There’s No Other RV Quite like the Teal Tail Feather Camper

Larry Drake of Loveland, Colorado got into the camper business because he grew tired of pitching tents.

5 foot x 10 foot and 4 foot x 8 foot
5 foot x 10 foot and 4 foot x 8 foot

“I just don’t do tent camping anymore,” he said. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have a camper on my utility trailer?’”

But Drake couldn’t find a camper that would suit his Chevy HHR, a station wagon with a towing capacity of just 1,000 pounds.

So, six months after he retired from building acrobatic sport planes, Drake began designing a modular camper that sells for $5,000 to $8,000, depending on size, according to the Northern Colorado Business Report.

Drake, the CEO of Teal, moved to Loveland 15 years ago. He once owned a flight school in Napa Valley, California, and has done daring feats in air shows, though he sold his plane to finance his latest venture.

The campers are 8.5 feet long, 6 feet wide, and just over 6 feet tall. They fit on several sizes of utility trailers as well as a pickup bed and weigh 450 to 500 pounds, hence its name, the Teal Tail Feather Camper.

The company believes its camper’s lighter weight will appeal to the masses of Northern Coloradans who drive SUVs and light-duty pickups with limited towing capacity.

“Not everybody’s got a crew-cab, three-quarter ton pickup,” said Aron Kriss, Teal International’s production manager. “It just opens the door for a lot more people.”

So might the idea that the camper can be put together by one person in 60 minutes by piecing together panels made of polyethylene plastic filled with insulation. Only a Phillips screwdriver is purportedly needed for the job.

The proud inventor
The proud inventor

A safety strap around the perimeter secures the camper, which Drake says has kept out rain and snow during his tests. The camper has tie-down rings around the inside and outside of the camper.

“It’s been through harsh winters, it’s been through 100-plus-degree weather,” he said.
Although Spartan in design, a few of the creature comforts of a camper can be found in Drake’s camper.

Inside, the camper features a sink with a drain and a bottle to pump water to the faucet. The cabinets look more like a duffel bag—they open with zippers—though they have shelves and panels to support storage of belongings.

Because it’s so light compared to a conventional camper, drivers save on fuel and can maneuver their vehicles on Colorado’s rougher backcountry roads, Drake told the Northern Colorado Business Report.

Also, the camper has plastic windows and doors that lock, so equipment like bicycles and motorcycles can be stored inside. In the rear of the camper are benches that can be converted to a table and a bed. Two halogen lights are embedded in the ceiling.

When taken apart, the camper’s parts occupy a space of 4 feet by 5 feet.

All of this is why Drake can say there’s no other camper on the market quite like his.
Drake plans to have at least 25 units in his inventory this year, and more, he hopes, in the future. The plastic parts are molded in the Denver area, and, for the moment, the assembly takes place in Drake’s Loveland garage.

Ryan Speir, former COO of the Rocky Mountain Innosphere in Fort Collins, has invested in the company and taken on the role of chief operating officer.

Speir said he was drawn by the design’s versatility. Teal International also sells 8-foot-by-8-foot shelters, reports the Northern Colorado Business Report.

Those aren’t designed to fit on a utility trailer, but Speir wants to sell them to people like victims of Hurricane Sandy, who still lack shelter months after the storm struck the Northeast.

Or, they could be used as an ice-fishing shelter as well as towed by a snowmobile or ATV during skiing or hunting trips. They could also be used to convert a pontoon boat into a houseboat.

“There’s just all kinds of ways it can be used,” Drake said. “It just started out as a camper.”

Details

Teal International Corporation

HomeHeaderOct12Address: 5925 Sacajawea Way, Loveland, CO 80537

Phone: (970) 744-6568

Website: tealinternational.com

Worth Pondering…

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course, of action and follow it to an end requires … courage.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Livin’ Lite Restyles Interior Cabinetry

Wakarusa, Indiana-based Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles LLC, introduced an altogether restyled interior cabinetry look in its line of ultra-light campers at the recent National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

Livin’ Lite cherry interior
Livin’ Lite cherry interior

“As Livin Lite continues to evolve our unique all-aluminum and composite built product line-up to better fit in with mainstream buyers, we listened to both our dealers and customers about what we can do better,” Scott Tuttle, president of Livin’ Lite said in a news release.

