Earlier this month, Sugarcreek, Ohio based nüCamp RV announced plans to build the British based Barefoot Caravan in nüCamp’s Sugarcreek manufacturing facility, starting in early 2020.
The makers of the stalwart T@B, T@G, and Cirrus truck campers, nüCamp will add a very unique offering to their lineup that has been on the British camping scene since 2015. The Barefoot features a strong European-retro design, which harkens to “caravan” stylings from Europe in the 1950’s & 60’s. The molded monocoque fiberglass compact trailer comes with a wet bath and kitchenette, and weighs in at just over 2,000 lbs and measures just over 16′ long. Expect MSRP on the Barefoot to be in the low $30K’s, which is in line with other higher end trailers of this size and construction. “We are excited to combine the unique Barefoot design with the hallmark nuCamp quality,” said nuCamp CEO Scott Hubble. “We are thrilled to have Barefoot as part of the nuCamp RV family.”
“This is a very special day for Barefoot,” said Barefoot Caravans’ Managing Director Cathy Chamberlain. “We have had thousands of inquiries from the USA and Canada and wanted to find a partner to meet that demand. We are delighted to be working with nuCamp – they share our same work ethics and quality standards. We know they will do a great job. We are really excited about bringing Barefoot Caravans to this new market and realizing our American dream.”
For more info on the Barefoot, visit www.nucamprv.com/barefoot for future updates. And once production starts up, look for a more in-depth review right here.
Uniontown, Ohio based Liberty Outdoors recently has introduced the 21′ Camp-Rover to their small trailer line-up, which already includes the Little Guy Max and Mini Max. Designed with the same foot print as the popular Little Guy Max, the Camp Rover will provide a different floorplan, but with the same construction as the Max, yet at a reduced cost.
To get to that lower cost when compared to the Little Guy Max, the Camp-Rover comes with fewer frills which help drive down the MSRP, which will be some $4000-$5000 cheaper than a Max at around $27,000. It will have the ability to sleep 4, thanks to the 60″x80″ rear queen bed, the front dinette that converts to a single bed, and the optional overhead storage cabinets that can convert to a bunk that checks in at 27″X81″.
The Camp-Rover offers standard features, including a full kitchen, wet bath with seamless shower surround, A/C, quick recovery water heater and storage including a 13-inch by 30-inch exterior pass-through baggage door. The Camp-Rover has an internal height of 6 feet and 7 inches and weighs 2,900 pounds. It is 21 feet long and 7 feet wide. As with all Little Guy trailers, optional Rough Rider packages with off-road tires including spare and 2-inch lift, as well as solar panels, are available.
Where they drive down costs are there are fewer electronics, and a smaller air conditioner, utilizing an 5,000BTU unit that is mounted underneath the bed. There are also fewer windows in the Camp-Rover as well, which help reduce overall cost of ownership. As Joe Kicos, Managing Director at Liberty Outdoors, told me, the Camp-Rover is for the true camper who doesn’t need the TVs and stereos, although it is pre-wired for those, but is looking for a quality built trailer the gives the basics at an affordable price point.
While not yet on the market, I anticipate we’ll see them hit dealer lots throughout this summer. Once they do, I’ll be making a trip to one of my nearby Liberty Outdoors dealers to get a first hand report. Stay tuned! Until then, be sure to check out the Liberty Outdoors website for future details on the Camp-Rover at https://golibertyoutdoors.com
This week I received an email from a reader informing me of a situation with South Carolina based Lil Snoozy RV. In business since 2010, the Lil Snoozy is a uniquely shaped, rear entry fiberglass trailer, created by Alan Smoak, who sold the company around 2013 to Richard Mickle. The email I received from the reader indicated her sister had put a $10,000 deposit on a Lil Snoozy, but the website disappeared and the owner could not be contacted. Sure enough, lilsnoozy.com was no longer active. I then joined the Facebook page for Lil Snoozy owners to find out what I could. Sure enough, on Monday there was a post regarding the closure of the Lil Snoozy facility in St Matthews, South Carolina. What I read there and on the forum, fiberglassrv.com, was rather disturbing. Multiple sources indicate some 45 customers had placed deposits, generally in excess of $10,000 each due to their 40% deposit requirement.
