Tag Archives: trailer

Airstream Unveils NEST Details Via Survey

Not long after it was announced by Airstream of their acquisition of NEST Caravans, I signed up on the Airstream website to receive updates on the NEST. Today I received an e-mail from Airstream with a link to a survey regarding the NEST.

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A lot of the questions had to do with comparing NEST to a traditional Airstream and what other brands you’ve considered. When I got towards the end of the survey, the page consisted of an overall description of the NEST followed by survey questions. It was in the description where it was revealed where the NEST have a starting price of $40,000. You read that right.

NEST is an all-new, compact, 16’6” trailer that provides all the luxury and quality one would expect from an Airstream, plus the added benefits of exterior color options and the ability to be towed by smaller vehicles (such as mid-sized SUVs, light trucks and crossovers).

Within its fiberglass shell, NEST contains a wet bath (toilet, shower), queen-sized bed, dining area, galley with refrigerator and cooktop, plus many other thoughtful appointments — all in a comfortable, light-filled space with 6’6” of standing headroom.

NEST was conceived and developed by entrepreneur Robert Johans in Bend, Oregon; and automotive designer, Bryan Thompson, is responsible for the trailer’s sophisticated and modern exterior styling.

Recognizing Airstream’s DNA in NEST, Airstream purchased the company in 2016 with a goal to improve upon the concept by building it with advanced components and manufacturing techniques. Augmenting its iconic travel trailer line up with NEST’s progressive product design aligns with Airstream’s ambition to further its long legacy of refined innovation within the RV industry.

NEST will start at $40,000 (or $325/mo., if financed). The trailers will be built at the Airstream facility in Jackson Center, OH, and available for purchase the summer of 2017.

So after reading this last paragraph, I think it’s safe to say most of you remotely interested will probably feel like you’ve been priced out of purchasing a NEST.  I hear a lot from readers how a new Scamp in the upper teens is overpriced. I’m completely expecting negative comments on the pricing, but if you’re someone who’d be willing to pay that kind of money for a NEST, I’d really like to hear from  you.  I’d be interested to know a buyer’s rationale in spending more on a fiberglass NEST than you would a traditional 16′ aluminum Airstream Bambi. And one of the questions on the survey is “How likely are you to purchase NEST for $40k?“. You’d think they’d have asked consumers this question before buying NEST and setting a starting price of $40,000, wouldn’t you?

As production starts in the next year, I’ll provide any additional updates as they come along. As always, stay tuned here!

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Shasta Flyte Debuts Smaller Floor Plan

Over the next few weeks as holiday schedules permit, I’ll be recapping a few of the new offerings I found at the RVIA trade show in Louisville last week.

Shasta RV debuted a new floor plan for their Flyte brand. The Flyte 185BH is the somewhat more upscale version of the Shasta Oasis 18BH. As with all Flyte floor plans, the 185BH will have a fiberglass exterior and a few extra amenities the Oasis does not offer. Last April I wrote about the Oasis version, both the 18BH (bunkhouse) and the 18FQ in a post here. The 2016 models on the Flyte will have a light brown exterior as opposed to the white sides the Flyte has had, giving it a more contemporary look. The addition of LED awning lights is something new for the Flyte as well.

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Although the entire length from hitch to tail is just over 21′, the 185BH is surprisingly roomy. Despite not having a slide, a small family should be able to camp in the 185BH quite comfortably. The beds include two 30″ x 74″ bunks as well as the standard Shasta 60″ x 74″ queen bed.

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Storage is of no concern. There is ample pass through storage in the front, but interior storage is quite ample for a smaller, weekend trailer like the 185BH. The overhead cabinets are plenty and the kitchen area also includes a pantry and a spacious counter for food prep. DSC_0470

If that weren’t enough, there’s a huge cabinet in the bathroom against the rear wall of the trailer. It seats right behind the foot flush toilet and includes two large cabinet doors that provides storage all the way to the sidewall on the door side of the trailer.

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Aside from the toilet and the storage cabinets, the bathroom also includes a 24″ x 36″ bathtub and an overhead exhaust vent. DSC_0467Overall, I was very pleased with what I saw with the Flyte 185BH. Being a 2016 Shasta Oasis owner, I’m able to use my own trailer as a benchmark, and I believe Shasta has stepped up their game  in regards to fit and finish just in the last 9 months. The Flyte at the Louisville show as well as a couple of Oasis 18BH that I walked through recently at Mount Comfort RV in Greenfield, Indiana have all appeared to have better workmanship than what I’ve seen in my own.

