REV Group announces plans for Lance Camper production in Indiana

Brookfield, Wisconsin based REV Recreation Group announced today plans to add an assembly plant and component warehouse in Decatur, Indiana for its Lance Camper line of travel trailers.

“With the growing interest in and demand for travel trailers, our Decatur facilities will help to better serve those dealers in the Midwest and in the East,” said Mike Lanciotti,president, REV Recreation Group. “Adams County is known for its loyal and diligent workforce, many with expertise in RV manufacturing; we look forward to more employees joining the Lance team.”

This expansion will create more than 100 jobs in Adams County with initial recruiting expected to begin in early April.  Preliminary startup is planned for July, with production ramp-up to follow for six to eight months.

Lance received support both from Adams County and the Indiana Economic Develop Corporation in the form of property tax abatements and incentive-based tax credits. Tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired.

As the RV Capital of the World, Indiana offers a business-friendly climate and skilled workforce for a variety of RV and camper manufacturers to increase production and meet rising demand of Hoosiers wanting to explore, said Ann Lathrop, executive vice president of global investments for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Were excited Lance Camper has chosen to expand operations in Indiana and look forward to supporting the companys continued growth.

Located just 20 miles south of Indiana’s second largest city, Fort Wayne, Lance will join one of REV’s other brands in Decatur, Fleetwood RV, makers of motor homes Bounder, Discovery, Southwind, Pace Arrow, and others.

The addition of Lance manufacturing trailer in the eastern half of the United States should be good news for dealers in this part of the country. Currently Lance’s manufacturing facility is in Lancaster, California, and shipping trailers to the east coast adds a good chunk of change to the cost. This should help ease some of those costs.

For more info on Lance Campers, visit their website at lancecamper.com.

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Encore RV hits the ground running with the RŎG 12RK

Having owned a teardrop trailer for a couple of years, I’ve got somewhat of a baseline to gauge others. I always thought mine was a well-built, solid unit that was put together well and one I felt confident in recommending to others. I found out this week I was quite naive on what a well-built, solid teardrop was. That’s because I met this.


The RŎG 12RK is the initial offering by Elkhart, Indiana based Encore RV. Encore RV founder, Rich Schnippel has over 20 years of experience in the motorsports/cargo trailer, RV, and marine industry.  Schnippel has worked for some of the top manufacturers in the industry including ATC (The Aluminum Trailer Company) and inTech Trailers/RV.  After parting ways with inTech in August of 2019 he waited out a non-compete and then formed Encore RV.

“This was an opportunity to create some incredible products,” Schnippel stated, “I’ve always been passionate about developing new products and building brands.”

The RŎG utilizes an all-aluminum frame construction that was designed, engineered, and built in-house at Encore RV.  The entire camper is 100% wood-free.  The floors, walls and ceiling utilize lightweight composite materials instead of the wood you will find in traditional campers.  This not only saves weight, it also will not rot, mildew, or promote the growth of mold that can occur in campers using wood-based materials. Simply put, this is a trailer that will last for generations.

Starting with the frame, Encore chose aluminum instead of steel to eliminate rust and corrosion as the unit ages. The frame chassis, walls and roof utilizes Encore’s exclusive Tri-Bond Construction. The components are first assembled together with an industrial adhesive, mechanically fastened and then welded, creating a bullet proof yet lightweight cage frame.

The RŎG features lightweight aluminum cabinets that are CNC laser cut, formed and then powder coated. I was very impressed with these in the galley. They had excellent fit and finish, opened and closed without a hint of struggle, and were quite spacious.

While we’re back there, let’s talk about the galley. It’s a very well thought-out design with everything you need to get your supper ready. The sink and range are the perfect size for this layout, which allows a nice center section between the two for excellent space for food prep.

