Summer Camps

Cool rigs and hot products that are perfect for sportsmen.

The annual Louisville, Ky., RV show is the industry’s largest trade-only exhibition. This year a number of interesting new RVs and accessories made their debuts, many of which are likely to be of real interest to sportsmen who use RVs.

RVs and Trailers
Every truck camper’s floor space is limited by the inside bed dimensions of the pickup that carries it. To add more space, many camper manufacturers have followed the trend toward slide-out rooms in RVs of all kinds.

Host Industries Inc. has upped the ante by designing its three camper models with optional second streetside slide-outs that move the galley out, creating more aisle space.

The company’s Rainier, Tahoe and Yellowstone campers aren’t lightweight (they start at 2,950 pounds dry weight), so each will need a pickup with a high gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) for safe hauling. A one-ton pickup would be a good idea, as many three-quarter-ton pickups would likely be overloaded by one of these units.

Many RV trailers seem like they’ve been stamped from the same mold, but Northwood has expanded its line of trailers designed for serious rough-country use. High ground clearance for back-roads travel and extra-strong chassis features such as oversized axles with shock absorbers and diamond-plate aluminum body armor are a few of the standard features of Northwood’s Arctic Fox trailer lineup.

Extra-capacity water and LP-gas tanks and dual batteries mean the RV can stay out longer and still supply full livability features. The roof is crowned for water runoff and built heavily enough to withstand deep snow loads.

All holding tanks are insulated and heated against freezing, which is a nice touch for winter forays afield.

Payload Packer
Serious hunting and fishing trips can require bulky equipment. And that gear may also be too dirty or too big to haul inside an SUV. The heavy-duty front porch on the new Starcraft Star Shuttle 17SD trailer features a diamond-tread surface and large tie-down rings for securing dirt bikes and extra coolers.

The compact, 17-foot trailer weighs well under 5,000 pounds, so it can be towed by downsized SUVs and pickups. The RV industry calls this unit a “hybrid” trailer: It has hard sides like a conventional trailer yet it features large, tent-enclosed, fold-down beds that open from each end as in a tent trailer. This gives the Star Shuttle improved security and weather-resistance on the road while offering outstanding living space once the fold-down ends are deployed. The king-size bed platforms can accommodate two adult-size sleeping bags each and the dinette sleeps one, so this compact unit can comfortably sleep five.

Powerful Accessories
Virtually every RV has a converter that charges its batteries when the rig is plugged into shore power or 120-volt AC house current. But many of these converters never quite bring the battery up to its maximum charge, or worse, they overcharge the battery and damage its useful life span.

TrueCharge converters by Xantrex use sophisticated technology to charge batteries in three distinct stages: bulk charge, absorption charge and float charge. Each stage is absolutely essential to bring the battery up to its full charge and maintain its condition over the long haul.

Many generators are heavy, noisy and tough to fit in the smaller RVs favored by sportsmen. However, the new Camp Power generators from Onan weigh about 107 pounds, are about 19 by 16 by 12 inches overall and can be tucked away into truck campers, small trailers or motor homes. They also produce a noise level well below the USDA Forest Service standards set for national parks, so they won’t annoy your buddies or others camped nearby.

The gasoline-powered model is rated at 2.8 kW, while the LP-gas version produces 2.5 kW. Besides being able to charge the RV’s batteries and supplyy 120 volts of AC house current for a microwave oven, TV or other necessities, a Camp Power can also run a 13,500 Btu air conditioner with power to spare. That’s handy during summer fishing jaunts when the heat sets in and an air-conditioned environment is what you need to get a good night’s sleep.

Contact: Host Industries Inc. (541-330-2328; www.hostindustries.com); Northwood Manufacturing (541-962-6274); Onan (763-574-5000; www. cummins.com) Starcraft (800-945-4787; www.starcraftrv.com); Xantrex (800-446-6180).