2015 Shasta Airflyte Reissue: Firsthand Report

Recently my wife & I got the opportunity to view firsthand one of the 2015 reissued 1961 Shasta Airflytes, courtesy of Mount Comfort RV in Greenfield, Indiana. To say the Matador Red Airflyte we toured was was a work of art is an understatement. Shasta RV hit a home run with it and the fact that there are very few left of the 1,941 16′ and 19′ trailers speaks volumes for how this venture by the Forest River subsidiary has taken the RV industry by storm.

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Ken Eckstein is owner and chief operating officer of Mount Comfort RV and started in the industry in the 1970′s washing RVs for a local RV dealer. He’s been everything from a technician to a salesman to an owner. He told me, “In my 40 years in the RV industry I’ve never seen anything like this”, referring to the reissued Shasta and its overwhelming popularity among the RV public.

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Overall my impressions of the finished product are positive. The novice will be fooled into thinking it’s original, and even the seasoned vintage trailer enthusiast will have to take a few looks to figure out if it’s new or classic. Many of the details were replicated to that extent. Many features were meticulously modeled after the 1961 Shasta it is based on, including the lamp over the dinette, the famous Shasta wings, the “S” magazine rack, and the chrome exterior Shasta emblems. 15764649645_d4afedf953_z

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One positive for vintage Shasta owners is that some of the components of the reissue are the same as the original 1961 Airflyte. For instance, the windows, wings, and door are the same dimensions as the originals. More photos can be found on my staff photographer’s (my lovely wife) Flickr page here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roadtripmemories/sets/72157648832498390/

As the 1,941 16′ and 19′ Shasta Airflyte reissued 1961 models are now making their way into the hands of their new owners and the buzz starts to die down, we can look back on these last 4 months and how this phenomenon was fueled almost entirely by social media. I first heard of the news in mid July from Rusty Eckstein at Mount Comfort RV. It was our goal to work together on being the first to bring the news to the public through this site and the Mount Comfort RV site, but alas we were trumped by Greg Gerber when he broke the news in his excellent RV news source, the RV Daily Report. It was Greg’s report that first hit just about every RV related Facebook page you could find. Then it got shared, Tweeted and then I came out with posts of my own here that were shared and retweeted. The next thing you know, just about all 1,941 units were spoken for. And the real kicker? There was NO MENTION of the 1961 reissue on the Shasta web site! This should prove to RV dealers every where what a powerful tool social media is and how important it is for dealers to have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as a YouTube channel with videos of current inventory. Oh, and an inhouse blog writer would help your cause too. ;-)

Next up for me is the 2014 RVIA trade show in Louisville next week. I’ll be there seeing what 2015 has to offer for you fellow small trailerites. Be sure to follow along on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Small_Trailers, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Small-Trailer-Enthusiast/269125426471703, and right here on YOUR favorite source for all things trailer small. As always, thanks for taking time out of your day for visiting The Small Trailer Enthusiast.

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Mickey’s Trailer

A friend passed this along to me, so I thought you’d all like it as well. Research shows this Disney short film dates back to 1938. When you think about it, this trailer was ahead of its time. It’s a tiny house, it’s a toy hauler, and you’ll see it’s got a rather stout superstructure. Enjoy!

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The Lonely Cabana

Periodically I’ll get requests from readers of The Small Trailer Enthusiast asking about the identity of a particular vintage trailer. I readily admit I’m not the best historian when it comes to vintage trailers, as my forte is more on current offerings. I typically direct those inquiries to various forums or Facebook pages that cater to vintage campers, such as Tin Can Tourists where the vast membership base will likely yield positive results for the person inquiring facts about their unit.

Recently I got a similar inquiry from a reader that I chose to do this post on due to the uniqueness of his trailer. The reader’s name is John and his trailer he owns is a fiberglass gooseneck called a Cabana. The best John knows is that it dates back to around 1976 and was built by the same Oregon company that built motorhomes during the some general time period.

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While Cabana motorhomes aren’t easy to come by, a Cabana trailer is apparently impossible to come by. Says John, “I’ve been unable to find another Cabana.  It could be the last of its kind.    I had acquired it with hopes of restoring it or at least making it more usable but it is in Oregon and I don’t have the time and money to travel there to keep working on it.” John resides in Canada.

