RVs Rule the Road

Who is driving RV sales and why?

Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona
There’s an RV for every family’s budget and needs. Photo above: Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you’re one of the millions of Americans or Canadians planning to head out for a summer road trip, be prepared: RVs rule the road.

With prices ranging from $15,000 to just shy of $1 million, Americans and Canadian consumers have more options than ever when it comes to hitting the open road with a bed in tow.

For the big bucks your RV comes decked out with dual sinks in the master bathroom of a 46,000-pound diesel pusher built on a behemoth bus chassis. The Newmar King Aire also has Sleep Number beds, four flat-screen televisions, and a tablet to remotely manage the climate controls. Oh, and it also has a carbon-fiber steering wheel, and the driver sits in a captain’s chair with a built-in massager.

Canada’s number one Newmar dealer, Midtown RV in the southern Okanagan city of Penticton (British Columbia) sold 6 King Aires during the past 12 months.

“King Aire buyers are people looking for a modern contemporary design with the latest in residential amenities,” said Kalvin Stayberg, Midtown RV Vice-President and part owner.

Class A motorhome: 2015 Newmar King Aire
Class A motorhome: 2015 Newmar King Aire

“They also appreciate that the King Aire couples this modern design with the Newmar Heritage of quality, luxury, and power.”

While the King Aire may be over-the-top extravagant, buyers are demanding the same kinds of countertops and finishes they’re accustomed to having in their homes. Many RVs, for instance, have memory foam beds, tile floors, two bathrooms, and Corian countertops.

Those amenities are driving massive growth in what has been a sagging industry hit hard by a lousy economy and sky-high fuel prices. Last year RV dealers sold about 350,000 vehicles and expect even stronger growth this year. That’s a return to pre-recession levels not seen in nearly a decade.

Bottom-of-the-barrel fuel prices are also helping to drive interest in the RV lifestyle. Packing up the family for a summer vacation is less expensive than flying, especially when airlines with locked-in fuel costs haven’t yet passed along fuel savings to passengers. Camping is also more family-friendly and relaxing.

There’s been strong interest at both ends of the spectrum, from that $1 million King Aire to the 1930s-style teardrop trailers light enough to be towed behind a car and the always-popular Airstream.

Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule is a popular ‘Cab Forward’ teardrop trailer

Airstream celebrated a record year in 2014, with sales up 26 percent over 2013 numbers. The retro-glam travel trailer has found new life among an expanded clientele that includes baby boomers.

And smaller, cheaper, mini-trailers, like teardrop trailers, have also resurfaced as appealing options for road-trippers looking to go small.

Also receiving significant interest are “Tiny House” style RVs which some buyers remove from their wheels and use as a cozy home. The wood-sided Tumbleweed Tiny Homes were featured in an earlier post on Vogel Talks RVing.

Many consider small to be the new big. The small-house movement and a conscious move away from a consumptive lifestyle for many millennials.

But it’s not just the smaller and sleeker Airstream and teardrop trailers that are doing well. The whole industry has recently found a new stride. Behemoth motorhomes often with tag axles and travel and fifth wheel trailers—12, 28, 35 feet long—are hitting highways in the strongest numbers in years.

The design of the Cypress Tiny House RV  by Tumbleweed makes use of the most interior space, by incorporating a corner porch and utilizing the extra room as interior space.
The design of the Cypress Tiny House RV by Tumbleweed makes use of the most interior space, by incorporating a corner porch and utilizing the extra room as interior space.

Some 32,045 RVs were shipped from manufacturers to dealerships in February of this year. Compare that to 29,700 in February 2007 and 10,300 in February 2009 when the industry hit rock bottom. The industry projects it will hit its top sales in nearly a decade this year.

Plummeting fuel prices don’t hurt, either, and it’s also worth noting that Baby Boomers—folks between 51 and 69—are retiring in droves. At the same time, however, RV buyers are actually getting a little younger. According to recent report, in 2011, the average age of an RV buyer was 48 years old. The fastest-growing age bracket was 35-54.

Mainstream Class A motorhomes and fifth wheel and travel trailers run anywhere from $10,000 to $600,000 and more. After financial ability, family was the leading factor in the decision to buy an RV. People perceive these vehicles as a way to spend time with family and friends, without the hassle and expense of flights, lodging, and food.

But unless you’re living in your RV full-time, it’s about as discretionary a purchase as one can imagine. It’s a big upfront investment, and that’s before fuel costs, insurance, and license. Buying any RV indicates a high degree of consumer confidence.

The increase in sales of Airstreams and teardrops are merely part of a larger trend. Now that people perceive an improve economy, they’re buying RVs of all stripes.

The success of the RV industry is due in part to the diversity of product that offers something for every income level. You don’t have to be rich to buy a smaller trailer and go camping.

Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights
An RV will take you whever you wish to go including Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights

And for those families who want to spend time together while getting back to nature, RVs have an undeniable attraction and is a lifestyle that’s second to none.

Worth Pondering…

The American dream is no longer about home ownership. The American dream is that people want to travel and see America by RV.

