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Little Guy expands roster with the debut of the Mini Max

Just eight months after production began on the Little Guy Max, Uniontown, Ohio based Liberty Outdoors today is introducing the next addition to its ever growing lineup in the Little Guy Mini Max. I first introduced you to the Max last July after visiting their Somerset, Pennsylvania factory, and since then the head count of employees at Somerset has grown to over 60 as the Mini Max starts its production cycle.

The Mini Max is a condensed version of the Max.  At 17’2”, it checks in some 4 feet shorter and over 1,000 lbs lighter than its big brother Max, weighing in at 1,993 lbs. But just looking over the specs and features, a few things stand out. It has an improved 6′ interior height when compared to others in this class, as well as a microwave oven and a 5 cubic foot refrigerator. Folks, I have a 22′ bunkhouse trailer that’s 5′ longer than the Mini Max and it only has a 3 cubic foot refrigerator! To find a way to get a 5 cubic foot fridge in a trailer of this size gets a tip of the cap from me. And it’s actually larger in size than that of the Max. Another thing I like is the incredible amount of storage. There’s a substantial pantry/wardrobe with adjustable shelves to the left of the entryway that will go over very well. And the last thing that really sticks out for me is the addition of a microwave. Since it’s mounted below the kitchen counter, you don’t lose any counter space. There’s also a fair share of storage nooks throughout for additional storage.

The Mini Max also has a wet bath, which in this class of trailer is a standard these days. And speaking of the wet bath, the tank sizes include a 20 gallon fresh, 14 gallon gray, and 9 gallon black tank.

The U-shaped dinette can convert into either twin beds or a 75″x70″ queen bed. Overhead and to the side of the dinette you’ll find a 19″ Jensen 12 volt TV.  The dinette also consists of a rotating dinette table top, sitting on a marine style, 3 stage hydraulic action table pedestal. And I wish I could explain it in words, but the hideaway slat system is just cool. Trust me!

The Mini Max also boasts 5 opening windows, including the one in the door that the Max has, for extra ventilation, which also includes a sliding screen door. The windows include integrated shades and screens much like the Max. I’ve noticed they’ve gone with a friction hinge door on this model, which I really like even in my own trailer.

From a construction aspect, the Mini Max has Liberty Outdoors’ 2 year manufacturers warranty. Sitting on a tubular steel chassis, the Mini Max is framed in aluminum (sidewalls and roof), with Azdel paneling and block foam insulation in the sidewalls and roof.

A few other notable standards are a bone chilling 13,500 BTU roof mount Dometic air conditioner, an 8″ deep stainless steel kitchen sink, 16,000 BTU furnace, 2 burner glass top stove with electric ignition, and exterior Furrion speakers with an exterior TV mount. There is also a Keder rail to attach aftermarket visor, awning or tent room.

All of those standard features can be had for an MSRP around $23,000, so I would suspect dealer prices to be around $20K. There are a few options you can add on for an upcharge, including the Rough Rider Package, which includes 15″ off-road tires and a 2.5″ axle lift, a 100 watt flexible Zamp solar panel, walnut cabinetry, Jack-It bike carrier, and a Furrion wireless observation system.

In a press release today from Liberty Outdoors, “We are super excited to announce the Mini Max. Our community has spoken and we are responding with a smaller Max that is much easier to tow, while not sacrificing the best features or the craftsmanship of the larger model. Our operations team and production crew has outdone themselves with the Mini Max. We can’t wait to bring it to the teardrop market,” said Liberty Outdoors Co-founder and Managing Director of Sales and Marketing, Joe Kicos.

“The Mini Max really hits the sweet spot for many more customers,” said Dylan DeHoff, Liberty Outdoors Director of Operations. “The spaciousness, the storage, the huge refrigerator, the electric ignition stove, the bed configuration, the ability to keep the microwave, I could go on. These are things that trailers in this class simply don’t have. I think our community will be thrilled with the Mini Max,” said DeHoff.

As for my thoughts, the Mini Max should do very well for a few reasons. First, it offers more standards than others in this class of trailer for the same…if not less expensive…price. After seeing their factory firsthand and the areas of their trailers you can’t see in the finished product, their stuff is built to last, with exceptional fit & finish. These guys have always known how to market and distribute trailers for years, but now that they’re building them, they’re at that same level as manufacturers. Their interaction with their customers before and after the sale is something you just don’t see much from in the industry, as I’m sure some of you reading this can attest. It’s nothing to see comments on the Little Guy social media pages on a daily basis from either Dylan DeHoff or Chris Baum. It’s that kind of customer service that really builds the foundation for success, and these guys have the Midas touch. As you can see by the lack of an ad from Little Guy on my website, I say this not as someone paid anything by them, but as someone who appreciates an RV manufacturer who goes that extra mile to make the customer happy in an industry where that is a rarity.

