The T@B is back! Dutchmen, the original manufacturers of the T@B, discontinued the production and support of the colorful, stylish little trailer in 2009, much to the chagrin of die-hard T@B owners and fans. One reason for this might have been because of the high cost of the various parts of the trailer that came from Europe. The rights to the popular trailer has now been acquired by Little Guy Worldwide, a company that makes teardrop trailers. Little Guy has partnered with Pleasant Valley Teardrop Trailers (the people who built my teardrop) to build the T@Bs. The Ohio-based company was also considering acquiring the T@B name and business at the same time as Little Guy, but instead decided to partner with Little Guy and their large fan-base.
The new 15-foot long T@B has the same smart and sassy design, options and details as the original, but is still in the initial floor plan phase. Little Guy has added some additional amenities such as an outdoor shower with a 2.5 gallon heated tank, a 3-way refrigerator that can run off 12 volt, 110 or propane and a detachable screen door. The trailer is about 1,500 pounds fully loaded, contains a sink and a 2-burner LP stove, a propane tank and battery attached to the front and has a 5 gallon fresh water tank. The interior has birch cabinetry, storage under and over the seating/Queen bed combo, a small closet, a Port-a-Potty, an LP furnace/CoolCat air conditioner and several upholstery designs.
Tramp, gypsy, vagabond, nomad. Do you want any of these words to describe you? Robert Wells has lived most of his life as a gypsy, vagabond and nomad in various forms of vans and RVs, and documents the tips and tricks he has learned over the years on his website Cheap RV Living. He offers some fun information from people who have taken the plunge and have become full-time nomads on the cheap.
His little “How-To Guide” focuses on how to live a cheaper, lighter existence while still being independent. He discusses van conversions, boondocking, workamping, financial freedom, traveling with pets and children, safety and cleanliness issues, how to choose a vehicle, overcoming your fears, living on a boat, homesteading and working while on the road. He also shows how living a life on a $500 to $1,000 a month budget is possible.
Some of his fellow nomads discuss how they took the leap:
On a fateful day in 2006, I was struck by an idea so powerful that I stood up from my desk, walked to the personnel department and resigned. I would sell my house, the extra cars, all that important “stuff” and live on a boat with my family, and travel the seas as a free man.
Captain Keith of the Kismet
After 22 years of working at the Post Office, I was tired of not being happy with my job or my life and knew I had to do something. I remembered those happy days traveling in the travel trailer and was sure I could be happy again. I already owned my 1983 VW Westphalia, so it was the obvious choice when I decided to downsize. I wasn’t sure exactly how I would do it, or how long I could stand living in a van, but I knew it had to be better than the life I was living. I am delighted to say it has been 2 years now and I have no desire to go back to a more conventional life.
Photos courtesy of Cheap RV Living
Sandi Wheaton of Windsor, Ontario recently lost her job in Detroit. Instead of looking for a new job, she decided to use the time to fulfill one of her dreams: traveling and photographing Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Sandi is living this dream in an Aliner pop-up trailer. She decided to document the famous highway using a digital camera, a camera with infared film and another camera which follows her route with a shot every few seconds. She hopes to have her photos published in a book and a DVD or website.
Her trailer is a 1998 Aliner which she bought specifically for the trip. She initially wanted to travel in a T@B, but her Jeep could only tow a low-profile pop-up design. She is thrilled that she does not have to unhitch every time she sets it up. She also mentioned that she likes the Oliver trailer, like the one owned by Cherie and Chris of Technomadia.
“I love this trailer, especially for this purpose,” Sandi said. “Since I am traveling alone, unhitching is a pain. With the Aliner, I don’t need to unhitch in order to put it up. Plus it is up literally in a minute!” Continue Reading »
The sad news these days seems to be centered on people losing their homes and maybe having to live in their car, truck or RV. Dave Thorsrud has been living out of his van for over a year, but he is doing it in an effort to live a simpler life.
His website, Lives in a Van, chronicles his year of living richly on the road in his Pleasure Way van. He writes:
“Ironically, I left the full time job to travel in a van because I wanted to maximize possibilities. With a full-time job, a house mortgage, a car payment and various other debts, my only option when the alarm shrieked was to go to work. This was true during the week and frequently true on the weekends. So I craved choices. I needed to know that if an opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime experience came my way, then I could grab hold with both hands and embrace the new path.”
In order to find his more authentic life, he quit his job, sold all his belongings in five days and packed anything left into his van. During his search, he has traveled across the U.S. and parts of Mexico, met interesting people and has documented it with prose and excellent photography.
Dave lists the best aspects of living in a van as having no daily commute, the overall cost of living is low, all laundry can be done in one load, and every day is a new adventure. He also lists his rules of the road, which can be a metaphor for any simpler life:
DAVE’S RULES OF THE ROAD
- Avoid drive-thru value meals at all costs.
- Take photos of everything.
- Sing along to whatever is on the radio–even talk radio.
- Exercise whenever possible.
- Take care of the vehicle.
- Meet people–especially strange people.
- Drive slower.
- Never hesitate to take an exit, get sidetracked or get lost.
- Take the backroads when possible.
- Take notes, write daily, find the inspiration.
Photos by Matador Travel. Schematic by Lives in a Van
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After doing a post on teardrop and vintage trailers a few weeks back I thought I would do a post on the ultra-modern T@B. Since it was introduced a few years ago, the T@B trailer by Thor Industries has exploded as a popular alternative to a larger, heavier travel trailer.
The T@B is known for its European design, styling and lightweight construction. They are about 16 ft long and can be purchased for between $9,000 and $20,000. The full trailer stands at 7 ft 9 inches and the interior height is 5 ft 9 inches. It weighs under 2,000 lbs unloaded.
The T@B, which stands for Take America Back, also has all the amenities of a larger travel trailer (heating, air conditioning, fan, sink, refrigerator, stove and storage) but can be pulled with a smaller car and has no need for electronic brake control. The only thing the T@B does not have is a bathroom and shower. A port-a-potty can be installed. The Clamshell T@B even has a kitchen that opens up in the back, like the classic teardrop trailer.
The T@B also includes:
- Several floor plans
- Alufiber® construction
- Surge coupler attached to the hitch
- Seating area that becomes a 60 x 70 inch bed
- A covered area for a 20 lb. grill-style LP propane bottle and deep cycle RV battery
- A 5 gallon fresh water tank and on demand water pump
- A 25 amp power converter
- A marine grade amp with removable 20 foot power cord
- Smoke, propane, and carbon monoxide detectors
The T@B, because of its people friendly design and comfort, could be used for a temporary home or one that is more permanent. I came across several websites of people who live in or take extended trips in their T@Bs. I was specifically interested in the modifications they did to make the their T@B more comfortable and suited to their living needs.
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