Small Camper Review: InTech Sol Horizon
So you say you want to downsize. Good news! Tiny homes are “in” these days, from 400-square-foot family homes to micro-teardrop trailers that can be towed with a Mini Cooper.
What’s that you say? “Not that far down?“
Well, you’re in luck, because we’re in an age of best-of-both-worlds choices, and you’re not alone. Demand is high for a travel trailer that’s both light and stalwart, quality-made and reasonably priced, simple and rich. In the words of the late, great Freddie Mercury: “I want it all, and I want it now.”
I offer you the Sol Horizon by inTech. The happy-medium 19-foot Sol bears a clean, airy Airstream-reminiscent decor inside an all-grown-up-now teardrop shape, all atop construction evocative of the now-defunct Livin’ Lite, whose all-aluminum ultralight towables and truck campers took the RV world by storm before being absorbed and eventually dissolved by Thor.
Livin’ Lite owners and dealers alike mourned the loss, but some have found solace in the arms of inTech, a motorsports- and industrial-trailer manufacturer that entered the RV forum in 2015 and garnered the backing of Scott Tuttle, Livin’ Lite’s original founder, two years later.
Bedroom & Sleeping
Spanning the entire interior width, the 60-by-80-inch bed is a full queen, which is nice to have. It’s wedged in pretty tightly, though, so we struggled to get our sheets on it, and we were hoping for better comfort at this price point. As always, you can get a mattress topper or replacement.
The two rear corners have tiny rounded corner shelves with blue/white reading lights, plus power outlets and a light switch for the overhead bedroom lights on the street side. But the presence of two sets of lighted shelves doesn’t mean both sleepers get one; lying lengthwise, the person along the rear wall gets a set at both head and feet positions. Placing both shelves and lights at the head of the bed would be far more functional.
The drawer under the bed is the single largest interior storage space. In it, we could stack two folded beach towels next to a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, and given our packing proclivities, we also shoved a few pairs of socks around the edges.
Smaller RVs have a tightrope to walk when providing enough light so it doesn’t feel cramped and dark, since needful storage and amenities can literally pile up, leaving scant room for windows. Not so here; light is where the aptly named Sol shines. Three windows in the back bedroom join one over the kitchen sink, one in the door and two more side windows at the dinette. During the day, tinted glass provides an impressive amount of visibility from the inside and some privacy from the outside. A pull-down roller shade covers the windshield, and day/night shades cover all other windows, including the door.
Even at night, we were capably illuminated with LED ceiling lights throughout, white/blue reading lights at the dinette and bed, blue cubby lights, and accent-light strips over the windshield and kitchen sink. Outside, a step light, porch light and blue accent strip along the windshield provide strategic illumination.
Galley & Storage
One thing we always feel right away is a pinch in counter space, and it’s true, there’s not much to be had here; the dinette table is supplemented only by a small area in front of and below the microwave. Open the microwave’s door, and it will displace any items there. There’s no proper kitchen counter space, but when you’re not using the two-burner cooktop, its closed flush-mount glass cover can substitute as such.
We pause our show here to bring you this public-service announcement: Beware of the cooktop cover whose hinge mechanism requires intent mindfulness. To shift in and out of its locked “open” position, the cover must be pulled up and out, and not just upon opening, but — and heed my words carefully here — also upon closing. One must likewise inspect the hinges to make sure they aren’t binding and can accommodate all that movement. If either is lacking, the cover will shatter and send shards of automotive safety glass everywhere. I’ll give you one guess as to how I know this.
Once past the initial shock and nauseated panic, it makes for a funny story (and video; my teenage daughter watched it repeatedly with cascades of giggles), and my colleagues and Dometic graciously got it replaced so I could continue the test, but the caveat remains. Have your dealer check the hinges for fluidity, and practice the process yourself during your walk-through upon pickup. We now return to our regular programming.
Storage, though segmented and sometimes oddly shaped, is dotted throughout the Sol in the form of prop-up, magnet-latch cabinets over the dinette, sink and bed; cutout cubbies with bungee cords in both front and back; drawers under the refrigerator, bed and range; and one of the best under-sink cabinets I’ve seen in RVs of all sizes.
