Monthly Archives: January 2016

Small sightings at the Indy RV Expo

As the winter months drag on, I’m sure a lot of you have hit an RV show in your region. I was fortunate to work at one in Indianapolis for a couple of Saturdays this month for Mount Comfort RV at the Indy RV Expo. Seven dealers packed over 200 RVs in the West Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the 9 day event. Here are some of the small trailer offerings that the dealers brought to the show. In case you didn’t see some of these at the show(s) you attended, here’s a little more for you to research. For ease of viewing, I’ve put the 5 of the 7 dealer’s photo above all the trailers that follow it. One dealer didn’t have anything small. There were a couple I would’ve taken at Camping World’s booth, but 3 of their sales people were standing in front of them, too busy watching a football game on an outside TV on a motorhome across the aisle. Their loss….they should’ve been working.

DSC_0620Braun’s Fun Time Campers

DSC_0570Winnebago Winnie Drop WD 1780

DSC_0585Winnebago Winnie Drop WD 1710

DSC_0571DSC_0573DSC_0575White Water Retro, Jr.

DSC_0577White Water Retro 177SE

DSC_0581DSC_0580White Water Retro 176S 

DSC_0614Mount Comfort RV

DSC_0587DSC_0588TAXA Cricket Trek

DSC_0590TAXA Cricket Camp

IMG_0583[1]Shasta Oasis 18BH

DSC_0591Palomino Palomini 177BH

DSC_0598Palomino Palomini 150RBS

DSC_0595Aliner LXE

DSC_0596Aliner Scout Lite

DSC_0615Colerain RV

DSC_0601Coachmen Apex Nano 172CKS

DSC_0603Venture Sonic 190VRB

DSC_0606Modern Trailer Sales

DSC_0604Summerland Mini 1700FQ

DSC_0607Springdale Summerland Series Mini 1800BH

DSC_0608Keystone Bullet 1800RB

DSC_0609Walnut Ridge Family RV Sales

DSC_0610Keystone Hideout 177LHS

DSC_0612Keystone Hideout 185LHS

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R-pod vs. Winnie Drop: Let the lawsuits begin!

In our “who didn’t see this coming” category, Forest River has filed a lawsuit against Winnebago Industries. The suit stems from Winnebago’s recent introduction of the Winnie Drop, which strikes a resemblance to Forest River’s 7 year old R-pod. DSC_0570

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In a story published on January 16, 2016 in RV Business, Forest River filed suit in December “for trademark and trade dress infringement and unfair competition.” The term “trade dress” refers to the overall visual image.  “The use of our trademarks and trade dress by other manufacturers confuses and misleads consumers and cannot be tolerated. We do not initiate lawsuits without serious consideration”, Forest River General Manager Doug Gaeddert told RV Business. The article goes on to state that the R-pod “incorporates patent pending technology and copyright-protected floorplans.”

I’ll be watching this closely at it goes through the legal process. Forest River filed suit a few years ago for similar reasons against Heartland and their now defunct “mpg” trailer. Industry professionals I’ve talked to shake their heads when talking about trademarking an RV floorplan. If anyone has ever gone to an RV show, you all know everything is copied by everyone. I’ll make no bones about it, I’m no legal expert and I don’t have a clue where this lawsuit will go, but should Forest River be successful I’d be interested to know if a company like A-Liner has similar patents on their hard-sided A frame campers. They’ve been around the longest, but other companies have developed their own version….including Forest River’s Flagstaff.

39_ranger_DS_HDR flagstaff

My final take on this or any similar lawsuits involving RV companies is that it really does nothing to serve the consumer. If anything it eliminates what makes a product better: Competition. When you eliminate your competition because you have a legal machine like Forest River does, it eliminates the competition that forces you to come up with ideas that make your product better than the other guy. If there is no “other guy”, then your product gets stagnant, and quality and innovation exit the building.

I’ll update this story with future posts as additional news develops.

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Lance Debuts 1475 Model Trailer

For 50 years, Lance Camper has been the standard bearer in the truck camper industry. Beginning in 2009, Lance began producing a series of travel trailers which have, in a short amount of time, garnered a reputation of quality that few manufacturers can compete with. There is so much cool technology that goes into a Lance trailer…so much that I couldn’t begin to explain it all here. That said, Lance has put together an excellent video presentation showing the start to finish process. You’ll find the technology and machines used to put together a Lance trailer should give even the most skeptical RVer the confidence they’re buying a pretty solid product.

At December’s RVIA show in Louisville, the Lance Camper display featured a new smaller floor plan that should be hitting dealer lots this Spring in time for the start of the 2016 camping season.

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lance1

The 1475 model will be a 19’8″ trailer from hitch to tail, with a floor length of just under 15′ with an impressive dry weight of 2495 lbs. The interior consists of a deluxe queen bed in the front, two swivel rockers centered by a removable table on the door side, a kitchen on the street side consisting of ample counter space and cabinets, a 3-burner stove, a sink with pull-out sprayer faucet, and range hood.

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The back wall of the 1475 Lance consists of a 5 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer as you come into the rear side entry door next to a . The rest of the back corner houses the bathroom, which consists of a toilet, sink, and spacious shower.

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As with all Lance Campers, the construction is sturdy with aluminum framed sidewalls, floor and roof all insulated with block foam. The sidewalls are a laminated fiberglass with Azdel substrate. The tinted dualpane windows help maintain temperature levels whether cold or hot ambient temperatures exist.

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Some other key specs on the Lance 1475 include an exterior width of 84″, exterior height of 9’9″, interior height of 78″, 240 lbs hitch weight, GVRW of 3700 lbs, and cargo carrying capacity of 1205 lbs. The enclosed, insulated, and heated fresh water tank holds 26 gallons, a 26 gallon grey tank, and a 22 gallon black tank.

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My overall impression of the 1475 were positive. What really sets it off compared to similar floor plans of other brands is the large window next to the two swivel rockers and table. It’s an ideal camper for couples in search of a trailer of high quality with a small footprint. While not yet on the Lance website as of this posting (info should be up within the next couple of months) there currently is one on rvtrader.com that has a price tag in the mid-$20k’s, which I believe to be the MSRP, so you’ll likely be able to get into one for $20K range. Once production picks up and they hit dealer lots, you’ll be able to get a better handle on what prices are going for, depending on dealer and location. But overall, my first impressions of the 1475, and Lance trailers in general, met the hype that I’ve heard and read about from owners of Lance trailers. As I always preach, when buying a trailer always do your research with a fine tooth comb, but I think you’ll find that when you research a Lance trailer, you’ll be left with a positive impression.

You can explore more on the Lance Camper website at http://www.lancecamper.com

 

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