—Andy Heck, co-owner Alpin Haus to Greg Gerber, RV Daily Report

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The Phenomenon of Teardrop Trailers

The teardrop trailer gets its name from its unique streamlined shape.

Teardrop trailer plans
Teardrop trailer plans

Conceived more than 75 years ago, the teardrop trailer has stood the test of time. A common sight from the late 1930s through the ’50s—many were home-built—and were popular because of their sleek, aerodynamic design, and lightweight materials.

A teardrop trailer is generally small, ranging from 4 feet to 6 feet in width and 8 feet to 10 feet in length. They are usually 4 feet to 5 feet in height. Wheels and tires are usually outside the body and are covered by fenders.

The March/April, 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft ran a story and plans for a teardrop trailer designed and built by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California in the 1930s for his honeymoon coach. This teardrop slept two and had a raise-up deck lid for the rear kitchenette with ice box and stove. A curtain-enclosed dressing room outside the starboard entry door provided privacy while dressing.

The February, 1940 issue of Popular Mechanics ran a story and plans for an egg-shaped teardrop trailer. It was built on a 1924 Chevrolet Superior front axle with disk wheels from a 1930 Chevrolet.

The floor was of tongue-and-groove oak over a spruce chassis. The exterior was 1/8-inch pressed board sealed with varnish. This 9-foot x 5-foot 9-1/2-inch floor plan featured a pressurized water tank with running water to a sink, a stove and ice box in the rear kitchenette. The cabin provided standing room beside the double bed for dressing, a small clothes closet, a chemical toilet, and a single entry door on the starboard side.

Vistabule teardrop trailer
Vistabule teardrop trailer

Following World War II Kit Manufacturing produced “Kit Kamper” teardrop trailers. They soon learned that what the public wanted was not a kit, but a completed trailer. Kit Manufacturing made the decision to produce the teardrop trailers in completed form. The 4-foot x 8-foot Kit Kamper tear drop was destined to win the hearts of Americans—and a place in history.

A total of 4,500 Kit Kampers were produced in 1946 and 1947.

Their popularity faded as vehicles became larger, fuel was cheap, and recreational vehicles increased in size. In 1948 Kit went into production of a more conventional 8-foot x 14-foot “coach” with demand far exceeding production capability. The Kit Kamper teardrop assembly line was ended.

Teardrops have recently gained a resurgence in popularity. New fuel efficient cars, combined with today’s modern teardrop trailers now allow you to once again enjoy the open road in modern comfort and retro style.

While a lot has changed since the introduction of teardrop trailers on the American highway, the reasons for owning a teardrop trailer are the same today as they were when your father or grandfather built his teardrop in the family garage.

Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping
Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping

Teardrop trailers are sleek, aerodynamic, and practical. Depending on the model, your teardrop trailer can sleep up to three adults or two adults and several children.

Teardrops can be pulled by any vehicle with a hitch—even the smallest of vehicles such as the Mini Cooper or the VW Beetle can easily tow a teardrop trailer.

Whether you’re a weekend camper who enjoys spending time with the family, or an avid outdoorsman who hunts, fishes, or rides a four wheeler—there’s a teardrop trailer that will suit your needs. There are even teardrops for towing by motorcycles.

A variety of unique teardrop trailers have gained in popularity including the Vistabule, Lil’ Snoozy, Safari Condo, Tiny Trailer, Little Guy, Eggcamper, Geistwerks, and Moby 1.

Streamlined and weighing just 1,220 pounds, Vistabule can be towed behind nearly any small car.

Customers love the Lil Snoozy, a fiber glass travel trailer, because Lil’ is only 17 feet, 3 inches in length; 7 feet, 11 inches in width; and 7 feet, 5 inches high.

Safari Condo Alto R Series (retractable roof)
Safari Condo Alto R Series (retractable roof)

Safari Condo tear drop trailers offer an electric retractable roof providing more interior space than traditional teardrop trailers.

Teardrop trailers have come a long way since those original teardrops, but still offer all the enjoyment and fun that the original teardrop owner came to expect.

Worth Pondering…

Live with passion.

—Anthony Robbins

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Blue Ice Vodka & Little Guy Teardrop Trailers

Blue Ice Vodka has announced their partnership with Little Guy Worldwide.

Go Little Blue1Blue Ice Vodka is tapping into the popularity of retro teardrop trailers in America to enhance brand awareness, attract new consumers, and excite their image, according to a corporate news release.

This is far from being an ordinary teardrop trailer. Little Guy Worldwide created the ultimate traveling vodka bar, complete with a sink, electric ice-chest, built in blender with a backlit display shelf to showcase BIV’s signature blue bottles, a weatherproof sound system with a DVD player, and two (outdoor) flat screen televisions.

Full bar includes a sink, electric ice-chest, built in blender with a backlit display shelf to showcase Blue Ice Vodka’s signature blue bottles.

At night the camper looks more like a spaceship with a dramatic, iridescent blue hue emanating from the undercarriage.