Below the counter you have a microwave and handy bottle opener, and below the sink you find storage that stretches to the back wall, amongst the sink plumbing, which actually you won’t find taking up hardly any of that area like you’ll see on most RVs. Above the counter you’ll find two cubbies for more storage, which is centered around two stereo speakers, and a spice rack on the left wall. I like the little attention to detail back here with the addition of the rounded trapezoids integrated in the two cubbies and the spice rack. It gives you some handy spots to hang some hooks for your utensils when you’ve got your campsite set up, which allow you to maximize your counter space.

To the right of the sink, you’ll find a spacious 12 volt, 3.3 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer, which sits below a generously sized cabinet with a handy automatic interior light. Want a little shade and shelter from the elements while you’re back there? You can opt for the awning package, which includes a rear awning that measures 4′ 7″ wide X 6′ 7″ deep.


Moving to the living quarters, the interior of the RŎG exceeds expectations. With most teardrop style trailers, you have just a mattress to lay on. However, the RŎG features a 60″ X 80″ futon/mattress  with 8″ thick posture foam. You have the option of sitting on it as a futon during the day, and then fold it out at night for a true queen size bed.

The back interior wall features overhead storages that covers the full width of the interior, complemented with LED lighting as well as two LED reading lights, two corner shelves, and both 120 volt and USB outlets.

Opposite the back wall, the front interior wall displays a recessed TV cabinet with an aluminum wall backer. And for that TV, your power is ready for it with 120V receptacle, 12V receptacle, and HDMI & Cable Outlets. To the right of the TV you’ll find an AM/FM/bluetooth stereo with HDMI input to TV with two speakers below the TV cabinet. You may also notice between those two speakers a couple of vents. Those are for the 8,000 BTU LP furnace with wall mounted thermostat. A propane furnace in a teardrop style trailer is nearly unheard of, but that coupled with the RŎG‘s Radiant Barrier insulation make it a trailer you can camp in in nearly any climate.


To the left of the TV cabinet you’ll find a nice sized cabinet (more like a mini closet) as well as two cubbies above the TV. It’s also in the cabinet where you’ll find the power converter and breaker panel for the RŎG‘s 30 amp service.


Moving to the exterior, the RŎG features fiberglass exterior sidewalls and roof, which is one piece and seamless. On that roof, you’ll find a 12 volt power roof vent and an optional 11,500 BTU low profile air conditioner, which will be more than adequate to keep you cool on those hot days. Also optional is the Roof Rack System with four 74″ crossbars, allowing you to carry multiple items of varying size while traveling.

A cool feature you’ll find on all four corners of the RŎG are 12 volt power ports each with interior switches.

The options for connecting 12 volt devices is limitless with this feature, but I suspect additional lighting would be one of the most popular choices.

On the front right side, there’s ample exterior storage for tools and other camping hardware. And below that is a removable floor that houses the 12 volt battery…and room enough for two for extended off the grid camping. As an option, you can go for the 12 volt AGM deep cycle battery with 90 Amp hours.

A feature on the RŎG that will really open the eyes of boondockers is the 38 gallon fresh water tank. You read that right. 38 gallons! It sits above the frame near the rear of the trailer. The fill neck for it is on the left rear side with a city water connection next to it, so you’re covered for water either way. And to clean off, you’ve got a hand-held shower head with hose. The RŎG is also equipped with a 12 volt water pump to get the water from the fresh water tank to both the shower and the galley sink when not on a city water connection.

The RŎG sits on a 2500 lbs torsion axle with ST235/75R15 load range C all-terrain tires, including the spare and electric brakes. With those tires, that creates an impressive 13 3/4” ground clearance. Overall height of the RŎG varies from a maximum of 81 1/4” if you option in the roof rack system to a low of 74” if you don’t option in the A/C or roof rack.

Some other key specs include a dry weight of  1,985 lbs as optioned. That coupled with the 2500 lbs axle gives you around a 500 lbs cargo capacity. Overall length from hitch to tail is 15’, with a box length of  11’10”. Overall width (including fenders) is 7’11”, and box width is 6’ 3/4”, making it a comfortable “6-wide”.  Interior dimensions include a 4’ interior height, and floor length of 6’8”, which is also the length of the mattress when in bed configuration. Interior width comes out to 69 1/2”.

