One thing we can count on from Rory Willett at BundutecUSA is a new truck camper. Rory is always looking for ways to push the truck camper envelope further with new and exciting designs. Most of his new designs were ordered by customers—including the Roadrunner, our current camper—but occasionally, Rory will build a new camper to meet a specific need. His latest creation is what he’s calling the Cape, a lightweight pop-up, which debuted at the 2022 Overland Expo Mountain West. What makes the Cape different from other truck campers in the BundutecUSA catalog? Rory explains in this exclusive Truck Camper Adventure interview.
Thanks, Rory, for talking with us. Can you tell us about the Cape and what makes it different from your best-selling Wild?
Rory Willett: It is quite a bit different than the Wild. The Cape is a combination of the Sable and BunduCamp because of the lack of an interior shower. The floor length is close to the Wild, but the Cape does have five drawers whereas the Wild cannot fit any! Using it for the first camping trip, I felt it was easier to move around and cook-in compared to the Wild.
What was the inspiration for designing the Cape?
Rory Willett: I designed the BunduCamp for the wife and myself to attend the Expo’s and Rallies. I loved the design and storage it provided. The main reason for the Cape was to incorporate the unique front dinette of the BunduCamp in a smaller camper for those who either have a heavy-duty half-ton or tow a trailer. It is definitely a one to two person camper, which has been the majority of our customers the past five years. With the fuel prices, I thought a smaller and lighter unit would be better for me to travel in.
Can you tell us more about the Cape’s floorplan?
Rory Willett: The Cape has the same roof as the Sable and Wild, but the floor length is 3 inches longer at 87 inches long. The front dinette is the same as the BunduCamp and the kitchen is the same as the Wild. The rear passenger side has the frig to the front and a cabinet with heavy-duty “can drawers” under a pantry. Standard with the glass top on both sink and stove. I opted to try Thetford’s fancy curve porta potty, but many of my customers love the Wrappon and compositing toilets, which will fit in the same space. Or you can go without and use nature or the campground’s facilities.
How much does the Cape weigh compared to the Wild?
Rory Willett: I thought it would weigh a little less compared to the Wild. The cabinets are about the same, but with a thick table required to mount the heavy duty slides and the passenger side cabinets combined with the seat cabinets that makes the front dinette, mine came in at 1,925 pounds dry. Now, my unit does have a bunch of options because it is a show unit, it is still lighter than my original BunduCamp. It does come standard with the 2-inch taller High-Lift four-corner electric roof lifts that gives nice headroom in the cabover. The large countertop over the frig cabinet on the passenger side is nice and I made the rear wall solid plywood to add all my “stuff,” which also adds to the weight also. A standard Cape is going to have a dry weight of about 1,625 pounds.
What is the floor length of the BundutecUSA Cape?
Rory Willett: The floor length of the camper is 87-inches long, which is 3 inches longer than the Wild and Sable.
Can the Truma Combi be put in the Cape?
Rory Willett: Yes! The Truma Combi is standard. I love it for its programmable thermostat and how quiet and efficient it is. I know, it adds to the base price and camper weight, but 99 percent of the units built come with it so it’s standard. I don’t like the games that are played with the dry weights and with limited standard equipment and stripped unit base pricing. I just put it out there as I would have it equipped, so there are no hidden surprises after picking it up
We like that approach. What options can be ordered with the camper?
Rory Willett: Quite a few, but here are some: a King Cell phone booster, electric jacks, insulated skylight in the cabover, outside shower enclosure in soft or hard case, roof solar, portable solar, overhead cabinets, a 3,000 watt inverter, a grey water holding tank, a porta potty, interior reflective insulating panels, swing down TV mount and antenna, a roof-top air conditioner, and a bunk ladder. Customers can also order an exterior storage box, a Trax Tab fold down side table and MaxTrax carrier, a rear ladder, RotoPax on rear, Torklift scissor steps, a crank out rear or side awning, two different style wrap around “batwing” awnings including the BunduAwn. All of these are listed options, but the custom work that people have requested makes the list longer. Recessed side flood lights, many different makes of lithium LiFePO4 batteries, water filters, rear view cameras, extra USB ports, 12 volt ports and 110 volt outlets and even interior dome lights that are red can also be ordered. Customizing each camper is what makes us different, but is also the reason we are 14 months out on orders.
