How To Buy The Right RV For YOU

There are but two ways to tour the country by vehicle: Convertible and take as few of your possessions as possible or an RV and take all the comforts of home with you.

Canyon Gateway RV Park, Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pop-up camper and fifth wheel trailer camped at Canyon Gateway RV Park, Williams, Arizona, a full-service campground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here’s how to do the latter without breaking the bank or breaking your mind.

There is nothing particularly obvious about choosing an RV. It all comes down to personal choice.

And it’s not reasonable to expect that everyone will have a chance to drive every kind of RV before they rent or purchase one. I’ve driven a pop-up trailer, truck camper, fifth wheel trailers, a Class A gas motorhome, and a diesel pusher of varying lengths, but I’d never driven a Class B or Class C motorhome.

Purchasing an RV is a personal choice not unlike buying a new car or house, computer or smart phone, furniture or household appliances.

You cannot simply decide to buy an RV and buy it—at once. There are numerous things that should be kept in mind before you’re prepared to make that crucial decision.

When buying an RV that suits your requirements, you need to consider type of RV, new or preowned, size, ease of driving, type of camping, cost, manufacturer, dealer, and much more.

There is such an amazing variety of models and floor plans to choose from that it can leave the mind boggling.

North Llano River RV Park, Junction, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Class A gas motorhome camping at North Llano River RV Park, Junction, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Very often people buy the wrong RV, only to be disappointed and trade it in or resell it less than a year later only to lose thousands of dollars in the transaction.

Buying an RV can be a frustrating experience—it can be intimidating and confusing. Since there’s a myriad of new and preowned RVs available for purchase, it can be confusing trying to decide which one is best for you and your family and it’s not easy to know where to begin.

If you’re buying an RV for the first time, you can quickly get lost in the details—there are lots of them. There’s a considerable amount of information competing for your attention—along with some misinformation.

Buying an RV usually requires some trade-offs.

I’m not going to discuss all the different features and options on various types of RVs or tell you which models are best (something that is really quite personal and which changes over time); however, there are a few questions and factors to keep in mind when selecting the best RV for you and your family.

The right RV comes down to personal preference.

My purpose then, is to provide you with a basic framework to use in deciding which RV to buy.

Scamp travel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Scamp travel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are a few factors that I encourage you to keep in mind when buying your RV. I’ll provide my advice on purchasing an RV which comes from my personal experience of buying numerous types of RVs and various models.

Here are a few questions that’ll help you narrow down what to buy.

What type of camping or RV travel will I do? Weekends at the lake? Summer vacation? Months at a time? Snowbird? Full time RVing?

What type of RV should I get? Pop-up trailer? Truck camper? Travel trailer? Fifth wheel trailer? Motorhome? The classing system for motorhomes starts with Class B as the smallest, Class A as the largest, and Class C in between. Gas or diesel?

Towing? Whether you’ll be towing your trailer or towing another vehicle behind your motorhome, make sure you have the right vehicle and appropriate towing hitch. Be aware of and check GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and CVWR (Combined Vehicle Weight Rating).

Where will I camp most of the time? Full service RV parks? Campgrounds with minimal services? National, state, or county parks? BLM? Off grid? Wilderness camping?

How much cooking will I do? Large kitchen with appliances, plenty of counter space, and food storage areas?

Class B motorhome at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona/Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Class C motorhome at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona/Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Related costs? Fuel? Maintenance and service? License fees? Insurance? Storage?

Financing? If you’re like most RVers, you’ll need to finance at least part of your purchase. Check with your bank or lending institution to determine your credit limit and interest rate prior to shopping for the RV of your dreams.

How much storage space will I require? How many people do you need to pack for? Consider the amount of food and clothes you will want to take—plus all the toys, games and sports equipment?

With any RV, there are bound to be some compromises. The important thing is to avoid surprises. As long as you keep your expectations in line with reality, you can still have a ton of fun and freedom in your new RV.

Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Class A diesel pusher and toad camping at Cajun Palms RV Resort, Henderson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…
Safe travels and keep your wheels on the road.

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The Appeal of Pop-Up Trailers

Pop-up trailers are a blend of RV and tent, combining the best of both types. They give you the comfort and security of a travel trailer and the openness of a tent.

Viking Epic Pop-Up Trailers
Viking Epic Pop-Up Trailers Consumers Digest Best Buy

Pop-up trailers, which are also known as pop-up campers, folding tent trailers, and folding campers are lightweight trailers with collapsible (usually canvas material) sides that fold for aerodynamic towing by a motorized vehicle. When set up, they provide cooking, dining, and sleeping facilities for up to eight people.

