There’s a growing trend in the red-hot truck camper marketplace and Canadian-based Total Composites started it all—DIY interior design and construction using a camper shell as the starting point. The trend started in 2021 when Total Composites released several truck camper shell models that made DIY interior design and construction possible. Now several truck camper manufacturers, including Overland Explorer Vehicles, Bison Overland, and Scout, have gotten into the “shell game” by releasing truck camper shell models of their own. No doubt, other manufacturers will soon be getting into the game as well.
Deference, of course, must be given to Andreas Schwall of Total Composites who saw the potential of selling standard camper shell models. He developed a love for exploration at an early age and toured Africa several times by motorbike, car and backpack. Later, he started working for an expedition truck builder and soon began dreaming of building a truck camper rig of his own. Schwall’s first rig, built to a standard not seen previously in the North American market, was the beginning of a business that now has over 450 unique expedition rigs using Total Composite campers. These rigs can be seen on roads today in Europe, South America, Africa and, of course, North America.
Today, the Total Composites catalog consists of four truck camper shell models: the Lynx, a slide-in made for mid-size trucks like the Toyota Tacoma; the Wolf, a slide-in made for full-size trucks like the Ford F150; the Bobcat, a full-size flatbed for 6.5-foot and 8-foot beds; and the Wolverine, a flatbed with a rear kickback for full-size trucks. In total, eight different sizes and lengths are offered by Total Composites.
“It really caught us by surprise how big the demand was for our truck camper shells, said Schwall “Since our introduction in 2021, we have teamed up with eight commercial partners building and outfitting our truck campers. Sales have increased by more than 50 percent each year. Our partners usually sell out before our shipments of panels and FRP pultrusions arrive. For 2024, we are looking to increase our partner network in order to serve our customers even better.”
All four models can be purchased from a Total Composites partner company with the interior completely outfitted and built or as an empty shell for DIYers. The big advantage of going with a shell model, of course, is the low weight—the Lynx weighs only 580 pounds, perfect for today’s mid-size trucks, which offer a meager payload rating as low as 900 pounds. We featured the Lynx recently at the 2023 Overland Expo West in a rig built by Bear Adventure Vehicles. The camper is an impressive work of art.
The advantages of building-out your own interior using a camper shell are obvious, the most important being low cost and layout customization. Sure, cookie-cutter floorplans, like those offered by other companies, have their advantages, but being able to tweak a floorplan to make it even better cannot be overlooked. A DIYer can add or delete anything they like or dislike. Downsize the dinette? No problem? Make the bathroom bigger? Sure! How about doing away with propane altogether? Absolutely! As a matter of fact, one popular trend is doing away with propane altogether and go electric using lithium batteries, an inverter, and induction cooking.
Yet, Total Composites offers more than just a simple shell with four walls, a roof, and a floor. What really sets Total Composites campers apart from its competitors is its cutting-edge design that completely eliminates condensation. As anyone who has owned an RV or truck camper knows, condensation is an unavoidable part of RV ownership. In cooler weather, moisture forms on windows and walls, which can lead to mildew, mold, rot and corrosion. However, Total Composites has solved this problem with a unique technology that prevents the thermal transfer that causes these issues, keeping its campers dry and comfortable regardless of the temperature outside.
Total Composites four season capability was recently put to the test when it teamed up with Arctic Trucks to create a 6×6 expedition vehicle with massive, 44-inch tires for a trip through the Canadian Arctic to the magnetic North Pole. Traveling in temperatures below -36F and in extreme off-road conditions, the camper passed the ultimate test of insulation and durability. As a matter of fact, the expedition vehicle will soon be shipped to Antarctica for more exploration, making the Total Composites camper the first ever truck camper rig to reach both poles. Look for a feature article on this rig soon here at Truck Camper Adventure.
Although most travelers are unlikely to encounter such extreme weather conditions on their truck camper adventures, the materials and construction are the same in all Total Composite truck campers.
To purchase your own Total Composites truck camper, contact a Total Composites build partner to find the perfect match for your next truck camper adventure.