LOVELAND, Colo. – If there’s one thing any camper knows, it’s that weather can make or break a backcountry experience.
So, too, it can put a bit of a damper on the opening day of a three-day show meant to show off some of the latest products to a rabid boondocking audience ready to see what’s new.
Friday (Aug. 25) dawned cool and overcast in Loveland during the first day of the Overland Expo Mountain West and a steady stream of customers rolled into The Ranch at the Larimer County Fairgrounds. By noon, the skies opened up into a downpour that just wouldn’t stop. Fortunately, there were two days left of the show, both of which were sunny and warm. Unfortunately, RVBusiness was only able to attend that first day.
We had intended to find 10 products that aren’t necessarily RV-related, but could easily slide into a dealer’s parts and accessories inventory to fill a gap that the owner might not even know existed. But thanks to the rain cutting things short, we had to settle for a Top 7 instead of a Top 10.
Think, for example, a newbie bought a tiny trailer that doesn’t have a toilet or they’re having second thoughts about that wet bath. There’s a solution for that. Or somebody during the COVID boom bought a basic Class B or even teardrop that did not come standard with an awning. They’d like to fix that, but can’t really afford a full awning. There’s a solution for that.
So, without further delay, in no particular order, here are 7 Cool Things from the Overland Expo Mountain West that you might not know about, but might be a future profit source for your dealership.
Backroad types are probably familiar with this company, that makes everything from sleeping bags and backpacks to lightweight comfortable furniture.
But the company’s Backroads Shelter and Sideroads Awning products might be of particular interest to RVers with small trailers or Class B motorhomes that need a little extra sheltered space or just some shade on the side.
Both products can either attach to the side or rear of a vehicle and as easily assembled as a pup tent.
The Backroads Shelter offers more protection from the elements, but also can be set up so the sides are open, allowing for plenty of air to pass through.
Backroads Shelter has a universal vehicle attachment system easily connects on side or rear of most vehicles; fits small hatchbacks, SUVs, jeeps & vans – should fit almost any passenger or recreational vehicle; adjustable side walls allow flexible staking options and additional protection if the rain shows up; large entryway door with zippered mesh window provides options to button things up when the weather turns; Quick Corners for lightning-fast and easy setup; floorless tarp structure provides sanctuary from the elements; secondary roof rack attachment straps provided as attachment option; Shark Mouth duffel for easy pack-up and cross-body transport and sturdy fiberglass poles.
Marketing Manager Kyle Ogilvie said that a model on display Friday morning had been put in place Thursday afternoon and easily stood up to some strong overnight winds and rain.
The Backroads Shelter retails for $179.
For more information, visit www.kelty.com.
NOMAD KITCHEN CO.
Bought a tiny trailer with no kitchen? No problem. Got a fifth wheel with undercarriage storage but no outdoor kitchen? No problem. Got and SUV to tow your trailer that has no kitchen? No problem.
Nomad Kitchen has three products that put a mobile kitchen on sliding drawers that can fit in an area as small as that behind the seats in an SUV.
There is no permanent installation and the kits are easy to mount and remove in two minutes once the original installation of hooks and rings has been accomplished.
CEO and Founder Sam Gross said the Original Nomad Kitchen’s footprint measures 25 inches deep, 20 inches wide, and 14 inches high and retails for $1,199.
The Original Nomad Kitchen includes:
- Stainless steel washbasin
- Bamboo cutting board
- Drying rack/storage basket
- Drawer for your two-burner stove (stove sold separately)
- Adjustable rubber support strap to attach a 1-pound propane tank and secure your stove while in transit
- 2 hanger hooks (one on each side) for accessories, trash bags, hand towels, utensils, etc.
- Space for a water tank (water tank sold separately)
- Plenty of storage space (internal storage bags sold separately)
- Available proprietary universal mounting strap system
- Bolt-on riser and leveling shim
- For more information, visit www.nomadkitchenco.com.
Does a customer have an extra guest for a weekend getaway but all the RV beds are spoken for? Or maybe it’s just a hot summer and that customer wants the option of sleeping outside.
The Badger Bed is just the answer in 25- and 30-inch widths.
Founder Stuart Born said Badger Bed retails for $825.
It includes a zip-up kit to carry the entire product in one convenient package. It comes with Memory Foam and air mattress as well as sheets and a quilt with Sierra Down or Baja synthetic filling.
