by Lazelle Jones - Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Many sportsmen who escape to favorite places to pursue their passion find at the end of the day there is one time-tested type of base camp that after decades of popularity continues to be enjoyed and improved upon: the truck camper. After all, it yields functionality, utility and creature comforts. Equally noteworthy are recent enhancements in construction and livability. As each new generation discovers life in the backwoods, those who for years have embraced this lifestyle are first to point out that the state-of-the-art truck campers built today make it a must to take a close look at this camping option.
Many of today’s truck campers are designed specifically to be hauled by lightweight, medium-duty pickup trucks—specifically, 1500-size pickups with cargo-carrying capacities of 1,400-2,000 pounds. A company called ALP out of Yakima, Wash., builds the Adventurer line, nine models that include three units that match 1,400- to 1,750-pound (dry weight of the camper) hauling specs. These three truck campers are the 80SK, 80GS, and the 80RB; they range in price from $14,000-$18,000.
When it comes to the residential comforts that await a hunter after a day in a treestand or a blind, or after miles of walking the bush, these three models do not shortchange. All three can use as their platform a short-, standard- or a long-bed pickup truck. In fact, of the nine truck camper models Adventure LP designs and builds, only two require the platform provided by a long-bed truck. All but one of the nine is outfitted with fresh/gray/waste holding tanks, and most feature slide-out rooms. Of the three lightweight models previewed here, one includes a slide-out galley.
The lightest of the three is the 80SK. It is the only model not equipped with gray- or wastewater holding tanks. However, there is a cabinet for stowing a chemical toilet. The 80SK weighs 1,382 pounds. That’s a very stingy weight for a truck camper, which in and of itself will grab the attention of many truck owners. It sleeps four, two in the cab-over area and two on the convertible dinette. The freshwater tank holds 15 gallons; another 4 gallons of freshwater are held in the LPG-fueled water heater. Other LPG-fueled systems include the two-burner cook-top/oven, two-way DC/LPG 4-cubic-foot refrigerator and a 16,000-BTU forced-air furnace. The galley features a hot/cold water faucet and a stack of three glide-out drawers. Between the dinette and the (east/west-facing) cab-over queen bed is a wardrobe. Dark tinted windows are standard. Base price is $14,406. Outfitted with all the options, the suggested retail price for the 80SK is $15,753.
The 80GS Adventurer has a dry weight of 1,506 pounds (also stingy). It includes a slide-out room in the galley area and a wet bath with a handheld shower and a marine-style toilet. With its queen bed in the cab-over area and mid-unit dinette/lounge that turns into sleeping space, the 80GS comfortably sleeps four. Holding tank capacities (fresh, gray and waste) are 15, 6 and 6 gallons, respectively. The water heater holds an additional 4 gallons of freshwater. The heating system features a 16,000-BTU forced-air furnace. The galley houses a two-burner cook-top, 4-cubic-foot DC/LPG refrigerator, sink and a stack of three roll-out drawers. The 80GS includes a three-quarters wardrobe. Base price is $17,073. Fully optioned, the suggested retail price is $18,420.
The 80RB is brand new for 2014. It weighs 1,720 pounds dry, and features a taller interior than the GS or SK (805/8 inches vs. 78 inches). Exterior height is 2 inches higher (97 inches with roof air conditioner) than the SG and SK. Exterior length is 2 feet 2 inches longer than the SK and GS. Width of the 80RB is also greater (90 inches vs. 84). It comes with a larger dinette that converts into a bed that sleeps two. The rear corner wet bath includes a shower, sink and a freshwater foot-flush toilet. The L-shaped galley includes a two-burner cook-top with power vent/hood, round sink, two stacked, roll-out drawers and one large pull-out drawer for pots and pans. The 80RB comes equipped with a 16,000-BTU forced-air furnace.
Construction on all models includes the use of composite fiberglass walls laminated to either welded aluminum-tube or wood framing. Between the walls lies closed-cell block foam insulation. Tinted safety glass radius windows are standard on most models. Heated enclosed holding-tank areas and a roof ladder are standard on most models, as well. Exterior access to storage compartments is a welcome sight. Fully framed composite panel one-piece roofs are load-bearing.
Available options (depending on the model) include an air conditioner, a Camper Caddy, Fantastic fan, jacks pre-wired for electric hookups, a microwave, New Gen Happijac electric jacks with wireless remote, a rear carefree Truckin-Awn awning, roof ladder, four-step scissor step, outside shower and AM/FM/CD/DVD Bluetooth stereo with external speakers.
For additional information and dealer locations near you visit amlrv.com.
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