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RV product reviews

RVs are Popping Out All Over

Today’s RV designers are finding some creative ways to give us more living space in our RVs, and how they’re achieving that is what’s interesting.

In some cases, they’re expanding up or expanding out and occasionally adding a room where none existed before, and they’re doing this with a century’s old material: canvas. Now, this is not the canvas our forefathers used under covered wagons and tents, but lighter, stronger canvas. And in some cases, the material being used isn’t even canvas, but high tech vinyl and nylon fabrics.

While attending this past RV industry open house, we couldn’t help but notice all of these canvas additions. So we decided to take a closer look at what some of these companies are offering now. Currently, most of these canvas extensions and add-ons are being used on smaller camping and travel trailers, along with a few class B motorhomes. But larger trailers and toy haulers are expanding up and out also, especially on the rear tailgate decks, with some nice enclosed screened-end additions. A lot of this modern creativity and engineering goes beyond the actual addition itself.

If you look closely at this full room extension on the back of this Cyclone toy hauler, you’ll notice there are no metal corner or roof poles. Rather than metal framework, these additions are supported by inflatable tubes, which make the whole unit lighter and easier to set up and take down. Where and how they add this extra sleeping space, I guess, is up to the imagination of the designer, and no more is this evident than on these next two examples.

NoBo NestFirst is the Forest River NoBo with this added nest, as they call it. It’s a complete enclosed tent that sits on top of the roof of the NoBo and adds extra sleeping area beyond the normal interior space, and you can bet the kids will love this. On the same note, we found the same type standalone tent enclosure even mounted on the roof of a Jeep. So as we were saying, canvas additions are only limited to the creative minds of designers and engineers.

So as we were saying, canvas additions are only limited to the creative minds of designers and engineers. Some ways of adding additional space can be as simple as a pop-up roof that gives you a few more inches of headroom; to a pop-up roof that can not only increase headroom, but also add additional sleeping space like we see on this Hymer class B motorhome. So how creative and extreme can canvas additions go? Let’s check in with Jeff Johnston, who seems to have found one trailer manufacturer that lets you decide how many additional rooms you want to have.

Jeff Johnson: For somewhat different camping experience, if you’re going to go off road, get into some really rugged places and take it all with you in comfort is an expedition trailer. This is some CRUX expedition trailer. This is the model 1610, and what you see here is the way it goes down the road. Everything is all packaged together. All the cabinets and so forth contain all of the goodies for the trailer. And when you get to the site, it unfolds in a number of different ways. If you’re going to be spending a whole bunch of time like several days, you can unfold the entire unit that folds out to 211 square feet, approximately. If you’re just going to be overnighting, you do stage one, which is more or less the top sleeping tent that opens up on top and a little annex on the back. And then if you’re going to be spending a little more time or you want to expand a little bit more, you can add the side awning on the side and maybe one of the little rooms. And if you’re going to be spending several days, you do the entire suite of rooms. That gives you the trailer with the sleeping space up on top, a large tent space on the side, a little annex on the end that lets you have a place to put, say, a portable shower or, you know, toilet or something like that, and there’s a space on the back that has room for, say, a couple of cots if you’re going to have guests coming–sleeping with you.

And this unit is designed strictly for heavy duty use. Dual independent suspension axles, super heavy duty hitch assembly. The frame at all, it’s all galvanized or otherwise treated for rest resistance. This is really a unit that is unlike most of the tent trailers that you’ll see out there. Takes a few more minutes to set up, but like anything else once you’ve done it a couple of times–a unit like this CRUX expedition trailer can provide a type of comfort and convenience and living–livability out on the most rugged trails you can imagine. It’s a little different and it’s meant to be.

Well, as you can see, we weren’t kidding when we said when it comes to RV canvas extensions, things are popping out all over!