One of those indicated he’d been in contact with Mickle’s lawyer and that he was filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which doesn’t bode well for those expecting to get much, if any, of their deposits back. So those 45 customers who put down $10K-plus each, you can see how this stinks, on multiple levels. Considering there had been just a few employees (as in less than 5) building them, it makes you wonder why you’d let the waiting list grow to 45 deposits with so few people working there, resulting in wait times of some 18 months. As they say, “do the math”. This same person indicated the facility where they were produced had in fact been completely emptied of everything and the door was padlocked. Basically, there appears there’s nothing left for anyone to legally go after. I’ve got more researching to do on this, as it’s just developing. However, it seems like a bad situation for those 45, and here’s hoping they can find some positive resolution in the end. I’ll update this situation when new information becomes available.
Here’s a video I found with Alan Smoak, who developed the Lil Snoozy before selling the company some six years ago.
The Small Trailer Enthusiast welcomes our latest website partner to the fold, PQN Audio of Ventura, California. PQN manufacturers aftermarket waterproof RV speakers that offer a BIG sound but in a small size. PQN Audio compact waterproof speakers bring a dynamic audio performance typically found in larger speakers. Designed to fit where other speakers won’t, the SPA series waterproof speakers are perfect for teardrop installations as well as travel trailers and tent trailers. The ECO Series RV speakers are lightweight, offer UV protection, are waterproof, and come in black or white. PQN Audio speakers can be mounted virtually anywhere to fit your specific needs for great sound, convenience and years of quality performance. PQN also offers full OEM support. PQN Audio products are available through distribution or from authorized on-line resellers.
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On Friday, February 15, Hymer North America terminated their 900 person workforce, effectively killing the anticipated Touring GT travel trailer. The Cambridge, Ontario based Hymer North America group informed their workforce yesterday of the closure of the plant, effective immediately. The Touring GT travel trailer had been in the works for a larger release for a few years now, but never made it. It appeared last year that it was “this” close to hitting the US markets, as they had a nice representation of their trailers at the Elkhart RV dealers open house last September.
Hymer North America is formerly RoadTrek Motorhomes, makers of the popular RoadTrek Class B motorhomes. RoadTrek was purchased by German-based Erwin Hymer Group in 2016, and the plan was to use that acquisition as a means to bring Hymer’s popular Eriba Touring travel trailer to North America, which would then be built by Hymer North America in Ontario. However, that all changed in 2018 with the announcement that Thor Industries would acquire the Germany-based Erwin Hymer Group. As reported in the Toronto Star, “the $3.1 billion takeover was delayed amid an investigation into financial “irregularities”.” On February 1, the final acquisition cut Hymer North America out of the deal, effectively shutting its doors.
It’s a shame this is the outcome for a trailer that had a lot of potential, and one I know some of you were anxious to see. Who knows, once the dust settles, perhaps someone will acquire the rights to the Touring GT and resurrect it. Or perhaps Thor will find a spot for it one day within one of their lines. Either way, for the foreseeable future, it looks like the Hymer Touring GT will be a footnote in small trailer history in the U.S.
Back in September when I was attending the Elkhart RV open house in Elkhart, IN, I came across this little offering in the Coachmen RV section at the Forest River compound. The shape and size of it instantly caught my eye for a further look. It was a new model Coachmen was introducing in both the Clipper and the Viking lines of camping trailers. The one on display was a Coachmen Viking Express 9.0TD.
Key Features: Unique hybrid design, with elements of both a teardrop and a pop-up camper; Rear entry door; 5,000 BTU air conditioner; Bluetooth stereo; Full pass-through storage; 20,000 BTU furnace; 1.2 cubic foot 110 volt refrigerator; Zamp solar prep; USB charging ports; Side mount grill with quick-connect propane hook-up; Four heavy duty stabilizer jacks; Optional rear awning.
Key Specs: 9′ box length; 13′ total length; Weighs just under 1,100 lbs; 54″x74″ bed; 13″ aluminum wheels; 20 lbs propane tank; 12″x24″ baggage doors; 15″x24″ windows.
