It was back in 2014 when I gave you some of our tips & tricks for successful winter camping. However, that is when we had a much smaller trailer which also had a wet bath instead of the full dry bath that we have today. So while I was out at our seasonal site today, I decided I’d do a little update on our potty accommodations.
When we had our Serro Scotty with the wet bath, we used in our toilet these things called “Double Doodie” bags, which we used to line our toilet with during the winter camping season. Since then, we have a different trailer that has a full dry bath, with separate toilet and tub. This gave me the ability to improve on the potty situation and make things a little easier.
With the “luxury” of having a bath tub in our current trailer, I’m able to set a Camco portable cassette toilet within the tub. At first it may sound a little on the “Ehhhh….no” side, but going this route has really improved on our winter camping experience. A couple seasons ago, we acquired the toilet when we had our teardrop trailer. When we sold that trailer, I didn’t let the toilet go with it. My instincts told me I needed to keep it. And so an idea popped into my head a couple seasons ago to use it during our winter camping trips.
It’s pretty simple. I just lay a bath towel on the bottom of the bath tub to limit the amount of dirt from shoes, and then rest the cassette toilet on top of that.
Instead of using water in the reservoir, I use RV antifreeze. Keeps things from freezing, plus it eliminates the need to dump the cassette tank before the end of each camping weekend. I shot a video of the are on YouTube here:
As for everything else discussed in my post from 2014, everything remains the same. We still use the same Honeywell space heater, a Keurig K-Cup coffee maker, and still bring water to drink or cook with, which is something we do even in the warm camping months.
Winter camping can be really fun, with not a lot of planning. And if you’re experiencing a dry winter, then all the more reason to hitch up and go! There’s a lot of fantastic scenery to experience in the winter.
So do you have winter camping potty ideas of your own? I’d love to hear them! Feel free to leave them in the comments below.
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/
Shasta RV today has named RV industry veteran Doug Lantz as president and general manager of the Middlebury, Indiana based manufacturer. As we reported this week, the position was made open by the sudden resignation of Mark Lucas to pursue other interests.
Lantz brings over 25 years experience in the RV industry to Shasta. He began his career in 1988 with Coachmen RV, but more important is he was a co-founder of EverGreen RV and served as its president from 2008-2012, while also serving in other roles with Evergreen in recent years.
photo courtesy indianaeconomicdigest.com
It’ll be interesting to watch Shasta going forward to see if we’ll see some of the same eco-friendly construction methods that have been used in Evergreen since their inception. Below is a video I found of Doug Lantz being interviewed while with Evergreen back in 2010.
Today I received word that a post on a Shasta Facebook page informed members that Shasta RV president Mark Lucas had resigned his position to pursue other interests. In an e-mail late tonight, Mark told me, “Well, the grapevine is fast and accurate. True, I chose to resign, but I can’t yet reveal any details of the new venture. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I can.”
Lucas was hired on as president of Shasta in early 2012 after serving as the president and general manager at CrossRoads RV from 2002 through 2010. Under his leadership, the Shasta lineup saw a lot of reorganization and addition of new models, including the Phoenix 5th wheel and Flyte travel trailer to go along with the Revere and Oasis travel trailers. In a short span of time, Shasta’s market share has continued to grow and has quickly become an affordable and readily available brand for those budget conscious RVers.
His signature move was the one time project to reissue 1,941 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16 and 19 foot travel trailers that spanned late 2014 and into most of 2015. The reissue of the Airflyte took the RV industry by storm and infused a new crop of RVers into the market who never had an RV before, thanks to the introduction of the reissued Airflytes. However, the Airflyte didn’t come without its share of problems for Shasta, as nearly all but a couple hundred reissues were recalled in late September 2015 by parent company Forest River due to axle and window issues that were discussed here.
There’s been no official press release by Shasta or Forest River on his resignation, so there’s no word on who’ll be taking the helm at Shasta’s Middlebury, Indiana plant. I’ll have more updates as they become available.
