Tag Archives: travel trailer

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.

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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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Safari Condo introduces fixed roof model for the Alto

Canadian RV manufacturer Safari Condo has added a fixed roof version of their Alto travel trailer to their line-up. The Alto initially hit the Canadian RV scene around 2009 with the unique teardrop shaped travel trailer with an electric retractable roof.

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But new for 2013 is a fixed roof option (Model F1743), which checks in at 17 feet long and a dry weight of 1600 lbs. The light weight of the Alto can be attributed to the aluminum frame, floors, and the Alufiber skin. It also boasts an enclosed shower/toilet combo. “To our knowledge the F1743 is probably the lightest 17ft trailer with a real bathroom”, says Daniel Nadeau, president of Safari Condo.

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Says Nadeau, “The F1743 has a very big curved panoramic window that you could open. All the windows are acrylic European style full opening with built in combination blind/screen system.”

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 While the F1743 will have a price tag between $25,000-$29,000 (Canadian $$) nicely equipped, it’s still about $5,000 cheaper and over 100lbs lighter than the retractable roof models, while also offering nearly 30 cubic feet more storage space.

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I’ve been aware of the Safari Condo line for a few years now, but have never really paid much attention to them until recently. Still, I’ve never seen one in person and can’t attest to any build quality. However, if the old saying “you get what you pay for” still holds true, it should be a well-built unit. However, common sense should prevail if considering a purchase of one, and I’d suggest inspecting one first hand before committing. All the Alto models are available to United States buyers through Safari Condo.

You can find out more about all the Safari Condo Alto models at their website at: http://www.safaricondo.com

(images courtesy Safari Condo)

 

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Gulf Stream changes Visa travel trailer name

Between 1964 and 1977, there weren’t many station wagons on the market that exceeded the memorable styling of the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser. It had a look that just screamed family vacations.

While there may not be a lot of these classic Oldsmobiles taking a car load of kids on summer vacations these days, Gulf Stream has made a change to one of their lines of travel trailers that will let you get into your own Vista Cruiser. Starting in 2013, Gulf Stream has revamped the Visa travel trailer and along with it gave it a new name: The Vista Cruiser.

According to Tim Dennig, national sales manager of Gulf Stream’s ultra lite division, the name change from Visa to Vista Cruiser came about due to several changes made to the Visa. “The primary reason we have changed the name is that we have made so many changes to the product in the last ten months that we felt the product deserved to have a brand new start and that a new name was warranted.”

Included among  the more than 25 changes are  new graphics, increased exterior storage space, a radial tire option, an electric tongue jack option, a rear bumper-mounted grill option, larger axles on the 17′ and 19′ floor plans, and a larger exterior storage door.

Says Dennig, “We have really designed a brand new product that is worthy of a new introduction to the RV community.”

I’ve been a fan of the styling of the Visa since its debut a few years ago. As someone fond of all things classic & retro, it’s refreshing to see a manufacturer utilizing an iconic name from the old days of leisure travel. You can check out more on the Vista Cruiser, including floor plans and specs, at the Gulf Stream web site at: http://gulfstreamrvtrailers.com/visa/overview

 

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NHTSA issues recall on certain Starcraft AR-ONE units

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has listed the Starcraft AR-ONE on their recent recall list.

The recall is in relation to an inaccurate load carrying capacity label. The recall covers up to 76 units in model years 2012 & 2013.  According to the NHSTA, “An inaccurate label may lead to the tire being replaced with one of an incorrect rim diameter. Two different diameter tires would reduce the handling ability of the trailer, increasing the risk of a crash.”

Starcraft will be notifying affected owners this month and will provide the correct label. Owners can contact Starcraft RV at 1-800-945-4787 to see if your unit is affected.

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The 1st anniversary of The Small Trailer Enthusiast

While September 7 marks the anniversary of the first post of The Small Trailer Enthusiast (“The STE”), September 3 marked the first anniversary of the creation of the site. Since I was on the road on the 3rd finishing a Labor Day weekend road trip circling Lake Michigan, I wasn’t able to post this. I still want to take this time to give my thanks to all of you who take the time to read the ramblings of an RVer like you.

As I look through the stats of the site every few days, I see a wide range of search terms from people from all over the world. That first month saw minimal traffic of around 15 visitors per day. A year’s worth of content feeding into Google, Bing, and other search engines has helped grow our traffic to just under 500 visitors per day. Much of the search content is on specific models we’ve highlighted, but there is also a lot of searching for just information on small trailers. That’s the reason the idea of this blog came to me in the summer of 2011: To create a clearinghouse of stories and resources to help other devotees of small trailers find the trailer of their dreams. And from what I have seen, this is the only game in town.

As much as I get a charge out of getting a scoop that none of the big RV media outlets have done, I get as much satisfaction in the e-mails I get from the readers. I’ve found through their e-mails that there are more out there like me…people who just love reading about small trailers. The readers have also been a great resource by telling me about a particular brand of trailer that I should put up on the Manufacturers page, or those who are having trouble deciding what to buy and are searching for advice.

A few other highlights over the past year have included being featured on other blogs, being mentioned on manufacturers’ web sites, getting our first site sponsor, and getting access to the RVIA trade show in Louisville.

There have been individuals in the RV industry who’ve helped provide me with the content that ends up as blog posts. There are too many to name and surely I’d leave someone out, but you all know who you are. And the admiration I get from readers for how the site is set up, well, credit for that can go to someone not involved in the RV industry. As I’ve mentioned before, this site was modeled after Ron Warnick’s Route 66 News, the premier news site pertaining to America’s favorite highway. The STE, like Route 66 News, is not only a site for news stories, but also a resource center, whether you’re looking for manufacturers, online forums, or other info pertaining to small trailers or camping.

