Tag Archives: teardrop trailer

A Look at the Riverside Retro, Jr

Some ten plus years ago before I ever became an RVer, my wife and I pondered how cool it’d be to get a teardrop trailer one day. I remember many nights scoping out the various teardrop websites and thinking of how cool it’d be to own the Airstream of teardrops, a Camp-Inn.

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But reality always set in and that dream kept getting put off until it was virtually forgotten. However, things changed in September of 2009 when over the span of a weekend in Missouri we saw a great looking Route 66 inspired Pleasant Valley teardrop and a Dutchmen T@B.

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After having the luxury of comparing both a traditional teardrop to a T@B over the same weekend, we discussed the pros and cons of both on our drive back home to Indiana. We decided if we were going to do this, it’d be a T@B, and the following weekend sure enough we had our own T@B sitting in our driveway after a purchase from a dealer in Elkhart, Indiana.

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As newbies to the RV lifestyle, we soon realized that despite the coolness of the T@B, we needed a little more space…and a toilet. Seven months later, enter a 2010 Serro Scotty HiLander, just about the same size, but with a wet bath and a smidge more space.

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But as some of you have followed our story over the years, you’ll know that once grandson 2.0 came along, even the Scotty became too small, as we wanted to make sure both of the boys had a chance to have childhood memories of camping with us. So now we call our 2016 Shasta Oasis 18BH our RV of choice.

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The Shasta has given us a good family camper with a couple of bunks, bathroom, queen bed…and a vanilla, generic look compared to the T@B and Scotty we had before it. Gone were the days when it’d take me 45 minutes setting up our campsite, as 35 of those minutes were spent talking to a passerby about the T@B or Scotty. No one’s given a second look at the Shasta. I’ve realized that socialization at campgrounds over the trailer I had was a big part of my camping experience, and one I missed. And after my birthday this past June, one which is taking me closer to 50 and farther away from 40, I realized mid-life crisis was in full effect. I had to do something to tame it. And so with my wife’s blessing, we did.

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We put an order in on a 2017 Riverside RV Retro, Jr 509 back in late June. I know a few teardrop builders in the industry, and as you can see on our Manufacturers Page, there are a lot of them throughout the country. And make no bones about it, they build some excellent products. However, I’ve had a previous working relationship with Braun’s Fun Time Campers in Indianapolis, a Riverside dealer. After inspecting some at their dealership, we soon realized the Retro, Jr gave us what we wanted at an excellent price point.

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Riverside offers a few color schemes to choose from, but after going back and forth on what we wanted, we realized we needed to go with the white with aqua trim with baby moon hubcaps to pay homage to our former Scotty. But on our first camping trip a couple of days after we took possession, it was like old times. At a busy Starve Hollow campground, it got its share of looks and even some pictures. And once we start taking it out more next year, I’m sure I’ll be speaking of its virtues to any fellow camper interested.

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Now for the nuts and bolts of the Retro, Jr. Total length is 13’9″ and dry weight fully optioned is 1,023 lbs. Those options we ordered are air conditioning, sink/stove combo, spare tire package, electric brakes, and a few other minor ones, including a USB/12 volt charging port and solar prep. One thing I did get on my own was a mountable jockey wheel at Menards for about $25 that swings up or down, depending on whether you’re hauling or ready to move it by hand.

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The interior bed dimensions are a nice 60″ wide and 76″ long, more than ample enough for two average sized adults. We added a 2″ memory foam mattress topper from Walmart for some extra comfort.  There are also storage cabinets on the front and rear interior walls, with the rear cabinets a little bit longer than the front, but both sides large enough to handle your typical bags for clothes you’d bring on a weekend camping trip. dsc_1123-2

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The Retro, Jr is now decked out with all LED lighting, inside and out with the exception of the over the door exterior light. There are two main overhead lights as well as two reading lights underneath the front cabinet that are on either side of the USB/12 volt charging station.

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The air conditioning unit is more than adequate for anyone in just about any climate. It was about the time we ordered ours in June when we were informed that Riverside had done away with the interior window-unit style air conditioner in favor of an 11,000 BTU roof mounted Dometic unit. It should be interesting next summer to see how it does in really hot weather.

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Moving to the rear kitchen area. With going with the sink/stove combo option, that also meant we’d have to have a 5 gallon propane tank on the front, and in the rear hatch, we’d need the 17 gallon fresh water tank as well as water pump. But should you decide not to get the sink/stove combo, the entire rear storage area is yours, as the fresh water tank and water pump wouldn’t be included.

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The rear kitchen area offers ample counter space, an electrical outlet for a microwave, coffee maker, or any other electric kitchen device, as well as a decent sized cabinet for utensils and other small cookware. Also included is an LED light for those late night cooking ventures.

