It’s no secret that RV sales in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed, yet sales in the truck camper segment remain strong. The addition of several new truck camper manufactures, like Tribe Trailers and Soaring Eagles, provide additional evidence of this strength and vitality. With four locations in Arizona—Surprise, Avondale, Mesa, and Tucson—Tom’s Camperland is one of the largest truck camper dealerships in the country. The Blue Compass RV dealership sells more than a dozen brands from some of the top names in the industry including Lance, Host, Northern Lite, Northwood Manufacturing, and Adventurer. To find out what’s new at Tom’s Camperland, and which campers are the top three sellers, we spoke with Jason Amalong, General Sales Manager.
1. Thanks, Jason, for talking with us. How are things going at Tom’s Camperland in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Jason Amalong: We have seen an adjustment in the RV market since COVID-19. The abnormal frenzy that occurred during COVID has subsided. Post-COVID has brought us back to a more normal level of customer traffic. Post-COVID also brought back a more normal sale sales cycle. Another key factor is that interest rates were abnormally low for so long. Now that interest rates are back to normal levels, customers weigh and measure slightly more than they did before because rates are back to normal levels. However, in the end, a majority of our customers understand that the quality of life that they seek in camping is well worth the investment.
2. Which truck camper brands do you currently offer at Tom’s Camperland?
Jason Amalong: Being one of the largest dealers in the nation for truck campers, we sell many brands and types of truck campers. We currently offer Adventurer, Adventurer Scout, Forest River Palomino, Forest River Hard Side, Host, Lance, Northern Lite, Northwood Manufacturing Arctic Fox, Northwood Manufacturing Wolf Creek, nuCamp Cirrus, Travel Lite Up Country, Travel Lite Atom, and the Tribe El Cap.
3. That’s an impressive list of companies. Which companies stand out from the others?
Jason Amalong: Lance Campers have continued to set the bar for decades in the industry. They have premium quality campers that will fit on an extra short-box, half-ton all the way up to a one-ton dually. Lance has done such a good job of maintaining quality over the decades that they have become a household name when it comes to truck campers.
The Arctic Fox by Northwood Manufacturing continues to maintain a very loyal customer base as well. They too build a premium quality product; it is hard for us to keep them on the lot.
In the triple-slide market, Host is king. These campers require a one-ton dually at a minimum. They too are a premium quality product that grants you an amazing amount of living space and storage in a truck camper.
An honorable mention goes to Scout Campers by Adventure Manufacturing. The Scout launched into the market with a camper that was not the norm with portable appliances. With four lightweight models, they are uber-lightweight and highly durable unit brings alternative energy sourcing to the market with a power pack concept. These campers have taken the market by storm and customers absolutely love them.
4. What are your best selling truck camper models?
Jason Amalong: The Lance 1172, the Arctic Fox 811, and the Lance 650 are the top three sellers currently at Tom’s Camperland.
5. Why is the Lance 1172 such a big seller?
Jason Amalong: You put the name Lance on any product and it will get people’s attention because they have earned the respect of the industry.
Once you step into the Lance 1172, it’s hard to believe that you are inside of a truck camper, setting in the bed of a truck.
The double-slide camper grants you a comfortable sofa to the rear, a roomy dinette, and a respectable kitchen. This unit delivers on a nice, roomy dry bath and a more private sleeping area due to the placement of the bathroom. The 1172 also gives you the largest camper storage that Lance has to offer in the basement. You truly can be in the lap of luxury while going deep off-road.
6. The Arctic Fox 811 offers a slide-out and can fit on a short-bed truck. Is that why it’s so popular?
Jason Amalong: Partly! The Arctic Fox 811 is rare since it is designed to go on either a long or standard short-box truck. The only way you can put it on a long-box truck is if you delete the generator. A vast majority of customers order this unit with the generator and put it on an appropriately-rated 3/4-ton or one-ton standard short-bed truck. With the generator, you now have a fully self-contained unit.
One reason why this camper does so well is because a lot of customers don’t want their daily driver truck to be a long-bed or a dually. Due to the weight and size of this camper, customers can enjoy the benefits of a nice 3/4-ton or one-ton standard short-box truck as a daily driver.
