I tend to get quite a bit of web traffic for those of you searching for information on the Serro Scotty HiLander. Like clockwork, I can count on at least one person every day doing a search whose phrase either includes “hilander” or “highlander” .
What’s more, I also get the occasional e-mail from those of you who follow The Small Trailer Enthusiast and have for some time. A few of those e-mails have been on the topic of the HiLander and what the production status is of it. As some of you may recall, in March of 2012 I reported that Serro Scotty had lost its third manufacturer of the popular HiLander. The Serro Scotty web site has been going on with no updates of any kind. After talking with Bill Kerola back in August, the plan was for the guys building the redesigned Sportsman to also tackle building the HiLander once the Sportsman got out of the prototype stage.
This past week I decided to write Bill to see what the latest was. I was less than optimistic with his reply: “Unfortunately as of this moment, I do not have a projected date on when we will have the Hilanders back up in production. Hopefully I will know more in the near future.”. I’ve seen nothing to suggest the Sportsman is even moving along as well: No web site updates and no announcements about it at all.
I won’t go come out and say I think Serro Scotty is on life support, but I’m reasonably confident we won’t see a new HiLander available for purchase anytime in the foreseeable future. With that said, if you’re desperate to have a new generation HiLander, I’d suggest joining the Yahoo Group for the new generation Serro Scottys at: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/sierra_scotty_trailers There have been some that have become available by those members of the group who own them. If not there, then keep your eyes peeled for Craigslist and ebay, where you may just find your pot of gold.
Here’s a little walk-through video (without audio commentary) of the 2013 Serro Scotty Sportsman I had taken at the Big Little Rally earlier in August. I forgot I had taken this with my iPhone, so I put it up to give you an overall feel of the unit. Expect to see some changes with the next prototypes, as Bill Kerola had a lengthy punch list on this one.
Recently Serro Scotty Worldwide introduced the 2013 Serro Scotty Sportsman prototype at various rallies. I had a chance to see it recently at the Big Little Rally in Transfer, PA, and many of you will see it for the first time here.
Serro Scotty president Bill Kerola told me over the weekend there are a lot of things that will need to be tweaked with the next prototype. However, there’s no doubt the Sportsman has received an extreme makeover from the previous model that existed from the 2008-2010 model years.
Some savvy Scotty devotees might notice at first glance it’s similar in styling to that of the now defunct Serro Scotty Pup, which lasted from 2009-2011. While the Pup (pictured below in the foreground) was smaller than the ’13 Sportsman, the design resembles that of the Pup more than that of the previous Sportsman.
While the Serro Scotty website currently does not have any info on the ’13 Sportsman, one spec that I can share is it weighs in at an impressive 1700 lbs. Impressive in that it’s very lightweight for its size. The previous Sportsman checked in at a base weight of 2100 lbs. Kerola tells me there are many composites in the ’13 Sportsman. So many composites that it could probably pass as a “green” RV. Another attention-grabber is the skylight that stretches over the back of the trailer, above the gaucho sofa. Currently the prototype’s floorplan consist of a toilet and fridge in the front. However, another floorplan is being developed that will feature a dinette in the front and bed in the rear. I was impressed with the headroom as well. I’m a tick over 5’10″, and I’d guesstimate the headroom in the ’13 Sportsman to be around the 6’3″ range.
Kerola tells me he’ll be sending out a press release in the next couple of months, so we should know more about this as well as what the production of the popular HiLander is looking like. The Sportsman is being produced by a group of former Coleman pop-up trailer employees in Somerset, PA.
This weekend marks the annual American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life in the Town of Speedway, Indiana. This will mark the first time my wife and I will participate in this rapidly growing event.
As members of the Speedway Police Department‘s citizens academy, we’re joining the relay team consisting of officers of the department. Since the relay is a 24 hour walk at a local park, the various teams set up campsites on the grounds, meant to serve as a home base where they can sit, sleep, eat, and socialize with their fellow teammates. As residents of Speedway grateful to our teammates who put their lives on the line every day for us, we’re upgrading their campsite this year by offering up our Serro Scotty as home base for the department’s team. So instead of the pop-up tents and sleeping bags, they’ll have an air conditioned oasis to crash for what is expected to be a warm weekend in the mid 80′s.
This promises to be one of the best camping trips we’ve had, although our campsite is just a mile away from home. Cancer is a 400lbs gorilla that has likely affected all of us in one way or another. If you’d like to participate by a modest donation to our team, we’d really appreciate the gesture. Donations big or small can be made even after the event. Just follow the link here to our team’s page. I’ll have a full report later this weekend following the event.
Thanks for your support of this event and as always, your support of The Small Trailer Enthusiast.
