In the Spotlight: 2017 Kodiak Trailhead

A Sweet Off-Road Rig by VMI Off-Road

As was announced recently, Truck Camper Adventure is now covering chassis mounted truck campers. Slide-in truck campers remains our primary focus, but coverage on the often neglected chassis mounted truck camper segment is now being included in our magazine. Sure, the chassis mounted segment isn’t as large as the slide-in truck camper segment, but it’s still a force in the industry, especially when it comes to build quality and customization. One of the leading builders in the chassis mounted segment is VMI Off-Road based out of Bellingham, Washington. One of the company’s newest builds is their so-called Kodiak Trailhead, a pop-up model that was debuted at the recent Overland Expo West.

We were very impressed with the build quality and features of the Kodiak Trailhead. This feature-packed truck camper rig combines breathtaking off-road performance with camping comfort and style. Built on a factory new 2015 RAM 3500 Chassis Cab 4×4, the rig’s 6.7-Liter Cummins turbo diesel engine, standard 52-gallon fuel tank, and AISIN heavy-duty 6-Speed automatic transmission gives it both power and flexibility. Unlike extended-bed truck campers, the Kodiak Trailhead, with its 144-inch wheelbase, is no longer than a standard pick-up, so you can easily turn around on tight forest service roads and park at remote trailheads, without having to take up the entire parking area!

The suspension systems, wheels, and tires of the Kodiak Trailhead have been extensively upgraded as well resulting in vastly improved off-road performance and reliability. With its balanced, low center-of-gravity and nimble size advantage, the Trailhead looks like a blast to drive. In case you get stuck, there’s an AEV bumper with a Warn 16.5ti winch mounted in front and a custom rear bumper with a second Warn 16.5ti winch mounted in back. Yes, you read that right, a winch is mounted in the back, too. The camper even has a 200 psi built-in VIAIR air compressor system to air up your tires after a day on the trail. Simply put, you can go through—and/or get out of—just about any off-road challenge you encounter on your travels! And with VMI Off-Road’s obsession for quality and “the details,” you’ll have just as much fun camping as you did getting there.

The Kodiak Trailhead—which features a one piece all welded aluminum body and several innovations—is designed for two adults. Unlike most campers in today’s market, each adult has a spacious twin-size bed. One of the two twin-size beds converts into a four-person dining area with a premium cherry wood removable table. The galley includes a Wallas diesel stove, stainless steel sink with hot and cold faucets, an Isotherm DC compressor refrigerator with separate freezer door, and a microwave with a convection pizza oven. The cabin is kept comfortable with a Wallas diesel furnace with two hot air ducts, seven opening screened windows, and a 10-speed, temperature controlled, ceiling fan. There’s a full complement of interior and exterior LED lights, well placed USB power (12 volts) and AC (110 volts) outlets, and a high quality, Alpine four-speaker stereo system.

As you’d expect, the Kodiak Trailhead is capable of extended time off-grid. In addition to the RAM 3500’s factory 52-gallon diesel tank, there’s a separate 10-gallon diesel tank for the furnace, water heater, and stove. The galley sink and outside hot and cold shower are supplied by two stainless steel 40-gallon fresh water tanks (a whopping 80-gallons, total) and a Wallas diesel fired 6-gallon hot water tank. The four deep cycle AGM batteries powering the camper are automatically charged via the “smart” 2,000-watt inverter/charger by either the camper’s 240 solar power system or by the truck engine’s ACR-controlled power system. Simply, put Kodiak Trailhead has everything you could possibly need to boondock comfortably. As you can see, this isn’t your typical truck camper rig. The Kodiak Trailhead has the features and quality you’ll find in the finest truck campers in today’s market.

This custom rig was built for $200,000 and weighs only 8,800 pounds dry. If you’re interested in building your own, contact Mike Harbrick, the president of VMI Off-Road, at 360-224-2109 for pricing and details.

RAM 3500 Upgrades

BDS Lift Kit, incl. four-link Suspension System, Stainless Steel Front Brake Line Kit, Dual Steering Stabilizer Kit

ICON Dynamics front and rear adjustable remote reservoir CDC valve shocks

AirLift air bag system (4) with Firestone Ride Rite dual control – activated with in-cab controls

Rear Axle Lift and Stiffening System

Tom Woods Front and Rear Drive Shafts

ATX Mojave 18×9”, 0-offset wheels (5) and matching locking lug nuts

BF Goodrich All Terrain tires (5)

N-Fab Rock Guard/Step – right and left

Rock lights

AEV front bumper with Warn 16.5ti winch w/synthetic line (90 feet), Factor 55 Flatlink, Aluminum Fairlead, Rigid

LED 20-inch light bar, LED driving lights, LED fog lights

VMI custom rear bumper with Warn 16.5ti winch w/synthetic line (90 feet), Factor 55 Flatlink, Aluminum Fairlead, Rigid LED backup lights, (2) black 3/4-inch Shackles, HitchLink (black) with 3/4-inch Shackle, 2-1/2-inch Commercial Receiver Hitch with 7-pin Wiring Receptacle and Plugs and Brake Controller

Skid Plates – transmission, transfer case, front and rear diff, front and rear diff covers

AGM Factory Replacement Batteries MT5 (2), under hood

ViAIR Onboard Air System – 200 psi continuous duty (dual compressors) with front and back mounted air supplies

