Mello Mike’s Truck Camper Musings and News – April 2019

Truck Camper Adventure is proud to present Mello Mike’s Truck Camper Musings and News, a quarterly editorial and news brief about truck camper life and happenings in the truck and truck camper industries.

1. RVX Show Mini Report

The RVIA recently held its very first RVX Show in Salt Lake City, March 12-14. Truck Camper Adventure was there to cover the event and we are happy to report that four truck camper manufacturers were represented with eight camper models on display—the Lance 650, the Lance 855s Altimeter Rig, the Lance 1172, the Lance 975, the NuCamp Cirrus 720, the Palomino 750, the Travel Lite 625, and the Travel Lite 750. While these numbers represent a decent start for a brand new show, they are expected to grow as the annual event grows in popularity. Next year’s show is slated to take place in San Antonio, Texas, which should have better weather than SLC.

2. Truck Camper Class V?

As seen in this photo from the RVX, Lance Camper is now marketing the truck camper as a Class V RV. Bob Rogers, Lance’s Marketing Director, explains why. “What’s great about the truck camper is its versatility,” he said. “So we’ve created a new class of RV, a truck camper designation, like a Class A and Class C motorhome, and are calling it a “Class V” for versatility. It’s versatile because you can tow anything with it, you can get any brand of truck to carry it, whether you’re a Ford person or a Chevy person, you can take it to any sport or hobby you’re into, you can drive it in the fast lane if you’re not towing something, it’s just so versatile.” We’re not sure if the Class V moniker will catch on, but it sounds like a good idea.

3. NuCamp Cirrus 620 Update

Nathan Wagler, NuCamp COO, Yours Truly, and Scott Hubble, NuCamp CEO, pose with the new Cirrus 720 truck camper at the 2019 RVX.

Truck Camper Adventure was able to speak with Scott Hubble, NuCamp CEO, about the status of the Cirrus 670 at the RVX. If you’ve been following this saga, you know that the Cirrus 670 failed to meet the company’s stringent weight goals as a half-ton camper. As a result, the 1,875-pound camper was rebranded for 3/4-ton trucks instead as the Cirrus 720. According to Scott, work on the Cirrus 620, as its now being called, will resume later this year. The target dry weight for the half-ton camper is a slender 1,500 pounds and will resemble the 720 though some level of functionality is expected to be lost. Aside from building a camper with a shorter floor length, it will be interesting to see what NuCamp axes to eliminate the needed 375 pounds.

4.  SherpTek to Debut New Pop-Up Bed System

Our friends at SherpTek have just launched a smaller, overland capable truck camper bed for pop-up campers. The photo shows one of these new truck beds mounted on a 2019 Chevy Silverado 3500HD with a Hallmark Guanella and it looks great. SherpTek will have one of these new truck beds on display at the Hallmark RV booth at the Overland Expo, 17-19 May. According to SherpTek, the truck bed is custom designed and precision engineered to fit all Hallmark RV short-bed camper models. SherpTek truck bed systems are built-to-order, can be built for any size truck, and are high-end, multi-functional systems that will last the life of the truck. For more information fill out the ​contact form at SherpTek.com​ or talk to Ryan at 541-402-1266.

5. Jeep Gladiator Update

Pricing on the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck has finally been released and it isn’t as bad as some feared. The cost for a entry-level Gladiator Sport 4×4 trim starts at only $33,545 (plus a $1,495 destination charge). This is only $2,000 more over the four-door Wrangler Unlimited Sport. Several options are being offered by FCA including the highly desirable Max Tow Package with the 4.10 rear axles, which costs only $995. The max payload for the Gladiator Sport 4×4 is reported to be 1,650 pounds, surprisingly high for a mid-size 4×4 pickup truck. The Jeep Gladiator will be hitting dealer lots this month, so expect a decision on a compatible pop-up truck camper from a major manufacturer soon.

6. Cave Campers For Sale

We are sad to report that Cave Campers owner, Larry Peterson, has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is putting his new company up for sale. According to Larry, his prospects for recovery are good, but at 69 he wants to concentrate on recovery rather than run a business, which is totally understandable. Larry is selling his Texas-based company for a bargain price of $50,000. If you recall, Larry offered a truck camper light enough to be hauled on a half-ton truck. The sale price includes all intellectual property, CAD drawings, the website, and equipment. He also has a demo unit which he is selling for a bargain price of $12,000. We wish Larry well and are praying for a quick recovery.

7. Kimbo Campers

Just when it looked like the aluminum truck camper was dead with the shutdown of Livin’ Lite in 2018, Washington-based Kimbo Campers is now offering an all-aluminum truck camper with a reasonable $14,999 price point. The owner, Mark King, got a lot of inspiration for the camper from an Airstream, which he lives in full-time, and from a nuclear submarine, the USS Alabama, that his father commanded. Aside from the mostly all-aluminum construction, what’s different about the Kimbo camper is that it uses a patented, frame-less structure put together with rivets. Mark is currently offering a 6-foot model for mid-size trucks called the Kimbo 6, and this summer will be introducing a larger, 8-foot model for full-size trucks called the Kimbo 8. Orders are currently three months out and growing as word spreads of the new company.