It wasn’t long after we bought a 2010 T@B in September 2009 that we started to buy stuff to go along with it. At the suggestion of more than one fellow T@B owner, one of those things we purchased was the BAL Light Trailer Tire Leveler.
Designed for single axle trailers with either 13″, 14″ and most 15″ wheels, the BAL leveler eliminates the need for leveling blocks to achieve your side to side leveling. It’s a breeze to use and is probably my favorite accessory we’ve purchased. Just slide it under the tire on the side that needs lifting, place the end of the threaded adjusting rod in the slot on the bottom plate, and then just starting cranking it up with the ratchet that comes along with it until you get it level. There’s a nice tutorial here on YouTube:
When we sold our T@B in 2010, we let a few of our accessories we bought for it go with the trailer…but not our BAL leveler! It’s worked just as well with our much heavier Serro Scotty (2500 lbs compared to the T@B’s 1600 lbs).
One word of caution though. I’ve found the BAL doesn’t work well when parked on grass. I found some difficulty (if not just impossible) in sliding it under the tire when parked on grass, but there were no problems encountered on gravel or hard surface campsite pads.
I’ve read on a few RV forums where some folks don’t like the BAL because of its bulk and how it takes up space. In my opinion, it’s a small price to pay for a handy tool. As for storage, I’ve read where more than one owner has purchased a typical pizza delivery bag and used it to store the BAL in, since it does have some grease on the threaded rod which can get things a little messy if left in the bed of your truck, or other tow vehicle of choice.
We purchased our BAL from Amazon.com in late 2009. We paid about $55 for it then, but today they go for around $80. However, those prices tend to fluctuate, so you may pay less than the current $80 when you’re ready to get one. And get one you should!
The weekend of May 11-13 marks the debut of the newly redesigned Serro Scotty Sportsman. It is scheduled to be introduced in Hermitage, Pennsylvania at the Shenango Valley Mall RV Show. The look of the new Sportsman has been kept under wraps, so what it will look like is known by just a handful of folks.
The 2007 Sportsman was the first model reintroduced by Serro Scotty Worldwide when it was formed in 2006. It had a more rounded look to the bodies, similar to the Sportsmans of the original era Serro Scottys of the 1960′s.
That lasted about a year. When production moved from Yoder Toder to Sierra Motor Corporation in 2008, a new body style for the Sportsman came with it, which was a little taller and had more of a squared look to it when compared to the 2007.
When I talked to Serro Scotty Worldwide’s Bill Kerola in December, he told me the new Sportsman would go back to a rounded look, but I suspect it will look different from the 2007 version. He mentioned it will have hints to the former Serro Scotty Pup, but a little larger.
If all the stars align during my return trip from the east coast this coming week, I hope to be able to come through Hermitage and get a first hand look at the show.
The Shenango Valley Mall is located at 3303 East State Street, Hermitage, PA. The show will be held outside the mall. Admission is free and hours are Friday: 12 Noon – 8:00 PM; Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
What appears to be a familiar situation Serro Scotty Worldwide president Bill Kerola would rather not be in, he faces the task of lining up a new manufacturer for the popular Serro Scotty HiLander. When one is acquired, this will make the fourth manufacturer of the HiLander since Serro Scotty Worldwide was formed in 2006.
A few weeks ago, current manufacturer Cozy Travler, the HiLander’s manufacturer for less than a year, ceased production of their units, and along with it the HiLander. Kerola had an order over the winter for 20 HiLanders to be built to create a solid inventory at his Transfer, Pennsylvania dealership. However, that order wasn’t fulfilled and currently there are just a couple of 2012 HiLanders available between Kerola’s Camper Store and Randy’s Trailer Town in Collinsville, Illinois.
In a phone conversation today, Kerola had just received word from a potential manufacturer in Indiana that they would not pursue building the HiLander due to the investment it would’ve taken to start building. His next step in the process is to approach the manufacturer of his Serro Scotty Sportsman model, which is currently building the first prototype of the new design. It’s under construction in a section of the old FCTA plant in Somerset, PA, which is where Coleman pop-ups were last built before closing in January 2011. The crew is comprised of mostly former Coleman/FTCA employees. Should they choose to stick with building only the Sportsman, Kerola tells me he’ll then “hit the streets” to line up a new manufacturer.
Taking production “in house” doesn’t appear to be an option just yet. Serro Scotty Worldwide general manager Tom Benedek explains, “It would take 150 units a year to make it work financially”. And demand for the retro travel trailers isn’t to that point. Where ever production of the HiLander lands, it will take approximately two months before they hit the market, due to engineering and getting familiar with them by the new manufacturer. The third unit in the Serro Scotty line, the Scotty Lite, continues to be built in central Florida by Trekker Trailers.
We’ll have more on the story as it develops over the coming months.
