What in the world is happening in the Pacific Northwest? Aside from great coffee and great beer and people pumping your fuel for you, there also seems to be a flood of interesting RVs coming out of the area. As if there weren’t enough already, I caught wind of another company that plans to make the scene with a really interesting concept.
Hower Built is a startup company in Bend, Oregon, that promises a new pop-up camper that’s a good match for the Toyota Tacoma pickup, for example.
The Hower Built Base Camp is a 400-pound pop-top truck camper. The power top adds just a few inches to the height of the truck when it’s lowered but offers a full 6’ 5” of interior height when the top is up.
The lift mechanism can lift an additional 300 pounds
The lift mechanism is interesting in that it is said to be capable of lifting up to an additional 300 pounds. So, if you put kayaks or bicycles or even 64 shovels on the roof of the camper, the scissor lift mechanism will still be able to lift it. With an unladen weight of just 400 pounds, this camper could literally make sense in a mid-sized pickup like the Toyota Tacoma or Ford Ranger, for example.
At a starting price of just $14,000, the Base Camp series features a three-inch mattress over the cab. It sits in a six-inch cavity, so you likely could leave your bedding in place. That isn’t true of all folding campers.
The overall structure is built using custom-designed aluminum rails. That allows the canvas and other things to fit in without having to add more rails or unnecessary fasteners. The people who make Hower Built campers actually have been testing the pop-up camper. They have an estimated 40,000 miles on the test unit.
The truck they’ve been testing with has had to make return trips to the dealership to remedy things that happened in off-road journeys. But the camper has remained fully intact.
Hower Built Base Camp is a blank canvas for you to customize
There is not a lot inside this camper. It’s described as more of a blank canvas or empty shell to which you add your own style and needs. There is no water system whatsoever. But there is a 100-amp-hour lithium battery that is charged by the truck. It powers the lighting and 12-volt charging sockets. Incidentally, the lighting itself is dimmable, which is a good feature.
The current canvas section of the top is just a single layer. But a component from The Last US Bag Company in Vancouver, Washington, pulls the canvas in as the top is lowered eliminating pinching. However, the people from Hower Built say that a multi-layer canvas section is currently being evaluated. It may replace the single-layer model or be offered as an upgrade.
Add just a few items for a happy camper
The idea of a blank canvas will either intrigue you or scare you, based on what you think you should have in any RV. I can see adding a few lawn chairs and powering a 12-volt cooler with that fat battery pack. Then add a portable solar panel and a porta potty and I’d be a very happy camper.
But that’s not for everybody. However, that’s one of the beautiful things about these RV reviews – there are some incredible, fully equipped RVs out there. And then there are some that allow you to facilitate the kind of adventure where you have to return to the dealership to fix the things you did on your last trip into the woods.
I do not have a chart for this model as final details are still being ironed out.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
These RV reviews and previews 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.
Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!