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2015 RVIA Show Prelude

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This week marks the annual RVIA trade show in Louisville, Kentucky. While not open to the public, I’ll be there bright and early Tuesday morning for the 5th straight year to bring you an overview of all the small towables on hand.

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I’ll be Tweeting and posting on Facebook throughout the day. If you use either of those social media platforms, do follow along! Time permitting in the days after the show, I’ll put up a post here on the website about what I see. In the meantime, you can like us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/The-Small-Trailer-Enthusiast-269125426471703/ or follow us on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Small_Trailers

 

 

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Forest River Recalls Shasta Airflyte Reissues

Shasta RV parent company Forest River is recalling 249 of the 1,941 (12.8% of production) Shasta Airflyte reissued trailers due to incorrect Federal Certification Labels, according to RV Pro magazine. The labels incorrectly state the trailer tire size, gross axle weight rating, gross vehicle weight rating and cargo carrying capacity. Incorrect labeling opens the door for the trailer to be overloaded and thus increasing the risk for tire failure. DSC_0291

Forest River will notify affected customers and dealers will install the correct label at no cost to them, with the recall starting sometime this month. To find out if your Shasta Airflyte is affected, owners can contact Forest River at (574)825-8717, and mention recall number 54-06052015-0047.

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New Canadian Teardrop Manufacturer Emerges

Often times I’ll search the internet to add manufacturers that build travel trailers, pop-ups, teardrops, and fiberglass trailers to our Manufacturers page. And sometimes, those manufacturers come to me. I’ll go ahead and add them with little fanfare, but when Craig Elliott of Sun-Fun Campers contacted me this week, I felt compelled to put them on the “big stage” with a post.

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Sun-Fun Campers is a new…as of 2015 new…teardrop trailer manufacturer in Warman, Saskatchewan. Canada. Craig told me in an e-mail, “It appears that we are the only manufacturer of teardrop trailers in western Canada and we are hoping to grow the trend of teardrop trailers in Canada, as there are very few ever spotted here.”

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Sun-Fun is so new that they don’t even have a website up…yet. “We do not have a website, but are currently developing one. We are on Facebook and wanted to make you aware that we are now in full production”, Craig tells me. Once Sun-Fun gets their website up & running, I’ll post a link on the Manufacturers page. Until then, for those of you on Facebook, be sure to give them a “like” and check them out for those of you in western Canada in the market for a teardrop. A link to their Facebook page with contact info can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/sunfuncampers

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RV Shows: The Cure for This Weekend’s Deep Freeze

As most of the country finds itself in typical January cold temps, many RV shows are going on this weekend throughout the country. Here’s a listing of those you can attend this weekend and collect those coveted brochures, surely helping pass the time and get us all closer to hitching up for the 2015 camping season.

California: http://www.rvshows.net/RV_show.html – Pleasanton

Colorado: http://www.gsevents.com/shows/display.cfm?showID=75 – Denver

Georgia: http://www.northatlantatradecenter.com/rv.html – Norcross

Indiana: http://indyrvexpo.com/ – Indianapolis

Kansas: http://www.wichitarvshow.com/index.html – Wichita

Louisiana: http://southernlouisianaboatrvshow.com/ – Houma

Minnesota: http://stpaulsportshow.com/ – Saint Paul

Missouri: http://rvmegashows.com/service/springfield-boat-sport-rv-show/ – Springfield

New York: http://www.hudsonvalleyrvandboatshow.com/index.html – Troy

Ohio: http://www.ohiorvshow.com/ – Cleveland

Ohio: http://www.ohiorvandboatshow.com/home.html – Columbus

Pennsylvania: http://www.pittrvshow.com/ – Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania: http://www.allentowntradeshows.com/ats/ – Allentown

South Carolina: http://www.gsevents.com/shows/display.cfm?showID=83 – Greenville

Tennessee – http://www.knoxvillervshow.com/ – Knoxville

Tennessee – http://www.bkproductions.biz/NashvilleRvSuperShow – Nashville

Texas – http://www.fortworthrvshow.com/index.htm – Fort Worth

Didn’t see a show this weekend near you? Here is a nice source to view RV shows by states: http://rvpark411.com/rv-shows-camping-expos.html

Happy buying!

 

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A look at the Bowlus Road Chief

The Bowlus Road Chief. In the history of travel trailers, the Road Chief might possibly be one of the most iconic trailers ever built. Built by Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” Superintendent of Construction, Hawley Bowlus, the Road Chief had much of the same construction methods of airplanes of the early part of the 20th century when it first debuted in 1934. However, it took Wally Byam to take control of Bowlus’ struggling company, and in 1936 rename the Road Chief the Airstream Clipper, which ultimately put Byam’s Airstream on the map for generations to come.

