Matt: Some customers want aluminum framing. After many years of customer requests, we have decided to offer that option. As a company, we still strongly prefer wood framing, but we are now offering aluminum framed Hallmark truck campers. We have an experienced aluminum welder on the team and look forward to building the best aluminum framed pop-up truck campers available. To anyone who ever wished for an aluminum framed Hallmark, we’re ready to go.
Above: The Coosa Hallmark frame being built
TCM: We’re going to have to follow up on your aluminum framed campers for a future article, but let’s bring this article back to Coosa. You mentioned that the 100% Coosa Hallmark Milner was only about fifty pounds lighter than a wood framed Milner. Was that a surprise?
Matt: Not really. The 100% Coosa Milner proves that there’s just not that much weight to be saved by changing the framing material. Again, Coosa is lighter than aluminum. If we had framed the camper in aluminum, it would have weighed more.
Components like microwaves, cook tops, batteries, and jacks make up a much more significant part of the camper weight. The weight of a camper really comes down to the size of the camper, and its components.
Above: The Coosa Hallmark features Hallmark’s molded fiberglass siding
TCM: If Coosa is a stronger material than wood, would it be possible to use less framing to save more weight without losing structural integrity?
Matt: After decades of refinement, Hallmark frames are already as minimal and efficient as possible without sacrificing structural integrity. We rely mostly on our composite outer shells for strength anyway. All of the inner frame structure we have is necessary for structural strength to attach components like bunks or jacks.
Above: The 100% Coosa modules, empty cabinets waiting for cabinet doors, and drawers
TCM: Can you work with Coosa the same way you work with wood?
Matt: Yes. Everything we can do with wood, we can do with Coosa. We can cut, screw, rout, staple, and use urethane adhesives with Coosa.
The yachting industry uses Coosa in their floors and bulkheads. The aerospace industry also uses Coosa in bulk heads. The Coosa we’re using even has an insulation value of R 3.8, very similar to the wood it replaces. It’s really a neat product.
TCM: What challenges did you encounter and overcome while developing the prototype Coosa models?
Matt: As a foam and fiberglass composite, we have to be careful when cutting Coosa as it does create airborne particles. When we work with raw Coosa, we put on gloves and a mask. You don’t want to touch raw Coosa with your hands until after it’s sealed.
TCM: How do you seal Coosa?
Matt: We seal with a urethane. Coosa seals just like wood does. Once the urethane sets Coosa becomes like rock. And if you ever had to repair it, you could cut it just like it was wood.
Above: The Coosa drawer weighed in at three pounds
TCM: You mentioned earlier that the Coosa Milner you built has zero wood. Do all Coosa Hallmarks have zero wood or aluminum?
Matt: Coosa campers can have zero wood or aluminum, if you choose. We can use Coosa to build the frame, floor, walls, cabinets, and drawers resulting in a camper with no wood or aluminum.
On the other hand, we recently competed a Cuchara that featured a Coosa floor and walls, but the customer wanted the interior cabinetry to be Cherry wood.