I’ve been a Route 66 enthusiast since the early 1990’s and have driven a portion of it every year since 1993, as it’s some 3 hours away from my central Indiana home. Throughout the years, I’ve exclusively driven Route 66 via car and stayed in motels, while never really giving campgrounds a second look.
However, this year we decided to see Route 66 in a different light. Recently we hitched up our Shasta and took our 4 year old grandson on an RV trip along Route 66 to Amarillo, Texas. The trip encompassed some 8 camping nights at 7 different RV parks along the 1,000 mile journey to Amarillo, picking up Route 66 in St. Louis. This post is to provide some insight on how you too and comfortably RV on Route 66, as well as give an overview of the RV parks we stayed in along the way.
Traveling the 80-85% of what’s left of US 66 in an RV, one needs to be prepared. For some, the challenge may be too much. But if you can come to terms with a few inconveniences such as maybe parking a few blocks away in a big parking lot in a small town to get to that “must stop” café or roadside attraction, you’ll find that little inconvenience is more than worth the trouble. Also, much of Route 66 can be a little bumpy and unforgiving. Afterall, there are many sections of 66 (especially western Oklahoma) that still uses the same 80+ year old Portland concrete that carried traffic when it was a commissioned highway. To aid in the adventure of traveling 66 by RV (or even just in your car), I highly suggest picking up a copy of Jerry McClanahan’s EZ66 GUIDE For Travelers, available through Amazon and other online sources.
Jerry does an excellent job of giving some important “RV Alerts” when a section of 66 may be difficult for an RV and should be avoided. Jerry has been documenting various alignments of Route 66 for over 30 years and is a well-respected “road scholar” and photographer. He’s also quite the accomplished artist as well. His art studio is in a house just about a block off Route 66 in Chandler, Oklahoma. Visitors are welcome to stop by (306 Manvel) and browse his artwork that’s for sale, have your EZ Guide signed, or even have a picture taken.
My best advice if traveling 66 in an RV is to use your best judgment and don’t forget to pack your common sense before you pull out of the driveway. Route 66 is never far from an interstate, so if you find a section that is getting a little too rough, you can always jump on the super slab in a short amount of time.
Now to the meat of our trip! Just a couple of notes. All sites were pull throughs with full hookups. We also received a 10% discount at the KOAs by using our VKR discount card, and 10% at non-KOAs by using our Good Sam membership card.
Night One: Route 66 KOA. Springfield, Missouri. Recently I gave a review of this KOA on the southwest side of Springfield, so I won’t go into too much more detail, as I covered it in this post here. Despite the nearby railroad that frequents a couple times an hour, this is a well run KOA, and strong supporters of Route 66. Cost: $42.15
Night Two: Cross Trails RV Park, Sapulpa, Oklahoma (southwest Tulsa). Where, oh where to begin with this one? If you look through their website, it sounds like nothing but sunshine and roses:
“Sapulpa’s newest RV Park located on 7 Scenic acres with all the amenities that you need to feel at home. We are located in the scenic hill country on the Southwest side of the Tulsa metro area. We use the Eaton Powerhouse Pedestal that has 50/30/20 Amp electrical plugs, TV cable jack as well sewer, trash and free WiFi internet access. Our clubhouse offers a Laundry Room, Showers , a Playground area for the kids, a Dog Park, Picnic Area and Storm Shelter.”
You’d feel at home there for sure…if your home was on the surface of the moon. Why they’re open is beyond me. It’s situated next to a storage unit atop a slight hill next to I-44 and Route 66. They’re new in the sense that they’ve started construction and decided to go ahead and “open” without being anywhere close to done. There are concrete pads and electrical posts with water, but most of the pads don’t have electric and they’re covered with construction materials. We were in phone communication with the owner on the way there, but upon arrival, no one was around to take our campsite fee. When we got back from dinner, we contacted the owner and were told his son would meet us by the dumpster to take our money. At this point it was dark and I was getting a bit nervous. Approaching the fence that separates the storage facility from the campground emerged the son, where I gave him my campsite fee through the fence. From there, he disappeared into the darkness. I’m still not sure if I was in a Breaking Bad or Twilight Zone episode.
