The downturn in the economy and recreational vehicle industry do not mean RV manufacturers are sitting on their hands. To the contrary, they’re designing and producing some great new products and camping tie-ins that should catch the attention of RV enthusiasts everywhere.
According to an article authored by freelance writer Jeff Johnston, R.C. Willett Co.’s Northstar camper division has added a new twist on the slide-in truck camper theme. It’s called an Escape Pod, and it’s a truck camper that’s designed to fit a flatbed truck.
The concept is a pretty smart idea. For years, commercial and agricultural workers who drive flatbed-equipped pickups have been strapping truck campers, designed for conventional pickup beds, to their flatbeds for weekend recreational fun.
The Escape Pod was designed with a full body, lacking the “cutaways” needed for pickup bed use, and those extra square feet make a lot of difference when it comes to storage space and interior design flexibility.
This camper was designed for use on a midsize Chevy Colorado pickup with a 7-foot 5-inch flatbed, but other rigs will work. The camper weighs about 1,840 pounds dry. Fiberglass skin, wood framing and polystyrene insulation are standard.
“We debuted the 2009 Northstar Escape Pod last October and it was one of our most popular stories of the year,” said Gordon White, publisher of Truck Camper Magazine. “Having the weight of the camper distributed over an aluminum flatbed is a big part of what makes the Escape Pod and Colorado combination work. This is one truck and camper combination to watch for 2009 and an efficient alternative to all those expensive Class Bs.”
The Escape Pod floorplan has a side entry door and a pair of small dinette seats on the rear wall flanking a removable center table. Just ahead of the entry door is the wet bath with cassette toilet; the compact galley with 3.7 cubic-foot refrigerator is curbside; and forward is the usual 56 by 80-inch cabover bed.
Insulated dual-pane windows with built-in screens and shades are standard, and there’s a large picture window next to the dinette for scenery viewing pleasure. Extensive interior cabinetry provides ample storage space.
The base price for the Escape Pod is $20,125, not counting the truck, of course.
Adventurer 950B
The new Adventurer Manufacturing model 950B is a traditional-style camper with a new first-time-ever truck camper feature: bunk beds. The bunks are located in the streetside slideout, opposite the galley and wet bath, and provide comfortable sleeping accommodations for two.
An L-shaped sofa/dinette with a removable table is adjacent to the bunks and the cabover bed is flanked by storage cabinets streetside and a shirt wardrobe curbside.
Fully laminated construction with aluminum framing, polystyrene insulation and high-gloss Reflections fiberglass siding are standard.
Other significant features include the 6 cubic-foot refrigerator in the streetside aft corner, heated holding tanks, a tray sized for a pair of group-27 batteries, and fluid capacities including 38 gallons of freshwater and 31 and 18 gallons of gray and black water, respectively. It weighs in at about 2,900 pounds, so a hefty truck will be needed to haul this camper once it’s loaded and outfitted with options.
The 950B is base-priced at $24,920, or about $30,688 equipped with a list of popular options including thermopane windows, Happijac electric jacks, a skylight, air conditioner, rear awning and others.