Monthly Archives: February 2012

Little Guy Continues Upward Trend

Massillon, Ohio based Little Guy Worldwide continues to see sales of their teardrop trailers increase by leaps & bounds. As crude oil and gasoline prices continue to climb, consumers are obviously looking for alternatives to keep their camping budgets tolerable.  According to Little Guy Director of New Business Development, Dylan DeHoff, these are the main factors fueling Little Guy’s growth. “Camping for the most part is an inexpensive activity and even in some cases can be free depending on how you do it, so it is an activity that people are going to continue to do. But now they are trying to find cost and fuel efficient trailers, which leads them right to us.”

And lead them to Little Guy it has. Their 2011 production numbers were up a whopping 50% compared to 2010, and January 2012 numbers were better than any January in the company’s history. Part of that increase can also be attributed to an aggressive marketing campaign, which includes Little Guy being featured twice a month on TV game shows “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal”.

Another coup for Little Guy was adding the nation’s largest single site RV dealer, Lazydays RV in Seffner, Florida. “The things that make the Little Guy great for Lazydays are that it’s light enough to tow with just about anything, it fits in a standard garage to eliminate storage issues, and it is affordable for anyone looking for a hard-sided RV option in which to camp,” said Marc Taylor, Lazydays new inventory sales manager. Lazydays currently has eight various Little Guys in their inventory.

Probably the most interesting news Dylan had to share was in regards to a possible new T@B floor plan coming online later in 2012. Actually it’s not a new floor plan to long time T@B enthusiasts: The Clamshell. Dutchmen offered the Clamshell as well as a handful of other T@B floor plans. However, the Clam was unique from the other standard T@Bs. It was more of a traditional teardrop trailer with the kitchen area in the rear that was accessible via a rear hatch. But unlike a traditional teardrop, it had the same interior height inside as a regular T@B. It gave teardrop and T@B fans the best of both worlds.

DeHoff tells us that they’re working on a way to put a bathroom in the Clam as well. “We have had a great response to the return of the T@B and the most popular question is “where is the bathroom”. We hope that with a bathroom added to our Clamshell we will reach out to even more customers.” Another upgrade from the Dutchmen version is in regards to the trim. The first generation Clamshell had no distinctive T@B trim around the edges, where the roof and sidewalls meet. Dylan says that too will change. “The regular T@B’s had trim on the top and all around the trailer but the clamshells only had trim around the fenders. Both of our T@B’s will have trim on the whole trailer and the only difference should be one has a back hatch and the other does not. The overall look should stay the same, that is our goal.”

Even though Dylan tells us the Clamshell talk is just a rumor, I’m confident it’s past the rumor stage and planning is likely well underway. Once…errr….”if” the Clamshell comes to fruition, we’ll pass on the details as they develop.

 

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An Airstream with a Sweet Smile

Back in October 2009, a couple of rookie campers had just bought a new T@B and were ready for their first weekend of camping in it. They had joined a T@B online forum to get more info on their new trailer and learn from other experienced T@B owners. Two of those owners were Tom & Ella Brown of Van Wert, Ohio. The Browns had been camping for decades and were definitely two of the more experienced T@B owners, as their 2004 model was the 91st of nearly 5,000 total built in a seven year span, buying it new in 2003.

From the time Tom & Ella met in 1978, their  list of campers included a Coleman pop-up, an 18′ Scotty, and a 22′ Wilderness. Once their boys had grown and gone off to college, Tom & Ella decided to go smaller and  bought their T@B in 2003. Into the 2011 camping season, the Browns decided it was time for a change, and they would set their sights on their next trailer: an Airstream.

They had narrowed their choice down to either a 16′ or 19′ unit, and came across a dealer in Tennessee that carried both for them to compare. After deciding the extra length of the 19′ was mainly in the bathroom, they decided on a 16′ Bambi.

However this wasn’t just any Bambi, they found out. This one has a “sweet” story to it. This particular Airstream was a grand prize in a 2011 contest snack maker Little Debbie had called the “Million Smiles Mission”. The Bambi was dressed up with graphics and hauled all over the U.S. in 2011 while making appearances and being used to pass out sweet treats along the way. And one lucky winner of the contest from northeast Ohio got to claim her.

(image courtesy vindy.com)

Ella hasn’t completely pieced together how it ended up on a dealer’s lot in Tennessee. “Somehow, (we haven’t pieced together all of her ramblings  yet!) she ended up on Chilhowee RV lot in Alcoa, TN – just a few months old and looking for a forever home”, she says.  I would venture to say the grand prize winner probably sold it for cash and the dealer ended up with it in that fashion.

Despite the hoopla surrounding the first few months of excitement their Bambi encountered in its life, it’s now settling into its new life as a weekend warrior in campgrounds around the midwest. But if you do see Tom & Ella and their Bambi (affectionately named “The Silvermine…and His”) at a campground, Ella may just have a nutty bar waiting for you…as well as a smile.