Inside you’ll find a third flat screen television along with an air conditioner, queen size bed, and plenty of storage—for all your Blue Ice Vodka.

“We are extremely excited about our partnership with Little Guy Worldwide,” said Thomas Gibson, president of Blue Ice Vodka.

zion“We are proud of our American brand and believe Little Guy represents everything we stand for: premium, handcrafted, and made in America”.

“We will travel the country with our mobile vodka bars and weave ourselves into the fabric of America, hosting events and exposing our product to consumers on a more personal level. I think our campers create a unique experience, which is what people want”, said Diana Kuen, manager of strategic partnerships for Blue Ice Vodka.

“You can follow the journey on Vodkatology.com. Camping is fun, but glamping in the ultimate vodka party trailer is way better.”

Blue Ice Vodka is Americana. Handcrafted in Idaho by a master distiller. Little Guy Tear Drop Trailers is Americana. Handcrafted in Ohio by the Amish. They share the same passion and desire to create American homegrown perfection.

Little Guy Worldwide designed two T@G party trailers for Blue Ice Vodka. One is wrapped to represent their flagship premium Blue Ice Potato Vodka, while the other represents their millennial focused “G” line, offering a traditional, as well as, flavored vodkas.

Dr. Wraps, of Canton, Ohio, wrapped each camper with custom graphics.

Go Little Blue“Our partnership with Blue Ice Vodka is fun and bolsters our audience reach outside our typical camping demographic,” said Chris Baum, COO of Little Guy Worldwide.

“It also gives us an opportunity to showcase our custom craftsmanship, which certainly separates us from all others in the industry. If you can dream it, we can build it.”

Blue Ice Vodka will be giving away one of the campers the day after Thanksgiving on “BLUE” FRIDAY, November 27, 2015.

Enter to win the ultimate vodka party trailer at golittleblue.com

Must be 21 to enter, no purchase necessary.

Details

Little Guy Worldwide, LLC.

Full page photoLittle Guy was founded back in 2002 in North Canton, Ohio.

What started as a small operation in a garage quickly exploded into a booming business with a full-blown manufacturing facility and worldwide network of dealers.

Today, the company produces 17 different teardrop camper trailer models that are among the most economical, identifiable, and modern teardrops on the market.

Address: 4122 Erie Ave. S.W., Massillon, OH 44646

Phone: (330) 791-7117 or (877) 545-4897 (toll free)

Website: www.golittleguy.com

Worth Pondering…

Life is a gift, not an obligation. So make the very best of every single day you’re given!

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Top Stories of 2014

Time glides with undiscover’d haste

The future but a length behind the past.

—John Dryden

Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer

Hello, RVing friends! The year is turning over, and another 12 months of RVing, photography, hiking, and birding has flashed by.

The End is almost here!

This is article # 2,393 since my first post on August 18, 2010. Okay, the end isn’t near, but the end of the year is almost here, and it’s time to think about wrap-ups as 2014 draws to a close.

The end of the year is the traditional time for doing a summary and some reflection.

Looking back there were certain events and articles that kindled reader interest and comments.

Thank you for reading, providing feedback, and returning frequently to read my latest articles. Thank you for your continuing support!

Vogel Talks RVing would like to wish its readers a safe and happy New Years. As we reflect on the past year, here’s a look back at some of the most popular articles from Vogel Talks RVing.

Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping
Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping

After 183,332 unique visitors, 213,703 visits, and 308,286 page views in 2014, here are the top 10 most read and most popular Vogel Talks RVing articles of the year, listed in the order of their readership numbers.  And the most popular article of 2014 is…

  1. Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer  – Streamlined and weighing just 1,220 pounds, Vistabule can be towed behind nearly any small car.

Number Page Views: 15,841

Posted: January 3, 2013

  1. Vogel Talks RVing – Home page

Number Page Views: 10,113

  1. Old is New Again: New Retro RV Manufacturer  – A recent trend in the RV manufacturing industry is the development of an increasing number of retro-style trailers entering the RV marketplace.

Number Page Views: 9,319

Posted: March 14, 2011

  1. Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping – Customers love the Lil Snoozy, a fiber glass travel trailer, because Lil’ is only 17 feet, 3 inches in length; 7 feet, 11 inches in width; and 7 feet, 5 inches high.

Number Page Views: 7,629

Posted: June 23, 2012

DoubleBack Ultimate Camper Van
DoubleBack Ultimate Camper Van
  1. 5. Vistabule Teardrop Trailer: One Year Later – Report on the Vertabule teardrop trailer one year after the launch.

Number Page Views: 5,616

Posted: February 18, 2014

  1. Vintage Travel Trailers Restored – Visitors are welcome to view the vintage trailers under restoration as well as admire finished trailers available for sale to the public.

Number Page Views: 3,775

Posted: February 18, 2012

  1. DoubleBack Ultimate Camper Van  – What makes the DoubleBack unique is just how much space it actually has, and how easily you can expand or contract its size to fit your recreational needs.