The advertised “clubhouse” was closed the entire time we were there, likely because it was still under construction. And the dump station didn’t look like it was usable, although we did have a full hookup site.
I can’t say that once we got unhitched for the night we had a “bad” experience, although the place is a far cry from what the website portrays. But the whole thing was just…weird. I would suggest until they show any kind of progress in completing the place and having an actual staff on duty to avoid this place. And that’s putting it mildly. Cost: $30
Nights 3: Elk City/Clinton KOA, Foss Oklahoma. Due to some wicked 25 mph constant crosswinds, we had to make it a short day on the road. We pulled into the Elk City/Clinton KOA, situated about halfway between Elk City and Clinton Oklahoma. There’s not much thrill to this KOA compared to some, but that’s OK. We were greeted by a friendly staff and given our site number among some shady trees on this hot western Oklahoma afternoon. The park is the only thing there is at this interchange of Interstate 40. It’s a good overnight stop when you’re on the road looking for a place to pull over for the night. They do have a decent playground that kept my grandson content for the afternoon. Cost: $34.65
Nights 4 & 5: Oasis RV Park, Amarillo, Texas. The Oasis RV Park was quite the extreme from our experience on Night 2 near Tulsa. Here there are 180+ sites with all level concrete pads with full hook-ups and multiple shower houses and laundry facilities. This park, just west of Cadillac Ranch on the south side of I-40 near the Arnot Road interchange, caters heavily to retirees. Even though our Shasta is practically new at just 6 months old, I felt a little out of place being nestled amongst $100,000+ motorhomes and high end fifth wheels. I didn’t mind though, as we felt safe and sound there. Amarillo is a GREAT place for RVers to stay. There are several good RV parks in town where you won’t have any worries. I narrowed our choice down to two, so I let my grandson pick based on the playground. It worked out well, as we stayed at the Oasis RV Park in….our Shasta Oasis. There’s a Love’s Truck Stop 1/2 mile up the road near the interchange, so that makes fueling up before hitching up a nice convenience. There’s a good photo op on the grounds as well with a motorhome buried nose-first into the Texas soil, which is a nice tribute to the park’s neighbor to the east, Cadillac Ranch. Amarillo is probably my favorite Route 66 town. When there, be sure to visit the Jack Sisemore RV Museum, located on the grounds of the Jack Sisemore Traveland RV dealership. It’s small, but they have an impressive display of RVs from several eras. Click here for more info. Cost for two nights: $65.70.
