RV review: Lance 975 truck camper

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By Tony Barthel
At last year’s Quartzsite RV show I got to spend time with Janine Pettit, of Girl Camper, who was using a Lance truck camper on an F-150 to test out for the event. Honestly, I had never really thought about truck campers much even though they’ve been in my circle most of my life. 

Lance 975 truck camper floor planHere on the West Coast one of the big dogs in the truck camper market has been Lance. In fact, they’ve been building this configuration since 1965. In those years, they have earned a reputation for building a very high-quality product and some of their manufacturing processes are really a step above, including the way they wire their campers. One of the things Janine demonstrated was the fact that you can simply leave the pickup camper in place and then head out in a pickup truck. The more I looked, the more I was intrigued. We spent a good amount of time hanging out in the camper talking about podcasting and RVing. It was pretty cool. 

So I looked at Lance’s website and found a model that really intrigues me – the Lance 975. This is a model that checks a lot of boxes – it’s got a dry bath, features a large slide room on the driver side, a full-sized refrigerator, dinette, and a decent amount of cabinet and drawer space. Given all that, though, it isn’t ridiculously heavy. It weighs under 4,000 lbs. 

In fact, this model is available with a propane generator and solar along with storage for two batteries. 

There is a remote-controlled lift mechanism so you can lift the camper right off the back of the truck. In addition, Lance products are really well-suited to camping in a variety of weather situations – these aren’t just fair-weather machines. 

Lance 975 kitchenIf you’re thinking you have to give up comfort features if you choose a truck camper, that’s just not the case with these. True, the entire space has to fit into a pickup bed, and this one is designed specifically for long-bed trucks. That means you’re not going to find recliners in them, but there is still much more space and many more features than you might guess. 

Part of the reason Lance has earned such a reputation for quality is their vacuum-bonded aluminum-framed walls with an Azdel waterproof substrate. Even the floor and roof in these are laminated construction with block foam insulation, and that roof is a one-piece design. 

Speaking of Quartzsite, I also parked next to another Lance and thought it was slick that they had ordered theirs with the optional awning at the back to go with the one at the side. Lance uses Carefree awnings that don’t have the head-whacking arms (don’t ask how I know this). 

As mentioned in my review of Lance’s 2075 travel trailer, I also appreciate that you can get the interiors in colors other than brown, and the same blue upholstery I was in love with on that model is available here as well. 

While lots of folks appreciate smaller trailers for their maneuverability, it’s tough to be an all-in-one vehicle – and when the RV portion is easily removable, it makes a great deal of sense. Considering that the full-sized pickup is the most popular vehicle in America by far, having a full-sized truck means maintenance and repairs are also easily accomplished – another advantage. 

Lance 975 SpecificationsPlus the 975 has as much or more water and wastewater capacity than many of the smaller travel trailers – at 45 gallons of fresh water and 30 each of gray and black water holding. 

While I suspect that a lot of people haven’t even considered a pickup camper, this may actually be a configuration that could be the best solution in some cases, especially those for whom backing a trailer is a huge concern. With Lance’s reputation for quality and the very usable features in the 975, it bears consideration as a very logical alternative to a travel trailer or even a smaller motorhome. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with my own research and represent the most accurate information and opinion at the time of writing. Your experience is always encouraged.

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Julie ODair
3 months ago

Could you confirm this truck camper is on an F150!?!? We had a 2005 820 on a Ford F-250 with airbags and went up to a F350 and it still didn’t seem like it was enough truck… !!

Craig
6 months ago

A couple of comments, in all of the places I have camped at nationwide, I have rarely found a place that allows you to drop your camper and drive the truck away. Many specifically state it’s not allowed. Also, if it’s not it’s own vehicle, what type of insurance will cover this when it’s off of the truck?

Scott R. Ellis
6 months ago
Reply to  Craig

Homeowner’s, if you’ve got it, I believe.

Bill Klein
6 months ago
Reply to  Craig

I have a separate policy with Progressive.

Leslie Berg
6 months ago

Those are tempting considerations. Wonder how that combo handles on the road, safety- wise?

Scott R. Ellis
6 months ago
Reply to  Leslie Berg

That depends entirely on whether there’s enough truck under a given camper. If there is, they handle wonderfully.

Karen Willis
6 months ago

Thanks for reviewing a truck camper!

Thomas D
6 months ago

Nice but, I’m an old man
To use the potty you must open the slide. Is it really fast?
Comments about a $50k truck? In what fantasy world is that in. A F450 Or bigger is going to be necessary I’m sure.

Dana
6 months ago
Reply to  Thomas D

We have the lance 1065 i think. It has 2 slides and our f350 4×4 pulls it with no trouble. And its not a dually. We wont go any other way. We camp at sites with full hook ups or out in the desert for a week with the water we have.

Scott R. Ellis
6 months ago

As someone who is on our sixth RV and second truck camper, let me add a couple of thoughts. First, while 4000 pounds might not be “ridiculously heavy,” it’s heavy enough that by the time you add a realistic 1000 pounds for water, fuel, food, clothes, tools, etc, you are well into one-ton-plus dual-wheeled pickups Camper dealers will tell you otherwise, of course. And yes, there are various aftermarket suspension modifications that will make a given truck handle a load more comfortably, but they do not change the legal calculations of GVWRs.

An upside not mentioned in the review: with the possible exception of some van conversions, there is no more capable camper on fair to very poor roads than a truck camper. Of course, this is less true with larger campers (heavier, longer overhangs), but it is something one might consider. We regularly find great empty camping spots because we can drive far beyond the end of the pavement.

I’m delighted to see this review here on RV Travel!

Last edited 6 months ago by Scott R. Ellis
Tom B
6 months ago

Wow! I never thought of that as a possible alternative to a Class C! Kinda makes me wish I had waited the two years….but I’m happy I got mine…

DEAN W BROWN
6 months ago

Wonder why these reviews never mention the cost – in this case $44,000 basic price. By the time you add a LARGE new pickup with all the bells and whistles for $50,000 PLUS you will be looking at $100,000 and UP! Not exactly a budget deal?

John Lockhart
6 months ago
Reply to  DEAN W BROWN

Something to consider; a pickup camper is not a vehicle, so it doesn’t come under your state vehicle laws. No license, etc. Essentially it is cargo in your truck. There are longtime Lance dealers in states without sales tax for this very reason. These new floorplans with the dry bath have opened up a new market.

Scott R. Ellis
6 months ago
Reply to  John Lockhart

Also, that $50k truck (unlike the similar proportion of the cost of your motor home) is available for separate use as a, uhm, truck.

Frank
6 months ago
Reply to  John Lockhart

Yes more reason’s to own one, no sales tax if bought a used unit from a private party, not licence plates, No DMV fees, no issue for theft, per Truck Camper mag there has never been a theft of a pick up camper. We have used 4 over a period of 9 years going to Az for 3 months in winter. Can tow the RZR and park anywhere even while towing the RZR. This last year WE had the big mama, the 1172 with the 2nd slide out the back and was great to have the sofa that reclined. It has everything needed all in the back of a pickup. BUT the issue is why are they so expensive???

John Boerger
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank

They do cost more, per sq. ft., than any towable. But, because they have no running gear (axles, brakes, tires) maintenance costs are lower and resale prices are (generally) higher than any towable. Compared to a class C, I can keep my rig and upgrade my truck if I want – or vice versa. I can always sell my truck quickly and get a reasonable price. Selling a used “C” and getting a good price…