Thursday, June 24, 2021
Thursday, June 24, 2021

RV Preview: Pearl Caravan prototype

By Tony Barthel
We are at that time of year when the new RVs are starting to be announced. So you’ll see more and more stories here about RVs that are forthcoming such as the new Keystone Arcadia 370RL travel trailer. But what I haven’t done, until now, is publish a story about a trailer you can’t even buy. Yet. 

With that in mind, I had the privilege of meeting Rod Jacques, who has been a state park ranger in Washington state and, while he was working, saw a lot of RVs. In fact, he saw so many he even owned a couple along the way. Today Jacques is retired but he hasn’t tired of RVs – though he does believe that he has a better idea for one. 

“I wanted to create something that bridges the gap between a teardrop and a regular trailer you could get into and out of.”

The Pearl Caravan

Working as a ranger, Rod was able to enjoy the incredible beauty that are our national lands. Of course, one of the reasons to get outdoors is to enjoy the things this country has to offer. But not everybody wants a small trailer that’s so petite you’re standing outside to do the cooking, for example. 

As such, there were a few requirements for the Pearl Caravan, which is the name Rod Jacques gave his creation. 

It had to fit into a standard garage and it had to be towable by the car he currently owns, which is a Subaru Outback. He didn’t want it to leak, as he’s owned several trailers already that did – including a canned ham trailer. 

So the idea was to build the entire top out of one single piece of fiberglass. And that’s what he did with the help of another ranger who just happens to have a lot of experience in the world of fiberglass. While that ranger was working on the body, Rod was working on the frame. He welded up a unique frame to which he mounted a torsion axle for easy towing. 

The body had to also have a nod to aerodynamics. So Rod looked at how cars were being built and followed some of the cues there, including tapering the body slightly at the back. 

At the very back is the entry door, which makes sense in a smaller design. And the door has an almost nautical feel with vertical planks and a porthole for a window. 

To facilitate those great views, a custom window manufacturer in British Columbia was hired to craft the two large windows at the sides of the Pearl Caravan. 

Among the other requirements for the Pearl were to be able to enjoy the fantastic views of nature and also not have to go through a major effort just to get the bed ready at night. So the Pearl has a permanent bed at the very front of the trailer. 

Back from there is a two-place dinette. Then there is a sink on the road side and a two-burner stove on the camp side. 

When I saw the website for the Pearl Caravan I honestly thought it was a company in production right now. Sharing these stories with you, I’m finding more and more folks sharing cool RVs with me to tell you about. Such was the case with Rod Jacques, who wrote in to share the Pearl Caravan website. 

It turns out this isn’t a big company or even a company at this point. It’s just an idea for a camper from someone who camps and has seen a lot of campers. Rod’s hope is that someone sees his camper and likes it as much as he does and wants to build it for others to enjoy too. 

I have heard from quite a few people who would rather not have to make a bed or who are saddened by the small windows in many RVs. So this might actually prove to be a popular little camper. 

##RVT999

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Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
17 days ago

This is a really great idea-marrying the teardrop and regular campers, and the engineering genius should definitely patent his ideas. There are so many good things about this-light enough to not need a big heavy tug, the separate dedicated bed and dinette, the inside kitchen you can cook in, the large windows. However drawbacks- no toilet (I suggest a cassette marine toilet) making windows into awning types so ventilation can continue in the rain, and for those in warmer regions(New York City has just been
amended from a temperate gardening zone to a subtropical gardening zone) some kind of small airconditioner-NOT a swamp cooler.I’m sure that a small a/c can be arranged to keep those of us in the South camping in spring, summer and fall(Yesterday my high in S FL was 90*F- but “feels like” was 98*F. A/C is not an option but a necessity for some of us. Excessive heat kills!

Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
17 days ago

Why don’t you crowdfund a small project to just draw up specs and presentations-and then look into asecond career as a camper production firm? The Drumi footpowered laundry was crowdfunded over 3-4 years by Yirego and is now in production!

Carson Axtell
1 month ago

I like the design, size, and the fact that it is made of fiberglass, a light and easy to repair material. The fact that it can be towed by a Subaru Outback is a huge plus, too. I like the skylight, as well, and the fact that it is so large might make not having a roof fan less of a big problem. My only concern is with the side windows, which being large is a plus, but I would prefer that they were awning windows so that they could be opened when it is raining to get some ventilation. Some hooks or a roof frame for mounting sun shades over the side windows and skylight would also be helpful in sunny areas like the southwest. A price point of about $20K for the trailer would be competitive with similar sized trailers, IMO. Good job!

Carson Axtell
1 month ago
Reply to  Carson Axtell

Scratch the roof rack suggestion: I didn’t notice that it has them…

Flash Gordon
1 month ago

Cool concept and great execution!
Nicely done Rod!

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Those big windows are perfect for Seattle, here in Texas, that cute little trailer would be a solar oven.

Ed Thompson
1 month ago

Love it…looks like an RV for Hobbits!

Mandy Jacques
1 month ago
Mandy Jacques
1 month ago

I’m so proud of my Dad for creating this trailer. I have watched him pour his time, energy and talent into hand crafting this Pearl from start to finish. It’s truly a work of art and extremely functional. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing the love.
Mandy Jacques

Susan Banks
1 month ago
Reply to  Mandy Jacques

Dad did a great job, so easy to move place to place. I try not to camp with much stuff. This is perfect. Love the bed. Only part I missed, do the big side windows open? I hope so for great air!

JeriD
1 month ago

What is the link to the website?

JeriD
1 month ago
Reply to  JeriD

Sorry, I just saw that you have a link highlighted early in the story!

Rodney Jacques
1 month ago
Reply to  JeriD

Pearlcaravans.com

Amber
1 month ago
Reply to  JeriD
Gigi R
1 month ago

Once a toilet is added this would be for me !

Rodney Jacques
1 month ago
Reply to  Gigi R

Great! Thanks for your input. We are working on a version with a toilet.

Judy G
1 month ago

…and tow it with my Subaru Outback – awesome!

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