When it comes to RV shows and truck campers, nothing beats the Overland Expo West in Flagstaff. Sure, you can find a handful of truck campers at the Elkhart RV Show and perhaps six or seven at the RV Supershow in Orlando, but when it comes to truck campers neither show compares to the Overland Expo West. At the 2022 show we counted over two dozen truck campers with a variety of traditional slide-ins, flatbeds, truck toppers, and chassis-mounted rigs on display. You’ll never see this kind of variety at one of the big RV shows. Compared to the big boys, who churn out hundreds or thousands of RV a year, truck campers are a niche market, small potatoes.
It’s a tradition here at Truck Camper Adventure to inspect and rank the best truck camper rigs at the Overland Expo West. Using a grading formula based on presentation, functionality, and cost, it was difficult for Truck Camper Adventure editors to choose a winner based on the sheer number of entries. Still, several campers rose to the top. Ranked in order, here are the best truck camper rigs that we saw at the 2022 Overland Expo West.
The Force was strong with Michael Hoyt when he decided to build the “Stormtrooper.” Michael wanted his dream rig to “drive like a Prius on pavement, a rock crawler off, and camp like a fifth wheel with multiple slide-outs.” Since a rig with all of those qualities doesn’t exist, the Stormtrooper is what he came up with instead. Michael opted to go with a Ford F350 chassis, a Hallmark Guanella, and a custom Bowen truck bed. Hallmark’s quality is legendary and the Guanella is one of the best. The Guanella’s 8-foot floorplan features an east-west bed, a cassette toilet, safety glass windows, a large dinette, and a Truma Vario furnace. Power is provided by two 6 volt AGM batteries, a Victron 215 watt solar system, a Progressive Dynamics 60 amp converter-charger and a Redarc 50 amp DC to DC charger. Even though the F350 chassis was built for a short box, Michael decided to outfit his rig with a longer, 8-foot Bowen truck bed that provides loads of additional storage, while at the same time offering better off-road performance with the shorter wheel base. The Hallmark Guanella lists for $43,995.
Arnold Baker, Overland Explorer Vehicles Director of Marketing, was proud to show us the new Camp-FX and we don’t blame him. We love this build by Mario Donovan and AT Overland. Like all OEV campers, the Camp-FX features proprietary composite walls, bolstered with thick aluminum extrusions for extra strength and off-road durability. The 6-foot 7.5-inch floorplan features a king-size bed, a 20 gallon fresh water holding tank, a cassette toilet, a 105 amp hour LiFePO4 battery with a battery heater, a portable DC compressor refrigerator, and a Truma Combi water heater and furnace. We’re also big fans of the Camp-FX’s 200 watt solar power system, Redarc Manager 30, and Redarc 50 amp DC to DC charger to keep the lithium battery charged. Better yet, the rugged camper weighs only 1,463 pounds dry. The Camp-FX shown here is mounted on a 2014 Ram 2500 AEV Prospector XL, outfitted with an 8-foot OEV Aluma Tray with spare tire enclosure, and OEV Molle panels. The Camp-FX lists for $61,000.
Nimbl Vehicles upped the game in a major way for the 2022 show season by building this drool-worthy Ford F550 sporting size-41 tires. You’ve gotta love this rig. With its updated carbon fiber reinforced monocoque clam-shell structure and hydraulic roof lift, the Nimbl Evolution offers everything one would need to camp comfortably off-grid, including an east-west queen-size bed with under-bed storage, a large kitchen, a wet-bath, and a large dinette. Customers can opt for a robust electrical system that offers an impressive 760 watts of solar, 1,080 amp hours of Battle Born lithium batteries, and a 3,000 watt inverter with a transfer relay. Additional amenities include an 80-gallon fresh water holding tank, a 24-gallon grey water waste tank, a water filtration system, Arctic Tern windows, and a Dometic RTX-2000 DC air conditioner that pulls only 19 amps. Typically mounted on a “Nimble” Ford F350 chassis with the 7.3L V8 “Godzilla” gasoline engine, the Nimbl Vehicles Evolution lists for $267,000 for both the camper and flatbed, or $337,000 for everything including the chassis.
Bob Wohlers, famed instructor at the Off-Road Safety Academy, told us if he was in the market for another truck camper this is the camper he would get. This is what we would buy too. Mounted on a 9-foot OEV HD Aluma Tray and built by our friends at AT Overland, the Aterra XL is an overlander’s dream with its sloped top and angular profile. It weighs a minuscule 1,100 pounds and offers the aerodynamic shape and rugged construction that any off-road enthusiast would appreciate. The flatbed camper comes with a 20-pound propane tank, a 30 gallon fresh water holding tank, an electric Wrappon waterless toilet, inside and outside showers, a 105 amp hour lithium battery, a 400 watt solar power system, and a National Luna 40 amp DC to DC charger with an integrated MPPT solar charge controller. You’ll also find a Truma Vario furnace and a AquaGo on-demand water heater, Arctic Tern windows, doors, and roof hatches, a MaxxAir Dome Fan, and a National Luna 90L DC refrigerator-freezer. The AT Overland Aterra XL lists for $69,000.
Loki Basecamp founder and CEO, Pierre-Mathieu Roy, was proud to show us the Icarus and now we know why. The Icarus is the latest offering by Loki Basecamp, and in our opinion, it’s the best. Yes, we were blown away by the Falcon when it debuted, but we like the aerodynamic hull, orange accents, and the space-age interior of the Icarus even more. We also like the Icarus’ massive 600 amp hour lithium battery bank, the 2,000 watt inverter, the built-in air compressor, and the Autoclima 12 volt air conditioner. The only thing we don’t like is the puny 15 gallon fresh water holding tank, but, hey, you can’t get everything in a camper of this size. Shown here mounted on a Ford F350 long-bed truck, this Icarus is ready to rock and roll. The truck is outfitted with a BDS 2.5-inch lift, Falken Wildpeak AT3W size-35 tires, a Warn Ascent HD bumper and winch, and a Hellwig Big Wig sway bar. Built for full-size pickups only: the Loki Basecamp Icarus 6 for short-bed pickup trucks with 6-foot bed lengths and the Icarus 8 for long-bed pickup trucks. Lists for $69,000.
