Build Progress on Our Bundutec Roadrunner (Updated)

Progress is being made on our new Bundutec Roadrunner. Offering the latest technology, this custom, all-new camper will feature the same general layout as the Northstar Laredo SC, yet will offer several improvements and enhancements not found at Northstar. The Roadrunner’s 8-foot 6-inch long floorplan will have a wider wet-bath with a Thetford cassette toilet, the Truma Combi water heater-furnace, a Tern Overland 500x700mm roof hatch (same size as a Heki), a taller cabover ceiling, and a True Induction dual cooktop. The camper will also feature a Dometic CR1110 3.7 cubic foot DC compressor refrigerator, a 240 amp hour lithium battery bank, a 3,000 watt inverter with a built-in transfer relay, and a Zamp 440 watt solar power system. Construction will feature an insulated, all-wood frame with glued and screwed joints overlayed with an attractive gray fiberglass tastefully accented with black hatches and windows. The black-on-gray exterior of the Roadrunner will look vastly better than the vanilla-white exterior used by most truck camper companies.

The Roadrunner exemplifies the custom work for which Rory Willett at BundutecUSA is known. We are excited about getting the Truma Combi and look forward to having a larger bathroom as well. The Laredo bathroom is only 30 inches wide, the Roadrunner bathroom will be 36 inches wide. Six inches probably doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but believe us, it is. Like our Laredo, the Roadrunner will also have a DC compressor refrigerator, an absolute must for boondocking, and a Tern Overland roof hatch in the cabover for egress and viewing the stars (if you’ve read our review of the Heki Vent you’ll know why we are making the change). Unlike the Laredo, however, the Roadrunner will feature a flat roof, which will create more overhead space in the cabover, something the wife never liked about the Laredo. More importantly, the interior of the Roadrunner will look so much better. We were never a fan of the 1990’s fake oak paper used in our 2016 Northstar Laredo SC.

Few people know this, but Rory Willett actually designed the Laredo when he was with Northstar. So it makes sense that Rory is now offering an improved Laredo under the Roadrunner name—a name we came up with, by the way. We are excited to see what improvements he’s built into his original design and we’ve already noted a couple in the photographs. Some of the most visible improvements relate to storage. There’s so much more of it, high and low, including a dirty clothes hamper. Another important improvement relates to insulation, there’s more of that too—everywhere. Even the refrigerator compartment has been insulated with block foam insulation! Of course, having a wider bathroom means having a smaller dinette, but that’s a trade-off we’re willing to make as empty-nesters.

Of all of the enhancements included in the Roadrunner, we are most excited about getting the Truma Combi. This German-engineered water heater furnace is revolutionary. In fact, Rory was one of the first on this side of the Atlantic to see its potential. What makes the Truma Combi so great? Being a dual purpose appliance, it takes up half the space since only one appliance is needed rather than two. This also means you’ll save on weight—the Truma Combi weighs only 31 pounds. The combined weight of your typical American 30,000 BTU furnace and American 6 gallon water heater is 54 pounds (30 pounds of the furnace and 24 pounds for the water heater with an empty tank). The amp draw of the propane-fired 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. Rory is outfitting our camper with Truma’s top-of-the-line Combi Eco Plus, which can operate on either 12 volts DC or 110 volts AC, giving us greater flexibility on how we use it.

The exterior is skinned in an attractive grey fiberglass. Note the protective film being removed.
The rubber EPDM roof is now in place along with the low profile air conditioner.
View of the rear with the ladder being installed.
View of the Truma Combi Eco Plus
Side view of the Truma Combi Eco Plus with the ducting now in place.
Outside view with the block foam insulation and roof installed.
View of the enlarged wetbath.
View of the kitchen counter with the Seitz window installed.
Another view of the kitchen revealing all of the storage! Note the Truma heater duct running up to the cabover, something not done at Northstar.

