Monthly Archives: January 2012

Cricket Trailer Featured on Extreme RVs

Houston, Texas based Cricket Trailer will be featured on The Travel Channel’s Extreme RVs program Sunday night, January 29, 9pm ET and again at Monday, 12am ET on January 30.

The Cricket, with its unique shape made of aluminum composite sidewalls and pop-up roof, checks in with a base weight at 1300 lbs. It’s also framed in aluminum, adding to its light weight feature.  Exterior length is 15′ and has a generous 6’2″ interior head room when the roof is extended. This  environmentally friendly camper is engineered with state of the art materials and geared for the rugged outdoors. The two floor plans offered utilize every inch of space available in creative ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cricket offers a slew of options to make it a quite versatile unit, including A/C, a tankless on-demand water heater, solar panels, roof racks, and more. One interesting option is what’s called the “Kids Attic”, which amounts to a hanging cot for a person weighing 135 lbs or less.

Should be interesting to watch & learn more about the Cricket. Until the show airs Sunday night, here’s a sneak peak at the Cricket.

 

 

(images courtesy http://crickettrailer.com)

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RV Museum Opens In Amarillo

Amarillo, Texas RV dealer Jack Sisemore Traveland recently opened a 7,000 square foot museum to house fifteen classic travel trailers and motor homes they’ve restored and collected over the past 25 years. Several of the RVs on display have some sort of historic significance, including the 1948 Flxible Clipper driven by actor Jeff Daniels in the 2006 movie RV.

Others include the very first Itasca motor home ever built and the oldest Fleetwood travel trailer known to exist. There’s a nice range of RVs here, ranging from a 1946 Kit teardrop to a 1974 Winnebago. All told, the museum consists of trailers and motor homes from the 1930′s through the 1970′s.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News, the museum welcomed over 400 visitors in just the first week. Admission to the museum is free, and is located on the grounds of Jack Sisemore Traveland, 4341 Canyon Drive, Amarillo, TX, which is about 3 miles south of Route 66 (6th Ave.) near the Georgia Street/I-27 interchange.  Hours are Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm.

 

(images courtesy Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum)

 

 

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Teal Camper Seeking Partners

In a letter sent to supporters of the upstart Teal Camper, Teal International President Larry Drake is asking for financial partners to help move the concept forward. Due mainly to a tight manufacturing environment where manufacturers are unwilling to invest in small, start-up businesses, Drake finds his vision of a modular travel trailer at a crossroads and a shaky future.

“They have scaled back and limited their production to high end, high volume, proven products. This, combined with attempting to start up a new company on a small budget, has not only put the project behind schedule, but has created a financial crunch as well.”

Although the future of the Teal Camper is uncertain, interest from the public remains strong.

 ”It has been a hard road with many road blocks, although there has never been a lack of interest.  In fact, we have well over five hundred people who would like to be camping in a Teal Camper if it were available, and hundreds more who visit our website weekly.”

Regardless, for the project to survive, Drake needs more investors and visionaries to move the project forward.

“The Teal Camper and Teal Shelter project needs someone, or a group, who can take it to the next level, both financially and strategically. If you, or anyone you know, have an interest and the means to launch this unique patented product, please contact me for more information.”

If interested, you can contact Drake via e-mail at ldrake@tealinternational.com.

 

 

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44th Annual Indy RV Expo

This past weekend we took the opportunity to attend the 44th Annual Indy RV Expo at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. We’re happy with the trailer we have, but we still like hitting as many shows as we can to see what new trailers are on the market. Then there’s also the fun of looking for our retirement rig, although retirement’s another 10-12 years down the road. Nevertheless, between now & then I’m still going to keep tabs on the offerings of our motorhome manufacturer of choice.

The show in Indy featured seven central Indiana RV dealers, each showing a plethora of travel trailers, 5th wheels, and motorhomes. These shows typically focus on behemoth towables, and this show didn’t “disappoint” in that regard, as there was very little there for fellow small trailer devotees. However, if you’re a lover of the venerable 14′ floor plan, there were three manufacturers that had their 14 footers on display.

There was a new unit on hand that did catch my eye. It is so new that it’s not even on the website of its manufacturer, Skyline RV. The Koala Super Lite Eco-Camp 18RB is an all aluminum framed, 2800 lbs trailer that overall was a nice little package. OK, I’m going against this blog’s rule of 20′ or less (the Eco-Camp is 21’9″), but it was the only thing out there that caught my eye. It’s also available from one of the other Skyline family of trailers, the Walkabout.

Overall, I was a little bummed out with this show. Fortunately it cost just $6 to get in, so I at least didn’t break the bank. I got word the show up in Cleveland also lacked anything small, so this show wasn’t alone. The Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel Show is coming up in about a month, so hopefully I’ll have a little more to report on for us small trailerites .

