At the Florida RV SuperShow this year there was an RV that stopped people in their tracks more than most others. It wasn’t the new Westfalia vans and few people bothered to look at those cheap Colemans. Instead, it was a giant 54-foot-long semi-trailer built to be an RV for full-timers. This is a SpaceCraft, and it’s a fabulous $600,000 RV meant to be your home wherever you want to drag it.
The SpaceCraft parked at the Florida RV SuperShow is owned by Todd and Sheila Konitzer. As the couple explained, they each lost a parent due to health complications in 2019. Those parents were only in their 60s and were going to spend their retirement living full-time in an RV and traveling the country. Sadly, they never got to do that, but Todd and Sheila began their own conversations about downsizing and hitting the road.
Like many Americans, the Konitzer couple hit the road during the pandemic, living out of an RV and starting a YouTube channel. Along the way, they discovered that full-time RVing can be lonely, so they founded Switch It Up, a community of RV enthusiasts. The SpaceCraft at the show isn’t just the Konitzer couple’s new home, but a mobile command center for the Switch It Up operation complete with a giant LED sign and a rooftop party deck.
The Todd and Sheila trailer is just one example of what SpaceCraft, a company specializing in completely custom RVs, can do.
The vast majority of RVs out there are units where what you see is what you get. A brand from Thor Industries or Forest River isn’t going to give you many customization options. Sure, maybe you might have a small selection of interior colors or a list of optional equipment, but that’s it. You’re not going to walk into a Dutchmen RV dealer and start a build from scratch.
That’s where SpaceCraft comes in. Mother and son team Marsha and Wyatt Trautman founded Spacecraft Manufacturing in 1962. At first, the company existed to combine the comforts and amenities of a home with the portability of an RV. By 1970, the Trautmans discovered an untapped niche. The owners of carnivals and circuses wanted large trailers with two bedrooms. This pushed the young SpaceCraft Manufacturing into the custom-built fifth-wheel arena. By the mid-1990s, SpaceCraft expanded on this idea even further by starting production of totally custom semi-trailers.
The company has been passed down through different owners. As of 2018, businessman Greg Wallman owns the company. I was most surprised by the fact that even though SpaceCraft has been around for 62 years, it’s not a name you hear about often, or really at all. This appears to be because SpaceCraft doesn’t advertise. Instead, the company seems to get most of its customers through word of mouth.
What makes SpaceCraft different is the fact that the RVs, which range from large travel trailers to 57-foot semi-trailers, are custom from start to finish. By “custom,” I don’t mean you get a layout and get to play around with it. This is even more custom than what you get with Grounded RV’s vans.
SpaceCraft says your design starts with a blank piece of paper. You tell SpaceCraft what you want and you will get it. Want a 40-foot garage for your cars and motorcycles and 17 feet for living space? SpaceCraft can do that. Want to live like Will Smith in a trailer so lavish most people couldn’t comprehend the luxury? Sure, SpaceCraft can do that, too. Maybe you just want a giant party capsule for Burning Man or King of the Hammers? SpaceCraft says a difficult part of its business is just communicating the fact that SpaceCraft’s trailers are whatever your dreams are and what your wallet can take. SpaceCraft says so long as your dreams obey regulations and the laws of physics, they could probably be achieved.
SpaceCraft’s Massive Semi-Trailers
The SpaceCraft put on display by the Konitzers is an example of SpaceCraft’s gigantic semi-trailer RVs. Let’s start with how large the thing is. The trailer is 54 feet long and weighs roughly 35,100 pounds empty.
A trailer with this much heft requires an equally girthy tow rig, and the Konitzers haul it with a Mack Anthem Class 8 semi modified by Hall Fabrication out of Auburndale, Florida. It’s a semi that, depending on configuration, puts out 415 HP to 505 HP and 1,260 lb-ft of torque to 1,900 lb-ft of torque using either Mack MP diesels or a Cummins natural gas engine. The Konitzers didn’t specify what’s under the hood.
Hall Fabrication turned the work truck semi into what’s called a Heavy Duty Truck (HDT). An HDT is more or less what it sounds like, a semi converted into something more for recreation duty. It’s common for HDT owners to configure their trucks to haul Smart Fortwos behind the truck cab and in front of the RV trailer, but Todd went a different direction. He had Hall Fabrication create a garage and lift for his Indian Chieftain motorcycle, which is pretty sweet. I bet driving that rig is a load of fun.
Behind the Mack and behind the motorcycle is the couple’s new SpaceCraft. Todd told me the process to design and build the trailer took a year. Five months of that year was just designing what they wanted. It took another three months to construct the trailer, and about a year to get it where it was at the Florida RV SuperShow. The trailer was about 70 percent complete at the show and part of what the Konitzers wanted to do was get feedback on how to finish the build. For example, the trailer still needs a paint scheme. What you’re looking at is the bare trailer before the paint!
