Weekend Warrior Trailers
The growing popularity of so-called toy haulers — RVs designed to carry outdoor sports equipment and vehicles — didn't surprise Mark Warmoth, owner of Weekend Warrior Trailers Inc., Perris, Calif.
Warmoth, a production executive for 14 years with Alfa Leisure Inc., Chino, Calif., built his first trailer with its own rear garage when he founded Weekend Warrior in 1988.
The innovative design was spurred by Warmoth's interest in the outdoors. "He's an enthusiastic motorcycle rider himself," said Gary Denton, Weekend Warrior's director of sales and marketing. "He wanted to associate his passion with what he knew best, which was RVs."
The company is populated by wheeled-sports enthusiasts, according to Denton, himself a former American Motorcycle Association national ATV champion (1987-1994), who was sponsored by Warmoth on the circuit.
"Many of us use Weekend Warriors regularly, so we have practical experience with how our customers use the product," Denton said.
Denton estimates that 20 to 30 manufacturers, many of them mainstream companies, now build sport utility RV (SURV) motorhomes and trailers.
"We have tried to grow the company somewhat slowly," he said. "We are a small manufacturer, and we want to let our trailers gain legs on their own."
Nonetheless, Weekend Warrior had 65% growth in 2000 and in mid-November was on track to increase sales by 35% in 2001. "In a down market, it has not been down for us," Denton said.
Weekend Warrior SURVs are marketed primarily on the West Coast, but the company also has dealers in Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.
The main Weekend Warrior line includes 17 travel-trailer and fifth-wheel models in lengths of 22 to 40 feet. The company will expand in February with a lightweight version of its original line that can be towed behind a half-ton pickup.
The Superlite by Weekend Warrior will have a lightweight frame and cabinetry and will shave 1,500 to 2,000 pounds from the weight of the standard Weekend Warrior. It also will trim more than $6,000 off the price of today's smallest Weekend Warrior trailer.
"We wanted to fit it into the weight and price point," Denton said. "It won't have the payload capability that the Weekend Warrior has, but it will allow people to afford one."
About 20% of the company's trailers are custom-built to order.
"A lot of our customers want special cabinets or special lengths or interior heights," Denton said, adding that Weekend Warrior also will reinforce the chassis to accommodate small cars.
"Our typical customer is 25 to 45 years old, so we bridge Generation X and the Baby Boom generation," Denton said. "Frankly, many of them are motorheads. We don't mind helping them tweak their RVs into what they envision them to be."
The cargo area ranges from 14 feet to 23-1/2 feet, depending on length of the trailer. Only one model is offered standard with a wall between the cargo and living areas.
The rear interior doubles as cargo space when on the road and as living space when unloaded. The galley, bathroom and a bedroom are located to the front of the trailer and to the right of the curbside entry door to allow Weekend Warrior to be occupied while cargo is loaded. In travel trailers, a second bed in some models is positioned in a soft-side extension over the hitch.
When unloaded, the cargo area features a patented bed that drops down from the ceiling via hydraulic shocks, and a foldaway dinette/bed combination, depending on the size of the unit.
A 36-gallon fuel station is available as an option in all models. A manual seven-foot, spring-loaded radius ramp lowers at the rear of the unit to allow access to the cargo area and can handle a 2,500-pound load.
Weekend Warrior has a unique perspective on model year. The 2003 models went on sale in October.
"It's no cost to us, and it's a nice benefit for customers," Denton said. "When they go to sell their Weekend Warrior three or four years down the road, the resale value is going to be better."