The RV industry has seen a boom in the past year thanks to consumer demand for vacations that avoid commercial air travel and hotel stays. In turn, campers’ popularity has helped spur the resurgence of Chinook, once one of the biggest names in the RV industry. And its new Summit motorhome brings the brand back to its roots in the best way possible.
Chinook: An original leader in the RV industry
Founded in 1938, Chinook was originally known as Mair & Son, Inc. Though the brand has been around for many decades, its best-known RVs appeared on the market in the 1990s and 2000s, Motor1 reports. In fact, this brand was so popular that its 15-year-old used campers still sell for upward of $50,000.
However, the 2008 financial crisis hit Chinook hard. Although the brand didn’t disappear, it cut back its output and stopped releasing the RVs that made it famous.
According to Motor1, Chinook’s new owners have spent the past several years rebuilding the brand. It’s been popping up with offerings such as camping trailers, but the Summit is its first foray back into motorhomes. This new vehicle likely faces more competition than older Chinook RVs, as rivals such as the Winnebago Ekko are now popular and widely available.
Details that set Chinook RVs apart
As this classic brand reenters its original segment, it’s worth taking some time to understand what sets Chinook campers apart from the competition. These RVs have three main features they’re known for — their single-piece fiberglass shell, their small size, and their abundant features — Motor1 reports.
Chinook motorhomes also typically offer floor plans with rear entries. Despite their small footprint, the interiors are impeccably designed to allow for plenty of comfort and convenience. Their smaller stature also makes them well-suited for camping in remote areas and parking on city streets.
What you need to know about the new Summit motorhome
The Summit motorhome appears to borrow from Chinook’s famous campers of the 1990s and 2000s. Like these earlier vehicles, the Summit has a small footprint and a rear entrance. It also sits on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and packs a V6 diesel engine.
The Summit measures just over 23 feet long and offers about 200 square feet of interior space. Although this is slightly larger than older models, Chinook says the Summit is easily maneuverable even when you’re parallel parking.
This RV also has a 30-gallon water tank, a 24-gallon gray water tank, a removable single induction cooktop, and a full-length wardrobe. Of note are the Summit’s two large sofas, located in the front of the coach. They offer plenty of space for seating and fold flat to create a king-sized bed, Motor1 reports.
The Summit also has a separate shower and bathroom with a powered fan for ventilation. Dimmable LED lights, accent night lights in the kitchen and bathroom, and a 13-foot awning also come standard. Motor1 praises the number of features, stating, “We haven’t seen many other RVs that offer the same level of functionality in such a small package.”
The Summit is an exciting new addition to Chinook’s lineup. It offers the best aspects of the brand’s early campers plus modern amenities — such as onboard Wi-Fi and a four-camera safety and security system — that make it competitive in today’s market.