Some other features include:

  • 2″ Coupler
  • 2″ Receiver on Rear (Bike Rack Mount)
  • 4 Stabilizer Jacks
  • Front Hand Jack & Safety Chains
  • 20# LP Tank & Regulator
  • LP Quick Connect
  • 12V Solar Prep
  • Cable/Satellite Input & AM/FM Antenna

Optional features include:

  • 11,500 BTU Roof Mount Low Profilet A/C – Roof Rack Clears A/C
  • Roof Rack System w/Four 74″ Crossbars
  • Awning Package (Require Roof Rack)                                                                                      Curbside Awning 8′ 2″ Wide X 7′ 7″ Extension                                                                  Rear Awning 4′ 7″ Wide X 6′ 7″ Extension
  • 12V AGM Deep Cycle Battery 90 Amp Hour
  • Choice of Exterior Graphics Color – Red, Blue or Grey (No Cost)

There are plans to develop 7 RŎG models that will range in size from a very small, lightweight utilitarian camper up to larger floorplans offered in both a toy hauler and traditional camper configurations. When asked about other products that Encore RV will be developing, Schnippel explained, “We have already started the design process of our next two product lines and we’re pretty excited at what we will be developing.  So, to speak, we’re looking to break the mold on what’s already been done and bring some unique and exciting products to the marketplace!”

I’ve see a lot of trailers of all shapes and sizes in the nearly 11 years of doing this website, and I have to say the RŎG has left an impression on me of a trailer that’s tough as nails that will last not only your lifetime, but likely several generations. For those of you whose camping style meshes with what the RŎG has to offer, you’d be hard pressed to find one in this price point that offers this much. As for price point, this unit I looked over at Mount Comfort RV was fully loaded and checked in at time of inspection with an MSRP of $27,000. But when you compare other manufacturers and compare features, you’ll see the value.

For more info, check out the walk through video below by Encore’s Rich Schnippel, courtesy of  Mount Comfort RV, or visit the Encore RV website at https://encore-rv.com

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Little Guy adds to the Max lineup with the Micro Max

After several years in the making, Uniontown, Ohio based Xtreme Outdoors has announced the Little Guy Micro Max to its Max line of trailers. The Micro Max could be considered the runt of the Max litter, with big brothers Max and Mini Max previously introduced in 2017 and 2018, respectively. I first saw the prototype of the Micro Max at the manufacturers open house in Elkhart, Indiana back in September of 2019. As we know, the pandemic hit not long after that and turned the world, and RV industry, upside down. But with supply chains slowly starting to get back online, Xtreme Outdoors has raised the curtain on the Little Guy Micro Max, just in time for its public debut this week at the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa.

From a press release today:

The Micro Max is designed to fit in most residential garages, which is one of Little Guy’s most sought-after features. With a starting weight of just 1,785 lbs., the Micro Max makes Little Guy trailers accessible to a larger customer base than ever before.

Manufactured by Xtreme Outdoors in Somerset, Pennsylvania, the Micro Max features the same high quality materials, superior craftsmanship, and thoughtful details as the rest of the “Max” line.

“The lightweight, garageable Micro Max is great for customers with smaller vehicles that still want the luxury of an RV! We have packed in so many features that will make this a home away from home. Ample storage, large windows, and many residential features that make this the perfect get away trailer,” said Xtreme Outdoors Sales & Marketing Manager, Jessica Lovett.

“We have been perfecting the Micro Max for some time now. We have listened to our customers’ requests and are beyond excited for the official launch! Our team at Xtreme Outdoors has been crucial to the quality and craftsmanship of the Micro Max and we cannot wait to share it with the RV world,” said Xtreme Outdoors Director of Sales, Joe Kicos.

