By Tony Barthel
I have spoken to more than a few people who were in the process of RV shopping (which is so many of us nowadays!) and when they describe what they want I suggest a truck camper. The response is almost universally negative, and I don’t understand this.
Truck campers have a lot of advantages. You still have your pickup, you can tow, you can leave the camper while you adventure out for the day, you can choose the pickup that suits your style of adventure including serious four-wheel-drive options. And just about everybody but the local guy at the 7-Eleven can work on a pickup. Actually, perhaps the local guy at the 7-Eleven might even be able to wrench on it.
But the people whom I have spoken with have said truck campers aren’t very nice inside or don’t offer a lot of space. To that, I counter with the Lance 1172 Truck Camper.
Lance 1172 Truck Camper
The 1172 is the largest truck camper Lance makes, weighing in at more than two tons (4,174 pounds) and being longer than my own travel trailer at 20’ 4”. As such, this is absolutely not the pickup camper for the person who bought a half-ton truck and is looking for adventure. In fact, even Lance recommends a one-ton truck with duallies being the optimum.
The company does make much smaller campers, including models specifically suited to half-ton trucks. So, if you want a truck camper and that’s what you’re driving, there are models for you. This just isn’t that one.
But, in exchange for requiring the big daddy rabbit pickup, you get two slides and a surprising amount of interior space. There’s also a dry bath. I’ve found that the wet bath is one of the things people like least about many truck campers. I fully respect that. A wet bath is a deal-breaker as I shop for a new travel trailer and want to keep things small.
What’s inside the Lance1172 Truck Camper
Since this is larger outside than most truck campers, that means there’s more inside as well. Obviously.
First of all, you should know that you are not getting in with the slides in. At all. The two slides are positioned at the back of the camper and on the road side of the camper. That means, when the back slide is in, you won’t be. Nope, that’s the deal.
It’s unusual in that you enter on the camp side of this unit. In most cases, you enter truck campers at the back rather than on the side.
There’s a pantry immediately as you enter on the left. The pantry is a slide-out model with hanging metal baskets that you can adjust as needed.
The couch is a magical model
The next thing is a couch, which is a pretty magical model in that it folds flat to become a bed but also has footrests on either side which flip up, so it’s rather recliner-esque. You can also flip it up to find storage underneath. In front of the couch is a cup and there’s a small table on a leg that can be used here. I wish it were a Lagun table, but it’s not.
In fact, for a truck camper, this has a relatively good amount of storage.
On the subject of the couch – I love, love, love that Lance offers a choice of upholstery colors that includes sort of a rust and a blue. I love clean, modern interiors. But the modern trend of painting everything some boring shade of gray is just that. Boring. Hooray for rust (Lance calls it Java) and blue upholstery! But if you watch home improvement TV shows, you can also get gray.
The galley and dinette
To your right on the camp side of the Lance 1172 Truck Camper is the galley which consists of a three-burner stove atop a 17” oven. There’s a sink on an “L” of the kitchen. Cabinets and drawers are all around these appliances, including a drawer under the stove for your utensils.
Across from the galley is the dinette, which makes into a bed. There are two large drawers here, too – one under each bench of the dinette.
If you’re really wanting to maximize the number of folks who can sleep in the Lance 1172 Truck Camper, there’s even an optional bed that drops down over the dinette. This is intended for the wee ones and is capable of holding 100 pounds. There’s safety netting all around this so those tiny travelers don’t roll out of bed.
Beyond the dinette on the road side is a gas-electric absorption-style refrigerator.
The bathroom in the Lance 1172 Truck Camper
Opposite the dinette is the bathroom. It’s not bad at all, especially for a truck camper. Lance has a shower curtain rod with multiple hinge points that allow the shower space to expand into the bathroom more, or move into the shower to open the bathroom up more. This really helps the size of the shower. It also makes the bathroom feel larger when you’re not in the shower.
Being a truck camper, there’s really only one logical place for the main sleeping area – and that’s over the cab.
That sleeping area is shared with a hanging closet on the camp side and, beyond that, a storage bin on either side of the bed.
Few obvious electrical outlets in the Lance 1172
One thing that struck me was how few electrical outlets there were around the Lance 1172. Lance does offer additional electrical outlets at the dinette as an option, but I’m hoping to get clarification about why there are so few. It’s so common to have electrical and USB outlets by the bed and I didn’t see any. But that doesn’t mean they’re not there. That’s one of the disadvantages of not being able to crawl around inside these for these reviews.
For those who might want to watch TV while camping, there is one on the wall of the bathroom on a swiveling arm. You can swivel this so you can see it from that couch with the kick-up foot rests, from the dinette or from the bed.
As mentioned, one of the better things about a truck camper is that you can drop it off while you’re out adventuring for the day, assuming the RV park permits this. There are, indeed, some who prohibit dropping off truck campers. I was surprised to learn this.
On the camp side outside is an awning. This is a Carefree model that incorporates a wind sensor. It also doesn’t have arms down the side of the camper.
Lance offers a number of options and one of those is an Onan 2500-watt propane-fired generator, which would draw from the two included 30-pound propane tanks. Other options include a 10,000 BTU low-profile air conditioner, high-performance roof air vent fan, one or two solar panels on the roof and an upgrade to lithium batteries.
Lance has earned quite a reputation as a quality RV company. While I see people on social media saying that RVs are poorly made, I would put Lance in a top-five classification with Airstream, Rockwood-Flagstaff, Safari Condo and Holiday House. Lance is the only manufacturer of truck campers in the lot.
But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. For example, there are two slides, as mentioned. Lance offers an app and switches, but that app only controls one of the two slide rooms. Furthermore the buttons, located inside the door, that operate the slide rooms are different styles of buttons. Sure, those slide mechanisms come from two different suppliers and I understand that. But how tough is it to order some extra buttons so they’re the same button? I know it’s a minor point but, at this price point, aesthetics are important.
Also, Lance is using the Dometic thermostat. I grew to really dislike these things when I was handling warranties. But it’s easy enough for an owner to change out.
Lance is also known for their insulation and cold-weather camping and the Lance 1172 is no exception. The windows are double-paned. The overall insulation is what Lance uses as a factor in saying this is a four-season camper.
If you have access to a larger truck, this larger truck camper may bring more people into the fold of truck campers. With as much space as there is inside, plus reasonably large holding tanks, this could be a great way to enjoy traveling.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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