May '18

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10 • RV PRO • May 2018 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S S ince its debut in the late 1930s, the teardrop trailer – once known as "the honeymoon trailer" – has experienced an ebb and flow in popularity unlike any other RV. Once limited to do-it-yourselfers and a small cadre of enter- prising manufacturers, production of teardrops is now spread among a growing list of at least 57 builders across the U.S., Canada and Australia, according to Pat Bremer, owner of the small trailer devotee website www.smalltrailerenthusiast.com. How big is this niche market? Industry experts say the answer is almost impossible to calculate. Statistical Surveys doesn't have a category for teardrop trailers and neither does the RV Industry Association. Stat Surveys President Scott Stropkai says retail sales for the broad range of all single-axle travel trailers 20 feet and under in 2017 topped 40,000 units – up about 17.7 percent from 2016. That gross figure includes many of the teardrops plus some non-teardrops. He counted 52 OEMs selling single-axle trailers in 2017. The teardrop players are an independent lot – just four man- ufacturers (with an application for membership from one more pending) belong to the RV Industry Association, so the monthly tabulation of wholesale shipments routinely undercounts the segment's output. The configuration and size limits of teardrops tend to create a lot of mimicry and intense competition. Teardrops attract the adventurous types and people of all ages, according to Bremer, who's owned a teardrop for several years and maintained his website since September 2011. In 2017, the site received 520,000 visits. "What I see in a teardrop owner is that they are the mini- malist who doesn't want a big trailer and just wants a place to sleep and hang outside their teardrop during the day," he says. "They're also the people who like to go off the beaten path to hike and bike, and a teardrop gives you the advantage of set- ting up shop in a much smaller area where you'd have difficulty with a larger trailer." Others would contend that their RV must have basic crea- ture comforts, such as a toilet and shower. And there comes Shedding Pounds, Not Tears The teardrop trailer market is generating strong interest from consumers, who appreciate the ability to tow those trailers with even four-cylinder cars. By Steve Bibler PHOTOS COURTESY OF FOREST RIVER, INTECH AND LIBERTY OUTDOORS

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