Night 6: Twin Fountains RV Resort, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Much like the Oasis RV Park in Amarillo, the Twin Fountains RV Resort in Oklahoma City caters to a lot of retirees with high dollar rigs. This place was a fantastic stay, and we were sorry we were there for only one night. The grounds were well groomed and they offered a nice lodge with 24 hour laundry, swimming pool, miniature golf, and a few extra niceties like massages and a hot tub. The park is located next to I-44/I-35 on the near southeast side of OKC, just north of Remington Park. I can’t say enough good things about this place. We look forward to heading back there sooner rather than later. Cost: $40.05
Night 7: Joplin KOA, Joplin, Missouri. Our 2nd to last night on our trip was at the KOA in Joplin, Missouri next to the interchange of MO-43 and I-44. Like the KOA between Elk City and Clinton, Oklahoma, this KOA is geared towards overnight stops. However, I give HIGH marks to the staff here. Any shortcomings at the facility are quickly washed away with the great staff at this park. They went out of their way to offer us any assistance we needed. The park was clean, although surprisingly sparse on the Friday night we stayed there. Someone who saw a picture of our campsite suggested we were parked in a drive-in movie lot instead of a campsite. They have a really nice playground here, but the big draw for my grandson was the fish pond. Stocked with perch, carp, and monster catfish, the office has free fish food you can take out under the shade of the gazebo and feed the fish and ducks who also patrol the grounds. I score this with HIGH marks just for this feature alone. Cost: $38.60
Night 8: St. Louis West – Historic US 66 KOA , Eureka, Missouri. This was our final stop on our trip. We had stayed here in 2013 and it left a positive enough impression on us to stay here again. Unlike the Joplin KOA, this one was heavily activity oriented. We had a prime spot next to the pool, with Route 66 in front of us. There was a bounce house for the kids, and Sunday morning they offered t-shirt coloring for the kids as well. Again, no complaints this trip either. This KOA offers a lot of good sites for tent camping, has several Kamping Kabins, and even has a nice pavilion, where a wedding reception happened to be taking place the night of our arrival. There’s also a real caboose near the front of the park that you can sleep in for the night as well. With a well stocked shop filled with a good variety of Route 66 souvenirs, this is one of the better places for anyone RVing on Route 66 to stay when in the St. Louis area. Cost: $44.76
We found traveling Route 66 with an RV to be a really fun experience…one that we weren’t sure about when we left home. What we found out is that there is a good amount of RV parks out there along the shoulders of 66 that eagerly cater to those specifically traveling Route 66, just as those who are out there discovering 66 via car and staying in motels. And we found some of those RVers ourselves, as I encountered several RVs at some of the parks that were sporting Route 66 license plates or decals affixed to their RV. But this trip also gave us the luxury of staying in our own bed each night, while still moving to a new place each day.
If you’re doing your own research on RV travel on Route 66 and contemplating your own journey, I wholeheartedly recommend it. It’ll give you a new way to explore Route 66 with all the comforts of home.
If you have any questions on RVing on Route 66, please leave a comment below or shoot me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The resurgence of Shasta in the RV industry over the past few years has been welcomed with open arms by consumers with a desire for a quality trailer, but one with value in mind. Since current Shasta RV president Mark Lucas took over the reigns of the Forest River subsidiary in 2012, their line of travel trailers and fifth wheels have been streamlined and well defined.
However, aiding in that resurgence of the Shasta brand was 2014’s reissue of the 1961 Shasta Airflyte, in both a 16′ and 19′ model. Once the news of 1,941 of the Airflytes were being reissued, with a little modern technology tweaks, it created a buzz in the RV industry the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades. As a byproduct of the Airflyte reissue, the iconic Shasta name has been put back in the forefront of the minds of RV consumers who recall the days when they might’ve gone camping with their grandparents in an original 1960’s or 1970’s Shasta. And although they may not have purchased a 2015 reissue Airflyte, it opened some eyes to the main lines of Shasta trailers currently produced in their Middlebury, Indiana factory.
Currently Shasta produces two fifth wheels: The Revere and the Phoenix, and three travel trailer lines: The Revere, Flyte, and Oasis. Today I want to focus on one that falls in the range of our theme here at The Small Trailer Enthusiast that is right at 20′ long: The Shasta Oasis 18FQ.
I first brought this unit to your attention back in December 2014 at the RVIA trade show in Louisville, Kentucky where the 18FQ was first introduced. It’s taken some time, but the 18FQ (and its brother the 18BH bunkhouse) are finally hitting dealer lots here in April. However, we’re still awaiting Shasta to update their website with specs and floorplans for each.
Some of you loyal readers of this site will know that I recently purchased an Oasis, although a much longer floorplan, due to a growing grandchild base. So I’ve been able to have a little more of an in depth take on the Oasis than I might other brands I discuss here. The 25BH Oasis that I have is my third trailer, after owning a 2010 T@B and a 2010 Serro Scotty HiLander. The materials and appliances Shasta uses aren’t cut rate, as it has a 6 cubic foot Dometic refrigerator, a 3-burner Atwood stove and oven, and a High Pointe microwave, which are all brands you’ll find in higher priced RVs. Shasta prides itself with the Oasis being the RV industry’s “leading value in the RV industry“.