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As for a  few specs, the 185BH Flyte weighs in at 3580 lbs and measures 21’9″ long with a hitch weight of 381 lbs and a cargo carrying capacity of 1101 lbs. The tanks are more than ample for a trailer this size as well: Fresh water is 42 gallons, and the gray and black tanks each are 36 gallons. The LED lit awning measures 12′ long.

Overall, my impressions of the Shasta Flyte 185BH are very favorable. If you’re a storage junky, the Flyte 185BH offers the best storage for this particular floor plan, a floor plan several RV manufacturers use. And the cost is nothing to sneeze at either, as it should retail in the mid-$14,000’s when it hits dealer lots in early 2016. Shasta prides itself on being the RV industry’s value leader, and the Flyte 185BH certainly adds to that reputation.

Not interested in bunks? No worries, the Flyte 185FQ will be out as well, which will be the same floor plan as the Oasis 18FQ discussed in the previous article linked above from April of 2015. NOTE: As of today, December 10, 2015, neither the 185BH nor the 185FQ are listed on the Shasta website. Keep checking their website at http://shastarving.com for updates and floor plans.

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Hi-Lo finally showing signs of life

It’s been quite some time since I first announced that Hi-Lo Trailers were coming back to life. This website was just a few weeks old and it was one of the first few posts I ever made. Three years and three months ago that post was written, and the only update I had was a year later, telling you that there were essentially no updates on the Hi-Lo.

While I’ve made efforts to get some facts from Hi-Lo boss and Pennsylvania  RV dealer Bill Kerola, those requests have gone unanswered. However, thanks to the Kerola Camper Store Facebook page, the first images of a Hi-Lo prototype were released. 10636951_744124942335049_3911432009194948702_o

Even though I’ve not received a response from Bill Kerola, I still felt it necessary to post these pics from their Facebook page since I get e-mails periodically inquiring about the future of the Hi-Lo, and because Hi-Lo had a long run in the RV industry before shuttering their doors in 2010.

What I do know is that Bill Kerola is the gent on the right in the photo. Now, the following  is nothing more than speculation on my part. But hey, speculation is fun and makes you look brilliant if reality turns out that way.  Here are a  few facts I’ve put together:

1. In a December 6, 2014 post on their Facebook page, Kerola Campers wrote: “We have some new projects in the works for Kerola’s Campers. Here is the frame for our next venture heading out. More pictures next week!”

This tells me it was heading somewhere outside of their Trasnfer, Pennsylvania location.

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2. If you’ll notice in this next photo, there is a Hi-Lo pictured behind the chassis of the prototype. Since we know there are no “new” Hi-Los, that one in the background has to be a 2010 or older.

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3. With that in mind, we also know that Kerola Campers sells a travel trailer called the “Midget”. We don’t know a lot about the  Midget other than they are built in Ohio, AND the plant also doubles as a Hi-Lo repair facility. I quote from the Midget website:

“I (Joel) am the former Plant Manager of the HiLo Company and have been around HiLo for the past 30 years. That’s because my father-in-law is Jim Snyder former owner of the company. It was his brother Don Snyder who started HiLo back in 1955.  

2011 was a big year for our new repair and manufacturing shop. We hired Tim a former employee of HiLo to assist in the repairs of HiLo’s and building new trailers in our Midget line.”

So now we see that Kerola Campers has a relationship with a trailer manufacturer who also spent time building Hi-Los and now repairing them. With the fact they build the Midget, this tells me they have the ability to build other trailers….perhaps even a new Hi-Lo. 

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So when I connect all these dots, it appears to me that these former Hi-Lo employees that build trailers (The Midget) also are the ones building the new Hi-Lo. Again, just speculation, but I’d be more surprised if these aren’t the facts. Hopefully I can get a reply from Bill Kerola so he can just tell me what I think I already know.

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2015 Shasta Airflyte Reissue: Firsthand Report

Recently my wife & I got the opportunity to view firsthand one of the 2015 reissued 1961 Shasta Airflytes, courtesy of Mount Comfort RV in Greenfield, Indiana. To say the Matador Red Airflyte we toured was was a work of art is an understatement. Shasta RV hit a home run with it and the fact that there are very few left of the 1,941 16′ and 19′ trailers speaks volumes for how this venture by the Forest River subsidiary has taken the RV industry by storm.

