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.
First introduced at September’s RV Open House in Elkhart, Indiana, the inTech Sol was one of the most talked about trailers to be seen. Designed with ques from inTech’s popular Luna teardrop, the Sol is inTech’s first venture into the travel trailer segment. The prototype unit I saw at Elkhart had just been finished days prior to the show. And despite the time crunch, inTech put together a fine looking unit right out the box.
Production of the Sol will commence in mid-November at the company’s Nappanee, Indiana based factory, with shipments to dealers beginning in December. inTech’s Rich Schnippel stated, “We have been developing Sol over the past 6 months and our dealers and retail customers alike have been eagerly awaiting the introduction…some dealers have already taken pre-production deposits.”
From a press release from inTech this week, the Sol has an overall length of just under 20’ and will comfortably sleep up to four adults. The rear offers a true queen-size bed and the front U-shaped dinette can quickly convert to sleep an additional two people. Sol also includes a modern and stylish kitchen featuring a stainless steel farm sink and a two-burner LP stove with a case iron grate. The wetbath includes a porcelain toilet and is larger than most in this class of camper. The interior height of Sol at the peak is 6’ 6” and according to Schnippel takes advantage of what they call “Step Forward Design”. Schnippel stated, “We focused on utilizing the space over the A-frame with the front cap leaning forward, it’s not only very aesthetically pleasing, it creates an abundance of space you otherwise wouldn’t have available.” The weight of the Sol will be between 3050-3200 lbs with a tongue weight of 400 lbs.
Every inTech RV is built utilizing an all-aluminum, all-tube, fully welded cage frame. inTech designs, engineers and builds their frames in-house. Sol not only takes advantage of their aluminum frame, but also incorporates fiberglass sidewalls, a one-piece fiberglass roof and a composite engineered floor void of any wood.
“Small trailers need to take advantage of great flow or they begin to feel confined, which is a big turn-off for buyers. Our Step Forward Design focuses on taking advantage of the space above a person’s beltline and in particular at head height, if these areas are open, the trailer will feel much larger,” Schnippel confirmed.
Options on the Sol include an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor kitchen with 120V/12V refrigerator, and a 10′ awning.
The Sol is by far the hottest new travel trailer in the small trailer segment of the industry for 2019. Compared to other trailers in the same class as the Sol, the prices are on par with the competition, as MSRP will run around $30K. I’ve see pre-order prices at dealers just a tick under $27K. And I fully suspect the Sol will be built with the same solid reputation as their Flyer teardrop-sized trailers are, which are some of the finest in the industry. So with that in mind, I fully expect the Sol to be a big player in this class and size of travel trailers.
This years RV manufacturers open house in Elkhart, Indiana offered a lot of the same small trailer floorplans that we all know and love, but as usual there were some new introductions as well. Despite some heavy rains on Tuesday that made parts of the display areas quite the swamp, I covered just about everyone I found with the exception of Winnebago, which I’ve been told had nothing new but a narrow bodied fifth wheel. I was fortunate to get inside the Forest River display this year, thanks to Cody Schade with the No Boundaries/R-pod division. I’m going to touch briefly on some of the new and/or updated offerings I saw. Down the road I’ll likely feature a few of these for more of an in depth analysis.
