This week the 8th Annual Elkhart Open House is taking place in Elkhart, Indiana. This is the show where RV dealers nationwide can get an early look at all the upcoming…and current…offerings from most of the manufacturers in the region. One of the new offerings at this year’s show is from TAXA, the makers of the Cricket trailer, which I covered earlier in September here.
Coming sometime late fall of 2015, TAXA will be adding the Tiger Moth to their lineup. The Tiger Moth will weigh in at about 900 lbs and have a price tag in the $12,000 range. Once they get into production and more details surface, I’ll have some more for you here. Big thanks to Rusty Eckstein at Mount Comfort RV for the pics and info. Be sure to check out their Cricket inventory by clicking on the ad link on the right column.
Last month I was invited by Rusty Eckstein of Mount Comfort RV to take a look at the Cricket Trailer at their lot in Greenfield, Indiana. When I asked him just who the demographic was for this “thing”, without hesitation he just pointed to this graphic on the back end of the 2015 Cricket Sport we were inspecting. With that in mind, I was able to get a better understanding of just what kind of trailer I was looking at and who the target audience is for it. Simply put, the Cricket Trailer is a base camp. It’s a 1500 lbs trailer that anyone you’d find in that first picture above would find useful, from mountain climbers, kayakers, hikers….anyone who’s lifestyle revolves around outdoor adventure. The 14.5″ ground clearance on the Sport model with rugged tires, Thule roof racks, optional diamond plate front storage box, and front stone guards standard on the Sport add to the adventure one can have with a Cricket.
Obviously the unique shape of a Cricket will be the first thing you notice. However, the more you look at one up close, it’s the construction that really makes the Cricket shine. There’s aluminum in these things. I mean A LOT of aluminum that’s thicker than I’ve ever seen in anything. Whether it’s the wheel wells or the rear hatch supports, the thickness of the aluminum is what left an impression on me.
The skin of the Cricket is just as solid, with the doors, sides, and roof built of a composite aluminum material and insulated at an R-6 value. When I was talking to Rusty inside this Sport model that late Saturday morning, the temps outside were quickly approaching 80 degrees with typical Indiana humidity. With the top popped open as you see it below, the ventilation design of the dual pane windows and hatch made it quite comfortable given the conditions…actually noticeably comfortable to the point of commenting on it at the time.
While the cage that surrounds the Cricket is stout, the floor it sits on isn’t lacking either. The robust 1″…ONE INCH…plywood, fully encapsulated floor has a Rhino lining undercoating with an aviation grade coin mat flooring above. To give you an idea how this floor compares, most manufacturers brag about their 5/8″ floor as a selling point. Rusty’s been in the RV industry for well over 10 years and told me, “I don’t know of anyone else in the industry using anywhere near that thickness of flooring”.
As for what’s on the inside of the Cricket, this is where designer Garrett Finney’s expertise as a NASA engineer shows. Garrett designed the Cricket after working for NASA as a senior architect at the Habitability Design Center in Houston, Texas. Simply put, Garrett was responsible for designing the habitability module for the International Space Station. With that kind of pedigree, you should have no doubt how well the Cricket was thought out.
First off, some key specs of the interior. The interior width is 6’3″, interior length is 11’6″, and with the top up the interior height is an impressive 6’4″ max. The storage underneath the bed, which fully engaged is equivalent to a queen, is 12 cubic feet. Underneath the bed is also where the battery is housed, as the Cricket is completely run on a 12 volt system, which includes the LED lighting, water pump, water heater, and ample 12 volt outlets throughout the unit. You can also hook up your Cricket to a 110 power source to charge the battery. Cricket offers an optional 2nd battery or you can also choose an optional solar panel for additional power longevity.
The front counter area has enough area for the optional Primus stove and flush mounted sink, which is operated with a 12 volt pump. There are several cubby holes for storage and an area on the lower right to house the optional portable toilet. All told, the front storage area is just under 9 cubic feet. The front of the counter is also the location for the control panel where you’ll find switches for lights, the water pump, and water heater, as well as a 12 volt outlet.
