Ed. Note: Subsequent to the publication of this article, Truck Camper Adventure learned that the Tribe El Cap is a Chinese import, which accounts for the camper’s lower cost. Tribe’s Claims for better quality compared to the Scout Olympic will need to be verified by the Truck Camper Adventure staff in the near future.
Tribe Trailers, a new Arizona-based trailer manufacturer, just launched a half-ton truck camper called El Cap that claims to offer everything that the Scout Olympic does for less money.
“Our goal was not just to design a beautiful truck camper, but to make it affordable, durable, and highly functional, while prioritizing the needs and comfort of our customers,” explained Sean Maister, Sales Manager of Tribe Trailers. “We consider our customers to be a part of our family, and we are committed to providing them with a camping experience that is accessible to all. Our vision is not limited to a weekend camping trip, but rather to empower our customers to explore the unknown and embark on extended adventures with the peace of mind that comes with having a reliable and well-crafted camper.”
Truck camper aficionados will note the striking resemblance between El Cap and Adventure Manufacturing’s Scout Olympic, but there are some differences between the two half-ton campers. For one, practically everything inside El Cap is made by Tribe Trailers in-house. This, according to Maister, helps ensure quality and helps keep costs down for the consumer. All of these in-house appliances and accessories have been time-tested in the company’s RV trailer lineup. The only thing not made in-house is the optional Dometic chest refrigerator-freezer.
“There are a lot of differences between us and competition,” Maister explained. “For instance, the rooftop tent that we use is ours, as is the batwing awning, the battery, and the diesel furnace. The stove that we use is our ours as well, it’s a 10,000 BTU stainless steel unit. All the components that we use are of higher quality too. We will soon be including a lot of storage options for the roof and more Molle panels on the inside also. That way everything can be configured to your liking. We’re also looking at working with some different manufacturers of doing some Milwaukee pack-out Molle clips that go onto our Molle mounts.”
The other big difference between the Tribe El Cap and the Scout Olympic is the toilet. According to Maister, the company experimented with a cassette toilet at first, but the company wasn’t satisfied with it, and decided to go with a composting toilet instead. Scout, on the other hand, offers a standard 2.6 gallon porta pottie.
The Tribe Trailer El Cap offers everything one would want in a traditional hard-side camper, including an expandable east-west, full-size bed, a face-to-face dinette that collapses into a second sleeping platform, loads of storage including a spot for a portable refrigerator, a portable cooktop, a kitchen sink, a diesel furnace, a 270-degree batwing awning, and a toilet. Two 5.5 gallon water tanks (one interior and one exterior) allow for ample water to clean dishes in El cap’s aluminum sink.
El Cap’s electrical system is also portable. It features Tribe’s very own lithium battery outfitted with numerous 12 volt USB charge ports and a 1,000 watt inverter. Charging is accomplished using either the camper’s 100 watt rooftop solar panel or the truck’s alternator.
With a dry weight of only 1,100 pounds, and a floor length of 6 feet 1 inch, El Cap is made specifically for short-bed, half-ton trucks like the Ford F150, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, and Chevy Silverado 1500. Better rated trucks with longer beds, of course, can carry it as well with the added benefit of being able to use the tailgate as a entry porch.
According to Maister, Tribe Trailers offers only one stock model and floorplan, which streamlines build times and eliminates the need for expensive customizations. Adventurer Manufacturing, on the other hand, offers three Scout models: the aforementioned Olympic for short-bed half-ton trucks, the Kenai for long-bed trucks, and the Yoho for mid-size trucks. The Scout Olympic currently lists for $41,000, while the advertised price for the Tribe Trailer El Cap is $35,000.
One of the most impressive features of El Cap is its ample storage space. This allows owners to load up on camping gear and essentials without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Additionally, the convenient molly attachment areas provide an easy and secure way to attach any necessary equipment or accessories while at the same time reducing clutter.
The rooftop tent with interior access is another feature that will be a sure to be a hit with older children and teenagers looking for a better view and a little separation from parents. It also serves as a third sleeping area for two for an impressive total of six persons for the short-bed, half-ton camper.
Of course, the big selling point is El Cap’s incredibly low, 1,100-pound weight. This makes it easy to transport and maneuver, making it the perfect option for those who want to explore remote 4×4 locations or navigate narrow roads. Fortunately, the company did not have to sacrifice strength and durability for weight. El Cap’s construction features a steel frame overlayed with composite paneling inside and a slick fiberglass wrap on the outside. The combination of strength and good looks makes for a surprisingly low weight that even a lower-rated half-ton can handle.
“I have it on my 4WD F150 with the 2.7L [engine] and I have no issues at all. I have the short-bed, so I keep the tailgate open or I can take it off. We have thrown it in an F250 with the 6.5 bed and the tailgate on it can close-up completely. You still have your factory backup camera and that’s big, yet it’s still light enough that a real half-ton or a one-ton can obviously take it around comfortably,” Maister said.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery they say. No doubt, Tribe’s intends to grab a portion of the red hot overland truck camper market from Adventurer Manufacturing. However, the legalities of producing and marketing a camper practically identical in appearance to an original like the Scout Olympic, remains to be seen.
El Cap production units are being rolled out soon with several being delivered to dealers including Arizona’s Tom’s Camperland, the largest truck camper dealership in the country.
For more information, visit the Tribe Trailers website at www.tribetrailers.com.