Riding the Unprecedented Domestic Travel Boom: Thor Industries and the Resurgence of the B Class RV

Silver Linings

We do hear about them during these “post pandemic” times, and they seem to keep appearing, especially when you are looking for them.

Bike sales, getting outdoors, domestic travel, and overlanding are just a few of the key trends we are all getting pretty familiar with. Enter THOR Industries — the Indiana-based owner of subsidiaries making up the world’s largest RV manufacturer.

The brand quickly found itself at a very odd sweet spot of pandemic silver linings: people needed to get out of the house, they needed to get outdoors, they couldn’t/didn’t want to fly, and they couldn’t leave the country. Welcome to RV Life. And while that used to mean gigantic highway cruisers built for retirees, it now crosses neatly over into VanLife, with new chassis and new technologies opening the door for a resurgence in popularity of Class B model vans, or essentially, an RV built into a van.

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is the number-one motorhome brand in North America, producing nearly 1 out of every 4 motorhomes sold annually. Formed in 2010 as a strategic merger of Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International, TMC builds many of the world’s most recognized motorhomes introducing cutting-­edge innovations, a wide range of styles, sizes, floor plans and features – delivering coaches for every customer’s lifestyle and budget.

Its diverse product lineup includes many of the world’s most recognized gas­ and diesel­ powered Class A and Class C motorhomes, including the Four Winds, Challenger, Chateau, ACE and Tuscany models. In 2020, the company expanded to offer innovative Class B options: initially the Sequence and Tellaro, followed by the introduction of the Rize, Scope, and Sanctuary in 2021. The Rize and Scope are built on the RAM platforms and pack a ton of features and solutions into their relatively compact footprints. They are the smallest camper vans available from Thor Motor Coach at 18 feet. These Class B vans are inspired by the conversion vans of the 70s and 80s, you remember the ones, with all the plush folding seats, integrated lighting, and movable tables — my granddad had one.

By building a variety of unique styles, sizes and floor plans, TMC offers motorhomes that feel custom­-made at a competitive price. Over the past year THOR has also created partnerships to focus on conserving public lands for the enjoyment of RVers and outdoor enthusiasts, and connecting individuals dealing with severe illnesses to the restorative, healing and therapeutic benefits of nature, including the National Forest Foundation and First Descents.

We took out the Tellaro for a test drive and it was the ultimate pandemic escape pod. Part of this undeniable appeal is the expertly designed full bathroom in the back, along with the full kitchen as well as air conditioning (and batteries that can recharge on solar power). The AC is simply crucial when touring with kids and dogs. As my family grew from zero to two kids over the last few years this experience shed light on the true benefits and joys of RV Life over just plain old Van Life. You’ll see stats out there about the growth in RV rentals and sales in excess of 400 percent last year, so let us know how your search goes. Here are the detailed specs on the Tellaro should the passion call you, and you have the credit or bank account to back it up:

Class B Van from Thor Motor Coach

Ram Promaster chassis:
// The Promaster is powered by a 3.6L V-6 gasoline engine with a 6-speed transmission. With a front-wheel-drive platform, the RAM provides increased areas under the vehicle for creative floorplan layout outs. Without the driveshaft running to the rear, holding tanks, electrical components, and LP systems can be hidden under the van, increasing internal storage capacity. Also, the FWD chassis provides confident and surefooted handling in all weather conditions, including snow and ice.

Media Center with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, SiriusXM:
// If you love your Waze, Google, or Apple maps in the car, the Tellaro supports the same programs on its Pioneer in-dash media center. Easy integration for hands-free phone and texting is supported via USB or Bluetooth. The large 7″ screen is 28% larger than the factory radio with enhanced high-definition visibility. The increased size is a real bonus when backing the motorhome or viewing the GPS directions.

Thule exterior accessories:
// Known for rugged and straightforward designs, Thule is a brand known by outdoor enthusiasts across the globe. The patio awning, roof rack, bike rack, and roof ladder are ideally suited for the van. The awning is automatic, rolling in and out with a single press of a button. Stabilizers are included for locations with high winds, so shade is always available. The bike rack can accommodate two full-sized adult cycles and folds up and out of the way when not in use. The roof ladder has a magnet system to ensure a safe ascent and descent. Move the magnetic base anywhere on the upper half of the van for complete access to the roof rack.

Winegard Connect 2.0:
// Getting off the grid is the allure of the Tellaro, but sometimes it’s necessary to keep in touch. The Winegard Connect system is a 4G cellular hotspot with Wifi capabilities. For those adventurers who work from the road or for the extreme winter sports enthusiasts, the Connect 2.0 makes it easy to upload a killer new GoPro video or spreadsheet for the corporate conference call.

Re(Li)able Power Package:
// Lithium supplies power to our phones, our cars, and now our motorhome. The Re(Li)able power pack is a truly green product, eliminating the need for a traditional generator. Cutting CO2 is just part of the equation, as the full answer equals not only lower emissions but leaving no trace when we are one with nature. The system is built by Mastervolt and worldwide leader in battery and inverter technology. 11,000 watts of power is more than enough power to run the roof air conditioner for more than 8 hours of continuous use, with plenty of capacity left for other tasks. Every time the engine is run, the high output alternator charges the batteries with up to 280-amps of power, topping up the power quickly. The system is so smart, it even has an auto feature, that can be set to start the van and provide a quick boost to the battery system anytime it runs low.

Truma heating system:
// As the leader in water and room heating, the Combi system from Truma is the answer to quiet, efficient, and sensible heat. Small in size, but big in performance, makes this the preferred system for van campers.

Convertible furniture:
// Regardless of your needs, the 20LT floorplan in the Tellaro allows for multiple configurations of the furniture. The driver and passenger side of the van has a sofa for daytime use and then lay down to form two twin beds in the night. Keep one bed as a sofa, and covert the other to a bed. Each twin has a retractable headrest that way, your head can be raised to watch the TV or help your partner sleep by reducing snoring. The Froli sleep system provides cushions, and airflow under the bed mattresses to you stay cool while sleeping. The beds can even transform into a king-sized bed, spanning all the way across the width of the van.

TecnoForm cabinets:
// European flair is always popular in smaller vehicles, as the clean lines and crisp finish makes space feel bigger. Constructed and imported from Italy, TecnoForm’s patented process finished the cabinet door with a mirrorlike appearance. Lightweight material, known for strength and beauty, defines the construction of the door, making it the perfect complement to the van’s storage without taking away from carrying capacity.

Solar Charging System:
// The sizeable solar system comes from GoPower and includes a 30-amp charger with lithium charging capabilities and a 190-amp roof panel. The large panel is unencumbered on the roof, allowing it to soak up as many of the sun’s rays as possible, once again charging the Re(Li)able power system. In full sun, the panel can charge at more than 9-amps.

BM Multiplex wiring system:
// Most of us have some kind of smart control system in our homes, and the Tellaro makes use of the BM Pro Multiplex wiring system to bring those features to the camper van. An Androidbased control operates all of the functions inside and outside the vehicle, with a simple interface not requiring a Ph.D. to operate. A complimentary phone app is available for even more control via Bluetooth. Control the patio awning, air conditioning, or lights from outside the van or from
the neighbor’s campsite next door.

// Fabrics and leatherette materials are resistant to pet dander and claws. No carpet on the floor makes it easy to sweep out the unit, and there is a hideaway pet food and water dish, along with a drawer to keep toys and food contained in one spot.