From a construction standpoint, the Oasis utilizes a 5/8” tongue & groove plywood floor that’s covered with a Congoleum covering that has a 3 year warranty against cold cracking. The frame is a solid steel I-beam that’s solid as a rock. Prior to purchasing an Oasis, I did some homework and asked questions. I spoke with Rusty Eckstein, vice president of the Shasta dealer in Central Indiana at Mount Comfort RV, and he told me about the Oasis, “We have done well with the Oasis trailers. They have been out about 3 or 4 years now. Shasta has made improvements on them as far as looks and quality each year. They had been trying to get us to carry the line and last year, we finally decided that they had them dialed in. So, we picked them up. My dad and I spend A LOT of time shopping for RV’s. It is a large part of what we do. The Oasis is one that we bought!” That was pretty much all I needed to hear. I had looked at some other brands that I had knowledge of, but the floorplans didn’t quite offer what the 25BH did, so ultimately we were comfortable with what we saw and we put our order in on one. So far so good!
This brings back to the 18FQ. I’ve been able to put bits & pieces of specs together on the Oasis 18FQ. First, it’s a single axle with a dry weight in the 3200 lbs range and is right at 20′ in length. So as trailers go, it’s relatively light weight for that size. It has pass through storage in the front, and inside has the signature Oasis 60″ X 74″ queen walk around bed in the front. Although the video I’ve attached below states it’s a 6 cubic foot refrigerator, that is not the case on this model. It’s more in the ballpark of a 3-4 cubic foot. As you can see from the photos, it’s got ample counter space, a nice sized dinette, plenty of cabinet space, and a nice sized full bathroom in the rear with a 36″ bathtub, medicine cabinet, foot flush toilet, and additional cabinets for storage.
I was really impressed with the layout of this 18FQ when I first saw it back in December. This is an excellent fit for a couple with a smaller budget, as it gives plenty of room without stepping on each others’ toes. However, for those of you with kids and a smaller budget, Shasta does also offer the Oasis 18BH, which provides two single rear bunks. However, it does not offer the walk around island queen bed, but yields plenty of kitchen counter space.
While prices of the Oasis 18FQ and 18BH vary when you check on rvtrader.com, you likely shouldn’t expect to pay higher than the low teens for a new model. And as 2015 rolls on, more and more units will be hitting dealer lots, so the need to order one may not be necessary. But if you do order one, options are minimal for you to choose from, as the Oasis line is a value driven model that cuts back on goodies so you can keep your cost low.
Below are a couple of videos. The first is of a Shasta Oasis 25RS model, but I’m including that because Mount Comfort RV shows some really good footage throughout the walk through from the Shasta factory in Middlebury to give you a brief glimpse of a few Shastas during the production process. The second video was just published a day ago by Atlantic Marine & RV in Fort Pierce, Florida of a 2016 Oasis 18FQ.
UPDATE: I’ve added a video of my Oasis here. Again, this is the larger 25BH, but it gives you a little more visual of an Oasis from yours truly:
Beginning this month, the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana will feature an old and new Shasta in the Go RVing wing of the hall of fame. The two-trailer exhibit will feature a 1954 Shasta that currently resides in the hall of fame’s main exhibit. The other is a 2015 Shasta Airflyte reissue model that is being donated to the museum by Wisconsin RV dealer Mick Ferkey, who also is a board member for the hall of fame.
In an interview with RV-Pro, Ferkey says, “One of the reasons I wanted to do this was to bring more people into the Hall of Fame,” he said. “You’re going to get a lot of these employees that work for Shasta that want to bring their family in to show them what they did. They’re proud of their work. I want the public to see what the RV industry can really do when they put their minds to it.”
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?