First impressions are everlasting. They say you can never change them. When we arrived in Raymond, Iowa to pick up our new Bundutec Roadrunner truck camper last week we were thrilled. We were like two kids in a candy store. With so many enhancements and tweaks to the classic Northstar Laredo SC—a camper we loved by the way—there was so much to see and take in. Pictures are nice, but really don’t do the new camper justice because the Roadrunner is impressive. You have to see it in person to really appreciate it. Here are our first impressions.
The Roadrunner is the brain child of BundutecUSA owner Rory Willett. Rory has designed well over a dozen campers in his lifetime and the Roadrunner is arguably his best (the Bundutec Wild, in our opinion, being a close second). The Roadrunner has everything we wanted without being too big. You know the drill—everything you need, nothing you don’t. The Roadrunner’s floorplan mirrors other popular camper models like the Lance 825 and Northstar Laredo SC with a refrigerator, kitchen and wardrobe on the driver side and a bathroom and dinette on the passenger side. However, the Roadrunner’s 8-foot 7-inch long floorplan features a larger bathroom, tons more storage, a taller cabover, the Truma Combi water heater-furnace, a Tern Overland roof hatch—a vast improvement over the Dometic Heki—and a True Induction dual cooktop.
The Roadrunner’s all-wood construction consists of an insulated, all-wood frame with glued and screwed joints overlayed with an attractive gray fiberglass, tastefully accented with black hatches and black trim. The camper can be modified for both short-bed and long-bed trucks, but with the latter you lose the rear wrap storage, unfortunately. We originally wanted Bundutec’s smooth aluminum, but due to COVID-19-related supply issues we opted for fiberglass instead. The gray exterior features an attractive black diamond-plated bottom, four Dometic Seitz Windows, and remote-controlled lift jacks made by HappiJac. The new jacks feature the new vertically-mounted motor which supposedly is more reliable. We’ll see. Entrance to the camper is facilitated with the excellent Easy Hitch Step, which folds away easily when not in use.
Since we do most of our camping off-grid, we wanted our Roadrunner to feature the best power system and equipment that money could buy and Rory delivered. The camper features two group-24 Expion360 lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries (240 amp hours total), a Zamp 340 watt roof-mounted solar power system (supplemented with a 100 watt portable panel for a total of 440 watts, which ties into the main charge controller), a Xantrex Freedom X 3,000 watt pure sine wave inverter with a built-in transfer relay, a Progressive Dynamics 45-amp Converter-Charger, and a Dometic CR110 3.7 cubic foot DC compressor refrigerator. Power is monitored through the Expion360 battery monitor, which provides voltage, state of charge, power consumption, and charging status simultaneously on one screen.
The specifications of the new Bundutec Roadrunner are excellent. The listed dry weight of the camper is 2,450 pounds with a fully loaded wet weight of 3,300 pounds. This means the Roadrunner is a good 300-400 pounds heavier than the Laredo, yet is still an excellent match for today’s one-ton SRW trucks. The Roadrunner’s floor length is 8 feet 7 inches, has an interior height 6 feet 4 inches, and a width of 7 feet 1 inch. The camper features a 35-gallon fresh water holding tank, a 20-gallon grey water holding tank, a 5-gallon propane tank, and a 5-gallon cassette for solid waste. The battery compartment, which is located underneath the rear dinette seat, is large enough for two very large group-31 batteries, an upgrade we’ll be doing in the not too distant future.
Camper aficionados will note that the Roadrunner’s fresh water holding tank is 5 gallons smaller than the one in our old Laredo SC. There’s a good reason for this—the 3,000 watt inverter, which is also located underneath the cabover step, takes up a lot of room (for those considering a Roadrunner you can still get a 40 gallon tank, but you’ll lose out on having a big inverter). Fortunately, Rory made up for this loss by installing a larger, 20 gallon grey water holding tank, which is a good 6 gallons larger than the one in our old Laredo.
The highlight of Rory’s exquisite design revolves around the enlarged wetbath. The bathroom measures a spacious 36 inches wide by 33 inches deep with the shower pan measuring 36 inches by 20 inches. The bathroom with skylight is tall enough to support my 5-foot 10-inch frame with a good 6 inches to spare. The wetbath has a clothes hamper on the left, a Thetford cassette toilet on the right, and an overhead storage cabinet on top. An attractive cedar grate adorns the floor for daily use and needs to be removed for showering. The wetbath originally came with a solid, hinged door, but we opted to have the door removed as it retained too much heat when closed. Overall, the wetbath is a major improvement over previous campers we’ve owned with plenty of elbowroom for showering.