SpaceCraft says that while its trailers are totally custom, buyers do get a platform to build on. The company’s semi-trailer RV platform starts with a welded steel chassis, tandem air ride axles, and 22.5” truck tires. In addition to that air suspension, you’re getting air brakes plus hydraulic jacks. SpaceCraft says it uses a “possum-style” basement, which is said to offer 60 percent more storage space than a typical fifth wheel trailer. The company also says that 22.5″ truck tires were a conscious choice. That way, tire problems could be resolved at just about any truck repair shop.
SpaceCraft’s semi-trailers measure between 40 feet and 57 feet long and feature an aluminum sheeted steel box with a composite body. The trailers’ roofs are fiberglass and the whole rig is covered in a gel coat paint. The trailers also get 1.5″ polystyrene insulation.
Standard equipment? Well, everything you’d expect in a $600,000 coach comes with a SpaceCraft semi-trailer build. SpaceCraft says you get a 10 kW generator, 50 Amp electrical service, and a 220 Ah battery. You also get 100 gallons of fresh water, a 50-gallon grey tank just for the kitchen, a 55-gallon grey tank elsewhere, and a 55-gallon waste tank. You get two air-conditioners, two heat pumps, two forced-air furnaces, a full kitchen with residential appliances, a full bathroom with a residential-size shower, and a hefty 19-gallon water heater.
Mind you, those are just the standard features. If you wanted five air-conditioners and 500 gallons of water, I bet SpaceCraft would do it. The Konitzers got sponsors for their build, which allowed them to upgrade the batteries with a set of eight 300 Ah lithium packs from Enduro Power and 3000 W of solar power from RV Solar Connections. Their trailer is also equipped with a sound stage featuring outdoor concert speakers to go along with the aforementioned hinged LED display.
Inside, the Konitzers designed a clever living space. The living room is pretty spacious and features a hidden sound bar, hidden USB ports, and beautiful hardwood finishes. Across from that is Todd’s office, which sits ahead of a dining room. As I said before, the kitchen utilizes residential appliances and is so large that there’s also a sizable island. I like that the wood touches return here as well. And by full kitchen, you even get a dishwasher, too!
Forward of those combined spaces is the private primary room, which has tons of space for a king bed, a dedicated laundry room, and a full bathroom. Toward the rear of the trailer is a mixed-use space. During the day it can be an office or a meeting space and at night, a Murphy bed comes down from the wall. This room also has its own door for privacy, plus a powder room of its own.
Also at the rear of the trailer are three party decks. Two are patios while the third is a rooftop deck. The roof deck is accessed through a hatch in the ceiling and a ladder.
Great, If You Have The Cash
Even at 70 percent finished, the SpaceCraft showed itself to be pretty neat. The trailer has so much space and honestly, I’m a sucker for RV patios and roof decks. I’m pretty sure if I had the kind of money to design one of these, I’d put deployable patios all over the place and a full roof observation deck. Maybe the solar panels would have to swing out or something.
And you do need a lot of money for something like this. Todd tells me that if you were to replicate their trailer, it would be something like $500,000, maybe $600,000 if you copied it exactly. But these are guesses at best because as I noted before, every SpaceCraft is a custom build. Most people aren’t building a trailer as both a full-time RV and also an events space, so you probably won’t have a giant LED screen or concert speakers.
SpaceCraft’s representatives tell me that getting your own custom trailer is only part of what makes the company stand out. SpaceCraft and its customers consider these trailers to be more affordable alternatives to palatial Class A coaches. You could spend a couple of million dollars on a 45-foot Prevost or scoot on over to SpaceCraft and get a 53-foot semi-trailer. The quality is great, too. Everything in the Konitzers’ trailer felt like it belonged in a fancy house because, well, it pretty much is a fancy house built into a semi-trailer.
While it’s unlikely I’ll ever be graced with enough cash to afford something like this, it was fascinating to take a look at what you could do with a blank sheet of paper and your imagination behind the wheel. On one end of the RV spectrum, you have cheap tent campers or those bargain basement Colemans, and on the other end, you have these trailers hauled by semi-tractors where the sky is the limit. I’d love to just spend a week in one of these SpaceCraft monsters and watch some off-road racing and do some stargazing from the roof deck.
If you want to give the Konitzers input on finishing their trailer design or are a full-time RVer wanting to meet other full-timers, visit the couple’s website at Switch It Up.
(Images: Author, unless otherwise noted.)
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