Where It All Started
We've been working on something super exciting for a couple years now. Let's rewind for a moment... James and I moved to Colorado in spring of 2013. We immediately rushed into the camping scene that summer, and quickly discovered that we were woefully unprepared. We had an itty bitty tiny tent, a gargantuan blow-up air mattress, and a hodge-podge of random accessories or tools that were literally a decade old.
I'll never forget our very first camping trip out West with this mess. We had to blow up the air mattress using the car adaptor, hike it up a huge hill to where all the tents were set out, and struggle to shove this massive squeaky thing into our tent. Come bed time, after several drinks 'round the campfire, we had to worm into our tent, somehow convince our dog to join us, and could barely zip the damn thing up. It was uncomfortable. It was cold. But it also was a helluva good time.
Once we got back home, I flew into research mode, and analyzed all the latest and greatest camping equipment from REI, Cabela's, Amazon, etc. I spent WAY too much money, far too much time, but ultimately- we gathered things that made sense for us. We used this curated package over the next 5 years, and sure- we had some mishaps. Down pours. Broken equipment. Forgot the propane. You name it. But still, a helluva good time.
Along the way, we had a crazy idea that we should buy a small travel trailer. It made so much sense. It could solve so many of our hiccups, and man would it be fun! I again flew into research mode, obsessing over every single camper out there, determined to find the perfect one for us.
But- we couldn't find that perfect travel trailer. Sure, there's a ton of amazing campers out there, but none met the criteria we were seeking. We wanted something with off-road capabilities, so that we could really take advantage of the proverbial "road less traveled by." We wanted an outside galley kitchen, because who the heck wants to cook INSIDE when camping? We wanted it to be small enough to be towable and easy to maneuver, but also enough of a workhorse to get where we wanted to go. We also wanted a touch of minimalistic style- modern looking and clean. Let's be honest- so many trailers and campers are tacky, gaudy and just plain ugly. We also needed a reasonable price point, because we ain't paying half a year's salary for a camper! And James is a tall guy. We wanted full standing room, to avoid that dreaded worm in/worm out that most campers demand. Most importantly- we wanted a ton of windows to really capture that beautiful night sky, and gorgeous first light in the morning.
During this time, James' business- Black Hound Design Company- really took off! What started as a humble custom furniture workshop exploded into a full on custom fabrication studio, serving clients all over the country. Suffice to say, we really got down the process of designing and building custom works. One night as we were still on the hunt for that PERFECT travel trailer, James said, "Why don't we just build one?" So matter of fact. So simple, right? So quick and easy. Wrong. But we tackled this project with the same gusto that we tackle everything else in life. We spent many a night (after already working a full day) dreaming, brainstorming, sketching and researching. All in all, it took about two years to really nail down the design and mechanics. Then it kinda sat on the back burner, as life tends to get in the way, right?
Then...everything changed. I became pregnant with our daughter, Lila. After a grueling pregnancy, I gave birth in June 2018. That summer, camping was completely off the table for us. We had a teeny tiny infant, and all the ups and downs that come along with being new parents. While we enjoyed every moment of those first few months with the baby, we couldn't help but feel disappointment over missing the highly coveted camping season in Colorado. FOMO hit hard, as our friends amazing adventure photos blasted social media come every Sunday night.
We vowed that September that we would go balls to the wall on making our travel trailer dreams a reality. But, along with being parents came a whole new set of design decisions and considerations. First and foremost, we wanted Lila to be safe, warm and comfortable. I wanted to be able to put her down for a nap, and know that she'd be happy and cozy. I needed a baby-proof area for her to play and romp. We wanted to sit by the fire with friends as she sleeps inside for the night. We needed more interior space, and dreamt of having bunkbeds in addition to the queen for us.
We also, though, wanted this travel trailer to make sense for all sorts of people who might- like us- have struggled to find the right fit for their situation. So we created a survey and sent it out to friends all across the country, asking for their detailed feedback on designs, options, use cases and more. We received 47 responses back, and carefully considered every idea. We then made several tweaks and additions to our design.
Luckily, as mentioned- we're the proud owners of a custom fabrication workshop. It only seemed natural that we would take on the entire build, from the ground-up, ourselves. We have a crew of talented craftsmen, a huge workshop full of all the right tools and equipment, and whole lotta grit.
Fast forward through a long Fall, Winter and Spring of making this dream come to fruition. Loooong days and loooong nights. Literal blood, sweat and tears, and now- here we are, finally, with our very own custom off-road travel trailer.
We affectionally call it the Jamper. Long story short: one of our guys at Black Hound made a typo in the blueprints, and it stuck. So there you have it. The Jamper.
We took it for its inaugural camping trip over Fourth of July weekend, and it was everything we hoped it would be. Simply, it was perfect. Sure, there's still a lot of work to do. We need to do some detailing and finishing. We have to optimize our solar panel set up. A little leak around the sky light. Certainly some tweaks and refining yet to do. But, that's also the fun part, right? We can now get back out into the outdoors, with a completely safe set-up for our baby girl, and enjoy what we love doing the most: dreaming, designing, improving and tinkering. All in the great outdoors.
So join us, please. We'll be seeking advice, tips, help and inspiration. We're also be sharing our own advice, tips, help and inspiration.
Oh, and of course- we're selling these in limited production runs. Anticipated base price: $36,000. Looking for a family-friendly, off-road travel trailer? The Jamper has got you covered. Now the only question is: where will you go?