Lots of classic road trip novels inspire RVers to travel, but how many of these memorable reads inspire a whole new type of RV? The John Steinbeck novel “Travels with Charley” is a book that’s influenced the design and feel of Casual Turtle Campers, a new kind of classically nostalgic, handmade wood camper.
Nearly any vehicle can pull this handmade wood camper.
“Casual Turtle” is a nod to Steinbeck’s great American road trip that served as the basis for Travels with Charley. A real life account of his journey, Steinbeck and his dog roamed across America while living in his mostly handmade wood camper. In the novel he writes,
I had to go alone and I had to be self-contained, a kind of casual turtle carrying his house on his back…. I wanted a little house built like the cabin of a small boat.
Roam fifty-five years into the future and we now have Casual Turtle Campers, a kind of handmade wood camper which thoughtfully reflects the mid-20th century craftsmanship that prevailed in Steinbeck’s day.
Built like the cabin of a small boat.
Each one of these rugged campers is constructed with richly oiled red cedar wood on the outside and a nautical feel on the inside. These wood campers look heavy but have a lightweight, low-profile design that can take any wandering soul on their own great American road trip.
The curved rooftop is a unique design.
The genius behind these handmade wood campers is Peter Pavlowich in Fort Collins, Colorado. Pavlowich is a 29-year old Wood Construction and Design graduate from the University of Idaho. He wanted to use his wood craftsmanship knowledge to create “a simple and attractive alternative to the big, heavy, white boxes that he seemed to see everywhere.”
You’ll think you’re in a boat, not a camper.
Founded in 2013, the company is igniting RVers nostalgic yearning for a simpler time, before heavy amenities like on-board refrigerators and water-tanks requried heavier and more expensive tow vehicles.
These Casual Turtles are handmade, one-by-one.
“The key is simplicity,” Pavlowich relayed to Fort Collins Magazine. “I don’t install gas lines, plumbing, there’s no sink or shower. I’ve been trying to get to the simple idea of a shelter. The activities (owner) are diong outside are the main reason they go camping.”
Casual Turtle Campers come in different models with adorable names like “The Hatchling” and “The Terrapin.” They’re not huge, but by staying small the weight is manageable for most vehicles. If you want a tow-behind trailer or a cab-over-camper design, there’s a handmade wood camper for just about any budget. Buyers have four different basic models that are the foundation for a totally custom interior design based on their own needs.