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We are at the California RV Show at its new location in Fontana, California at the AutoClub Speedway. RV shows are one of our favorite pastimes. There is always something new and interesting to see, and we love staying on top of it.
This show was no exception. Being our first time to the California RV show, it was filled with new experiences. We saw a very different selection of RVs compared to other shows we have attended. Including many new brands we haven’t seen before.
In this blog post and related video we share some of our highlights, and what caught our eyes so far.
In Part 1, we cover RVs ranging from Class A motorhomes to small travel trailers, off-road vans, over landing expedition vehicles, and off road trailers to Class B vans, modular RVs and vintage RV restorations/remodels. We will cover a different selection in Part 2.
There are a lot to cover so let’s jump in. Watch the video and read on for more details.
2020 Newmar Kountry Star 3412
Newmar is one of the leading brands of high quality Class A motorhomes. They almost exclusively build Class A coaches,
The biggest change to the Newmar lineup here at the California RV show was the reintroduction of a familiar name from the past. Newmar has brought back the Kountry Star. Though it isn’t an entirely new coach.
For those familiar with the Newmar line up, you might know that previously there were two very similarly named, but different trim levels. The Ventana and Ventana LE, were different in many ways, but shared the same name.
For 2020, Newmar is replacing the entry level diesel Ventana LE, with the Kountry Star. Our first impressions were very positive. It seems to have taken a step up in quality and features from the former Ventana LE. This model even had a digital dash. A feature normally only found on higher level coaches.
The model we toured had a very nice neutral colored interior called Glacier Glazed Maple. Styling is more traditional, but quality was very nice. For example, the flooring is not tile as you might see in coaches further up the line, but the quality of the floor was better than the previous flooring in the Ventana LE.
The particular model we walked through was a 3412. It was a well laid out, spacious interior that felt quite roomy for a relatively short diesel coach.
MSRP on this Kountry Star was $280,000.
Earth Cruiser EXP
Having just returned from visiting family in Australia the day before the California RV show started, the Earth Cruiser really caught our attention. When we were in Australia, we noticed that most RVs were far more off road focused than what we find in the USA. RVs like this Earth Cruiser are much more common.
Julie and I had actually even talked about how fun it would be to do some global travel in remote off road areas. And had even talked about this very type of RV. So we were psyched to get a closer look at one here at the California RV show.
Interestingly, the Earth Cruiser company actually started in Australia in 2008, then moved production here to Bend Oregon in 2013. Most are built on a Mitsubishi FUSO chassis. This chassis is widely used around the globe which increases access to parts and service anywhere.
The unit we saw at the show was designed so that it can fit inside a shipping container to be shipped anywhere around the world. The rugged chassis and systems are designed to extend your adventure for long periods without re-provisioning. Including the ability to bring water on board from streams thanks to onboard filtration and purification systems. It is also equipped with solar panels and lithium batteries.
We loved checking out the Earth Cruiser and hope to someday do some exploring in something like this. Price on this unit was around $350,000 so we might need to find a way to just borrow one for a trip.
Happier Camper HC1, HCT and Van Kit
Another very innovative and unique display was at the Happier Camper booth. The modular interiors of these campers was like nothing else we have seen.
Happier Campers have been around since 2010. The company has it’s initial roots in restoring vintage trailers, then renting them, and then releasing their super popular vintage looking HC1. The HC1 is an ultra-light weight camper that can serve as a utility trailer or camper. How can such a small trailer be both you ask?
What makes Happier Camper so special is their completely modular design. Most everything inside the RV can be moved around, or out of the RV. Elements can be moved around in seconds, and the flexibility allows you to set up your space inside, outside or both.
The key is making the pieces using the two magic numbers of furniture building. Which are sixteen inches, and twenty inches. Various combinations of those two heights make up seating, table, and counter top heights. The ability to reconfigure allows you to completely change the layout at any time. Priced at around $25,000 These HC1 are designed for short trips, and the concept is truly brilliant.
New Protoypes at California RV Show
Happier Camper was also showing off two new prototypes at the California RV show. First was a production version of a new HCT. The HCT is larger than the HC1 and is more of a proper RV. It has a bathroom with shower, and a more permanent kitchen area. The HCT still does have quite a bit of flexibility in other areas thanks to the modular design. Pricing on the HCT is around $35,000. Both the HC1 and HCT are made using a double hull fiberglass shell design. One of very few, if not the only manufacturer to build that way. Very nice quality.
