Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp., Lancaster, Calif., will begin production in April of an new all-aluminum truck camper that will provide 30% more floorspace than previous models of the same length and, perhaps, help revive a product category that has seen shipments decline in recent years.
The key to developing the new Lance Max line, according to Norm Jacobsen, director of sales and marketing, was raising the floor above the truck wheel wells and centrally locating utility tanks below to fit in the truck bed with a coach that is 3 inches wider than the traditional cabin, and the 5 inches higher overall.
“It is a reinvention of the product,” Jacobsen said. “We started from scratch in designing the Lancer Max. We have created our own method of doing the aluminum framing, and we have eliminated many of the issues that consumers have, not just with us, but with every type of RV – convenience getting to the utilities, leaking and condensation.”
The rear-kitchen Lance Max, unveiled to a selective audience at the Louisville Show in December, initially will be available for the 2005 model year in four or five 8- to 11-foot floorplans, Jacobsen said.
The units will be equipped standard with full-wall slideout rooms containing dinettes and refrigerators, plus custom-molded countertops with built-in sinks, sun roofs, larger side windows, rigid foam insulation and heated holding tanks and storage compartments.
Lance Max will feature a roof made of thermal plastic olefin, a material that resists discoloration and mildew and has been in wide use in the marine industry since 1994.
“From the floorplan perspective, we have much more flexibility than we had before,” Jacobsen said. “Every traditional camper has a bathroom in the back lefthand corner because you had to have the plumbing hang over the back. We can move the bathroom anywhere.”
Jacobsen said the company expects to covert its other products – Lance, Lance Slideout and Lance Lite truck campers – to all-aluminum construction by the 2006 model year.
“There is nothing wrong with wood,” said Jacobsen, “but in the consumer’s mind, aluminum is better.”