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Now one important upgrade that we went with makes our Retro, Jr…as far as I can tell…a one of a kind (for now). And that is the interior Retro package that we asked for. And that is the wood grain interior and kitchen area finish as well as the black & white checkered flooring. This is typically something that does not come on a Retro, Jr and isn’t listed as an option. I’ve scoured every photo and ad for these for the past 5 months and I’ve not seen one with this option. So a typical Retro, Jr interior would look like this:

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(courtesy Curtis Trailers)

Kind of a no brainer to go with the wood grain/checker board look for about $300, don’t you think?

Now back to some specs, the Retro, Jr sits on a 1500 lbs axle, supported by two 13″ wheels. The underside is enclosed by the usual black Darco material to keep out moisture. The 30 amp power cord could be a little longer to suit me, so be prepared to purchase an extension for it as it’s probably about 15′ long.

Construction-wise it appears to be built pretty well. It’s got an aluminum cage with a steel frame, aluminum sidewalls and a fiberglass roof. It tows extremely well and at just 1,023 lbs, can be towed by a lot of vehicles. As you can tell, this is a teardrop with doors on each side, which isn’t always the case with some manufacturers. Each door has a deep tented, vertical sliding window for some good cross ventilation and are draped with color coordinated shades for privacy. The one drawback with going with the rooftop air conditioner is that it eliminates the possibility to have an A/C as well as a roof top vent fan. However, a Fantastic Fan is standard if you don’t order the A/C. And one other request I wish I would’ve made is to have an exterior porch light over each door, as they only put the one over the curbside door.

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But overall, it appears to be a solid trailer with a good build quality. And coming from me, that says something, as I was rather critical of Riverside’s sloppiness on their Retros when I first saw them at the RVIA trade show in Louisville in 2011. However, in subsequent years, I commented on how they seemed to have got their act together on fit & finish for this price point, and the fact that I’m buying from them should show how much I believe in how they’ve improved.

Depending on where you are in the U.S., you can likely expect to see a Retro, Jr fetch an MSRP starting in the $9,000’s, but your results may vary. I’ll keep you all posted on how things are going on it in the near future. And if you’re wondering, yes, we are a two-trailer family. We’ll be keeping our Shasta for when we take family trips with the grandboys. But the Retro, Jr is for me, or me and my wife to play with. I kind of liken it to this: The Shasta is kind of like a minivan that a guy has to drive throughout the week. And the Retro, Jr is that guy’s sportscar that he drives on the weekends. Hope you follow that analogy!

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I’ve put together a walk around video of it that you can find below. Feel free to shoot me any comments or questions either below this post or on the YouTube video. As always, thanks for reading.

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Little Guy debuts T@G and myPod at Hershey show

As I hinted at in late August, Little Guy Worldwide this week debuted the T@G teardrop and the myPod molded fiberglass trailer at America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The T@G will have optional TV, air conditioning, and refrigerator & freezer. It comes standard with a queen size bed, 2 side doors, 2 side windows, a galley, and fan. With options (including the battery), the T@G checks in at 1.025 lbs and 875 lbs without options. The MSRP is $8,995 and production will start in November. No specs to report on the myPod other than the base weight without options is just over 500 lbs.

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Manufacturer’s Update: Little Guy Worldwide

Fresh off the heels of the highly successful “Rolling Home” rally for T@Bs and Little Guy teardrops, Little Guy Worldwide VP of Sales Dylan DeHoff tells us things are are moving along very well with the Ohio based teardrop trailer manufacturer. First, total sales of all models are up a whopping 130% from 2012, with nearly 1,500 units to be produced in 2013.

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Look for upgrades in the T@B for 2014. Among them is the addition of the Alde 110-LP Water Heater & Central Heating unit, which replaces both the furnace and water heater with the one single unit. Benefits of the Alde unit is that it distributes heat evenly around, is extremely quiet, has programmable controls, and has a 93% efficiency equivalent. Starting in 2014, this will be the standard heating device in T@Bs.

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Other changes for 2014 include

  • S and CS-S Models:  Equipped with 6 gallon black tank in addition to 19 gallon gray.
  • Italian SMEV Stove. Inset, Hinged 2 Burner stove with Glass Cover
  • Electric Brakes replace hydraulic brakes

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Coming some time in September will be the introduction of two new models: The T@G and the myPod. There’s no indication yet what the T@G will look like, but as Dylan tells it, “It’s a true “tweener” between the T@B and the Little Guy, with modern, T@B-inspired, European lines.” There currently aren’t any images available of the T@G, however Dutchmen also created a T@G around 2009 that never advanced any farther than the prototype stage, which was really nothing more than a teardrop trailer without any kind of galley. So right now there isn’t enough info to warrant a guess as to whether or not this is what it’ll look like.