Pop-up trailers are an affordable way for the budget buyer to get into RVing, a viable first step of RV ownership.

They are lightweight and make a lot of sense to campers especially young families and those looking at upgrading from tent camping to an RV.

Added to the fact purchase prices are much lower than a conventional RV, they provide a wonderful camping choice.

The RV Industry Association (RVIA) is forecasting the industry will ship 10,900 pop-up units to retailers this year and will remain unchanged in 2015.

TrailManor SilverTrail Edition
TrailManor SilverTrail Edition

Although the market for pop-ups has been eroded somewhat following the recession, there are still new pop-up trailers coming out that will continue to attract new customers who have decided that tent camping just isn’t fun anymore. And today’s pop-ups have some definite advantages over their predecessors.

They’re definitely not your dad’s pop-up. Early pop-up trailers were bland—not much more than a wheeled box with a bed and table. They have become a lot easier to set up and take down. Today’s pop-up trailers are much more automated with more power lifts that reduce setup and take down time. When you add to that the incredible number of new features—everything from updated floor plans and fabrics to extra storage and power points, their appeal has been broadened.

SylvanSport GO
Lightweight and easy to manage, the SylvanSport GO can be pulled by even the smallest of cars.

Today, they are much improved and offer more appeal. There are even off-road models with dirt tires and a deck on which to carry an ATV.

Setting up a pop-up trailer is relatively simple and should take about 20 minutes.

Park your pop-up in a level spot. Secure the wheels with a tire locking chock. Raise the trailer tongue high enough to disconnect the tow vehicle. Pull the tow vehicle away and level the trailer.

Release the roof latches, and raise the roof using the crank handle or winch extending the telescoping poles on each corner of the box.

Next, bunks at the front and the back of the trailer are pulled out by hand. Then, the tent material (which is fastened to the box and to the roof) is unfurled, pulled over the ends of the bunks, and attached. Interior support poles for the bunk and the entry door are then installed.

Depending on the configuration and included equipment, several additional set up steps may be required. These steps include hooking up to utilities (electricity, water, sewer), reassembling the dinette, unfolding the sink, turning on systems (water pump, water heater, etc.), making beds and unpacking belongings.

Earlier articles on Vogel Talks RVing have featured several brands of pop-up trailers, each boasting unique features.

Bunkhouse Pop-up trailer
Bushtec Products’ Bunkhouse Pop-up trailers has introduced a new pop-up travel trailer.

The Bunkhouse Camper manufactured by Jacksboro, Tennessee-based Bushtec Products features pop-ups weighing less than 300 pounds that are popular with motorcycle riders.

The TrailManor is a low-profile hard wall trailer that opens and closes with the touch of a remote control. TrailManor’s “tow low/live high” concept appeals to campers desiring comfort and luxury beyond that offered by the typical pop-up trailer.

The Viking Epic Series of pop-up trailers offers eight floor plans in the $9,615-$13,401 price range. Manufactured by Coachmen RV, a division of Forest River Inc., the Viking Epic Series was named a 2014 Consumers Digest Best Buy in the “midrange” category.

Billed as “Mobile Adventure Gear” rather than a trailer, the SylvanSport Go is an 800-pound pop-up trailer that can carry extra outdoor equipment such as canoes and trailers and can be towed by a small car.

Worth Pondering…

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.

—James Dean (1931-1955)

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The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer

Despite what Matthew McConaughey might have you believe, Airstream trailers are not the only cool campers out there. No, there are others.

The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer
The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer

In an earlier post on Vogel Talks RVing, I introduced the adorably minimalist Cricket Trailer.

Designed and built by Garrett Finney, an ex-NASA architect, the part tent, part RV Cricket Trailer is out-of-this-world cool.

Combining his small-space expertise and backpacking background, Finney designed the Cricket Trailer, a small, self-contained pop-up trailer. It’s his response to today’s house-on-wheels bigger-is-better RV cul­ture.

The Cricket is a kind of hybrid tent and trailer, made of aluminum, wood and steel, with a pop-up style roof—not a house on wheels but a portable adventure living space.

The name Cricket was inspired by an early design sketch, in which the lifts on the pop-up looked like the legs of the insect.

Many of the people who are buying Cricket trailers have never owned a camping trailer before. In describing the company’s philosophy, Finney harkened back to the old 7-Up ads from the 1970s.

The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer
The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer

It packs most everything you’ll need for a week or longer on the road, and despite its small size does not skimp on function.

It’s light. The Cricket Trailer weighs only 1,460 pounds unloaded, yet packs on board fresh water and grey water tanks, an energy-efficient lightweight electric water heater, electrical shore power connection, exterior shower system, a recessed sink with folding cover, energy efficient-water pump, and optional energy efficient refrigerator. All the comforts of home, only smaller and roadworthy.

