Tag Archives: lightweight campers

And now a word from our sponsor: Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers

Over the years I’ve followed several small manufacturers I’ve become aware of, typically via social media, and have watched how they progress over time. One that fits that category is Pilot Mountain, North Carolina based Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers, and I couldn’t be more pleased they’ve chosen to partner with us on The Small Trailer Enthusiast.

Founded in 2013 by Jonathan and Kathy Sechrist, 2nd generation owners Levi and Magon Sechrist now run the family business, located southeast of Mount Airy.  Rustic Trail has put out over 400 campers in that time, which is quite impressive considering they only have about 8 employees total. And when you factor in their wait time on a build is about 90 days, they are keeping everyone busy.

Rustic Trail specializes in lightweight teardrop and stand-up trailer floorplans, with five floorplans ranging in weights from 1,000 to 1600 lbs and lengths up to 14 feet from hitch to tail. The base color is white, with the exception of the Kodiak Stealth which is gray. You can also have a 3″ colored stripe along the sides as well, at no additional charge, with several colors from which to choose.  For full specs and options, click on the individual links to the models below:

The E-Koala starting at $4950:

The Kodiak Stealth starting at $8450:

The Papa Bear starting at $6700:

 

The Grizzly Bear starting at $7700:

The Polar Bear starting at $8750:

I remember seeing a Rustic Trail at a rally in southern Indiana – I believe it was a Polar Bear. Since there was no one on the site, I just scoped it out from the peripheral. Just from the exterior, I liked what I saw. What I have learned over the past couple years following them on Facebook is they are well connected with their customers. Rustic Trail has an exceptional website that’s easy to navigate through, as well as quite thorough. Their Facebook page covers a lot of bases as well. Informative without the non-stop little camping memes that too many RV manufacturers & dealers continually post that has no relevance to their product (Can you sense a personal pet peeve here?). Their company Facebook page (click here) has over 4,500 followers, but there’s also a very active Facebook group for owners and potential owners to communicate (click here) that has nearly 3,000 members. There’s also an annual reunion rally for owners to congregate (click here).

Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers does not have a dealer network. However, their owners can be found nationwide, and if you’re not in the North Carolina region, it’s safe to say you can find owners in your area to check theirs out. But mark your calendars if you’re on the New England area, as they will be at the Springfield, Massachusetts RV, Camping, and Outdoor Show, February 14-17, 2020 – click here for details. They will have on hand a Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear, and Kodiak Stealth.

But if you can make it to their home base in Pilot Mountain, NC, you’ll get to see everything there. To learn more, visit their website at https://www.rustictrailteardrops.com, or visit them at 1281 West Dodson Mill Road, Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, or give them a call at (336)444–4017.

And to give you an idea how a Rustic Trail Teardrop Camper is built, check out this cool time lapse video. As you can see, the crew there enjoys what they do and puts together a well built product. My take: Buy with confidence.

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Small Trailer Snapshot: The Coachmen Clipper/Viking Express 9.0TD

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.

You can find more info of either model at:

Clipper: http://coachmenrv.com/camping-trailers/clipper/9.0TD/4503

Viking: http://coachmenrv.com/camping-trailers/viking/9.0TD/4487

 

(photo courtesy Boe RV & Marine)

 

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