The 4th Annual Truck Camper Adventure (TCA) Quartzsite Rally is now in the books with a record 332 truck camper rigs counted at the big, four-day event. A total of 592 owners from 46 states as well as from Canada, Mexico, and Israel were in attendance. Without a doubt, this was the largest truck camper rally ever held, surpassing last year’s TCA record of 245 truck campers.
The itinerary consisted of workshops and classes, live music, a truck camper open house, a Q&A session, and a huge Saturday evening raffle with over two dozen sponsors. The grand prizes consisted of two lithium batteries donated by Battle Born and Expion360, a 2,200 watt generator, a Truma AquaGo Water Heater, a King Dome RV Satellite Dish, and a Jackery 1,500 watt lithium power station. A trophy was also awarded to the owner of the best rig at the rally.
The annual rally is hosted by Truck Camper Adventure, an online magazine covering all types of truck campers including, slide-ins, chassis-mounts, truck toppers, and camper shells. The magazine, which focuses on overlanding and boondocking, is run by Michael (Mello Mike) and Karen Smith. The magazine’s readership is 3 million per year.
“The rally is a lot of work for the two of us, but the positive feedback we get makes it totally worth it,” explained Mello Mike, Truck Camper Adventure founder and senior editor. “We love this event and look forward to doing it every year. Yet, we couldn’t have done it without the generous help of both volunteers and sponsors. Volunteers taught classes, helped with parking and security, issued name badges, and even picked-up trash after the event. The great thing about the rally is the community atmosphere and the vibe. In spite of its size, we really try and make the atmosphere friendly and relaxed.”
Known as the Boondocking Capital of the World, Quartzsite is the perfect place to hold a rally with seven designated BLM areas. Not only is there a plentiful amount of public land here, but Quartzsite is supported by an RV infrastructure that is quite unlike any other place on earth. Where else can you find quick service, RV “pit stops” where you can dump your tanks and take on propane and potable water? Need a solar panel, a lithium battery, or an obscure part for your truck camper? You can find all of these things here in Quartzsite too.
Like previous Truck Camper Adventure rallies, the event was held at the Roadrunner Wash BLM area 6 miles south of Quartzsite. Truck campers were separated into two main groups—one for solar powered rigs, the other for those needing to run a generator. The campers were spread out over an area of 10 acres with plenty of room to camp either as a group or individually. A good number of Host, Cirrus, Alaskan, and Four Wheel Camper owners opted to camp in groups.
The Truck Camper Adventure Rally is open to the owners of all truck campers. This includes not only slide-in truck campers, but also chassis-mounted campers, truck toppers, and truck cabs.
Sponsors of the big outdoor event included some of the biggest names in the truck camper industry including Lance Campers, Four Wheel Campers, Host Industries, Battle Born Batteries, Expion360, Jackery, KingStar, AT Overland, SuperSprings, KingStar, Harvest Hosts, Froli Modular Sleep System, SherpTek, Omnia, Trasharoo, Tern Overland, Bowen Customs, Timbren, Torklift International, Scrubba, Viking Bags, Hellwig, Tag Trailer, Rancho Shocks, and LCI Lippert Industries. The rally couldn’t have been possible without their generous support.
Several truck camper companies supported the 2023 Truck Camper Adventure Quartzsite Rally with free swag as well, including Lance Campers, Four Wheel Campers, Host, Northern Lite, Northwood Manufacturing (Arctic Fox/Wolf Creek), BundutecUSA, and Alaskan.
The four-day event drew 332 truck campers of all makes and models with an excellent mix of hard-side campers and pop-ups including several flatbed models and truck toppers. As expected, industry heavyweight, Lance Campers, led the way with an impressive 73 truck campers present with Northwood Manufacturing Arctic Fox taking second with an superb showing of 41 campers. Host took third place with a very strong showing of 31 campers, while nuCamp Cirrus came in fourth with 24 campers.
