Helio O2 travel trailer with its functional layout and standard features promises comfort for 2, while aluminum-fiberglass design offers durability and lightweight...
Hélio VR (Lavaltrie, Quebec) is one of the well-recognized Canadian manufacturers of travel trailers. The company offers a series of mini travel trailers HE and series of ultra-light teardrop trailers “O” (for “Outdoor”). The model Helio HE is basically sleeping space on wheels. Small, light (dry weigh about 390 lbs), it can be towed even by ATV, snowmobile, 3-wheeler not even mentioning cars.
Helio O2 with its stylish awning
... and its floor-plan
Much more comfortable even for longer journeys is the Series “Ox”, which comes in version O2 (sleeping for two) and correspondingly O3 and O4 with more sleeping space at the price of less amenities. All three Ox versions are based on the same model (same dimensions and GVWR). The main difference between models are interior layout and standard features impacting dry weight (about 1,135 lbs for O4). For the purpose of this article we selected the most impressive model Helio O2.
Helio O2 Lightweight Travel Trailer
All Helio travel trailers are made to last. The aluminum frame makes it not only corrosion free and by that long-lasting, but also light. The monocoque shell is a sandwich of insulation (expanded polypropylene) and fiberglass. Overlapping molded parts making the shell are glued with resins making it not only rot and mold free but also a watertight. Keeping in mind specifics of Canadian climate (quite rainy), designers eliminated otherwise attractive rear panoramic window achieving this way better weather resistance. As famous Murphy laws predict, “all sealed joints leak” and windows are certainly weak spots in overall watertight design. Helio O2 exterior is gel-coated protecting the surface from discoloration due to prolonged impact of weather elements while nice graphics ads always appreciated elegance.
The floor is an exception, as designers decided to use traditional ¾” plywood. In this case however it is fully wrapped in a thick coat of fiberglass, so practically also weather resistant. Such floor offers the best of two words: mechanical strength and good thermal insulation of plywood, but also rot and mold free operation thanks to fiberglass coating. The legitimate question however is – how well the underbelly’s fiberglass coating protects from rocks and any other mechanical damages?
Helio O2 Travel Trailer: View on the kitchenette
Helio O2 Travel Trailer: Part of the kitchenette and rear dinette
Stainless-steel 2-burner cooktop with glass cover
Modern, light construction materials and electric brakes puts all Helio Ox models within the towing range of most family cars and SUVs (O2 dry weight is just 1.550 lbs, GVWR corresponding 2,000 lbs).
With its queen-size sleeping place made from folding rear, U-shaped dinette, the model Helio O2 is designed for two people. Thanks to this arrangement it was possible to offer functional and comfortable interior (despite its relatively small footprint). The kitchenette consists of front cabinets with stainless-steel sink and hot/cold water. Large part of the countertop is left free as the working space, while cabinets provide ample storage space. Remaining part of the kitchenette is taking the central part of the trailer and includes built into the cabinetry 2-way (120Vac/LPG) 3.3 cu. ft fridge with freezer. Under the fridge there is a storage space with drawers and an extra space that can be used either as a storage or space for a portable A/C unit.
On the opposite wall there is another cabinet with 2-burner stainless-steel cooktop and built-in microwave. The cooktop takes almost all top surface, however thanks to the glass cover it can be also available for preparation of food. Remaining part of the camper houses spacious, U-shaped dinette with round table. It plays multiple roles – dinette, for 4, working or leisure place for reading, playing games etc… and finally at night it converts into a comfortable queen-size bed.
Folded dinette makes the queen-size bed
At this moment, most readers will probably say - well, nothing new, quite typical layout for small travel trailers. And they could be right if not the bath with shower and toilet. It’s rather unusual feature in this class of travel trailers. Located at the front on the driver-side, the bath is contained in a molded-fiberglass cabin, so it’s always available, offers privacy, while at the same time camper’s interior is fully protected from spills of water.
Interior finish matches modernity with elegance. The ceiling is covered with soft automotive-style lining. The floor is finished in attractive pattern of fiberglass. Doors and cabinets are covered with laminated aluminum. Dinette’s upholstery, windows’ curtains and interior LED lights add some softness and warmth into this small, but certainly comfortable interior. Two side-windows and door allow for penetration of sunlight, but they are not match for visual effects that can only offer the panoramic rear window (not available in Helio’s Ox series).
Wet bath is contained in molded-fiberglass cabin
The reversible, roof mounted MaxxFan has thermostat and is set to automatically turn on, when the interior temperature exceeds 75 degF (you can also turn it on/off manually).
Optional, but frankly very stylish awning matching camper’s teardrop shape beautifully extends (or maybe in this case creates) an outdoor living space. The large storage space under dinette’s cushions have access from inside and outside so it can be also easily used for carrying necessary camping gear (folding table, chairs etc..). For better outdoor experience Helio also offers an optional BBQ.
Large storage space is accessible from the outside, but also by removing cushions, from the inside of the trailer
The two rear stabilizers and tongue wheeled jack are adjustable manually, so some effort is needed to level the trailer. Another manual operation is required by 6 gallons water heater. Accessible from the outside it needs manual ignition (box of matches will help).
Water heater requires manual ignition!
Interior height (1)
Fresh water tank
Grey water tank
Black water tank
1. At tallest point (63” over dinette, 65” over counter-top, 68” bath)
Helio O2 Travel Trailer: Underbelly
Helio O2 Travel Trailer: Wheel (source: Vostrailers.ca)
Helio O2 Travel Trailer: Structure of the shell (above) and floor (below)
Dometic fridge w/freezer
Helio O2 Travel Trailer: MaxxFan
...... here seen from the outside
Exterior LED lights are part of the "molded" shell to prevent leaks
Drawers are part of the interior storage space
Front molded-fiberglass storage houses LPG bottle and the battery
..... here closed
Optional portable A/C unit has its place in the cabinet under the fridge
Helio O2 Travel Trailer: Interior (View from the dinette)
Summarizing: The Canada-made Helio O2 teardrop travel trailer seems to be an interesting solution for memorable RV-journeys for two. The well-thought layout and standard features promises functionality and comfort. The modern aluminum-fiberglass design offers durability but also light weight. The latter puts it in the towing range of family cars and crossovers.
Note that Helio O2 comes with Canadian (CSA Z240 RV) and US (NFPA 1192) certifications.
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Unless otherwise indicated, the pictures are courtesy of Hélio VR (Lavaltrie, Quebec, Canada)
Note: Check with the manufacturer and/or authorized RV Dealer for the up-to-date list of features, options as well as latest specifications. These written above may not be accurate and certainly are subject to change by the factory. We are not responsible for any inaccuracy, the above text is provided only for the general information.