Host Industries’ Triple Dog Dare Challenge Report

Host Campers Answers the Call

Several months ago, our competitor, Truck Camper Magazine (TCM), issued a “Triple Dog Dare Challenge” to all truck camper companies to objectively use their campers for a weekend and report back to TCM with the results. Several truck camper manufacturers answered TCM’s call with valuable user feedback. Unfortunately, TCM, which claims to be the voice for the entire industry, really isn’t and will only publish “reviews” and stories from companies which pay and advertise with them. Since Host doesn’t advertise with TCM, TCM refused to publish Host’s Triple Dog Dare response (Truck Camper Adventure is different. We cover the entire industry, regardless of advertising status, thereby preserving our objectivity and overall reach). This is Host Industries’ response, which TCM refused to publish, that was submitted well before TCM’s November 9, 2019 deadline date (it was submitted to TCM on October 15, 2019). 

Hello everyone, my name is Randall Pozzi. I am the General Manager of Host Industries and I have had the privilege of being at Host for approximately 8.5 years. I purchased my first RV (a truck camper) back in 1992 and for most of the time, between then and now, have owned an RV.

The Camper I chose to use for this challenge was the Host Mammoth 11.6 triple-slide. Arguably the biggest—but by no means the heaviest—baddest, and most expensive (you get what you pay for) truck camper manufactured. If anyone disagrees, I triple dog dare you to come park your camper along side one of ours for a head-to-head comparison.

The Host Mammoth 11.6 was designed to give the most comfortable living space possible in a camper. It comes with two couches, a table that moves side-to-side, front-to-back, and up and down (this allows it to be used as either a dining table or coffee table), an electric fire place, and a 32-inch TV. Our camper was equipped with the optional king bed for even greater comfort and luxury. The Mammoth has a large dry bathroom that easily can accommodate two people and comes with a full-size shower. The Mammoth also holds a whopping 65 gallon fresh water, 52 gallons grey, and 32 gallons black. It has a full floor to ceiling, 3-foot wide pantry, lots of cabinet space throughout, and a very large basement storage area with a 36×80-inch slide-out tray. When I was done loading all our stuff (including Jennifer’s numerous pairs of shoes), I doubt I used even a quarter of the storage space.

Host Industries also offers three different off-grid packages using Expion360 lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries with a 90 percent usable capacity:

  • The Off-Grid Package. Includes a 2,000-watt inverter, two 120-amp hour Expion360 lithium batteries and two 170-watt solar panels. (240-amp hours of battery and 340 watts of solar).
  • The Off-Grid Extreme Package. Includes a 3,000-watt inverter, four 120-amp hour Expion360 lithium batteries and three 170-watt solar panels. (480-amp hours of battery and 510 watts of solar).
  • The Off-Grid Extreme Plus Package. Comes with a 3,000-watt inverter, six 120-amp hour Expion360 lithium batteries and four 170-watt solar panels. (720-amp hours of battery and 680 watts of solar).

The unit I took for our trip was equipped with the Off-Grid Extreme Package with the 480-amp hour battery bank. In addition, the camper was also equipped with the Nova Kool 9.1 cubic foot, 12 volt compressor refrigerator and no generator. Where the generator normally goes, I carried firewood.

We took the camper to Detroit Lake, Oregon and Silver Falls Park, Oregon. As well as being gorgeous places to visit, we chose to go to these places because both are in the deep forest with massive trees with the canopy easily 100 to 150 feet up. I wanted to give the camper a real test and see how well the Off-Grid Extreme Package’s 510 watt solar power system would perform in the shade.

The first night we arrived at our destination just after dark so the LED strip/area lighting was really nice as it lit up the ground around the camper. I leveled up the camper with the jacks then set up the BBQ (plugged it into the propane system on the camper). We used two of the three burners on the Thetford Euro series cook-top and had a wonderful dinner that included a huge bowl of ice cream (my weakness). Later, we did the dishes, watched a couple of movies and went to bed. Throughout the evening I purposely tried to use extra power….. had all the lights on (all LED), ran the air conditioner for a few minutes to see how much draw it was taking (approximately 86 amps) but it was around 40 degrees outside, so I turned the furnace back on, water pump, TV’s and the 12 volt compressor refrigerator, etc… For those who are wondering, the fridge draws between 3 to 5.2 amps per hour.

