The new Topo from Utah's Escapod is a light, stylish teardrop trailer ready to explore all points high, low, far and wide. Its hard-edged, ruggedized off-road underpinnings are softened up by a host of modern amenities and options ranging from a widescreen stargazing window to a Bluetooth sound system.
The Escapod story started four years ago with a theme that's appeared in the story of many a small trailer startup. Founder Chris Hudak and his now wife Jen, a former pro skier who was recently a finalist on The Amazing Race television show, were zipping across the map racing mountain bikes and chasing adventure. Tired of the all-too-familiar routine of racing home from work, loading up the car with the full bike and camping kit, and losing the battle against the setting sun to arrive at camp after dark, they decided on a simpler solution: a trailer to hold all their gear day-in and day-out, so they could just hitch and go.
"We looked for potential teardrop camper options that already existed in the market and basically found that everything we looked at was either under-built or overpriced," Hudak recalls. "There was nothing that really fit our adventurous lifestyle on a budget."
A born builder and tinkerer, Chris instead created the solution himself, and the Hudaks had their touring trailer.
Much like a polished sports car, a new teardrop trailer has a way of catching eyes and pulling in interest, and the Hudaks soon found themselves fielding inquiry, after question, after compliment while on the road. It was clear there was a market, and Escapod was formed in 2015, first as a side venture and later a full-time business.
The Topo Series arrives as Escapod's latest trailer, an off-road-specific teardrop based on the simpler Dreamscape. The Topo has the same frame and body style as the Dreamscape but includes an upgraded, ruggedized equipment package reflecting the most popular items customers were previously adding onto their Dreamscape builds.
The idea behind the 1,500-lb (680-kg) Topo is to blend rugged, mine-proof construction with a unique, modern style typified by the decorative topography covering the aluminum walls of the photo models. Below that pretty aluminum, the trailer's off-roadability is guaranteed by a hand-welded, powder-coated steel tube frame and 3,500-lb (1,588-kg) rated independent suspension. Grabby Goodyear Wrangler Trailrunner AT tires stretching around 17-in Mickey Thompson aluminum wheels provide traction over changing, unpredictable ground.
That build gets you to your destination, however long and treacherous the path, but it's the insulated cabin inside the dual doors that makes you comfortable staying a while. Here, you'll find a 5-in (13-cm) thick memory foam mattress laying sleepily below a 9 x 41-in (23 x 104-cm) stargazer window. The interior also includes USB charging ports, LED dome lighting, and an array of cabinets and storage compartments.
The Topo's rear galley comes standard with a Yeti Tundra 65 cooler on a slide-out, a worktop, LED lighting and plenty of storage. A propane dual-burner stove can be tacked on optionally for US$550.
Other standard amenities include an onboard deep-cycle battery, three-speed fan, and an awning and cross bars from Rhino-Rack. The Topo starts at $13,800 with those standard amenities, and buyers can build their Topo up into a more fully equipped adventure trailer with an options sheet that includes a two-person roof-top tent, bike and kayak racks, Bluetooth audio, a 100W solar charging system, 110V power, propane heating, and two outdoor shower choices.
"We try to concentrate on everything you need and nothing you don't," Hudak says.
That doesn't mean the customer can't add a little something extra. Like other trailer builders, Escapod will work with each customer to create something that meets his or her needs. It currently has a custom trailer project with built-in oven in the works for a customer who wants to bake fresh cookies in the backcountry.
For Spring/Summer 2018, Escapod will be launching rentals from its headquarters near Park City, Utah. This rental program will double as a demo service for prospective customers hoping to try before they buy, and Escapod will apply a three days' rental credit to a full purchase. The trailers are also available in Moab, UT through Red Rock Base Camps, a rental service that delivers the trailer to your local campsite of choice.
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