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Old 02-09-2021, 02:34 PM   #61
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It's nice to have all of these companies competing for our dollars. It's nice having lots of options.
I'd like to see Cortes gain enough understanding of RVing to build awesome trailers. I think that's going to require a more nuanced understanding of the importance of layout, as well as the various storage needs... dry goods, trailer chocks, bicycles, folding chairs, laundry, the works.

In short, not just the what but the why of it.

As someone mentioned, while an 8 cu ft 12-volt compressor refrigerator sounds great, in a 17' trailer that huge capacity comes at the expense of precious storage. It also requires an understanding of the associated power requirements and selecting the right blend of batteries and solar to make it functional under various regional weather conditions, e.g. the low sun angles and cloudy skies of the northwest.

Comfortable seating is generally given no precedence in RVs until you get up into the enormous ones; we get an endless array of rigid-foam right-angle benches designed with the primary intent of being converted into second beds.

I'd like to see the space-age lightweight Murphy-style bed that would fold up to reveal the genuinely comfortable loungers underneath. This arrangement has made an appearance in trailers, but it's an overweight system that burdens the tongue weight while eliminating the under-bed storage space.

This is a lightweight composites project waiting to happen.

A look at the many lines of travel trailers reveals that hardly any have even as much counter space as an Escape 21 or 5.0 TA. It would be nice to see better kitchen areas with a bit of counter space.

Personally, I'd like to see a worthy successor to the Hi-Lo Trailers so that I can quit towing a barn door on the freeway and a top-heavy rig on the back roads.

These are some of types of decisions that really interest me, much more than selecting one brand of appliances over another. The consolidation of various components manufacturers into much larger entities has done us no favors.

I'll hope for the best.
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Old 02-09-2021, 02:35 PM   #62
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Hi Jon,
I was just wondering if there was some RVIA rule or something like that against [transport of fuelwood, clarification added].

Thanx,
paul
Not RVIA, no, though they might have something to say about the woodstove itself. Fuelwood transport rules come from states and provinces to protect their natural resources, and they vary. But even where not prohibited by law, it is considered a very bad practice. Fuelwood should be harvested and burned locally. Here is a website with some information: https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/map/

Being from a marine background, surely you are familiar with the quagga mussel infestations and extreme precautions required to prevent spread. This is the RV parallel.

Lumber and other commercial wood-based products are processed in various ways that eliminate live hitchhikers, so they can be safely (and legally) transported. If you had access to a cheap supply of untreated lumber scraps, you could carry and burn that in a small woodstove, being mindful of local burn restrictions. But in the end LP packs more BTU's in less space, burns cleaner, and requires less work.
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:19 PM   #63
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...possibly unfortunate metaphors do not improve mechanical design, but they do start arguments. They do turn off a percentage of the potential customers so desperately needed in a new business.
There is a reason so many companies these days choose a nonsense word for their name, so nobody can argue with it.
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:32 PM   #64
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It will be interesting to watch your progress! From what i read your trailer is going to be high end no problems with that of course there is a place for you!


If you get Scamps and Casitas price lists you will see they are different companies but they are related! Both build quality trailers and as an intention i think are at least a year behind in their builds!


They do not have a dealer network they dont need one or want one for the reason if a dealer is added then their prices would have to go up at least 25% then this would impact their sales eventually plus they own their own destiny this way! If you study them their fashion of doing business works and has worked for a long time!


I for one admire them but i think you are planning a high end trailer but you do know fiberglass a big deal for a start-up! You may be able with you knowledge build a fantastic trailer.



Maybe you need to study the big-foot and Oliver side of the trailer world also?


very best of luck
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:34 PM   #65
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good notes have you studied the a-liner type of trailer?


bob
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Old 02-09-2021, 06:25 PM   #66
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I'd like to see Paul and Cortes gain enough understanding of RVing to build awesome trailers. That's going to require a more nuanced understanding of the importance of layout, and various storage needs... dry goods, trailer chocks, bicycles, folding chairs, laundry, the works.

...

Personally, I'd like to see a worthy successor the the Hi-Lo Trailers so that I can quit towing a barn door on the freeway and a top-heavy-temple on the back roads.

...