The kitchen boasts some enhancements and improvements as well with a countertop measuring 54.5 inches by 25.5 inches. Kitchen storage is plentiful primarily due to the location of the Truma Combi, which is mounted underneath the wardrobe rather than in the kitchen. We opted to get Bundutec’s popular Thetford glass-top stainless-steel kitchen sink which features a cutting board, a removable drying rack, and plastic tub insert. We have to say we love it too. The brushed nickle residential-style faucet is attractive and complements the stainless-steel sink well. The real highlight of the kitchen, however, revolves around the True Induction Cooktop. This attractive, 1,600 watt cooktop gives us “true” versatility, allowing us to cook with either propane or 110 volts using the inverter. The True Induction cooktop is a little large for our liking, but not enough for buyer’s remorse. We love the unit’s functionality and good looks.
Another thing we wanted was more cabover space and storage and Rory delivered in this all-important area too. The Roadrunner’s cabover is taller, which means slightly more wind resistance, but not as much as, say, an Arctic Fox or Eagle Cap. Yet the taller space results in more headroom and more storage with most of this extra storage located in the overhead in the front and on the sides. Wardrobes are also located on both sides in the back along with “coffin-style” lockers for storage which flank the 60×80-inch queen-size bed. In a very welcome touch, Rory covered the tops of the coffin lockers with hull-liner to protect the finish from drinks and other things that invariably get stored and placed on top of the lockers.
Of all of the features included in the Roadrunner, we were most excited about getting the Truma Combi Eco Plus. Being a water heater-furnace, this German-engineered appliance takes up half the space since only one appliance is needed rather than two. This means not only more storage, but also less weight—the Truma Combi weighs only 31 pounds, a savings of 24 pounds. The amp draw of the whisper-quiet unit is quite low, too, with an average power consumption of only 1.1 amps for air heating and 0.4 amps during the water up heat cycle. The Truma Combi Eco Plus can operate on either propane or 110 volts AC, giving us greater flexibility on how we use it. The Truma Combi has three vents—yes, you heard us right, three vents—with two located in the main living space and one located in the cabover. Most campers have only one vent, which blows from the main furnace.
And speaking of vents, the Roadrunner doesn’t have any exterior refrigerator vents because the Dometic CR110 DC compressor refrigerator doesn’t need any. This means less penetrations in the roof and on the side of the camper, always a good thing. The only vent the electric refrigerator needs is an opening on top which is located inside the camper. Eliminating exterior venting results in a camper that will stay warm much better in winter. This is HUGE for those who camp in all four seasons. In contrast, our old Laredo let in way too much cold air through these vents in winter, which were not needed for DC operation.
As you can see, all of the appliances in the Bundutec Roadrunner—the Dometic DC compressor refrigerator, the True Induction cooktop, and the Truma Combi Eco Plus—run primarily or have the ability to run on AC or DC power. Being a solar powered camper with lithium batteries and a 3,000 watt inverter, this gives us tremendous flexibility on how we use our camper. The Truma Combi and the True Induction cooktop can still be used on propane if we want, but in these uncertain times, we like having options how the camper is operated. Most of the larger, high-tech campers and expedition rigs, like those made by EarthRoamer and Global Expedition Vehicles, offer this same all-electric feature. With the advent of the lithium battery and the Truma Combi Eco Plus, smaller rigs, like the Roadrunner can offer this feature now too.
Aside from the previously mentioned increased wind resistance from the enlarged cabover and increased weight, are there any other negatives associated with the Roadrunner compared to the Laredo? Just a couple. Having a larger bathroom means having a narrower, 20-inch-wide door and hallway and, of course, a smaller dinette. Still, the dinette measures a spacious 66 inches from end-to-end, which is more than enough room for two adults, especially when the table is mounted on the popular Lagun swivel mount. One thing we noticed is that the OEM table is a tad too big for our liking so we’ve asked Bundutec to make us a smaller one.
Overall, we’re thrilled with our new Bundutec Roadrunner. The camper is a winner, a bonafide keeper, and probably the last camper we’ll ever own. The Roadrunner offers everything we ever wanted in a camper with the ability to off-road to remote locations where few tread. Sure, there are larger, more spacious campers out there, but we are strong advocates in traveling light with a 4×4 SRW truck. We’re also strong advocates of getting out there cheap—a similarly-equipped Roadrunner costs only $29,000, but don’t let that price fool you. The Roadrunner still delivers on what you need to explore and camp comfortably both on and off-grid and looks better doing it. We look forward to taking it out more and really putting it through its paces. Look for a full-length feature review next spring.