8. Hallmark Goes Truma

Truma Combi display at the 2019 RVX.

Hallmark RV just announced that it’s offering the revolutionary Truma Combi water heater furnace as an option, following BundutecUSA, Alaskan, and Overland Explorer’s lead. Not only does the dual capable unit take up half the space, but it also weighs less at only 31 pounds. Not only that, but the Truma Combi is whisper quiet, uses less power (always a bonus in winter), and uses less propane than American appliances. Truma was prominent at this year’s RVX Show and even won an award for the best RV aftermarket product, the Truma VarioHeat.

9. Northstar Releases New Laredo SS

Northstar recently released an enlarged version of its venerable old classic, the Laredo SC, called the “Laredo SS.” The new camper features the same floorplan as the Laredo SC, but is 6 inches wider, 4 inches taller, and 3 inches longer. The bathroom is even 3 inches wider, a major improvement over the 2016 Laredo SC that we have. The big difference with this new camper is that the roof is completely flat with no angled downslope in the cabover. This improvement results in more headroom and less head banging, always a good thing. Good job, Rex. Looks like a great camper! Now put the Truma Combi in it and we’ll be really impressed.

10. Need a Shower?

Always on the cutting edge with the latest technology and products, BundutecUSA is now offering the Quick-En-Suite Outdoor Shower Enclosure, pictured here, as an option in all of its campers. The unit folds up in an aluminum box, which mounts on the side of any camper or van. It deploys quickly using three aluminum arms and three click-in hinges. This attractive shower enclosure uses a curtain made from a durable, double-layered material, silver on the inside for light retention and safari green on the outside for privacy. This shower enclosure fills a big need for pop-up truck camper owners since most lack the space for an indoor shower. Bundutec will be selling these for a discount price at the 2019 Overland Expo West.

11. Northstar has Ditched the Oak!

In a monumental new development, Rex Willet has finally ditched the dated, 1990s “Honey Oak” paper in the interior of his campers for something more modern, a move that we’ve been calling for in our articles for years. Rex is now going with a lighter, whitewashed color he’s calling “Sonoma” which features tan and gray undertones. This is great news and should move even more campers for Northstar. Let’s hope that the new Sonoma interior wears better than the Honey Oak paper Rex used before (if you own a Northstar camper, you know what I’m talking about).

12. Lance and Torklift Form Partnership

Lance recently announced that its flagship model, the Lance 1172, now comes standard with the Torklift GlowStep. This bolt-on, fully adjustable scissor step is a perfect complement for this or any truck camper and features 7 inches of precision elevation adjustment on not only the top of the steps, but also on the bottom. This allows the steps to accommodate any type of terrain during set-up. Unlike other makes, the Glowstep features glow-in-the-dark stickers which allow the step to easily be used during the night. We had one of these on our last camper and really liked it.

13. Now This is a Control Panel!

The RV industry could learn a thing or two about control panels from RV newcomer, Black Series Campers. The company’s HQ panel, seen here, has everything you need including an accurate and easy to read water level indicators, a sweet battery and solar power monitor, water heater controls, and a fantastic circuit breaker panel for all 12 volt and 110 volt circuits. Black Series Campers makes several overland-style travel trailers with a high ground clearance. Their high-quality campers are made to boondock and take off-road. Too bad they don’t make a truck camper (yet), but I’m working on them.

14. Win $5,000 in Upgrades for Your Jeep Wrangler or Toyota Tacoma!

ExtremeTerrain.com is offering Wrangler and Tacoma owners a chance to win a $5,000 shopping spree. The Barricade $5,000 Giveaway is sponsored by none other than Barricade Off-Road, an industry leader in Truck and Wrangler exterior protection and styling. Potential participants can enter daily to maximize their chances in winning a site-wide shopping spree on ExtremeTerrain.com. Participants should visit and complete the sweepstakes entry form daily until 11:59PM ET on June 30, 2019—no purchase necessary. One winner will be selected via random drawing on or around July 7, 2019. The entry form can be found at ExtremeTerrain.com.

15. Want Color?

Hallmark RV is now offering 3M wrapped campers as a factory option with dozens of colors including black accents for the doors, vents, and trim. The cost, according to Hallmark, depends on the color and choice of film. You can even match the color of your truck or custom SherpTek flatbed. Older campers can be wrapped, too, but according to Hallmark, the cost will be significantly more. Hallmark is expecting to have a wrapped camper on display at the 2019 Overland Expo West in May. Stay tuned for photos as they become available.

16. TCA Boondocking Tips

Like most of you, we enjoy boondocking on public land and state trust land. It’s free, for the most part, quiet, and has the best views. We don’t always publicize our favorite locations, but when we do, we publicize them on Instagram. If you’re looking for tips on where you can boondock and how to modify your rig to camp off-grid, follow us on Instagram @truckcamperadventure.

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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.

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