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As for the myPod, I think it’s safe to say what it’ll look like, as Little Guy gave a sneak peak on their Facebook page back in February. The myPod will have a “futuristic”, 100% fiberglass molded, rear loading galley-free design. It will be available in several colors including the option to match a particular paint code. It will also boast an optional roof rack, entertainment center, and air conditioning unit.

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As always, we’ll have more on all of this info as it develops.

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Trekker Trailers to host build-your-own camper class

Eustis, Florida based Trekker Trailers will be conducting a class in late June where the students build their own trailer under the supervision of professionals. The first class is scheduled for June 21-30, 2013. The model used will be their entry level Simple Sleeper, which is a teardrop trailer without a rear kitchen.

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The Simple Sleeper features an air conditioner, rear cargo rack, drop floor, 2 doors, and a mattress. It measures 7 1/2′ long and 4′ wide, which, along with its 650 lbs weight, makes it easy to tow with a large motorcycle or small car.

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In the class, students will be cutting out the shapes using templates, assembling the wood structures, sheet metal, installing windows and doors, and the finishing touches. Some of the work will be done for you so everyone stays on schedule.

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The cost of the class is $3900 ($2500 deposit), which is a $1,000 savings on a Simple Sleeper had you just bought one from Trekker Trailers. Currently there are spots for only 3 students.

For more information, contact Andrew Bennett at 352-409-4005 or email campers@trekkertrailers.com

You can visit the Trekker Trailers web site at: http://trekkertrailers.com

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Little Guy set to reintroduce the T@B Clamshell

Little Guy Worldwide plans to debut the reintroduction of the T@B Clamshell model at next weeks 50th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, KY. The first images of the Little Guy version of the Clamshell were released in an article Friday on rv-pro.

Comparing the Little Guy version (above) to the the previous version built by Dutchmen (below) there are a few cosmetic changes. On the Dutchmen, the bottom of the trailer has a slight upward angle near the rear, where the Little Guy version is straight all the way across from the wheel well to the rear hatch. The LG version incorporates new LED strip tail/brake lights below the hatch on a diamond plate base, where the Dutchmen version used standard travel trailer tail lights afixed to the hatch. Much cleaner look on the LG model.

But overall, the concept remains the same with the kitchen area enclosed in the rear hatch  of the unit.

The kitchen will house ample cabinet space, a sink , stove, refrigerator, and an optional flat screen TV with remote and external speakers. Aside from the Clamshell model, a new model called the “S” floorplan is also being introduced as well. It will be a T@B with a wet-bath, and will also be available as an option in the Clamshell.

The Clamshell gives the best of both worlds, for those who like a tradtional teardrop trailer where the kitchen is in the rear yet gives one room to stand up in the interior of the trailer. It’ll be interesting to monitor the message boards over the next few years to see how well these Little Guy hatches hold up against water intrusion. Dutchmen Clamshells had a troubled history of leakage resulting in damaged or rotted wood.

I’ll be attending the Louisville show next Tuesday on opening day, so I’ll be giving my first hand impressions of the Clamshell (as well as other smallish trailers) later next week. I’ll be Tweeting throughout the day from Louisville, so be sure to give us a “Follow” via the link on the right side of this page. For those of you who don’t Tweet but are on Facebook, you can give us a “Like” via the link on the right and view my Tweets there. As always, thanks for reading!

(Images courtesy rv-pro & rvclearinghouse.com

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Neiman Marcus adds $150,000 teardrop trailer to 2012 Christmas Book

Just in time for Christmas, Neiman Marcus has added a $150,000 custom built teardrop trailer to their 2012 fantasy gifts Christmas book. Built by Roanoke, Virginia based Silver Tears Campers and designed by New York based Brad Ford ID, buyers have a chance to own a trailer that is like no other. It features a polished mahogany and ash exterior, and the interior is made from recycled Bulleit Bourbon solid oak casks.

But that’s not all. Featuring a pull-out bar, you’ll also receive a year’s supply of Bulleit Bourbon and Bulleit Rye, leather accessories from Moore & Giles, Waterford crystal, and a Sony audio-visual entertainment system.

There will be only two of these units available for purchase. Need something to tow it with? No problem, as Neiman Marcus is offering a 2013 McLaren 12C Spider as your tow vehicle…for a mere $354,000. Oh, and in case you were wondering by the photos (courtesy Neiman Marcus), don’t plan on using this trailer to sleep in. That slide out bar has to go somewhere!

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More on the Little Guy & Yuengling sweepstakes

We’ve been receiving a lot of hits on The Small Trailer Enthusiast since we first posted about the sweepstakes with Little Guy and Yuengling back in August.

Entries for the contest close on October 31, 2012 and the winner will be drawn on November 6. Here’s a video from Little Guy Worldwide’s Chris Baum with a little more on the Little Guy 5-wide platform that will be awarded to the lucky winner. You must be an Ohio resident to win.