For more info on the Little Guy Mini Max and where to find a dealer near you, visit their website at http://golittleguy.com/mini

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Snapshot: Flagstaff Shamrock 19

This morning I thought I’d post a pic on our Facebook page of a Shamrock trailer, wishing you all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. That thought soon morphed into writing a post on something I’ve never done before: A hybrid trailer. I’ll be upfront here when I say that hybrids aren’t my cup of sunshine for various reasons. But despite that, I looked over the floorplans Shamrock has to offer and if I were to buy one, the Shamrock 19 offers a nice, simple layout.

Key Features: 6 Sided Aluminum Cage Construction; Vacuum Laminated 1 Piece Roof and Walls; LED TV W/ Multi-directional Antenna; Multi Zone Stereo W/ DVD/CD/AM/FM and Bluetooth Control; Two Maxxair® Ventilation Fans and Vent Covers; 13,500 BTU Roof AC; Recessed Cooktop W/ Flush Mount Cover; Microwave Oven; Water Heater w/ Interior Gas and Electric Switches; Power Awning; Black Tank Flush; Tinted Bonded Frameless Windows; Solid Wood and Raised Panel Doors and Drawers; Ducted Furnace;  Engineered Mold and Mildew Resistant Floor Covering; 13,500 Roof A/C; Battery Disconnect Switch; Bunk Fan/Light Combination with Each Bed; Heated Mattress; WiFi Ranger WiFi Booster; Insulation Factors R-7 Side Wall, R-12 Floor and R-14 Ceiling; Insulation Factors R-7 Side Wall, R-12 Floor and R-14 Ceiling

Key Specs: UVW 3885 lbs;  Total length (closed) 21’3″;  Total width 8′;  Hitch weight 434 lbs; Cargo capacity 1549 lbs; Exterior height 10’3″, 43 gallon fresh water tank; 30 gallon gray water tank; 30 gallon black water tank; 15′ awning.

Why I Like It: As someone who’d probably not consider a hybrid from my own camping leisure, if I were, this floorplan would be a strong contender. It’s simple, no slide outs and has a front and rear pop out. The basic four person dinette plus jackknife sofa opposite the dinette give the perfect amount of seating for a family of 4-5. And Flagstaff is a pretty good name in this industry, so there’s a trust factor for me there. But based on the key features listed above, these things pack a punch! There are plenty more features on them as well as a lot of optional things you can put on to make it a comfortable camping experience.

For more info on this and other Shamrock floorplans, visit the Flagstaff website at http://www.forestriverinc.com/travel-trailers/flagstaff-shamrock 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

 

 

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Jayco rolls out the Hummingbird 10RK

I’ve seen pics of the Jayco Hummingbird 10RK for a couple month, but up until now hadn’t heard much about it. Today, Jayco officially introduced the 10RK, what I like to call a “box drop” trailer. It’s the same idea as a traditional teardrop trailer, but instead of the classic teardrop shape, it’s built with a square design.

The 10RK comes with the traditional Jayco 2 year warranty and sits on two Goodyear Endurance radial tires. The galley area is equipped with a TV, microwave, refrigerator, and sink with some storage. Quick observation that sticks out is the exterior height of 90″, despite it’s just 13′ length. Most residential garages have 7′ garage doors, so this would be problematic for storing it onsite for some. Also, the unloaded vehicle weight of just over 1500 lbs will likely rule out towing with some lighter tow vehicles capable of towing lighter weight teardrops.

But that said, if those factors aren’t a factor for you, give it a look. I’ve not seen one in person yet, but Jayco sells the most trailers in the free world, so the Hummingbird 10RK is likely no slouch. I found just two for sale on rvtrader.com. One dealer in Minnesota, Ted’s RV Land, showed an MSRP of $18,500 with a selling price of $10,300, which may not be too bad for the budget conscience buyer wanting to get in to this type of trailer.

For more info, visit the Jayco website at https://www.jayco.com/products/travel- trailers/2018-hummingbird/10rk/ and be sure to watch the walk through video below, courtesy the Jayco RV YouTube channel.

(photos courtesy Ted’s RV Land)

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Small Trailer Snapshot: The Winnebago Minnie Drop 170S

In this entry of Small Trailer Snapshot, I’m featuring the Winnebago Minnie Drop 170S. Not only will I give you my thoughts on it, but I’m tag teaming with Josh “The RV Nerd” Winters, website manager and product specialist at Haylett RV of Coldwater, Michigan. We’ll give you our thoughts on why the 170S Minnie Drop is the best floorplan it has to offer.

