After wrecking our beloved 2004 Alaskan 10 cabover camper last year, we took our time looking for a replacement truck camper. Fortunately, our insurance company totaled the truck and camper, though Pres chose to salvage the Ford F-350 to fix himself. At the time of the accident the truck had a Knapheide utility bed that we really enjoyed having, but ultimately, we were unable to keep due to our choice in camper.
We decided to buy an Arctic Fox 990, which was a big compromise for the two of us. I wanted a north-south arrangement with room to sit up in bed as well as a “permanent” sleeping area that does not disappear due to a telescoping top that collapses down on top of the mattress. He wanted more headroom. For us, the Arctic Fox 990 seemed to check all of the right boxes. This was a big concession for Pres as this meant driving a taller rig. The Alaskan 10 height was 9 feet whereas the Arctic Fox 990 is just over 13 feet, a BIG difference.
First, we needed to see an Arctic Fox 990 in person, but finding a dealer that had one was tough! In March of 2021, the 990 model was on a six-month back order at the factory! Truck Camper Adventure had an ad for Tom’s Camperland and we gave them a call and were delighted to discover that they had a used model within our price range. Unfortunately, the camper had sold within a few hours before we could see it. Tom’s Camperland is in Arizona and we are on the California west coast, which makes for a nine to ten hour drive. After another phone call, Tom’s Camperland informed us of another used Arctic Fox 990 that they had that was less than a year old. After putting down a deposit to hold the camper, we were on our way to take a look.
It was love at first sight. We were amazed at the amount of headroom and how spacious the slide-out made the interior. The 6-foot 7-inch interior allowed Pres—who stands 6 feet 2 inches—to stand up straight with plenty of headroom to spare. We were dismayed to discover, though, that the Arctic Fox 990 would not fit on our utility bed, so Pres chose to switch it out for a flatbed. You are welcome to read about the big change and “step of faith” story here.
The Arctic Fox 990 is a long-bed camper made for one-ton trucks. It’s constructed using a fully welded, thick-wall aluminum frame with one-piece, continuous fiberglass and multi-layered, 2-inch thick, substrate walls. The ceiling, floor, and walls are insulated with block foam and a carpeted ceiling that make it a true, four season truck camper. We were pleasantly surprised that the Arctic Fox’s crowned roof sheds water just as well as our old Alaskan.
The Arctic Fox 990’s electrical system is outfitted with a 170 watt solar power system, a 2,500 watt generator with a remote start, and two marine deep cycle series batteries. The rig is also equipped with a solar power plug-in port for our portable 100 watt solar panel. Running the air conditioner and microwave requires running the generator.
Our Arctic Fox came with a single rear electric awning that shades the back door with built-in lighting. We love to sit outside and wanted more shade so Pres installed a manual crank box canopy on the driver’s side.
The camper has numerous storage cabinets, including an extra-long “Joey” tray that is great for stowing hoses or long awkward items. Exterior LED lighting offers good lighting for getting around the camper at night. Even though we have a wet bath, we can use the outdoor shower for clean-up with both hot and cold water. The water heats up quick with a 6 gallon DSI gas-electric water heater.
The tank capacities of the Arctic Fox 990 are outstanding with 59 gallons of fresh water (including the 6 gallon water heater), 43 gallons of black water, and 39 gallons of grey. Two vertically-mounted propane tanks give us 30 pounds of capacity. A big negative with these tanks, however, is that they must be removed to fill them and due to their mounted height this can be an uncomfortable task.
The Arctic Fox 990 comes with a single, large slide-out where the dinette and refrigerator are situated that really opens up the living space. Technically, the camper has room to sleep five people. The large booth dinette makes into a full size bed with an overhead fold-down bunk that can sleep a smaller child. The cabover sleeping area has a privacy partition that is especially nice for dressing when the grandchildren are with us.
The camper has an excellent command center providing a central location where you can monitor the levels of battery, water, etc. Here we can control the sound system, water heater, thermostat and start the generator.
For cooking, the camper is equipped with a Furion three-burner propane stove with oven and broiler. The broiler is great for making toast, while the coffee is percolating on the stove top for breakfast.
Over the stove is a built-in microwave with a hood venting fan. The fan works well to keep the smoke or propane smell out of the camper while cooking. Another nice perk is the portable kitchen counter that folds away in a closet when not in use. The large stainless refrigerator is a Dometic two-way 7 cubic foot model with a freezer that is large enough to store over two weeks worth of groceries. Nice!
We stay comfortable no matter the outside temperatures with the fast heating propane furnace at 20,000 BTUs and the Coleman 13,500 BTU roof mounted air conditioner. We really like the central skylight that offers continuous natural light with a shade if we need to block the sunlight. Our Arctic Fox 990 is equipped with the luxury of a TV-radio sound system that seems over the top for the kind of camping we’re used to, but it is fun to have around when needed.
The camper is large and roomy! It’s large enough to allow the two of us to do different things at the same time. Even our grandchildren can join us without feeling cramped. We especially like the molded fiberglass wet-bath with a full-size toilet with an indoor shower. A medicine cabinet adds storage perched over the small sink. We would have preferred a dry-bath, but having one would have meant special ordering a new camper with a long back order as well as losing some kitchen counter space and the pantry.
The excellent Northwood Systems Monitor allows us to see our battery and holding tank levels at a glance. Here we can also start the generator, turn on outside lights, activate the water pump, and use the water heater. Adjacent controls allow us to use the thermostat for both cool air and heat, use the Kenwood sound system, and monitor the camper’s solar charging levels.
