Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series looking at manufacturers that are displaying RVs for the first time at Open House Week, set for Sept. 24 to Sept. 27 in Elkhart, Ind. The next installment in the series will run next Wednesday.
Before founding Crux Expedition Trailers, Lorrie Francis served as a geologist for an oil and gas company, so sharing that passion for the outdoors became something she wanted to share. Her philosophy was that the bare minimum is good enough, and that recreation is about getting away from residential settings.
“It’s got everything you need and all the storage to do it. It’s truly off-road,” Francis says of Crux. “Easy to set up and affordable – they’re badass.”
The Crux 1600 is a zinc-coated trailer with a segmented, canvas tent that includes an entryway/changing room, extendable awnings, and three-window sleeping chamber with a Euro queen-size foam mattress. The chef’s galley has a two-burner propane range with extendable prep table, a stainless-steel sink with an optional refrigerator/ freezer. The storage is plentiful, intended for outdoor enthusiasts with expanded imaginations.
In terms of sturdiness, the trailer boasts dual independent suspension, and a 360-degree pin system (in case customers flip the trailer and don’t want to go flying with it), and solar panels.
The new model Francis will be showing at Open House includes dual batteries, USB ports, different lighting and other modifications while staying at the same price point.
Today, Crux is found at three dealerships: Denver’s B&B RV, Tom’s Camperland in Arizona, Princess Craft RV in Texas. Francis is looking to expand into the Midwest and East Coast, and will offer special pricing tiers for dealers.
Crux’s current dealers are expected to order 80 to 100 units a piece. The soon-to-be-Denver operation is capable of producing 1,200 units a year, but can scale up accordingly, according to Francis. Meanwhile, Crux is ready to find new dealers in earnest.
“We’re just looking to fill the U.S. with these specialty-type companies that like the off-road,” she says. To hone in on what people want, Francis drove 56,000 miles last summer and fall, going to trade shows along the way and gathering input from RVers from what they wanted from a trailer. “I went back to the drawing board, added some new features, and ended up selling 56 of those (units) in six months.”
Since launching last year, Crux Expedition Trailers has had zero recalls, according to Francis.
Crux will have three units (orange, silver, and black) of the same model on display at Open House, and will be serving up pastries as well as giving away a new iPad. And in case it gets too hot, Francis mentions how lots of folks hung around her trailer at the last Overland Expo in Arizona because of how cool the canvas tent maintained the interior.