Key Features: NXG engineered chassis; High gloss T-60 gel coat fiberglass sidewalls; One piece fiberglass roof; 13.5K BTU low profile air conditioner; Convection microwave oven; Audio Visual system: AM/FM/CD/DVD/USB/Bluetooth; USB charging ports; Gas electric refrigerator; 6 gallon gas/electric/DSI water heater; Power awning with LED lighting; Solar charge prep; 19″ television; Power tongue jack; Full dry bathroom; Kitchen slide out.

Key Specs: Total length 20’4″; Exterior height: 9’3″; Exterior width (body): 6’6″; Interior height: 6’5″; GVRW: 3800 lbs; Dry weight: 2800 lbs; Fresh water capacity: 31 gallons; Black tank capacity: 25 gallons; Gray tank capacity: 25 gallons; Furnace: 18K BTU; Water heater: 6 gallons; Hitch weight: 315 lbs; Awning length: 10′.

Why We Like It:

Josh: They brought a new take on a proven concept that is bringing more and more people into this world of small trailers. The execution of the model is pretty much flawless. And it’s the little details that set it apart like the positioning of the TV on its swing arm so it can be comfortably viewed from either dinette bench or the bed. Easily overlooked features like the jalousie windows for rainy day airflow (which is just so great when you’re boondocking it) are something that really pulls the experience together. The way they handled splitting/sharing the storage area by the entry door and bathroom is perfect. I’ve seen similar layouts across other brands make the mistake of offering no pantry or no bathroom cabinet. The 170s gives the perfect level of attention to both areas. They were the first in this class to offer a power awning (complete with easy tilt arms and LED lights at the base). The elliptical table dinette’s ability to easily float outside for picnic use is the perfect pairing. One of the best aspects of the floorplan is its ability to turtle up and be fully functional. You don’t really NEED the slide for the model to work — it just adds some breathing room you’ll appreciate. A lot of people miss the outside grill quick connect near the front storage door. I love how it’s positioned away from the awning so you’re not trapping smoke that might want to roll into the RV when you open the door.  But, as is the case with ANY Winnebago towable RV, the service records on the Minnie Drop series is superior to anything else we’ve seen in this market segment. There are other respectable brands for sure, but we’ve yet to find one this close to perfect.

Pat: In January of this year, I helped out a Winnebago dealer in Indianapolis, Braun’s Fun Time Campers, at the Indy RV Expo. When they introduced the 190RD floor plan late last year, I thought that would outsell all the other Minnie Drop floorplans combined. There were four of the Minnie Drop floorplans at the show and by far the 170S was the standout, far exceeding the 190RD. So many of the folks I talked to who looked at all four kept coming back to the 170S, noting that it was the floorplan that offered the most storage, the most functional layout, and had the best “open” feel. Besides the spacious bathroom and its great storage, the 170S is the only Minnie Drop floorplan that overlooks your campsite. And that is one of the more underappreciated features of any trailer  that offers it. A lot of folks I’ve spoken with don’t really even consider it until it’s brought to their attention, then that light bulb clicks on and they realize that overlooking your campsite instead of your neighbor’s is an important feature. And that light interior they introduced last year has really opened up the Minnie Drop compared to the darker wood tones that plague the industry. What I also like are all the standards the Minnie Drop has to offer (see key features above). The only options that are offered are wood grain exterior graphics and a 15″ offroad tire & axle option. But we can’t talk about Winnebago without talking about colors. And they offer eight different exterior colors to choose from. Since there is no base color, there is no upcharge, whether you choose champagne, orange, blue, hunter green, cherry, white yellow, or platinum. And that high gloss fiberglass makes those colors really “shine”.  These are well built trailers with exceptional fit & finish that is easy to see. While I post reviews on trailers by giving you the basics so you can make your own judgement on whether it’s a good trailer for you, I say this with the utmost confidence regarding Winnebago, “Buy with confidence”.

Thanks again to Josh for stopping by and contributing to this post! I, as well as other consumers AND sales professionals, have learned a ton from watching the 3,300 plus walk through videos he’s done on YouTube. He provides a lot of thought provoking commentary and no matter if it’s a 40′ fifth wheel or a 10′ pop-up camper, you’re going to learn something new. By all means, tune into his YouTube channel and join the over 18,000 subscribers to the Haylett RV channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRS9u1f7074u0Rrgu05K9Wg                                           And for an added bonus, you’ll see Josh’s walk through video of the Minnie Drop 170S at the bottom of this post.

