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Jumping Jack Trailer

Jumping Jack: Jump-up tent trailers

2955 So. Main Street 
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Email: Info @ jumpingjacktrailers.com

Vehicle: Expeditions West: 1994 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

Retail Price of $4995
Delivery Charge: $270
Some options shown are available at additional cost
* Pricing subject to change, contact vendor

Weight :

Dry Trailer Weight: 1,200 lbs. (544 kg.)
GVWR: 2995 lbs. (1360 kg.)
Payload: 1795 lbs. (814 kg.)
Tongue Weight: 198 lbs. (actual)

Key Features :

1. Sleeps 3 very comfortably, 6 with floor use
2. 96 Square Feet of Tent Space
3. Can carry two ATV's on the trailers upper deck
4. Powdercoat Finish
5. The tent sets up in just a few minutes
6. Tent is made from 13oz marine canvas
7. Very comfortable for 4 adults with sleeping pads and table

Expeditions West Product Rating
(Rating definitions)
Quality Capability
Durability Value
Reliability Expedition Rating
Overall Rating

Overview of Trailer use for Vehicle Dependent Expedition Travel

Expedition and adventure travelers typically fall into two categories: "Light and efficient" or "Heavy and complicated". Some may fall in the middle, but it is not typically the case. Payload capacity quickly becomes the limiting factor to the amount of equipment a team can bring. As desired equipment begins to mount and space for it all dwindles, a decision must typically be made to either put the extra equipment on the roof, or pull it behind the vehicle in a trailer.

There are distinct advantages and detractions to both approaches, but I have always preferred using a trailer to carry additional equipment as opposed to a heavily laden roof rack. I have used both systems over many miles of remote travel, and find the end result to be more a factor of personal preference than any real empirical result.

A trailer for expedition travel?:

There are many benefits to using a trailer for expedition travel, especially one that incorporates a sleeping arrangement.

A trailer moves the weight over an additional load carrying axle, providing additional payload (though not GVWR). The trailer also allows the vehicle to maintain a lower center of gravity and wind resistance. In the case of the Jumping Jack trailer evaluated here, the trailer allows for comfortable sleeping accommodations and a payload of nearly 1,800 lbs. While it would not be typical to bring that amount of additional gear along, even a load of 4-500 lbs would be a welcomed relief from the tow vehicle. It is important to remember though that the tongue weight of the trailer must be factored into the vehicle payload.

There are downsides to trailer use though, as backing up or turning around in technical terrain can be challenging, if not impossible. This often requires removing the trailer from the vehicle and rolling it around or winching it through the challenge. Testing and trials with the trailer before the first real adventure is critical to success.

Jumping Jack 6x8 Trailer
Part #1 Trail / Towing Performance
The Jumping Jack trailer in tow
I met up with the Jumping Jack team at the Arizona Truck Expo, and took delivery of their 6x8 tent trailer. I towed the trailer home behind my 2004 Toyota Tacoma. My initial impressions were very positive, as the 1,200 lb. trailer tracked straight and easily behind the truck. Even up to legal highway speeds and a decent cross wind the trailer was easy to pull, and had no shakes or wagging that is found from some designs.

On the Trail :

As Jumping Jack wanted me to test the trailer off-highway, on rugged tracks, I set aside a long afternoon to pull the trailer through my local test track to evaluate its performance. I chose to use my 1994 Jeep Wrangler, which is a much lighter vehicle than the Tacoma, and also has a 30" shorter wheelbase. Again the trailer was a dream to tow on the road, even with a light load (about 150lbs.) secured to the trailer top. The trailer weight of 1,200 lbs is well within the capacity of many vehicles, including the 2,000 maximum trailer load of my Jeep.

The trailer has an overall length of just over 12', which provides good maneuverability on most trails. My test track starts off as a corrugated dirt road, which tested the ability of the trailer to track behind the Jeep. The unit exhibited minimal sway and the torsion axle rating seems well suited to the trailer weight. Even with the tires at full pressure the trailer did not bounce around, and transmitted very little vibration to the Jeep.

Negotiating a large rock outcropping with the trailer

As the trail challenges progressed, the trailer continued to impress. The Jumping Jack trailer employs a torsion axle that provides maximum clearance by using a trailing arm that angles downward and back from the main suspension cross tube. This technology affords a very simple and reliable system and an additional ~2" of clearance over a traditional axle arrangement. However, torsion axles require proper tuning to ensure a good ride and wheel travel for the load. Torsion axles also do not typically require shocks, as the rubber inserts control suspension extension and compression throughout the travel range. While the control is not as fluid and controlled as a shock and spring, the reduced failure points has advantages.

Overall Length (OAL) 144" (12')
Body Length 101" (8'5")
Drawbar Length (body to coupler) 43"
Overall Width (OAW) 91" to outside of tires
Track Width 84.5"
Body Width 72" (6')
Lowest Ground Clearance 13" to axle tube
Ground Clearance at Body 18"
Ground Clearance at Draw Bat 14"
Departure Angle 30 Degrees
Tire Size 205/75 R15
Wheel Size 15x5 White Steel
Storage Surface Area 51 sq. feet
Trail Impressions
After pulling the Jumping Jack trailer through my test track, I would not hesitate to use the trailer on trails up to a 2.5 rating . The trailer is very well built, with large 2x4" main frame members making up the undercarriage. The trailer chassis has a minimum ground clearance of 14" at the draw bar, and 18" at the main unit frame. The trailer also tracks well behind most wheelbases, as the distance from the coupler to the axle hub is 104", similar to most SUV wheelbases. For the trailer to track inside the path of the tow vehicle, the coupler to axle hub distance should not exceed the tow vehicle wheelbase. The only real trail restrictions would be as a result of its size (mostly related to the 91" width).
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