Most recreational vehicles aren’t exactly fashion-forward. They tend to rely on a whole lot of plastic to reduce overall weight, which is effective in cutting fuel expenses but less than aesthetically pleasing. Even luxury RVs can feel like they’re made of cheap materials that won’t stand the test of time. Can a handmade designer travel trailer change all that while remaining road-ready? Land Ark RV is here to give it a shot with their first-ever consumer model. “Drake” fuses sleek contemporary design with the classic RV lifestyle.
Cutting a dramatic silhouette with its angled ends and corrugated black metal exterior, Drake is a 357-square-foot trailer capable of sleeping up to six people, complete with two lofts and a “flex room” that converts from a living area to a bedroom. The trailer measures 30 feet in length, eight and a half feet in width, and 13.4 feet in height. At 13,000 pounds, its weight is actually in the same ballpark as those of similar-sized commercial RVs. But instead of plastic paneling and flimsy surfaces inside, you’ll find the kind of solid wood finishes you’d expect to see in a cabin. Blurring the line between RVs and tiny houses, Drake aims to provide all the comforts of home in a portable package.
It boasts a full-size entry door, 14 double-paned windows, highly efficient insulation, and a roof strong enough to withstand snow loads of ski resort caliber. Ten-foot-high ceilings give it a spacious feel, and all of its built-in furniture — including a sofa covered in custom Sunbrella cushions, hidden storage drawers, a double-duty work/eat bar, and plenty of shelving — saves precious floor area. The master loft can fit a king-sized mattress, while the secondary loft accommodates a queen. Closets, dimmable LED lighting, custom cellular blinds, standard electrical outlets, a washer/dryer combo, and full-sized modern kitchen and bathroom furnishings make it as comfortable as any hotel room. The Drake can be placed anywhere you can put a traditional RV, and it has all the standard inlets and outlets required for use at an RV park.
Self-described “guinea pigs” Brian and Joni Buzarde knew just what would make Drake livable for long periods on the road, mostly because they’ve been living in an earlier model they built themselves since 2012. They designed, constructed, and tested their own handmade RV (which they named “Woody”) in exchange for the freedom to follow jobs from Austin, Texas to Aspen, Colorado while living in all sorts of beautiful locales along the way. When certain small things didn’t work out (think storage ideas and plumbing setups), they learned from the experiences and refined their designs. Drake is the result of all that trial and error.
Land Ark currently has one Drake model in stock and ready to ship at $139,000, and future orders will have a three-to-four-month lead time. That may be more than the $15,000-$50,000 average for a new fifth wheel RV measuring the same length, but for some discerning buyers, beautiful design makes the trade-off worthwhile. Anyone who wants to take a tour of the completed model should stop by Compass Mountain in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, a former RV park in the process of converting to a 42-unit tiny home community.