Number Page Views: 3,712

Posted: April 16, 2012

  1. Bag-A-Lot, a Light Bulb Moment  – What started as a homespun way to stash recyclables has developed into the clever invention of Bag-A-Lot, a portable, multi-purpose flexible bag holder.

Number Page Views: 3,511

Posted: September 21, 2012

  1. Prolite Introduces New Ultra Light Model – Weighing less than 1,300 pounds, Prolite introduces two new ultra light travel trailers that complement the eight model currently available.

Number Page Views: 2,756

Posted: September 24, 2011

The Next Generation: The Trailer You Want To Go Camping In
The Next Generation: The Trailer You Want To Go Camping In
  1. 10. The Next Generation: The Trailer You Want To Go Camping In – The Next Generation camping trailer will have a modern design, intelligent technology, and better construction materials than ever before.

Number Page Views: 2,730

Posted: May 21, 2014

A Happy New Year to all my readers. Best wishes for 2015. Find what brings you joy and go there.

May the months ahead be filled with great RVing experiences!

Remember, the journey, and not the destination, is the joy of RVing. Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in an RV.

Happy Trails. Life is an adventure. Enjoy your journey.

Worth Pondering…

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light,

The year is dying in the night.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow,

The year is going, let him go.

—Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

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Little Guy Relaunches MyPod Teardrop Trailer

Massillon, Ohio-based Little Guy announced the relaunch of the MyPod teardrop camper trailer line, capable of being towed by a Smart Car.

Little Guy Relaunches MyPod Teardrop Trailer
Little Guy Relaunches MyPod Teardrop Trailer

The teardrop trailer’s design uses an innovative aluminum frame and pure fiberglass body, with the B@sic model tipping the scale south of a mere 450 pounds and boasting a tongue weight around 60 pounds.

Since the trailer is lightweight and has a small profile, it is perfect for anyone who owns a smaller vehicle but still wants to take along a camper for trips, according to a company news release.

“We’re very excited to launch the new myPod models. Their lightweight frame is perfect for any automobile, even something as small as a trike or a smart car,” according to a Little Guy spokesperson.

“This line has quickly become a big hit with our customers and we’re eager to see more of them on the road.”

Little Guy makes the MyPod in two models to suit customers’ needs: B@sic and M@x.

Both models have a measured width from fender to fender of just 74 inches, an exterior height of 61 inches, and an overall length of 11 feet.

The inside width of the MyPod model measure 60 inches. The interior height measures 41 inches, and the length comes in at 77 inches.

Little Guy Relaunches MyPod Teardrop Trailer
Little Guy Relaunches MyPod Teardrop Trailer

The trailer’s GAWR (axle rating) totals 2,200 pounds and the entire MyPod rides on 13-inch alloy wheels wrapped with 175/80/D13 tires.

MyPod B@sic

The budget-friendly B@sic has an MSRP that starts at just $6,875, which does not include the cost of shipping and preparation work performed by the dealer.

The camper comes with a full size bed inside, providing sleeping arrangements for two people. Also included as standard equipment are LED interior lights for a bright yet economical way to illuminate the interior at night. Owners can keep the sun out and maintain privacy with the standard vinyl blinds.

Buyers also enjoy a variety of exterior paint colors, with white, silver, red, black, and blue available as stock options, while custom colors can be had through special order.

Adding to the convenience is a Power Package that includes multiple 12v and 110v electrical outlets in the teardrop trailer’s interior, porch lights, a dual directional three-speed roof fan, 25-foot power cord, and 30-amp inlet. With the Power Package, the battery for the trailer charges whenever it is connected to shoreline power on the tow vehicle.

Little Guy Relaunches MyPod Teardrop Trailer
Little Guy Relaunches MyPod Teardrop Trailer

MyPod M@x

Upgrading to the MyPod M@x comes with even more benefits. The starting MSRP is $7,995, which does not include the shipping and dealer preparation fees.

On top of the standard features included in the B@sic model, owners enjoy an air conditioning unit that comes already installed, which is a tremendous value during the hot summer months. Another big benefit is the standard Entertainment Package, which includes a 19-inch television and speakers securely mounted inside the camper.

The new Little Guy MyPod M@x is the perfect size for towing with a smaller vehicle, without sacrificing interior comfort for two people.

Details

Little Guy Worldwide, LLC.

Full page photoLittle Guy was founded back in 2002 in North Canton, Ohio.

What started as a small operation in a garage quickly exploded into a booming business with a full-blown manufacturing facility and worldwide network of dealers.

Today, the company produces 17 different teardrop camper trailer models that are among the most economical, identifiable, and modern teardrops on the market.

Address: 4122 Erie Ave. S.W., Massillon, OH 44646

Phone: (330) 791-7117 or (877) 545-4897 (toll free)

Website: www.golittleguy.com

Worth Pondering…

Life is a gift, not an obligation. So make the very best of every single day you’re given!

—Donovan Campbell

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Small Ass Campers: Custom Teardrop Trailer

You love camping but tired of roughing it in a tent.

