Often times the coolest things are found when you're not looking for them at all. A few weeks ago on our way to another RV show, we hit traffic- no, more like a parking lot. Lucky for us we were stuck in front of one of those huge strips malls, and in Carson Trailer's lot sat a cool mini travel trailer we'd ever seen before. Time for a side trip; we just had to check it out.

The 2012 10-foot Kalispell Travel Trailer by Carson Trailer piqued our interest due first of all to its small size. Once we looked inside, the amenity-to-size factor blew us away, and we were sold. Weighing in at just under 2,700 pounds, the Kalispell can be towed by just about any light-duty pickup or SUV, and even some mini-vans.

Now, we have worked with the owner-operated Carson Trailer before — its DV-222 FunRunner model is our selfdubbed “Field Test Lab.” Every time we sit down and talk with one of their guys, we learn something new, and they never cease to amaze us. The folks at Carson Trailer build with experience, because they use their trailers on the weekends just like the rest of us. Evidence of this experience shows up everywhere, from the special dirt-resistant windows to the flooring designed with minimal nooks and crannies (making cleanups a breeze), all the way down to the super heavy-duty frame. Off-roaders at heart, they definitely put these rigs through some tough, dirty situations, and they use their experiences to the max.

Construction

Carson Trailer started its life building car haulers and construction-type trailers. They originally built trailers (and still do) designed to be extremely strong and durable, while carrying very heavy loads. This heavy-duty mentality shows up in the Kalispell everywhere you look.

Starting with a fully welded, box steel frame and a heavy-duty 6,000-pound brake axle, the Kalispell definitely has a solid footing. One thing that struck us as odd was the heavy-duty 3,500-pound tongue jack used up front. This travel trailer has a tongue weight of 400 pounds dry. A 3,500-pound jack is overkill to say the least, but if you’ve spent much time around trailers, you know the dinky jack up front is usually one of the first things to fail. This is a problem that has been taken care of, ahead of time by stepping up to a jack that’s eight times larger than it needs to be.

Moving up from the frame is the fully insulated superstructure, constructed using aluminum siding that is almost 25-percent thicker than siding material used by other manufacturers.

Interior

The Kalispell’s interior makes great use of the small space. It’s no secret this rig’s a tiny one, but stepping inside changes all preconceived thoughts.

Everything you need to cook up a gourmet meal is here, including a fullsize refrigerator, a two-burner stove, a microwave, and the kitchen sink, too. A propane oven is also a popular option.

The bathroom layout, thankfully, is not what we expected to see. Many RVs have a “wet bath,” where taking a shower means standing above the toilet and soaking the entire bathroom, as opposed to having a separate room for the shower. The Kalispell is somewhere between the two. You can use the shower without getting the entire bath wet by closing the curtain. But to use the head it is much easier if you’re alone in there, as your legs will be in the shower.

Our model came with only one bed, converted from the dinette, but other options are available. While we were on the Carson Trailer lot, we noticed a 12-foot version with twin queen-size bunk beds, the lower converting back to a dinette for dinner time.

Everywhere we looked we found more storage. It actually was a bit scary how much there really was. There are cabinets everywhere, plus the dinette’s bench seating folds up revealing what looked to be at least another five cubic feet of storage on both sides.

The Kalispell has a very comfortable, cozy feel inside, and believe it or not it’s extremely roomy for its size. At less than $10,000, this rig is a great way to get out there comfortably, without breaking the bank.

Specifications:

Base Price: $9,995 (MSRP)

MODEL: KA101
ENCLOSURE WIDTH X LENGTH: 7 feet 6 inches x 10 feet 6 inches
TONGUE LENGTH: 4 feet
TONGUE WEIGHT (DRY): 400 pounds
TRAILER WEIGHT (DRY): 2,670 pounds
GROSS TRAILER WEIGHT RATING: 5,200 pounds
JACK: 3,500 pounds Drop Leg
AXLE: Electric brake, 6,000 pounds
TIRES: 15-inch radial
COUPLER: 2 5/16 inches
TOW ELECTRICAL PLUG: Seven-way RV round plug
FRESH WATER CAPACITY: 40 gallons
GREY WATER CAPACITY: 22 gallons
BLACK WATER CAPACITY: 22 gallons
PROPANE TANK CAPACITY: 5 gallons
BATTERY: 12-volt marine/RV
FURNACE: 18,000 Btu
AIR CONDITIONER: 13,500 Btu (opt.)
REFRIGERATOR: 6.3 cubic feet, 110 volt/12 volt/LPG
STOVE: Two-burner LPG
WATER HEATER: 6 gallons
POWER MANAGEMENT: 60-amp converter with battery charger

SOURCE
Carson Trailer
14831 S. Maple Ave.
Gardena
CA  90248
310-516-6046
www.carsontrailer.com
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