Other truck camper makes included 19 by Adventurer Eagle Cap, 17 by Four Wheel Campers, 14 truck campers by Northern Lite, 13 by Northstar, 11 by Adventurer, eight by Alaskan, seven by Bigfoot, six by Hallmark RV, five by BundutecUSA, four by Northwood Manufacturing Wolf Creek, and four truck campers by Palomino. Other makes present included Overland Explorer Vehicles, Capri, KingStar, Phoenix Campers, Outfitter RV, AT Overland, Nimbl Vehicles, and Total Composites. Six DIY campers were also present consisting of both slide-in and chassis-mounted campers as well as several truck cab models like those made by Leer and ARE.
“We had about 80 no-shows this year, about 20 percent,” explained Mello Mike. ‘That’s been the trend each year. We thought that would change by charging a small entrance fee, but obviously it didn’t. Next year we will purposely overbook to hit the 400 truck camper mark, which is about as big as we want to get. Some say we should make the rally massive to accommodate more people, but we have concerns about doing that. Sometimes you can make an event too big. Sure, we could rival the Overland Expo with thousands of rigs and people, yet when you do that you lose the vibe and friendliness that has made our rally so popular.”
A panel of five judges recognized the best truck camper rig at the rally. The top honor was awarded to Austin Smart who built an amazing rig consisting of a Ford F550 with a Buckstop Super Singles conversion and a Buckstop front bumper, a Liquid Springs Suspension, a Northern Lite 10-2 truck camper, and a Highway Products truck bed for extra storage. Look for a feature story on Austin’s amazing rig soon.
Temperatures were a good 10 degrees cooler than last year with highs around 72 degrees, though a light breeze (as well as some strong gusts) made most of the daylight events feel even cooler than that. Hats, sunglasses, and light jackets/flannels shirts were a must to wear in the sunny weather. A 20×40 canopy was provided to keep attendees out of the sun. Toilets were also provided by request. The additions were welcome though a larger canopy will be provided next year.
The itinerary included a potluck dinner, a dessert social, a Q&A session with Mario Donovan of AT Overland, David Soza, and Jeff Reynolds (El Jefe), and music by Michael Ewing the Arizona Cowboy Baladeer. Numerous classes and workshops were conducted to instruct and inform. Topics included matching a truck and truck camper, boondocking tips, suspension mods, truck camper batteries, solar power, photography, stargazing, basic first aid, Harvest Hosts, as well as workshops on Ford 6.0L PSD maintenance, the new ultra-quiet Onan 2500i QG generator, and Cummins 6.7L Diesel maintenance. Product demos were provided on the Omnia Stovetop Oven and the Scrubba Wash Bag.
“This is our second year at the Truck Camper Adventure Rally,” said Allen and Patty Smith of Wyoming and the owners of a Northern Lite 10-2. “Last year when we were here, we made some really good friends. That’s the best part of the rally for us. The seminars are good, but being able to meet other like-minded people is what’s been great.”
The Saturday evening raffle offered a wide variety of prizes. The prizes included an Expion360 100 amp hour lithium battery, a Battle Born 100 amp hour lithium battery, a Jackery 1500 Power Station, a Truma AquaGo Water Heater by KingStar, a King Satellite TV Dome by Host Industries, a VIAIR 450P Portable Air Compressor by Lance, a 2,200 watt generator by BundutecUSA, and two Overland Solar 130 watt portable solar panels donated by our friends at Four Wheel Campers. Additional prizes included a DragonFly Tarps, a Froli Modular Sleep System, three Omnia Stovetop Ovens, three Scrubba Wash Bags, and two Tern Overland Air Flow Mattress Pads, a brand-new product. Gift certificates were also awarded by Timbren for a Suspension Enhancement System, a set of SumoSprings set by SuperSprings, two Harvest Hosts memberships, and a Hellwig Products Big Wig Sway Bar. Due to the sheer volume of prizes and size of the raffle, even more time will be dedicated to the raffle in the future.
“We always enjoy this rally and making new friends,” said Tony and Shelly Shelton from Nevada and the owners of an Eagle Cap 1200. “You think that you know everything until you come to one of these rallies and you see what everybody else has, so it’s cool to just look around at what everybody else has done to their rigs and see what they’ve done. It gives you a whole new list of things to do to your rig.”
I am curious. How did STARLINK work at the rally? I imagine many rigs were equipped this year.