Often times I’ll search the internet to add manufacturers that build travel trailers, pop-ups, teardrops, and fiberglass trailers to our Manufacturers page. And sometimes, those manufacturers come to me. I’ll go ahead and add them with little fanfare, but when Craig Elliott of Sun-Fun Campers contacted me this week, I felt compelled to put them on the “big stage” with a post.
Sun-Fun Campers is a new…as of 2015 new…teardrop trailer manufacturer in Warman, Saskatchewan. Canada. Craig told me in an e-mail, “It appears that we are the only manufacturer of teardrop trailers in western Canada and we are hoping to grow the trend of teardrop trailers in Canada, as there are very few ever spotted here.”
Sun-Fun is so new that they don’t even have a website up…yet. “We do not have a website, but are currently developing one. We are on Facebook and wanted to make you aware that we are now in full production”, Craig tells me. Once Sun-Fun gets their website up & running, I’ll post a link on the Manufacturers page. Until then, for those of you on Facebook, be sure to give them a “like” and check them out for those of you in western Canada in the market for a teardrop. A link to their Facebook page with contact info can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/sunfuncampers
For the past couple of years, Riverside RVs has been pumping out its fair share of White Water Retro travel trailers from it’s LaGrange, Indiana factory. In that time, the end product has made great strides in quality from when they first showed up in 2011. When I talked to Riverside’s Bob Taulbee last year, he told me they were getting out about 1,000 Retros a year. When you do a search on RV Trader, there are (as of this posting) over 200 Retro travel trailers for sale in varying floor plans.
This week, RV Business posted a short story from RVtravel.com regarding the Whitewater Retro and how it was inspired by the classic Serro Scotty canned ham trailers from the 1960’s & 1970’s. A three minute video was included in the article and explains a little further the inspiration as well as highlights some of the features of the Retro that Riverside officials believe sets it apart from other retro trailers, as well as some history of Serro Scotty from RV historian Al Hesselbart.
Houston, Texas based Cricket Trailer has been featured in a video commercial from Dell Computers that was released today on the Dell YouTube page. The Cricket is a unique (understatement!) adventure camper designed by former NASA architect Garrett Finney.
While at NASA, Finney spent time designing living quarters in the International Space Station. It was this design background that fostered the inspiration for the Cricket.
The Dell video highlights Taxa’s (Cricket’s parent company) use of Dell Precision workstations and SOLIDWORKS, a computer-aided design program used in designing and creating Cricket trailers.
I’ll be working on a feature of Cricket Trailers in the weeks to come, but until then, above is the Dell video that gives you a brief snapshot of the technology used behind one of the most technologically advanced trailers on the market today.
As of February 14, 2015, the Scotty has been SOLD to a wonderful couple from Kentucky, where it’ll be cared for and enjoyed for years to come! Thanks for all of your interest!
And now for a little post I regret to have to make. No, it’s not that the site is shutting down or anything like that. It’s to notify you readers that my wife & I are selling our very own 2010 Serro Scotty HiLander that adorns the header of this page you’re reading.
Due to a growing family tree (one grandson now and his little brother is coming soon), we are selling our beloved Scotty and upgrading to a larger trailer with a bunkhouse, etc. Our future rig will be a 2015 Shasta Oasis 25BH that we are purchasing from the good folks at Mount Comfort RV in Greenfield, Indiana.
If I could keep and maintain two trailers, we’d keep it…but we’re working toward early retirement, so it makes more financial sense to sell. So, we are looking for a good home for our Scotty.
At the bottom of this post is the standard information from Serro Scotty’s website with regard to the HiLander. Even though this model is currently listed on their site, the Serro Scotty HiLander has not been manufactured since 2012.
When we ordered it, we requested a few changes to the interior materials to make it look as retro on the inside as the outside. We selected a neutral fabric for the seat cushions, because we swapped the standard beige curtains for ones we had custom made with a Route 66 theme (fabric called Historic Highway by Alexander Henry). We also had the curtains made with room darkening / blackout fabric to prevent fading from UVs, as well as to allow us to sleep in late if we want to!
We requested black & white checkered floor, as can be seen in the photo of the front dinette below.
