Niche market Cricket trailers

As the weather heats up, one Houston entrepreneur is preparing to market a cool little trailer that will make enjoying the great outdoors a bit more comfortable.

As reported by the Houston Press, Garrett Finney is the architect behind the adorably minimalist Cricket Trailer, an “un-RV” designed and manufactured in Houston, in a factory just south of the Galleria. The Cricket, which was on display at the 2010 Lawndale Design Fair, was named one of Art Attack’s Top 5 that year in architecture and design. But only in the last couple of months has it been available for purchase.

Finney, a former space architect with NASA, said he wanted to make a camper trailer that took the outdoor and recreation vehicle industry in a new direction. He said his experience working on the International Space Station helped.

“I had this expertise in living in small spaces, and I had this history of interest in the outdoors,” he said. “People are buying the biggest thing they can afford instead of buying the thing that best suits their needs. People are not buying a house on wheels. The whole point is to have an adventure.”

The Cricket is a kind of hybrid tent and trailer, made of aluminum, wood and steel, with a pop-up style roof. The basic model starts at $14,330 and features a plethora of add-ons, from roof racks to a fridge to a portable toilet. The trailer shell is also available. The name Cricket was inspired by an early design sketch, in which the lifts on the pop-up looked like the legs of the insect.

Finney said most of the people who are buying Cricket trailers have never bought a trailer before. In describing the company’s philosophy, he harkened back to the old 7-Up ads from the 1970s.

“We thought to ourselves, ‘What kind of camping trailer would an REI customer buy?’ The RV industry is big and bloated in a way. We’re trying to be an un-RV. We have fewer amenities, but we like to think they’re the right amenities. You can leave your house at home.

“We want to be the thing that’s coming at this industry from left field. We can build a better mousetrap. There are all these systems that we didn’t build into Cricket because you already own the gear. But that doesn’t mean the form needs to be generic.”

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