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Now in 2013, a new version of the Road Chief is back in production. Owner and designer John Long started building the Road Chief in 2013 after a 10 year restoration of his own 1935 Road Chief.  The new Road Chief looks as vintage as it gets on the outside, but the interior is anything but that. Creature comforts on the inside include a private “stateroom” in the rear of the trailer that features a king bed that converts to two twin beds, a full size 6 foot sofa with storage drawers underneath, birch interior, 120 watt portable solar panel, separate dinette, 3′ X 5′ bathroom with shower & cassette toilet, 2-burner stove, 3 cubic foot refrigerator, microwave, and as they say “much, much more”.

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However, the exterior is as close to the original version as it could get. Like the original Road Chiefs, the 2013 version also boasts aircraft grade aluminum that is riveted and bonded. And of course it wouldn’t be a Road Chief if it didn’t have its distinctive front entry door (with screen door) on the front of the trailer.

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The 2013 Road Chief checks in at 2800 lbs and just over 23′ long. However, the hitch and bumper are removable, which makes it possible to store one in a 20′ garage, although the 7’10” height would require a minimum 8′ door. The 6’4″ interior head room also makes it comfortable for most.

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Built in Ventura County, California, the Road Chief isn’t for every pocketbook. There is no dealer network and the $1500 reserve is just a fraction of the $100,000 price tag. However, for those with the means, the Bowlus Road Chief is a trailer that will garner the attention of everyone at the campground, and one that will send you back in time.

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To find out more about the Road Chief, visit their website at http://bowlusroadchief.com, or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BowlusRoadChief

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IndyCar manufacturer and RV innovator collaborate on carbon fiber RV line

RV innovator Global Caravan Technologies and IndyCar chassis manufacturer Dallara have announced a collaboration to build the first carbon fiber-constructed line of recreational vehicles. The collaboration includes Dallara’s expertise and advice, which include their decades of building chassis that have been crossing the finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1997. dallara-indycar-conc-19w                                                                                            (photo courtesy trackforum.com)

Called the “CR-1 Carbon”, the line will first include travel trailers and fifth wheels, and then motorhomes and specialty vehicles, according to a press release. The first models will be unveiled in December at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway, Indiana as part of the Performance Racing Industry’s annual trade show held in Indianapolis that week.

GCT promises new floorplans and options new to the RV industry. The CR-1 Carbon lines will be meant with the luxury minded and long term camper in mind, boasting full height closets, large walk through master baths with oversize showers, washer & dryer, and high end flooring and paneling.

The exterior will apparently open some eyes with patent-pending designs and body lines that will be new to the RV industry. Unique systems will include DryCamp, which is an off-grid power system, and MyControl, a power management system that completely controls the RV’s system wirelessly via an iPad. Due to the light weight of carbon fiber, fuel mileage is expected to improve up to 100% compared to similar sized units.

523a6908e4b002193858945fGCT’s braintrust has a wealth of experience in the RV industry and the business world with CEO Charles Hoefer and President Harrison Ding. Hoefer’s family history includes his father, who was a co-founder of Dutchmen RV and Four Winds RV. Ding’s business experience includes management positions at both Cisco and IBM.

Says Ding, “Our product strategy is tailored for market acceptance in North America, Europe, and Australia, and also capitalizes on the high growth opportunity in China, where RV sales may approach the US in the coming decade.”

Says Hoefer, “Our products meet specific needs, such as remote camping, tailgating, full-timing, high security, and connectivity. We know consumer interests vary, and we can build one-of- a-kind and specific-use products with automotive-level testing and validation.”
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Aside from Dallara, GCT has also partnered with other companies, both from the automotive and aerospace industry.

“For Dallara, helping GCT to design RVs applies our strengths in composites, learned from decades of experience in
racing car competition,” says Dallara USA CEO Stefano DePonti said. “It is fitting that Dallara is lending our advice and expertise to such a transformative project.”
GCT appears to be taking their collaboration with Dallara seriously.  GCT has opened a temporary office directly across the street from the Dallara factory. With my home base being literally just a couple of minutes from the Dallara factory, I hope to be able to view the CR-1 Carbon after it debuts in December.
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Where the actual units will be built is not yet known, as the sign on the GTC door states “temporary”. With the hub of the RV industry being just 3 hours to the north in the Elkhart, Indiana region, that would seem to be the logical location, but I hope to find out that info soon. And although I don’t know what size their trailers will be and thus might not even fit into our theme of 20′ or less, I found this to be some interesting news since 1) I’m a mile away from Dallara, and 2) this very well could be the future of construction methods for RVs of all types.
Oh, and for price? MSRP for all lines will range anywhere from $160,000 to customized units to the tune of half a million dollars. I look to have future posts on this topic, so as always, stay tuned, and as always, thanks for reading.