With all this investment in molds and interiors, I'm afraid that they may be putting the trailer before the camper here.
Civil Guy,

The Hi-Lo definitely put the trailer part eg, the towing BEFORE the camper part e.g. the stay at the camp-site. None the less, the layout of the Hi-Lo made both much better although at a price. The price being the weight of the lifters and the narrowing of the inside of the trailer by two wall thicknesses on both sides rather then one wall thickness. They had the disadvantage of being similar to stick builds even if their "sticks" were sometimes aluminum. On the other hand, in the low condition, the 22' and shorter versions would fit into my garage. No Oliver, Scamp or even Casita will ever fit thru my garage door. According to the owners on the Hi-Lo User Forum, the towing performance of the units are superb.

Hi-Lo did not go the high end boat route proposed by Cortes and practiced by Oliver. Water proofing and high end boats parts quality are critical and loved by Oliver Users. Hopefully, Cortes will go the same route

A Hi-Lo variant of the Cortes would be wonderful. They could obtain the lifters from the company making the current mini Hi-Lo and, with their Aluminized Fiberglass Sheets, possibly make a leak proof frame for the top. It might be an extra cost option for a couple models. It might work well in combination with a super insulated wall version (disadvantage- more insulation means more space to the walls and less space to the living space : - ( But it might also mean more space inside the insulation for plumbing and batteries. They would need to make a lower shell that could work with either a conventional upper shell or with an Up Position Down Position Upper-Outer Shell.

Long term living space is important too. The 23'6" Oliver is the smallest travel fiberglass trailer my wife and I are considering. The modestly longer and wider 25' rear twin bed Bigfoot is our second choice as we have noticed Oliver people trading up to it but no Bigfoot people trading in the reverse direction. This is even though most comments we have read say the Bigfoots have more leaks and maintenance with their single hull design.

We have noticed that the Bigfoot seems to have its R8 insulation all the way around while the Oliver has much less insulation between its upper 2 hull then in its lower two hulls. Look at the troubleshooting pictures on the Oliver to get a better feel. There is not even enough room for a 1.75 inch layer of R5 Thinsulate between the upper hulls! We do prefer more warmth with more insulation to less warmth. Remember that the bed and bathroom are inside the upper pair of hulls not the lower pair of hulls.

We may still go with the Oliver because of the low maintenance as we have graduated to being senior citizens and our energy level for "do it yourself" repairs is down.

These are all thoughts that Cortes should think about in their marketing to senior citizens and full timers or lots of part timers.

Keep the smaller units too. The first Casita we saw was being towed by a married senior citizen couple who found it just right for their trips which usually lasted only a week or two. Casita never runs out of customers for their 17' units and refuses to consider a longer unit like the 23'6" Oliver Legacy Elite II even though they see that Oliver is selling them like hot cakes.

Worth thinking about for the future,
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Old 02-10-2021, 12:15 AM   #67
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Named after the Sea of Cortes? After the legislative houses in Spain and other countries?

Maybe named after the famous French impressionist artist Eduoard Cortes?

Cortes in Spanish means polite or courteous. Like: Mi amigo es muy cortes.
Not precisely. "Courteous" in Spanish is cortés.
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Old 02-10-2021, 07:50 AM   #68
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Personally I’d rather see some long-overdue attention to wind-tunnel testing and aerodynamics in a non-folding trailer. I’m thinking Bonair Oxygen and Bowlus Road Chief. Molded fiberglass seems like the ideal medium to experiment with streamlining. The rear slip stream and the trailer-tug interface seem like areas that could use attention.

With the emergence of electric tow vehicles, the time seems right, and we all benefit.

Just daydreaming. This project seems to be on its own trajectory already. I am confused by the lack of family resemblance between the 17’ prototype and the design concepts for the larger models. The 17’ model looks pretty derivative. What’s with the belly band? Couldn’t that be eliminated on a high-end, cored build?
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:02 AM   #69
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I agree that shaping a trailer for less wind resistance is a good idea, just so long It is still quite usable without the added tapering affecting movement and tasks done inside too much.

I have toured an Oxygen, and while an interesting build, the layout would not work for me on longer touring trips.