I easily stashed our trash can, canvas grocery bags, zippered lunch totes and small drink cooler in this wide-open, non-shelved space. In any moderately sized RV, keeping the trash can out of the aisle is a game-changer. It was a joy to unpack into the soft-close kitchen drawers of varying depths, as there was plenty of room for utensils, paper products and pantry items.
I enjoyed working in the Sol’s kitchen. A narrow counter strip behind the sink along the wall was deemed perfect for my keys, sunglasses and phone, plus my takeout cup of Coke Zero and a roll of paper towels. The large stainless-steel farmhouse sink features an arched faucet witha pull-out sprayer and a frosted-glass partition to help keep splashes away from the nearby swivel-out 32-inch LCD TV.
Across the aisle, the 1-cubic-foot microwave and three-way 3.7-cubic-foot refrigerator with removable freezer are compact but serviceable. A convection function wasn’t missed; we’re generally content with quick-cook buttons and ye olde campfire. Fitting a gallon of milk in the refrigerator would require applying Tetris skills to the adjustable shelves, but it can be done, and it easily held all my goodies and a healthy array of beverages to offer my young visitor, Max, when he came to play games with me. The games themselves fit nicely in the chunky drawer below the fridge.
The interior in the space provided by the front cap is pleasant. The U-dinette’s cushions have just the right “squish factor,” being comfortable yet firm enough to resist quick compression. It’ll seat three or four, and the marble-patterned table spins easily on its pedestal to assist scooting. We found the table’s compact trapezoid shape could accommodate two or three modest place settings, a small game or a laptop. It was easy to plug in, though, at a standard two-plug 120-volt AC outlet near the entry door or in the side of the streetside refrigerator cabinet, which also had one 12-volt DC outlet and two USB ports above the tank-monitor panel.
The dinette converts easily into 48-by-80-inch sleeper mode by removing the table and pedestal and inserting a cushion cutout, whose hard back and metal tabs provide support and rest securely on the dinette base. In that base are two hidey-holes where valuables or sundries can be stashed, though the streetside one also serves as the battery box.
I’ve never met a wet-bath enthusiast — it’s usually an acceptable-trade element at best — but inTech took deliberate steps to kick it up a notch, and it paid off. Of all the wet-baths I’ve tested, the Sol’s is my favorite. The privacy and watertight seal of the solid door provided great peace of mind, with plenty of light coming from the skylight/fan and its bright LED border. It’s generously proportioned, too, with 6-foot, 2-inch head clearance in a 44-by-29-inch footprint, and the large mirror hanging inside the door’s top half helps it feel even larger. The only downside is the absence of a sink; brushing teeth, etc., must all be done in the kitchen.
Gray Infinity woven-vinyl flooring provides visual interest with practical advantages. This durable PVC-coated polyester material is a marine-industry old-timer that’s now gaining ground in RVs. It’s resistant to moisture, soil and mildew, and is also lightweight, fade-resistant, antimicrobial and pet-friendly. Its texture provided a safe, nonskid surface that was still pleasant for our bare feet.
There are few materials and colors in this decor, keeping it simple and harmonious. Glossy white surfaces on overhead cabinets and the radius bathroom wall transition smoothly into the cool gray-brown wood finish on lower cabinets and upper cubbies, complemented by brushed-nickel hardware, trim and a hexagonal backsplash.
In addition to receiving over-the-air radio stations, the Jensen JWM40 stereo above the fridge plays CDs and DVDs, is Bluetooth-capable with AV and USB inputs, and has a clock with a sleep timer and alarm, with two fore and two aft interior-zone speakers. I read that the TV’s audio can be piped through it, a welcome foil to air-conditioner noise, but that’s a project for someone more tech-savvy than I.
Materials & Construction
Sol’s aluminum skeleton, a slightly pricier commodity that pays off in weight savings, durability and anti-rust and corrosion properties. The Sol has a fully welded all-tube, all-aluminum cage frame and base with independent suspension. The trailer is assembled wholly before adding interior components, such as cabinetry custom-built from on-site CNC machines. This takes more time, but it adds a level of quality — and quality control — that bears itself out in the final product.
