Arizona Builder Finds Niche Customizing RVs
September 1, 2011
Filed under Motorhomes
Tuscon, Ariz., manufacturer Kick’in Kampers Inc. is now converting travel trailers, fifth-wheels, vans and motorhomes to make them accessible to the disabled, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Star.
Roll-in tile showers, chair-lift systems, widened entry doors and altered counter heights are just a few of the modifications that owner Lorenzo Caracciolo and his employees offer to customers.
“We build them from the ground up, so we can pretty much take anything and modify it,” Caracciolo said.
Caracciolo and his father, who has been in the RV business for nearly 40 years, previously owned an RV dealership until four years ago when they began designing and building their custom line of truck “kampers” and travel trailers.
They found that their willingness to modify existing RVs appealed to customers with specific customization needs, such as wheelchair- or walking-aid users.
Kick’in Kampers recently modified a fifth-wheel for a paraplegic man from New Mexico. The back of his coach originally had bunk beds and a corner bathroom, but after the conversion the area became a wheelchair-accessible bathroom covered in ceramic tile that both he and his wife could use.
Currently, Kick’in Kampers is working on an existing motorhome in which it put a hospital bed and medical equipment where a bedroom had been before. It also added a bed that drops from the ceiling and hovers above the hospital bed for the customer’s wife.
Kick’in Kampers designs and builds a line of truck campers called Trail Dust and two lines of truck trailers. Its Bamboo Ultra-Lite Trailers range from 14- to 21-feet and its Toucan Trailers from 23- to 30-feet.
It’s not just customers looking for a handicapped-accessible vehicle who come to Kick’in Kampers. Some, like Tom and Pam Sanor, are looking for a custom-built camper for other reasons.
The Sanors, originally from Ohio, have been traveling and volunteering around the country for nine years while living out of their fifth-wheel.
In hopes of spending a summer in Alaska and completing their goal of driving to all the states, except Hawaii, the Sanors purchased a smaller truck trailer from Kick’in Kampers’ Trail Dust line. They cited the quality of customer service and the amount of customization offered.
“They work with you,” Pam Sanor said. “They do it your way.”
Tom Sanor said one of his favorite elements of his new RV is the extendable bathroom that Kick’in Kampers has patented. When the camper is parked, the bathroom can slide out, making a spacious and separate shower and toilet area.
The cost for modifications depends on the customer’s requests. Caracciolo says prices start around $5,000 for smaller alterations and a complete remodel would be more expensive.