KZ RV had one new floorplan that caught my eye. The Escape E191SS is a narrow bodied with a super slide which supports a dinette as well as a sofa. If this floorplan looks familiar, Cherokee’s Wolf Pup 18TO has this same general floorplan, which came out last year. One stark difference in the two is the back wall. The Wolf Pup leaves the wall open to mount a TV, but the Escape utilizes the back wall for storage cabinets, which is a smart choice considering the overall design limits the amount of places where storage can be engineered into the trailer. Specs on the Escape 191SS can be found here: https://www.kz-rv.com/products/escape-travel-trailers/E191SS.html
At the Jayco display, there were just two Hummingbirds on display: a “box drop” and a larger sized unit. I really liked the floorplan of the larger 17MBS. It’s a murphy bed with a dry bath that shares the back wall with the rear kitchen, and a slide out for the fridge, microwave, and pantry. This is a nice and tidy floorplan. It gives you the flexibility of the murphy bed that, when not in the sofa configuration, converts into a 60″x75″ queen bed. One stand out feature of the Hummingbird 17MBS is the excellent interior storage. More info can be found on the Jayco website here: https://www.jayco.com/products/travel-trailers/2019-hummingbird/17mbs/
At the Little Guy display, there were a handful of Little Guy Max and Mini Max models, as well as one myPod. I was informed by Little Guy owner Joe Kicos that they’re in fine-tuning mode with both models. Their efforts seem to be working as I got an unsolicited comment from one dealer indicating how much they’ve improved since he saw them at the open house in 2017. And that walnut interior option in either model is starting to grow on me. More info can be found on the Little Guy website at https://golittleguy.com
At the inTech RV display, the star of the show was the new Sol. They hustled to get it ready for the show, as the prototype was still being put together the week prior. But that said, it was done and looks like it’s going to be a jaw dropper. It’s not on their website yet, so I don’t have any specs to pass on, but it’s in that 18′-20′ range. The craftsmenship is very good on all the inTech products, including their smaller Flyer and Luna lines. I realized when I was going through display and opening and closing doors and hatches that they remind me a lot of the Camp Lite trailers did several years ago prior to being absorbed by Thor which ultimately killed the brand last year. I always viewed them as one of the best trailers that no one knew about, and inTech has that same feel. However, people are starting to know about them rather quickly. While the Sol is not currently on their website, it will be soon, so check back there in the weeks to come for more specs and features at http://www.intechrv.com.
The Hymer Touring GT is something I first saw a couple years ago at the Louisville RVIA show. It was nowhere to be found last year at Louisville, but has made its triumphant return at this years open house. News of this over the past couple of years has been sparse, but that should now change as recently it was announced that Thor will be acquiring the Hymer brand. The Touring GT is just about the same as I remember it. It’s definitely a high quality unit, as the upper $20k’s price will indicate. It has the roof that pops up for about a foot of additional head room. It’s light weight at 2500 lbs and total length is just under 19′. More info on the Hymer Touring GT can be found here: https://www.gohymer.com/touring-gt-overview/
At the Aliner display, I was really pleased to see what they’ve done with the Ascape model, as the recently introduced Great Ascape made its debut. The Great Ascape has it all. Previous models of the Ascape has had bits & pieces of various features, but the Great Ascape puts them all together in one floorplan. Hats off! After the shower model came out last year, I was hoping a floorplan would come out that had all the features anyone would want, and that has happened with the Great Ascape and then some. Not only did they include everything such as the TV with soundbar, wet bath, microwave, sink, range, and refrigerator, but they’ve also increased the width some 9″, which despite not being a lot, makes a big difference. The bed set-up is diverse as well. You can leave it as two twin beds, or convert it to a huge 77″x64″. To learn more, click on their website here: http://aliner.com/campers/great-ascape-st-shower-model/
At the Lance display, the 1475 and the 1575 continue to shine. The 1575 is still one of my favorite small trailer floor plans with the huge U-shaped slide dinette. And the 1475 still offers the optional sofa slide. Both units are well under 3,000 lbs, making them some of the lightest weight trailers you’ll find with exceptional quality. To learn more about Lance’s trailer lines, visit their website here: https://www.lancecamper.com/travel-trailers
At the nuCamp RV display, it was no secret the push was for the Boondock option of their trailers. The offroad package was featured on the T@G, T@B Clamshell, T@B 320, and T@B 400 and is available in the Lite or Edge package. The Boondock Edge features a Yakima roof rack, 52″ light bar with two spot lights, as well as Marmoleum flooring. Info on the Boondock editions can be found on the nuCamp website at https://tab.nucamprv.com/tab-teardrop-camper/?package=1
I encountered a very nice surprise when I came across the CRUX Expedition Trailers display. The CRUX is that off the beaten path trailer designed for those you won’t likely see next to you at your local state park. The only time you’ll likely see one in the wild is on the highway while it heads to its destination somewhere in the mountains or forests, far from civilization. That’s where this kind of trailer is designed to be, and where those likely to own one want to be. It comes with a wide range of tent options from basic to elaborate, measuring up to 200 square feet. What’s nice about it is that all tents come standard with each trailer. You just pick when configuration you want to set up each time you take it out on your adventure. Can’t say enough good things about what these passionate folks at CRUX are putting together! To learn more, visit the CRUX website at https://www.cruxexpeditiontrailers.com/crux-1600/