Here is a closeup of the fabric, Historic Highway, used for the curtains and pillows.
We also requested aqua “boomerang” by Formica and aluminum trim for the sink and dinette countertops.
Our Serro Scotty is the floor plan on the right, which is the model that has a large U-shaped dinette in the back (rather than a bed). Of course, the dinette converts into a FULL bed, and we have actually primarily kept it in that configuration, rather than switching back and forth. for two of us, we have used the front dinette to eat. Depending upon your needs, you can switch it back and forth, however you want.
Here is the rear dinette configuration (which was taken with the original beige curtains).
And here in bed configuration.
The front dinette also converts into a single bed, and there is storage underneath the booth closest to the door (which is shown in the photo toward the beginning of this post).
There is also a shelf and storage behind the other side of the front dinette, as shown in the photo below, and behind the dinette cushion.
In addition to the custom interior materials, our HiLander differs from other new models, in that we had the factory add a 110 outlet underneath the front dinette – in the photo above, taken when ours was brand new, it’s not there, but we had it installed just to the right of the converter box. Much more convenient for charging devices, using a laptop, a fan, or small appliance – we have cooked using our Griddler (grill/griddle/panini) or a crock pot, or using our Keurig. Nice addition!!
The overhead cabinet (above the rear dinette) also coverts into a single bed, if that works for you. It wasn’t necessary for us, and I used the cabinet space instead. I currently keep my items in “Thirty-one” bags that fit very well inside the cabinets. We will have the mattresses back in the Scotty for its new owner.
Kitchen features a microwave, two burner cooktop and sink. There’s an overhead cabinet and one below the sink, as well as a bank of drawers, and a fold-up counter top on the side. There’s a GFCI outlet, spice rack, and range hood fan which vents to the outside. We also have a cover that fits over the stovetop to use that space better.
The thermostat, hot water heater switch, and tank / battery monitor panel is located here too.
There is also a drawer underneath the 3.0 cu ft fridge. Speaking of the fridge, I requested that the fridge be a 3-way model, so this one runs on battery, electric and propane. I have not used it in propane mode, only battery and electric. There is a freezer compartment inside. The air conditioner is located there, and below that is an access panel which has a small storage area (I put an RV broom and brush/dustpan there).
It is equipped with a boomerang antenna and cable TV hookup; however, we did not add a TV ourselves – but there is space for one, along with cable input on the inside and a 12 V outlet.
The HiLander features a wet bath (shower & toilet combo). See the specs below for the tank capacities. However, I see that the specs do not reference the hot water heater, which is a standard feature on the HiLander. It’s a standard 6 gallon, DSI gas water heater, and configured to be able to be bypassed during winterization (no antifreeze should ever go into the hot water heater!).
We ordered the deluxe package, which includes 5,000 BTU air conditioner (shown above), Fantastic Fan, and 12,000 BTU furnace. Other than testing it, we actually haven’t used the furnace. Instead, we use a small electric space heater when we winter camp.
In keeping with the aqua/turquoise color scheme, we coordinated our new Keurig Mini in turquoise to coordinate with the Scotty…someone even commented that we’re “glamping.” LOL I never thought of it that way, but if you think this retro cool Scotty is glamping, go for it!
Exterior features a diamond plate rock guard, front window cover, storage (accessible also from the rear dinette). Bumper storage for the sewer hoses.
We purchased the coordinating aqua striped 3-pole awning to go with the trailer as well.
Here is a video we made of the Serro Scotty HiLander:
Legendary style meets everyday life. Stand apart from the crowd with this timeless classic.
All the features of home are found in your HiLander. A shower/toilet combination saves those late night hikes. It is designed to comfortably sleep four with a single front and full sized rear bed with an overhead bunk.
Safety is always first with a full frame underneath, fire extinguisher, escape hatch and a deadbolt door lock.
Perfect for family adventures! Standards include; sink, stove, furnace, refrigerator, hot water heater and spare tire.
Add even more creature comforts with optional A/C, microwave, awning and TV/DVD.