(Editor’s note: My apologies for some spacing issues between a few of the photos below. Tried editing it all morning, but with no success.)

 

 

 

 
 

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Aliner expands Ascape floorplans

It was about this time last year when Aliner introduced the diminutive Ascape travel trailer. The 13 foot, 1350lbs Ascape initially came with a fridge, microwave, stove, and sink, with a TV and sound bar, awning, air conditioning, and potty as a packaged option.

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Aliner has increased the floorplans for 2018 for the Ascape to give you four different layouts, ranging from a spartan interior with no appliances to one with a wet bath and kitchen.

The Ascape MT is the spartan layout. It’s geared for maybe those who tent camp that want to get off the ground and into a little bit better shelter. You won’t get a microwave, stove, sink, or toilet with the MT. But you will get lights, a Fantastic Fan, and a solar port. And you’ll get decent sleeping quarters and a very lightweight trailer at just 1170 lbs.

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(courtesy http://mountcomfortrv.com)

The Ascape Camp is a nice upgrade from the MT. The Camp offers excellent cabinet storage on the right as you enter, and on the left if a standard 2-burner stove, sink, and a 1.9 cubic foot refrigerator, with additional overhead cabinets and storage below the counter as well. This is a very good floor plan if you want storage, a kitchen, and excellent counter prep space. Other standards on the Camp include an outside shower, a 16K BTU Atwood furnace, a 6 gallon Suburban water heater, and a 9200 BTU Coleman Mach 8 rooftop air conditioner. While heavier than the MT, the Ascape Camp is still considerably lightweight at 1495 lbs.

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The Ascape ST is a floor plan that Aliner needed to introduce to stay competitive with other brands of similar size. I got several notes after my review of the Ascape last summer from readers lamenting the fact there was no shower in the first Ascape floor plan that hit the market in 2017. And it was my opinion for the Ascape to survive against a similarly priced T@B that had a wet bath, they needed to add one too, and that they did with the Ascape ST. Not only does it offer a fair sized wet bath on the right as you come in, but it also has the same kitchen features as the Ascape Camp with the sink, 2-burner stove, and 1.9 cubic foot refrigerator. However, with the addition of the wet bath on the right, you lose a lot of storage and all that prep space the Camp features. But it doesn’t take much creativity to utilize the table for prep space, or on a good day, take it outside. The standards on the ST mirror those of the Camp model with an outside shower, a 16K BTU Atwood furnace, a 6 gallon Suburban water heater, and a 9200 BTU Coleman Mach 8 rooftop air conditioner. With the shower, you gain a 13 gallon gray water tank. There is not a black water tank for the toilet as the ST utilizes a cassette toilet. The weight on the ST is just a tad heavier than the Camp, checking in at 1575 lbs.

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The last floor plan, the Ascape Plus, is the original floor plan that hit the market in 2017. It also offers the greatest number of features as standard, including a larger sink, 2-burner stove, range hood, microwave, 5′ awning, 23″ flat screen TV with sound bar, Thetford cassette toilet, front mounted solar panel, outside shower, dual 20lbs propane tanks, Suburban 6 gallon water heater, 16K BTU Atwood furnace, and a 3.0 cubic foot 3-way refrigerator. Again, all those are standard features. The only thing not offered in the Ascape Plus is the interior shower. Having the most number of goodies, the Plus is the heaviest of the four floor plans, but it still comes in at a manageable 1630 lbs.

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So as we can see, the folks at Aliner have been busy this past year developing new floor plans for the Ascape. And what they’ve come up with should really satisfy a lot of different camping needs amongst the small trailerists looking for something less than 2,000 lbs that you can stand in. Due to the drop floor in the Ascape, all four models have a maximum 6’4″ interior height, are a total 13′ in length from hitch to tail, are just 6’1″ wide, and 8’4″ tall including the roof top air conditioner (7’5″ on the MT model without A/C). With the dinette in the bed configuration, it produces a roomy 77″ x 64″ sleeping area. All floor plans sit on a 2500 lbs Dexter axle, which equates to cargo capacities ranging from 870 lbs to 1330 lbs, and hitch weights from 170 lbs to 229 lbs. You also have four different exterior graphic colors to choose from in red, black, green, and blue.

To learn more about the Aliner Ascape, visit the Aliner website at http://aliner.com/campers/

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Sunday Snapshot: The Kodiak Cub 175BH

When I first saw the Kodiak Cub 175BH by Dutchmen RV a few months ago, I immediately started making comparisons to my Shasta Oasis 18BH since it is essentially the same floor plan. What I found is that I wouldn’t mind a bit swapping out my Shasta for it.