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Ken Eckstein is owner and chief operating officer of Mount Comfort RV and started in the industry in the 1970’s washing RVs for a local RV dealer. He’s been everything from a technician to a salesman to an owner. He told me, “In my 40 years in the RV industry I’ve never seen anything like this”, referring to the reissued Shasta and its overwhelming popularity among the RV public.

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Overall my impressions of the finished product are positive. The novice will be fooled into thinking it’s original, and even the seasoned vintage trailer enthusiast will have to take a few looks to figure out if it’s new or classic. Many of the details were replicated to that extent. Many features were meticulously modeled after the 1961 Shasta it is based on, including the lamp over the dinette, the famous Shasta wings, the “S” magazine rack, and the chrome exterior Shasta emblems. 15764649645_d4afedf953_z

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One positive for vintage Shasta owners is that some of the components of the reissue are the same as the original 1961 Airflyte. For instance, the windows, wings, and door are the same dimensions as the originals. More photos can be found on my staff photographer’s (my lovely wife) Flickr page here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roadtripmemories/sets/72157648832498390/

As the 1,941 16′ and 19′ Shasta Airflyte reissued 1961 models are now making their way into the hands of their new owners and the buzz starts to die down, we can look back on these last 4 months and how this phenomenon was fueled almost entirely by social media. I first heard of the news in mid July from Rusty Eckstein at Mount Comfort RV. It was our goal to work together on being the first to bring the news to the public through this site and the Mount Comfort RV site, but alas we were trumped by Greg Gerber when he broke the news in his excellent RV news source, the RV Daily Report. It was Greg’s report that first hit just about every RV related Facebook page you could find. Then it got shared, Tweeted and then I came out with posts of my own here that were shared and retweeted. The next thing you know, just about all 1,941 units were spoken for. And the real kicker? There was NO MENTION of the 1961 reissue on the Shasta web site! This should prove to RV dealers every where what a powerful tool social media is and how important it is for dealers to have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as a YouTube channel with videos of current inventory. Oh, and an inhouse blog writer would help your cause too. 😉

Next up for me is the 2014 RVIA trade show in Louisville next week. I’ll be there seeing what 2015 has to offer for you fellow small trailerites. Be sure to follow along on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Small_Trailers, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Small-Trailer-Enthusiast/269125426471703, and right here on YOUR favorite source for all things trailer small. As always, thanks for taking time out of your day for visiting The Small Trailer Enthusiast.

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2015 Shasta Airflyte Update

As posted on the Mount Comfort RV Facebook page, Shasta RV president Mark Lucas released additional photos of the 2015 Shasta Airflyte reissue. The new photos show the Butternut Yellow and Seafoam Green color schemes. With the Matador Red scheme that initially debuted in July, this completes the three colors available of the 1,941 Airflytes to be produced.

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According to Mount Comfort RV, most of the 1,941 units have been spoken for and it’s anticipated the last couple hundred will be reserved within the next week. Production of the 16′ and 19′ models will start September 22.

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2015 Shasta Airflyte video update

As discussed a couple of weeks ago, Mount Comfort RV has made a trip up to northern Indiana to get a first hand look at the new 2015 Shasta Airflyte. Shasta president Mark Lucas gave Mount Comfort RV an exclusive walk through video tour to go over the ins and outs of the Airflyte. Instead of me rehashing in a post what he talks about, I’ll just leave all the talking to Mark. More detailed photos are up on the Mount Comfort RV website and can be seen by clicking here.

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  Mount Comfort RV vice president Rusty Eckstein tells me they’ve been taking pre-orders for the Airflyte from all over the country. And starting at $14,999, I think it’s safe to say the 1,941 that will be produced will be spoken for rather quickly. Feel free to leave comments with Mount Comfort RV on their YouTube page below the video so they can pass along your likes & dislikes to Shasta…they are listening.