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The Cabana is a fiberglass shell with a rear door entry, shower/toilet combo, refrigerator, furnace, and table. Since John owned it, he started cleaning it out. “I’ve removed all the moldy 1970s carpeting on the walls and ceiling and have patched a few holes that were in the ceiling to hold various items.   I replaced the skylight since it was broken and brittle. I also repainted the roof just this month.”

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John’s decided to sell it as is instead of continuing with the project. For anyone with some good restoration skills, this could be a pretty fun project to take on, considering the rare quality of the Cabana. John’s looking at about a $2,000 price tag for anyone interested. He can be contacted via e-mail at john_layman@hotmail.com

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John has done some extensive research on the Cabana company and its parent company Forest Grove Industries from Forest Grove, Oregon. After my own sleuthing, it’s apparent to me that John has likely turned over every rock on the Cabana planet there is. This has moved my opinion to one where the Cabana trailer very well could’ve been a prototype that never made it to the production stage. I’ve never seen one during my online travels and if there were multiples built, one would think there’d be pictures out there somewhere, but that’s not the case. Which is why I came up with “The Lonely Cabana” for the name of this post, since this might just be the only one you’ll ever see.

And as a side note, this Cabana is not to be confused with the Cabana that Keystone RV made from the late 1990′s to the early 2000′s. If any of you who read this have a Cabana or have seen this before, feel free to send me some pics at pat@smalltrailerenthusiast.com or leave a comment below.

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Winter Camping Made Easy

Unless you live in warmer climates, this is the time of year when most RVers turn to that somber task of unloading a season’s worth of camping gear, winterizing their RV, and storing it for the winter.

However, for those of you who can stand a little chill, the arrival of the autumnal equinox doesn’t mean an end to the fun camping can bring. In fact, if old man winter is reasonable, camping can be a year round activity. My first winter camping escapade was back in January 2010. The Tear Jerkers chapter of Indiana has an annual camping weekend every January at an Indiana state park and call the event “Shiveree”. This is a brave group of campers who pull their tear drops and other tiny trailers in the Indiana winter regardless of temps. Although they’ve had the event in sub-zero weather, the weekend in 2010 was moderate with temps in the 30′s. DSC_0032a   DSC_0028a It was this weekend that started my love for winter camping. For some like me and my wife, it has many advantages to camping during the summer, including cooler….much cooler….temperatures for hiking, cheaper camping rates, and, in most cases, a campground all to yourself. 563 Now you’re probably asking how to make this all work if your camper is already winterized. We’ve come up with a really good routine that lets us survive the weekend unscathed. To start, we’re not really big fans of running the furnace in our Scotty. I do fire it up once a year just to make sure it works, but generally we’re not fans of running the furnace, especially at night when we’re asleep. First it’s rather loud, and when you’re in a 15′ camper, a loud furnace is a lot noiser than in a 30′ camper. But the biggest reason is running a furnace powered by propane leaves us a little unsettled. So we use a simple electric space heater. Yes, we need electric! But we always camp where there is electric, so it’s never an issue. Since we’re in a space that’s only about 100 square feet, we don’t need a big space heater, so we purchased this Honeywell 1500 watt mini tower  for about $30.00. It keeps us nice & toasty throughout the night with no issues. k2-_c6204eb9-c785-44d2-bfc1-2e04fb62f5c9.v1 Next question: What about water? That’s pretty simple. When it comes to not being able to use the sink, we use paper plates and plasticware, so there’s little to clean up, in case it’s a crock pot or spatula we periodically may use. We generally use the microwave when winter camping to decrease the amount of pots & pans to clean up, which some may not consider “camping”, but it works for us. A roaring campfire and a couple of hot dog sticks or pie irons also work well. We’ll bring along a couple of jugs of water for coffee and drinking. We recently purchased a Keurig Mini K-Cup coffeemaker for our coffee and hot cider for this time of year. k2-_7082e8d5-5953-42f0-b366-84961c291750.v1 Now for the big one: the bathroom. As someone who’s used a pit toilet when it’s in the 20′s outside, I can tell you it’s no fun. We took advantage of a suggestion from a camping friend of ours. You may have seen some camping toilets that are nothing more than a seat and four legs that uses a bag to line the seat. Those bags are called “Double Doodie” bags, made by Reliance Products.