And there’s ample storage. Lift up a seating cushion to reveal substantial gear stowage space. Under-bed and under-kitchen counter storage adds to available space for your stuff. The roof mounting points were designed to accept a number of modern car top cargo systems.

It also strikes an interesting chord between full-blown trailer and utilitarian pop-up. The walls are rigid from floor to ceiling, and with a simple pop, the roof extends a few feet revealing mesh windows and allowing air circulation.

Underneath, the Cricket Trailer totes a rugged torsion beam suspension and features a foot of ground clearance (an extra two and a half inches with the Sport Edition), built to military spec stress testing standards.

The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer
The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer

The Cricket Trailer is now available in two models: Standard Cricket and Sport Edition.

Features and specifications common to both models include a queen size bed, interior standing height of 6 feet 4 inches, water heater, indoor sink, external shower, and high output LED interior lights.

Optional trailer fixtures include 5,000 BTU air conditioner ($560), tongue box ($315), roof rack bars ($300), kid’s berth ($280), portable toilet ($140), top loading fridge ($1,000), 80 watt solar electric pack ($700), second battery ($240), road safety kit including mounted spare tire ($375), great outdoor kit including awning ($375), and kitchen furnishings including coffee and portable stove ($280).

The Standard Cricket complete with v-berth lounge, water heater, and exterior shower
package starts at $21,700 MSRP.

The Sport Edition complete with exclusive silver panels, higher ground clearance, rugged build, road safety kit, and roof rack standard starts at $24,290 MSRP.

Although the Cricket is earth­bound, the results are out-of-this-world cool.

The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer
The Out-Of-This-World Cool Cricket Trailer

Details

Cricket Trailer

Cricket is a lightweight pop-up trailer, a covered wagon for the New Frontier.

Cricket is a base camp for outdoor fun. Lightweight and athletic, cricket is towable by many four-cylinder engines.

With sleeping room for two adults and up to two children, cricket’s NASA-inspired design and integrated plumbing and electrical systems enable days off the grid.

Three-dimensional storage allows cargo for a long weekend or a longer journey. Built from sensible materials, cricket is affordable, aerodynamic, and rugged enough for dirt roads and gravel tracks.

Address: 6261 Richman Avenue, Unit F, Houston, Texas 77057

Phone: (713) 861-2540

Website: www.crickettrailer.com

Worth Pondering…

Find what brings you joy and go there.

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SylvanSport Introduces GO Easy Gear Trailer

Brevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport introduces the new ultra-lightweight GO Easy Adventure Utility Trailer.

SylvanSport Introduces GO Easy Gear Trailer
SylvanSport Introduces GO Easy Gear Trailer

For outdoor enthusiasts who like to get outside and play in the rivers, mountains, and beyond, the new GO Easy Adventure Utility Trailer by SylvanSport is an absolute game changer.

Not only can it haul an impressive number of bikes and boats, but the GO Easy is lightweight enough to be towed by a Prius or Mini Cooper—even a motorcycle—for a more fuel-efficient adventure, according to a company news release.

For an up-close-and-personal look, SylvanSport will be debuting the GO Easy for sale at the Mountain RV, Boat and Recreation Show in Asheville at the AG Center on February 7, 8, and 9. They can also be pre-ordered through Syvlansport.com, with the first units shipping in mid-February.

Shortly thereafter, GO Easys will be sold by select retailers nationwide.

With Spring right around the corner, the GO Easy is primed to take outdoor enthusiasts—and all of their multi-sport gear—to any corner of the world, with ease. If there’s a road, there’s a route for the GO Easy to travel. At just 275 pounds, it can carry up to 325 pounds of cargo, and is a revolutionary design for its class.

The new GO-Easy, Adventure-Utility Trailer is manufactured from premium, US-supplied materials and processes and assembled in their North Carolina Factory.

SylvanSport Introduces GO Easy Gear Trailer
SylvanSport Introduces GO Easy Gear Trailer

GO Easy Functionality

Hauls up to five bikes, four kayaks, or a combination of bikes and boats, including sea kayaks, canoes, SUPs, surfboards, etc.

Fully compatible with all major rack manufacturers

Integrated frame rails for multiple racking options

Converts to a camping trailer with the Roost Explorer Camping Pod (sold separately at SylvanSport.com)

Designed for easy travel and towing, and upright, space-saving storage

GO Easy Features 

Lightweight, streamlined design for optimal towing

Powdercoated steel frame for durability and longevity

Spacious, diamondplate aluminum deck for over 17 cu. ft of additional storage

Weatherproof front storage box

Smooth riding torsion axle

Integrated tiedown points

LED front and rear lights

Details

SylvanSport

SylvanSportGo logoBrevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport was founded in 2004 to develop great gear to support an evolving sense of adventure. Adventure can be on a mountain, river, or in your backyard.