You can see the Micro Max soon at your Little Guy dealer, or if you’re heading to the Florida RV SuperShow this weekend in Tampa, it’ll be on display through Sunday, January 23. To find out more about the Micro Max or find a dealer near you, visit the Little Guy website at https://golittleguy.com/lg-micro/

photos courtesy Xtreme Outdoors

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Small Trailer Snapshot: The Jayco Jay Feather Micro 12SRK

At first glance, you may look at the Jayco Jay Feather Micro 12SRK and think it’s another boxy teardrop trailer…or as some refer to it as a “boxdrop”. But upon further inspection, it’s anything but typical.

Inside the 12SRK, instead of a typical wall to wall mattress, you’ll find a jack-knife sofa that converts to a bed with a comfortable 6’4” length. Having owned a traditional teardrop trailer in the past, you don’t always want to lay down when you climb inside to take shelter from a rainy day at the campground. And underneath that sofa, you have full access storage that’s accessible from inside as well as an exterior cargo door. Jayco has does an exceptional job with the 12SRK creating good interior storage. Aside from the storage under the sofa, you have a mini wardrobe just inside the door as well as overhead storage across the front wall, and to the side of the sofa a handy concealed nook for additional items. But wait there’s more! On the door side wall near the rear, there’s a shelf with two cubbies below. The back wall you’ll find a mounting bracket for the 32” 12 volt TV that you can swap between there or outside in the rear galley. The interior is ventilated with a power roof vent, and for additional cooling, you can go with the optional 8,000 BTU wall mounted air conditioner.




The rear galley gives you a nice area for food prep, which sits above the slide-out 17” Blackstone grill, which is standard along with a nice sized 12 volt cooler. An overhead shelf across the width gives you ample storage for food, and handy peg boards on both side walls gives you the ability to be creative with kitchenware to hang. And as we mentioned earlier, the back wall has a spot for the 32” 12 volt television.


The 12SRK is built with laminated sidewalls using Azdel composite, while sitting on 15” Goodyear off-road tires with self adjusting brakes. A generous 25 gallon fresh water tank is there for the handy outside spray port for washing off dishes, or even yourself!  Interested in camping in the 12SRK in cooler temps? Jayco has you covered with an enclosed and insulated underbelly. Options aside from the 8,000 BTU air conditioner include a Thule awning, accessory roof rack system, solar power package, and an upgraded 30 lbs propane tank for extended off-grid use.




The Jayco Jay Feather Micro 12SRK checks in with a base weight of 1585 lbs, 180 lbs dry hitch weight, 1210 lbs cargo carrying capacity, and 2795 lbs GVWR. From hitch to tail the 12SRK  measures 13’4” long, 7’9” tall, 6’8” wide, and with an interior height of 4’7”. Base MSRP starts out at $20,063. For more info on the Jayco Jay Feather Micro 12SRK or other floor plans in the Micro series, visit the Jayco website at Jayco Jay Feather Micro 

Special thanks to Josh Winters at Haylett RV for the tour and the pics! Interested in the 12SRK? Be sure to visit the fine folks at Haylett RV! https://www.haylettautoandrv.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And now a word from our sponsors…

It’s been a while since we’ve had advertisers on The Small Trailer Enthusiast, but I want to welcome back to the fold two previous advertisers, The Teardrop Shop and Lance Camper.


The Teardrop Shop has been on the scene for nearly 10 years and is an online, one stop shop for all your teardrop trailer needs. From awnings to covers and everything in between, they’ve got it. But they carry accessories not only for your small teardrop, but for also larger teardrops like the Little Guy Max, T@B 400, and r-pod.
The categories on The Teardrop Shop are endless. And I’m finding they have a lot of great products even if you don’t have a teardrop. Accessories for inside and outside your trailer, as well as clothing, decals, hitching and towing  accessories, solar, cooking needs…the list goes on. You can visit The Teardrop Shop by clicking on the thumbnail on the right column of any of our pages, or just click here and explore: The Teardrop Shop.