The second new release, was a true prototype, and in my opinion, another truly brilliant idea. They are introducing a modular ‘kit’ for vans. The idea is that a consumer could simply buy this kit, and have it shipped to their home. This kit would allow somebody to convert their van into an RV in a few hours, not months.
Currently they are finalizing the kit for Mercedes sprinter vans, but will be doing kits for other vans in the near future. The kit is expected to sell for around $10,000. Similar to the HC1, this kit would be intended for folks using their RV for short trips. But the beauty of it, is that you could quickly remove elements and use as a regular van when not RVing.
2020 Tiffin Allegro Bus 45OPP
As former Tiffin owners, we always love visiting the Tiffin booth. At the California RV show, the model that really caught our eye was the 2020 Tiffin Allegro Bus 45OPP.
This coach is one of the top coaches in the Tiffin line up. The one we looked at even had the 605HP, 2000 ft/lb torque engine. Exterior paint was a beautiful monochromatic white and grey, that we thought looked amazing.
It was beautiful on the inside as well. Interior finishes were much more modern and contemporary than we are used to from Tiffin. High gloss gray cabinets really opened up the space when combined with off white furniture. The lighting was modern too.
Special touches were fridge door panels that matched the cabinets, and beautiful tile work. Very nice job Tiffin!
Tiffin has new front facias on most all of their diesel lineup this year. Their coaches looked really sharp. They also have a new version of the Breeze, with a new power plant, and now only in the 33BR floor plan. For those not familiar, the Tiffin Breeze is a compact, and sporty feeling coach.
We also had a special opportunity to see Bob and Judy Tiffin, and give them a personally signed copy of our book. Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road, which our original Tiffin motorhome appears on the front cover of.
ModVans modular camper vans
Another very interesting new offering was from Modvans. Their modular approach to RV van building is a great idea. Perfect for people who need to use their van for other purposes. Designed for short getaways, the vans are a relatively basic RV, not well suited for full time RVing.
But, the beauty of these vans is that you can rearrange or remove interior components. This allows you to use your van as a commuter during the week, even with three rows of seating. Or you might use the van as a cargo van during the week. The team at Modvans estimated that the interior elements could be removed in less than 30 minutes.
When you are ready to head out on an adventure, simply reconfigure the interior back into an RV. The pop-top roof allows for a very spacious interior, and a bed with 360 degree views through the screened roll-up windows with privacy shades.
Very innovative design. With a price point starting at only $78,000 and all the versatility, we can see why they already have a waiting list for their Modvans.
Black Series Off Road Caravans
One of my favorite new travel trailers at the show were these off road offerings from Black Series. The company was born in Australia, which explains why they are so much more ruggedly built than most we see here in the USA.
Now built here in California, they offer a wide range of trailers. Full hard-sided trailers, fold out campers, and some in-between. They have incredibly robust suspension and off road tires to handle just about any terrain you can pull it through.
Despite the rugged exterior, the interior of these Black Series hard sided trailers is quite luxurious. High gloss cabinets, basin sink, and other high end touch points were throughout the interior. The fold out campers were of course a bit more simple inside.
Very impressive and unique trailers.. ahem… caravans. If you are looking for an off road towable, these are definitely worth checking out.
Of course, one of our favorite things at RV shows is meeting up with folks who read our blog, book, RV Success School students, and others. We love signing books and hearing the stories of others as they prepare to live their own RV life.
Mike and Jennifer Wendland of RV Lifestyle, and Kyle from Drivin’ and Vibin’, joined us to host a large meet up in the vendor tent. We have also been returning to the Campground Views / Camp California booth every day to meet up with folks. Of course we also are happy to say hi to folks as we wander around the show seeing what else is new.
We did a seminar on the first weekend, and will do another one on Saturday the 12th at noon. And a book signing on Sunday 12 noon in the white vendor tent. Hope to see you there, or elsewhere at the show.
Planning on attending this show this weekend? Use the code RV3 to save $3 on GA tickets, when booking online. Click here to find out more about the California RV Show.
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