Happier Camper Is a Hit with COVID Campers. It's Raised $3.7M to Grow.

Happier Camper Is a Hit with COVID Campers. It's Raised $3.7M to Grow.

Ryan Edwards, the co-founder of Happier Camper, said he's asked all the time if his company leans on influencer marketing to promote their vintage-style trailers beloved by millennials.

With a waitlist six months out and demand growing from hotel-weary travelers, he said it isn't a priority yet.

"We almost don't need to," said Edwards.

That's because the $25,000 to $50,000 custom trailers have been a hit with a loyal fan base, and rising demand during the pandemic has only helped. Orders for compact trailers at the lower price end, including Happier Camper's 75-square-foot camper, are growing as newbie road trippers look for COVID-safe travels.

The L.A.-based manufacturing startup closed a $3.7 million round last week that will help it fulfill its backorders and Edwards said he's already looking to raise a second round.

The RV Industry Association, which tracks RV manufacturing, said it's seen a spurt in new RV customers doubling from about a quarter of all buyers to 55% this year. Even though manufacturing facilities had been closed due to the pandemic, RV producers report record sales.

"They provide the freedom to still travel while allowing you to control your environment," Geraci said. "As states opened up after having been in lockdown, people flocked to RV dealerships."

Edwards wouldn't disclose the investors but said the round was led by the same angel investors and small boutiques that will help Happier Camper close a second at the top of next year.

The colorful, fiberglass campers are among the smallest on the market, and come filled with a set of modular cubes that Edwards compares to Legos. You can reconfigure the pieces inside the camper — to construct a bed, for example — or bring them outside for seating. The kitchenette unit was built to move around, too.

Unlike traditional RVs or Airstreams, which Edwards see as his biggest competitor, these lightweight models attach to almost any four cylinder car with a hitch. They start at around the same price of a mid-range sedan depending on the model and add-on features.

"Someone who's never towed a trailer in their life can quickly and efficiently learn," he said. "It provides this self sufficiency and autonomy."

Geraci said travel trailers like the ones Happier Camper sells cost less and generally attract a younger demographic of buyers. Customers 45 and under were already the fastest growing group of RV owners before this year. The pandemic, she said, "has supercharged that."

The industry is also banking on this new wave of trailer and RV customers that they hope to make lifetime consumers.

"As they fall in love with this lifestyle and this amazing community, they're going to look to trade those units and get the next best one," she said. "We believe many of those will be RV-ers for life."


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