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Little Guy & Yuengling team up for teardrop giveaway

In a press release this week, Little Guy Worldwide announced a partnership with America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling. The partnership is in the form of a contest where a Little Guy teardrop trailer, wrapped with Yuengling’s brand,  will be the grand prize.

Image courtesy Joe Smithberger, Smithberger Photography

More than 20 of these trailers have been wrapped and are hitting the road throughout Ohio. They’ll be located at grocery stores in Ohio as a point-of-purchase promotion where Yuengling is sold.  According to Chris Baum, Chief Operating Officer of Little Guy, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Yuengling®, a company with a rich and storied history that is as unique as Little Guy Teardrop Campers.”

The contest is restricted to Ohio residents only, so those of you in the Buckeye State have a chance to load up a new teardrop full of America’s oldest lager.  Full details on the contest can be found by clicking here.

 

 

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Little Guy Brings Back Two T@B Floor Plans

Starting April 1, Little Guy Worldwide will be taking orders for two new floor plans for their highly popular T@B. The floor plans aren’t actually new, per se. They’re two floor plans previous T@B builder Dutchmen used. Both will utilize the “L” shaped front kitchen galley. The difference among the two will be the dinette. One will have vertical floor to ceiling cabinets on the back wall with a smaller dinette, which measures 70″ X 58″ when in bed format.

The queen bed “L” kitchen format will feature a “U” shaped dinette that converts to a 70″ X 73″ queen bed. As a former owner of a Dutchmen T@B with this floor plan, and having seen them all, I can honestly say this floor plan is the best one of them all. You get a nice sized kitchen counter and the comforts of a queen sized bed.

An option on the L and Q models will be the Stargazer front window, like those optional on Little Guy’s teardrop line. This is a slight difference from Dutchmen in that it’s a stationary window and a little more narrow, but should still give ample daylight to the front counter.

All three floor plans with descriptions can be found by clicking here: floor_plans[1]

For more info, contact Little Guy Worldwide at http://tab-rv.com.

 

 

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Little Guy Continues Upward Trend

Massillon, Ohio based Little Guy Worldwide continues to see sales of their teardrop trailers increase by leaps & bounds. As crude oil and gasoline prices continue to climb, consumers are obviously looking for alternatives to keep their camping budgets tolerable.  According to Little Guy Director of New Business Development, Dylan DeHoff, these are the main factors fueling Little Guy’s growth. “Camping for the most part is an inexpensive activity and even in some cases can be free depending on how you do it, so it is an activity that people are going to continue to do. But now they are trying to find cost and fuel efficient trailers, which leads them right to us.”

And lead them to Little Guy it has. Their 2011 production numbers were up a whopping 50% compared to 2010, and January 2012 numbers were better than any January in the company’s history. Part of that increase can also be attributed to an aggressive marketing campaign, which includes Little Guy being featured twice a month on TV game shows “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal”.

Another coup for Little Guy was adding the nation’s largest single site RV dealer, Lazydays RV in Seffner, Florida. “The things that make the Little Guy great for Lazydays are that it’s light enough to tow with just about anything, it fits in a standard garage to eliminate storage issues, and it is affordable for anyone looking for a hard-sided RV option in which to camp,” said Marc Taylor, Lazydays new inventory sales manager. Lazydays currently has eight various Little Guys in their inventory.

Probably the most interesting news Dylan had to share was in regards to a possible new T@B floor plan coming online later in 2012. Actually it’s not a new floor plan to long time T@B enthusiasts: The Clamshell. Dutchmen offered the Clamshell as well as a handful of other T@B floor plans. However, the Clam was unique from the other standard T@Bs. It was more of a traditional teardrop trailer with the kitchen area in the rear that was accessible via a rear hatch. But unlike a traditional teardrop, it had the same interior height inside as a regular T@B. It gave teardrop and T@B fans the best of both worlds.

DeHoff tells us that they’re working on a way to put a bathroom in the Clam as well. “We have had a great response to the return of the T@B and the most popular question is “where is the bathroom”. We hope that with a bathroom added to our Clamshell we will reach out to even more customers.” Another upgrade from the Dutchmen version is in regards to the trim. The first generation Clamshell had no distinctive T@B trim around the edges, where the roof and sidewalls meet. Dylan says that too will change. “The regular T@B’s had trim on the top and all around the trailer but the clamshells only had trim around the fenders. Both of our T@B’s will have trim on the whole trailer and the only difference should be one has a back hatch and the other does not. The overall look should stay the same, that is our goal.”

Even though Dylan tells us the Clamshell talk is just a rumor, I’m confident it’s past the rumor stage and planning is likely well underway. Once…errr….”if” the Clamshell comes to fruition, we’ll pass on the details as they develop.

 

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