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Kodiak has done a lot right with this. One, they left in the 3 cubic foot fridge below the counter instead of raiding the pantry space by putting in a 6 cubic foot fridge in an 18′ trailer. Storage is more important when you’re dealing with this size of a trailer. Next thing they did is that they didn’t go crazy with a double basin sink like some do, leaving you with no counter space. The single sink with flush mounted stove gives you a ton of prep space that frankly I believe to be the best of this floor plan.

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By the queen bed, they’ve given you a wardrobe AND  storage over the bed. Typically manufacturers with this floor plan give you one or the other, but not both. The interior is really clean with glass fronts on the overhead cabinets. There’s also a handy exterior door outside the bottom bunk which also serves as a “garage” when the bunk is flipped up for storing some larger items while in transit.

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Construction appears to be really well done here as well with a six sided aluminum cage with heated and enclosed underbelly with an optional off road package giving you some axle lift. For what it’s worth to some, Dutchmen doesn’t actually build these units. They’re put together by Keystone RV as the manufacturer and badged as Kodiaks, which are all part of the Thor Industries conglomerate. cub-2

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Some quick specs, the 175BH Cub weighs right at 3400 lbs, 21’5″ in length, and has some impressive tank capacities for a trailer of this size: 52 gallon fresh, 28 gallon black, and 39 gallon gray, with a black tank flush. Cargo capacity is right at 1200 lbs and hitch weight is 400 lbs. Depending on where you live, prices are in the mid-upper teens.

If I were looking at this floor plan today, I’d really have this one high on my list.  My 2 year old grandson, however, didn’t seem too impressed. He just had that “Here we go, another trailer” expression on his face, which, coincidentally is the same expression I usually get from my wife when I find a trailer I get a crush on. 🙂

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To learn more about the Kodiak Cub and its two sibling models, the 175RD and the 185MB couples trailers, visit their website at Kodiak Cub floor plans.

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Lance Best in Trailer Life Survey

The 6th annual Trailer Life Readers’ Choice Awards are out and Lance Camper of Lancaster, California has taken home the prize for best travel trailer, while anything from Forest River came in second and Jayco finished third.

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According to Trailer Life, “Lance made its mark as a manufacturer of truck campers after getting its start back in 1965. Since then, lightweight travel trailers and toy haulers have become significant parts of the Southern California company’s product line, with Lance paying the same careful attention to the design, construction and durability of its towable RVs as it has always given to its segment-leading truck campers.”

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The accolades should come as no surprise as our long time partner was recognized earlier this year as the top selling composite travel trailer in the 14′-23′ category by RV Business Intelligence Solutions. Congrats to all our friends at Lance on a job well done!

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My Top 6 Small Trailer Picks for Couples

Recently an idea popped into my head for a post here on The Small Trailer Enthusiast. If I were in the market for a single axle couples camper today, what would I want and why? After going through the Manufacturers page here on this site, I came up with six floorplans from six manufacturers that I’d love hauling behind my Yukon. Various factors came up to these six, such as quality, uniqueness of the floorplan, or just some unexplained feeling I had that told me I’d like it if it were mine.

So here are my 6 picks in alpha order:

Airstream Bambi Sport 22FB

Key Features: Iconic Airstream design; Enclosed and heated tanks; Separate short U-shaped dinette; Good sized rear dry bathroom.

Key Specs: Checks in at 21’8″ from hitch to tail with a dry weight of just over 3600 lbs; 7’3″ exterior width; 3-way 4.2 cubic ft refrigerator; 6’3″ interior height; 866 lbs cargo capacity; 422 lbs hitch weight; 4,500 lbs GVWR

Why I like it: It’s my contention that the 22FB Bambi Sport is the best bang for the buck when it comes to Airstreams. You get a fair sized bed, a U-shaped dinette, and a decent sized full bathroom. Currently, MSRP on one is around $56,000. Typically you can expect to get 18-20% off MSRP on an Airstream, which puts your out the door prices in the $46,000 range. When you consider a much shorter 16′ Bambi Sport after discount off MSRP would run in the upper $30K’s and an Airstream Basecamp will run you in the mid $30K’s as well, the 22FB Bambi Sport would be a comfortable option for someone OK with spending $300-some a month for 15 years. Plus, it’s an Airstream. Who wouldn’t like camping in the most iconic trailer that’s ever existed?

https://www.airstream.com/travel-trailers/sport/

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(courtesy Colonial Airstream)

