In this review we look at the Juno 8.5 pickup camper from Outfitter Manufacturing in Longmont, Colorado. Thanks to RV Travel reader John S., I got to know Outfitter, a company that makes drop-in pickup campers in a variety of sizes.
All of Outfitter’s campers feature a pop-top design much like Four Wheel Campers or some Palomino pickup campers that we’ve looked at in the past. In fact, Outfitter actually has a comparison on their website between some of their models and comparable Palomino offerings. No surprise: Since it’s their website, the Outfitter rigs fare very well in these comparisons.
With more than 60 years of experience, Outfitter Manufacturing builds pop-up pickup campers in four different models. But the Juno was the one that captivated me because it’s so unusual as far as drop-in campers go. Essentially it’s designed for a more capable pickup and sports a side door and a pop-up roof, but there’s more.
The Juno features a drop-down back that offers more sleeping space. This model is available in 8.5-foot and 10-foot lengths. It and has all the advantages that pickup campers have, including the fact that you may still be able to tow. But it has the added benefit of having more decent sleeping options, if you wish to bring a friend or some youngsters along.
Construction of this model is of a composite foam core body and roof. The outside is a molded fiberglass rather than a laminate—which is sort of like a Casita or Escape trailer. This also adds rigid structure without being all that heavy—which is a plus.
The roof is a true composite foam core structure which is walkable but, again, very light. This is also less prone to damage than the typical rubber roofs that many companies favor. The roof is a crowned design so rain runs off.
The company claims that having a basement in their models lowers the center of gravity. The space is heated, so that helps with camping in colder climates.
Hot and cold
Outfitter was one of the first companies to implement a heated basement design, which is one of the reasons they do well in the cold. You would expect cold weather capability from a company based in Colorado which this reporter associates with cold winters.
There are also dual-pane windows. The insulation is a block foam product which does a pretty darned good job of insulating.
The interesting thing about the flexible section of these campers is that they’re a double layer so the air gap between inside and outside acts as insulation. The interior actually can stay comfortable.
Boondocking in the Juno
One of the many things that make drop-in pickup campers such a nifty way to get anywhere is that you can spec your camper and spec the rolling bits separately. So if your priority is towing your boat, you can get a pickup that’ll handle the camper and tow your boat. If you want to hit the back country, you can get an off-road capable pick ‘em up truck that facilitates that.
But the camper is another story. This one features a very sizable fresh water tank at 44 gallons—large for a pickup camper.
There is a porcelain toilet, a nice touch, although it is in a wet bath. But that’s pretty typical of a pickup camper.
You can get your Juno with a 12-volt/120-volt fridge or a three-way fridge for those who like to boondock.
As with many small RV companies, there are a lot of options with the Outfitter Juno. Things like different refrigerators, upholstery, fans, solar and much more. These smaller RV companies are really good at working with their customers to create something more specialized.
Outfitter has the benefit of a smaller company but is building something that truly does stand out in the pickup camper world. Combining their lightweight build methodology along with good insulation and many options, checking out an Outfitter is definitely worth doing for those interested in a drop-in pickup camper.
Another nifty thing about these pop-up campers, they do translate into a lower overall vehicle height which can make a difference in some situations. But despite the flexible section on the roof, insulation and comfort really aren’t compromised. Neat.
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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 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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