Small Ass Campers: Custom Teardrop Trailer
Small Ass Campers: Custom Teardrop Trailer

Then consider a Small Ass Camper, a custom-made teardrop trailer.

A family-owned business in North Las Vegas, Small Ass Campers is the dream of Michael Smith who built his first camper for himself.

“I have a wife and son and we like to go camping to Mount Charleston and St. George (Utah),” Smith told KTNV-TV.

Michael posted his camper on facebook and a friend in Mississippi placed an order right away.

It was enough encouragement for this audio guy to walk away from his college training and into his own business, Small Ass Camper.

“My wife, she was scared but like any business there is a risk and we were willing to take the risk.”

Matter of fact, Jessica and 4-year-old Gibson hang out at dad’s North Las Vegas shop all the time. The family knows there’s nothing quite like these custom built campers, complete with a TV and DVD player inside and kitchen on the back end.

Small Ass Campers: Custom Teardrop Trailer
Small Ass Campers: Custom Teardrop Trailer

“It is fully electrical with 110 outlets to run coffee pots, microwave, small appliances in other words.”

It takes Michael about three weeks to build one start to finish, all built by hand in North Las Vegas.

Each Small Ass Camper is unique to the client. The outdoorsmen are particularly drawn to the wood working details.

“The biggest thing is the size. Just like our name, we build small campers.”

Which means you can pull one with a large car or small SUV. And when you spend time around Michael and see his beautiful wife, you can’t help but draw a comparison to that famous duck family.

“I kind of get that a lot. I do watch the show. I do have a beard.”

Michael can only hope for that kind of success but it’s starting to happen. He’s currently building a custom trailer for a Chicago area beer company.

“They want the back end for storage and the front half is kegs and beer products.”

In addition to the Chicago Brewery, dealers in San Diego and Montana are interested in Small Ass Campers but most clients right now are from Michael’s home town of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Small Ass Campers: Custom Teardrop Trailer
Small Ass Campers: Custom Teardrop Trailer

Building Your Trailer

All trailers come standard with a steel welded and insulated frame, two tinted screened doors, two windows, LED lights in cabin, hatch, and porch area, 12 volt deep cycle battery, oak cabinets, mattress pad, fantastic fan, storage box, LED taillights.

Base price: $6,386 (4 feet x 6 feet), $6,872 (5 feet x 8 feet), $7,248 (5 feet x 10 feet)

Select your features: 2-burner stove ($327), water package ($647), power package ($552), TV/DVD package ($339), refrigerator ($559)

Details

Small Ass Camper

Small Ass Campers is a teardrop/travel trailer manufacturer and dealer/sales in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Specializing in custom teardrop trailers, travel campers, utility trailers, and flatbeds, their teardrop trailers are designed for “life off the grid”.

With a complete steel welded frame, that is fully insulated, you can camp, hunt, fish, or whatever your heart desires in comfort, and peace of mind.

All trailers are built to order. Pick and choose your features for your outdoor needs.

Small Ass Campers also builds flatbed trailers, utility trailers, toy haulers, and anything else you can think of.

Address: 595 E. Brooks Ave #309, North Las Vegas, NV 89030

Phone: (702) 817-1803

Website: www.smallasscampers.com

Worth Pondering…

Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.

—W. Clement Stone

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GeistWerks: Custom Made Teardrop Trailer

Conceived more than 80 years ago, the teardrop trailer has stood the test of time. A common sight from the 1930s through the ’50s, their popularity faded as vehicles became larger, fuel was cheap, and recreational vehicles increased in size.

basic 13-foot-by-6.5-foot Plasma series
The basic 13-foot-by-6.5-foot Plasma series sleeps two adults and costs about $5,500.

Teardrops today are gaining a resurgence in popularity. New fuel efficient cars, combined with today’s modern teardrop trailers now allow you to once again enjoy the open road in modern comfort and retro style.

A teardrop trailer is generally small, ranging from 4 feet to 6 feet in width and 8 feet to 10 feet in length. They are usually 4 feet to 5 feet in height. Wheels and tires are usually outside the body and are covered by fenders.

In earlier articles on Vogel Talks RVing, I’ve reported on a variety of unique tear drop trailers including the VistabuleLil’ SnoozySafari Condo, Eggcamper, and Moby 1.

Minnesota couple, Mike and Deb Geister have been attracting attention and more than a few envious eyes at campgrounds with their custom-made teardrop trailer.

With its shiny, aluminum exterior and sleek hump-back design, maple cupboards, and a stainless-steel counter under the back-hatch hood, the half-pint trailer looks like it popped out of the ’50s.

 the Two Plus Two series
A little larger, the Two Plus Two series is like the Phasma teardrop, but stretched in length, height, and width.

Geister hand-made his first teardrop trailer in the summer of 2012, using recyclable materials and low-energy LED lights.

Calling it a blend of camping with a tent and a pop-up trailer that includes a bed on wheels with a little kitchen, Geister’s compact teardrop is geared toward efficiency—a simple camping experience. Simple—but with luxury.

