Each year thousands of overland enthusiasts gather near Flagstaff, Arizona, for the Overland Expo West. The event, which showcases hundreds of overland vehicles and products as well as an impressive schedule of workshops and classes, is designed to inspire and motivate attendees to explore the world. Of the large number of 4×4 truck campers we saw on display at the show, here is a small sampling of those that impressed us the most.
1. Overland Explorer Vehicles Summit Flatbed
The Canadian built Overland Explorer Vehicle Summit wowed the show’s 10,000 attendees with its angular lines and high-end, spacious interior. The exterior of this rugged, well-built camper features composite 1.5 inch panels with steel edging for extra strength and durability. The camper’s cabinets are made of a durable, powder coated aluminum with attractive polymer doors. Like many of the campers we viewed, the auxiliary systems in this long-bed camper run on diesel instead of propane. These include an Espar hydronic heating system, an on demand hot water system, and a Wallace duo cooktop. The tank capacities of this 2,600 pound camper are pretty generous, too, with a 35 gallon fresh water tank, a 25 gallon gray tank, and a 2.5 gallon tank for diesel. The wetbath, which features a Thetford cassette toilet, is massive and has one of the largest shower spaces I’ve ever seen in a truck camper. Thanks to the ingenious, proprietary tie down system, you can load up the Summit and be on the road in minutes. The $65,000 price includes the camper tray and outfitting.
2. Four Wheel Camper Flatbed Hawk
This muscular-looking rig, consisting of a Four Wheel Camper flatbed Hawk and a regular cab Ram 2500 4×4, was another head turner at this year’s show. Built by AT Overland of Prescott, Arizona, this rig, in addition to the numerous other flatbed campers highlighted in this article, provides ample evidence that the flatbed truck camper market is growing and here to stay. The flatbed Hawk is completely at home in the extreme off-road environment. It’s only 59 inches high with the pop-up down and weighs a paltry 1,050 pounds dry and 1,800 pounds fully loaded. The interior of this short-bed camper is a spacious 80 inches long, 80 inches wide, and 6 feet 6 inches tall with the pop-up fully extended. The only real negative with the flatbed Hawk is the small size of the fresh water holding tank–it’s only 20 gallons–but this capacity can easily be doubled or tripled by installing another fresh water tank in the flatbed. Like all Four Wheel Camper models, the Hawk’s aluminum frame can flex while driving on twisting, uneven roads. You’ll pay about $32,000 for a fully equipped model.
3. BundutecUSA BunduCamp Pop-up Truck Camper
Rory Willet, formerly of Northstar Campers, is back in business with a new company, BundutecUSA, after a brief flirt with retirement. Rory brought this rugged, well-made prototype to the show and the response was overwhelmingly positive. While the photo shows the BunduCamp on a Ram 3500 long-bed “dually,” the 1,675 pound camper can easily fit on short-bed three-quarter-ton SRW trucks as well. The nicely-equipped BunduCamp is outfitted with an electric lift roof system, a 30 gallon fresh water tank, lots of interior storage, an insulated lift-up storage area underneath the bed, an outside shower, and a C200 swivel Thetford cassette toilet. The new camper offers extra refinements as well, including a quality memory foam mattress, upgraded cabinetry, exterior aluminum storage boxes, and window screens fine enough to keep out annoying “no see-ums.” We were particularly impressed with the optional swing-out awning that provides ample shade for not only the passenger side, but also the rear of the camper. The MSRP for the base model is only $15,700, a real bargain!
4. Phoenix Pop Up Flatbed Heavy Duty Truck Camper
The brain child of Phoenix Pop-up Campers owner, Robby Rowe, this long-bed, heavy-duty flatbed was a big hit at this year’s show. Robby’s been building custom campers since the 1980’s and he’s excited about this one. The interior of this well-made camper provides tons of living space as well as the capacities to excel on long distance expeditions including 75 gallons of fresh water, 10 gallons of propane, and 30 gallons of gray water. One thing I really like about Robby’s design is the drop stairway extra tall door that eliminates the need for mounting an annoying and cumbersome set of scissor steps. The interior features hand-finished gray stained maple faced cabinets and trimming as well as flush mount cabinet doors and drawer faces with designer pulls and locks. The camper’s electrical system provides all of the goodies that one could want in a great overland expedition rig, including four 215 amp hour AGM batteries, a 200 watt solar power system, and a 3,000 watt pure sine wave inverter. Also comes in a short-bed version. The $84,995 price tag includes the aluminum flatbed and mounting.
5. Hallmark Ute 8.5 Pop-up Truck Camper
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to building a great overland expedition rig. The Hallmark Ute provides ample evidence of this fact. Pictured here is Scott Zeitler’s adventure rig consisting of a 2015 Hallmark Ute mounted on a 2015 Ram 2500 Power Wagon. The Ute, which offers a floor length of 8 feet 6 inches, fits on both short-bed and long-bed pickup trucks. The gel-coat composite construction is not only attractive, but incredibly strong. In fact, there isn’t a better looking, better made pop-up truck camper than those made by Hallmark. With a dry weight of only 1,643 pounds, the Ute is ideal for not only certain half-ton pickup trucks, but also for most three-quarter-ton pickup trucks. Moreover, the low profile and narrow girth (just 6 feet, 9 inches wide) means you can take this agile rig almost anywhere. The tank capacities of the Ute are respectable, too, with 30 gallons fresh, 12 gallons grey, and 14 gallons black. The camper offers lots of storage including a battery compartment large enough to hold two group-27 batteries. The base price for the Hallmark Ute is $35,995.00.
6. Nimbl Vehicles Evolution (XPCamper V1)
The V1 is the XP Camper’s first design and it has stood the test of time as a popular overland expedition rig. This seamless monocoque pop-up was designed with the one-ton pickup truck in mind. The great thing about this particular pop-up, is that the top is a hard shell composite which provides optimum strength and insulation in winter, only the front wrap is made of canvas. A hydraulic 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, too, with a queen size bed, a kitchen, a large wet bath with cassette toilet, and a nice size dinette. The V1’s fresh water tank is a massive 75 gallons, while the gray water tank is respectable 27 gallons. Like most of the high-end overland rigs at the show, the V1 offers a Webasto hydronic dual diesel furnace and water heater. Marc Wassman, the owner of XP Campers, tells me that there are currently four V1’s exploring the Pan Am highway. The cost of the V1 installed is $88,825, including the flatbed truck tray. Note: The XP Camper V1 was relaunched as the Nimbl Vehicles Evolution in May 2020.
7. Lance 650 Hard-side Truck Camper
Another highlight of the show was Lance Camper’s new Overland Adventure Rig. In partnership with Hellwig Suspension Products, Lance built this rig to showcase their new Lance 650 truck camper. What’s rare about this 1,639-pound hard-side camper is that its made for the half-ton short-bed pickup truck. While the F-150 pictured here offers an impressive 2,799 pounds of payload, its only a two-wheel drive. For a capable overland expedition rig, you’d be better off mounting this camper on a four-wheel driver three-quarter-ton truck. As for the Lance 650 itself, the camper is ready for action. Not only does it deliver a north-south queen bed and a full size wet bath with a sink, but it also features a decent kitchen and a dinette long enough to sleep an adult. Lance designers were able to shoe horn all of these capabilities and features into the camper by placing the refrigerator in the cabover. The tank sizes in the Lance 650 are fairly generous, too, with 22 gallons fresh, 15 gallons grey, and 16 gallons black. The base MSRP is an easy to digest $19,857.