It quickly becomes apparent after surveying the hundreds of vehicles at the Overland Expo West that overland rigs come in all shapes and sizes. At the show, you’ll see everything from motorcycles, Land Rovers, and Jeeps to Ram Power Wagons, Unimogs, and EarthRoamers. You’ll also find a large variety of truck campers. It’s a tradition here at Truck Camper Adventure to rank the best truck campers of the Expo. For this article, we looked at dozens of rigs and ranked the best in a way that is fun, while at the same time providing key information about each. The criteria used in our rankings is stringent. You’ll find that function is just as important as form. Indeed, the truck and how its outfitted is just as important as the camper. So without further adieu, here are the Top 11 Expedition Campers of the 2019 Overland Expo.
1. Alaskan 8.5 Truck Camper Rig
The hands-down winner in a very crowded field, this rig, featuring a 2019 Alaskan 8.5 Cabover, consistently drew “oohhs and aahhs” from the 23,000 who attended this year’s show. Unlike the traditional pop-up truck camper, which has canvas sides, the patented pop-top on an Alaskan features a “solid wall” design with a hydraulic mechanism that raises and lowers the entire top of the camper. Inside this four-season camper you’ll find a plush leather dinette, a beautiful wood-paneled ceiling, and high-end maple cabinets throughout. You’ll also find a generous amount of overhead storage and counter top space inside the camper. Highlights of this 1,805-pound camper include a 44-inch front dinette, a NovaKool 3808 compressor refrigerator, a two-burner cooktop, a 27 gallon fresh water tank, and a low-profile air conditioner. One group-24 battery comes standard, but as many as two can be added as an option. Popular options include a Thetford C-200 swivel cassette toilet, a Zamp 170 watt solar power system, a 4-gallon water heater, a Suburban 20,000 BTU furnace, and LED ceiling lights. The GMC truck features a Cognito Stage 21 Leveling Kit with upper control arms, Firestone Air Bags, Method 606 Mesh Titanium Race Wheels, Milestar Patagonia M/T tires, and a Protech aluminum flatbed with six storage boxes. An iconic design and American classic, this Alaskan 8.5-foot Cabover goes for $39,674, while the entire rig, including the truck and tray, can be built for around $99,000.
2. Lance 855s ‘Altimeter Rig’
Easily one of the Top 11 Expedition Campers of the 2019 Overland Expo. Built around the popular Lance 855s and mounted on a diesel-powered 2018 Ford F-350 4×4 truck, Lance’s new “Altimeter Rig” offers a number of features that would make any overlander drool. While the short-bed camper is a totally stock unit with a few experimental elements thrown in, the 4×4 truck has been modified extensively for off-road travel and includes a Stage 5 Icon Vehicle Dynamics 2.5-inch Suspension System, Maxxis Razr MT 37-inch tires, Raceline Defender 935BX 18-inch wheels, a Warn Ascent front bumper with a 16.5ti heavy-duty winch, and a Magnaflow Pro Series exhaust. A pair of Hellwig Big Wig Air Bags and a Hellwig Big Wig Rear Sway Bar keep the big truck level. Ranked highly in a recent article, the Lance 855s’ 8-foot 11-inch floorplan features a gorgeous interior with dark, cherry stained cabinets, a large wet bath with a bathroom sink, a small kitchen with a three-way 5-cubic foot refrigerator, a spacious cabover with a north-south queen-size bed, and a driver side slide-out with a cozy leather dinette. Tank capacities are nicely apportioned for a four-season camper of this size, too, with 30 gallons fresh, 20 gallons grey, and 25 gallons black. Like all Lance campers, the 855s also features Lance’s new one-piece, molded TPO nose cap, which gives the camper a sleek and modern look compared to other makes of campers. Shown here with a special mountain graphics wrap, the Lance 855s lists for $50,000, while the entire rig, as built, goes for $164,000.