Born Outdoor is a veteran-owned family business founded in 2017.
Born Outdoor has customers that include RV dealerships and offers Pro Deals to professionals in the park service, mountain guide, outfitters, search and rescue, military and industry affiliates.
For more information, visit www.bornoutdoor.com.
There’s no easy way to say it. Going to the bathroom can be a major hassle while camping in the backcountry, no matter what bears may do in the woods.
Trelino produces a pair of portable composting toilets that might be an option for someone who bought a bare-bones tiny trailer or who might be having second thoughts about a wet bath in a teardrop or Class B.
The German-designed product is built to separate the liquids from solids so that each can be disposed of when convenient. Liquids go into a 1-gallon cannister and solids into a compostable bag that can be sealed and put aside until reaching a disposal station.
The toilets can be mounted inside of a unit if desired, but are intended to be portable, although we wouldn’t recommend using it while sitting on top of your camper as depicted in an ad at the Expo.
Katie Peth, customer service manager, said the smallest of the Evo models retails for $350 and the largest for $550. The smallest of the Origin models costs $495 and the largest $595.
For more information, visit www.mytrelino.com.
Security can be a concern no matter what kind of camping system is being used.
Tuffy Security Products offers a number of ways to stow away valuables behind lock and key – or behind a combination lock for those who already have too many keys to keep track of.
For customers with towable RVs, Tuffy offers console inserts that can be used in the tow vehicle. Built of welded 16-gauge steel with a powder coat finish, the inserts are available for Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, Jeep, RAM and Toyota pickups.
For large motorized or fifth wheel RV with pass-through underneath storage, a system built for heavy duty truck beds that uses roll-out drawers could be a potential solution. This system is 48 inches wide and the drawers can open up to 92 inches depending on the model.
All of Tuffy’s products can be keyed alike with a 10-tumbler double-bitted pick resistant key.
Eric Kuhlman, OEM sales manager, said the heavy-duty system could cost upward of $2,000.
For more information, visit www.tuffyproducts.com.
This one is not quite ready for prime time yet, but dealers who have customers interested in all-electric RVs would do well to keep an eye on Lightship RV.
The Colorado-based company is working on a pair of prototype trailers that operate 100% on electricity from battery power without a generator.
Head of Marketing Amanda Winther said the trailers will feature 2,000 watts of solar that will offer constant recharging including trickle charging while the vehicle is moving down the road.
The current iterations of Lightship – the L1 Essential and L1 Long Range – look absolutely nothing like what would be expected of an RV on the inside. There are no room divisions. The trailer is open front to back with windows all around.
A front cushioned area folds out into a queen bed and a side dinette also folds out into a sleeping area. Waist-high cabinets adorn the opposite side of the coach with a small kitchen toward the back and a small dry bath in the rear.
Now for the wow-factor. The L1 Long Range is self-propelled and has a 300-mile range for each charge. This makes it virtually weightless to the tow vehicle, according to Winther.
Much of Lightship is still in development, and it is uncertain whether the vehicle will use standard recharging stations or Tesla stations. For initial models, Lightship is marketing direct to consumer and expects to have models ready by late 2024.
Decisions as far as a dealer base will be made based on initial reactions to the trailers.
L1 Essential is expected to have an MSRP of $125,000. L1 Long Range is expected to go for $151,500.
For more information, visit www.lightshiprv.com.
MEDICAL POINTS ABROAD
As was overheard in the display booth, a person going to an emergency room and just needing a simple bandage will still have to pay about $85 just for coming in the door.
Medical Points Abroad is a veteran-owned business that supplies several different levels of medical kits for all sorts of situations.
The Wilderness Health, Aid, and Comfort Kit (WHACK) Classic, which retails for $261, was developed through the efforts of a number of ER physicians, paramedics, critical care flight nurses, and combat medics.
It will provide the equipment and supplies necessary to support someone with skills up to Wilderness First Responder.
The kit is not just for first responders. It helps anyone help others if they are in an emergency situation. The kit can help with big injuries and also small injuries such as cuts and bruises.
Items in the kit include adhesive bandages, aluminum splints, wound-cleaning tools, antiseptic wipes and more.
For more information, visit www.medicalpointsabroad.com.