“What we heard was we needed to soften up our interiors even more, and possibly eliminate some of the shiny, aluminum edges and trim on the cabinetry and walls.

“Well, we did just that with our new optional black powder coated trim package, which is available in our traditional maple cabinetry or our new rich, cherry cabinetry.

“While we will still build a number of units with the bright aluminum trim, especially in our toy hauler lines, this new powder coated look really helps our unique wood-free products attain a true residential look.”

The new interior packages are available in the Livin’ Lite’s popular Camplite travel trailers and truck campers, and will also be featured in an ultra lightweight fifth wheel that Livin’ Lite plans to launch in 2013.

Earlier this year, Livin’ Lite received a No. 1 rating for ultra-lightweight towables from third-party, consumer-produced JR Consumer Resources.

Livin’ Lite was the only manufacturer to garner an overall rating of “10” – the highest possible rating – in the highly competitive category.

There were also “above average” and “economy” categories.

Details

Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles LLC

Livin' Lite-VRV-CollageLivin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles manufactures modern-looking lightweight all-aluminum camping trailers, travel trailers, truck campers, and utility trailers under three brands: Quicksilver automotive tent camper line, Camplite enclosed travel trailer line, and the VRV camping/cargo trailer line.

Because the campers are so lightweight, they can be towed by even the smallest cars. Livin’ Lite’s Quicksilver camper was named Roaming Times’ Green RV of the year in 2008 for its energy-saving lightness, long-life all-aluminum construction, and completely formaldehyde-free construction.

Livin’ Lite was identified as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S. in the September 2010 issue of Inc. magazine.

Address: P.O. Box 528, Wakarusa, IN 46573

Phone: (574) 862-2228

Website: livinlite.com

Worth Pondering…

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.

—Arthur Ashe

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Startup Company Building RVs for U.K. Market

Paula and Brian Donat believe there is a niche in the RV market that hasn’t been filled—and, they intend to fill that void.

The Donats have created Eterniti RV, which is headquartered in on Dierdorff Road in Goshen in a small manufacturing building. Inside the well-used building that has housed other manufacturing start-ups, the Donats are assembling their team to build their product, a fiberglass shell travel trailer built to United Kingdom specifications that will be sold there in early 2012.

“We will initially be selling in the U.K. to start off and we plan to venture into Germany and Australia eventually,” Paula said.

The Donats have experience in the RV manufacturing industry. They also operate a marketing company that represents RV companies. But it was their experience in the industry that led to their new venture.

“We met a gentleman who wanted us to broker for him, and he wanted us to find a dealer here in the States to build units for him to go over to Europe,” Paula said. “We went to several manufacturers around the area and they did not want to build units to the U.K. specs, they wanted to build to the U.S. specs and send them over. And that is not quite what he was looking for. And he said ‘you guys have done this before, why don’t you guys build my units?’ And that is how it all transpired. We decided to start an RV company to build units to the specs of the U.K.”

Paula has spent the past year planning and preparing for production to start at the company they named Eterniti RV.

The first chassis are set to arrive soon from Germany. The European RV chassis is lower, narrower, and shorter than those used in the U.S. to allow trailers to be towed along the narrow European lanes that date back many centuries.

The Eterniti trailers will be ultralights that can be towed by the many smaller cars in use in the U.K.

“We will be putting slides in them because none of them (manufacturers) over there do slides. And those will be aluminum. I can pick them up with my hand,” Paula said.
Camping trailers are known as “caravans” in the U.K., Paula said. And those who use them traditionally outfit them with luxurious interiors.

That tradition, coupled with the weaker U.S. dollar vs. the Pound Sterling, will be a marketing edge for Eterniti, the Donats believe.

“We are going to be able to load these up and they will be able to pay the same prices for what they are currently paying over there currently not loaded up,” Paula said.

