Sylvan Sport Targets New Generation of Campers

Written by Dale Neal for the Asheville [North Carolina] Citizen-Times


BREVARD, N.C. — Even in the Great Recession, people still want to play in the great outdoors. As an entrepreneur, Tom Dempsey saw an opportunity to make camping, already a relatively affordable vacation option, more comfortable for a new generation.


At Sylvan Sport, a startup company based here, Dempsey and his team of designers set out to put the cool back into pop-up campers.


They came up with the Go, an 800-pound lightweight but solidly constructed platform that turns into a spacious living quarters that you can tow behind a Prius, instead of a huge pickup. The Go is billed as “Mobile Adventure Gear” rather than a trailer, which brings to mind the old-fashioned aluminum box on wheels.


“Pop-up campers are part of the entry-level RV world, which hasn’t really changed in the last 40 years,” Demspey said. “We wanted to take the pop-up camper out of the RV world into the REI world.”


The Go has proved a hit with enthusiasts eager to drive cross-country to Brevard to pick up their $8,000 campers, ordered online. Dempsey sees “a massive paradigm shift away from SUVs and big trucks to more compact cars, but people still want to play even if they own a Prius, so we hitched our wagon to a trend to more efficent vehicles.”


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