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.