3. Kent Kiehl’s Cirrus 820 Mega Raptor Rig
This rig, dubbed by its owner as the “Jurassic Mega Raptor Overlander,” turned a lot of heads at the show. As you can see, this isn’t your typical Ford Raptor, this “Mega Raptor” is built using a 2016 Ford F-250. Built by MegaRexxtrucks.com, the truck includes a body kit, including hood, front and rear panels, a 4.5-inch Icon lift, custom front and rear bumpers, Bilstein custom shocks, MRAP wheels, 46-inch Michelin XZL tires rated for 12,000 pounds total, and a custom lead foot gray matte clear paint job. Additional mods to the truck include a deleted and tuned engine with 585 horsepower and 1,300 foot-pounds of torque, a 50-gallon fuel tank, 4.88 gears, a custom spare tire mount, and a custom Warn 15k winch. Ranked second in a recent article, the Cirrus 820 is no slouch either. The camper’s 8-foot 6-inch floorplan features a large wet-bath with a fold-up sink, a spacious cabover with a north-south queen-size bed, a face-to-face dinette, a massive wardrobe, a large kitchenette with a three-way, 5-cubic foot refrigerator, and copious amounts of storage. Other highlights include the whisper-quiet Alde water heater furnace, the Froli Sleep System, a dual battery compartment, two 20-pound propane tanks, a 38-gallon fresh water tank, a massive 32-gallon grey water holding tank, and an 18-gallon black water holding tank. You wouldn’t know it by this photo, but customers have numerous color options when ordering a NuCamp Cirrus camper, including a silver or white exterior with 10 different color accents to match the color of your truck. The MSRP of the Cirrus 820 is $31,842, while you can expect to pay around $45,000 for a MegaRexx Raptor conversion.
4. GXV Adventure-XT Truck 4×4
Wow, is the first word that comes to mind when you first lay eyes on Global Expediton Vehicles’ new Adventure-XT Truck. Unlike the original Adventure Truck, the new “XT” version offers a large cabover sleeping area and 27 feet of living space. The XT is long, but with a height of only 11 feet, it compares favorably to many hard-side campers. Customers can choose either a Ram 5500 4×4 or a Ford F-550 4×4. Outside, the rig features an integrated rear spare tire mount, a roof-rack, five underbody storage compartments, Seitz windows, and an aluminum three-step, entry system. Inside, you’ll find a modern-looking interior that includes a well-equipped galley, a large wet-bath with shower, a cabover sleeping area large enough for a king-size bed, and a large 87×24 dinette. Highlights of the XT include a single-burner induction cooktop, a two-drawer Vitrifrigo 5-cubic foot compressor refrigerator, a Thetford cassette toilet, and a stainless steel sink. As you’d expect from Global Expedition Vehicles, the electrical system in the Adventure-XT Truck is first-rate and comes with a 400 amp hour lithium battery bank (upgradable to 800 amp hours), a 600 watt solar power system with a Mastervolt MPPT charge controller (upgradable to 850 watts), and a Mastervolt Mass-Combi 2,500 watt inverter-charger. The tank capacities are just as impressive with 92 gallons of fresh water and 26 gallons of grey. Not to be outdone, options include a mini clothes washer and dryer, an additional 50-gallon fuel tank with transfer pump, a manual awning, and a roof rail protection system. Without a doubt, one of the Top 11 Expedition Campers of the 2019 Overland Expo. The base price for the GXV Adventure-XT Truck is a cool $340,000.
5. Hallmark K2 SherpTek Rig
Another inspiring build by Hallmark RV, this impressive rig, consisting of a 2018 Toyota Tundra, a SherpTek overland truck bed, and an 8-foot Hallmark K2 pop-up camper, was another big favorite at the show. Standard features of the K2 include a 30-gallon fresh water holding tank, a Progressive Dynamics 45 amp “Mighty Mini” Power Center, molded one-piece counter tops, big view double windows, a 4-gallon DSI water heater, a dual battery compartment, a Lagun swing-away table, and amber bamboo or maple cabinetry. For this build, Hallmark also added rear storage boxes, a mini-shower stall with a 5 gallon porta pottie, a Bullfinch outside shower, custom white cabinets with gray doors, a NovaKool compressor refrigerator, custom Marmoleum flooring, and a Yakima Roof Rack with a Rhino Basket. SherpTek’s new, overland truck bed is a perfect match for the truck and camper. The lightweight, aluminum truck bed not only comes with an impressive 60 cubic feet of storage, but also special truck camper alignment brackets and raised wheel wells that allow the wheels to fully articulate off-road. A host of other options can also be added by SherpTek including an air compressor, a spare tire mount amidships, and an additional fresh water holding tank or fuel tank. The base price of the Hallmark K2 is $37,995, while SherpTek’s new truck bed goes for around $20,000. The second generation Toyota Tundra pictured here is powered by an iForce 5.7L V8 engine equipped with Firestone Air Bags and Falken AT3W 265/70R18E tires.