“I had to go alone and I had to be self-contained, a kind of casual turtle carrying his house on his back…. I wanted a little house built like the cabin of a small boat.” – John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley
This excerpt is a cornerstone in the philosophy of Fort Collins, Colorado based Casual Turtle Campers. Its founder, Peter Pavlowich, was on a trip in Colorado in 2010 when he noticed a bevvy of truck campers that lacked any kind of style. Over the next few years, he put his Wood Construction and Design degree from the University of Idaho to good use and two years ago built his first prototype truck camper. After it received positive reviews, Peter formed Casual Turtle Campers LLC in the summer of 2013.
As word of the Casual Turtle truck campers got out, Peter learned of interest in a similar style, but in a trailer. “I began to hear from enough people asking about small towable units in the same style as my slide-in truck camper designs. Then in the spring of 2014, I decided to put together my first Terrapin design. It wasn’t long before I had orders for two more, and then in the fall I decided to build an even smaller, simpler trailer model – the Hatchling. Trailers are a little bit easier to sell it seems, and they can be marketed to a wider audience”, Peter tells us.
The Terrapin boasts a rear entry door with a front dinette that converts into a 75″ x 54″ memory foam bed. Total length of the Terrapin is 12′ (8’2″ cabin), 6’9″ wide, and 5’11” interior height, while checking in at 1360 lbs. It’s the height of that interior that Peter takes pride in. “Probably the most unique feature of my campers is probably the domed roof design. I achieved this by playing around enough in the design stage trying to come up with something strong, unique, and compelling. Like I say, it’s probably the coolest feature of my designs, but it’s also the trickiest part of the build by far.”
The Terrapin is stoutly built as well. Although just 1360 lbs, it sits on a 3500 lbs axle and 15″ wheels with a frame that’s professionally sprayed with Reflex truck bed liner undercoating. The cabin itself is built to withstand chilly Colorado weather with a fully insulated floor, walls, and roof.
The Hatchling is rather Spartan when it comes to accommodations, and that’s the goal for it. “I thought I’d introduce this model initially as a bare bones shell – though I’d be happy to finish it out to someone’s desires. It’d also make a great platform for someone looking to build out the interior themselves.”
The Hatchling checks in at 840 lbs with a 3500 lbs axle and 2,000 lbs leaf springs with 13″ wheels. The overall length is 12’2″, and the interior dimensions are 92.5″ x 56.25″ and 56″ interior headroom. The roof is a fully-adhered ivory colored TPO roofing membrane. The bottom side is constructed of a PVC membrane.
When it comes to materials and construction, Peter’s extensive woodworking education comes into play. “I use tongue and groove Western red cedar for the exterior of my campers. Not only is it beautiful and lightweight, but it’s extremely resistant to decay, insects, and moisture. I use PVC and TPO roofing membranes that are fully adhered to an OSB roof deck and secured about the edges with a custom aluminum termination bar. I build my own fixed windows and I use simple aluminum sliders for opening ones. Unlike a lot of camper designs, I like to include as many opening windows as practical in my designs.”
With Casual Turtle Campers being less than two years old, it’s safe to say the company is in its infant stage. However, Peter has his eyes on the future. “At this point it’s just me working out of my very small shop in Fort Collins. I love dreaming about the shop of the future with all of its extra room, decent tools, a hired hand or two…but until I have that kind of demand, it’ll be me cranking away alone. Depending on the model and level of finish, five to eight campers keeps me pretty busy in a year. Units with finished/furnished interiors take a while, but shell versions come together pretty quick.”
“My goal for Casual Turtle Campers has always been to make a living building unique, quality products. If it remains a one-man, 5-8 units per year operation – that’ll be just fine. However, if I have the opportunity to expand to a bigger shop, and bring on a few hired hands – that’ll be great, too. It’s a really cool product that I enjoy designing and building – and if I can continue to find buyers, I’ll be the happiest camper builder around.”
As most of the country finds itself in typical January cold temps, many RV shows are going on this weekend throughout the country. Here’s a listing of those you can attend this weekend and collect those coveted brochures, surely helping pass the time and get us all closer to hitching up for the 2015 camping season.
It’s been quite some time since I first announced that Hi-Lo Trailers were coming back to life. This website was just a few weeks old and it was one of the first few posts I ever made. Three years and three months ago that post was written, and the only update I had was a year later, telling you that there were essentially no updates on the Hi-Lo.
