Top 10 Truck Camper Rigs of the 2023 Overland Expo PNW

What a difference a decade makes. We attended our first Overland Expo in 2013 in Flagstaff, and since then we’ve watched that single show morph into four—the Overland Expo West, the Overland Expo East, the Overland Expo Mountain West, and the Overland Expo Pacific Northwest. This was our first time covering the Overland Expo PNW and we really enjoyed it. The venue is top notch with lots of grass and trees and the beautiful Cascades as a backdrop.

Officially, a total of 17,000 people and 395 exhibitors attended the 2023 Overland Expo PNW. Among the exhibitors were some of the biggest names in the industry. These included Four Wheel Campers, Scout, Overland Explorer Vehicles, Outfitter, Nimbl Vehicles, AT Overland, KingStar, BundutecUSA, Supertramp, Cube Series RV, Elevation Off-Grid, Bowen Customs, and OVRLND Campers. All of them brought a rig or two, or in the case of Scout and Four Wheel Campers, several. The investment in money and man-hours in organizing and building out these rigs is substantial. It would be a shame to ignore all of this effort and expense, hence the reason for this article.  So without further adieu, here are the top 10 truck camper rigs of the 2023 Overland Expo Pacific Northwest.

1. Colin Cook’s EOG Ram 5500-OEV High Country Rig

When it comes to the complete package, Colin Cook’s High Country Rig has it all: an Elevation Off-Grid (EOG) Ram 5500 Black Edition with 41-inch tires, an Overland Explorer Vehicles (OEV) Aluma Tray with loads of above deck and below deck storage, and an OEV High Country flatbed camper. The High Country features a 9-foot, 5-inch floorplan with a spacious wet-bath, a rear dinette, a large kitchen with a True Induction cooktop, a Nomadic 1000 DC air conditioner, and north-south queen-size cab over bed. Colin opted to go with a large electrical system with 640 amp hours of batteries, 800 watts of solar, a 2,000 watt inverter. As for the truck, Colin chose the best by going with an Elevation Off-Grid Black Edition Ram 5500 chassis with a 19,500-pound GVWR outfitted with massive, 41-inch EarthRoamer-size tires and a silky-smooth LiquidSpring Suspension. “This truck can do everything. I can take the camper off-road and I can be comfortable with my wife. The camper’s got all the creature comforts. The wet-bath is really key for comfort for a couple, for everybody. A lot of people like to rough it, but we like to be comfortable and we like to go places that we couldn’t get to in our old RV,” Colin said. For more information on this build, including shots of the interior, click here.

2. Mule Expedition’s Ram 3500-FWC Grandby Baja Runner

The crew at Mule Expedition Outfitters is no stranger when it comes to terrific builds, and this amazing rig is no different. Called the Baja Roamer, this rig has it all—a tricked-out Ram 3500 regular-cab truck with a gasoline 6.4L Hemi, a Mits Alloy flatbed tray, and a Four Wheel Camper Grandby, all in a drool-worthy, slate-gray color scheme. Like Mule Expedition’s Baja Runner build in 2019, the company went all out with this build, including a slew of American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) upgrades, including AEV High Mark XL fender flares, an AEV Prospector XL front bumper with brush guard, an AEV snorkel, and an AEV 3-inch lift. Supplemental upgrades consist of a ComeUp 16.5 Seal Gen 2 Winch, King 2.5 Coilover shocks, four AEV 7000 Series LED Off-Road lights, and Onyx AEV Katla 17-inch wheels and 37-inch Yokohama Extreme Mud-Terrain tires. Supplemental storage is provided by an 8-foot Mits Alloy flatbed tray providing above deck and below deck storage. Topping everything off is a Four Wheel Camper Grandby, featuring a large front dinette, an aftermarket HEST dually long memory foam mattress, a 340 watt solar power system, dual lithium batteries, and a Redarc Manager 30. Comms is provided with a Midland 15 watt GMRS radio with a 6db gain antenna.

3. Dick Galland’s ‘Argo’ Avion C-11 Rig

We’ve always admired the Avion campers from the ’60s and ’70s, but this particular 1966 Avion C-11 isn’t your typical Avion restoration. Dick Galland converted the classic slide-in camper into a pass-through motorhome. The interior and exterior work is simply stunning with professionalism displayed throughout. With a background in sailboats and boat building, Dick opted to use 3M VHB tape instead of rivets. “If I were building this camper from scratch, I would use tape rather than rivets wherever possible,” he said. Argo’s electrical system consists of a bank of two deep cycle batteries, two 100 watt solar panels with a Victron MPPT charge controller, and Victron battery monitor. Appliances include a Norcold DC compressor refrigerator, a Dometic three-burner stove, and a Propex propane-fired furnace. Two 20 gallon custom-made water tanks provide fresh water to the remodled camper. The original fresh water holding tank was converted into a grey water tank and Dick uses a Thetford Porta Pottie. The camper rests on a 4×4 2013 Ford F250 super cab with the 6.7L PSD.

