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Manufacturer’s Update: Teal Camper

Not long after I started this blog, I came across Larry Drake, who was in the early stages of developing the Teal Camper, a modular camper that sits on basic utility trailer. When I first wrote about Teal Camper in November 2011, this site was just 2 months old and getting maybe 20 or 30 visits a day. In just under two years, Larry’s development has grown into full fledged production, and this site has grown to over 500 visits a day. So with that, our respective ventures have somewhat grown together.

Easy camping

As Larry tells it, “The Teal Tail Feather camper has come a long way since your first article.  It is far more refined, from its trimmed out insulated automotive headliner, to the powder coated aluminum bench and cabinet frames.  We now have LED lighting as standard.  The counters feature a collapsible sink and HDPE cutting board counter tops.  The rigid door frame is now a one piece welded aluminum frame, also powder coated.  There are lots of options to choose from starting from a basic  shell to a fully outfitted camper configured in a variety of ways.  You can virtually customize it the way you want it.”

The leadership structure has also increased at Teal Camper. “Mike Eaton, our new Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing, officially joined the team as of July 1, 2013.  Mike has been a long time supporter and consultant for us.  He has extensive experience in business and program management.  He teaches business classes all over the world to a number of Fortune 500 companies in partnership with the Stanford Center for Professional Development.  We are very pleased to have him on board.”

The distribution of the Tail Feather is expanding as well. “Although we only began production after the first of the year, we have shipped campers across the country and halfway around the world.  We are currently in a transition from our limited production in the R&D shop to a full production facility. Currently, delivery times are running about 45 days.”

We’ll continue to keep in touch with Larry and the progress of the Tail Feather and let you know of any new developments. For more information and pricing on the Tail Feather, check out the updated Teal Camper website at: http://tealcamper.com


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Teal Camper launches online store

Loveland, Colorado based Teal International has launched an online store for its upstart Teal Camper, now given the name “Tail Feather”. When we first introduced you to the Teal Camper concept in November 2011, the prototypes featured a pop-up top surrounding its polyethylene panels.

 However, the production models will feature a molded dome roof  made out of ABS with roof vents. According to Teal, the dome roof is more advantageous to the pop-up roof becasuse it’s easier to handle, less complicated to set up, and is better insulated.

Assembly or disassembly of the Tail Feather takes just over an hour and can be done by one person.

The Tail Feather comes in three sizes, 4’x8′, 5’x8′, or 5’x10′, and does NOT include the trailer, just the shell and other components.

Nicely equipped, prices can be expected to be in the $7,000-$8,000 range, depending on size and options you choose. Teal’s new online store is now open and ready for business. If you order before December 1, 2012, Teal will waive shipping fees. Shipping is  expected to take 60-90 days from the date of each order.



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Manufacturers Updates

A few news nuggets from a few manufacturers:

–According to Director of New Business Development for Little Guy Worldwide, Dylan DeHoff, the much anticipated T@B “Clamshell” model should be in production before the end of 2012.  The Clamshell will be at the 2012 RVIA dealers show in Louisville, KY in November.

–Another trailer scheduled for a come-back, the Hi-Lo, has been slowed. According to Hi-Lo’s Bill Kerola, “Progress has been much much slower then I anticipated.” If plans stay on course, prototypes should be out sometime in the first quarter of 2013.

Livin Lite’s Scott Tuttle tells us the Camp Lite side of things is expanding on their longest model (16′) with a new 21′ model with slide outs. The slides can be in the form of a U-shaped dinette or a sofa bed. The extra 5′ in length creates larger kitchen areas and bathrooms in the Camp Lite fleet. The new 21 footers will weigh in around 3200 lbs.

–Larry Drake’s Teal Camper concept appears to ready for take-off. He has teamed with Rocky Mountain Innosphere to formulate a plan that will see producton of his modular camper design by the end of this year. Larry tells us, “It is an exciting time and all involved have seen a real acceptance for the Teal Camper concept.   We are anxious to finally get production units to the hundreds of individuals who have expressed a desire to own one.” The production model will also introduce some yet-to-be released improvements. The Teal Camper website will also be updated with an online store within the next 60 days.

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Teal Camper jumps the Shark (Tank)

After an article about the Teal Camper appeared on the gizmag.com web site in May, things have been jumping on the Teal website. Once other blogs and websites picked up on the gizmag.com story, Teal’s website went from an average of 100 visitors a day to over 4,000, introducing a lot of new people to Larry Drake’s innovative modular camper, which we introduced to many of you last November.

