After a year and a half traveling full-time in an 2006 fifth wheel, we were tired of adding the “35+ feet” filter on our campground searches. We were ready for more mobility and less hassle. We were also still recovering from a major renovation of our old rig, so a van didn’t appeal. A truck camper presented a natural solution for us, a pair of minimalists who love our truck and don’t love RV parks.
Our truck was a one-ton short bed, so we limited our search to short bed-friendly campers that included a bathroom. As full-timers, that’s our one non-negotiable requirement. That led us to the Adventurer 901SB, which we were lucky enough to find only four hours’ drive, each way, from where we were staying in the Midwest.
We stepped inside, looked at each other, and said, “Hey, this might actually work!”
About six months of planning and calculating and logistical nightmares later, we were in Montana loading our new Adventurer onto our equally new dually long-bed truck. The center of gravity might like short beds, but the payload killed our hopes of keeping our old, one-ton truck.
Our home is 3,120 pounds unloaded and has a floor length of 9 feet 1 inch, so it hangs a foot or so off the back of our 8-foot bed. The cabover extends fully over our truck’s crew cab, just shy of the point where you could see it from the driver’s seat. Our Ram 3500 looks pretty evenly matched with this beast in proportion and mass. We almost never take the camper off, so the dual rear wheels give us more stability and higher payload, and also visually makes a more natural pairing with the big camper.
The whole setup, including the truck and camper, fuel, water, the dog, the two of us, and all our worldly belongings, weighs in at 13,000 pounds, comfortably shy of our truck’s 14,000-pound max. Not bad for all the features it packs in.
Adventurer 901SB Features
The Adventurer 901SB boasts not just a toilet, but a full wet bath with a sink. The camper’s 42-gallon fresh tank lets us go a full week between fill-ups if we’re judicious with our usage, which makes it easy to settle in at a cool rural campsite without needing to trek into town every few days. Grey and black water holding tanks are 28 gallons each. The battery bank is tight, but comfortably fits two Lion Energy 100 amp hour lithium batteries that all but doubled our capacity. The 901SB can be ordered with solar panels; our dealer hadn’t ordered that option on ours, but they added three 100 watt panels before we picked it up. We added a 2,000 watt inverter on our own to provide off-grid power for essentials like our work laptops, and less-essentials like our microwave and instant coffee pot.
By far the biggest selling point for us was the layout. We saw a lot of campers with a corner kitchen, which we’d had in our fifth wheel and disliked for its wasted counter space. The 901SB feels more like a galley kitchen, with fridge, stove, and sink all on one side with a generous slab of counter in the middle. Once you factor in the cutting boards that can cover the sink, the counter space measures up to some of the small city apartments we lived in previously.
The left side of the galley holds a sizable dinette, big enough for us to both set up our work equipment comfortably, and the camper’s wet bath. Unlike some campers we considered, the wet bath has a medicine cabinet with storage and a small sink that is always accessible. The use of space is pretty economical, all things considered.
One option we didn’t want is a raise-and-lower bunk over the dinette to sleep another person. We needed the storage cabinets that took its place, and we didn’t want the extra weight of the bunk mechanism either. Without that, this camper’s only sleeping areas are the queen-size cabover bed and the dinette conversion bed, which is a few inches narrower than a standard full-size bed. It’s just the two of us in our camper, so the crate for our 25-pound dog goes under the dinette at night.
In the Adventurer 901SB cabover, one side features a miniature closet with mirrored sliding doors, and a full bedside table with a drawer, a 120 volt outlet, and a 12 volt outlet. The other side has the truck camper standard hollow flip-top compartment, which we use primarily for shoe storage. Like many bigger campers, the bed area features a large flip-up moonroof to let in air and sunshine. We also use the moonroof for easy access to our solar panels and cell antennas without climbing up the ladder.
Overall, the storage in this camper has proved more than adequate for us as full-timers. Most of the storage is inside the camper, with the only outdoor storage being a mid-size garage compartment and a deep sliding drawer that runs underneath the walking area. We use two plastic storage bins in the truck for season clothing and extras like dog food and detergent, but we consider that a reflection of us living full time in a tiny space, rather than a failing on Adventurer’s part in terms of storage. The only wasted space we found was a cavity in the interior dinette bench, which worked out well for us as a place to add an inverter to support our off-grid lifestyle.
For us, the best features of this camper are some of the most fundamental. The kitchen feels spacious and has enough countertop to actually prep and cook full meals; the fresh and waste tanks are big enough to stretch a week without hookups; the comfort bumper and steps are much nicer to use than the telescoping stairs we tried on other models.
Most importantly, we can stop and camp anywhere we can fit the truck. The no-slide, hard-side design is another favorite feature of ours, because we don’t need to do any setup when we arrive at a new location. Everything is ready to go.
Adventurer 901SB Criticisms
The few criticisms I have for the camper are, happily, easy to manage. The camper comes with a short, Valterra sewer hose storage tube, even though a longer tube would certainly have fit. The window in the door at the rear is frosted, so you have a blind spot out the back. I plan to replace that with a clear window that has a shade.
There are a few other annoyances. The garage bay door opens vertically, so as a vertically challenged person, I have to climb the stair to pull it closed. The 12 volt outlet has a bright blue LED light that makes it difficult to use when you’re trying to sleep. The bathroom under-sink storage could use a soffit to hide the piping and prevent things from falling out of reach. But there will always be things you don’t like about any camper, and I love having complaints that are so minor and easy to work around.
I do have one additional comment about the marketing, which is that I don’t see this camper pairing well with a short-bed truck at all. When we were searching, I couldn’t find a short-bed diesel anywhere that had the requisite payload, and even on a long-bed it looks small underneath without dual rear wheels.
All told, the Adventurer 901SB gets as close as a truck camper can really get to bringing all the comforts of home around on the back of a truck. Nothing beats pulling into a standard parking space at a rest stop, opening your own front door, and cooking a meal or using your own bathroom. The living space feels adequate and almost roomy for two people, even with a dog underfoot. After five months of putting it to the test of full-time living, we couldn’t be happier with our choice.