Lance Camper needs no introduction. Starting out as a truck camper manufacturer in 1965, Lance Camper has evolved into one of the most respected trailer manufacturers in the industry. It’s no secret if you’ve ever owned or toured a Lance truck camper or trailer that you won’t find a better built product, and their reputation for quality that has lasted for decades. With trailers ranging from 19’8” to 29’5” in length, they’ve got you covered for every stage of your camping life. You can explore the Lance Camper website by clicking on their thumbnail ad on the right side of any page, or by clicking here: Lance Camper

 

 

 

 

 

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KZ RV introduces the HATCH to the Escape lineup

Shipshewana, Indiana based KZ RV recently debuted three new floor plans to the Escape lineup with the HATCH. A cross between a small travel trailer and a toy hauler, the HATCH is geared to those who bring along their non-motorized toys to their camping adventures, such as bikes and kayaks, as well as an incredible amount of storage for just your everyday camping gear.
Looking at the mid-sized E17 HATCH, you’ll find the front two-thirds of the trailer is typical of what you’ll find in a small trailer in its 22’ hitch to tail length, with a front east-west queen bed, kitchen, bathroom, and a pantry.

It’s the back third where the HATCH shows its unique qualities that sets itself apart from other trailers of this size. It starts with its signature rear hatch, measuring an impressive 60” wide by 66” tall. The hatch opens vertically and is supported by two struts for ease of opening.

The rear dinette consists of two fold-away tables that can be stored underneath the dinette booth when the space is needed for hauling your gear or when converting the dinette to a second bed. Instead of using the tables as part of the bed, KZ uses three panels that lay between the two dinette booths, where you then just slide your cushions over to form your bed. When the bed panels aren’t needed, they’re conveniently housed on the side of the pantry.


The HATCH offers the new optional Off-Grid/Off-Road package for added off-grid capabilities. The package includes a 100 watt roof-mounted solar panel, 1,000 watt inverter with dedicated 110 volt outlets, solar controller, portable Bluetooth audio player and flashlight, tongue-mounted bike rack, griddle, solar on the side (for additional solar power), aluminum wheels with mud tires, extra ground clearance, electronically-controlled heated holding tanks and double entry steps.

Standards include an aerodynamic front profile with front windshield, Alum-a-Tough seamless roof with 12-year limited warranty, power awning with porch light, 2-burner cooktop, microwave, 8 CU FT 12V refrigerator, and 20K BTU furnace.

The HATCH comes in three floor plans, the E14, E17, and E20, with total lengths ranging from 15’3” to 23’8”, and dry weights ranging between 2825 lbs to 3510 lbs. All three offer an 8 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer, 6 gallon water heater, 20 gallon fresh water tank, and 30 gallon gray and black water tanks. As the HATCH is hitting the market in early 2021, I’m seeing prices in the upper teens to low $20,000’s, but your results may vary depending on dealer and location.

Here you’ll find a couple of informative videos from KZ RV featuring both the exterior and interior features of the E17 HATCH:

To learn more about the HATCH, visit the KZ website at https://www.kz-rv.com/products/escape-travel-trailers/

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Small Trailer Snapshot: The Aliner Scout Lite

There comes a time in the life of most tent campers when they start to think, “It’s time to get off the ground”. I’d venture to say some of you can raise your hand to the affirmative with that sentiment. While it’s uncommon for a tent camper to jump right from their $89 tent they got at the big box store into a $400,000 42’ diesel pusher, it’s not uncommon for them to jump into something that’s not that much larger than the tent they’re leaving behind. Some folks just like small spaces, whether it’s on the ground or on two wheels. One such trailer that fits that mould is the lightweight and light on the pocket Aliner Scout Lite.


Key Features: Opening or closing an Aliner can be achieved in less than a minute; Azdel thermoplastic composite interior wall and ceiling panels; Performax 500 premium marine grade flooring; City water hookup; Dinette that converts to a 40”x76” bed; 30”x76” bed; 14” aluminum wheels; 10″ electric brakes; Diamond plate stone guard; Solar port; 35 amp converter; 3000 lb axle; Optional front soft dormer; Optional Command A/C Heat Pump; Sink; Two skylights with night shades (Dormer option eliminates skylight with night shade).

