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.
By Tony Barthel
As we go through life we see things and become accustomed to certain sights. Let’s take RVs, for example. They’re generally a fiberglass or metallic exterior, very square and kind of have a lot of the same bits arranged slightly differently from one model to the next. You see a trailer – you know what it is.
So the first time you lay eyes on a trailer from Homegrown Trailers™ it’s very, very different. There is no metallic exterior – it looks more like a cabin in the woods that your grandfather built and all the family want to stay in. Funny thing – that’s what they smell like too.
One of the most overwhelming things about these is the smell – the trailers are made out of wood. Not just a bit of wood – they’re wood throughout and the smell is just delightful.
But lest you think this company is a retro or throwback to something, it’s not. The trailers are what you’d expect to be built in the Pacific Northwest. The company describes itself as a social purpose corporation and all the trailers are made in Kirkland, Washington. As an example of their thinking, the mattress is a locally-sourced non-toxic low VOC queen mattress.
You can upgrade the cushions in the dinette to “Shikibuton” natural latex cushions if that’s your choice. The trailers are produced in ways the company describes as sustainable in small numbers. This is not going to be a mass-market trailer – but for those who appreciate the way these are made, this is going to be a home run.
There are essentially two basic models to the Timberline – the off-grid package and the extended off-grid package.
The off-grid model includes 600 watts of solar panels and 5.2 kW of batteries. The extended package boosts those solar panels to 800 watts and includes 10.4 kW of batteries. Both include a 12-volt refrigerator-freezer and can be plugged into a typical 30-amp RV plug when that’s available.
There are some interesting options for this trailer, including a 250-watt electric heater ($495). You can also upgrade the standard 2.5-gallon water heater to the typical RV six-gallon water heater.
I wrote that the trailers are all wood and this extends to the bathroom, where the walls are a heavily epoxy-coated wood panel. On the subject of the bathroom, a cartridge toilet comes standard but this is the first time I’ve seen an RV manufacturer offering a composting toilet as an option.
There are a lot of things that are unlike what you’re used to and the company recognizes that. They have places where you can actually stay in these trailers to try out not only the trailers but the lifestyle they advocate. Also, all these trailers are sold factory-direct only.
The company sees these trailers as a bridge between a tiny house and a travel trailer with the trailers being able to be towed around like a travel trailer but having more of a tiny house feel. However, the company also tells me that most of their customers are weekenders and part-timers, so they’re not really designed for long-term use.
I may not be the ideal customer for this type of trailer but if I bought one, I would think a larger refrigerator would be an advantage. With companies like Furrion making 12-volt refrigerators that are incredibly efficient, I would hope this would become an option – the present fridge is pretty tiny. However, it is also designed to fit under the counter.
There is also no gray tank in this trailer nor is there a traditional black tank. Essentially this works like a vintage trailer in that the sink and shower just drain. This is fine if you’re at a campground, but you’ll want some sort of tote if you’re out in the woods without a place to send that gray water.
I would imagine it is a certain type of buyer who’s going to plunk down more than $60,000 for a travel trailer that is built so differently than most RVs today. But the company has no shortage of people waiting in line to get theirs, and many of their methodologies and ways of thinking are really refreshing.
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Having done woodworking as a hobby for 30 years, and stained fences for 20 years as a business. And have RV’ed for 12 years. I can say this is a BAD idea. Semi-transparent stains do not hold up to the intense sun for more than a couple of years. Anybody that’s had a fence stained knows that. Second, wooden projects subjected to bouncing down the road will start to come apart very quickly. 5th wheels and camper trailers manufacturers use to build they’re rig’s sub-structure out of wood, and they weigh a ton and were always having problems with things coming apart. That why they went to Aluminum vacuumed bonded fiberglass structures. Not to mention what hail will do to it.
Nice simple layout, everyone in the campground would come by to see it.
The Furrion 12-volt refrigerators are listed as “Not available for sale or use in California”
Please pardon my ignorance, but why is that? And what happens if you happen to be traveling through CA with one on board?
Great trailer for tree huggers, oops my bad it’s made from trees. With no holding tanks it would set EPA back 70 years.
The DW would go nuts with the little Windows.