There are certain subjects that you keep hearing over and over in places where RVers gather. One of those is, “How many miles per gallon do you get when towing your (insert RV name here)?” The funny thing is that the answer’s always about the same – roughly 11-14 miles per gallon.
People buy a big, square box and don’t realize that it just takes a certain amount of energy (fuel) to pull that box through the air. It almost doesn’t matter whether that’s a tiny little box like the Coachmen Apex Remote 16R or something much larger like the Cherokee Alpha Wolf 28FK. Once you’ve reached highway speeds, the biggest thing you’re overcoming is wind resistance.
So that’s one of the many reasons the Atia RV GU147 might be a different experience in towing.
Atia is a small, independent RV manufacturer in Middlebury, Indiana, founded by Iva “Nick” Nicholas. It makes predominantly single-axle, wood-framed (stick-and-tin) trailers designed to be more affordable – but also, uniquely, garageable.
The company achieves this garageability by way of a roof that raises and lowers much like the pop top we’ve seen on pickup campers. Like those pickup campers, the majority of the height is fixed such that you can get into and out of the trailer and even get around, although not at full height, while that top is lowered.
Since there isn’t a slide room on these floor plans, that means you have full access to the bathroom and kitchen at a road-side stop. So you can replenish supplies without having the raise the roof. That’s a good thing.
When you get where you’re going, raising the roof is a simple task. You simply push a button and the four motors, one in each corner, to lift the upper portion of the trailer up. The tent material is an Aqualon product which carries a seven-year warranty.
Details in the Atia RV Gu147
While this is a small travel trailer, it does have a dry bath. That will put it on the shopping list for a lot of people. The bathroom door in the trailer is unusual in that it folds at the top. Atia has taken advantage of this by putting a towel rack at the very top of the door. When that door is not in the full upright position, the towel rack is in the main body of the trailer. When you latch the door fully upright, the towel rack is in the bathroom. That’s pretty clever.
This trailer, being smaller, also uses a small three-cubic-foot gas-electric refrigerator under the counter. Cooking comes from a two-burner stovetop as well as a microwave.
Surprisingly, there are overhead cabinets in this trailer which are mounted on the ceiling. The company makes note of the fact that there are no vertical stiles in the cabinets. The point is that you have full access to the space with the upper-hinged doors open. But the example I saw also didn’t have any way to keep those doors open. For 2022, those cabinets feature netted openings rather than the cabinet doors you see in the photos from the company.
Couch along the camp-side wall
Interestingly, this model has a couch along the camp-side wall. It also has a dinette at the front that folds down and serves as the bed, as well. The good thing about this is that, if you want to catch a nap along the trip, the entire camp side of the trailer can serve as a bed for one without much effort.
When folded down, the dinette’s sleeping surface is just 54” X 80”. So this might be a great camper for a single person or even two folks who really like one another. But it will be tight for two larger folks.
The way Atia did the air conditioner is interesting. It employs a window-style air conditioner in the back of the trailer that stays in place top up or down.
Who can tow this?
I think a lot of people with things like Jeep Wranglers will see the 2,060-pound dry weight and get excited about this. Indeed, some Jeeps may be capable of towing this. The reason I specifically mention them is that that’s what the company shows towing this trailer.
As with any towed RV, you will not only want to pay attention to the gross weight of the trailer but also the tongue weight. That’s because that counts against the total cargo carrying capacity of the tow vehicle. In other words, if your tow vehicle is only able to carry 750 pounds of cargo and the two of you weigh 400 pounds combined, that means you only have 350 pounds left of capacity. The tongue weight of the trailer counts toward this number as well.
The fact that you can park this trailer in a garage when you’re not using it might make it a great choice for some people. Further, the price is affordable, and the fact that the top drops means it’ll be easier to tow.
Another thing I saw that was slick was the drop “box” at the rear for the door. Where normal trailers continue the flooring to be flush even at the door, Atia drops the flooring so the door sits lower – which also eliminates the need for stairs. You’ve seen this before in some Class C motorhomes. But it’s nifty that someone incorporated this into a travel trailer.
Kudos to Iva “Nick” Nicholas!
I also have to give kudos to Iva “Nick” Nicholas. When I called and left a message, he actually called me back. I can’t tell you how many RV industry folks just don’t bother, or don’t answer questions, or don’t respond to emails. This speaks well about how he is running the company.
I would like to see the company put stabilizer jacks at all four corners of the trailer to give it a more stable footing. Plus it would be great if they used hinges that held the cabinet doors up, or a strut of some sort. Otherwise, you only have one hand to hold up the door and the other to grab whatever you’re after in an upper cabinet.
Atia RV is establishing dealerships
Atia started by selling these trailers directly to consumers, but is now establishing dealerships, as well. There are a few dealerships now, or you can reach out to them directly. I didn’t get a chance to see one of these in person yet but the MSRP of $16,599 means that affordability is definitely a reason to check one out if this is the size of RV you might be looking for.
But, still, considering that this trailer weighs as little as it does, is easily towable and also has a dry bath, I can see it being appealing to a lot of campers who would rather not have a larger trailer to tow around. And at under $17,000, this is a real bargain in today’s market.
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Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
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.
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