While I try to stay impartial regarding trailer brands, I will confess that I give special attention to the small companies trying to make their mark in a highly competitive and volatile industry. I really want to see guys like Dan Sutton, Larry Drake, and Ted Simpson do well, and if I can use The STE as a platform to get their message out about their unique offerings, that’s what I’ll do.

It’s my hope that all manufacturers, big and small, do well and have many years of production. Some may be discussed in blog posts, or others may just appear as a link in the Manufacturers page. Regardless of who they are, they’re on here for the readers to find and determine if that’s the trailer that fits their needs.  That’s the core mission of  The Small Trailer Enthusiast.

As always, thanks for reading…

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Scamp display draws huge crowds at Minnesota State Fair

Backus, Minnesota based Scamp travel trailers is in the midst of its annual participation at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, MN. Scamp’s presence in their home state’s fair has been a constant for several years. This year, the foot traffic in their display has been heavy, according to Scamp’s Micah Eveland. “At the quietest times the lowest number of people looking at our trailers has been about 10. At the busiest times there are so many people swarming the trailers that I cannot even see the furthest trailer away from my table!”

That foot traffic creates somewhat of an expense for Scamp, but in a good way, says Eveland.  “We have so much traffic throughout the fair that we actually have to replace the carpet in the trailers! It gets matted down and looks like the carpet is about 30 years old!” It all points to the 41 year old family owned company’s prominent stake in the fiberglass travel trailer market.

Scamp will have their display open daily at the fair through closing day, Monday, September 3. At the fair, they’re located on Underwood Street between Wright and Randall Avenues.

 

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2013 Serro Scotty Sportsman prototype….Part 2

Here’s a little walk-through video (without audio commentary) of the 2013 Serro Scotty Sportsman I had taken at the Big Little Rally earlier in August. I forgot I had taken this with my iPhone, so I put it up to give you an overall feel of the unit. Expect to see some changes with the next prototypes, as Bill Kerola had a lengthy punch list on this one.

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Sneak peek: The 2013 Serro Scotty Sportsman prototype

Recently Serro Scotty Worldwide introduced the 2013 Serro Scotty Sportsman prototype at various rallies. I had a chance to see it recently at the Big Little Rally in Transfer, PA, and many of you will see it for the first time here.

 

Serro Scotty president Bill Kerola told me over the weekend there are a lot of things that will need to be tweaked with the next prototype. However, there’s no doubt the Sportsman has received an extreme makeover from the previous model that existed from the 2008-2010 model years.

Some savvy Scotty devotees might notice at first glance it’s similar in styling to that of the now defunct Serro Scotty Pup, which lasted from 2009-2011. While the Pup (pictured below in the foreground) was smaller than the ’13 Sportsman, the design resembles that of the Pup more than that of the previous Sportsman.

While the Serro Scotty website currently does not have any info on the ’13 Sportsman, one spec that I can share is it weighs in at an impressive 1700 lbs. Impressive in that it’s very lightweight for its size. The previous Sportsman checked in at a base weight of 2100 lbs. Kerola tells me there are many composites in the ’13 Sportsman. So many composites that it could probably pass as a “green” RV.  Another attention-grabber is the skylight that stretches over the back of the trailer, above the gaucho sofa. Currently the prototype’s floorplan consist of a toilet and fridge in the front. However, another floorplan is being developed that will feature a dinette in the front and bed in the rear. I was impressed with the headroom as well. I’m a tick over 5’10”, and I’d guesstimate the headroom in the ’13 Sportsman to be around the 6’3″ range.

Kerola tells me he’ll be sending out a press release in the next couple of months, so we should know more about this as well as what the production of the popular HiLander is looking like. The Sportsman is being produced by a group of former Coleman pop-up trailer employees in Somerset, PA.

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Winnebago Reintroduces the Minnie

Dating back to the early 1970’s, the Winnebago Minnie Class C motorhome traversed America’s highways, bound for camping destinations near & far. It was a basic, minimal frills motorhome that lasted until the 2006 model year.

Winnebago Industries has dusted off the name, but this time it’s on one of their new towables. The Minnie travel trailer offers floor plans ranging from 19-26 feet in length, all but one having a slide out. The colors offered are white, bright lemon, and lime fiberglass exterior. These appear to be sister trailers to Winnebago’s SunnyBrook Harmony division, as the styling and floorplans are nearly identical, with the exception of the Minnie’s bold color schemes.

Currently the Winnebago website has not been updated to include the Minnie. However, RV Business reports the MSRP of the Minnie to be just under $16,000 for the entry level model. There are a few popping up for sale on rvtrader.com as well.

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Forest River hosts 1st annual FROG Rally August 13-17

Time is running out to partake in the 1st Annual FROG International Rally at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana, August 13-17, 2012. FROG is the Forest River Owners’ Group, comprised of Forest River as well as owners of Forest River RVs.

Camping fees for four nights for the rally covers factory tours with visits from factory staff, three dinners and four breakfasts, entertainment, and games for the kids. Fees for the event are $295 for two, $220 for one, with children 12 & over $75. Kids under 12 are free. Optional tours (at an additional cost) include visits to northern Indiana’s Amish country, the RV Hall of Fame, a visit to the Notre Dame campus, and much more.

Deadline for registration is July 15 (sorry for the late notice!), but they may grant you admission if you contact them after the deadline. Complete details of the rally as well as registration info can be found on the FROG website.

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