This year I was able secure entry in the Forest River compound. A big thanks go out to Cody Schade, manager for the R-pod/No Boundaries division of Forest River for getting me in this year. And with that, let’s talk about R-pod and No Boundaries. I got word of a new R-pod RP191. Never before in this oversized teardrop segment of the small trailer industry have we seen one with dedicated twin beds, which is quickly becoming a desired feature in a travel trailer, especially among older couples. But R-pod has created a big winner with this floor plan, which I’m pretty sure the competition will mimic in short order. The two beds have a night stand centered in between them. The RP191 features a kitchen slide, with a good sized U-shaped rear dinette that converts to a bed for additional sleeping quarters. The decision to go with the smaller wet bath creates a lot more floor space, which in a footprint this small creates a much larger feel inside, which comes in handy when you’re camping with more than two people. At 20’4″ total length, the RP-191 checks in weighing at under 2700 lbs with a generous 1100-plus lbs cargo carrying capacity I really like this one. You can find out about this and other R-pod floorplans at http://www.forestriverinc.com/product-details.aspx?LineID=173&Image=5054&ShowParent=1&ModelID=4227#Main
The No Boundaries (No Bo) line has been on the scene since last year. It’s a line that gives you the flexibility to camp comfortably in some of those areas where you couldn’t and/or wouldn’t typically tow a conventional trailer. Ranging from 10′ “box drop” trailers to bunkhouses that are over 23′ long, there’s a wide range of camping needs that the No Bo can fulfill. The lightweight construction allows for a wide range of 4 and 6 cylinder tow vehicles to pull these. You’ll also have optional roof racks from Rhino Racks that can handle kayaks, bikes, skis, and other outdoors equipment. While the exterior has an outdoorsy feel, the interior gives you a nice contrast to a more conventional look that will make you forget you may be out in the wild, isolated from any camping neighbors. I took a good look at the bunkhouse 19.7. As the owner of a bunkhouse of another brand, I can say the No Bo 19.7 offered some really nice interior features that would make a comfortable camping weekend. I’ll be looking to feature these on a future post, as they’re going to quickly be player in this off road, adventure camping segment that is exploding. To learn more about the No Boundaries line of trailers, visit their website at http://www.forestriverinc.com/travel-trailers/no-boundaries
A big change recently occurred with the 2019 Shasta RV models. Prior to the ’19 models, there were two lines of Shasta: The entry level Oasis and the fancier Revere. Shasta has streamlined things a bit, eliminated both the Oasis and Revere names and blended the two into a line that is simply called “Shasta”. The price points appear to be closer to that of the Oasis, but you get a lot of new features the Oasis didn’t have, such as tub surrounds, mirrored wardrobes, and tiled backsplashes. Also gone are the familiar tans and browns on the exterior, replaced with grays and blues, which seems to be the trend these days with other manufacturers. As a Shasta Oasis owner of a 2016 18BH, I’ve been pleased with our little entry level bunkhouse that we’ve had for 3 camping seasons now. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad bit jealous of the accoutrements the new Shastas offer. You can view the specs and features of the revamped Shasta at their website: http://shastarving.com/travel-trailers/shasta
As my day at the open house wore on, I was texting with my comrade Josh Winters, aka “Josh the RV Nerd” of Haylett RV of Coldwater, Michigan, the king of the RV walk through video. Josh has done literally thousands of walk through videos over the years and has seen just about everything. So when he tells me there’s a model I need to look at, I listen. That model is the Cherokee Wolf Pup 16PF. And this floorplan does not disappoint. I see this as putting a huge dent in the popular Wolf Pup 16FQ. I’ll just be upfront with this thing: It gives me trailer envy. ‘Nuff said. There’s not any info on the Wolf Pup website on the 16PF, but keep checking their website for when it shows up: http://www.forestriverinc.com/product-details.aspx?LineID=177&Image=5038&ShowParent=1
Towards the end of my day, I made my way to the Flagstaff E-Pro/ Rockwood Geo Pro area. They’re essentially the same trailer with different badging. The E-Pro that I focused on is the Flagstaff E-Pro 15TB. Love this one! This is a modified…and better…version of the 14RK. The 15TB enables you to have the luxury of two twin beds or convert them into a monster king bed. There’s a tidy wet bath next to the front kitchen. This is a great floorplan for the single or couples campers who don’t need even a 22′ trailer to camp comfortably. This is ideal for the lower tow capacity tow vehicles, with a dry weight of under 2500 lbs. Construction on the E-Pro/Geo Pro lines are excellent, with aluminum framed construction and Azdel wall paneling. This floorplan is nice and cozy that gives you all the amenities you need in a tidy little package. Josh did me a favor by doing a walk through on a Geo Pro version that Haylett RV just got in. As I mentioned, the E-Pro is essentially the same thing, so if you’re interested in this floorplan give our friends at Haylett a call and make that trek to southern Michigan!
