An estimated 8.9 million households in the United States own an RV, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, and the trend is upward.
No matter what kind of rig, whether a small camping trailer or a monstrous luxury motorhome, the majority of RV owners have always shared a common problem -- unpleasant odor and fumes from the RV's holding tanks.
That is about to change, according to Greg Cravens of Linton and Bob Cravens of Oregon, co-owners of 360 Products, Inc.
360 Products is on the verge of creating headlines in the industry and turning heads of both current and future RV owners with a new product called the RV360 Siphon, specially designed to solve the problem.
The RV360 Siphon is basically a cap for the vent pipes that run from the holding tanks up through the roof of an RV. The siphon looks like a miniature spaceship or unidentified flying object, but it's only 2.5-inches tall, weighs just 5.4 ounces and is less than six-inches in diameter. It can be easily installed on any RV.
Greg Cravens said the problem with unwelcome smells coming from the holding tanks is a long-standing problem all owners face.
"This is the No. 1 problem," said Cravens. "And this is the first product in seven decades that solves the No. 1 issue talked about among RVers."
The remedy previously has been to install a gadget or use chemicals in the tank.
Cravens said the gadgets have not worked very well and chemicals just mask the odor but don't solve the problem. Chemicals can also be expensive and can interfere with the breakdown of waste.
According to Cravens, RVers can skip the chemicals if they install an RV360 Siphon because it will eliminate the problem.
Less chemicals means less maintenance expense for RV owners and it also means less chemicals going into dumping stations and the environment.
The RV360 Siphon has been on the drawing board for a long time and is finally ready for market.
Cravens said an engineer in Canada has had the solution in development for years.
"The engineer made 640 prototypes and tested them all before getting everything just right," said Cravens, noting the unusual curves on every surface of the siphon which is protected by four patents.
Cravens explained the odor problem is caused by pressure that builds up in a holding tank, much greater pressure than the pressure in the coach. With less pressure in the air space inside the RV, the odor and fumes in the tank are pushed out into the coach.
Other vent caps are designed to keep the pipe free of debris and to provide an escape route for the fumes, but they create downdrafts which force even more fumes to leak out and seep into the coach.
"The RV360 Siphon cannot create a downdraft. It's designed to only draw the fumes up and out. It creates an updraft in any kind of weather or wind, whether the RV is stationary or moving," said Cravens.
The Siphon does not require electricity and it has no moving parts.
"It's brilliant in its simplicity," said Cravens praising the engineer who developed it.
A standard RV has two tanks that need to be vented, a gray water tank and a black water tank. Some other RVs could have four tanks with the addition of an extra bathroom or an exterior kitchen. To tackle the problem, each vent would be topped with the siphon.
So far, Cravens said RV owners who have installed the siphon have given it rave reviews.
The RV360 Siphon is making its debut on new RVs manufactured by Forest River headquartered in Elkhart, Ind.
Forest River, now owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., is led by General Manager Doug Gaeddert who also serves as First Vice Chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, Inc.
Cravens said Forest River is known as a leader of innovation in the industry and in mid-July, they started installing the RV360 Siphon on some of their RV lines including Cedar Creek, Silverback, Cottage, V-Cross, Classic, Cascade, Cherokee, Wolfpack, Wolfpup, Vengeance, Sierra, Sandpiper, XLR, Nitro, Hyperlite, Viper, Thunderbolt and others with more to follow.
On new coaches, the RV360 Siphon will be available exclusively on products manufactured by Forest River and their subsidiaries until August 2013. After that, Cravens is expecting other manufacturers will be getting on board and demand will continue to grow.
In addition, the siphon can be easily installed on any existing RV.
The RV360 Siphon is a product of North America -- it is currently being manufactured in Vancouver, Canada by a company with a long association with the engineer who designed the cap.
Word about the RV360 Siphon is starting to spread and it is expected to draw even more attention in the industry when it appears next week at America's Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa.
There are already 506 distributors worldwide including retail outlets, select RV dealers and manufacturers.
Currently, the closest place to Greene County to make a retail purchase of the RV360 Siphon is Midwest RV Center located at 10480 U.S. 41S, south of Terre Haute.
It's also available online for $29.95 each plus shipping.
To purchase, visit www.360productsinc.com
The company's website offers a wealth of information about the RV360 Siphon including videos illustrating the problem, how the siphon works and installation instructions plus links to numerous reviews by individual owners of RVs and industry experts.
Information on the online sales site states, "The siphon cannot fail. It's the world's only non-mechanical air check valve that eliminates stack downdrafts and creates a low pressure area in every possible wind direction."