Replacement Stereo System – AMP Clarion four-channel XC1410 Amplifier and a Pioneer AVH-X3700BHS, with Bluetooth audio and “Hands Free” phoning, Radio, HD Radio, MP3, JPEG, Video, Auxiliary Input, Sirius XM Satellite (ready) Replacement Speakers – Infinity REF-3002CFX Dash Speakers, Blaupunkt QL690 Door and Rear Speakers

LCD 7-inch rear view monitor system with (2) cameras for “always on” rear and front display

ACR Charging System

Custom Locking Tool Lockers (2) Left and Right Rear with internal tie-downs

LED Replacement Running Light Bulbs

Marathon Military Grade Seat Covers

AFE Cold Air Intake System

AFE Exhaust Tip

Camper Body

One piece all welded aluminum body

Fully thermally and acoustically insulated

Exterior color stylized to complement truck color

Sliding windows with screens, pull-down privacy shades, and hinged exterior security shutters on each side

Electronic security code (with key override) entry door with window, pull-down privacy shade, and removable

exterior security shutter

(4) 24-inch 12v Motorized Ram Roof Raise System – deploys to a 6-foot, 8-inch interior ceiling height

Safari Roof Bar System

Yakama Cargo Rack, extended

Rigid 10-inch LED Lightbar, camper rear, roof edge mounted

Winch operated, lockable, rear “Cage” housing for full-sized spare tire, 60-inch Hi-Lift Jack, RW 14,000-pounds Pull Pal, Shovel, Axe, and Thule two-bicycle Rack

Exterior Rigid LED Entry Light, Driver’s Side Light, and Rear Flood Light

LED Running Lights

Camper Step Lighting (Rock Lights)

Lock-able Fuel and Water Fill Compartments

Aluminum Cased Exterior (Passenger’s Side) Awning

Stow-able Entry Ladder

Living Space

Premium Flooring

Bench seats (seats four adults) converts to standard twin-sized bed

Removable premium cherry wood dining table

Second standard twin-sized bed over cab with built-in ladder access

Cedar wood tongue-and-groove headliner ceiling with individually switchable/dimmable LED lights

Ceiling fan with remote control and automatic rain sensor

Personal fan at each bed, individually switched and speed controlled

Premium Cherry Plywood Finished Counter Tops

Pop-top canvas with (5) openable, screened, windows with roll-down shades and (1) fixed window in rear, with

roll-down shade

Alpine KTP-445U Stereo System, (4) Alpine Speakers

Companion Way Lighting, Overhead Lighting, Reading Lights at Beds and Table

Floor LED strip lighting – “night lights”

Curve Cassette Toilet (stows in separate cabinet)

Mounted Fire Extinguisher

Smoke Detector/Alarm

CO2 Detector/Alarm

Hidden Compartment

Folding Coat Hooks, Clothes Line Hooks

Cabinetry

Premium Cherry Plywood and Maple Trim

Durable Varnish Finish

Push-button latching open-close pulls

Appliances

Wallas 85 Dt Diesel Stove

LG Microwave Oven with Pizza Oven

Isotherm Refrigerator/Freezer (12 volt)

Electrical System

(4) AGM Deep Cycle Batteries – 500 amps

Magnum Energy 2000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter/Charger with ME-RC Remote Control Panel

Blue Sea 360 AC/DC Control Panel with Digital Display

240 Watt Solar Charging System with Digital Control Panel

(4) Interior 12 volt DC USB Ports

Interior 110 volt AC Outlet

Exterior GFCI 110 volt AC Outlet

Heating

Wallas Dt Diesel Furnace with Duct System for (2) Hot Air Outlets, Exhaust at Vehicle Rear

Water System

Two (2) stainless steel, baffled, fully drainable, skid plate protected 40 gallon tanks – 80 gallons total fresh water

Screened pre-filter

3M Removable filtration system

High capacity water pump

Wallas Diesel Hot Water System with 6-gallon hot water tank

10-inch-deep stainless sink with hot and cold faucets and soap dispenser

Exterior shower with hot and cold faucets

Included Gear

Air Tools, Ratchet Set, Torque Wrench, Socket Set

Recovery Gear, including Shackles, Snatch Blocks, Synthetic Rope, Tree-Saver, etc.

(2) ARB Bushranger Air Jacks

ARB Winch Line Safety Damper

(2) Front Runner Folding Chairs

Anderson Plug-in Heavy Duty Jumper Cables

Element Ramps (pair)

Aluminum Nest-able Wheel Chalks

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About Mello Mike 453 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a Jeep and truck camper enthusiast, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. He currently drives a 2013 Ram 3500 4x4 pickup truck with a 2016 Northstar Laredo solar powered truck camper mounted on top. He enjoys football, music, hiking, travel, photography, and fishing. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, worked in project management until 2017, and now runs this website full-time. He also does some consulting and RV inspections on the side.

7 Comments

  1. Mike
    What a great review. Thank you for posting it. If I didn’t already have a great Ram Truck I would really be hard pressed about buying one of these rigs.

  2. This custom rig shows what VMI is capable of doing and is quite impressive. Love the mix of woods and the freezer/fridge. Sad to see it built for the customer and then he had it up for sale at the Expo due to a ‘change in family/life issues’. He never really used it save for driving it to the Expo. I saw a video on it and I think it was built for around 200,000 and was selling for 139,000. Crazy price but I can appreciate it. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wu0CAoTx1g&t=116s

  3. Looks like a capable rig to explore a lot of places. It would be nice to see the TARE weight ticket on this rig with all the equipment loaded and tanks filled, and ready to roll down the road. What is the final weight for this set up?

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