819wBdzYmBL._SL1500_Using the Double Doodie bag is pretty simple. It consists of a black, garbage bag type bag that is housed within a thicker, silver zip-lock style bag. We line one in our toilet in our Scotty and dispose as needed. It eliminates the need for water to flush the toilet and does pretty well. Due to the cost of them, they’re not a single-use bag for us. Use your own judgement when it’s time to change one out, but generally a couple can get through a weekend of camping with using only one or two.

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So there you have it. These are a few tips you too can use to escape those winter blues and get out there to camp. Even if it’s too cold to hike, we like to just get out and just hang out in our Scotty for a weekend. It’s cozy, quiet and it’s still camping.

Do you have some other ideas of your own for winter camping? Let’s hear them! Leave your comments below…we’d love to hear from you.

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19′ 2015 Shasta Airflyte Video Walk-Through

As the 19′ Shasta Airflytes are in the process of being fine tuned for production, Shasta president Mark Lucas is featured in a new video from Mount Comfort RV showing the interior details of the 19′ Airflyte.

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He makes a point to demonstrate how the bathroom door opens while the gaucho bed is extended. There has been some internet chatter with the 16′ Airflyte and bathroom accessibility while the gaucho is extended in that model, but that appears not to be an issue with the 19′.

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Like the 16′ Airflyte, the 19 footer can be had in Matador Red, Butternut Yellow, or Seafoam Green.  Overall length is 20′ and dry weight is less than 3,000 lbs. Mount Comfort RV has additional specs on the 19′ Airflyte on their website by clicking here. As has been the case since the Shasta reissue was announced earlier this summer, a big tip of the cap to Rusty and Toney at Mount Comfort RV for all the pics and videos!

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Little Guy Introduces Off-Road T@B

Little Guy Worldwide has announced a new concept to the T@B for 2015. The T@B Outback will be an upgrade package that will allow for taking a T@B off-road.

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  • 5 Piece ABS Off-road Assembly Package
  • Roof Rack with Cargo Basket and Off-road Spare
  • Pitched Axle, Off-road Tires & Rims
  • Custom Diamond Plate Tongue Box
  • Aluminum Front Utility Platform
  • Cargo Netting Above Window
  • Uber Tough Marmoleum Flooring
  • Radiused Diamond Plate LP/Battery Box
  • Solid Gray Cushions

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The Outback will be available in any of the T@B floorplans EXCEPT the Clamshell. Production will start over the next couple of months and units should be available come the start of the 2015 camping season.

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Although the T@B Outback is not on the T@B website as of this posting, I’ll have a follow-up post over the coming months as more details become available.

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Indy Fall Boat & RV Show Review

I spent some time at the Fall Boat & RV Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds today to check out some of the offerings for buyers looking for something under 20 feet. There were six RV dealers participating at the show including Colerain RV, Modern Trailer Sales, Tom Raper RV, Mount Comfort RV, Pete’s RV Center, and Walnut Ridge Family RV Sales.

Typically there aren’t a lot of smaller trailers at these shows, and this show was no exception. However, there were enough there that I thought I’d share some of them with you.

IMG_5713 DSC_0800The R-pod has a new paint scheme for 2015. This unit is the 178 floorplan that Pete’s RV Center had on display.

IMG_5727The Forest River Rockwood HW296 from Tom Raper RV. This thing’s BIG for a pop-up, as you may notice it has twin axles.

DSC_0802Tom Raper RV also had a hard sided pop-up from Rockwood there as well. This is the A 128 S floor plan.

DSC_0803Keeping with the hard sided pop-up theme, Mount Comfort RV had two Aliners on display, including their largest unit, the Expedition.

DSC_0804Modern Trailer Sales had a Wildwood X-Lite on hand. This one is the 185 RB floor plan.

DSC_0801Pete’s RV Center also had the economical Coachmen Clipper. This is the 17BH floor plan.

IMG_5715And rounding things out was the slick looking Sonic by Venture RV. This unit is the SN190VRB floor plan was on display at the Colerain RV corral.