Why I Like It: The Clipper/Viking Express 9.0TD hits all the right notes for me in a small camping trailer. Who’s it for? I see it for those who want to “get off the ground” from tent camping and into something with a little more amenities, but without breaking the budget. I’ve seen these advertised for less than $7,000, so they’re quite affordable for most. It’s also excellent for those with low tow capacity, as it weighs under 1100 lbs. While it is a step up from tent camping, you’re still responsible for your potty facilities, as it does not have a toilet, which will be a deal breaker for some. However, it’s safe to say you’ll already know that based on the size of the Clipper/Viking Express 9.0TD. If you like cozy, without having to pay a king’s ransom, this is the ticket. You’d be spending more than half of what an upscale traditional teardrop is going for these days. But one thing the 9.0TD has going for it that a traditional teardrop doesn’t is that you can actually stand in this once the pop-up is popped up. The 5,000 BTU air conditioner should more than take care of you on a hot summer day when you have the tent portion zipped up. And to add to that, you’ll get excellent cross ventilation from the two windows that are on each side of the camper near the head of the bed. And it’s got decent storage for what it is as well, featuring a bed that flips up for storage access, as well as interior cabinets as well as a shelf above the head of the bed, which also houses two speakers for the Bluetooth stereo. Add the optional tent room and you’ve got a nice little set-up that you’re not spending a fortune on. These are slowly starting to show up on dealers lots and websites, but I suspect that will increase over the next couple of months just in time for spring. So if you’re in the market for a teardrop, or if you’re a tent camper and just want to get off the ground, give either the Coachmen Clipper Express 9.0TD or the Coachmen Viking Express 9.0TD a look. I think you’ll find they’re a really nice alternative for your budget and camping experience.
Recently I’ve been doing a few winter projects on our 2016 Shasta Oasis, two of which I tackled the same day. The first that day was the addition of a Heng’s Vortex II fan that I wrote about here. Once that task was completed inside, I moved up to the roof, thanks in part to a mild November afternoon in Indiana. The final task in my ventilation upgrades was the installation a MaxxAir FANMATE vent cover.
The FANMATE is one of the more popular vent covers in the RV industry. It’s made of a high density polyethylene with UV inhibitors to help withstand the elements for extended durability. It offers excellent rain protection while your vent is open as well as less than 5% airflow restriction while using your fan. An optional bug screen insert is available to help from bringing in unwanted flying pests.
Installation of the FANMATE is really quite simple. It’s even more simple if you have a MAXXFAN vent fan, as they have integrated mounting tabs that hold the four EZClips in place. But if you have a different brand, there are four mounting brackets that are included, which is what I needed to use on my vent. Simply mark your bracket location on the side of the vent, drill a hole into the side of the vent for each bracket, attach the brackets with the provided screws and nuts, then you’re ready to attach the cover with the EZClips.
By sliding out just two of the clips after you’re done, you can hinge the FANMATE to one side for maintenance. Dimensions of it are 25″ long x 18-1/8″ wide x 10-1/4″ high. You have a choice of three colors: black, smoke, or white.
To aid I’m my installation, I referenced a Youtube video by Mark Polk of RV Education 101, one the most knowledgeable RV guys you’ll ever know. He gives some excellent step by step instructions if you have either a MAXXFAN or a different brand. These will also work over just a vent opening that doesn’t have any type of fan.
I purchased my FANMATE through Amazon. Currently they’re going for around $55 there, which you can find by clicking this link.
Back in August of 2017, I gave a first hand report of the new for 2017 Aliner Ascape, which you can read here. Aliner has since shuffled the Ascape lineup and now offers one that really hits on all cylinders, so to speak. The Aliner Great Ascape will soon be hitting dealer lots after the new year, and is one worth looking into, especially if you’re short on tow capacity. It’s 9″ wider than the smaller Ascape Camp, ST, MT, and Plus, equating to 12% increased width. But it adds all the features that the smaller versions couldn’t fit in to one floorplan. The Great Ascape continues like the rest of the Ascape lineup with its signature rear entry door, covered by a standard 6′ Thule awning. It also comes standard with a Cool Cat AC/Heat pump, as well as double pain Euro style windows. This is one I’d give a hard look at if I were in the market for something in this class.
Key Features:Unique rear entry door; 9″ overall width increase compared to the entry level Ascape; small footprint and lightweight; loaded with amenities .
Key Specs: Checks in at just over 1800 lbs, with a 14′ length and 220 lbs hitch weight with 650 lbs of cargo capacity. Interior height is 6’4″ A 6’4″ interior height due to a handy drop floor makes the Great Ascape one that your average camper can easily fit in.
Why I Like It: Why would any small trailer enthusiast not love the Great Ascape? It’s small enough to tow with a plethora of vehicles, it’s got everything one needs to camp comfortably, and it’s got visual appeal. Standard features include a built-in microwave, flush mount sink and stove, 3.0 cubic foot fridge, enclosed wet bath with cassette toilet, and 23″ flat screen TV & sound bar. Exterior features include an outside shower, dual 20 lbs propane tanks, a 6′ Thule awning, and a 100 watt roof mounted solar panel. When the dinette is in full bed configuration, it measures out to an impressive 77″ x 64″. Or if you are camping with a buddy, you can use each side of the dinette booths as single beds. While the Great Ascape is a brand new model in the Ascape line, I’ve not found any out on the market yet, but I suspect that will change within the next couple of months. Look for MSRP’s to be in the mid $20K’s, which should translate to a low $20K take home price.