(image courtesy Teal Camper)

Several of the readers contacted Drake, encouraging him to submit an application to the ABC reality show “Shark Tank”, in an effort to take Teal to the next level. “Shark Tank” is a reality show where budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and products to a panel of millionaire investors in the hopes one of them will “bite” and invest in the contestant’s venture.

Drake thought about it, but since he figured his chances were slim, he gave up on the idea. That is, until a producer at “Shark Tank” contacted him after reading about Teal from the gizmag.com story. Upon agreeing to review the requirements, Drake determined they were more interested in a reality show and less interested in helping entrepreneurs.

“What showed up in my in-basket was a contract a mile long that was obviously drawn up by legal sharks who had far more interest in furthering ABC’s interests than protecting the entrepreneur.” He goes on to say, “After a couple of phone conversations with the producers, I was convinced that Shark Tank is all about “good” television and not necessarily entrepreneur opportunity.  Reality TV, it is not what it appears to be.”

Drake will now forge ahead with Teal Camper without the aid of reality TV. “With all the interest that has been generated, multiple opportunities have surfaced.  We are exploring a host of options regarding both the US and international market.  Finding the right fit for the best chance of success is a challenge.”

Drake hopes to finalize the direction of Teal in the coming months.



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Teal Camper Seeking Partners

In a letter sent to supporters of the upstart Teal Camper, Teal International President Larry Drake is asking for financial partners to help move the concept forward. Due mainly to a tight manufacturing environment where manufacturers are unwilling to invest in small, start-up businesses, Drake finds his vision of a modular travel trailer at a crossroads and a shaky future.

“They have scaled back and limited their production to high end, high volume, proven products. This, combined with attempting to start up a new company on a small budget, has not only put the project behind schedule, but has created a financial crunch as well.”

Although the future of the Teal Camper is uncertain, interest from the public remains strong.

 “It has been a hard road with many road blocks, although there has never been a lack of interest.  In fact, we have well over five hundred people who would like to be camping in a Teal Camper if it were available, and hundreds more who visit our website weekly.”

Regardless, for the project to survive, Drake needs more investors and visionaries to move the project forward.

“The Teal Camper and Teal Shelter project needs someone, or a group, who can take it to the next level, both financially and strategically. If you, or anyone you know, have an interest and the means to launch this unique patented product, please contact me for more information.”

If interested, you can contact Drake via e-mail at ldrake@tealinternational.com.



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A Look at the Innovative Teal Camper

At first look at the Colorado based Teal Camper, you might mistake it for a fiberglass unit built in the early 1970’s. Upon further inspection, you’ll find it’s not only brand new, but also is quite innovative in design. Made of molded polyethylene that are injected with insulating foam, the Teal Camper uses multiple panels that are interlocked together and mounted on a typical utility trailer.

The design is the creation of Larry Drake of Loveland, Colorado. The idea of the Teal Camper came to him one day in 2009 when he  looked at his 4′ X 8′ utility trailer and thought how it would be nice to have a camper he could slip on & off and still be able to use the trailer as a utility trailer. Combined with the weight of the utility trailer, the Teal Camper checks in at under 1,000 lbs, making it towable by many 4 cylinder vehicles.

What makes the Teal Camper even more versatile is that it will also fit in the bed of a pick-up truck, making it a traditional truck camper.

Options are aplenty. The basic unit comes bare, but you can add “modules” for cabinets, bed, dinette, and kitchen. Also standard is a pop-top roof that expands to give an interior headroom of 6’2″. Also optional are fixed or operable plexiglass windows.

Prices vary depending on options chosen and size of the unit, but expect to pay between $5,000-$6,000 , and that’s only for the camper. You’ll have to provide your own utility trailer, which can be had at most farm equipment stores for $1,000 or less, as well as the floor. Teal Camper offers units that will fit a 4′ X 8′, 5′ X 8′, or 5′ X 10′ utility trailer.

Assembly of the Teal Camper takes just over an hour and can be done with a simple screwdriver. Once assembled, the entire unit is secured with a heavy duty cargo strap around the belt line of the camper.

Given the fact production is scheduled to begin in January 2012, the book on this unique travel trailer has yet to be written. It will be worth watching the progress they make and how they deal with the growing pains that are sure to come, and to an extent the pains they’ve already been dealing with. But more important is the question of public acceptance to what will undoubtedly be something they’ve never seen.

Images courtesy Teal Camper


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