6. Four Wheel Camper Prospector Rig
Yes, we all love the new Ram Power Wagon, but a modified American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) Ram 3500 offers the off-road truck camper enthusiast even more with a 6.7L Cummins turbo diesel and a much-higher payload. AEV’s Prospector package starts at $12,940, and includes a premium front bumper, a heat reduction hood, a 3-inch DualSport suspension, AEV Wheels, 37-inch Tires, AEV badging, a black HD grill, a front winch, and AEV’s classic snorkel. With a floor length of 6.5 feet and a dry weight of only 1,075 pounds, the Four Wheel Camper Hawk matches well with this modified Ram 3500 pickup truck. The camper features an east-west queen-size bed, a 20-gallon fresh water tank, a small kitchenette, a group-27 battery, two 10-pound propane tanks, and a three-piece portable dinette. Customers can choose from one of three floorplans when ordering a Hawk—a rollover side couch, side dinette, or a front dinette. For those want more amenities, a cassette toilet and an outside shower can both be added as options. Like all Four Wheel Campers, the Hawk features an aluminum frame that can flex during extreme off-roading, fully insulated walls and roof, a one-piece aluminum roof, and an excellent proprietary tie-down system to keep the camper firmly in place when climbing steep inclines. One of the Top 11 Expedition Campers of the 2019 Overland Expo. The Hawk is priced at a very affordable $18,995 for the base model, while the 2016 Ram 3500 with the Laramie and Prospector packages will set you back about $96,000.
7. EarthCruiser EXD 4×4
A relatively new design and one of our favorites, the EarthCruiser EXD’s rugged, good looks featured prominently at the Overland Expo West. Unlike many turn-key expedition rigs, the EXD is not a chassis dependent design, meaning this four-season, self-contained camper is just as happy mounted on a Ram 3500 as it is on a Ford F-350. With a dry weight of only 2,500 pounds, the EXD features a collapsible dinette that doubles as a full queen-size bed, a wet-bath with a classic EarthCruiser walk-through shower, a Thetford Cassette Toilet, a 48 gallon fresh water tank, and a 12 gallon grey water holding tank. The EXD comes standard with a 180 amp hour lithium-ion system though this can easily be upgraded to a powerful 360 amp hour bank. Like most EarthCruiser designs, the air and water in the EXD is heated using the Webasto dual top diesel heater. True to EarthCruiser’s motto to “go further-stay longer,” this rig is built to go off-grid and includes a 1,500 watt induction cooktop that can be used inside or outside, a diesel-heated has a 2.9-gallon hot water tank, an Isotherm 4.2 cubic foot compressor refrigerator, a 462 watt solar power system, and a 2,500 watt inverter. Easily, one of the Top 11 Expedition Campers of the 2019 Overland Expo. Sold factor direct from the company’s manufacturing facility in Bend, Oregon, a fully-decked out EarthCruiser EXD, like the one shown here, lists for about $220,000.
8. Everlanders F-550 Rig
We’ve always had an affinity for homebuilt rigs, and this one, made by a Canadian couple called Team Everlanders, really impressed us. The DIY couple calls it a “rugged, self-built, self-sufficient, rough-roads camper, equipped for full-time use.” We call it a winner. Inspired by Gary Wescot’s Turtle V and the angular lines of the stealth fighter, the Everlanders Rig is built on a 2003 Ford F-550 4×4 chassis powered by the venerable 7.3L Powerstroke diesel. The windowless camper is constructed of a 2×2-inch aluminum subframe overlayed with insulated honeycomb composite panels. The camper uses a simple, yet ingenious three-point attachment system that allows it to stay secure, while the truck’s frame flexes off-road. Traction is maintained with a set of custom Rickson Wheels and large, Continental MPT81 41-inch tires. Inside the camper you’ll find a queen-size bed cushioned with the Froli Modular Sleep System, a large dinette and kitchen, a composting toilet, and lots of storage, including a large “garage” on the driver side. The camper is powered by massive electrical system consisting of a 1,440 amp hour lithium battery bank, an 1,800 watt inverter, and a 1.4 kilowatt solar power system. Heat is provided by the diesel-powered Espar D2. Not surprising, everything in this rig runs on either diesel or electricity. Considered a work-in-progress, additional upgrades are planned in the near future. The couple maintains an enjoyable YouTube channel and an Instagram account where you can follow their upgrades and their day-to-day adventures.
