Tiny truck camper aimed at half-ton truck set

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By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Are you young and adventurous? How about, do you still feel young and adventurous? Then a Yakima, Washington, RV manufacturer is looking for you. Adventurer Manufacturing, which produces the truck camper lines Adventurer, Overlander, Scout and Eagle Cap, have a new line they’re releasing, and if the relaxing of restrictions comes about as they hope, they’ll have some of these new rigs to sell at the end of the month. Are they for you?

The Scout line, and particularly its fledgling model Olympic, are designed for mid-size through full-size pickups, both domestic and import. When we pitched the “young and adventurous” set, put away any thoughts of “glamping.” This is not the kind of truck camper that will be regularly staying on at an RV resort, but would much rather be found in America’s outback. That’s not to say you’ll be sleeping on the ground – far from it, and in some cases, far above it.

The Olympic is a relative lightweight, starting at just 1,133 pounds. The length of the unit in your truck box is a minuscule 71”, and with the center of gravity sitting back just 27” from the front wall, it should be a suitable load for just about any half-ton or bigger pickup. What contributes to the feather-weightedness of this TC is both in terms of the actual construction of the camper, and how Adventurer stocked it with comforts.

First, the company touts loud and clear that there is NO WOOD in the actual camper’s construction. Yes, cabinets do have some wood, but the body and soul of the rig is composite construction, centered on laminated polyurethane foam structural panels. Not only does this keep the Olympic light weight, but also contributes to a much warmer rig – there is no seepage of heat through aluminum or steel framing – because there is none.

scoutcampers.com

The second ingredient to the lightweight part of the Scout line: detachable (but still usable) user parts. Instead of a conventional built-in fresh water tank with 12-volt demand pump, a 4.9-gallon water reservoir hangs on the wall near the sink, and gravity feed does all the work. The kitchen stove can be toted outdoors and set up on a picnic table if you like.

Electricity is half-and-half. A 160-watt monocrystalline solar panel is decidedly built into the roof, but a removable 1045-watt-hour Yeti power station (includes a built-in inverter) lives in a cabinet beneath the refrigerator. The power station can be easily taken out of the rig for other adventures. That fridge is a Dometic refrigerator/freezer – small, removable and portable.

Adventurous? Calls of nature are up to you. Bring along your own porta-potty, or the appropriate other tools as required – you won’t find a bathroom in this rig, nor a shower, unless you count the spray nozzle above the galley sink. If it reaches far enough out the door, be adventurous with body cleaning, as they say.

Sleeping accommodations are still included. In the base-price rig, you can sleep inside the rig. Spend a few more bucks and you can add a roof-mounted aerie in the form of a collapsible tent-like sleeping area, accessed from inside via a roof hatch, or outside with a ladder. The accessory upstairs sleeping room has a tray-like floor, equipped with foam pads for comfort (again, we did say “adventurous”) that can be removed and the space used for storing adventure equipment – skis or boogie-boards for example.

If your adventures take you into the wilderness in solo-mode, you may want something with you to take the chill off those cold nights. In addition to the galley stove, the two standard-equipment five-pound LP cylinders can also fire either of the optional heat sources: a non-vented Wave catalytic heater for less than $500, or pop in a vented Dickinson Marine Newport P9000 propane fireplace for a bit less than $1,300.

Getting the Olympic on your truck is handled by corner jacks, which easily lift the rig up in the air for a quick back-under. But if your expedition plans call for keeping the camper on the truck for the duration, a cleverly designed quick-release system allows you to take the jacks off the mounted rig, and save yourself lugging around 120 pounds.

Adventurer Manufacturing happily reports it has been in business for 50 years. Not a bad record for an RV manufacturer, but we did wonder a bit about the warranty. Three years on the camper itself, and those appliances are all based on their individual warranties. But what if you need service? Take it to a dealer? Asked about this, Adventurer replied to one RV publication, “Our customers will have the full support of Adventurer Manufacturing to assist them in anything they need. We have great dealer partners in the field.” Does that mean that any Adventurer dealer will be happy to perform warranty service? The answer seems a bit vague to us – so if you are seriously considering a purchase, we’d advise pressing for and getting an answer in writing.

Being old truck camper enthusiasts from way back, we find this new entry into the field to be intriguing. For us, it might be a bit too adventurous at our stage of the game. But hey, it might just be what the young-at-heart are looking for. And at less than $20,000, it might be a bargain. Check out more here.

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