Since launching the SylvanSport GO—multi-use camping trailer in 2007—hailed by National Geographic Adventure as the “Coolest Camper Ever,” SylvanSport has earned a reputation for intelligent design and quality craftsmanship, with awards from Men’s Journal, National Geographic, IDEA (International Design Excellence Awards), and more, recognizing the company’s groundbreaking, category creating design.

Their team brings decades of experience designing and making outdoor products from the most respected companies. They offer products that blend utility, quality, and value while respecting the purity of the places our adventures take us.

Address: 235 Commerce Street, Brevard, NC 28712

Phone: (828) 883-4292

Website: sylvansport.com

Worth Pondering…

The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.

—Victor Papane

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SylvanSport Introduces GO-Easy Ultra-Light Travel Trailer

SylvanSport introduces the GO-Easy ultra-lightweight camping-utility trailer to complement its GO trailer line that debuted five years ago.

SylvanSport Introduces GO-Easy Ultra-Light Travel Trailer
SylvanSport Introduces GO-Easy Ultra-Light Travel Trailer

With the GO-Easy, users don’t need a large SUV or truck to haul gear. At 275 pounds, it can be towed by a Prius or Mini Cooper, or even a motorcycle, for a more fuel-efficient adventure, according to a company news release.

“With the GO-Easy, SylvanSport has developed a product with a streamlined focus on loading, storing, and towing outdoor adventure gear with ease, said Kyle Mundt, SylvanSport director of marketing.

“The GO-Easy squarely addresses the public’s need to safely—and easily—move gear from Point A to Point B, while avoiding the five worst towing nightmares.”

According to Mundt, the five worst towing nightmares are:

  • Poorly designed trailers
  • Reduced gas mileage
  • Difficulty backing up
  • Taking up too much storage space
  • Need for a large, inefficient tow vehicle

“The GO-Easy is the coolest new way to carry your boats, bikes, and a lot of gear,” said Mundt. “It’s an intelligent blend of design flair, engineering experience and multi-functionality, with an absolute commitment to producing the most versatile, creative, and robust sport utility trailer on the market.”

As with their flagship SylvanSport GO camping and utility trailer, the GO-Easy is a revolutionary design for its class. It’s made with a rugged steel frame for durability and longevity, has a weatherproof front storage box, and a spacious, diamond-plate aluminum deck for over 17 cubic feet of additional storage.

SylvanSport Introduces GO-Easy Ultra-Light Travel Trailer
SylvanSport Introduces GO-Easy Ultra-Light Travel Trailer

The GO-Easy has a smooth-riding torsion axle, is fully compatible with all major rack manufacturers products, has integrated tie-down points, and LED front and rear lights.

Since launching the GO in 2008, SylvanSport has earned a reputation for smart design and quality craftsmanship.

Hailed by National Geographic Adventure as the “Coolest. Camper. Ever.,” GO racked up awards like Men’s Journal Magazine’s Gear of the Year, and Business Week, and IDSA’s Industrial Design Excellence Award.

“It’s not just bringing inspired design to the otherwise utilitarian world of trailers that makes the GO-Easy exceptional,” said Tom Dempsey, SylvanSport founder and CEO.

“The GO-Easy truly enables a better adventure experience and allows you to focus on fun, not logistics.”

“With the GO-Easy, SylvanSport closes the gap between adventure and the adventurer by making it very easy to load up, hit the road, and get outside,” he added.

The multiple racking options enable the GO-Easy to haul up to five bikes, or four kayaks, or varying combinations of bikes and boats (including canoes, sea kayaks, SUPs, and surfboards) and other outdoor gear.

GO-Easy is so lightweight it can be even be removed and wheeled around like a hand cart, he explained.

When not in use, the GO-Easy can be stored upright, taking up minimal space. Simply remove the draw bar and tilt the GO-Easy upright for space-saving storage.

As with the GO, SylvanSport manufactures every GO-Easy in their Brevard, North Carolina, headquarters in a 17,000-square-foot facility. The majority of the GO-Easy components are produced domestically, with many coming from a 200-mile radius of Brevard, North Carolina, USA.

To commemorate its special introduction, the GO-Easy can be preordered now through SylvanSport.com, starting at $1,995, which is $500 off the MSRP. It ships via UPS, with assembly taking about an hour.

The GO-Easy will also be available through a variety of retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

GO-Easy really does what it is named to do.

