The final four: Hiker Trailers one of four semifinalists for ‘Coolest Thing Made in Indiana ‘ contest

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A local manufacturer of custom camping trailers has made it to the final four of a statewide competition to be crowned the “coolest thing made in Indiana.”

Columbus-based Hiker Trailer, 2860 N. National Road, Suite B, is one of four semifinalists in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s second annual “Coolest Thing Made in Indiana” tournament.

The contest, which started earlier this month, included 54 companies representing 43 communities, according to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The other semifinalists are Kidstuff Play Systems in Gary, Maple Leaf Farms in Leesburg and Polywood in Syracuse.

Voting for the semifinals runs through Friday at 10 p.m., while voting for the championship matchup will start Monday at 9 a.m.

“I’m hoping to win the whole thing, but, you know, we’ve got some tough competition,” said Robbie Bosar, director of marketing and operations for Hiker Trailers.

Hiker Trailers offers a range of camping trailers models that Bosar described as a “base camp on wheels” that can be customized with features including bunk beds, cargo racks, lighting, air conditioning, among other features.

The trailers are about 5-feet wide and range from 8-feet to 10-feet in length and 5.5-feet to 6.5-feet in height depending on the model. Prices generally range from $5,995 to $13,595 depending on the model, size of the trailer, accessories, among other factors, according to the company

“Instead of a traditional RV where you have the couch and your living room inside, this is more for folks that want a secure bed to sleep in, have doors that lock, but they’re going to be spending most of their time outdoors at a campsite or hunting fishing, doing a nature trails, whatever it might be,” Bosar said. “It’s really the bed on wheels and a nice place to store some gear and do some cooking.”

Hiker Trailer was formed about 10 years ago by two entrepreneurs in Indiana and Colorado, Bosar said. The company was initially based on the north side of Indianapolis and in the Denver area. At one point, Hiker Trailers started contracting with local manufacturer Sterling Industries Inc. through a metal shop it operates in Edinburgh, Bosar said.

In 2020, Sterling Industries moved to acquire the Indiana portion of the Hiker Trailers business and moved production to Columbus, Bosar said. Last year, Sterling Industries merged with the Colorado portion of the business and now fully owns Hiker Trailers.

Hiker Trailer employs about 35 people at its Columbus production facility. The company also has an office in the Denver area.

Photo provided An exterior view of the Hiker Trailer in the wilderness.

 

Want to vote?

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Coolest Thing Made in Indiana competition celebrates the state’s rich manufacturing tradition and is for companies that make all kinds of things.

Public fan voting to see who reaches the finals is underway at indianachamber.com/coolestthing.

Voting for the semifinals runs through 10 p.m. Friday. The championship matchup will commence on Monday at 9 a.m. The tournament concludes Nov. 30.

The top companies will be recognized and the champion announced Dec. 14 at the Indiana Chamber’s Best IN Manufacturing Luncheon at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, which also features the first honorees in the Indiana Best Places to Work in Manufacturing program.

For the complete story and more photos, see Tuesday’s Republic.