Buying a truck camper wasn’t that big of a decision for me. Even though I really enjoy Airstream travel trailers, I longed for the mobility and versatility of the truck camper. I love to boondock and there are simply too many places I want to go where I would never take a vintage Airstream travel trailer.
The biggest, most difficult decision for me was whether to buy old or new. We didn’t want to spend $30,000 for a new camper so we looked at buying used at half that price. We were looking for a used 2004-2007 Lance 845 when we came across a Craigslist advertisement for three 2011 Northwood Wolf Creek 850N truck campers. This dealership, located in Prescott Valley, AZ was liquidating their entire stock of new RVs for stinkin’ great prices. After taking a drive up there and looking at them we fell in love with their one and only short-bed model. It was generator ready and had some of the most important options and features that we were looking for such as electric jacks, a full queen size bed oriented north-south, a single basin kitchen sink (two basins reduce counter space), lots of over cab storage, and a large wet bath. Sure it lacked in some options that we really wanted like the combo bunk storage unit above the dinette, air conditioner, rear awning and a ladder, but we couldn’t pass up the price.
In case you’re not familiar with the Wolf Creek line of campers, they were first introduced by Northwood Manufacturing in 2011. The Wolf Creek is a hard side, non-slide out style of camper designed for lighter duty trucks. It is considerably lighter than Northwood’s highly regarded Arctic Fox, but is made with the same level of quality, workmanship, and attention to detail. Indeed, the Wolf Creek is made on the same assembly line and benefits from the same level of quality control as its big brother. But there are a few differences between the two campers. Diamond plating is noticeably lacking on the exterior of the lower box of the Wolf Creek and it features one inch welded aluminum frame construction as opposed to the Arctic Fox which boasts an aluminum frame of two inches.
Aside from the low price what I really like about the Wolf Creek 850N is that it’s built to Boondock. It comes solar ready (this will be one of my first modifications) and has a battery compartment big enough (12″ tall, 16″ wide and 13.5″ deep) for two Group 24 12v deep cycle batteries or two 6v AGM batteries placed on their side, two 5-gallon propane tanks, and large capacity water tanks (30 gallons fresh, 22 gallons gray, and 20 gallons black). And all three tanks are heated in case I want to boondock in the winter. We are picking up the camper in a few weeks.
I’m still not sure what I will do with the generator compartment. Having a built-in generator that you can start and control from the inside is convenient, but I already own a Honda EU2000i generator. A built-in Onan generator is less prone to theft compared to a portable genny like my Honda, but the Honda is lighter and ultra quiet. There are definitely pros and cons to each. Of course, I could always use the generator compartment for storage or a place to mount more batteries.
And back to the options. We are already in the process of adding several to the camper. First we are having the dealership install a low profile Coleman Polar Cub 9,200 BTU air conditioner (a unit small enough to run on a single Honda EU2000i generator). We are also having Northwood make us a combo bunk, under cook top drawer, and sink cover (I’ll install these items myself). These factory options were reasonably priced and are well worth the extra counter space and storage they will provide. Why these factory options were omitted by Northwood in the first place is puzzling, I can only assume they were done to reduce weight.