Details

SylvanSport

sylvansports-logoBrevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport was founded in 2004 to develop great gear to support an evolving sense of adventure. Adventure can be on a mountain, river, or in your backyard.

Their team brings decades of experience designing and making outdoor products from the most respected companies. They offer products that blend utility, quality, and value while respecting the purity of the places our adventures take us.

Address: 235 Commerce Street, Brevard, NC 28712

Phone: (828) 883-4292

Website: sylvansport.com

Worth Pondering…

The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.

—Victor Papane

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SylvanSport Introduces PRO-GO Getter

Brevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport, makers of the lightweight GO popup camping trailer, the GO, introduces the new PRO-GO Getter ambassador referral program.

GO-landing_campersThis program helps GO fans with industry connections become GO owners and brand ambassadors with the potential to earn referral fees.

It also helps put more GOs on the map, for aspiring GO owners to explore and experience firsthand.

“When people call about the GO, the first thing they want to know is where they can see one in person,” said Tom Dempsey, founder of SylvanSport, in a news release.

“With the PRO-GO Getter program, interested customers can connect with GO owner insiders to see the full versatility of the GO camping trailer in action for themselves.”

The GO pop-up camper is designed from the frame out to be a versatile “mobile adventure trailer.” It tows behind any vehicle, including hybrids, and hauls bikes, kayaks and motorcycles before transforming into a comfortable camping trailer with a living space that can sleep four.

The GO pop-up camper is designed from the frame out to be a one-of-a-kind mobile adventure trailer that’s even more versatile than a Swiss army knife, said Dempsey.

GO-landing_racersOn the company’s website, SylvanSport illustrates how the lightweight GO, called the “Coolest. Camper. Ever,” by National Geographic Adventure, tows behind any vehicle, including hybrids, and hauls bikes, kayaks—even motorcycles—before transforming into a comfortable camping trailer with a living space that can sleep four with ease.

“The GO pop-up camper is something you have to see in person to fully appreciate the design and craftsmanship,” said Kyle Mundt, marketing director for SylvanSport.

“People are always amazed with how lightweight and strong the GO is, and how easy it is to load, haul, and convert into a camping trailer.”

For qualified PRO-GO Getters, the benefits of being a brand ambassador for the GO camping trailer include:

  • Savings of up to $2,500 off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for purchase GO pop-up camping trailer
  • Referral fees of $300 for every completed sale of the GO pop-up camper
  • A complete GO camping and adventure package, including an awning, spare tire, four mattresses, and two bed/seat/tables
  • SylvanSport merchandise like camping chairs and a team PRO-GO t-shirt
  • A custom web page on sylvansport.com to help direct customers to ambassadors
  • Sales support literature and pull-up event banners for events
  • Access to partner company PRO-deals on all kinds of outdoor adventure gear

“SylvanSport is born of roots in the outdoor industry, so we’ve always had a great Industry PRO Deal on the GO Camper. Our new PRO-GO Getter deal takes that many steps further, giving our industry friends all the tools needed to be great ambassadors for the GO, and earn some real money in the process,” said Dempsey.

“With the PRO-GO Getter program, we’re taking the GOs out of the showroom and out into the real world, where they belong,” Mundt added.

Eric Albert is a SylvanSport PRO-GO Getter, and an Adventure Travel Consultant out of Alberta who says he’s excited about the potential for the PRO-GO Getter program.

“It gives prospective customers an unbiased, experienced opinion about the GO, helping them make a more informed decision on their investment.”

As an avid kayaker, kayak instructor, and director for the Alberta Freestyle Kayaking Association, Albert is hard pressed to pick his favorite GO feature.

“It’s a tossup of either being able to carry about 10 kayaks to festivals, or waking up, stretching, and not having to crawl out of a ground tent in the early morning,” he said.

“I love the innovative design, the versatility, the low profile, and the ability to carry all my toys to the hills!”

GO-landing_panoRecently, Albert took the GO on a dream kayaking trip through the rugged landscape of Northern Idaho where he used it as a hauling machine for his group’s rafts, gear, and kayaks.

“It doubled as our accommodations for our prep and post expeditionary purposes,” he said. “They call it the Swiss Army Knife of pop-up campers for a good reason.”

Details

SylvanSport

Brevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport was founded in 2004 to develop great gear to support an evolving sense of adventure. Adventure can be on a mountain, river, or in your backyard.

Their team brings decades of experience designing and making outdoor products from the most respected companies. They offer products that blend utility, quality, and value while respecting the purity of the places our adventures take us.

Address: 235 Commerce Street, Brevard, NC 28712

Phone: (828) 883-4292

Website: sylvansport.com

Worth Pondering…

The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.