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A Look at the ParkLiner…

Once upon a time, Chandler Palethorpe bought a brand new, fiberglass “egg” travel trailer. It served its purpose for Chandler and his family: it got them camping. However, he found that his trailer was still lacking in quality and in headroom. He also felt it was designed with a floor plan that wasted space. For a few years, Palethorpe kept thinking how to make a better trailer. In 2010, he finally put his ideas into a business plan: The ParkLiner

The mission of ParkLiner is simple: Build a better fiberglass trailer than the competition. Christopher Neve of ParkLiner tells us, “We have designed and created a hassle free and well thought out product.  The light weight fiberglass body of the camper allows it to be towed by smaller fuel-efficient vehicles.  The folding table and the bunk option are a couple of ways that a ParkLiner may be customized in order to meet each individuals’ specific needs.  Whether you are a family of four looking for a convenient way to camp or a couple looking for a comfortable way to travel, a ParkLiner will exceed your needs.” As we’ve seen with other smaller trailer companies, they tend to offer flexibility to design a trailer to a customer’s specifications.

ParkLiner started in January 2010 with designing plugs & body molds, as well as cabinets, throughout the first year.  The first unit rolled off the line in the spring of 2011. In less than a year of production, they’ve now completed a modest four trailers. However, with just 3 full-time employees and a part-time accountant and web guru, these things take time. The plan for 2012 is to produce one unit per week by the month of May. Says Neve, “From there we will continue to build and establish our business.  Six months after reaching that goal, we plan to double our production.”

The clean look of the ParkLiner is accented by the lack of a roof top air conditioning unit. The optional air conditioner is a typical window unit mounted below the side dinette, thus keeping it off the roof and aiding in reduced wind resistance. Other options include a bunk bed, flush-mounted toilet with 30 gallon black tank, dual batteries, and other goodies that will make one’s camping experience a comfortable one.

Standard features include the use of the well-regarded Optima Blue Top battery, microwave, propane furnace, 6 gallon water heater, 12 gallon fresh water tank, shower, 2-burner stove, screen door, electric water pump, bike rack receiver, and a lengthy list of much more.

One nice feature of the ParkLiner is an abundance of overhead storage. 21 feet of linear storage to be exact, as well as more storage underneath the dinettes.

While Chandler was still camping in his “other” fiberglass camper (long since sold), he designed what ParkLiner uses in their trailers today as an option: The Magic Table. The Magic Table is the rear dinette table that’s multifunctional. It serves as the table for the dinette:

It folds in half for roomier rear seating:

It folds away completely:

And finally it drops to create additional bench seating:

 ParkLiner is based in Gibsonville, NC, and uses part of an old textile mill as their manufacturing facility. They currently operate on a factory direct basis and have no plans to create a dealer network.

The base weight of the ParkLiner checks in right at 2100 lbs sitting on a 3500 lbs axle with 14″ tires, allowing excellent cargo capacity for a trailer of this size. A 6’4″ interior height allows for plenty of headroom for most, and the 6’7″ interior width should result in a good amount of leg room when in bed configuration. The 2-piece fiberglass trailer shell has an  interior length of 12′ while hitch to tail is 15′ long. Depending on options, one can fetch a ParkLiner for somewhere between $14,500-$17,500.

ParkLiner is using its highly detailed website as a springboard for prospective buyers. Their active presence on Facebook is also being used to complement their website by giving up-to-date changes as well as a source for more photos and discussion with those interested in learning more about the ParkLiner. It’s going to be fun to see this company grow in the future. They seem to have all their ducks in a row by starting off small and working their way up. It doesn’t hurt having a similar product to other manufacturers like Casita or Scamp, yet still offer upgrades they don’t. This opens the door for the many fans of “egg” campers to have a fresh alternative.

For more info on the Parkliner, contact them at:

Park Liner, Inc.
106 Railroad Ave Suite G
Gibsonville, NC 27249

1-800-418-2120

Web: http://www.parkliner.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ParkLiner/164971296894584

(Photos courtesy of ParkLiner)

 

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3rd Annual Winter Camp-In Set for February 11

Looking for a cure for cabin fever? The National Serro Scotty Organization has planned the 3rd annual Winter Camp-In, set for February 11, 2012. The camp-in is a fairly simple venture, and you don’t even need to hitch up or own a Serro Scotty to participate. Simply spend the night in your trailer (any brand, shape, or size) or just have a meal in it, take some pictures, and send them off to the NSSO.

 

The 2011 Camp-In accounted for 59 participants from 23 states, 2 countries,  and 1 province.

Second Annual Vintage Trailer Winter Camp-in 2011 from Nancy Kroes on Vimeo.

(images courtesy National Serro Scotty Organization)

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