem a little better to me. Also the price was good.

  4. Diane Berry says:

    Hi Dave–Wow, 29 years! That’s terrific! I thoroughly agree that a little comfort is OK–that helped our decision to move from a tent to the camper after all. Glad to hear your wife enjoys it enough to accompany you on occasional trips. Maybe she’ll get the bug like you and have a hard time staying home! Keep traveling!

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