Yes, the EarthRoamer LTi lists for a staggering $695,000, yet this incredible rig still made the cut. Seriously, who wouldn’t like having this green machine and its 1,100 amp hour lithium battery bank, 100 gallon fresh water holding tank, and 990 watt solar power system? Truth is we all would. With the EarthRoamer, of course, it all starts with the Ford F550 Super-Duty chassis sporting Goodyear size-43 tires, bead-lock wheels, and an adjustable Kelderman air ride suspension. This chassis, which comes in Ford’s premium Lariat interior trim package, offers a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 19,500 pounds. The EarthRoamer needs this hefty rating because everything within the carbon fiber camper is big and heavy, including Alder cabinetry, granite counter tops, a large wet bath with Teak accents, a swanky kitchen with an 8 cubic foot DC refrigerator and a True Induction cooktop, and a king-size bed. It’s also equipped with diesel heating systems, an auxiliary 50 gallon diesel tank, and a GOST security system to protect this significant investment.
SuperTramp. What a great name for a truck camper company. Fortunately, the name lives up to the camper. The Flagship 6.5 is SuperTramp’s one and only model, but that’s okay. This little camper is great. Indeed, the composite fiberglass construction, 200 watt solar power system, and Truma Combi make the SuperTramp Flagship 6.5 hard not to like. The 1,400-pound camper is shown mounted on a 2019 Ford F150 outfitted with Hellwig Big Wig air bags and size-35 tires. Few campers of this size feature the Truma Combi and that’s too bad. It’s a great little unit that saves on weight and saves on space. Inside, you’ll find two 100 amp hour lithium batteries, a 1,500 watt inverter, a 25 gallon fresh water holding tank, two 5 gallon grey water holding tanks, two 10-pound propane tanks, and a DC to DC charger. It’s also equipped with a 200 watt solar power system, interior and exterior showers, Arctic Tern windows, an Isotherm 65L DC compressor refrigerator, a pull-out exterior stove, and a porta pottie. Lists for $42,000.
Who wouldn’t like a dark blue rig with bronze accents? If the EarthRoamer LTi’s $695,000 price tag is a little too rich for your blood, the Elenor might be a better fit. Like the EarthRoamer, it all starts with the Ford F550 chassis with a 203-inch wheel base and a 4:88 rear axle. Unlike the EarthRoamer, however, Adrenalin Industries opted to go with Continental MPT-81 41-inch tires, a Buckstop bumper, and a Liquid Springs suspension for superior off-road performance. Inside the Elenor’s modern, aluminum camper, you’ll enjoy R15 insulation, a king-size cabover mattress, a dinette that folds into a queen-size bed, a 10 cubic foot DC refrigerator, a True Induction cooktop, Tern Overland windows, 65 gallons of fresh water, and a large dry bath with a cassette toilet. The Elenor’s electrical system is robust too with a massive 1,100 solar power system, two Expion360 360 amp hour lithium cube batteries, a 3,000 watt inverter-charger, a 60 DC to DC charger, and a Cruisin Comfort 8,000 BTU DC air conditioner. Lists for $450,000.
Another drool-worthy rig, the EarthCruiser Terranova offers the quality and rugged, good looks that we’ve come to expect from our friends at EarthCruiser. Unlike the boxy Fuso used on the EarthCruiser EXP, however, this rig features a much better-looking Ford F350 chassis. Within the Terranova’s spacious interior you’ll find a huge, horseshoe-shaped dinette (with integrated storage), a queen-size cabover bed, and a large kitchen with a premium one-piece countertop and stainless steel sink, an induction cooktop, and an Isotherm 4.2 cubic foot DC compressor refrigerator. It also comes with a water purification system, an 8,000 BTU DC air conditioner, and a walkthrough wet-bath featuring a stainless steel sink, shower, and Thetford 5-gallon cassette toilet. Off-grid power is provided by a beefy 400 amp hour lithium battery system and a 432 watt solar power system. Wrapped in a very cool topographical wrap, the Terranova lists for $325,000 with financing available.
Yes, we know but, hey, we think the Bundutec Roadrunner is worthy to be included too. We love this rig. The Roadrunner is mounted on a 2013 Ram 3500 outfitted with an aluminum Buckstop bumper, Scheel-Mann orthopedic seats, and a brand-new SherpTek aluminum truck bed. Sure, the rig would look better with size-37 tires or larger, but performance off-road would be hindered with this hard-side. Within the Roadrunner, you’ll find all of the amenities including a large wet-bath with clothes hamper, a Truma Aventa air conditioner, a Truma Combi Eco Plus water heater-furnace, a 360 amp hour Expion360 lithium ion battery, a Xantrex 3,000 watt inverter, and a True Induction Dual Cooktop. Roadrunner standards include a 36 gallons of fresh water, a 13 gallons grey, two 20-pound propane tanks, and a Thetford Cassette Toilet. The SherpTek truck bed shown here, outfitted with an exterior MaxTrax mount, offers an impressive 60 cubic feet of extra storage protected by two massive flanks and four sealed, under-bed storage compartments. The Bundutec Roadrunner lists for $47,300.
(This article was originally published in Truckcamperadventure.com on May 27th)