—Victor Papanek

 

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SylvanSport at Outdoor Gear Builders Village

Brevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport, makers of the lightweight popup camping trailer the GO, have teamed up with AdvantageWest to present 15 Western North Carolina gear-making companies in a special Outdoor Gear Builders Village at the 13th annual Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville, North Carolina, on May 24-26.

SylvanSports, the GO
SylvanSports, the GO

Upwards of 15,000 visitors are expected to attend the festival.

The Outdoor Gear Builders Village will be the inception for a new network of over 30 local gear-making companies uniting to form the Outdoor Gear Builders of Western North Carolina, according to a SylvanSport news release.

For SylvanSport, the inspiration to create a local gear-manufacturing network to debut in the Mountain Sports Festival made perfect sense, according to Kyle Mundt, director of marketing at SylvanSport.

Hosted in Asheville, the hub of outdoor living on the East Coast, the Mountain Sports Festival invites visitors to explore and compete in a myriad of mountain sports with music, entertainment, and exhibitors rounding out the festivities.

While attendees might be familiar with the bounty of mountain sports offered—from hiking, kayaking, biking, and beyond—they may be surprised to learn how many gear manufacturers are operating out of the region, said Mundt.

With the Outdoor Gear Builders Village, the festival will highlight 15 local outdoor adventure gear manufacturers including ENO, SylvanSport, Watershed, Three Minute Egg, Tsuga Canopies, SkinFare, Bellyak, Outrider USA, EarthSports Design, Rightline Gear, REEB Bikes.

SylvanSports_landing_campers“The idea for the Outdoor Gear Builders Village grew out of our desire to help Western North Carolina grow the outdoor manufacturing industry,” said Mundt.

“We thought it would be cool to invite some other interesting bike and paddle companies, and exhibit together like the Open Air Demo at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City.”

The Outdoor Retailer Summer and Winter shows in Salt Lake City, Utah, are the largest outdoor sports shows of their kind.

“The Outdoor Gear Builders Village at Mountain Sports Festival is a chance for outdoor adventure gear manufacturers, like SylvanSport, to show off their wares alongside other local companies, with hands-on interactive demos and small clinics for attendees,” Mundt said.

Outdoor Gear Builders logoThe network will also stand to gain attention from the bigger gear companies traditionally rooted in the West. With the recent boom in breweries like Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, and New Belgium opening east coast operations in Western North Carolina, the bigger players in the outdoor industry may soon follow suit, according to Mundt.

Mountain Sports Festival Lineup

The Outdoor Gear Builders Village will be open throughout the three-day event with races and entertainment starting on Friday, May 24.

Mountain Sports Festival competitions include a trail run, Disc Golf Challenge, Asheville Cyclocross Race, Girls on the Run Rise & Shine 5k, French Broad Challenge Triathlon, Dodgeball Tournament, Sand Volleyball Tournament.

Musical headliners are locals Brushfire Stankgrass on Friday and New Orleans-based Bonerama on Saturday Night. The full lineup includes Jeff Sipe Trio, The Fritz, The Packway Handle Band, Jason Daniello, Jon Stickley Trio, Bear Down Easy, The Whiskey Grins, Chalwa, Cedric Burnside, and Eleanor Underhill Solo.

Details

SylvanSport

The GO by SylvanSports
The GO by SylvanSports

Brevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport was founded in 2004 to develop great gear to support an evolving sense of adventure. Adventure can be on a mountain, river, or in your backyard.

Their team brings decades of experience designing and making outdoor products from the most respected companies. They offer products that blend utility, quality, and value while respecting the purity of the places our adventures take us.

Address: 235 Commerce Street, Brevard, NC 28712

Phone: (828) 883-4292

Website: sylvansport.com

Mountain Sports Festival

The Mountain Sports Festival is a weekend music and sports festival that celebrates community, athletics, and local business. The festival showcases the terrain, environment, and unique culture of Asheville, North Carolina, and the surrounding mountains.

Website: mountainsportsfestival.com

Worth Pondering…

The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.

—Victor Papanek

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SylvanSport Expands Manufacturing Facility

Brevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport announces that the company recently opened an expanded manufacturing facility to support projected sales growth and facilitate new product development.

Meet the Go! All ready to Go! (Credit: sylvansport.com)
Meet the Go! All ready to Go! (Credit: sylvansport.com)

The new space more than triples the facility’s square footage.

“The building, when fully completed, will increase our production capacity significantly and be key to our growth as a company,” said Patrick Kennedy, operations manager, in a news release.