The built-in propane generator starts with the press of a button. We don’t use it often, but it’s great to have when we need it. Since it runs on propane, we don’t have to carry a separate gas can, which is a huge plus. Over our stove is a built-in microwave with hood venting fan. Combined with the Fantastic Fan in the cabover we don’t get inundated with smoke or propane fumes while cooking. A pantry maximizes space and slides out with large easy to reach baskets.
The sleeping area is huge with lots of storage for clothes, jackets, pillows and bedding. We’re both tall and like being able to sit-up in the cabover area. The north-south orientation of the bed is convenient, so no one has to crawl over the other to exit.
The Arctic Fox window and doors are a big negative. The tinted windows don’t open very wide, extending out from the bottom using a crank handle. In hot weather it’s often cooler outside than in the camper. Even though we have air conditioning it requires using the generator and more energy than simply enjoying the breeze through open windows. The door and screen door combo entry are very hard to use from the outside as the doors swing out, blocking the step and porch to get inside. You have to stand on the last step, reach up to open the door, then go inside—very inconvenient. Another pet peeve about the door is that the only way to raise and lower the window shade or snap on the black-out shade is to step outside with the screen door attached to the main door, and then detach the screen door to reach in between the two doors to adjust the shade—again very inconvenient.
The back cab window is not a pass-through and is dark tinted making it hard to see through the camper out the back door window while driving. Pres installed a backup camera that interfaces with our Garmin Outlander.
We made several modifications to the truck and flatbed to carry the camper. We had our engine “bulletproofed” (being a 2004 Ford 6.0 diesel), and added a tuner for more power to pull the extra weight. We’re installing better Super Duty shocks and already had a Hellwig Big Wig sway bar that makes the rig feel more stable on turns. Pres also added exterior toolboxes that sit on the flatbed on either side of the camper. This is wonderful addition for carrying an air compressor, tools, and other essentials that keeps our back seat open for passengers.
There are many things we miss about having the lower profile Alaskan 10 truck camper, yet as retired seniors, the Arctic Fox 990 offers the creature comforts that our aging bodies enjoy and appreciate. Yes, the weight and height of the Arctic Fox restricts where we can drive and camp, yet the overall length stayed about the same at 22 feet long, which makes parking easy. Unfortunately, the overall weight of the Arctic Fox is much heavier with a dry weight of 3,400 pounds—a good 1,200 pounds heavier than our old Alaskan.
Another big negative with the Arctic Fox 990 is the height. The normal height of the camper is bad enough, but the Arctic Fox 990 on our flatbed is so tall that it requires using a step ladder to make a quick visit inside. Pres modified our Fox Landing entry steps, so we don’t have to use a step ladder or stool, by adding two additional folding steps—for a total of four steps—plus adjustable stabilizing legs. I doubt MacGyver could have done a better job.
We are used to exploring rough, 4×4 roads and the Arctic Fox 990 does not handle these roads as well as our old Alaskan. However, our “Fox Den” makes for a very comfortable home away from home and mobile base camp for visiting family and visiting America’s state and national parks. For us, the timing was right to get something bigger and more comfortable for long-term travel and the Arctic Fox 990 fills that need very well.
We also bought an arctic fox 990 (from Tom’s) and like some things, not everything! The stove vent: it leaks dust (we travel a lot on unpaved roads) unless you duct tape it down on the outside. Un-taping it to use it (it’s high off the ground!) is a pain. The door on the wardrobe finally totally fell off on the last trip. I agree with the window evaluation: they surely could be better and open wider! And why not a THREE way fridge????? Back to the dust: the door leaks, too. We had a Big Foot previously that was much better built.
My wife and I are on our 2nd 990. We ordered a new 2005 when they went to aluminum framing. When the kids got bigger it was too small, and we ended up with a class A and a toy hauler, With the kids grown we went RV shopping again, with no real budget constraints. We boondock the majority of the time. After a lot of looking we ended up buying another new 990. For the type of places we enjoy most of the time, the ability to tow any of our boats, trailers with kayaks, dirt toys, motorcycles, etc, and the ease of maneuvering when not towing, it was an easy decision. With 200 watts of solar and all LED lighting we can boondock for a good amount of time, in comfort. We haul it on a diesel crew cab DRW 4×4. We have taken the back seat out to leave more room for fishing, and other gear. A truck camper isn’t for everyone, but for our lifestyle and type of use a 990 is ideal.
How did you modify the Fox Landing to add the two additional stairs?
We also would like to add steps to the fox landing. Where did you get them? How attached?
How do you manage to carry that camper on a SRW truck without exceeding the weight limit of the tires? That is dually-only camper if I have ever seen one.
We recently made a similar move, from an Alaskan 8.5 to a non-slideout Northern Lite 9-6Q Wet Bath. We loved our Alaskan, especially the low profile with the roof lowered, its classic design, simple functionality, and the dry weight of only 1,800 pounds, which our Silverado 3500 handled with ease. But at our age (75) the manual jacks had become a problem. The Alaskan cannot have electric jacks because the roof lowers over the area when electric jacks would have to be mounted. So we bought the Northern Lite. We did not goop it up with options, no generator, air conditioner, or TV, only the rear power awning. We beefed up the Silverado with Helwig sway bars, Bilstein shocks and Summo Springs, and it handles well. We got a north-south bed, the wet bath, holding tanks, and a larger fridge, but its interior is not more spacious than the Alaskan, and the storage is arranged far better in the Alaskan than in the Northern Lite. Everything is a trade-off. We miss the Alaskan but we sure like the electric jacks on the Northern Lite.