For the camping enthusiast who wants to enjoy the benefits of camping or even road tripping, teardrops are a great fit.

“We live in a society where life is hectic, stressful, and demanding. So then we go on vacation…and take everything but the kitchen sink,” said Geister.

“So it occurred to us, if we want to get away from it all, why do we take it all with us? Our philosophy is simplicity with style. All the creature comforts of your own bed, a great kitchen, and even a TV if you choose, without having to have a tractor trailer to pull it all.”

Geister’s designs include high-end touches like a memory-foam mattress, air conditioning, a TV, and hand-made cabinetry that’s backlit with colored lights.

Following numerous requests from people who also wanted a teardrop camper, Geister turned his craftsmanship hobby into a new business—Geistwerks LLC.

GeistWerks is a custom camper manufacturer, specializing in "Teardrop" style trailers.
GeistWerks is a custom camper manufacturer, specializing in “Teardrop” style trailers.

Working out of his home in New London, Minnesota, and marketing primarily through his website (SEE link below), Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist, Geister has made and sold about a dozen teardrop trailers.

The basic 13-foot-by-6.5-foot Phasma series sleeps two adults and costs about $5,500. The base price can increase to $13,500 as customers request specific enhancements.

Geister also builds a custom adventure teardrop trailer that sleeps a family of four. A little larger, the Two Plus Two series is like the Phasma teardrop, but stretched in length, height, and width. It is designed specifically for a couple needing two extra sleeping areas for two young children.

Starting with a sturdy trailer base and a steel framework, Geister builds the camper cabin from wood that’s covered with aluminum sheets. It takes about six weeks of intense work to build each one.

Geister hand-cuts everything; it’s all hand-crafted.

Due to increasing interest, Geister is searching for a site to move his thriving business and expects to hire staff to construct the campers so he can concentrate on designing and marketing them.

Phasma Series

Sleeps: 2 adults, queen size bed

Floor Plan: 5 feet x 8 feet

Overall Length: 13 feet

Overall Height: 5 feet 9 inches

PhasmaClassic
Phasma Classic

Overall Width: 6 feet 6 inches

Weight: 800-1,200 pounds

Cost: $5,500-$13,500

Details

GeistWerks LLC

GeistWerks is a custom camper manufacturer, specializing in teardrop style trailers. These trailers are light, easy to tow, and custom tailored for each customer.

Address: 215 3rd Avenue SE, New London, MN  56273

Phone: (320) 894-6753

Website: www.geistwerks.us

Worth Pondering…

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.

—Muhammad Ali

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Vistabule Revisited: The Ultimate Teardrop Trailer

In early 2013, I reported on the launch of the Vistabule Teardrop Trailer, a model specifically designed for small car towing.

Vistabule Revisited: The Ultimate Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule Revisited: The Ultimate Teardrop Trailer

One year later, I reported that Minnesota Teardrop Trailer has sold 20 and is adding more employees to keep up with demand.

Today, Bert Taylor and his small staff continue to build sleek, compact, retro-style camper trailers from a workshop in Minneapolis’ warehouse district. His 3-year-old enterprise, Vistabule, is modest but growing; he built 12 campers last year and this year, his goal is 36.

Several years ago, a friend encouraged Taylor, then a furniture designer, to look up “teardrop campers” on the Internet. It changed his life.

“This was a scale I could work with,” Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

“These were basically the size of large pieces of furniture.”

Vistabule is a portmanteau word combining vista—drawn from the signature gaping window that affords its occupants ample views—and vestibule, suggestive of the cozy confines of the 5-foot-by-10-foot trailers.

“I wanted to take the cave on wheels and turn it into an observatory on wheels,” he added.

Originally, Taylor had been interested in campers for two reasons. He wanted to buy one because he appreciated the design of vintage models like Airstream and he figured as he aged he’d appreciate a camper more than a tent. The second was that he wanted inspiration for designing furniture.

Vistabule Revisited: The Ultimate Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule Revisited: The Ultimate Teardrop Trailer

When that friend told him to research teardrop campers—small trailers that offer a place to sleep out of the elements but don’t attempt to offer living rooms, showers, and other amenities of full-size recreational vehicles—it inspired him to try to build one himself. Just for fun.

He purchased plans and started to build one, but his propensity for design improvement got in the way.

“I realized this was the work of an amateur,” Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

“It might have been good for the trailer he wanted, but not for the one I wanted. It was claustrophobic. I knew I could do better.”

The creation he eventually built in 2011 was a head-turner. When asked to described the genre, he uses word like “iconic,” “from the 1930s and ’40s,” “nautical” and “vintage UFO.”

“We took it to the Grand Canyon, and the response we got was unbelievable,” he said.

“Everyone wanted to talk to us and look inside.”

Teardrop trailers are a niche at the tiny end of the camper trailer continuum. But they have a devoted following. The premise is a level of comfort, but a compactness that makes for storage in any garage and lightness—Vistabules are lighter than 1,300 pounds and can be towed by most cars.