While I’ve made efforts to get some facts from Hi-Lo boss and Pennsylvania RV dealer Bill Kerola, those requests have gone unanswered. However, thanks to the Kerola Camper Store Facebook page, the first images of a Hi-Lo prototype were released.
Even though I’ve not received a response from Bill Kerola, I still felt it necessary to post these pics from their Facebook page since I get e-mails periodically inquiring about the future of the Hi-Lo, and because Hi-Lo had a long run in the RV industry before shuttering their doors in 2010.
What I do know is that Bill Kerola is the gent on the right in the photo. Now, the following is nothing more than speculation on my part. But hey, speculation is fun and makes you look brilliant if reality turns out that way. Here are a few facts I’ve put together:
1. In a December 6, 2014 post on their Facebook page, Kerola Campers wrote: “We have some new projects in the works for Kerola’s Campers. Here is the frame for our next venture heading out. More pictures next week!”
This tells me it was heading somewhere outside of their Trasnfer, Pennsylvania location.
2. If you’ll notice in this next photo, there is a Hi-Lo pictured behind the chassis of the prototype. Since we know there are no “new” Hi-Los, that one in the background has to be a 2010 or older.
3. With that in mind, we also know that Kerola Campers sells a travel trailer called the “Midget”. We don’t know a lot about the Midget other than they are built in Ohio, AND the plant also doubles as a Hi-Lo repair facility. I quote from the Midget website:
“I (Joel) am the former Plant Manager of the HiLo Company and have been around HiLo for the past 30 years. That’s because my father-in-law is Jim Snyder former owner of the company. It was his brother Don Snyder who started HiLo back in 1955.
2011 was a big year for our new repair and manufacturing shop. We hired Tim a former employee of HiLo to assist in the repairs of HiLo’s and building new trailers in our Midget line.”
So now we see that Kerola Campers has a relationship with a trailer manufacturer who also spent time building Hi-Los and now repairing them. With the fact they build the Midget, this tells me they have the ability to build other trailers….perhaps even a new Hi-Lo.
So when I connect all these dots, it appears to me that these former Hi-Lo employees that build trailers (The Midget) also are the ones building the new Hi-Lo. Again, just speculation, but I’d be more surprised if these aren’t the facts. Hopefully I can get a reply from Bill Kerola so he can just tell me what I think I already know.
‘Tis the season for stuffing stockings for your favorite small trailer enthusiast. Here area few I thought might go over well.
First up, here’s a great way to stuff their mailbox. These Christmas cards from The Retro Christmas Card Company feature a classic woodie at a Christmas tree farm with a red & white Shasta Airflyte that’s used as the office.
If you can’t get them through the Amazon widget, you can order them directly through their website by clicking here.
I came across this diecast of a 1967 Chevy Impala with a vintage 16′ Airstream Bambi this past week at a local Meijer store. This is part of GreenLight Collectibles’ Hitch & Tow series. It’s a 1:64 scale diecast with very nice details. For those of you midwesterners where Meijer is located, you can find it in the toy department with the diecasts for around $11.00. For those of you in other areas, I’ve included an Amazon widget below, or you can also try Airstream’s online shop by clicking here.
With the reissue of the 1961 Shasta Airflyte, this Happy Camper mug should go over well with new Shasta owners, as well as anyone interested in adding a little style to your cup of joe.
There is a large contingent of T@B owners out there, and if they don’t already have these salt & pepper shakers, they should. While they don’t appear to be a T@B endorsed product, it’s fairly obvious the camper from which they’re inspired.
Guys, if your spouse is a hardcore small trailerite, how can these earrings not score you major points for Christmas? Available through Vintage Trailer Supply by clicking the link here
Still can’t decide what to buy? Go the easy route and buy an Amazon gift card! Amazon has everything under the sun RV related, and as a side benefit, any time you click on one of the Amazon links I have on this site and buy, you’re supporting The Small Trailer Enthusiast through the Amazon Associates affiliate program. We get a percentage of the sale from Amazon and you’ve helped offset the expense of keeping YOUR favorite small trailer website on the internet. Merry Christmas!