Key Specs: At a dry weight of 1,180 lbs before options (which are few) and a total length of just 13’, the Aliner Scout Lite can be hauled by just about anything.

  • Box length: 10’
  • Total length: 13’
  • Width: 78”
  • Height closed: 57”
  • GVWR: 3,000 lbs
  • Tongue weight: 130 lbs
  • Cargo capacity: 1,320 lbs

Why I like it: The Aliner Scout Lite gives you a lot of the same features as a teardrop trailer does…with more. It gives you a lightweight trailer, but unlike a teardrop, it gives you the ability to stand up and move around. And unlike some high end teardrop trailers, it gives you a much more favorable price point, checking in at just over $10,000 depending on options.  Aliner the company has been building A-frame campers in their Mount Pleasant, PA factory for close to 40 years now, and have been the pioneer of this design.

I’ll be honest, this is not going to be a trailer for everyone. However, Aliner does make other A-frame campers that give you a stove, a refrigerator, more room, and even a wet bath in some. But knowing my readers like I do, I’m pretty sure there’s a large group of you that will be intrigued by this lightweight, low cost option to get you out of that tent at a reasonable price.
For more info on the Aliner Scout Lite, visit their website at https://aliner.com/campers/scout-lite/

Special thanks to Aliner dealer Mount Comfort RV for having me out to check out the Scout Lite and many other Aliner they have in stock.

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Small Trailer Snapshot: The r-pod 192

Recently while traveling from Indiana to South Dakota for vacation, I had an 1100 mile (each way) chance to observe on the highways what people were camping with. One thing stuck out: There are a lot of Forest River r-pods out there. Just on the trip out from home to our Custer, South Dakota base for the week, I encountered roughly 10 r-pods in that two-day trip. And it should come as no surprise, as the r-pod has been the number one selling small trailer under 20 feet for a few years now. I don’t know all my r-pod floorplans from the outside, but one of them I did see on Interstate 90 in South Dakota has been my favorite since it debuted last year, and that’s the RP-192.

Key Features: Laminlux Exterior Azdel Fiberglass; Full rear bathroom with ample linen closet; 60” x 80” Murphy bed; 6 cubic foot gas/electric refrigerator/freezer; 4 speed MaxxAir® Fan; 13.5K BTU air conditioner; Convection microwave oven; Central vacuum; Solar prep; Optional Solar Package (110W Panel, Digital Controller, 1000 Watt Inverter); 20,000 BTU furnace; USB Charging Ports

Key Specs: With a dry weight of 3,449 lbs and total length of 22’, the RP-192 isn’t going to be a small trailer for every tow vehicle. However, if you have a tow vehicle capable of towing 4500 lbs or higher, you should have no problems in that regard.

  • Hitch weight: 460 lbs
  • Cargo Carrying Capacity: 1411 lbs
  • Exterior height: 9’10”
  • Exterior width: 96”
  • Fresh water capacity: 30 gallons
  • Gray water capacity: 30 gallons
  • Black water capacity: 30 gallons
  • Awning size: 11’

Why I like it: When I first stepped into the RP-192 at last year’s RV open house in Elkhart, Indiana, it wowed me instantly. I’m big into having a lot of natural light in a trailer, and the RP-192 offers just that. A big part of that light is aided by the huge 65” x 24” dinette window, which stretches nearly the entire length of the dinette. And although it’s a small window, the addition of a window in the bathroom on the back wall of the trailer really ties in well with the natural light theme of the RP-192. In total, there are six windows, including the door. When you have the bed down in sleep mode, you benefit from a big front window. And speaking of the Murphy bed, it’s not your typical RV queen bed. It’s a full 60” x 80” standard queen.




Even without a Murphy bed, this is a popular floorplan used by many manufacturers, and the design team at r-pod have taken it a step further. Storage is ample as well, with full pass thru storage up front, two wardrobes (with backlighting) on either side of the bed, storage under the sofa, cabinets above the dinette with additional storage u see the dinette booths, a nice mirrored kitchen pantry, cabinets above and below the kitchen counter, and a big wardrobe with additional cabinets in the bathroom. So you get all of this kitchen storage and still get the benefit of the big 6 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer.