4. John Kingston’s F350-Bowen Customs-Scout Kenai Rig

The first of two truck camper rigs featuring the Scout Kenai. This one was built by renowned photographer and videographer, John Kingston. The rig features a 2022 Ram 3500, a Bowen Customs camper bed with a front garage, and a Scout Kenai hard-side. Designed specifically for slide-in truck campers, Bowen’s camper bed features a high departure angle, sealed storage compartments, rugged good-looks all while retaining the factory height of the OEM bed. The Ram 3500 is tricked out with a Dissent Off-Road Custom front bumper outfitted with Rigid Industries auxiliary lighting and an appropriately-rated winch, off-road sliders, and an extended-range fuel tank. Needing more storage for his equipment, John opted to delete the rear seat and go with a GooseGear storage and drawer system to maximize the space. The Scout Kenai is Adventurer Manufacturing’s largest Scout model with an 8-foot floor plan and a base weight of only 1,265 pounds. Like all Scout campers, the Kenai is extremely well-built and features portable appliances that save on weight. Rather than staying with the OEM portable power station, John opted to replace it with a more robust 300 amp hour lithium battery controlled by a Redarc Redvision battery management system.

5. Elevation Off-Grid’s Ford F550-Host Everest Rig

Looking for a combination that offers luxury camping with an unrivaled driving experience? Then this mammoth-sized Host-Elevation Off-Grid (EOG) F-550 combo might be what you’re looking for. The main appeal of the Host Everest 11.6 is the spacious interior, provided by three large slide-outs and a floor length of 11 feet 6 inches. The Host Everest features a king-size cabover sleeping area, a huge dry bath, a large kitchen, dinette, and a rear sofa. Massive holding tanks in the heated basement provide a whopping 65 gallons of fresh, 51 gallons grey, and 32 gallons of black. Not only that, but the massive basement also provides the space needed to house a large lithium battery bank for extended off-grid adventures. Hauling this palatial, hotel-on-wheels is an equally capable truck: an Elevation Off-Grid Ford F550 Black Edition pickup with 41-inch tires, a LiquidSpring Suspension, and a 19,500-pound GVWR. If you’ve never driven a truck with a LiquidSpring Suspension, you need to do so. When it comes to performance and handling, LiquidSpring blows away everything including Kelderman’s well-regarded air-ride system,

6. Overland Adventure Truck’s Ford F550-Bobcat Rig

Overland Adventure Truck (OAT) went all out with this build using a Total Composites Bobcat shell. The Bobcat comes in two lengths: a 6.5 shell and an 8-foot shell, both of which offer 2-inch thick walls with R12 insulation for a true four-season camping experience. For this Total Composites Bobcat build, OAT used bamboo to construct a rugged, yet simple layout with a dinette and convertible bed in the rear, a large cabover bed with storage, a kitchen, a Thetford Porta Pottie, and a Dometic DZ75 chest refrigerator-freezer. The camper is equipped with a 400 watt solar power system and uses a Goal Zero 3000x battery system to supply the camper’s electrical needs, and is equipped with removable water jugs for fresh and grey water. Hauling this custom camper is a 2006 Ford F550 with a bulletproofed 6.0L Power Stroke Diesel with only 40,000 miles. The truck sports custom Stazworks wheels and Continental MPT81 Super Singles with a CM Flatbed.

7. Tactical Application Vehicle’s Ram 3500-Scout Kenai Rig

This rig by Tactical Application Vehicles (TAV),was located in a prominent location at the show and for good reason. The lifted Ram 3500 with the Scout Kenai really stood out. TAV’s Ram 3500 features a Carli Dominator 3.25-inch Suspension System, a Carli Suspension long-travel air bags, a Chassis Unlimited Octane Series front winch bumper outfitted with Comp Up 12.5k slim-line winch, a Chassis Unlimited Attitude Series rear bumper, and Method 305HD Bronze wheels and Toyo RT Trail 37-inch tires. The Scout Kenai is Adventurer Manufacturing’s largest Scout model with an 8-foot floor plan and a base weight of only 1,265 pounds. Like all Scout campers, the Kenai is incredibly well-built and features portable appliances that save on weight. Power is supplied via a Goal Zero Yeti 1,500 watt portable lithium power station charged through the camper’s 175 watt roof-top solar panel. Additional features of the Kenai include a large dinette, a mud-room entrance, a large wardrobe, an optional cassette toilet, and a roof-top tent. Sleeps up to six people using the roof-top tent—perfect for families and those who are traveling with friends.