At bedtime, our batteries were at 89 percent. The next morning 79 percent. About mid-morning we drove about an hour to Silver Falls Park and went on a 5.5-mile hike through the majestic rain forest and beautiful waterfalls. A must see if you are in Oregon. It is so beautiful! Again, I parked in the trees to minimize the effect of the solar, but the batteries did come up approximately 10 percent during the day. Late that afternoon, we drove back to Detroit Lake and back to the tall trees. We freely used all the electrical items including the microwave and I also brought along a portable induction cook-top, so I could see the amp draw (approximately 85 amps) using that appliance.

By Sunday morning, I had managed to get the batteries down to approximately 66 percent. Around 11:00am we started our little over an hour drive home where I parked the camper in the sun and by dusk the batteries were already back up to 97 percent. So in summary, the Off-Grid system worked really well, we had plenty of power and we didn’t need a generator.

Results of Triple Dog Dare Challenge

I think the real purpose of TCM’s “Triple Dog Dare” was so the manufacturers could see the camper through the consumers eyes and say, “gee, I wish my camper had this or did this.” Overall, I do think that our campers are over the top, but we do have a few items I think we need to address. In the bathroom, by the time Jennifer and I hung up our bath towels, there was nowhere to hang a hand towel. In the Kitchen, because the Thetford cook-top is a drop-in, there was no bar in the front to hang a dish towel. I would also like to see us make the flip-up kitchen countertop extension a little wider. And when sleeping, the little light on the USB power ports next to the bed were too bright and a little obnoxious, all items that we can easily address in the future.

In conclusion, the Host Mammoth 11.5 triple-slide truck camper gets an A++ grade. It is more than just a “Weekend Warrior“ camper. It is a camper our customers can and do take for long, extended trips, comfortably.

Thank you for reading,
Sincerely,
Randall Pozzi
(541) 330-2328
https://www.hostcampers.com/

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About Mello Mike 495 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. He currently owns a 2016 Northstar Laredo truck camper hauled on a diesel-powered 2013 Ram 3500 pickup truck. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, worked in project management several years, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side.

11 Comments

  1. There is no doubt that Host makes a very impressive truck camper. There willingness to provide options make them particularly appealing to me. I remember when I was looking at them I had a preference for the Everest with it’s rear couch and wardrobe configuration. Having that shoe and coat closet instead of the window for me was the best choice.

    With that said, living with a budget and truck restraints my go to remains the same. Knowing that journeymen carpenters are used to build a preferred wood framed wall and a long history of not having de-lamb problems, Northstar will likely be my choice once I get settled into retirement. Hopefully I will be allowed to make some changes to the base unit in order to better accommodate my needs.

    I was disappointed to hear the the talk about TCM, since I really do like there web site and it’s contents. Reporting on such a specialized RV I would think they would be interested in all brands like TCA is and has always been. Mikes approach is clearly the smarter choice and his continued commitment to excellence is one of many reasons why his site grows in popularity year after year. Just goes to show even with out a huge budget, a site that makes the commitment and has the content can coexist and prosper with and against the big dawgs.

  2. Having a host mammoth for over a year and driving it on a 3000 mile round trip on my first trip on my 2016 ram3500 drw I had no problem with the weight of the camper even at speeds of 80mph .if you don’t fill your fresh water tank instead put like 20 gallons in and empty your holding tanks you should be fine as far as payload having a payload of 5700 lb plus the 70lbs for not having your tailgate on

  3. Wow. Even with a dually and a 1 ton truck, that rig has to be pushing the weight capacity of that truck. Having worked in the insurance industry and in risk management, if that thing were ever involved in an accident, the owners would have a lot to defend, liability wise. Braking systems, suspension — all would be at the limits of what that particular truck chassis was designed for.

    At minimum, a 450 or 550 rig would be minimum.