As late afternoon and a 3 hour drive back home loomed, the 7 hours of walking had taking their toll on my barking dogs. But on my way out of Forest River, I noticed this little gizmo in the Viking camper display. My apologies for not getting a model number off this, as it’s not on the Viking website, but I still think it’s too cool not to share. My guess it’s around 10′-ish long and around 1,000 lbs, or less. But this little micro pop-up packs a punch. It’s got what appears to be a double to queen bed, based on the width of the trailer. But it’s got a propane grill, A/C, furnace, and fridge, as well as some storage cabinets. If you want simple, lightweight camping with a few amenities that likely won’t break the bank, this thing might be up your alley. Keep an eye on the Viking website when this little fella makes its appearance on there: http://coachmenrv.com/product-details.aspx?LineID=67&Image=6738
So that wraps up my day in Elkhart. There are a lot of offerings in the small trailer segment of the industry. I’ve only highlighted some of the new and unique models for 2019. The mainstay floorplans in the 3,000 lbs and under range are still out there that you’re familiar with. Small trailers are one of the fastest growing segments in the industry as a new generation of RVers enter the market with a different mindset than previous generations. They’re a little more adventure-minded and desire a different style of camping. As it has been the past few years, it’s a GREAT time to be a small trailer enthusiast with the new and innovative models and floorplans the industry is producing. And if you’re reading this website for the first time, don’t forget to look over our Manufacturers page for a comprehensive list of all sorts of small trailers: http://smalltrailerenthusiast.com/manufacturers-2/
Today we welcome the addition of a new advertiser to The Small Trailer Enthusiast, Car-Go Trailers from Terrebonne, just outside of Montreal in Quebec. Car-Go Trailers offers a nice, basic teardrop trailer with just enough features to give you a comfortable camping experience.
Built on a 2220 lbs axle, the Liberty offers:
Two 14″ x 17″ venting windows with screens
Fantastic fan 3 speed vent fan
3 Piece foldable Queen Mattress – 4″ foam
Birch UV lacquered plywood on all exposed surfaces
Copy of Birch UV lacquered plywood on all exposed surfaces
Cabin cabinets with birch doors
Two 110 v outlets
Two 12v socket charger
75 amp-hour deep cell marine battery
WFCO Power converter and charger
2 x 2 trailer receiver for bike rack
Two 26″ x 36″ doors with vented windows
Additional standard features in the Car-Go Liberty include:
.060 White powder coated aluminum roof
Bed size : 74 inches x 58 inches
Rear hatch with 2 hydraulic gas springs
Steel wheels with baby moon rims.
Tire size : P175/70 R14.
30A Power connector
7 pin trailer hookup
Nearly 10 square feet of counter and shelving
All wood finished in either UV lacquer or water base lacquer
5 LED lights, two reading, one dome, one galley and one porch
The 2018 edition of Tearstock, an annual teardrop and small trailer rally, was the most highly attended Tearstock to date, according to organizers with Liberty Outdoors. Upwards of 275 attendees and 150 trailers converged on Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping in Mackinaw City, Michigan. The four day event attracted teardroppers from not only the Midwest, but as far as New Jersey and Texas.
Thursday night was an indication of how well the attendance was, with some not showing up until Friday. The Duke’s Dogs food truck on hand reported 243 people served, with those not eating could be found sampling various beers and wines provided from various locations by the attendees. Little Guy dealer General RV provided everyone with their choice of brats and hotdogs for the night, as well as having a Little Guy Max and Mini Max on hand to look over.
