Buying a truck camper is often the easiest and most affordable way to become an RVer, especially if you already own a pickup truck.
Lance Camper Manufacturing, which builds both campers and travel trailers, has compiled a list of reasons someone might choose a camper over other types of RVs. While every type of RV has its own advantages, here are some reasons to choose a camper:
• Price: Campers have many of the same features as a motorhome, but in a smaller space, and they cost less. Insurance is also cheaper.
• Storage: Most people can store a camper at home, saving storage costs
• Tow all your toys: There’s no RV better than a truck and camper to tow a boat, horse trailer or anything else.
• Convenience: Remote control camper jacks make it easy to set up camp in a few minutes and then you are free to drive the truck anywhere.
• Fuel economy: A truck and camper get better gas mileage than a heavier RV.
Truck campers come in a wide variety of sizes with features ranging from basic to luxurious. Here is a look at a few new truck campers from leading manufacturers:
The new Adventurer 80GS truck camper with a fiberglass exterior is light and affordable. The camper weighs less than 1,500 pounds and carries a suggested retail price of $15,960.
The Adventurer 80GS is designed exclusively for today’s popular light-duty, full-size six and a half-foot short-bed trucks, such as the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.
The camper comes with a slideout galley that includes a two-burner LPG stove, acrylic sink with a high-mount faucet and a four-cubic-foot refrigerator/freezer. A microwave oven can be added as an option.
The queen-size cab-over bed has two directional high-intensity reading lights, and there is a U-shaped dinette that also can be converted into a bed. The camper is equipped with an interior shower, a hot water tank, furnace, fresh-water flush toilet and a bathroom skylight.
Adventurer achieves its light weight through the use of special composite panels and building substrates, developed and proven in the automotive and housing markets. The materials are bonded together, along with full-foam insulation, to create a unit that is backed by a three-year structural warranty.
For more information, visit www.amlrv.com.
The 29 workers pictured atop an Arctic Fox 1150 are there to reinforce the idea that the company has the best-built, strongest truck campers that money can buy.
For its 2011 models, Arctic Fox has added a new round of enhancements, including LED running lights and taillights for increased visibility and safety, and a new version of the Dream Dinette that has a large ventilating window and a mechanism that easily and quickly allows the table to be converted from a table to a bed and back again. The 2011 truck campers also have a pillowtop mattress, a 12V light inside the termination compartment, and a backup remote for the power jacks in case the primary remote gets misplaced. In addition, buyers now have the option of adding a fiberglass cap to give their camper an elegant touch.
The new improvements are on top of a series of upgrades in 2010 models that included flat screen TVs, residential height countertops, full-extension ball-bearing drawer guides, and a sub-floor pullout “Joey Tray” for increased exterior storage. Holding tank capacities were also increased in many models.
Continuous refinements have been a hallmark of Arctic Fox truck campers, and the brand also has gained a reputation as the leading builder of slideout campers. All but one of its six models have slideouts.
For more information, visit northwoodmfg.com.
If you are looking for a camper with durability, lots of space and premium features, you will want to consider the Everest triple slide from Host RV in Bend, Oregon.
This Host camper has a side entry for ease of towing and three slideouts to provide extra floor space. The kitchen slides out on the curbside, the dinette slides out on the street side and an overhead cabinet and sofa slide out at the rear.
The Everest is eight feet wide, with a floor length of 11 feet, six inches. The slideouts extend the camper 14 inches on the kitchen side, 20 inches on the dinette side, and 28 inches at the back. All that extra room provides about a third more space than a standard camper.
A bed over the cab, a dinette that converts into a bed, and a sleeper sofa provide plenty of places to sleep. And you can carry lots of gear, too, since the basement storage is three times the industry average. The holding tanks are extra large, with a 60-gallon capacity for fresh water, 40 gallons for gray and 40 gallons for black.
Host RV also builds motorhomes, and the Everest uses the same sort of box tube aluminum framing that Host employs in its motor coaches for superior structural strength. Vacu-bonded lamination adds to the durability. The suggested retail base price is $39,100.
Host RV was started in 2000 by Dave Hogue and Mark Storch, whose fathers, Jim Hogue and Frank Storch, founded Beaver campers and motorhomes and built that brand into an industry leader from the 1960s through the 1990s.
For more information, visit hostcampers.com.
Half-ton pickups have soared in popularity, and that’s all you need to carry a small, but feature-packed camper from Lance. “We have the hot camper for the hot truck,” said Lance marketing manager Norm Jacobson.
The Lance 825 fits the Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, Ford F-150, Chevrolet 1500 and other short-bed trucks. Dry weight is only 1,755 pounds and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is an affordable $15,152.
The Lance 825 can sleep four with a queen bed over the cab and a dinette that converts to a bed. A fold-down bunk bed is optional.
The galley is equipped with a sink, stove and refrigerator, and there is a wet bath with a shower and toilet. The standard furnace has 12,000 BTUs. The camper comes with 30-gallon fresh water tank, 11-gallon gray water tank and 14-gallon black water tank.
Lance, which has been building truck campers for 45 years, uses aircraft-grade aluminum framing, solid block foam insulation, structural fiberglass panels and a high-pressure bonded lamination process.
In addition to the 825 model, Lance offers a wide variety of other truck campers in a range of sizes.
For more information, visit lancecamper.com.
Northern Lite 10-2 CD Special Edition
Northern Lite’s top-selling camper is a model that contains so many standard features that there are very few options that can be added, and yet it weighs less than 3,000 pounds.
The 10-2 CD Special edition comes with hardwood cabinetry, thermal pane windows, a Heki thermal skylight over the bed, air conditioning, a 19-inch LCD TV, a DVD player and a microwave. Also standard are a 10-foot side awning, an awning over the rear door, wireless remote control jacks and removable carpet.
Northern Lite is the only North American camper manufacturer that builds its units using two-piece fiberglass molds in a process similar to construction of a fiberglass boat. The elimination of seams reduces the risk of leaks.
General Manager Keith Donkin said the design and construction process are one reason Northern Lite is able to offer an industry-leading six-year structural warranty on its products. The 10-2 CD Special Edition carries a suggested retail price of $39,250.
For more information, visit northern-lite.com.
Nikki is a writer and editor for Do It Yourself RV, RV LIFE, and Camper Report. She is based on the Oregon Coast and has traveled all over the Pacific Northwest.
Becca Holton says
My husband and I have been considering getting an RV. However, since you said, buying a camper is an easier and more affordable way to become an RVer, I’m changing my mind. I think that would be a good option since we are also trying to save money to buy a house.
I have camped in all different types of rv’s and prefer by far truck campers we spend 90% of our time outside, not sitting inside so the smaller space is a minor inconvenience but be aware on some models access to the over the over the cab bed is quite high and this should be taken into consideration this article is also somewhat misleading about some truck campers as well in the fact that Most off the lot trucks do not have the payload capacity to carry a truck camper safely.ALWAYs match the TRUCK to the camper you like to ensure you aren’t exceeding the maximum payload.. It is safer to have to much truck than not enough so do your research. Once setup properly they are great up I wouldn’t buy anything else!
Fred Gibbons says
It’s interesting that you mention that truck campers cost less money to insure than motorhomes do. I’m thinking about taking a camping trip next month, so purchasing a truck camper sounds like a good idea. I’m going to see if there’s a good business in the area that can sell me a truck camper.