Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

RV Review: RV Women’s Alliance Drab to Fab trailer project

These RV reviews are generally about an RV that you can go out and get. In some ways, that’s exactly what this is. But it’s also the story of raising money for a good cause – and for shaking things up in the RV industry. 

For the past eight months, women from across the RV industry have taken an RV from drab to fab. To do so, they’ve used some of the best RV accessories and RV products on the market today. On Wednesday, June 23, volunteers, members, and sponsors, and your trusty RV reporter, gathered at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana, for the reveal of the final product.

The trailer actually started life as a 2007 Zinger travel trailer. But through the efforts of 80 volunteers working more than 10 months with products from 41 sponsors – and consuming a total of 32 pizzas – it is the trailer it is today. It can be yours if you are the lucky winner of the drawing, with proceeds benefiting the RV Women’s Alliance. 

Dubbed “Chrysalis,” the trailer truly is a very different unit from how it started. Speaking with RV Women’s Alliance Vice President Jordyn Foos, she indicated that the objective was to create a trailer that really offered both great living and working space. I think they’ve succeeded admirably. 

What’s inside the Drab to Fab RV

The first thing I noticed when I got to step inside the trailer before the official reveal was just how very clean and modern but stylish and functional the whole thing was. This trailer is unlike anything I have ever seen before and I absolutely loved the feel of it. 

Walking in the front door there is an almost separate office space at the front of the trailer. The space includes a desk and a place for a visitor or co-worker to sit and help get things done. To the road side of the desk are three large drawers and then shelves above that. 

Interestingly, there is a low cargo door on the road side in the office. I can envision this being great if you have pets or even things you need to bring in and out for work. It’s an interesting concept. 

Main living area and galley

There is a half wall that separates the main living area from this office so you can change mental gears between work and relaxation. In the main area is a couch and then a table and chairs in a slide room on the road side. That table is a “live edge” table. That means it essentially looks like a slab taken from a log. It’s then polished with the uneven edge you might expect from such a cut of wood. It’s really inviting and nice. 

A TV on a swivel arm hangs on the wall between the office and the main living area. Beneath the TV is an electric fireplace. 

Across from the couch is the galley. It is an “L”-shaped arrangement with a stainless steel sink and a two-burner induction cooktop in a solid surface countertop. On the back side of the cabinet holding this up are drawers to access storage under the sink, perhaps for shoes or other items. 

Above is more cabinet space as well as a large microwave oven and range hood. 

Refrigeration comes in the form of a Norcold 12-volt refrigerator with top freezer. Speaking with the Norcold rep, she mentioned that about half the refrigerators they’re shipping nowadays are the 12-volt compressor-style refrigerators. 

Bathroom, bedroom … and wine chiller

Beyond that is the bathroom with a foot flush toilet, shower and sink. Above is a Maxxair vent fan. 

On the wall separating the main living area from the bedroom is a wine chiller embedded in more cabinet space. 

The bedroom, which features another slide room, sports a queen-sized bed. But the big news here is the incredible number of drawers on the camp-side wall. Those are flanked by more counter space, a second TV, and then hanging space, as well. 

The layout is definitely not something I’ve seen before. But there are also a lot of components that might not be something many people have experienced. 

It’s a really open-feeling interior

Not only is the interior just a total change in terms of feel, but it’s really open-feeling. This isn’t an exceptionally large trailer, but the color palette and materials really open up the space tremendously. 

There are also visual cues and elements of style that set this unit far apart from anything I’ve seen at any RV dealership. For example, there is a simple but unusual stripe pattern on the interior doors that is visually appealing. 

Some of the things that the winner will also appreciate are the heated floor in the bedroom, the power level system controlled at the tongue of the trailer, and the incorporation of King antenna systems to empower better cell and internet connectivity. 

The team behind the Drab to Fab project

Interestingly, there were people involved in this project from all walks of the RV industry. They included folks from the dealership, to line workers, to executives, to manufacturer’s reps. Essentially the work of helping to empower the RV Women’s Alliance through this fun and remarkable project really brought people together. 

“I was impressed to see people from competing manufacturers coming together to work as one and make this happen,” continued Foos. “I think this has really opened up the doors to a lot of collaboration in the industry.” 

And that’s what the objective of the project is – as it is the RV Women’s Alliance. 

Founded in 2019, the RV Women’s Alliance mission is to unite, inspire, recruit, and develop a more diverse workforce by supporting women with education, resources, and opportunities. They accomplish this by bringing together a diverse group of extraordinary women and men from across the RV industry who, through social and educational programs, mentorship, and networking opportunities, are inspired and empowered to realize their individual potential, enhance their career experiences, and create opportunities for the next generation of women leaders. 

The Alliance is headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, with leadership based across the United States. Learn more at www.rvwa.org. 

My wife also interviewed several of the participants in this podcast episode.

Want this trailer?

So let’s say you want the trailer, or want to help support the RVWA. Or you just enjoy buying raffle tickets. You can buy tickets to enter the drawing which will be held August 23. There are other prizes, as well. And there are ticket packages in all sorts of price ranges. 

So, see, you might just be the lucky winner and have a real showpiece that I hope is inspirational for a number of RV designers. They certainly did take the trailer from Drab to Fab!

And, despite the varying previous skills of the team who built the trailer, only one box of Band-Aids was employed in the construction of this project. Not bad.

##RVT1006

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John Garrison
1 month ago

We (Wife & I) got to walk through this trailer at the RV Museum, July 27. I was very impressed with the “thinking outside the box” design. We always owned 5th wheel trailers, but this one has got me rethinking that. So roomy and well thought out floor plan. My hats off to the women involved in this project.

Maritza
2 months ago

Excellent! Loved, I want one

rvgrandma
2 months ago

Just proves women doing better at decorating and doing a better layout than men. I heard years ago when Bounders started putting overhead storage in the big slide it was a woman’s suggestion. Consumers loved it so they consulted women more on design. Don’t know if true or not but bet it is. But, with what we are seeing now I don’t think that is happening.

DW/ND
2 months ago

I hope the mfgr’s – Winnebago at least – don’t fire their interior decorators – they usually follow the style/color trends of the population, from fine fabrics to countertops – so accolades for the beautiful interiors previously and currently on the market, especially in the Class A, B & C versions!

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