We borrowed a trailer from Fleetwood RV to provide a home base and shelter for the Dirt Rider crew during the 24-Hour Torture Test and give the Gear Box trailer a weeklong workout of its own. Living out of the trailer meant we would not have to endure the cold, rain, and possibly snow from the back of a pick-up all week long.First things first, we should introduce this piece of equipment. This is a 3 axle, 30-foot, ball hitch class, drop gate ramp trailer. It weighs 10,000 pounds, that’s 5 tons for those of you eager to check your owner’s manual on your truck, and it feels like a train behind you. It’s packed with amenities, and is perfect for motorsport camping.The front part of the trailer is living space with a private room. Also there is a toilet, shower, wash sink, and complete kitchen. The rear is more like a garage that motorcycles can just roll up into. Once the bikes are out, you can double your living space. Couches fold down from the walls, and tables slide into place.Let’s face it, this is the motorcyclist’s dream. The Drop gate ramp isn’t unique to Gear Box, but it is the centerpiece to this type of trailer. Anybody can load his or her bike, by simply and safely riding or walking it right in or out.Our model 300FS had a floor cargo space of about 25 square feet. Including the galley, the floor length is 18 1/2 feet. We packed in 4 full sized bikes for trail work, two full sized quads for the camera crew and one mini bike for pit duties. The cabinets have a top shelf with a secure rail at the edge that was perfect for sleeping bags and helmets. For outside storage, there is a pass-through box in the front of the unit. With doors on both sides, this is a perfect storage for long luggage or things like fishing poles, flagpoles or rolls of Astroturf. There is also a handy little waterproof tub storage in the floor of this large space.It may be smaller in size than one in your house, but this lavatory has an electric opening ceiling vent and exhaust fan. The shower is a stand-in tub, complete with skylight. And there’s a convenient laundry bin built into the wall.The forward bedroom compartment is comfortable. Cabinets line the top of the walls, and there is even a TV cubby. The bed area can be closed off with a sliding door in case there are people still playing in the back while the front wants to sleep. Missing here was the ability to close the door and have standing room; it really is only a bed, there is no floor space in this area.The galley is complete and comfortable with all the comforts of home – microwave, stovetop, oven, sink with garbage disposal, refrigerator and freezer. All are easy to use and well made. Another electric opening ceiling vent and fan, halogen lights, and under counter lights that give the galley a high tech feel. The Gear Box has a whole trailer filter system that produces drinkable water from all the faucets.Living Space is centered on the couch and dinette that easily convert into two large bunks that are actually very comfortable. On the other side, the dinette seats turn into another bunk. Above this is a space in the cabinets large enough to hold a 19-inch television and it’s wired to a satellite dish on the roof. Yes, our unit actually came with a satellite dish installed on the roof. There was also a set of walkie-talkies securely held by a built-in charging unit right next to the side door. The bunk in the rear of the trailer above the cargo space is a queen size, and has its own light for the midnight reader. The ladder is secure and in the center so you don’t forget which side it’s on.Inside and outside speakers make the radio and CD player a big part of vacation fun. Your soundtrack of life can be with you everywhere.On the outside is perhaps the centerpiece of camping these days – the generator. This unit carries a 5500 kW Onan generator that is so quiet that one of our camping neighbors even called it “whisper quiet.” It was powerful enough for anything and everything we threw at it, yet it was easy on gas. Two huge fuel tanks (48 gallons total) should leave you secure in running it for power even in our remote area. The Gear Box has a receptacle in the cargo area for a welder, but also has a clever second use. If your camping buddy doesn’t have a generator, or if you want to share on the fuel bill, he can plug his trailer or motorhome into yours by way of the small pass-through door in the rear compartment.The pressurized tank flush is a huge advantage to a quick and efficient cleanout. No more reliance on gravity to tank emptying. Capacity in these tanks can be monitored inside the cabin electronically to avoid ugly overfilling. We used all the tanks freely, took hot showers and washed a lot of hands for almost a week, and never went above quarter full level on either gray or black water tanks. Of course a family cooking meals, and many more bodies in the bathroom, would change that, but the freedom of these large tanks was impressive.Outside lights are simple things, but what a joy to be able to see around the camp sight. Our unit also had a Colight spotlight with a joystick control. We used this incredibly bright light for checking out the track on the nearby hill the night we rolled into our third location at a motocross park.The RVQ is a great idea. It’s a propane-powered barbeque that mounts easily onto the side of the unit next to the side door. In under a minute we could get it out of the storage, set it up and connect the gas to the speed connector. That is convenience.We did have a few grumbles. The Window treatment was the first. Louver blinds are homey, but these are not our favorite on a moving vehicle. They rattle and they get pushed around by nearby activity. We prefer pull down shades for total sun blackout, and better insulation. The there were the Tie-Down Rings. The cargo space had excellent quality tie-down loops, but simply not enough of them on the floor. However, Fleetwood RV is continually improving the features and so this may not be an issue in the future. They have three choices of interior decor; Party Animal, Bryce Canyon, or Rev Red. Our unit was Rev Red, which features a lot of black. But we discovered it really shows the dust and dirt and is not the best color scheme for dirty adventures.Our time in the outdoors was a total success and the Gear Box serviced us very well at the 24-Hour. We ran the generator often and the heater was cranked up much of the time. The forward compartment door came in handy as we had riders coming in and out at all hours of the night. This Gear Box unit was easy to use, and efficient. Living in the wilderness should not be work, and it wasn’t. The designers have thought of just about everything to support outdoors lifestyles. We had only a few items of dissatisfaction. With so many optional features available for these units, we found you can leave much of your extra equipment at home. You can check out www.fleetwoodrv.com
for more info and a list of current models.An important note: We were lucky to travel in a comfortable and amazingly powerful tow vehicle, a 2003 Ford F-350 4X2 Super Duty Crew Cab with the 6.0L Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel engine and Lariat LE trim package. While secure and stable at freeway speeds, the Class 3 type ball hitch with load levelers makes the ride quite rough in the truck. It’s a trade-off, the load levelers offer stability but add rigidity. I must say that a large truck trailer rig like this one has its drawbacks when in town. The driver has to carefully consider turning radius and overall length in gas stations and restaurants. Another note on large trailers should be made; many larger trailers come with their own brakes. Make sure this system is in good working order on your truck and the trailer. This amount of weight would cause a serious crisis on a grade if the brakes fail.Dirt Rider would like to give special thanks to Fleetwood RV for making our introduction to The Gear Box trailer family so much fun. They also provided the Ford Super Duty dual-wheel diesel to make this package complete. It was a great relief to have the power to handle this trailer.