I guess I just need to adjust in style a bit.
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:39 AM   #70
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I'd like to see Cortes gain enough understanding of RVing to build awesome trailers. I think that's going to require a more nuanced understanding of the importance of layout, as well as the various storage needs... dry goods, trailer chocks, bicycles, folding chairs, laundry, the works.

In short, not just the what but the why of it.

As someone mentioned, while an 8 cu ft 12-volt compressor refrigerator sounds great, in a 17' trailer that huge capacity comes at the expense of precious storage. I'll hope for the best.
As someone stated we all have different needs. And storage of food is a need that we and probably most people have. Nothing I hate more than to have to leave behind a nice resort campground interrupting my pleasure activities to have to go to a grocery store every 3 or 4 days because I lack the refrigerator space to store food for at least a week. Never even considered 12 volt capability. We eat a plant based diet and that food takes up SPACE.
I removed the toilet and shower from my Snoozy and installed a 6.6 cu. ft. apartment fridge. The space where the wee 3.6 cu.ft. fridge once sat now holds a Thetford self contained suitcase toilet that easily slides out plus provides atop another shelf for storage. Beside the 6.6 cu.ft. fridge in the former shower space we have a hanging closet below the rear mounted Fantastic Fan. This space also allows for the storage of shoes below the hanging cloths.
This arrangement works great for us but may not work for everyone. Someone had mentioned that they shower every day and would miss a shower in their trailer. We, too, shower every day and finding a place to shower has a small learning curve for travel, but not rocket science. This quickly becomes nearly effortless. Campgrounds and camp resorts when settled have showers aplenty.
Just a thought for a trailer option to be made available for people that have similar needs to us and of which I see no manufacturer offering as an option.
This is an option that requires no major redesign of the standard floorplan.
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Old 02-10-2021, 09:18 AM   #71
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These fiberglass trailers been around a bit! I dont know who owns the largerst share of business but for the most part his sales will have to come off of one of them!


so reputation will come into play, what fills peoples needs the best and most, whose market share will he have to go after, it sounds like the Oliver end will be his target, Now we are talking expensive trailers what is that market?


I owned a company doing 500k i was making money at it i knew my market i knew my customers! But i wanted or thought i wanted to play against the bigs! I hired another salesman doubled my sales but when i closed my books i made less money! Frankly i just wanted to be in sales the running with the bigs stealing their business just didnt interest me! I wanted to be at home i wanted to enjoy life!


This man may know the boat industry he has great ideas but if it was me i would stay in what made me! Building the molds finding a place getting qualified help in something very far away in his knowledge may destroy what he already has! All those fiberglass companies have their own customer base getting a few customers may work but in the end i dont think it will work! His money though!


There was a guy in Hannibal Mo made the Mark Twain line of boats! Had a great product went broke then went into business again made the Tom Sawyer line of fiberglass boats he couldnt make it work with cheap labor in the day!
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Old 02-10-2021, 09:27 AM   #72
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Bob has a very good point. Should be able in one paragraph state why someone will buy your trailer over the entrenched competition. Its nearly impossible to compete on price, as the competition has bought and paid for factories and molds, knowledgeable employees, and a reputation to give them a baseload of business. Its the old marketing tool SWOT analysis.

A quick look at recent failures: Parkliner, Lil Snoozy, Airstream Nest, various Trillium clones, Oxygen, Egg, and others; shows failure is a lot easier than success.

Starting a new business, with several models, and new construction methods seems like a very risky endeavor. But as always, I welcome new entrants into this market.

I kind of like how Escape did it. Started by restoring other older units, eventually came out with their own product. Then gradually expanded their product line. I don't know enough about Escape's history, but if I was starting a new product line, I would study them for sure. I'd also study the failures: what went wrong. Some were pretty innovative designs with features others did not have.

I like to say: "Its easier to lose money than to find more of it."
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Old 02-10-2021, 09:35 AM   #73
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Seems to me there is a tendency to add "features" or size that goes downhill over time. What starts out as a high end feature gradually falls in price and moves down the market.

Ice box was common except in high end campers or "park" models which had refrigerators. Porta Pottie location in storage closet vs. wet bath vs. dry bath available in the largest models have moved "down market". A pop-up with AC, a bathroom, and a slide out is the end results.