Another reason why the Arctic Fox 811 does so well at Tom’s Camperland is because they are spot on when it comes to their use of space. Unlike some of their competitors, Arctic Fox has included the refrigerator in their slide along with the dinette. This provides extra room and a more spacious feel to the units, while not having to have go with a larger and heavier camper.
7. The Lance 650 was Lance Camper’s top seller during the pandemic. What makes the Lance 650 such a popular camper?
Jason Amalong: Lance did not disappoint when they came out with the 650. They capitalized on a market that was being missed for sure. So many people love campers, however, the vast majority of people driving trucks today have a half-ton with a standard short-box or an extra short-box bed. This drastically limits the campers available to them.
Lance brought to market a premium quality camper that is uber-lightweight and it fits on a half-ton truck with a 6.5-foot or 5.5-foot bed. This is a huge market that was being overlooked before. Lance also ensured that they maintain their level of quality while making sure the customer still was able to have the necessities desired in a camper.
8. We hear you are offering a new truck camper. Can you tell us more about it?
Jason Amalong: We are very excited about the new and cutting-edge El Cap by Tribe Trailers. One look at this camper and you can tell it is rugged and ready to roll! This unit was designed by people who get out and understand the need for ruggedness, comfort, and utility! Not only does this unit offer a diesel heater, portable power pack, toilette, solar, mounted heavy duty axe, multi-purpose overland shovel, and more, it has a roof-top tent (RTT) that grants alternative sleeping arrangements.
9. Have you noticed a younger demographic at Tom’s Camperland, over the years?
Jason Amalong: Absolutely! The demographic for truck campers has expanded. We are seeing a younger segment entering the arena that are wanting to explore while being able to work from their laptop. It’s wonderful, they have the freedom to go wherever they want while still collecting a paycheck on the road.
10. What is the most popular make of truck used to haul a truck camper? Ford? Ram?
Jason Amalong: With regards to the most popular truck brands, Ford comes in number one with regards to F150, F250 and F350. Ram trucks come in a close second with the 1500 and the 3500. Ram’s 2500, however, is limited due to soft, coil spring suspension on the rear that limits its payload.
11. Aside from Torklift tie-downs and turnbuckles, what other products do you offer to help make truck camper rigs ride better?
Jason Amalong: Many customers appreciate the ease of use and time savings that come from upgrading to Torklift FastGun turnbuckles. Especially since some campers have larger fuel doors and you need to remove the turnbuckle every time you fuel up. The FastGuns allow you to remove the turnbuckle in seconds and no need for tools.
It is important to have the right type of upgrades to ensure the best ride possible. A vast majority of our customers get air bags installed on their rear suspension to help the truck and camper ride level. It also helps your truck maintain better braking because the truck is riding level.
We also install suspension products like the Hellwig Big Wig to limit sway and Torklift StableLoads to engage the trucks leaf springs earlier. These help limit sway and bounce. They also provide a better ride down the road.
12. Do you offer solar power and lithium battery upgrades? If you do, what are the most popular?
Jason Amalong: We do offer several options with regards to solar and battery upgrades. Our most popular solar is Go Power. Go Power offers flex and solid solar panels starting at 100 watts and up. We can fit as much solar on one’s roof as they have open space.
With all the advancements in the battery industry lately we have seen a huge influx in battery upgrades. Many customers want to maximize their power source and want Battle Born lithium batteries installed. These batteries range from 100 amp hours to 270 amp hours per battery. Occasionally, customers want us to take it to the next level and we then install Victron or Go Power inverters to allow for the ultimate experience.
13. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Tom’s Camperland before we close?
Jason Amalong: Tom’s Camperland is a Blue Compass RV company and we have been around since the ’70s. We truly value our customer’s experience. We are committed to helping our customers create lifelong memories as they travel the country exploring the great outdoors and making memories with family and friends that will be forever cherished.
We want to be a trusted navigator—supporting, guiding, and inspiring our customers to make the most of their RV lifestyle and adventures, always being right there for our customers, no matter where their travels may take them. Because we care, with every purchase of an RV we give one free year of RV COMPLETE, which gives peace of mind: including 24/7/365 roadside, technical assistance, and so much more.
Buying an RV from us is only the beginning of our relationship. Our goal is to be there for our customers every step of the way as they fulfill their dreams.