“It is part of the ongoing process to strengthen the SylvanSport brand and strive to be a leader among American-made gear manufacturers.”

The 18,000-square-foot renovated facility expands manufacturing capacity for the GO, SylvanSport’s signature multi-use adventure trailer, and provides additional space for new product development and production in 2013.

Additionally, the business offices will be renovated and expanded to accommodate newly added positions including production manager and sales manager.

SylvanSport opened an expanded manufacturing facility to support projected sales growth and facilitate new product development. (Credit: sylvansport.com)
SylvanSport opened an expanded manufacturing facility to support projected sales growth and facilitate new product development. (Credit: sylvansport.com)

“Our decision to expand in Brevard speaks to the tremendously supportive environment in western North Carolina for the outdoor industry. Organizations like Advantage West, Transylvania County, and the City of Brevard, along with the superb outdoor recreation make this a magical place,” said SylvanSport CEO Thomas Dempsey.

Swiss army knife of campers, the SylvanSport GO is the ultimate adventure aid.

There’s no better way to enjoy an adventure than with your favorite gear in tow.

GO is much more than a pop-up camper; it is an American made, gear-hauling, hyper-engineered, fully TIG-welded piece of mobile adventure gear.

“The GO, was designed from the frame out to be a one-of-a-kind mobile adventure trailer. Lightweight and easy to manage, the GO can be pulled by even the smallest of cars,” said Kyle Mundt, marketing director.

“The GO can carry up to a dozen bikes, kayaks, or any combination thereof. It is much more than a pop-up camper; it is an American made, gear-hauling, hyper-engineered, fully TIG-welded piece of mobile adventure gear.”

Earlier this year I reported that China’s copycat culture was impacting sales of the SylvanSport GO.

In July 2009, an online customer purchased a GO from SylvanSport in the U.S. and then freighted it to China where, according to SylvanSport, Wuyi TiandiMotion Apparatus Co., LTD. “reverse engineered and replicated it.”

According to an earlier news release, “The trailer is now being sold as a lower quality copy in both international and U.S. markets. Wuyi Tiandi Motion Apparatus Co. has gone as far as copying the SylvanSport color scheme and marketing materials such as photos and video directly from sylvansport.com.”

SylvanSport was granted three U.S. trademarks in 2008, along with two U.S. patents and three U.S. design patents in 2010.

Founded in 2004 by veteran outdoor industry executive and entrepreneur Thomas Dempsey, SylvanSport designs, manufactures, and distributes mobile adventure gear from its headquarters in Transylvania County, North Carolina.

The company is committed to developing smart, efficient, visionary products that encourage responsible, and respectful enjoyment of the outdoors, said Mundt.

Details

SylvanSport

The GO was designed from the frame out to be a one-of-a-kind mobile adventure trailer that's even more versatile than a Swiss Army knife. (Credit: sylvansport.com)
The GO was designed from the frame out to be a one-of-a-kind mobile adventure trailer that’s even more versatile than a Swiss Army knife. (Credit: sylvansport.com)

Brevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport was founded in 2004 to develop great gear to support an evolving sense of adventure. Adventure can be on a mountain, river, or in your backyard.

Their team brings decades of experience designing and making outdoor products from the most respected companies. They offer products that blend utility, quality, and value while respecting the purity of the places our adventures take us.

Address: 235 Commerce Street, Brevard, NC 28712

Phone: (828) 883-4292

Website: sylvansport.com

Worth Pondering…

The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.

—Victor Papanek

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TrailManor Introduces Three New Models

Jacksboro, Tennessee-based TrailManor Manufacturing Co. LLC introduces three new folding hard-wall trailer models.

The TrailManor 2922 models are based on the company’s best-selling 2720 line, with the addition of a king-size rear bed.

The 29-foot trailers are offered in configurations including front and rear beds; a front slide out model with sofabed; and a front slide out model with a dinette.

“RV buyers have been trending toward larger beds for several years, and TrailManor dealers have received lots of requests for a king bed in smaller models,” noted Cleo Eickhoff, vice president of marketing for TrailManor, in a news release.

“Last year, we addressed this by offering a king bed in our 2417 Sport model. Now, we’re giving dealers three new king bed models at highly desirable price points.”

TrailManor 2922 travel trailer

TrailManor’s entire lineup features hard-wall travel trailers that fold down like tent campers for easy towing. They are lighter than traditional travel trailers due to TrailManor’s laminated construction and can be towed with properly equipped minivans, crossovers, and small SUVs. The company said that it takes about one extra gallon of gas to tow a TrailManor trailer 100 miles.

