Tuesday, July 25, 2017


I'm intrigued by, but not convinced of, this new product called the Tentris ArcRV.
It's a tent-like structure designed to expand RV living space.  Reportedly, the fit has been optimized for a Sprinter.  Photo from the Let's Go Aero website.  
Many have asked what's the best way to expand the sleeping and living space in Class Bs such as the Airstream Interstate.  There are a number of exterior room-like options on the market, and this one does seem to offer the advantage of packing down to a sufficiently small bundle for carrying in a Class B, plus its dimensions were reportedly optimized for the Sprinter.  And its weight of 24 pounds is not obscene.  

However, I question why a solid nylon enclosure would be needed.  It certainly won't hold a bit of heat with it being the massive size it is (said the old backcountry tent camper), and while it might protect its occupants against rain, its deployment leaves the open doors (either rear pair or slider, depending on where it is installed) vulnerable to getting their inside finished surfaces soaked and ruined.  One would have to develop some serious door protectors if it were to be used in rainy conditions.  And that would add cost and weight.  Plus a DIY commitment of time and materials because there's no product like that on the market right now.
I made stop-gap protectors for our Sprinter out of heavy-mil contractor trash bags that slip over the door tops, but obviously they don't protect 100% of the door.  When I first posted this pic on the Air Forums Small Space Living thread, I prefaced it "Caution:  Content may trigger intense Jeff Foxworthy flashbacks."
Well, one could say, this Tentris ArcRV provides privacy, at least.  But anyone sleeping outside a Class B in a tent-like contraption is likely to be children or teenagers, and I'd wonder how much privacy they really need at an individual campsite that presumably is reasonably private to start with?

I'd prefer to see more practical awning expansion options take the place of something like the ArcRV.  A permanently-affixed awning is already delivered with almost every Class B that is sold today, but it never has been properly exploited for its living space expansion potential (the expansion products that are on the market were not optimized for Class Bs or vans - they are generally too large, too heavy, too cumbersome, and they don't fit).  That's why I created an awning screen that actually could be used as an overnight camping structure in both fine weather and in certain light rain scenarios (as long as it wasn't a blowing, stormy rain) without leading to the ruination of the inside finish of the slider.
You might get away with leaving the slider open, although you'd have to be mindful of the passenger pillar perhaps getting wet... maybe you'd want to supplement with a nylon ground cloth positioned in that area for added protection.  
And my contraption certainly packs down smaller than the ArcRV.
Plus it weighs only one-tenth as much.  
Anyway, my point with this blog post is hopefully to stimulate the development of additional aftermarket ideas.  I'm not in a position myself to get into this area on a commercial level - I'm a simple DIYer who invents stuff as a hobby.  I think that this product, the ArcRV, will fit the needs of certain customers, but still, I would like to see the loose ends such as rain protection addressed, and more options available overall for this kind of space expansion product.  Personally I think the market is there - it just hasn't been properly developed yet.  
Sometimes it takes its own bloody time, though.  

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