Each trailer is custom made to your order. To simplify the process, Vistabule offers two packages from which to start—basic ($13,865) and standard ($14,896).

A variety of add-on features are available. These include an air conditioner, refrigerator, solar panels retrofit, LED light package, gray tinted windows, and heater.

Vistabule Revisited: The Ultimate Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule Revisited: The Ultimate Teardrop Trailer

Taylor said he’s constantly tinkering with improving the design and functionality. Door and window latches, for example, are custom made.

As for the basic shape, the curves and the feel, he believes he accomplished what he set out to do.

Vistabule specifications include:

Body Length: 10 feet

Total Length: 14 feet

Body Width: 5 feet

Width with Fenders: 6 feet 10 inches

Height From Ground to the Top of Fan Cover: 67 inches

Interior Cabin Height: 43 inches

Under the Floor Storage and Foot Room: 6.5 inches

Main Bed Size: 58 inches x 78 inches

Weight Approximate (empty): 1240 pounds

Weight Approximate (gear, propane, and water): 1520 pounds

Tongue Weight: 160 pounds

Tongue Weight with 15 pound Propane Tank: 180 pounds

Road Clearance: 11 inches

Galley Counter Height: 34 inches

Wheels: 14 inches

Water Tank: 6 gallons

Gray Water Storage Tank: 6 gallon

Vistabule Revisited: The Ultimate Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule Revisited: The Ultimate Teardrop Trailer

Details

Minnesota Teardrop Trailers LLC

Phone: (612) 845-4210

Website: vistabule.com

Worth Pondering…

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

—Les Brown

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Moby 1: All Terrain Teardrop Trailer

Teardrops were a common sight from the ’30s through the ’50s, but popularity faded as vehicles became larger, fuel was cheap, and recreational vehicles became supersized.

Moby1 C2 Compact/Cycle
Moby1 C2 Compact/Cycle

During recent years teardrop trailers have experienced a resurgence in popularity. In earlier articles I’ve reported on a variety of unique tear drop trailers including the Vistabule, Lil’ Snoozy, Safari Condo, and Eggcamper.

I further reported that off-road RVs—also known as all-terrain vehicles, expedition RVs, and overland vehicles—were increasing in popularity.

Built to traverse a rugged terrain in the backcountry, Xpedition RVs include Unicat TerraCross Expedition Vehicle, KiraVan, and EarthCruiser.

But teardrop trailers were not designed for rugged off-roading. That was until now. Enter Moby 1 Expedition Trailers. You can now explore the great outdoors on smooth paved roads or rocky off-road terrain in the foothills and beyond.

Moby1 was originally begun as a personal project in an effort to create a camping trailer small and light enough to be towed behind a motorcycle. After learning about teardrop trailers, seeing their practicality, and studying the construction, Ashley Grimes, the founder of Moby1, started collecting the materials to build his own.

Moby 1 trailers fill a number of roles with extra cargo space, a flexible load carrying platform, a meal preparation, and cooking station that will enable you to have more comfort, stay out longer, and be a more memorable experience. Whether you are coasting down the highway for a leisurely getaway or seeking adventure and exploring places far removed from civilization, a Moby1 Teardrop trailer can be fit to your lifestyle.

Moby1 RT Road Tour
Moby1 RT Road Tour

The Moby 1 is available in specific models for motorcycles, (mostly) on road use, off-road use, and use anywhere your vehicle can go.

Moby1 C2 Compact/Cycle

The C2 is a compact/cycle trailer, perfect behind a bike or small car. This model has a half galley with cabinets and a countertop workspace for cooking and cleanup, and interior cabinets in the cabin for storage of clothing and gear.

Base curb weight dry: 280-320 pounds

Width: 40 or 48 inches

Base prices start at $6,500

Moby1 RT Road Tour

The RT is a road touring teardrop trailer with standard size road tires. It is perfect for touring your favorite roads, getting to your traditional campgrounds, or even the occasional dirt road.

Moby1 XC Cross Country
Moby1 XC Cross Country

Standard features include one door, two 21×15 sliding tinted screen windows, full interior cabinetry, full galley with cooler tray and stove tray.

Base curb weight dry: 750 pounds

Width: 48 inches

Base prices start at $10,500

Moby1 XC Cross Country

The XC model is capable of touring your favorite paved roads or traveling cross country and off the beaten path to explore remote locations. XC Series offers rubber torsion suspension system, locking cabin doors with deadbolts, receiver tongue for multi axis couplers for unlimited off-road movement, and heavy duty frame.

Base curb weight dry: 1,200 pounds

Width: 48 inches

Base prices start at $14,500

Moby1 XTR

Moby1 XTR
Moby1 XTR

The XTR is built around the principle that one should be able to hook up their vehicle to a compact but fully self-contained trailer and head out into the wilderness and not look back.

XTR series features include a trailing A-arm coil spring suspension, 3,500-pound axles, adjustable shocks, expedition series cabinetry, and two locking cabin doors with deadbolt.