Notable Equipment & Features
Unseen necessities are augmented with pleasant aesthetics, like the huge three-ply tempered-glass panoramic windshield in the unique-shaped forward-slanted front wall that’s a seriously eye-catching feature. It wraps around the front edges of the trailer and made me feel as though I were in Ten Forward on the USS Enterprise-D. It boosts overall ambience by letting in plenty of light and mentally increasing the interior’s 7-foot width (plus 18 inches for the wheel wells to establish total exterior width).
Outside, it was easy-peasy to drop the manual jacks at all four corners, as well as opening the optional 10-foot Thule 5200 manual awning, which was a pleasant surprise. It was much easier to get the hang of than some manual awnings I’ve wrestled. The battery box, waste holding tank and release are in front of the axle, bringing more weight forward where it helps with towing stability, and the separate storage tube for the sewer hose is appreciated.
Exterior Storage Space
Exterior storage is found in two compartments at the rear, though the curbside one can be transformed into an optional pull-out camp kitchen with a cast-iron gas griddle and storage for accessories. (An aftermarket shield for the griddle will help contain cooking splatters.) You can also add a portable 35-quart 12-volt DC/120-volt AC cooler that can serve as a refrigerator or freezer. An exterior outlet by the door and a spray-nozzle hose (handy for rinsing down the griddle) are standard. Exterior graphics, available in three colors, are just as clean and modern as the inside.
The test trailer was loaded with options, literally, but the cargo capacity shrank dramatically as we added it all up. We suspect the exterior kitchen and portable freezer are the largest culprits, so be mindful of your typical load and the tow vehicle’s capabilities when checking those boxes. A 256-pound cargo capacity is small, even for a compact trailer.
What We Liked
Gorgeous panoramic windshield, modern feel, spacious bathroom, plentiful windows and interior lights
What We’d Like to See
Bathroom sink, more cohesive interior storage spaces, less perilous cooktop-cover hinge mechanism
The Sol Horizon’s huge panoramic windshield and forward-angled frame give it a distinctive look, while its fully welded all-aluminum structure makes it strong and lightweight. Clean, modern and solidly made, inTech’s Sol Horizon stands out in the crowd of sub-20-foot travel trailers.
The Sol was tested in a full campground, and even there we received an increased helping of the greenery and the brilliantly lit sunset sky that fed my soul, if you’ll forgive my dancing on the edge of hyperbole. It’s truly unique and impactful. Unhitching and moving your tow vehicle will let you fully utilize the wide-vista potential. An optional snap-on cover is available for the proverbial ounce of prevention; a pound of cure is procured by gel repairs for chips and replacement windshields sent by inTech to automotive-windshield repair shops for installation.
At the end of the week, I had a hard time saying goodbye to the Sol Horizon; I formed an unusual bond with it. It’ll never leave me, not really. But I have a job to do, and where I was going, it couldn’t follow.
At least we’ll always have Elkhart.
2020 INTECH SOL HORIZON￼
Exterior Length 19′
Exterior Width 8′ 6″
Exterior Height 9′ 6″ w/A/C
Interior Width 6′ 9″
Interior Height 6′ 6″
Construction Fully welded all-aluminum triple-tube cage frame, hung fiberglass side walls, one-piece fiberglass roof, R-7 bubble-foil insulation, composite engineered floor
Freshwater Cap. 28 gal.
Black-/Gray-Water Cap. 32 gal.
LP-Gas Cap. 5 gal.
Water-Heater Cap. 6 gal.
Refrigerator 3.7 cu. ft.
Furnace 16,000 Btu
Air Conditioner 13,500 Btu
Converter 35 amp
Battery Dealer supplied
Suspension Dexter torsion axles
Weight (freshwater, water heater, LP-gas full; no cargo) 3,644 lbs.
Hitch Weight 520 lbs.
GVWR 3,900 lbs.
GAWR 3,900 lbs.
Cargo Carrying Cap. 256 lbs. w/options
Warranty (Transferable) 1-year basic, 3-year structural