  4. This is my very first anything on truck camper adventure. I’ve been lurking for a long time.
    I have been a host camper fan ever since they invented a home that could lift into the air. I presently have a 2007 lance 1181 and am so hooked at the waist with it that I could never let it go as well as the same thing for the truck it sits on. I always thought the mammoth was a show stopper! I mean WOW!!!! Like my 1181 I wouldn’t exactly call boon-docking in this camper roughing it but hey if your going to go you might as well have it all. It is truly a magnificent camper.
    I too have had issues with TCM and there self appointed engineer, scientist, computer engineer, Warehouse foreman and what ever else he could call himself. Good reads but a know it all and then some!
    Anyway this was a refreshing piece of TC literature and I appreciated it.
    Thanks, Joe

  5. Morning,
    I would like to add to Randall’s post above as a current 2020 Host Mammoth owner. Yes, we all have bias and our filter(s) of experience “color” our perceptions. My admitted bias/filters are as follow: a reformed boat owner, prior owner of an Arctic Fox TC, & Airstream trailer. With that out of the way, I agree with a lot of what Randall stated and disagree with one thing. Yes the blue light from the USB ports is noticeable at night-I figure it makes a nifty night light as I get up during the night for a “bio break”. Yes some additional hooks for towels in head and galley would be nice-I remedied with over the cabinet door hooks and adhesive hooks in shower. I don’t have the off/grid packages however the “unplugged” efficiency of my Host has been noteworthy. We have over 45 days in the camper since purchase in August, (30 being successive, Natl parks, US forest, and a couple of commercial parks) and found it to be as Randall noted more than a weekend warrior. Temperatures have ranged from a low of 22 degrees F (Rabbit Ears Pass -CO) to 90 degrees-FL. Other modifications I have accomplished other than the already mentioned hooks-enlarged locker doors, cutting board in place of sink cover, sound insulation (generator locker) and synthetic oil for generator-both made a noticeable improvement in sound management. Not measured with a dB meter but can start the generator and not adjust the sound on TV! (Yes I know camping is about getting away but college football is IMPORTANT! That is why I went with the satellite system, ran several hours in the evening on battery without hardship.) Easy minor suggestions I have for improvement-add a cut off valve for the outside shower in the basement access, change/add a tell tale light to hot water heater switches for positive alert as to which switch is activated gas or 110. Add dimmer for interior LED lights. And lastly the help that Host has provided after my delivery has been wonderful-both in person as well as over the phone and email. Noteworthy is the items have been either Dealer based or owner: read as my ignorance! I admit to being a huge Host advocate!

    • Thanks for the tips on your updates, I know now somethings I will be doing. As an engineer (retired) I go a bit nutso when I come across things that had ANYONE at the manufacturer ever spent a night or 2 in their rigs they would immediately go back and make some course corrections. I even wrote a letter to one RV company offering my services as their Temp CEO (they could keep theirs), pay me expenses only and 10% of there increased sales as if I were a sales guy. My offer included makes them the number 1 company in the RV business and I would do it with 3 years. One of my first actions was to make several different units available to ALL employees from the janitor up had access from weekend to a full 2 weeks ay no cost. but they must file an after-action report.

  6. Great review of a brand we don’t see a lot where we live. I once had an interaction with TCM. Let’s just say I’ve met some very friendly people involved with truck camping. They weren’t one of them. Thanks to Mike for helping me write my first review back then. I’ve moved up from an 80RB and into a bigger truck and camper now and it was a successful transition because of the knowledge I gained from Mike and Truck Camper Adventure. Because of this, Host would now be on my radar when it comes to purchasing another camper. Thanks Mike and Host!

  7. Ah, I had wondered if that was the case. It’s a shame that TCM refused to run this review! Thanks Mike for sharing Randall’s review. About 3 years ago I had a conversation with the guys from NuCamp at their booth at the Denver RV show, which my wife and I will be attending again this year, in regards to this very issue – Do the people that design and build these things actually use them?!

    Thanks again Mello Mike for a great magazine! Maybe catch you on Mt. Graham sometime.

  8. I did not spend time reading this “review” or any of the others on TCM. If someone wants to do a real review, let a couple of folks use all the contenders and rates them on their strengths and weaknesses, then pick a winner. Otherwise all you have are manufacturers with clear biases talking about how great their products are.

    My two cents,

    Ardvark

  9. FINALLY!
    Everyone owes Mello Mike a round of applause along with the folks that stepped up to the 3x dog dare challenge. For over 20 years I asked the question of all who would listen…has anyone in the industry ever spent a weekend in an RV? Mike, Randall and the others may be the Captains that move the RV industry forward further than it has gone in the past 20 years…Next month I will be heading out to Tom’s Camperland in Mesa, Az to pickup my Randall built Host Mammoth, I really look forward to it. It’s going to be my 5th RV and my last.

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