As the 2014 camping season comes to a close for most, now is a good time to buy. Many new 2014 models can be had at some really good prices, as dealers look to move inventory to make way for the 2015 models, as the winter RV show season is just around the corner.

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2015 Shasta Airflyte Update

As posted on the Mount Comfort RV Facebook page, Shasta RV president Mark Lucas released additional photos of the 2015 Shasta Airflyte reissue. The new photos show the Butternut Yellow and Seafoam Green color schemes. With the Matador Red scheme that initially debuted in July, this completes the three colors available of the 1,941 Airflytes to be produced.

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According to Mount Comfort RV, most of the 1,941 units have been spoken for and it’s anticipated the last couple hundred will be reserved within the next week. Production of the 16′ and 19′ models will start September 22.

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Our 3rd Anniversary Review

Labor Day weekend generally marks the time I created The Small Trailer Enthusiast web site. September 3, 2011 marks the day it went live and September 7, 2011 marks the day of my first post (http://smalltrailerenthusiast.com/2011/09/07/a-tale-of-two-shastas/). Long time readers of this site know why I started it (http://smalltrailerenthusiast.com/2011/12/16/the-impetus-of-the-small-trailer-enthusiast/) and touched on a little more of that with my 1st anniversary review in 2012 (http://smalltrailerenthusiast.com/2012/09/05/the-1st-anniversary-of-the-small-trailer-enthusiast/).

Little has changed in the format of the site over the past year. But one thing that did change in the site has been the thing I like to review at the anniversary date: site traffic. As I mentioned in my 2012 review in the link above, the site had a paltry 15 site visits per day for the first month. That seems like a long distant time ago, as nowadays the site averages that many visits every 20 minutes! The last 3 months have seen an impressive 1,000 visits per day.Growth has been consistent each year. Looking at the annual visit averages:

September 3, 2011 – September 3, 2012: 346 unique visits per day

September 3, 2012 – September 3, 2013: 473 unique visits per day (36.7% increase)

September 3, 2013 – September 3, 2014: 644 unique visits per day (36.2% increase)

My decision to put Google AdSense ads on the site has helped offset the costs to pay for the domain and other associated costs with keeping a website up & running. Plus, it’s also helped add a little to our camping budget as well. ;-) I never know what ads Google will provide, as that is something out of my control; I just provide them the space. But I think overall Google does a good job with the ads they place in those spaces and they’re generally in line with the theme of The Small Trailer Enthusiast.

The continued growth adds to my motivation to keep this thing going for years to come. As my wife & I look toward the future, we’re pushing hard to shoot for that magical age 55 retirement so few get to take advantage of. Our plan is to call it quits from the 9-5 world, sell our house, and become full-time RVers. And when that happens, I’ll be able to spend more time than I do now researching and writing about small trailers. Even though our retirement rig will be outside the bounds of “small”, I’ll still continue to carry the torch for those interested in something small to camp in. I’ve learned over the past 3 years that there’s a big segment of folks out there who prefer trailers small.

And if you’re wondering what that rig of ours will be? Well, after owning a T@B….

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and our beloved Serro Scotty…..

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it’s obvious we like camping in eye-catching trailers. And although it’s not small, we’ve narrowed our choice down to a 30′ Airstream Flying Cloud.

exterior_floorplan_16_550But, we’ll touch on that the closer we get to full-timing. Stay tuned for that post….in 8-10 years!

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2015 Shasta Airflyte video update

As discussed a couple of weeks ago, Mount Comfort RV has made a trip up to northern Indiana to get a first hand look at the new 2015 Shasta Airflyte. Shasta president Mark Lucas gave Mount Comfort RV an exclusive walk through video tour to go over the ins and outs of the Airflyte. Instead of me rehashing in a post what he talks about, I’ll just leave all the talking to Mark. More detailed photos are up on the Mount Comfort RV website and can be seen by clicking here.

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  Mount Comfort RV vice president Rusty Eckstein tells me they’ve been taking pre-orders for the Airflyte from all over the country. And starting at $14,999, I think it’s safe to say the 1,941 that will be produced will be spoken for rather quickly. Feel free to leave comments with Mount Comfort RV on their YouTube page below the video so they can pass along your likes & dislikes to Shasta…they are listening.

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