Cherokee Wolf Pup 18TO

Key Features: Full size super slide; Ample counter space; Affordable entry level model; Tuck away bunk bed

Key Specs: Dry weight of just under 3800 lbs; 22’9″ long; 1200 lbs cargo capacity; 85″ wide; 10′ awning; 4999 lbs GVWR; 437 lbs hitch weight

Why I like it: Cherokee has been making great strides in recent years as one of the top entry level “stick & tin” trailers in the market, slicing into Jayco’s stranglehold in that segment. The Wolf Pup is Cherokee’s small floor plan family member, and the 18TO is their most appealing floorplan. It has a full super slide housing both the dinette and jack knife sofa. What’s more is you get a hideaway bunk that extends over the sofa for additional sleeping. If you don’t need the bunk, it stays smartly out of the way behind the back of the sofa. Also a queen bed up front gives a ton of sleeping options for a trailer under 23′ long, probably up to 7 or 8 if you have some kids in the mix. The kitchen has ample counter space with a 3.3 cubic foot refrigerator. This is a great little floorplan that gives you plenty of elbow room. These can be had for as low as the $12K range.

http://www.forestriverinc.com/travel-trailers/cherokee-wolf-pup

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(courtesy Haylett RV)

Lance 1575

Key Features: Unsurpassed quality; Deep slide U-dinette; Azdel interior wall panels; One piece fiberglass roof; Acrylic tinted Thermopane Euro windows; Enclosed, insulated and heated fresh water tank; Tankless water heater; 5 cubic foot refrigerator

Key Specs: Dry weight of 2650 lbs; 20’5″ total length; 225 lbs dry hitch weight; 3700 GVRW; 1050 lbs cargo capacity; 6’6″ interior height; 85″ wide

Why I like it: It’s no accident that Lance is the number one selling composite trailer in 2017. Long known for their quality construction, Lance is a trailer built to last. The 1575 offers a great layout for couples with a large U-shaped dinette in a deep slide that can accommodate a couple of guests for the night. The bathroom is concealed by a not so common sliding pocket door. And that new Roadster upholstery is something to behold! The light weight of the 1575 (2650 lbs dry weight) expands tow vehicle options. The use of Computer Numerical Control machinery in the construction of each Lance trailer is very evident when you observe the fit & finish. Easily the last trailer you’d ever have to buy. Prices can be found in the upper $20K’s.

https://www.lancecamper.com/travel-trailers/1575/

 

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Little Guy Max

Key Features: Storage, storage storage; 7 insulated dual pane windows; 24″ dinette TV on electric lift; 24″ bedroom TV with soundbar; Stainless steel refrigerator, microwave, and 8″ deep sink; 100% hardwood cabinet with dovetail construction; Exterior color options: white or silver base with red, black, or silver trim

Key Specs: 3140 lbs dry weight; 21′ overall length; 7′ overall width; 6’7″ interior height; 3800 lbs GVWR; 60″x80″ queen bed; 2 year manufacturers warranty; Optional 3.5″ axle riser

Why I like it: When I first visited the Little Guy factory in Somerset, PA in June 2017, they were barely a dozen units into the production process. Despite that, the finished product I was looking was incredibly well put together. I was able to see all stages of production, so when I saw what’s underneath the final product, I knew this thing was going to take off, and it has. Despite its teardrop shape, the large and open feel on the inside is what makes this trailer shine. The 7 total windows really help the cause by really opening things up in the inside. What’s more is the crazy amount of interior storage totals something like 59 cubic feet! A larger than normal wet bath gives just about everyone plenty of elbow room. The front dinette 24″ TV with electric lift hides it when you don’t need it, which is something you typically won’t find in a trailer of this size. Overall an excellent product and they’re selling like hotcakes. As of this writing, expect to pay around $30K, give or take a couple thousand.

http://golittleguy.com/lg-max/

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Venture RV Sonic Lite 149VML

Key Features: One piece seamless fiberglass roof; Black tank flush; Porcelain foot flush toilet; Lighted safety step and grab handle; Slam latch baggage doors; Foldaway dinette table and chairs

Key Specs:  6’10” interior height; Lightweight at 2745 lbs dry weight; 3500 lbs GVWR; 290 lbs hitch weight; 755 lbs cargo capacity; 19’2″ total length; 90″ exterior width; 4.2 cubic foot refrigerator; Large tanks: 41 gal gray, 38 gal fresh, 30 gal black; 11′ awning

