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RV Review: Palomino Rogue EA-2 Truck Camper

Today we’re looking at a Palomino Rogue EA-2 truck camper. This small, relatively lightweight and definitely affordable model might be compared to the Four Wheel Campers Hawk pop-up camper that I got to spend ten days in. I think I’ll forever use that experience to look at other campers—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

Unlike the Four Wheel Campers pop-up campers, Palomino is a part of the Forest River family of brands. It makes everything from these smaller pickup campers to large fifth wheels. 

Palomino Camping Trailer construction began in 1968 with the dream of Mr. Vern Landey. Landey had been a tent trailer distributor for several years when he felt he could design and produce better quality units than were currently being offered to the public. He began designing and producing Palomino pop-up tent trailers in a small building in Savage, Minnesota.

While a lot of folks see companies like Thor and Forest River as one big bunch, that’s actually not how things operate. Both of those large RV manufacturers encourage their various brands to compete with one another as well as with other brands outside the family. Then come the internal recognitions for things like customer satisfaction and quality. 

Palomino is one of the brands that has repeatedly earned high marks within Forest River. 

What truck can haul the Palomino Rogue

The Rogue series campers are designed to fit into smaller pickup trucks. They have the benefit of a top that is hinged at the front so that, when the vehicle is rolling, the overall height is much lower than if the roof were up all the time. 

For folks looking to use less fuel while going RVing, this is an accomplice in that sort of endeavor. In fact, Palomino’s own website advocates that these were designed for mid-sized trucks like the Tacoma, Ranger and Colorado. 

But any kind of towing or hauling should always be considered with all the information you can find. 

For example, looking at a 2022 Ford Ranger XTL with the 2.3 liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine (Ford calls it EcoBoost), the cargo carrying capacity is 1,905 pounds. That puts this camper well within that number. But remember that you are part of the payload. So if you weigh 200 pounds, then you have just reduced that number by that figure. 

This is actually no different than towing a trailer. The figure that most people look at is the lofty claims by vehicle manufacturers of how much can be towed. But the true limiting factor is how much can be carried. Your tow vehicle is carrying roughly 15 percent of the trailer on the back “bumper”—although, of course, many vehicles don’t have bumpers any longer. 

Camping in the Palomino Rogue

One of the things I learned about when using a pickup camper for almost two weeks was that water was almost a whole different story with that configuration. While it might seem that the eight-gallon water capacity of this camper is small, that actually isn’t such a bad thing. 

You truly do learn to be very water conscious. Plus, there is no gray tank. So whatever water you do use, you have to also accommodate on the other side. That is, if you use a gallon of water washing dishes, you have to deal with a gallon of water as gray water. 

What we found was a great solution to this was Dawn Powerwash. We’ve become a big fan of this product. 

Probably the biggest difference in this camper from the one I tried was the roof. This one is sort of a clam shell design with a power lift mechanism. That might seem really cool at first, but just pushing a roof up and having it open in a moment’s time is actually more convenient, to my way of thinking. 

Having the roof hinged at the front also translates into the fact that whoever’s in the bed at the hinged side of this is going to find the space a bit tight. Yes, there’s a skylight there to add a bit of space. But, really, that 62” x 72” bed will serve one person far better than it will two. 

There is the option to fold the dinette down into a bed, too. That was how we spent the time in the truck camper—one on the proper bed and one on the folded dinette. 

Interesting

One of the more interesting things about the Palomino Rogue is that it does come with a tankless water heater. That means, in theory, you have hot water until you run out of propane. The other obvious limiting factor is that eight-gallon water tank. But, if you’re hooked to pressurized water like at a park, you’ll be all set to have very long showers. 

That’s the plus. The minus is that those showers will be outdoors. Depending on who you are, you may attract admirers with this kind of behavior—or you may attract law enforcement. However, we recently got a SylvanSport tiny tent where we could have used the outdoor shower, in the right places, or even placed our Camco Travel Toilet. 

There isn’t a huge amount of storage in this space, as you might expect. But Palomino has some nifty cloth storage totes that can hang from the ceiling when the top is up. They really increase the amount of storage. 

The kitchen in this rig isn’t something you’re going to brag to your chef friends about. But it’s certainly serviceable with a two-burner propane stove top and a sink. 

Of course, there’s refrigeration in the form of a propane-electric bar-sized fridge and some counterspace. 

Boondocking and travel access

One of the things I noticed when camping in this style of vehicle is that you use far fewer resources. For example, while a single AGM battery might be the bare minimum for a travel trailer and nowhere near enough for a motorhome, it’s plenty for a pickup camper. You simply aren’t consuming as many resources.

The fridge is propane-electric. You’re not going through a lot of water so the pump barely runs at all. Further, since the space is smaller, the heater also doesn’t have to work as hard. It’s a neat way to just look at the world we live in as a much larger example of the same thing.

In this camper you really can’t use the dinette nor the bed with the top down. You could reach in to get something out of the fridge, but that’s about it.

However, raising the roof doesn’t increase the foot print of this rig. So you can power it up even in a parking lot or at a rest stop and still remain comfortably within a single parking space.

In summary

Where I live presently, very close to Clear Lake in Northern California’s wine country, there are an absolute ton of pickup campers roaming around. These are predominantly owned by fishing enthusiasts and, often, the biggest appeal of a pickup camper is the fact that you can still tow if you have the right pickup. 

We’re considering getting a pickup camper

They’re also very affordable but, of course, creature comforts are minimized when the amount of space you have shrinks down. But we also are considering getting a pickup camper to put on our pickup so that we have that when we want a quick getaway. The trailer can stay where it is and we can get away for a day or two. 

This is like George Carlin’s famous comedy routine, A Place For My Stuff. This would be a small place, then the trailer is a larger place, and our home is where the stuff we barely ever touch lives while we’re not there. 

I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.

Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong 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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Fred
2 months ago

Too expensive. I could have build it myself for 5k easily. I have done it 4 times. I should video and document everything but next interested client, I will video everything.

Lindalee
2 months ago

Dawn Powerwash is a GREAT product! You can make it at home too! The “recipe” was here on RVTravel.com and it works as well as the “real” Dawn! Buy one bottle (kinda expensive) and then make your own after that! SMART!

Mike
2 months ago

When one takes the “outdoor” shower, even within an enclosure, where does the water and junk from your body go? Is there a grey tank or some other method of containing and disposing of the waste?

Spike
2 months ago

I would think a 72″ bed is going to be an issue for many. Lots of guys are 6′ or taller, so this would require them to sleep diagonally to fit. Even if slightly under 6′, it would be very tight.

Also, I don’t see any advantage to a hinged front vs the full popup top. Certainly none with the top down in travel and a big negative when setup.

Not a lot for 16 grand.

Last edited 2 months ago by Spike
Steve
2 months ago

I agree that, in a mid-size truck, this camper + people = a potentially dangerous overload. Eg., the payload capacity of the new Toyota Tacoma is only 1440#. With just two adults, no children or dog, and a little backseat gear, the payload capacity would be exceeded with a 1224# camper. And that leaves no payload capacity for the weight of even a lightweight boat trailer tongue. So, I would be very careful putting this camper, a mid-size truck, and any trailer together at one time. I personally wouldn’t recommend towing any trailer + carrying this camper on anything smaller than an F-150 or equivalent Ram or Chevy/GMC half-ton with a towing package. At least you could carry a couple of kids or the German Shepherd with a half-ton!

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