9. Nimbl Vehicle Evolution
The Evolution has stood the test of time as one of the most popular expedition rigs ever built. Indeed, it’s even featured in our top eight overland expedition campers article. This seamless monocoque, flatbed pop-up was designed with the one-ton truck in mind. The great thing about this particular pop-up, is that the top is made of a hard shell, fiberglass composite, which provides optimum strength and insulation in winter—only the front in the cabover is made of canvas. An electric lift quickly and easily raises the top of the camper to provide 6 feet 6 inches of headroom. The floorplan of the V1 is pretty spacious as well and offers a queen-size bed with underbed storage, a large kitchen, a wet-bath with cassette toilet, and a big dinette. The V1 is perfect for long-term expeditions and travel as evidenced by its massive 75-gallon fresh water tank and large, 27-gallon grey water tank. Like most of high-end overland expedition rigs, the Evolution offers a Webasto hydronic dual diesel furnace and water heater, a 5-gallon Thetford cassette toilet, a massive battery bay capable of storing four 6 volt AGM golf cart batteries, and a high-tech command center with a 520 watt solar power system. An excellent value, the cost of the V1 installed is $120,925, including XP Campers’ custom flatbed tray. The XP V1 is shown here mounted on a 2005 Ram 3500 4×4 quad cab chassis with a classic Buckstop Baja Winch Bumper mounted on the front. Note: The XP Camper V1 was relaunched as the Nimbl Vehicles Evolution in May 2020.
10. Maltec Maltexplorer 4×4
Looking for a Mercedes diesel in a smaller, more capable overland rig that can go practically anywhere? Then look no further. Maltec’s Maltexplorer is a single cabin design, built on a 1996 Mercedes Benz G 463. Hand-crafted to compliment the Mercedes’ legendary G-Wagon look and feel, the Maltexplorer’s cabin is made of a light-weight carbon fiber for extra strength and durability. It features a built-in dinette, a 400 watt solar power system, two AGM batteries, and a 2,000 watt inverter. Even though the rig has been built for two, it can easily sleep four with the sofa and dinette collapsed. The rig features a pass through cabin, a 14.5 gallon fresh water holding tank, a 4-gallon water heater heated by the engine, Dometic Seitz windows, an indoor sink, an outdoor shower, and an outside sand ladder/table mount. Other highlights include a 12 volt compressor refrigerator, a Webasto diesel furnace, a two-burner propane cooktop, leather bench cushions, plentiful storage, and a Simarine battery monitoring system. The highly-capable, four-wheel drive truck is equipped with a Mercedes 3.0L turbo diesel, an automatic transmission, ridged axles and Eibach coils springs, and a fuel capacity of 40.5 gallons. One of the Top 11 Expedition Campers of the 2019 Overland Expo. Weighs only 5,200 pounds dry. Maltec has only one dealer here in the United States, in Telluride, Colorado, so you may have to travel quite a ways, but it beats having to travel to Germany and paying the exorbitant import fees to get one. Out the door, the Maltexplorer can be purchased for $169,000.
11. Bundutec Wild Truck Camper Rig
A relatively new design by Rory Willet, the Bundutec Wild pushes the pop-up truck camper envelope in a big way. The Wild not only comes with a complete wet-bath, but also a large, grey water holding tank that makes using that wet-bath practical. The standard color of the Bundutec Wild is an attractive gray—not your bland, everyday white—and features contrasting black trim and black accents on the exterior. The exterior of the camper is covered with a smooth .040-inch aluminum that not only looks great, but also holds up better than standard fiberglass siding. The 7-foot floorplan features a kitchen and wet-bath on the driver side, a refrigerator with loads of storage on the front wall, and a full-length dinette on the passenger side. Standard features include a north-south 56×74-inch mattress with lift up under bed storage, a 21-gallon fresh water tank, a 17-gallon grey water holding tank, a NovaKool R3000 compressor refrigerator, window and door screens fine enough to keep out annoying “no-see-ums,” and a stainless steel sink. The best options offered by Bundutec include the BunduAwn “batwing” awning shown here, the new Quick Pitch En-Suite Shower Enclosure, and the Truma Combi water heater furnace that not only saves on weight and space but is also whisper quiet when in operation. One of the Top 11 Expedition Truck Campers of the 2019 Overland Expo. Weighs 1,610 pounds and framed entirely of wood, the list price for the Wild is only $18,600. The camper is shown here mounted on a 2011 Ram 1500 powered by the 5.7L HEMI V8 outfitted with air bags.