The Truma Combi offers additional benefits to the owner. It utilizes a two-burner flame, making it more efficient by providing two temperature settings, 7,500 BTU/h and 14,300 BTU/h. Moreover, the Combi is nearly silent when it operates. Gone are days of being awakened in the middle of the night by the roar of the furnace. In addition, the heating elements of the Truma Combi are mounted outside the water tank not inside like the traditional water heater. If you’ve ever had to replace a corroded anode rod in a traditional water heater, you’ll really appreciate this feature. Not only that, but draining the 2.6 gallon water tank for winterizing is easier, too—all you have to do is flip a switch. Finally, the Combi has a programmable thermostat that makes operating the unit a breeze.

The True Induction cooktop is another appliance we really wanted in the Bundutec Roadrunner. Called the True Induction 1+1B, the cooktop features an electric induction cooktop on one side and a propane burner on the other. Why include an induction cooktop? Because induction cooking doesn’t emit harmful fumes like a propane cooktop and doesn’t require running an exhaust fan—a liability in winter. This makes it safer to use and doesn’t require running fans to keep the camper aired out. Another benefit is speed. Food cooks faster on an induction cooktop, thus requiring less power to operate. The induction cooktop is also easier to control temperature-wise and is safer to use because only the pan gets hot—the cooktop itself cools off almost immediately after use making it safer to use around children. With a maximum power consumption of 1,600 watts, we will need to activate the inverter to use it off-grid.

As you can see, all of our appliances—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, Nimbl Vehicles, 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 do it now too.

Pricing for the Roadrunner is still in a state of flux, but Jenn at Bundutec has told me pricing will be around $26,000, a bargain no matter how you slice it and dice it. Stay tuned for updates here and on the Truck Camper Adventure Instagram account as the Roadrunner is being built. We expect to pick the camper up in early July, but there may be a slight delay due to parts shortages that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, Rory is doing his best to manage this issue using all of the sources he has at his disposal to keep the BundtuecUSA truck camper pipeline flowing.

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About Mello Mike 496 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.

19 Comments

  1. Hi Mike, nice to know a new camper is on the way. I thought you would be a good candidate for the new SS, but choosing something new and different is even better. Keep us up to date on the progress. I am looking forward to your reports on the battery system as well as the new water heater.

    • The Laredo SS is too big, too wide and too long to do the kind of off-roading we like. Besides, Northstar was unwilling to tweak the SC the way we wanted, Bundutec was. It was an easy choice when you consider everything including the overall improvement in looks.

  2. Hi,
    Do you have time for a couple of questions since this camper is not up on the Bundutec website as of yet?
    1) What is the height of the cab over? This would be from the base to the ceiling without the mattress.
    2) What will the over all height of the camper be? From pickup bed to roof, not including the air conditioner.
    3) Could they fit a bigger fridge?
    Cheers,
    DaveW

  3. Mike, you mention: ” the Roadrunner will also have a DC compressor refrigerator, an absolute must for boondocking”. Why is a must for boondocking? Performance or energy consumption? Thanks!

  4. I’m already dreaming of a true long bed version of this called the “Coyote”
    Like the Laredo SS it would have the larger Refrigerator and Real side boxes, which would fit a generator to run the A/C.

  5. Mike,

    A new camper is always exciting so I bet the wait is difficult. The construction certainly looks stout! I am curious as to outside dimensions and weight when compared to the Laredo. I have a hunch the new one costs a bit more coin than the Northstar. 🙂

    If you do an interview with Rex, I would be interesting in knowing about the choice to aluminum for the sidewalls.

    First thing I did with our Laredo was rewire the camper so the disconnect was right inside the back door along with several thises and thats. The great thing about truck campers is there is a style and options for everyone.

    Ardvark

  6. Nice combination of Laredo SC and Laredo SS with improvements at a very good price. Will this be one of Bundutec’s TC models in the future or is this a complete custom?

  7. I’ve got a Northstar Arrow and have been super happy with it but am I excited to see your new Roadrunner. If I made any changes in a new camper after lots of use and knowing more about it… I would do exactly what you are doing for customization. I would probably beef up the cushions in the dinette area to make them more comfortable for lounging too. What are you doing for A/C if any?

    • Hi Colleen,
      Yes, we are getting a roof-top AC and are having nicer cushions put in the Roadrunner’s dinette. The cushions in the Laredo are like sitting on bricks and have to be supplemented with office chair cushions

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