This past summer, Liberty Outdoor ambassador and Girl Camper podcast star, Janine Pettit, traveled the U.S. in a 2018 Little Guy Mini Max trailer, bringing public awareness to the new Little Guy model as well as giving feedback to the Union, Ohio based manufacturer. Now this same Mini Max can be yours, as Liberty Outdoors is raffling the trailer to a happy camper, with proceeds going to the HoldYou Foundation. The HoldYou Foundation is an organization based in Sherman Oaks, CA that assists families facing financial hardship due to a child with a life threatening illness or injury. The foundation assists with services such as rent & mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, gas, child care, transportation, and insurance premiums.
As for the Mini Max you just might win, Janine put some 10,000 miles on it this summer, covering 14 states and over 60 nights of camping. As Janine tells us, “I styled her to make me feel at home no matter where I traveled. I “wallpapered” the walls and reupholstered the cushions and cornices. I created a second set of cushions so that I could use it with as a single bed while traveling alone or return it to a Queen size when my husband camped with me. I asked the Tear Drop Shop to make me two covers, a big awning and a smaller visor. The visor and awning attach via a Keder rail and can be used on either side of the trailer. I have loved this awning and use it as my “porch”. It’s been great sitting out at night when it’s raining and watching the weather. It’s great to have my chairs and table dry when there’s dew in the morning and it’s great being protected from the sun when I settle in to read a good book. The trailer is personalized and pre loved! Whoever wins it will get “my” trailer with its cushions and wallpaper and awnings!! The winner will also get a new set of twin bedding from Beddy’s Bed, a complete starter camping kit from Camco Manufacturing and a $100 girft card from the Tear Drop Shop. It’s been a great cottage on wheels and I am thrilled and grateful that Little Guy has been so generous with it.”
We all have it. It’s that list in the back of our heads of upgrades we want to do to our trailers. I’ve slowly been pecking away at mine, and recently I knocked off a couple of things I’ve been looking forward to completing. Many of today’s trailers, especially the entry level versions, have either a single vent with no fan, or a vent with a little 5″, single speed fan that wouldn’t change the flight pattern of a gnat. These you’d typically find in a bathroom to exhaust out any moisture from a shower.
I gave a lot of thought about going with a Fantastic Fan or a MaxxFan (the two better known brands on the market), and have it installed at a dealer, along with a vent cover to put over it. However, such a job requires removing the entire existing fan assembly and installing the new one from up on the roof. This also requires a lot of time removing the old butyl tape, which acts as the seal between the fan and the roof, and adding new butyl tape once the roof is cleaned up and prepped. All in all, I was looking at $400+ for this job. So therefore, I kept putting it off over the last couple of years until that $400 landed in my lap.
I was asking an RV friend (whose name shall remain nameless so his service department doesn’t find out he lost them some business) when he came across one that doesn’t require any work on the roof. He found a video on YouTube from a gent who installed one in his trailer that he’s restoring. I later found out he’s got a cool website: RV Day Dream – http://rvdaydream.com. The fan Mike installed in his trailer is the Vortex II by Heng’s Industries. I kept coming back to Mike’s installation video for a few months before finally pulling the trigger and picking one up on Amazon.
Once I received mine recently I was really glad Mike posted his “how to” video on YouTube, because the unit appears to not come with instructions, as mine didn’t and I’ve read other reviews that have mentioned the same thing. Why that is, I’m not sure, but Mike’s video saved me a ton of time and frustration. By the time I took out the old one, installed the new one, made a few tweaks, it took about 90 minutes.
Overall I’m quite happy with the Vortex II. The noise level on the lowest speed is the same as the original fan (61db), and the medium setting is just a tick louder at 62db, yet it pulls a greater volume of air through the trailer. I took a video of it with each speed to illustrate the decibel levels. The highest decibel was on the “Reverse” setting (air blowing in the trailer) set on high which registered 72db.
So if you’re looking to upgrade a single speed fan or just a vent opening to a multi speed fan with better air flow, I’d suggest taking a look at the Vortex II. As of this writing, you can find them on Amazon for the low $50 range: Heng’s Vortex II . While the Vortex II does not have some of the bells & whistles as some of the more common RV fans, it makes up for it in huge cost savings. It’s all installed in the interior of your RV, so no getting on your roof. It also utilizes your existing vent cover as well, so there’s no need for replacing it either. It’s somewhat spartan, but it does its job just like the others and does it well.
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?