A TrailManor trailer sets up in less than two minutes and owners don’t even have to unhitch. Inside, TrailManors are equipped with the amenities of upscale travel trailers, including a full kitchen, a hard-wall bath with shower and tub, plenty of storage, and ample living space.

Details

TrailManor Manufacturing Company, LLC

TrailManor was founded in 1983, but the story goes back much farther. Before the first TrailManor was shipped to a dealer, the design went through ten years of prototypes and testing. It was only after the innovative TrailManor design was thoroughly tested and proven that it was made available to the public.

Founder, William J. Hulsey, has a Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering and more than 25 years of experience in developing high technology materials and products.

He transferred this knowledge to a dedicated group of current TrailManor employees who continue to manufacture trailers that are light in weight, easy to tow, engineered to last, high in resale value, and fun to use from the moment you leave your driveway.

Today, TrailManor has two locations, a manufacturing plant in Jacksboro, Tennessee, and general offices in Hartington, Nebraska.

The product line has expanded to include both the classic TrailManor design and a new series of Sport models that are exceptionally light, very affordable, and a delight to own.

That’s what you should expect from a travel trailer, and that’s what you get with TrailManor.

General Offices:  P.O. Box 397, Hartington, NE  68739

Manufacturing Plant: 1202 McGhee Lane, Jacksboro, TN  37757

Phone: (423) 563-6685

Website: trailmanor.com

Worth Pondering…

If you wander with open eyes and simple curiosity, you’ll discover a much richer pleasure — the simple feeling of possibility that hums from every direction as you move from place to place.
—Rolf Potts

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Bunkhouse Camper Trailers Introduces New Queen Model

Jacksboro, Tennessee-based Bushtec Products’ Bunkhouse camper trailers has introduced a new pop-up travel trailer that the company hopes will expand its market beyond motorcycles towing the campers to reach people who prefer to drive their automobiles.

Bushtec Products’ Bunkhouse camper trailers has introduced a new pop-up travel trailer.

The Queen Model Bunkhouse Camper weighs only 285 pounds, yet comes with 17 cubic feet of storage. The unit measures 107 inches in total length, with a overall width including fenders of 48.5 inches and a towing height of 38 inches.

Body colors come in white, black, gray, and beige. The tent material, made from 400 denier fabric, comes in burgundy or navy blue.

Users can access the cargo area on the road and by lifting the bed frame when the unit is set up.

“Our trailers have been very popular among motorcycle riders for quite some time,” said Gary Sipes, vice president of sales and marketing.

“This new model makes it attractive to people who like to travel with their cars. There is plenty of room for two people to sleep and relax in the living area. And, at 285 pounds, they don’t need anything other than a hitch to tow the unit.”

The company displayed the units at the North American Trailer Dealers Association expo in St. Louis in early September in hopes of attracting the attention of RV dealers looking for ultra lightweight units to sell to their customers, said Sipes.

Bushtec Products’ Queen Model Bunkhouse

Bunkhouse front bows are located on the outside, which makes it easy for one or two people to open and fold. Both front and rear awnings are standard, and are sewn to the main tent.

Bunkhouse Camper split the side windows making it easier to open or close the window flaps. In addition, you can have privacy around the bed and still have your dressing room side windows open.

Bunkhouse trailers come with LED taillights and stoplights as standard equipment for your safety and very low amperage draw on your battery and charging system.

Other features include:

  • White travel cover
  • Adjustable tongue stand
  • Two-frame mounted read adjustable jack stands
  • Adjustable bed support
  • Panoramic windows
  • Plastic window in front door
  • 4-by-5-foot living area
  • Self-supporting rear window awning
  • Gas prop assisted lids
  • 12-inch radial tires with chrome caps and lugnuts
  • LED taillights

Queen Model Bunkhouse Camper list price: $3695.00

The LX Model Bunkhouse Camper is also available.

The LX Model Bunkhouse Camper weighs approximately 340 pounds, yet comes with 24 cubic feet of storage with an additional 4 cu. ft. in travel cover pouch. The unit measures 113 inches in total length, with a overall width including fenders of 48.5 inches and a towing height of 38 inches.

LX Model Bunkhouse Camper list price: $4295.00

Bunkhouse Camper Trailers

Bunkhouse Camper Trailers has been in the trailer business since 1974. We are proud to say that we manufacture our own trailer bodies and do all the assembly work.

We build the Bunkhouse line of camping trailers, the “Original” Bunkhouse, with the quality, warranty, and innovations that the motorcycling public has come to admire and respect. We are the leader in the industry in new and innovative features, which is why we are the most copied trailer in the industry.

Phone: (888) 321-2516

Website: bunkhousecamper.com

Worth Pondering… 

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832),

German playwright, poet, novelist, and dramatist

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