One used to need to pay $500 or more for a tile cutting saw, they gradually dropped in price to appeal to do it yourself people with a large project. Now you can buy them for $99 or less. Which may work because using them more than a couple of times for the average homeowner isn't likely.

The quality also tends to decrease and eventually the market segments into higher end and cheaper products. There are market driven reasons GM sells Cadillac, Oldsmobile, and Chevy models. Mature markets tend to have sorted into niches or specific market segment that a company competes in.

How does this relate to a new FG camper? Well there will be bugs with a new product, higher the price point the more likely the person is to be upset. When one purchases high end goods one expects them to be top quality. If one has a market one is trying to fill then one can't be all things to all people. The lightest, largest, easiest to tow, most featured camper is a no go. Like those super jumbo swiss army knives, they end up being cool to look at but a pain to carry around.

People have different needs or desires therefore different campers. Price point does matter. If one has to convince a perspective buyer of the advantage of a construction then one has to be able to do exactly that. A person being asked to pay more for "better quality construction" has to believe that better is what they are getting, it also helps if the "better" is in a way that matters. If the construction is 20% less weight which translates into having a 16 ft. with the weight of a 13 ft. Or allows for a wet bath at the same weight as another companies more basic model that may win.

If one is counting on claiming that a material is "better" than the stuff that lasts 40 years and thus worth paying more for... yeah good luck with that. Of course there are folks I suppose that will pay more for "better" even if better doesn't matter. Just because buying the "best" makes them feel good. Like my old boss back in the early 80's who bought an entry level banjo to learn on, then a $500 banjo which he shortly traded in on an $800 banjo. All within a month of starting banjo lessons. Once he found out that there were high end models he could have bought.... he did. What he didn't do was practice, never did learn to play the banjo but was awful proud of his expensive ornament. :-)

Scamp I know added some different floor plans, one in particular comes to mind, the side dinette so empty nesters or retired folks would not have strip the bed to sit at a table inside. The original design was kid bunks and a bed/table for four. Over time the market changed. Someone starting out has an opportunity to consider the market as it is and target current needs and desires. If they do that well then consumers gain a new option.

Being better doesn't always work out. Saturn auto company got a lot of things right. Non-metal body panels saved weight, didn't rust, inexpensive to replace after an accident. Good service. Good assortment of products. No longer in business. GM needed to downsize and Saturn was gone.

So the market is there for "hard sided tents" to "home on wheels" with assorted amenity levels and features to suit different desires and budgets. Just don't be the "everyman" car as designed by Homer Simpson. Thing had everything an average guy would want to be comfortable, but it cost $45,000 which meant the market who wanted it couldn't afford it.
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Old 02-10-2021, 09:56 AM   #74
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Egg was a great little camper with a double wall construction that made it solid, well insulated for both climate control and noise abatement.

Stock was all electric which appealed to folks who went to parks with power, no propane system to maintain or buy fuel for. Electric comes with the site, propane you have to purchase extra. As far as I know the people who purchased them really liked them.

They also offered a nice teardrop trailer when that was becoming a more popular option. I looked at both before getting my Scamp.

Yet the Egg business failed to thrive. Not sure why. Business success rests on many decisions and sometimes just luck. Having the right product at the right time. Or a decision that turns out really well that could have as easily gone badly.

Reminds me of the business man (forget his name) who literally made money shipping coal to Newcastle England. He also made money on a load of I think it was mittens or woolens brought to a tropical island. Turns out the mittens were useful for some new industry, like cooking down rubber or syrup. And his ship load of coal arrived at Newcastle (a major coal producing area) during a coal miners strike that created shortages and extreme high prices for coal. Man got lucky but it could also have been he saw an opportunity coming that he jumped on. If someone else had arrived with leather gloves first, or the coal strike ended while his was in transit...

History is littered with successful auto manufactures who created often innovative automobiles that died in the market place which for some reason didn't like them, or ended up going head to head against a competitor who did it better, or found the rest of the market willing and able to undercut them on price in order to stifle the new competition. Go look up Tucker Automobile for an interesting history lesson.

AMC Pacer or IH station wagons, or the Ramblers with push button transmissions. Markets are funny things, and humans as customers are downright weird.