 


r-pod has been the king of the small trailer market for a while now, and I don’t see that letting up. In recent years they’ve been coming up with some new floorplans and adding twists to old floorplans. The RP-192 is no exception. If you’re looking for a well thought-out couple’s trailer with good storage and good room for two from a trailer with a solid reputation, you’ll want to add the r-pod RP-192 high on your list. 
 
For more info on the r-pod RP-192, visit their website at: https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/r-pod/RP-192/5158

Also, here’s a great walk-thru with PJ from one of our favorite small trailer dealers, Princess Craft RV

 

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Product Review: The Happy Camper pencil holder

So we’re on our fifth week of stay at home. Campgrounds across the country are closed. RV manufacturers have shut down, either voluntarily or via a state mandate. It’s the time of year where we’re supposed to be de-winterizing and pulling those tarps off for another season of camping. But we know life put the brakes on that for a while. Some of you have decided to make lemonade out of this big lemon we’ve been given and have been setting up your campsite in your driveways and backyards. The rest of us wait patiently for the all clear for our campgrounds and RV parks to open so we can salvage some semblance of camping season.

Last week a Facebook friend sent me a link to this cool little accessory she thought I should have. Once I saw it, I thought that it looks nice, but for $10, how good is it really? After getting mine today, I can say it’s REALLY good. The Happy Camper pencil holder from Rhode Island based Fred, a Pawtucket company that, as their website indicates, “is made up of a ragtag group of designers and product development specialists who are devoted to bringing amusing, intriguing and useful ideas to life.” One look through their website will prove the truth in that statement.

The Happy Camper pencil holder is made up of MDF (medium-density fiberboard) and it is VERY solid in its construction, as well as light weight. Once assembled (it takes about 3 minutes), you’ll have four compartments for your pens & pencils. But as you can see from my set-up, you can use it for anything small that you want to keep nicely contained. These make a really nice desk or kitchen accessory at home, or even to keep odds & ends in inside your trailer. And speaking of trailer, the design of the Happy Camper just screams of an early 1960’s Shasta Airflyte.

And if you have read my myriad of small trailer snapshot segments, you’ll know I can’t let an kind of trailer review get by without sharing specs. So here we go:

Length: 5 1/2” hitch to tail

Width: 3”

Height: 3”

Dry weight: 3.46 ounces

The Happy Camper can be found on the Fred website for $10 + shipping at https://www.genuinefred.com/5242680-happy-camper or also on Amazon. To learn more about Fred and shop their online store, go to genuinefred.com, or visit them on Facebook at facebook.com/GenuineFred.

 

 

 

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Aero Teardrops introduces canned ham prototype – the Sellwood

