Bivouac Camping Trailers

Beyond the Pavement

Duo takes camping to the next level.

By Sondra Barr

Photos by CMQ Photos LLC

Where the road ends is where the adventure begins for Rick Russek and Ron Bernaud, the owners and co-founders of North Valley-based Bivouac Camping Trailers.

The duo started Bivouac Camping Trailers (BCT) to not only provide high quality, unique, expedition trailers/toy haulers for the outdoor enthusiast, but as a way to encourage people to get out and explore the country like never before.

The idea for BCT started with Rick, a commercial airline pilot who has a degree and background in architecture. Rick and a friend were discussing how nobody made a trailer small enough to carry quads and still be able to camp with it.

Intrigued by design and a lover of outdoor pursuits, it struck Rick that it was possible to create a trailer with the concept of a Swiss Army knife in mind, where everything a person would need to comfortably camp could easily be part of the trailer, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice, and that could just as easily fold back into itself, like a Transformer.

“Often when people go camping, it’s a lot of work to get out the door. There’s a lot of preparation to go camping,” says Rick, who doesn’t like the idea of people having to put in so much work to relax. “Most people’s garages are filled with sleeping bags, tents, stoves, lanterns, and all the supplies. They load up their car and get going. Once they arrive at their destination, it takes a long time to set up camp.”

Rick’s idea was to create a trailer where the only thing you would need to bring, aside from the trailer, would be clothing and food. Everything else would be part of the trailer and stay with the trailer.

In the midst of designing the first prototype, Rick started chatting with Ron, whose son was on the Little League team Rick coached. Soon, Rick found out that their sons were in Boy Scouts together and that Ron was an engineer with a background in manufacturing. Both avid outdoorsman, it wasn’t long before Rick and Ron decided to pool their unique skillsets and turn Rick’s camping trailer idea into a reality.

In 2008, they started planning and brainstorming BCT’s first prototype in a friend’s garage in Black Canyon City. Out of their initial efforts came their flagship trailer, the MOAB Fort.

Upon taking the trailer to their first show, the response was extraordinary, according to Rick, who spent four straight hours fielding questions from people about the design, the likes of which no one had ever seen before.

“The Swiss Army knife concept we’ve taken to the point where I even point out the barbeque in the back and the table that’s stored underneath the tent are like the toothpick and the tweezers of the Swiss Army knife. They’re the only things not connected to the trailer. Everything else stays connected to the trailer so you can’t forget it or loose it,” says Rick.

Indeed one of the selling points of BCT’s trailers is that they can be easily set up and broken down in roughly five minutes. Says Rick, “You can be out the door in an instant and go set up a camp in five minutes. You can camp somewhere different every night because we’ve made it so easy.”

Since 2008, the company has sold nearly 100 trailers priced from $3,500 to $21,000 to hunters, fisherman, kayakers, overland enthusiasts, and people looking for the freedom to explore the great outdoors without a lot of hassle.

And, since BCT’s trailers can go anywhere that the vehicle they’re attached to can go, it’s no problem when the pavement ends. With substantial tires, high clearance, and a rugged design, BCT’s fully contained trailers can go through streams, over boulders, and up and down mountain roads that would wreak havoc on most travel trailers or RVs.

All of BCT’s trailers are custom made for clients. “We have multiple styles of trailers and multiple packages. People can customize the packages and add or take things off,” says Ron.

“The trailers are so intricate, think of a kid’s Transformer toy that has to go back together in an exact way,” says Rick, of the made-to-order trailers that take about six weeks to complete.

Rick and Ron agree that the overlanding market has increased significantly over the last five years and so have the number of companies making travel trailers. But, they point to the uniqueness and ruggedness of BCT’s designs and the depth of their product lineup, which now includes six distinct trailers and nearly unlimited options, as elements that set BCT apart.

What’s also different about BCT is the mindset of its founders, who just want their customers to get out and have fun. Rick says, “We’re trying to get people to think beyond the road and get out and explore, because there’s so much more to this country to see than what’s already been paved.”

To learn more about BCT, visit moabaz.com.

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