Friday, December 1, 2023


RV Preview: Cortes Campers Fiberglass Travel Trailers

Sometimes it’s tough to keep some things under my hat, and one of those is the announcement about the new campers and trailers from Cortes Campers. The company has announced that the products are soon to be available and they are signing up dealerships. So it’s time to share that with all of you. 

Cortes Campers

You might look at the campers and trailers from Cortes Campers and dismiss them as yet another copy of the original Casita, which owes its heritage to the Burro trailers of the 1970s. We’ve also looked at other trailers somewhat like this including the Meerkat and the Armadillo. In fact even the high-quality Oliver comes to mind when I see these. 

So how do you stand out in such a crowded field? 

“When we started this company, we said we were going to build campers the same way they build airplanes, except with 21st Century materials,” US Lighting Group CEO Paul Spivak said after touring various RV manufacturers. US Lighting Group is the parent of Cortes Campers and builds products for the RV industry. 

I hear that all the time from RV manufacturers who also describe their own products as innovative when, often, they’re not. But things are definitely different at Cortes. And part of that is their familiarity with how things are actually done inside the RV’s space. 

When you look at how RVs are made, much of the process is hand labor. That leads to variations in quality that you see in so many forums. In this case, the company is planning to build these much more like cars and trucks, using automated processes. 

Cortes Campers use a less expensive process and more expensive materials

The exterior is molded fiberglass utilizing vacuum infusion. The company first sprays gelcoat, then adds all the dry fiberglass and core. After that is complete, they inject resin under vacuum pressure, which vacuum-infuses and cures in one process. The process is commonly known as “vacuum infusion”. Many others use what’s called a chopper gun to shred up fiberglass which is applied by hand to the mold. That results in inconsistencies and also a great deal of labor cost. The process Cortes uses is less expensive and more precise.

This is reminiscent of Henry Ford and how he was able to build a better car at an ever-decreasing price by automating processes. That’s the idea here. That enables Cortes to use more expensive and exotic materials in the process such as carbon fiber and such. 

“Most people would say ‘this guy is out of his mind,’ because the materials are 10 to 15 times more expensive,” Spivak said. Carbon fiber is around $35 per square yard, he added.

Cortes had been waiting for interior components to arrive from Furrion. Now that they have, photos are beginning to emerge of what is approaching a finished product. 

This also means wood, rivets, inexpensive steel and transportation-grade gel coat are out and marine-grade gel coat is in. The frame is 6061 aluminum – which is a high-quality aluminum. Then they powder coat the aluminum to further ensure longevity. 

What’s inside

Two models will be available initially from Cortes, both of them in the 17’ range. MSRP will be $39,950 with final prices set by the dealers.

One of the models features two settees at the back with an extension of the road-side seating space that extends all the way to a bulkhead at the front. Up along the front is a bathroom with a toilet on the camp side and a shower in the middle. There’s a closet just inside the door on the front. The galley is to the left of the door, featuring a three-burner Furrion stove with 17” oven and a sink. A 12-volt fridge rounds out the appliances. 

At night the two settees can form a 48” X 76” double bed with the extension along the road side serving as sleeping space for a third individual. 

If you prefer larger beds and fewer campers, there is a model with twin beds along each side of the rear at 30.5” X 82”. In this model the bathroom is larger and the galley is split between road side and camp side. 

Since some details of this camper are still being finalized there will be an update forthcoming. Plus, there are a smaller and several larger models in the future. 

The parent company’s marine sector, MIG Marine, manufactures offshore power boats – which Spivak said somewhat inspired the Cortes Campers’ manufacturing processes.

A mirror-like aluminized fiberglass finish is available

One of the unusual things if you really want to stand out is the availability of a mirror-like aluminized fiberglass finish. That adds $8,000 to the bottom line. The company has applied for a patent on the material, and I’m told it almost looks like a mirror. 

“We are excited about the new exterior and interior designs we offer for outdoor enthusiasts, weekend campers and long-term RV travelers,” Spivak said. “The luxurious travel trailers and campers include additional storage space, windows, appliances and the latest technology to monitor essential energy sources. Cortes Campers are approximately 50 percent lighter, much stronger and smarter than anything you have ever experienced.”

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.



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Bob M (@guest_130094)
2 years ago

6061 aluminum is a stronger, harder aluminum. It will resist bending like some of the softer Aluminum.

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