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Manufacturer’s update: Safari Condo

As I wrote back in April, Canada’s Safari Condo had introduced a fixed roof model of their Alto model. Since then, production has been brisk. According Safari Condo’s Michele Nadeau, “We are sold out until February 2014! To respond more quickly to demand we have almost doubled our production in the last three months.”

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The Alto also sports a new color. “We have a new exterior color that replaces the yellow one and this is the Metallic blue.” As mentioned back in April, the Alto is now available through the United States.

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For more information on the Alto or Safari Condo, you can contact them through their website: http://www.safaricondo.com  You can also visit them at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Safari-Condo/123104127859354

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Manufacturer’s Update: The Whetzeldorf

When I first introduced you to the Whetzeldorf in October of 2012, builder Dan Sutton still hadn’t quite fine-tuned the look he wanted it to have.

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Now nearly a year later, Dan appears close to finding the look he’s been looking for. “(I’ve) Just finished a Retro looking version, which sold very quickly, which also may become the standard look.  I have also started another, which will include a bathroom and a galley in the back, similar to a teardrop.”

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The look of the new & improved Whetzeldorf , with the half green and half chrome aluminum siding,  has definitely changed the dynamic of this 1200 lbs micro camper.The offsetting color scheme has elevated the appeal compared to the original base silver aluminum of the 2012 models. Add to that the classic window “eyebrows”, then you’ve got yourself a camper that some will ask, “Did you restore that?” or “What year is it”?

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Learn more about the Whetzeldorf or to contact Dan with questions, visit the Whetzeldorf website at http://whetzeltracetravelers.webs.com/whetzeldorfcamper.htm

 

 

 

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Manufacturer’s Update: Teal Camper

Not long after I started this blog, I came across Larry Drake, who was in the early stages of developing the Teal Camper, a modular camper that sits on basic utility trailer. When I first wrote about Teal Camper in November 2011, this site was just 2 months old and getting maybe 20 or 30 visits a day. In just under two years, Larry’s development has grown into full fledged production, and this site has grown to over 500 visits a day. So with that, our respective ventures have somewhat grown together.

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As Larry tells it, “The Teal Tail Feather camper has come a long way since your first article.  It is far more refined, from its trimmed out insulated automotive headliner, to the powder coated aluminum bench and cabinet frames.  We now have LED lighting as standard.  The counters feature a collapsible sink and HDPE cutting board counter tops.  The rigid door frame is now a one piece welded aluminum frame, also powder coated.  There are lots of options to choose from starting from a basic  shell to a fully outfitted camper configured in a variety of ways.  You can virtually customize it the way you want it.”

The leadership structure has also increased at Teal Camper. “Mike Eaton, our new Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing, officially joined the team as of July 1, 2013.  Mike has been a long time supporter and consultant for us.  He has extensive experience in business and program management.  He teaches business classes all over the world to a number of Fortune 500 companies in partnership with the Stanford Center for Professional Development.  We are very pleased to have him on board.”

The distribution of the Tail Feather is expanding as well. “Although we only began production after the first of the year, we have shipped campers across the country and halfway around the world.  We are currently in a transition from our limited production in the R&D shop to a full production facility. Currently, delivery times are running about 45 days.”

We’ll continue to keep in touch with Larry and the progress of the Tail Feather and let you know of any new developments. For more information and pricing on the Tail Feather, check out the updated Teal Camper website at: http://tealcamper.com

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Scamp website updated

Backus, Minnesota based Scamp Trailers recently launched an updated website to showcase their 13, 16, and 19 foot fiberglass travel trailers. The site is much more user friendly and makes searching floor plans and options much easier than the previous version of their website.

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One thing that jumped out at me was the impressive online Scamp parts store. Many of the parts pertain only to Scamps, but there are several items that fit many other trailers, at competitive prices. Notable is the 3500 lbs torsion axle with electric brakes which goes for $460.

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You can also download a fine 9 page pdf catalog: http://www.scamptrailers.com/images/pdfs/Scamp2013_Catalog.pdf There’s also a nice array of “how to” videos that cover various aspects of maintenance and operation of a Scamp.

All in all, a great job by Scamp with the new online format. You can visit the Scamp website at http://scamptrailers.com or join nearly 1900 other Scamp fans on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scamp-TrailersEvelands-Inc/297691030279431?fref=ts

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