Inventor aims to shake up the world of campervan awnings
with unique new design
18th August 2016
Letting light in and getting views out – that’s what makes the perfect campervan awning,
according to TV News camerawoman turned entrepreneur, Julie Ritson, who launches sheltaPod on crowdfunding website Kickstarter this week.
Campervan awnings are traditionally big, bulky tents that attach to the side of the van. They have remained the same shape for years and many campers feel they are a bit of an eye sore.
“I bought my first campervan 4 years ago and wanted an awning that was easy to set up single handed, that didn’t block the views from inside the van and gave me some extra storage space” says Ritson, 50. “I just needed some shelter outside the van where I could cook, eat and store stuff. It also had to go up and come down quickly if I was only staying for one or two nights. I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I bought a sewing machine and made my own”.
That early prototype gave birth to several factory prototypes. A year later ‘sheltaPod’ was born. Ritson now has a big following on social media, all campervan enthusiasts who have watched it’s development and say it’s exactly what they’ve been looking for as well.
sheltaPod is unique because the pole sections can fold back to a simple sun canopy. When folded back down, a separate inner tent can clip into the Pod rainfly to provide extra sleeping space. There’s even a custom-sized airbed and a clip in front panel for when you just want to store your gear. But it’s the bright colours and big skylight windows that make sheltaPod really standout from the crowd.
Ritson has big plans for the future, with more colours, designer patterns and innovative accessories. She knows sheltaPod is a niche product but believes it fills a gap in the market that has been ignored by the bigger awning manufacturers.
“I’m using Kickstarter for two main reasons,” says Ritson. “Firstly to keep costs as low as possible for my customers – so they don’t have to pick up the bill for things like borrowed capital. But more immediately, to test the water and see if there’s an appetite for it – so I need to reach as many campervan fanatics as possible during the Kickstarter campaign”
Kickstarter Launch starts – 22nd August 2016
Kickstarter rules state that Ritson has 30 days to reach her target – £80,000 in pledges by 7pm GMT on 20th September 2016 – or the project will not get funded.
Backers are able to buy one of the first sheltaPod campervan awnings including the inner tent; and there will be a limited number available on discount for early-bird backers. For people who’d like to support the project but don’t want an awning, a £5 pledge will get them a logo keyring and regular eNewsletter.
If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, sheltaPod will go straight into production for delivery in March 2017 – ready for the new camping season.
“The feedback I’ve had for sheltaPod has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m so grateful for everyone’s support so far” says Ritson. “I really hope the campervan community get onboard with this idea and help introduce something new and fresh into the campervan awnings market”
For media enquires, contact Julie Ritson at sheltaCamp@gmail.com
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