Two years ago after we decided to upgrade from our T@B to a slightly larger small trailer, we attended an annual RV show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds to see what was new for 2010. By this time, we were sure we’d end up with a Serro Scotty HiLander, but I still kept my eyes open for other options. What we found was something I was interested in looking a little more into, although my better half had no interest.
The trailer was a 2010 KZ Sportsmen Classic 14RB. It was roughly the same size as the Scotty, while weighing a couple hundred pounds less. It was a 14′ rig with a front dinette, side couch, opposite side kitchen, rear corner bath, and rear closet. It was decent on space, although the look was boxy, lacking the “wow” factor the Scotty had. However, what kept me thinking about it was the price, which was about $4,000 less than what we ultimately paid for the Scotty. I figured I’d try to convince my wife we could save some money, yet still have a small, roomy trailer. Well, needless to say, that conversation didn’t get far, and five months later we were in our Scotty after selling the T@B.
But being a fan of small trailers, I still kept tabs on the KZ Sportsmen Classic. These things were everywhere and massively produced. They must’ve been popular based on the number of them on dealer lots throughout the country. The more I read about them, the more I learned about them, and the more I learned about them, the more I questioned my sanity for wanting one. After all, they were somewhat boring and they were entry level stick & tin trailers. Craftsmanship wasn’t the highest of quality, but hey, for $8-9K, you could get a brand new trailer with a warranty. A good option if you have a limited budget.
However, over the past two years the market has started to put the squeeze on the 14′ Sportsmen Classic. In that time, I’ve found (not to say there aren’t others) ten other trailers with the same floor plan as the KZ. Shall we start the slide show?
So, I think that makes 10. But what do you know, in the midst of finding all these photos, I came across yet another trailer with this floor plan. The Skyline Aljo Retro 140…
Photo courtesy Norm's RV
That’s a pretty impressive list of….sameness. For those who have difficulty making a decision (like me, so says my wife), I wish you well if this floor plan is one you like. Chances are by the time you’d decide on which manufacturer to go with, 10 more manufacturers will have introduced a 14 footer with this floor plan. Curses! I don’t mean to belittle these trailers. As I mentioned, they will allow buyers to get a new trailer with a warranty at a cheap price. Plus, they’re light enough (2300 lbs, give or take depending on options) to where you can tow with with most SUVs and mini vans.
So, let’s take a look at a typical 14′ travel trailer with this floor plan, shall we? Here’s a walk-through of a 2010 KZ Sportsmen Classic from the fine folks at Veurinks RV in Michigan.
One thing I’ll never forget about that day at the RV show two years ago was that both times I looked at the Sportsmen while we were there, the door entry was just a hair too short for me and I banged my head on the top of the door entry not once, but twice. I think I still have the knot in my head to prove it. But I’m still glad I listened to my wife and sticking with the plan to get a Scotty instead, as I think I would’ve been banging my head in more ways than one had we gone with the “popular” 14′ floor plan.
I spoke with Hi-Lo and Serro Scotty president Bill Kerola this week to see what the latest production news was for his two companies.
He’s still working on finalizing a manufacturer for Hi-Lo. Offers have been made and it’s at the point where a decision is close to being made. Depending on who the manufacturer is will depend on whether Hi-Lo will be sold factory direct or through a dealer network. As well as setting up a manufacturer, Kerola’s also been busy with the Hi-Lo’s mechanism that raises & lowers the trailer. He’s had a few different designs for that and is currently whittling his choices down. Still with these decisions to be made, the first Hi-Lo prototype is planned on being rolled out by April 2012.
On the Serro Scotty side of his business, things have been busy there. As we discussed in September, the Scotty Sportsman was to be redesigned. The new design will look a bit different than the previous Scotty Sportsman…
and also the discontinued Scotty Silver Sportsman.
Bill told me that it’ll be about the same size, but have more of a rounded shape, but gave no further details. So in the spirit of fun speculation, it could look a little more like the Sportsman that was first produced in 2007….
or maybe it’ll take on the shape something similar to an oversized Scotty Pup, which means it could look something like the now extinct Campfire 15.
What is known about the future of the Serro Scotty Sportsman is that it will have its own manufacturer. They’ll be made by a small outfit in Pennsylvania. If all goes according to plan, the first prototype will be ready sometime by early February 2012. So if you’re keeping score at home, all three models of the Serro Scotty family will all have their own manufacturer. The HiLander is still being produced in Goshen, Indiana by Cozy Travler…
Bill says he’s working on creating a better inventory of both the HiLander and the Lite at his Transfer, Pennsylvania dealership. As of December 12, 2011, he currently has 2 of each on his ebay store, as well as three new discontinued Scotty Pups.
With winter upon us and sales typically slowing down, this should be a good time for Kerola’s to start filling their lot with that Scotty inventory. As always, we’ll update you when details develop.
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?