Just got back from our first run with the new Turtle Back. Can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am with your product. We didn’t challenge it’s tow ability except on the highway and that was superb. Tracked true and handled well. The Jeep wasn’t aware it was back there. We’ll be giving it a little more severe off road test next month.
The first time set up was easy and intuitive. No problems and no surprises. The second time up was even easier. The galley, the stove, the continuous hot water heater, the shower all worked flawlessly. I was particularly pleased by the Solar Panel. We were camping in the forest between two steep mountains so sunlight was minimum. However, the panel was enough to keep the batteries charged and running our refrigerator and my CPAP machine. I was certain I would need to supplement the panel by running the Jeep but that was not the case at all.
The back jack I designed to keep the trailer on an even keel worked just fine. It was quick and easy to engage and store and there was no side to side movement with it engaged. I would suggest you consider the design for future trailers. It would work as a pad on the Jeep as well if there were ever a point where you would need to jack up the front of the Jeep against a solid support on the trailer hitch. Can’t imagine when you would need it but 4 wheelers find new ways to get their butts in a bind all the time.
The only modification I can imagine is to install an inflatable mattress under the foam mattress. An inflatable should still allow the trailer to fold when deflated. Where we were camping the temperatures were in the 30s and I think getting something between the foam and the deck would make it a little more comfortable.
The new rack on the top of the jeep made a perfect place to put up the solar panel during the day. Also I used a bicycle cable lock to lock the panel to the luggage carrier when away from camp. Very handy.
Again, the amount of thought you have put into this camper was brought home all week as everything just seems to be in the right place and easy to reach and use. Many times I thought, “Hey, that’s why that’s there. Very cleaver.” I did not find anything I would say needs to be changed or added other than the air mattress but that is a preference not a design change.
The camper drew lots of attention. We were at two different camp grounds and in both we had a constant stream of campers coming over and asking to to look closer at your product. My friend Dick and I alternated giving complete tours of the camper. We gave, with no exaggeration, at least 20 full tours and many more short tours. You really should ship your campers with a pile of brochures to hand out as it did consistently make our camp site the most popular site on the grounds. For future marketing the ones who seemed the most interested were those in their 40s and 50s who have done a lot of tent camping and were looking to move up without loosing their accessibility to the more remote areas they travel. I heard it said multiple times, “We haven’t given up our tent because there was nothing available until this that would allow us the mobility we want while providing an upgraded camping experience.”
Other consistent positive comments were the water storage capacity, the over all quality of the components and the build, the ability to choose the color of your choice and it’s purposeful looks. The women loved the galley area and especially the stainless steel shelf is seen as super handy. I did not hear one, not one, person say I don’t like that or I don’t this.