Ever since Tigard, Oregon based Aero Teardrops went into business just 5 years ago, their sole product has been, as their name would imply, teardrop trailers. But it was in 2018 when co-owners Brian Seeley and Janice Levenhagen-Seeley decided to go bigger and work on producing a traditional “canned ham” style trailer. As Janice told me recently, “We decided to try making a canned ham probably a year and a half ago, but it took us a while to finally get around to making the prototype. The Sellwood is a 13′ model, and we plan to create the Fremont, a 16′ model with a bathroom, in the nearish future. All of our models are named after Portland bridges, in case you were wondering. 🙂 We do a few RV shows every year, and at each we hear from a good number of people who love our teardrops but want to do more camping year-round than the teardrop style comfortably allows. We also looked at the options for that size and style of trailers at these shows and were unimpressed by the quality–they were all mass-produced. We knew we could make something that would provide both the quality we had in our teardrops and the more weatherproof camping that a fully contained trailer allowed for. And, last but not least, they were adorable and I had to have one. We love the tiny house movement, and the idea of creating a beautiful, functional, fully contained tiny house on wheels is a lot of fun.”
When I first saw the pictures of the Sellwood prototype, the first thing that really stuck out to me…or fooled me for a better word…is that I really thought it was a 1960’s era trailer. There’s a reason it was that original looking. As Janice tells us, “We loosely based this trailer on a 1965 Aljo that we had purchased and pulled apart to see 1. how it was built, 2. how it had failed (water damage, mainly), and 3. how we wanted to improve ours. Those windows are the ones we pulled from that trailer. Those and the bumper are actually the only things that we ended up reusing. We had originally planned to restore the Aljo but the water damage was just too extensive.” Another thing that caught my eye were the jalousie windows in the prototype. For me, that screams retro! But not so fast. While the Aljo did have jalousie style windows, which are used in the prototype, the production models will differ, and really for the better. Despite the cool factor of that style of window, they were prone to be a headache with so many moving parts and potential leak points. As Brian told me in an email, “The windows that we are planning to use in production models are the Dometic S5 dual pane windows with integrated honeycomb blinds.” This makes good sense, as it’s going to be a lot better window. And speaking of windows, the size of the window openings in the Sellwood create an incredible amount of natural light. Whether it’s around the front dinette or the rear couch, you likely won’t need to use any of the lights within the trailer until nightfall. The front dinette converts into a 35″ x 79″ twin bed, while the rear couch converts into a 50″ x 80″ double bed. You can also order as an option, a hammock bunk over the rear couch. But that’s not the only option, as Janice explains. “For the options, we’re starting out with just a few. I’m sure we’ll keep adding as people start requesting things! In addition to the hammock bunk and AC, they can also order a larger fridge, customizable upholstery, customizable curtains, an external propane hookup for barbecuing outside, solar panels, rear receiver for a bike rack, a drawer for a small porta-potty, and an exterior shower. For the external colors, there will be the standard 10 that we offer our teardrops in for no additional fee, but there’s also the option to do any color under the sun through either powder-coating or vinyl wrap. For the interior colors, they will be able to choose their countertop and flooring from a large variety. And of course, customers will name their trailers and get a custom name plate for each just like the teardrops (this one is named Alameda).” While the base Sellwood does not come with a wet bath, as Janice relayed, it will have a drawer for a small potty, to save from those night time runs to the comfort station at the campground. But what it does offer in lieu of a wet bath is an ample wardrobe just to the left of the entry door. However, there will be an option for a wet bath, which will alter the interior on the sides somewhat. The wet bath will be opposite of the entry door, and the kitchen will be broken up on both sides. But with the base Sellwood model, the kitchen is quite useful, complete with oven, stove, sink with on demand hot water, a mini fridge, and ample counter space for this size of a trailer. With the wet bath option, you lose the oven, but gain a microwave. One suggestion I’d have on the base model is to ditch the oven and go with a microwave or perhaps a convection oven, which we see more and more of in the small trailer segment. As for construction and dimensions, the Sellwood features:

Fully welded frame

Black powder coat on frame

2000 lb Timbren axle-less system w/ brake flanges

Fully insulated Aluminum siding, choice of silver or of 9 standard accent colors with silver

Rubber roof

Specs:

Dry Weight – 2500lbs

Tongue Weight – 400lbs

Trailer Body Length – 13 feet

Trailer Body Height – 6 feet, 9 inches

Trailer Body Width – 7.5 feet (90 inches)

Internal Height – 6’7″

Overall Length – 17 feet

Overall Height – 8 feet, 5 inches (including fan)

Overall Width – 7.5 feet (90 inches)

MSRP will start at $24,999.

At the time I’m writing this, Aero Teardrops will have a display at the Portland International Auto Show, February 20-23, 2020 at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, Oregon. They will have a couple of teardrops as well as the prototype of the Sellwood on hand if you’re in the northwest region of the US. Show info can be found here: https://portlandautoshow.com For more info on the Sellwood or any of the teardrops Aero Teardrops offers, visit their website at http://aeroteardrops.com.      

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