Why I like it: I’ve been interested in the Sonic lines by Venture RV for the past couple of years. They’ve got some cool floor plans that are outside the box, and the 149VML Sonic Lite is no exception. This rear kitchen, rear side entry trailer is a nice, lightweight couples camper that has a neat little foldaway table and chairs that replace a standard RV dinette. When not using the table, it opens up some good floor space between the kitchen and bedroom. It’s also got a HUGE 6’10” interior height which is unheard of in a trailer of this size. The kitchen in the 149VML boasts good pantry and cabinet storage, as well as a nice wrap around kitchen counter. These are two big things my wife always wants in her trailer, so this is a unit I know she’d like. The Sonic Lite 149VML is nicely priced in the mid teens.

https://www.venture-rv.com/products/sonic-lite-travel-trailers/SL149VML.html

 

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Winnebago Micro Minnie 1705RD

Key Features: High gloss gelcoat fiberglass exterior; Dual propane tanks; Enclosed and heated tanks; U-shaped rear dinette; Ample kitchen counter space; Good overall cabinet storage; Multiple exterior color options; Battery disconnect switch

Key Specs: 20’9″ overall length; 3,080 lbs dry weight; 3,800 GVWR; 6’4″ interior height; 7’0″ exterior width; 12′ awning;

Why I like it: When Winnebago re-entered the travel trailer market a few years back, it didn’t take long for them to quickly put out one of the finest trailers you’ll find in that class. The gelcoat gloss finish on the fiberglass is unlike anything other manufacturers put on their trailers. I really like the light, off-white interior in the 1705RD, which opens up the entire interior of the trailer, making it feel larger than it really is. The storage in the 1705RD is more than enough for a couple looking to make this their trailer of choice. But what I really love about this floorplan is the U-shaped rear dinette, offering a comfortable spot to relax and look out the three windows that surround the dinette. The kitchen counter offers sufficient prep space as well as a stainless steel sink. You can expect to pay somewhere in the upper teens for a 1705RD. Love this one a lot!

https://winnebagoind.com/products/travel-trailer/2018/micro-minnie/overview

(Images courtesy McClain’s RV Superstores)

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So there you have it folks. A look into what tickles my fancy in terms of couples trailers in the 20′ range. Do you have one of these floorplans? If so, leave a comment below and let us know what you think of it. And speaking of trailer floor plans, this coming week is the annual RVIA show in Louisville, Kentucky. I’ll be there for two days this year bringing you news on the new models and floorplans coming out for 2018. I’ll be giving some live updates on the Facebook page and on Twitter. To follow along at either social media platform, you can join here: https://www.facebook.com/smalltrailerenthusiast/ and here: https://twitter.com/Small_Trailers. You can look for those updates from the show starting this coming Tuesday, November 28. As always, a big thank you for reading, and have a happy holiday season!

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Elkhart Open House – Part 2 – inTech RV

Continuing from part 1 of my trip to the Elkhart Open House, I moved on to what I believe to be one of the better up and coming small manufacturers today, inTech RV. InTech has been around less than 10 years, but their quality I’ve seen thus far puts them near the top of the heap of some of the larger teardrop manufacturers. While their teardrops aren’t teardrops in the form of a traditional shape, they are with respect to their size and function. inTech’s Flyer line includes submodels Chase, Pursue, Explore, and Discover. Weights range from 850 lbs on the Chase to up to 2050 lbs on the Discover, which is their toy hauler touting an impressive 7000 lbs GVRW.

 

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inTech introduced one of the most unique teardrop styled trailers you’ve likely ever seen: the Luna.

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There are several trailers this thing reminds me of. I see bits and pieces of an Airstream Basecamp, a Vistabule, and a T@G in it. Construction-wise, the Luna fiberglass body sits on an aluminum frame with a fully welded cage, as do all inTech trailers, and offers a composite floor deck, which will be standard in the production models. The overall length is just over 15′ and weight should be around 1800 lbs, depending on options, with a 2200 lbs GVWR.

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If you think Luna’s huge front window takes a cue from the Airstream Basecamp, that’s not a coincidence, as inTech’s Scott Tuttle told me that day. But unlike any other teardrop out there, the Luna offers a Cool Cat air conditioner/heat pump combo and a HUGE 40″ flat screen TV. The cushions are interchangeable to offer various seating configurations. And because the LP tank is enclosed in the front panel of the Luna, that creates a handy counter below the front window.

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The galley area offers a 12 volt slide out refrigerator, and stainless steel microwave and sink with a pull down sprayer, as well as stove. Counter space looks pretty good for accessories and other “stuff” most teardroppers will bring along. Overall, I was quite impressed. It’s one thing to have a design that’s unique, but when you add a quality build to the mix, it raises eyebrows. There aren’t many Lunas out yet, as production is just now starting to ramp up, but expect an MSRP in the $20-22K range, depending on options. That said, you should see these picked up from the mid to upper teens depending on your location and dealer you’re dealing with.