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Little Guy Launches New T@B Web Site

Little Guy Worldwide has launched the new web site for T@B, http://tab-rv.com.  The URL for the site is the same one Dutchmen used when they were manufacturing T@Bs from 2003-2009. As we discussed with Little Guy’s Scott Hubble in October, rights to the URL were part of the deal negotiated with Dutchmen to acquire all properties relating to T@B. It was a smart move on Little Guy’s part to use the same URL, as Dutchmen put that web site on over 4,000 T@Bs they manufactured over a seven year span. Easy advertising.

While the new website offers a good amount of specs and photos, they state it’s still under construction and will be expanding in the near future. It was good of them to include photos of the assembly line as well as construction photos of a model in the early stages, which show the aluminum frame.

   

Although there is currently just one floor plan, there are several interior shots, highlighting the various fabrics available as well as the layout of the interior.

Exterior photos highlight some of the various color schemes available, as well as the T@B awning manufactured by Paha Que.

Overall, a lot of good info and pics for prospective T@B buyers. I’ve seen a lot less put into other manufacturers’ websites, so if this their “under construction” website, the real deal should be something to see.

(Photos courtesy tab-rv.com)

 

 

 

 

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The Crowded 14′ Floor Plan…

Two years ago after we decided to upgrade from our T@B to a slightly larger small trailer, we attended an annual RV show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds to see what was new for 2010. By this time, we were sure we’d end up with a Serro Scotty HiLander, but I still kept my eyes open for other options. What we found was something I was interested in looking a little more into, although my better half had no interest.

The trailer was a 2010 KZ Sportsmen Classic 14RB. It was roughly the same size as the Scotty, while weighing a couple hundred pounds less. It was a 14′ rig with a front dinette, side couch, opposite side kitchen, rear corner bath, and rear closet. It was decent on space, although the look was boxy, lacking the “wow” factor the Scotty had. However, what kept me thinking about it was the price, which was about $4,000 less than what we ultimately paid for the Scotty. I figured I’d try to convince my wife we could save some money, yet still have a small, roomy trailer. Well, needless to say, that conversation didn’t get far, and five months later we were in our Scotty after selling the T@B.

But being a fan of small trailers, I still kept tabs on the KZ Sportsmen Classic. These things were everywhere and massively produced.  They must’ve been popular based on the number of them on dealer lots throughout the country. The more I read about them, the more I learned about them, and the more I learned about them, the more I questioned my sanity for wanting one. After all, they were somewhat boring and they were entry level stick & tin trailers. Craftsmanship wasn’t the highest of quality, but hey, for $8-9K, you could get a brand new trailer with a warranty. A good option if you have a limited budget.

However, over the past two years the market has started to put the squeeze on the 14′ Sportsmen Classic. In that time, I’ve found (not to say there aren’t others) ten other trailers with the same floor plan as the KZ. Shall we start the slide show?

The Jayco Swift SLX 145RB…

Photo courtesy Harper Camperland

The KZ Spree Escape 14RB…

Photo courtesy k-zsportsmen.com

The Starcraft AR ONE 14RB…

The Coachmen Clipper 14R…

Photo courtesy Delmarva RV Center

Gulf Stream AmeriLite 14RBC…

Photo courtesy Stoltzfus RV's and Marine

The Skyline Bobcat 140B…

Photo courtesy Norm's RV

The Travel Lite Idea i-15 (note the molded front cap on this new model)…

The Coachmen Viking 14R…

Photo courtesy Leisure Time RV

The Dutchmen 814RB…

Photo courtesy RV Business

and the Skyline Layton Retro 140…

Photo courtesy Magic Touch RVs

So, I think that makes 10. But what do you know, in the midst of finding all these photos, I came across yet another  trailer with this floor plan. The Skyline Aljo Retro 140…

Photo courtesy Norm's RV

That’s a pretty impressive list of….sameness. For those who have difficulty making a decision (like me, so says my wife), I wish you well if this floor plan is one you like. Chances are by the time you’d decide on which manufacturer to go with, 10 more manufacturers will have introduced a 14 footer with this floor plan. Curses! I don’t mean to belittle these trailers. As I mentioned, they will allow buyers to get a new trailer with a warranty at a cheap price. Plus, they’re light enough (2300 lbs, give or take depending on options)  to where you can tow with with most SUVs and mini vans.

So, let’s take a look at a typical 14′ travel trailer with this floor plan, shall we? Here’s a walk-through of a 2010 KZ Sportsmen Classic from the fine folks at Veurinks RV in Michigan.

One thing I’ll never forget about that day at the RV show two years ago was that both times I looked at the Sportsmen while we were there, the door entry was just a hair too short for me and I banged my head on the top of the door entry not once, but twice. I think I still have the knot in my head to prove it. But I’m still glad I listened to my wife and sticking with the plan to get a Scotty instead, as I think I would’ve been banging my head in more ways than one had we gone with the “popular” 14′ floor plan.

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Updated 2012 Little Guy T@B Video

Little Guy Worldwide has recently uploaded a video overview of the 2012 T@B. It’s similar to their initial T@B video from last summer, but this one features a few new options that video didn’t, such as the outside shower option, 3-way refrigerator, and the screen door.

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