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Old Meets New With the Vintage-Inspired, Modern Cortes Campers Travel Trailer

For such a vintage-looking RV, it’s hard to believe that Cortes Campers’ 17-foot Travel Trailer makes any kind of departure from the campers of yore. But looks can be deceiving, and the startup, based out of Cleveland, Oh., has multiple patents in process to protect its 21st-century tech. And maybe that’s the appeal: A heritage-looking product with totally modern guts. (Hey, it’s working for fellow Ohio company Airstream.) How is the Travel Trailer awesome? Let us count the ways.

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Working from the outside in, the first is its aesthetics, which owe no small debt of gratitude to Airstream and the now-defunct Avion for the symmetrical Twinkie shape. (Cortes even tacitly acknowledges this on its landing page, referring to “another well-known travel trailer manufacturer that decided to build campers the same way airplanes were built approximately a century ago.” Yeah, we know who you’re talking about.) But rather than using the same construction methods for its glossy exterior, Cortes claims to be the first to utilize a proprietary layering method of aluminized fiberglass and carbon fiber. (Yeah, we don’t fully understand that either.) The result, however, is evident in weight, or the lack thereof: Impervious to corrosion, rust, and rot, the complete package weighs 1,800 pounds, or around 50% less than competitors for its size, allowing most vehicles to tow either its cheaper, colored options (think early iPods) or a more expensive mirrored silver finish model.

Moving inside, its 14-foot-tall interior (almost six and a half feet vertically) is suitable for two adults or for a family of three, with a double bed and twin bed available in both layout options. Lighted overhead storage, a wardrobe, and cabinets ensure there’s plenty of room to secure items so they’re not underfoot. Appliances including refrigerator, microwave, three-burner range with hood, and a 28-inch HD LED TV all come standard. There are thirty-plus-gallon graywater and freshwater tanks, and a six-gallon water heater for the shower and sinks. There’s also a toilet, so you won’t have to dig a trench.

While the Cortes Campers 17-foot Travel Trailer is priced competitively among its peers ($39,950 for colors and $47,950 for silver), it’s certainly a significant investment. The argument for it is both in durability and weight. With its revolutionary exterior construction, you get both the vintage look and cutting-edge performance. And with the low weight, you can buy the RV and just tow it with your Subaru or Toyota rather than Googling what exactly a Hemi is. (One more thing we’re iffy about.) Vintage RVs are great, but ask any classic car owner about maintenance and you’ll get an earful about unreliability. If you’re looking for the best blend between good looks, modern construction, and the ability to utilize the vehicle you already own, there’s not a better choice than the Travel Trailer.

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Jon Gugala
Features Writer
Jon Gugala is a freelance writer and photographer based in Nashville, Tenn. A former gear editor for Outside Magazine, his…
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