Here we go with Part 2 of the 52nd Annual RVIA trade show recap from Louisville. If you missed Part 1, click here.
Little Guy Worldwide had a nice sampling of their product on hand this year, represented by various models of the popular T@B, T@G, myPod, and their traditional Little Guy teardrop trailer. New this year in the T@B line is the upscale Sofitel model. Featuring upscale cabinetry & hardware, two-tone cushions, deluxe exterior assist handle, custom alloy wheels, accent lighting, and yacht inspired flooring, the Sofitel is said to be the “Airstream of T@Bs”. And as Chris Baum of Little Guy Worldwide told me “And it’s $25,000 less than an Airstream”. Although the MSRP for a Sofitel has been seen at $25,000, some may still balk at that price for a T@B, but loyal T@B aficionados may very well be willing to pay for such refinements. Heck, I dig it for the cool floor and wheels!
The T@B CS model continues to impress me with how well they utilize limited space. The model on display has the CS’ signature rear teardrop inspired galley with a front bench inside. This floorplan also ups the ante with the addition of a wet bath. However, despite these additions, two people could easily camp in comfort. Great job, Little Guy!
Next up was a new line by Winnebago called the Micro Minnie. The Micro Minnie is Winnebago’s entry level trailer and only has one floor plan, which is 19’2″ long and weighs in at a dry weight of 2,980 lbs. Base MSRP is under $15,000, so it’s a good option if you don’t need a lot of size, yet you still get the Winnebago quality.
I was intrigued by a display by cargo and utility trailer manufacturer Let’s Go Aero. Based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Let’s Go Aero specializes in hitch mounted cargo & bicycle carriers, tent shelters, versatile cargo & camping trailers that also convert into a tent trailer. Pictured here is the GearWagon 125 camping trailer. Made of durable ABS plastic, the “lid” props up to provide space for sleeping bags or an air mattress. With the attached tent, a tailgate tent can be added to the rear to provide additional shelter from sun or rain. The setup was really nice and basic. I’d say it’s a step up from normal tent camping, but a step below a traditional pop-up camper. The GearWagon 125 checks in at a total length of 10′ and weighs in at 560 lbs empty, with a base price of $5489.00. Check out their website for more on their products: http://www.letsgoaero.com
Palomino also had a nice selection of their Palomini line on hand. The Palomini was introduced last year and has several good floorplans, some of which include a drop floor. Based on the size and even appearance, the Palomini is a direct competitor to the r-pod, although they’re in the same Forest River family of RVs. However, the Palomini can be had for much less, as some floorplans can be had for less than $10,000. I’ve had a feature on the Palomini on the backburner for a few months now, so I’ll be telling you more about them sometime this winter.
There were a lot of manufacturers that were representing the hard-sided pop-up market, including Aliner, Rockwood, Flagstaff, Starcraft, and Viking. Considering it’s 1:30 am and I have to be up in 5 hours for work, I’m forgoing linking all of these manufacturers, but encourage you to check out the manufacturers page at the top of this page for links to all of them. If you’re a fan of these types of campers, you have plenty to choose from.
One thing I’ve noticed is that many of the entry level units are becoming a little less “basic” in looks and the materials being used, which is a benefit to the consumer. One trend that was apparent to me in many trailers, both big and small, is the move towards a wood-look flooring instead of the tile-look. Granted, all of these are generally a large one piece linoleum floor, but for my tastes it’s a refreshing trend. I wouldn’t say the wood grain look has overtaken the tile look, but it’s getting close. It should be interesting to see if that trend continues moving into 2016.
So that brings us to the close of my assessment of what’s in store for 2015 for the small trailer segment of the RV industry. Hope you all enjoyed a sneak peek at what you have to look forward to as you look for your next trailer, or just take in an RV show in the next couple of months. And let me take this opportunity to encourage you all to attend an RV show this winter in your area. It costs dealers a lot of dough to put these shows on and even if you don’t buy at the show or are just there to window shop, your attendance is greatly appreciated by them.
The Small Trailer Enthusiast is a home for news on small travel trailers, typically 20' or less. Here you will find info on new models, industry news relating to small trailers, and any other stories I think you might find interesting. Have some small trailer news you'd like to pass along?