8. Nimbl Vehicles Evolution-Ford F350

We’ve published several stories on the Nimbl Evolution over the years and continue to be impressed with the refinements that Nimbl Vehicles continues to make. The Nimbl Evolution has everything you need and nothing you don’t—a large rear dinette, hand-finished Mahogany/Teak trim, a spacious wet-bath with a composting toilet and “urine diverter,” and a large cabover queen provide plenty of living room. The technology of the Nimbl Evolution  is cutting-edge too with a Dometic RTX 2000 DC air conditioner, 75-gallons of fresh water, and 24 gallons grey, a Guzzle H20 three-step water filtration unit, a premium sound system, a 1,080 amp hour lithium battery system, and a 1,005 watt solar power system. Nimbl’s raw aluminum, 10-foot flatbed comes with loads of storage, including spare tire storage, Nimbl’s stealth stairless entry system, and stair lighting. For this build, the owner’s went with a white Ford F350 outfitted with matte black 17-inch Method Race Wheels and Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT 295/70R18 all-terrain tires. We like the choice because the Nimbl Evolution isn’t very heavy and doesn’t require a F450/4500 or F550/5500 truck to haul it.

9. Dan Grec’s Jeep Wrangler Refuge II Rig

We love truck campers and Jeeps. We love them even more when they are combined into a single rig. Australian Dan Grec did exactly that when he converted his Jeep Wrangler JLU Rubicon into an impressive off-road truck camper combo. For the camper, Dan tapped into the expertise of Michael Fuchs of Wabi Sabi Overland. Named the Refuge II, the pop-top camper is 6 feet wide and 7.5 feet long. The wedge-style pop-top features a hinge on the forward edge, allowing Dan to stand up inside with the top up or sit inside with the top down. According to Michael, he was able to shave off 623 pounds by removing the back of the Jeep. Incredibly, the overall weight is still below the Jeep’s GVWR of 6,100 pounds. The Refuge II, as equipped, features Yokohama Geolander size-35 all-terrain tires, an AEV dual sport 2.5-inch suspension, AEV front and rear bumpers, a Warn 10-s winch, and a Renogy REGO solar and lithium battery setup. Dan tells us that the build is still a work in progress, with lots of work remaining to be done. We can’t wait to see the final result. You can follow Dan’s adventures and the rest of his build on Instagram @theroadchoseme.

10. TrailCap’s 1960 Ford F-100 “Unibody” Rig

We love vintage trucks and campers, making this particular rig hard to ignore. The truck is a 1960 Ford F-100 “unibody” short-bed, sporting a classic robin’s egg blue color. The powertrain is is 300L6 with a five-speed, 205 twin stick manual transmission. The F-100 features a 4×4 conversion by Allied Fab and size 37 tires with retro-style rims. Completing the classic, raw aluminum look is the riveted aluminum TrailCap Camper Shell polished to a mirror shine. Topping it all off is a Go Fast Camper RTT. Even though the owner of TrailCap has built several TrailCaps in the past, he isn’t interested in starting a business. “I have fun building them. I never planned on it turning into a business. I just couldn’t find a vintage shell for my truck so I decided to build one instead.” That’s too bad. We have no doubt, such a business would do extremely well. There simply isn’t another topper or camper shell company in existence that builds a classic aluminum shell like TrailCap. For another classic truck and camper combination, check out our recent Overland Expo West Top 10.

Honorable Mention. Curtis Cole’s 1991 Toyota Hilux MASH Rig

Not a truck camper in the true sense of the word, but a head-turning rig that deserves mention, nevertheless. A retired US Army medic, Curtis Cole imported the 1991 Toyota Hilux LN106 double-cab seven years ago and the current odometer reading is 449,878 kilometers. Sporting military green paint highlighted with US Army “MASH” markings, the 4WD truck features a Tasmania 2.8L turbo diesel, a stacked exhaust, oversize aluminum radiator, AISIN manual locking hubs, a swing-out spare tire carrier, and dual batteries. The imported truck has also been outfitted with Warn front and rear bumpers, a Warn 10k winch, a 2-inch lift, 10 heavy-duty leaf springs on the rear axle, heavy-duty drive shafts, heavy-duty Tundra brakes, and Kenda RT 35×10.5R17 tires on Nomad 17-inch wheels. Range isn’t a problem for Curtis’ off-road beast either with a 130 liter long-range fuel tank. Accommodations are provided courtesy of a CVT Mt. Hood rooftop tent and a Rhino Batwing awning to provide shade.

About Mello Mike 899 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. A communications expert and licensed ham radio operator (KK7TCA), he retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, holds a BS degree, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side. He currently rolls in a 4WD Ram 3500 outfitted with a SherpTek truck bed with a Bundutec Roadrunner mounted on top.

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