That does it for this installment from the Elkhart Open House. I realized there was enough just to do a single post on inTech, but I’ll have more posts coming soon!

 

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Elkhart Open House – Part 1

This was the first year I’ve made the trek up to Elkhart, Indiana for the annual manufacturers open house throughout the region. I was able to hit most of the big manufacturers, with the exception of anything under the Forest River umbrella. The gatekeeper decided to flex his muscles instead of letting me come in and (gasp!) promote their products on this website. Their loss. That said, a huge thank you goes out to Thor Industries for supplying me a media pass that allowed me to roam around to look at their selections including Airstream, KZ, Camp Lite, Heartland, and Jayco. I also made a side trip to visit Winnebago, Gulf Stream, Liberty Outdoors, inTech RV, Holiday House, Taxa, Riverside RV, Lance, Sunset Park RV, Travel Lite, and nuCamp. So as you can guess, I packed a lot in a 10 hour period. So I’ll briefly post some pics below with a few comments. I didn’t get pics of everything, but hopefully enough to pique your interest for the upcoming RV buying season.

First off is the KZ Escape Mini. This is in the same class as whatever you what to call the R-pod. Five floorplans at your choosing with all five 20’9″ long and weighing anywhere from 2800-2900 lbs. You can view the Escape Mini floorplans by clicking here.

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I still contend Livin’ Lite’s Camp Lite travel trailers are near the top of the best constructed conventional trailers on the market. Six sided aluminum cage construction with Azdel sidewalls give you all the assurance you’d need that these will last you for a long, long, time. There are nine floorplans of the Camp Lite, start at a mere 15’7″ and 2430 lbs. To view the Camp Lite floorplans, click here.

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Last year, Heartland RV debuted the Terry Classic V21. Styled after the early 1960’s Holiday House, the Terry Classic was met with a cool reception, due in part to its weight of around 4400 lbs, which for a single axle is somewhat on the heavy side. This year, they have come out with a much better floorplan in the V22. The front kitchen, rear bedroom offers a much more open floorplan than the V21. However, the V22 is even heavier, as the unit on display weighed a robust 4700 lbs. While still half ton towable, it far exceeds the capability of the 3500 lbs mini van tow capacity, which many retro styled trailers of today are geared for. More on the Terry Classic can be found by clicking here.

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Gulf Stream has introduced what best can be described as a fancy entry level in the new Capri. If you like a retro flair in a basic stick and tin trailer, the Capri may be up your alley. With a white exterior base and mint green trim with the same interior accents, the Capri has a very refreshing look, as entry level units go. It’s basically the same thing as Gulf Stream’s Ameri-Lite with the mint green giving it a much more desirable look than the typical browns. I’d suspect you’ll find these in the low to mid teens price range. There were only two on display, a bunkhouse and a couple’s floorplan. I would suspect they’ll have more on their website in the coming months, but to view what Ameri-Lite has to offer for a rough idea what you’re in for, click here.

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My next stop was at Liberty Outdoors, the parent company of Little Guy, Serro Scotty, and ParkLiner. On hand here were the recently released Little Guy Max. Sales have been brisk with the Max over the first couple of months of production, and the debut of the prototype Little Guy Plus should likely create the same buzz as the Max. The Plus is in the early stages and there are more changes to be made on it. But the overall concept is that it will have a traditional rear galley and also an interior galley with a U-shaped dinette that converts into a sizable bed and a wet bath along with it. Weight on this should be right around 2,000 lbs once production gets going.

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As for the ParkLiner, it still has a few months to go. Taking consideration that it is a prototype that was on display, I keep that in mind, but some of the cabinet push buttons were on the clunky side. However, the physical construction of the unit as a whole was put together really well. The double hull fiberglass construction of the ParkLiner is a huge, yet hidden, feature of it. Stay tuned as this one is a work in progress. For more info on the ParkLiner, click here.

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The Little Guy Max was well represented at Liberty Outdoors. The standard units as well as an off road model were there. The off road model adds about 4″ in axle height. Also on display was a unit with the optional darker interior wood. For more info on the Max, click here.

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About halfway through this post, I realized it’s going to be big and with my work and home schedule, it’s going to take a while before I’d get it done. I then decided it’d be best if I break this up into two posts and get this first one out there for you instead of making one big post that would get done next week. So stay tuned for part two hopefully sometime next week.

 

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