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Forest River reissuing the classic Shasta Airflyte

Consider this post the first of several over the coming weeks and months to introduce you to the new Shasta Airflyte, produced by Shasta’s manufacturer, Forest River. Even though I use the word “new”, the new Airflyte will look anything but new. In fact, it will use a nearly exact blueprint from the 1961, although it will comply with RVIA specs. The Airflyte will have a limited production run of just under 2,000 units and should be available later in 2014. And this Airflyte will be a far cry from the Airflyte that Coachmen RV brought back in 2009, which happened to be featured in the very first post of this blog back in 2011: http://smalltrailerenthusiast.com/2011/09/07/a-tale-of-two-shastas/

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be privvy to some inside info on the Airflyte, courtesy of Rusty Eckstein, vice president of Mount Comfort RV, a dealer that will be carrying the Airflyte. We’ll have more info including a lot of photos, specs and even some video from the factory in Elkhart. But for now, here are two photos from the factory on the assembly line to whet your appetite. More to come!

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Aliner adds new storage boxes

Mt. Pleasant, PA based Aliner has enjoyed a successful 2012 thus far, according to Melanie Spires of Aliner.  “The first 5 months of 2012 Aliner retail sales were up 33% across the board. The Classic, Expedition and Ranger are the three top selling models, they are the core.”

Helping fuel the increase in sales is the new optional storage compartment. Located on the front tongue, the 100% waterproof, 30 cubic foot compartment features lockable full-length top and side access doors, as well as interior lighting. Better yet, the entire box is removable, leaving in its place a tray for transporting larger items. Competitors offer either a storage box or a tray, but not both. Removing the box takes less than 10 minutes.

“As we became aware of the strong consumer demand for such a product, we decided that we could best utilize our technology to provide a cutting-edge option that is unique to the camper industry”, according to Aliner parent company Columbia Northwest CEO Ned Collins.

Aliner has always been synonymous with  hard-roofed, pup-up campers. Most would say they’re the torch bearer for such a niche market. With innovations like the removable storage box, that claim is hard to dispute.

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A Tribute to the Campfire & Bak-Pak Camper

In 2008 when Sierra Custom Interiors of Bristol, Indiana became the manufacturer of Serro Scotty Worldwide trailers, it wasn’t long before they too came out with their own line of small campers for the 2009 model year called the Campfire…

and the entry level Bak-Pak:

(photo courtesy Missouri Teardrops)

Designed by Sierra owners Mike & Greg Greene, the 12’9″ trailers were a throwback to the old canned ham trailers from the 1940’s-60’s. They featured air conditioning, furnace, and optional microwave, toilet, and range. Serro Scotty also got in on the act with their 2009 line-up featuring the Serro Scotty Pup…

(photo courtesy Shane Wolfe)

and the Silver Series Pup:

Both Serro Scotty models were identical to the Sierra versions with respect to shape, floor plan and everything else except the badging and, in the case of the Silver Pup, the silver aluminum. Also, the regular Pup featured the signature Scotty turquoise and white.

For the 2010 models, Sierra came out with the Campfire 15, a longer version of its 13 model, that featured a toilet and optional wet bath.

The final entry in the Campfire lineup was the Campfire XL, a 16′ unit with a similar floor plan to that of the Serro Scotty HiLander.

You may notice that I’ve been speaking of the Sierra Campfire and Bak-Pak in the past tense. Unfortunately, that’s the case. Early in 2011, the Greenes decided to pull the plug on their travel trailer ventures and stick with building custom interiors for horse trailers. As we wrote in September 2011, this decision not only included their own line of trailers, but also meant all Serro Scotty models as well, leaving Bill Kerola to find a new manufacturer for the entire Scotty line.

Neither the Bak-Pak nor the Campfire were mass produced, but those who own them are loyal to their camper and get many inquiries from the curious at the campgrounds. There aren’t many other campers on the market (with the possible exception of the T@B ) that offer a compact, lightweight package like the Campfire and Bak-Pak do. And while a rebirth of the Sierra camper division is unlikely, current owners cling to the hope that one day they can remove their orphan label. Afterall, it wouldn’t be the first time a brand came back to life.

The Campfire website, once a fine site with plenty of pictures, specs, and floor plans, now reads more like an obituary. But all is not lost. There are still Campfires, Bak-Paks, and even a few brand new Scotty Pups (at present time) still available for purchase on ebay, Craigslist, or rvtraderonline.com. There is also a Yahoo Group where owners of the Sierra-built Scottys and Campfires/Bak-Paks can congregate for discussion. And so we say so long to yet another line of campers that didn’t make it…for now.


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