Brian has paid visits to the U.K. to study what caravaners want, need, and have experience with. He is expecting the Eterniti product to get a lot of positive attention—quickly.
“We really plan to just change the industry over there,” he said.

And it may cause some changes in the States as well.

The new team at Eterniti RV Company is beginning to pull together specifications and materials needed to manufacture a towable RV for sale in the United Kingdom. From left are Joe Medrano, line supervisor; Paula Donat, chief financial officer; William Rich, line supervisor; Ryan Craig, vice president of sales; and Brian Donat, chief executive officer. (Credit: goshennews.com)

Brian said Eterniti will install Web cameras in its manufacturing area so customers can watch their units being constructed and have input during that process. Most sales will be direct retail, with some units also offered through dealers in the U.K. Eterniti trailers will cost between 20,000 and 25,000 Pounds Sterling, according to Brian.

Details

Eterniti RV Company

Phone: (800) 280-8705

Website: eternitirv.com

Worth Pondering…

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

—Albert Einstein

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Prolite Introduces New Ultra Light Model

St-Jerome, Quebec-based Roulottes Prolite Inc. recently announced plans to introduce a new ultra-lightweight model to its product portfolio.

According to the Canadian company, two floor plans will measure approximately 13 feet, 10 inches in length and weigh in at less than 1,300 pounds while still offering several amenities, including a shower and toilet.

These units will be in addition to the eight models Prolite has been manufacturing for approximately 12 years.

Brad Harvey, Prolite’s sales representative, will pick up the unit at the Prolite factory north of Montreal at the end of September and drive it through the Atlantic Provinces of Eastern Canada visiting current and prospective dealers to show them the new model.

His travels will then take him back through Southern Ontario and west to the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

Coolo 13 - ultra light caravan (Credit: roulottesprolite.com)

On a similar trip last year, Harvey logged more than 9,000 miles to sign up new dealers and take orders for more than 50 units.

The benefits of Ultra Light travel trailers include:

  • Ease of towing—easily pulled by mid-sized or even compact vehicles
  • Better fuel economy than pulling larger units
  • The trailer can often fit into a garage when not in use
  • Comfortable and roomy enough for two (cozy for four)
  • Strong fiberglass construction
  • Easy to attach to tow ball
  • Easy to pull over the mountains
  • Savings on car maintenance and fuel consumption

Other Prolite models include:

  • Eco 12 – Ultra light travel trailer (sleeps 2 adults, weighs only 750 pounds, 12 feet 10 inches in length)
  • Mini 13 – Ultra light travel trailer (sleeps 4 adults, weighs only 950 pounds, 13 feet 10 inches in length)
  • Coolo 13 – Ultra light caravan (sleeps 4 adults, weighs only 850 pounds, 13 feet 10 inches in length)
  • Profil 14 – Ultra light caravan (sleeps 4 adults, weighs 1400 pounds, 15 feet 2 inches in length)
  • Escapade 15 – Light trailer (sleeps 3 adults, weighs 1830 pounds, 16 feet 9 inches in length)
  • Evasion 16 – light caravan (sleeps 6 adults, weighs 1800 pounds, 17 feet 2 inches in length)
  • Fusion 19 – Light travel trailer (sleeps 5 persons, weighs 2450 pounds, 19 feet 6 inches in length)
  • Xtreme 23 – Long light trailer (sleeps 6 adults, weighs 3150 pounds, 24 feet 4 inches in length)

Details

Prolite, Inc.

Eco 12 - Ultra light travel trailer (Credit: roulottesprolite.com)

Prolite, Inc. is an Ultra Light Travel Trailer Manufacturer located in St-Jerome, Quebec. All models are made with a monocoque fibre glass roof which includes a one-year, limited warranty. In addition, the company offers a two-year limited structural warranty.

Address: 1100, boul. de l’Industrie, autoroute 15, sortie 45, St-Jérôme, Quebec, Canada J7Y 4B9

Phones :
Phone: (450) 438-3112 or (888) 438-3112

Website: roulottesprolite.com

Worth Pondering…
Waiting until everything is perfect before making a move is like waiting to start a trip until all the traffic lights are green.

—Karin Ireland

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