2009 RV Awards
February 24, 2009
Filed under Feature Stories
We’re going to call them a “ReVy” and a “Greeny.” What are we talking about? The Camping Life RV Awards. Let us explain. A ReVy is our way of saying “nice job, keep up the good work” for producing a new product that in one way or another responds to a consumer need or trend, is a bold new direction, or is determined to be an excellent choice for someone pursuing the Camping Life lifestyle. The Greeny will be bestowed on a company that has shown an effort to either use manufacturing processes or materials that are environmentally responsible or “green.” Think of them as Emmys or Oscars in the world of RV-camping.
There are dozens of exciting new trailers and campers being introduced and many deserve attention, and some new products we have not seen yet may be released after this issue goes to press, but these 2009 Camping Life RV Award winners are on our short list of hot new towables you’ll soon see at your local dealer.
So, roll out the red carpet, start a drum roll, open the envelopes, and…
2009 REVY AWARDS
Our first ReVy goes to Airstream for its new Flying Cloud travel trailers. They are a blend of tradition and modern art, and just plain cool. It’s the chic RV. Aside from the retro-classical aluminum-skin exterior; the new Flying Cloud trailers feature exposed aluminum inside walls, and a unique and distinctive interior using high-quality surfaces (wood, vinyl, aluminum and laminate) and more neutral color choices than other Airstream models to create a comfortable, stylish, but wash-and-wear interior. The smaller Flying Cloud units can be towed by most mid-sized V-6-powered SUVs.
Coachmen receives a ReVy for its new M-Series travel trailers. The line of ultra light trailers offers slide and non-slide plans, with aluminum frames, smooth-fiberglass laminated walls, and some models that come with weights in the 3000-pound range. We also like them because they offer a relatively high content level for a towable in this size and price range, and are a perfect match for fuel-efficient tow vehicles such as mid-sized SUVs and crossovers.
Lance gets a ReVy, too, for two reasons. Its new 825 is a no-frills, budget priced and lightweight truck camper. It’s just what the cost- and weight-conscious consumer is looking for; it can be optioned up as high (or low) as desired, and it fits the short bed half-tons. And in 2009, Lance’s first foray into travel trailers shows courage under fire considering the less than vibrant economic climate, and we admire that. We saw the 1880 model; the second new model, the 2180, is in the works. Lance quality, lightweight construction, a nice equipment level as standard and a host of available options, with a low starting price makes it an instant hit in our book.
TrailManor also deserves a ReVy for its bold and strategic move, stepping out in a whole new direction with the introduction of its Elkmont line of “non-folding upright” travel trailers that require no set-up for camp. The Elkmont 24 comes in with a skinny dry weight of about 2500 pounds (can be towed by just about anything), and offers the same high level of amenities and features that we have become accustomed to in its line of outstanding fold-down trailers.
Our 2009 Greeny goes to Dutchmen. The company is not only bringing to market a super lightweight tent trailer hybrid RV that, quite literally, can be towed by just about any vehicle on the road today with four wheels and probably many with only two; but is also introducing a line of ultra lightweight travel trailers using composite materials to replace wood products in the trailer.
Working with high-end outdoor-equipment manufacturer Therm-a-Rest (a division of MSR) for the tent works, Dutchmen designed the TOPO Crossover BaseCamp. Assembled in the U.S., the 500-pound pop-up blooms to reveal a 15×18-foot tent structure with off-ground sleeping for four. In addition, the all-new Eco-Logic brand of super lightweight (2000 to 3800 pounds) travel trailers from Dutchmen will feature the CosmoLite composite material from TekModo to replace all the plywood and luan that would normally be used in the trailer’s walls, floor and roof.