I have never been a fan of strapping a rooftop tent to my vehicle. While they can be eminently convenient a rooftop tent really limits your mobility. When your base camp is your rescue vehicle, your adventure vehicle, and now it’s completely stationary until you pack everything up.
The M-101 Trailer, Cargo, 3/4 ton is a single axle, two-wheel, steel frame cargo trailer designed to be towed by a 3/4 ton or larger truck. A welded steel box body is bolted to the frame. The body is equipped with a tailgate and mounting brackets for cargo racks and a frame for a tarpaulin cover. A steel A-frame is bolted to the frame with an attached one-position lunette, landing gear, and two handbrake levers. The M101 is designed to operate on all types of roads, cross-country terrain, and in all weather conditions. There are no restrictions on the M101 for movement over primary and secondary roads, however, it is restricted to a maximum speed of 15 mph when towed cross-country.
The M101 Trailer, Cargo, 3/4 ton, was manufactured in the 1950s and 1960s as the trailer for the M37 3/4 ton cargo truck. Multiple manufacturers produced the trailer under a series of contracts. The M101 remained in use for decades as a general cargo trailer towed by any of the commonly used military vehicles rated for 3/4 tons or more.
The M101A2 had an updated wheel lug pattern that matched the M880 truck and had tubeless tires.
The M101A3 one-ton trailer was towed by the HMMWV when the HMMWV was introduced in the mid-1980s. To improve performance and simplify logistics, the M101A3 trailer included modifications such as a longer axle and increased ground clearance and was fitted with HMMWV wheels and run-flat tires.
This particular trailer is a refurbished Air Force version with a date of 2009. The previous owner made a few upgrades with the addition of lighter aftermarket wheels, new tires, new shocks, and a new trailer jack with a wheel. They also set it up for a 4 pin connection so it was easy to tow with almost any vehicle.
What made it an even better purchase was the accessories. It has the original jerry can mounts, the trailer bars for the tarp, the tarp complete with clear windows, and the stake sides. It’s fairly rare to get one but to get all 4 is exceptional.
The Hidden Costs
Buying the trailer is one thing but the costs you don’t think about added several hundred dollars to the purchase price.
First, there is the title transfer. Here in MD, that’s a $100 fee. Temporary tags until you get it inspected $20. Fees for various “services” for the privilege of getting your paperwork processed $90. Don’t forget to pay the tax on the purchase price. All that brought it to a nice $235 tab and the inspection is still to come.
Average inspection cost is around $75 depending on the trailer and then back to get the 2-year registration and pay some more fees.
Totally Worth It
If you look at the average price for a fully kitted trailer of this size you are going to drop around $12,000. Most M101A2 trailers can be purchased for under $2000, a rooftop tent for another $2500 or less and do most of the work yourself you can have a trailer custom setup for your needs for under $5000. We will keep a running tally of the build using full retail pricing so you can see what it would cost to build what we come up with.