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The Excel II from SunLite Trailers Is a Different Kind of Pop-Up: Camp Wherever, Whenever

The Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycle 17 photos
Photo: Excel Tent Trailers (Composite)
The Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycleThe Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycle
Ultimate freedom on the road means a lot of things to a lot of people. For those for whom it means the freedom to "camp wherever, whenever" in a weather-resistant, quite cozy habitat that's one step up regular camping, SunLite has the Excel Tent Trailer.
The Excel Tent Trailer, or simply Excel II, is a different kind of pop-up. As its name says, it's essentially a trailer, and it carries a fiberglass opening box that serves as the base for the pop-up. The Excel II is a towable that's also a pop-up tent, which means it bridges the gap between larger towables, even teardrops, and the standard pop-up tent you can attach to the roof of your car.

The advantage gained here is that the Excel II can be towed with a myriad of vehicles, from cruising motorcycles to trikes to the smallest cars. Its light weight and compact dimensions make it ideal for that, while its storage capabilities also ensure a decent amount of comfort at camp. But the biggest advantage of this towable is, without a doubt, easy installation.

Excel Tent Trailers have been around for some 30 years, though availability has mostly been limited to the U.S. and, more recently, Canada. Produced by SunLite, which was formerly known as Lees-ure Lite, they can also be found at dealers under the brand name Excel Tent Trailers. That seems like a whole lot of nomenclature for a towable that hasn't changed much over the years – or, at the very least, not in any significant way.

The Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycle
Photo: Lees-ure Lite
The idea for the Excel II is deceptively simple: how can you pack an entire habitat in the smallest footprint, keep it lightweight to ensure towability and compact to allow for garageability, spec it with the basics for a comfortable overnight stay, and make it easily deployable?

The solution is a clamshell-like fiberglass box that holds the tent already set up, so when you arrive at camp or simply decide to pull over for a stop and you open up the box, the tent comes along with the upper part. The roof of the box becomes the floor extension for the tent.

The interior holds a fold-up bed with a 2-inch (5-cm) soy-based memory foam mattress and, depending on which model you choose, a variety of storage options. You still have to fix some rods into position from inside, but it's a trifle compared to setting up a regular tent.

The Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycle
Photo: Excel Tent Trailers
The tent comes with a patented steel frame and Aqualon Edge fabric so that the maker promises you won't be exposed to the elements if you take care of it properly and use it according to the instructions. The trailer rides on 5.38 x 8 wheels with wider tires, with the 2024 model getting Torsion flexi ride 750 lbs (340 kg) half axles.

In road mode, Excel II is 54 by 66 inches (137 x 168 cm), not including the drawbar and the optional storage pod you can put on it.

Once at camp, you get a usable length of 11 feet (335 cm) and a headroom of 6.4 feet (195 cm) inside the tent. There might not be much in terms of features with this habitat, but it's perfectly comfortable for two adults not averse to roughing it a bit. Plus, it allows for sleeping off the ground, which is always a plus.

The Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycle
Photo: Excel Tent Trailers
Curb weight is 330 lbs (150 kg), and you get 30 cu-ft (849.5 liters) of storage inside the trailer, in the middle of the bed and under it, another 17 cu-ft (481 liters) in the storage pod on the tongue, and between 100 and 150 lbs (45-68 kg) on the roof rack, which is offered as an option. All in all, that's an impressive amount of storage for such a compact trailer, which means you can also bring along a cooling box, a porta-potty, and the like.

Starting from the idea that one man's (or woman's) idea of camping is different from the next, SunLite packages the basic concept in four different models. They're not "models" per se, but rather variations on the same one: the Excel II, the Excel II DeLuxe, the Excel II DeLuxe Premium, and the Excel II DeLuxe ICE, which was introduced at the end of 2023.

The major difference between the first three models is in the number of storage options, as all units come with LED lights, a flat 4-wire plug system, awnings, rain fly, and a 1 7/8" ball hitch with a 30-lb (13.6-kg) tongue weight. The ICE variation is designed for winter travels in general and ice-fishing in particular, thanks to the fishing hole access that allows you to stay warm even when you're ice-fishing.

The Excel II is a lightweight tent trailer you can tow even with a cruising motorcycle
Photo: Lees-ure Lite
The 2024 model, which is also showcased in the video below, brings upgraded windows and doors, both of which are now larger, and a dual-tone color scheme. Even those who aren't particular about their accommodation for the night still care about aesthetics, right? So, the latest model allows them to match their towable to their car. The second video at the bottom of the page is of an older model, as a comparison of how much – or little – the Excel II has changed.

The 2024 Excel II starts at CAD$ 8,700 or US$6,599. Neither price includes packaging, shipping, and taxes. The maker promises that it will last 20 years without problems if you take care of it properly, saying they still have 97% of units they sold over decades on the road. That puts the MRSP into context.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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