Friday morning kicked off what was supposed to have been a one hour Camper College, hosted by Girl Camper podcaster Janine Petite and Liberty Outdoors’ Chris Baum. However, thanks to an engaging group of at least 50 attendees, the seminar lasted two hours, and in all likelihood could’ve lasted another hour. The two spoke on not only some features of the Little Guy line of trailers, but also some general RV basics that everyone should know.
While Tearstock was hosted by Liberty Outdoors, which is the parent company of Little Guy Trailers, ParkLiner Trailers, and Serro Scotty Trailers, the event was open to any and all. While there were the expected Little Guy, T@B, and T@G trailers on hand, there were several other brands attending, including Vistabule teardrops, Scamps, and an assortment of other odds & ends.
As for the location, you could not have asked for a more picturesque setting than Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping. Many of their campsites have a great view of Lake Huron, the Mackinac Bridge, and Mackinac Island. I found that many of those who didn’t have a lake view simply brought a chair down to sit along the banks of their one mile of shoreline.
What was really enjoyable for this rally was there was not a lot scheduled in terms of things that were going on to keep you at the campground throughout the day. I talked to Chris Baum about this and he told me that was done on purpose. Mackinaw City is the quintessential tourist destination, and the Tearstock organizers wanted the attendees to get out and explore the area. And that went over very well. Whether it was taking a trip to Mackinac Island, crossing the Mackinac Bridge, or visiting a quirky tourist trap like the Mystery Spot, there was plenty to do. And the cuisine is pretty darned good too…I highly recommend the Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Company and the Bridgeview Diner.
Liberty Outdoors will have a tough time coming up with a location for Tearstock 2019 (rumored to be somewhere in the Southwest) that will beat Mackinaw City. Then again, I’m a little biased as this has been one of our favorite destinations for many years. A big thanks to everyone at Liberty Outdoors for the great hospitality at Tearstock 2018!
Introduced to the public in last 2017, Nappanee, Indiana based inTech RV opened eyes in the teardrop and small trailer community with the Luna. The Luna was received with much fanfare. It was one of the finalists in RV Business’ 2018 RV of the Year. With it distinctive Euro design, the Luna quickly set itself apart from the rest of the teardrop trailer community.
In a press release earlier in June, inTech announced a more scaled down Luna called the Luna Lite. “We introduced Luna Lite as a lighter-weight, less expensive option that would help our dealers compete against other teardrop trailers in the marketplace,” stated Rich Schnippel, Director of RV Operations. Luna Lite has the same distinctive front fiberglass cap and full tempered glass windshield found on the standard Luna camper. “Our efforts were focused on maintaining an extremely high quality product, the cost and weight savings were afforded by deleting or down-grading some of the luxury items. The 40” TV was replaced with a 32” TV, the plastic formed fenders were replaced with aluminum powdercoated fenders and the Dometic Cool Cat A/C was replaced with an 8000 BTU Pummel Drive A/C’” stated Schnippel.
The key part I took from this is the “less expense option”. Priced at nearly $20,000, I got a lot of comments on The Small Trailer Enthusiast from people scratching their heads about a teardrop with that price point. So the Luna Lite should ease some of those concerns. The MSRP should be around $16,000, so I would suspect these would be more competitive with a nuCamp T@G in price.
“Our dealers had been asking for something like the Luna Lite early after the introduction of the standard Luna, they wanted a well-rounded product lineup that hit several price points,” stated Schnippel, “they asked and we responded with Luna Lite.”
Despite the reduction of some of the amenities between the Luna and Luna Lite, the Lite will still have the same dimensions of 15’6″ long from hitch to tail, 4’6″ interior height, 5’9″ interior width, and 6’10” interior length. The weight will be reduced from 200-250 lbs, down to between 1450-1630 lbs, depending on options.
Overall, I think this is a really good move by inTech. They build a really solid trailer with the Luna as well as their Flyer lines, but with price points out of line with demand, a lot of folks aren’t going to know how good that product is. This will open their market to a new set of buyers looking for a quality teardrop at a reasonable price.
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?