As the previous poster said, lot more ways to have a business run into trouble than there are ways to succeed.
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Old 02-10-2021, 10:20 AM   #75
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More robust and reliable

The market for molded fiberglass trailers is small. The market for high quality, expensive molded fiberglass trailers is even smaller. But looking at recent high end, expensive molded fiberglass trailers, the Oliver, Happier Camper and Armadillo success stories show that there is definitely strong demand for a high quality, expensive molded fiberglass trailers. What is expected in a high end molded FG trailer? Certainly better fit and finish, higher style, higher quality and feature rich electrical systems. But above all, the higher end trailer MUST be more robust and reliable compared to economical trailers.

The more economical molded fiberglass trailers DO have a body that lasts decades, so that's a proven trait. However, when towed many miles on highways, OR EVEN JUST A FEW MILES on back roads, two track roads, etc, rivets may start popping out and screws starts falling out. From what I have read and heard first hand, the rivets may start popping, screws falling out, doors falling off, appliances shaking loose even after one or two years.

So certainly the more expensive trailer designs must prevent those types of deficiencies.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:10 AM   #76
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Personally I’d rather see some long-overdue attention to wind-tunnel testing and aerodynamics in a non-folding trailer. I’m thinking Bonair Oxygen and Bowlus Road Chief. Molded fiberglass seems like the ideal medium to experiment with streamlining. The rear slip stream and the trailer-tug interface seem like areas that could use attention.

With the emergence of electric tow vehicles, the time seems right, and we all benefit.

Just daydreaming. This project seems to be on its own trajectory already. I am confused by the lack of family resemblance between the 17’ prototype and the design concepts for the larger models. The 17’ model looks pretty derivative. What’s with the belly band? Couldn’t that be eliminated on a high-end, cored build?
The question of aerodynamics occurred to me yesterday. I was thinking about how the various auto manufacturers have been stating their increased commitments to all-electric vehicles over the years. Could there come a time when older RVs are virtually unusable due to their poor aerodynamics? Or will increased efficiencies and battery storage capacities provide enough of an increase in range to make the poor aerodynamics moot? Time will tell.

The 17' prototype is literally derived from the Casita. Cortes removed several videos from their website showing how they pulled the lines off a Casita. The larger trailers seem to share a common design. I'm not quite clear what the intent is, but they appear to be a clean-sheet design. I wondered if they are trying to achieve something like what a Kammback does aerodynamically.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:20 AM   #77
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I don't think a trailer needs to be expensive to keep rivets and screws from falling out.
I've not had to replace any on my 12-year-old Escape, which spends a lot of time on washboard forestry roads.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:29 AM   #78
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I don't think a trailer needs to be expensive to keep rivets and screws from falling out.
I've not had to replace any on my 12-year-old Escape, which spends a lot of time on washboard forestry roads.
Same here. Twelve year old Scamp . Zero failures of structural fasteners. A few minor issues with cabinet hardware, easily put right.
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Old 02-10-2021, 07:19 PM   #79
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Hi Everyone,
Thank you all for your input. Also thank you to all of my many new friends that have went on our website and reached out to us to become an exclusive territory dealer.

I am letting everyone here know that I am going on a very important business trip for about two weeks so therefore I will not be able to respond on this forum. So please do not think I fell off the planet because of two weeks of silence.

Sincerely,
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Old 02-11-2021, 05:56 AM   #80
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What I see is a proto type that is not street legal, appears to be sitting on a frame, and looks a lot like a Casita. There is one model, and that looks quite different that the rest of the line up. And everything from a teardrop to a class A is listed, all coming soon in 2021.


The president of the company, who seems to have lots of time to talk, appears to have little experience camping or he would know why you don't transport firewood from one location to another.

Every company will tell you their product is the best and of the highest quality. Until there is a trailer that people can examine, it's all hyperbole. While they can knock Casita, Scamp, and the other manufacturers, people are lined up to buy their imperfect products and for the most part happy with what they bought. It's a big step from a web site to a product that has a waiting list.

I've got my trailer with it's "chopper gun" shell and have no interest in a new one. I'm in the "cheap seats". Having seen this movie before I'd say the odds are against them but I do wish them well. And it's always fun to dream.
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