Base curb weight dry: 1,600 pounds

Width: 54 inches

Base prices start at $18,500

Details

Moby1 Expedition Trailers LLC

Address: 221 W 900 N, Springville, UT 84663

Phone: (801) 872-4054

Website: www. moby1trailers.com

Worth Pondering…

Live with passion.

—Anthony Robbins

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The Joys of Retro RVs

In a day where many recreational vehicles can easily cost six-figures and measure 40-feet or more, some people are returning to basics resulting in the retro RV trend gaining momentum.

The 1961 Shasta trailer, formerly owned by Kelle Arvay of LittleVintageTrailer.com, was nicknamed 'Buttercup.' (Credit: Courtesy of Kelle Arvay/LittleVintageTrailer.com)
The 1961 Shasta trailer, formerly owned by Kelle Arvay of LittleVintageTrailer.com, was nicknamed ‘Buttercup.’ (Credit: Courtesy of Kelle Arvay/LittleVintageTrailer.com)

Numerous vintage trailers, Airstreams, and other retro RVs have been featured in Vogel Talks RVing.

The retro RV is making a strong comeback. RVers young and old are investing in either fixing up retro RVs or buying them used. Others are renting a retro RV or staying in a retro at an RV park featuring retro RV rentals.

Some older models, like the Airstream, last for decades. Some Airstream owners have been using their trailer for over four decades.

The Airstream has made a major comeback in recent years—and whether the comeback has fueled a vintage trailer trend or it’s the other way around, one thing is certain: It has become easy to rent a retro trailer for a weekend or extended vacation, whether it’s an Airstream, a teardrop trailer, or retro RV.

Life on the road can be enjoyed in a retro RV in one of four ways:

Restore a retro RV

Depending on your time investment and budget, restoring a RV can be one of the most exciting and adventurous projects you and your family take on. When restoring a RV, you can work on a project-by-project basis. You’ll find locating parts that you need might be a little bit harder than you anticipated, but they’re out there. When tackling a project one-by-one, you can move towards the overall goal of fully restoring a RV to its former glory and then hitting the road.

Buy a retro RV

Flyte Camp retored this 1950 Traveleze vintage travel trailer. (Credit: flytecamp.com)
Flyte Camp retored this 1950 Traveleze vintage travel trailer. (Credit: flytecamp.com)

Restoring vintage trailers is not for the fainthearted. That’s one reason full-service restoration shops such as Flyte Camp are in high demand.

Rescued from curbsides and junkyards, castaway classic campers are getting a new life at Retro Trailer Design.

Custom vintage trailer restorations are also a specialty at Russian River Vintage Travel Trailers; visitors are welcome to view the vintage trailers under restoration as well as admire finished trailers available for sale to the public.

Buy a new RV with a retro flair

Several manufacturers are producing brand new models of travel trailers with retro flair, exposing today’s consumers and their families to unique recreational experiences that create or help to relive a lifetime of memories.

Paradise Coast RV is a manufacturer of brand new models of travel trailers all modeled after the 1940′s, 50′s, and 60′s.

The Dub Box is a fun and creative retro camper with a new twist. The initial design was born from the American vintage trailer, merged with retro styling, and infused with modern conveniences for style and comfort.

Dub Box is a customizable camper manufactured in Oregon. (Source: Dub Box USA)
Dub Box is a customizable camper manufactured in Oregon. (Source: Dub Box USA)

Popular from the 1930s to the ’60s, teardrop trailers are 4 to 6 feet wide, 8 to 10 feet long, and light enough that you can park your car, unhook the trailer, and just pull it into place.

These trailers are making a big comeback now, so much so that teardrop manufacturers are springing up across the country. One such company, Tiny Trailer, offers a single teardrop design that sports the retro look of the 1940s paired with 21st century amenities — a micro-heater, forced-air ventilation, electric lights, and weather-proofing — all handcrafted from modern lightweight, durable materials.

Rent a retro RV

You don’t need to drive a motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel to enjoy the RV park experience.

Ready-to-rent on-site Airstreams are also popping up in a variety of campgrounds. The Autocamp, Santa Barbara’s “boutique Airstream lodging” concept— a downtown pod of five handcrafted fully decked-out vintage trailers— is expanding to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Ventura Beach this year.

Shooting Star Drive-In & Airstream Resort
Shooting Star Drive-In & Airstream Resort

The Shooting Star Drive-In Airstream and RV Park is a one-of-a-kind resort along Utah’s Highway 12 where travelers can stay in restored Airstream travel trailers and sit in vintage convertible cars while they watch a drive-in movie.

Co-owned by B-52s vocalist Kate Pierson, Kate’s Lazy Desert invites visitors to “rocket through the wilderness” in a collection of six vintage Airstreams, the interiors of which riff off the kitsch of the band’s best-known material.

Whether you currently own a retro RV, searching for the perfect one, or just discovering the wonderful world of vintage trailers, The Little Vintage Trailer website may help you to find your own happiness in a retro RV.

Worth Pondering…

One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.

—Edith Wharton

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