How many batteries can the Cape accommodate? How much solar can be put on the roof?
Rory Willett: The batteries fit behind the driver’s side seat area and I have two group 27 AGMs fitted there. The roof could hold up to four 170 watt solar panels, but that would cover the entire roof and eliminate the skylight in the cabover. I use the roof mounted panels along with a portable solar panel when I camp. It simply plugs into the side of the camper and allows me to track the sun better. The further north I travel, the more important that becomes.
Who makes the windows that you are using? Are you still using Dometic windows?
Rory Willett: I purchased as many Dometic windows as I could before they stopped importing them. I now have an imported copy that seems to be very nice, so we are in the transition mode of using up the Dometic Seitz and going with the imported copy. It looks like some of the Dometic windows are now being imported from China too! The new windows have the accordion privacy instead of the roller type which I like. The insulated windows are standard on the Cape. I know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend money for the insulated windows when you have 24-inches of Weather Max tent. But, the insulated windows do not condensate like the glass, aluminum framed windows and I really don’t like the frilly curtains and valances that are required with the sliding windows. They are a little lighter too!
Which refrigerators come standard and as options?
Rory Willett: It has the Nova Kool 4.3 cubic foot DC compressor refrigerator. The unit I have now has the smaller 3.5 cubic foot model only because that is what I had in stock and Nova Kool is five to six months out on production. Same opening only the larger one is 3-inches deeper. I can tell the difference in that 3-inches short depth, but it works for me to travel in. I take along a 12 volt chest cooler in the truck for the drinks! It’s just a sign of the times and we work with what is available.
The Cape was displayed at the Overland Expo Mountain West. What kind of feedback did you receive?
Rory Willett: Two attendees loved it so much they placed orders! But overall, it was received well and the comments about the interior room and storage for a 7-foot camper was expressed by almost everybody that went inside. Having five drawers in the Cape was noticed by Bundutec Wild customers! A couple visitors with families needed to sleep more than two were disappointed, but the Sable would fit their needs just fine.
What is the price for the Cape base model?
Rory Willett: We are listing it for $30,215. This price seemed a bit high to me at first glance but, like the Roadrunner, we took the most common options and just included them as standard. The glass top sink and stove, Truma Combi, outside shower and Insulated windows are all standard on the Cape. But, unfortunately, the current administration is saying that an 8.5 percent inflation rate is perfectly fine and all are part of the plan to “build back better.”
What is your current backlog?
Rory Willett: Our current lead time this month is estimated at 14-16 months from the date of deposit. This is not acceptable to me nor enjoyable to tell potential customers, but we feel that being honest and realistic is the best approach. I never thought I would be in this situation after selling out of Northstar. The huge influx of orders during COVID and the exposure from Truck Camper Adventure and our other great customers just keeps the orders coming in, even with that lead time, so I am very thankful to the customers that choose us and are willing to wait. It’s a combination of those increased orders and the continued crazy uncertainty we continue to see in the supply chain. Price increases and surcharges to invoicing is getting close to gouging our industry and only adds to the frustration. It’s the same story from suppliers having difficulty getting containers delivered to truck driver and warehouse employee shortages backing up everything. Our parts ordered that usually took a week, or two are seeing delays up to three to four months. There are the shortages in foam, compressors, and computer chips along with price increases on wood, steel, fiberglass, and aluminum. I have been building campers since the mid-’70s and has never seen things like this! It is frustrating to have orders to make and not have all the parts to complete them.
What is your top-selling camper?
Rory Willett: I would say the Wild is still the number one requested unit at BundutecUSA as most of our customers are in that half-ton market. We are seeing a growth in more 3/4-ton trucks lately, so I think the Cape will be a great option and addition for our customers.
Interested in seeing the BundutecUSA Cape in person? You’re in luck, the camper will be shown at the BundutecUSA booth (A49), at the 2022 Overland Expo East in Arrington, Virgina, 7-9 October.