The History of Jayco

For over 50 years, Jayco has been designing a variety of RV’s, perfect for every adventure! Each model is build with exploration in mind, and is backed by months of research, development, and testing. It is no surprise that the Jayco lineup is full of award winning models!

1968 – The Beginning

In 1968, Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager were living on their family farm in Northern Indiana. Lloyd developed his own prototype camping trailer with a unique lifting system for fold down campers.

fold down tent trailer
jayco began with the new design for a pop up camping trailer

In 1969, Al Yoder became a company partner. During Jayco’s first year they had 15 employees and sold 132 camping trailers.


Lloyd launched the first Jayco Dealer Seminar to introduce new models, Jayco’s first international sale!

Plants were opened in Canada and Kansas in effort to keep up with customer demand.

the first jayco dealer seminar


jaycos first travel trailer

Jayco’s first year of selling Travel Trailers, and they built 1,100 trailers within the first year!


Jaycos first Fifth Wheel

Jayco’s first year of selling Fifth Wheel Trailers.


In 1975 Al Yoder became the Executive Vice President of Jayco.

The company made Americas list of top 10 RV manufacturers for the very first time!

Jayco expanded into Australia and officially became an international company.


JayMini Motorhome

Jayco entered the Class C market with the JayMini Motorhome.


Jayco proved they can do more than just RV’s by building the first horse-drawn Mackinac Island Tram.

The 80’s

Jayco created the Jay Trek wagon gear trailer in 1980, and in 1982 a new kind of fold down tent camper they called the Jay Tiki.

Business was thriving throughout the early 80’s, they even built and shipped their 100,000th unit!

But disaster struck in 1985, when Jayco founder Lloyd and his three sons where killed in a tragic airplane accident on Easter Sunday. Al Yoder was appointed President, and Lloyds oldest son became Executive Vice President of the company. Lloyds wife Bertha was appointed Chairman of the Board.

Founder of jayco dies in a plane crash newspaper article


starcraft rv

Starcraft RV, one of the nations oldest and most respected brand of campers, was taken under Jayco’s corporate umbrella.


esprit tent camper by jayco rv created in 1993

Jayco introduced the Esprit Tent Camper, and Jayco built and shipped their 200,000th unit!

Al Yonder retired from his role of President.


Llyod was inducted into the RV Hall of Fame


Al Yonder was inducted into the RV Hall of Fame.

In 1997 Jayco joined the world wide web on! That same year, Jayco also built and shipped their 300,000th unit, and even opened their customer service center in Indiana!

The corporate headquarters facility in Indiana was completed in 1999.


jay feather jayco kiwi travel trailer

Jayco introduced the Kiwi, a lightweight travel trailer that is today known as the Jay Feather.


jay flight jayco travel trailer

Jayco introduced the Jay Flight trailer brand. Today, Jay Flight has been the #1 best selling travel trailer in North America for the last 13 years straight.

In 2005 Jayco opened a new manufacturing plant in Twin Falls, Idaho, to keep up with the growing demand in western Canada and USA.

In 2006 the 500,000th unit was built and shipped, and Jayco introduced the first lightweight toy hauler travel trailer, originally named the Talon.

entegra coach

In 2008, Jayco acquired assets of former Travel Supreme, and launched the Class A Diesel Pusher Entegra Coach division.

In 2011, Jayco became the worlds largest privately held RV manufacture.


jayco precept class a motorhome

Jayco entered the Gasoline Class A market with the Precept.

highland ridge rv

Jayco acquired assets to former Open Range, and renamed the division Highland Ridge RV.

In 2016, Jayco built its 100,000th unit! The Jayco corporation and all of its brands were acquired by Thor Industries.


In 2020, Jay Flight was awarded the #1 selling Travel Trailer in North America for 15 consecutive years.

In 2021, Jayco rebranded to Jayco Family of Companies to encapsulate the four divisions.


All information and picture credit to Jayco

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