The Cricket also comes with an optional kid’s berth that suspends over the bed. You can option in one or two of them, with each having a weight capacity of 135 lbs. When not in use, they can be raised and bungeed in place until needed.
Then there are some of the little things that make you think “Oh, yeah!” when you see them that you typically wouldn’t have thought of when thinking about trailer design. First and foremost for the Cricket is the signature bottle opener. Bottle opener? Anyone know of an integrated exterior bottle opener on a trailer? It’s one of those little unique features that you’d probably find would come in handy after a long day of mountain climbing or hiking when you need a little carbohydrate replenishment.
Other small but useful features are the multitude of holes drilled in the roof’s rib structure where you can go crazy with the use of bungee cords for hanging items for use as additional storage, a built in bubble level on the tongue, exterior shower attachment in the front, and steps on the rear side for easy access to your roof top.
As far as the basic specs, the Cricket checks in with an exterior length of 15′ and exterior width of 6’7″. With the roof down, the exterior height is just 6’9″, making it easy to store in just about any garage. The base unloaded vehicle weight is 1460 lbs and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 2500 lbs. The fresh water capacity and gray water capacity are 12 gallons each. The V-berth bed length of 75″ and width of 57″ make it right at a nice queen size as mentioned earlier.
One of the things that impressed me is how Garrett Finney has put so much thought into the Cricket that I really wish more manufacturers would as well. He says, “It’s as narrow as a car, so for all you first time trailer towers, we were thinking of you when we laid it out”. Honestly when I see some layouts of trailers, I wonder what the designers were thinking…and not in a good way.
The Cricket comes in the standard model and the previously mentioned Sport model. Base MSRP for the standard model is $21,700 and the Sport model MSRP is $24,290, at the time of this post. The standard Cricket comes in blue or green and the Sport Cricket comes in silver. Standard Cricket model
Cricket Sport model
For an extended look at the Cricket, our friends at Mount Comfort RV have put together some fine walk through videos with Steve Belickis. Steve does a great job going through everything (and more) that I’ve tried to put together here in words and photos. Give them a watch and better yet, go check out one for yourself. For more info on the Cricket Trailer, visit their website where you can learn much more at http://crickettrailer.com.
Exterior walk around:
Interior walk around:
The Cricket offers so much as a base camp for those of you who are adventurers of the great outdoors. It’s versatile, easy to tow, lightweight, rugged, and constructed from multiple sustainable materials. It would make one heck of a bug-out trailer, which is a segment of the RV industry that’s slowly getting some legs. Garrett Finney was once quoted as saying of his time at NASA, “They think design is about survival, and we come along and say we want to survive well.” That thought process was at the forefront when designing the Cricket. And from the looks of things, Cricket Trailer is going to survive just fine as well.
Houston, Texas based Cricket Trailer will be featured on The Travel Channel’sExtreme RVs program Sunday night, January 29, 9pm ET and again at Monday, 12am ET on January 30.
The Cricket, with its unique shape made of aluminum composite sidewalls and pop-up roof, checks in with a base weight at 1300 lbs. It’s also framed in aluminum, adding to its light weight feature. Exterior length is 15′ and has a generous 6’2″ interior head room when the roof is extended. This environmentally friendly camper is engineered with state of the art materials and geared for the rugged outdoors. The two floor plans offered utilize every inch of space available in creative ways.
The Cricket offers a slew of options to make it a quite versatile unit, including A/C, a tankless on-demand water heater, solar panels, roof racks, and more. One interesting option is what’s called the “Kids Attic”, which amounts to a hanging cot for a person weighing 135 lbs or less.
Should be interesting to watch & learn more about the Cricket. Until the show airs Sunday night, here’s a sneak peak at the Cricket.
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?