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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A new truck camper with a funny name may challenge "camper" perceptions

If you'd had opportunity to take in the big RV show in Louisville, Kentucky back in January, you had the opportunity to get a glimpse of a new entrant into the truck camper fraternity. A curvaceous camper, with some interesting design and engineering schemes may shake up the existing truck camper world when it comes to the marketplace.

The new camper is dubbed Cirrus, and it's a product of Little Guy Worldwide. Both the names of the model and the maker surely run contrary to the run-of-the-mill offerings of industry in general, and maybe that says something for this new camper. When I think of "cirrus" I think, "Yeah, those thin, wispy clouds." And "Little Guy"? Yep. But Little Guy has broken the mold here. The company produces an cute but practical line of modern tear-drop trailers called T@G and T@B. Now Little Guy enters the truck camper field.

Cirrus is anything but thin and wispy. Lightweight, yes, the new product is projected to scale in at a modest 2,000 pounds. A lot of that is due to the construction technique, including all-around aluminum framing. And to come up with a 'new and unique' design, the company flew in a few of their trailer dealers, sat 'em down and asked, "If you were building a "new" truck camper, what would you put in?" The results are intriguing. We'll touch on a few of the features.

Don't know about you, but one of the great things about getting away in the rig is being able to lay back and get some serious Zs. Truck camper beds don't always lend themselves well to that function, so imagine being able to "set" your bed for your particular comfort level. No, forget about 'sleep by number' air mattresses. Instead, under the mattress you'll find a supporting network of gizmos that you can twist around and set to your comfort for firmness, or less firmness. And if your RVing takes you out in cooler weather, imagine the mattress actually being heated from underneath.

Where's the heat come from? Another one of those decidedly "un-truck-camper-like" features. A radiant heat system provides heat through the floor and the deck space under the bed. Fired either by LP gas, or electricity, the system also provides hot water on demand for the shower and sinks.

Speaking of the shower, the wet bath has an interesting feature of its own. The sink isn't the tiny, barely big enough to spit in variety, it's good sized, but to allow plenty of space for the bigger folk to shower, folds up to the wall when not in use.

Outfitted in more European design, don't expect a lot of walnut cabinetry. The design is sleek and clean. The galley sink sports a fold-down glass top, as does the gas range. Ach, here's where we get off. Our RV has a four-burner stove, and we at times, use all of them at once. Our last truck camper had three burners, which was tolerable. But the Cirrus, count them, just two burners. Perhaps the company tries to make up for this by providing a convection-microwave oven. And easing the pain also means a five and a half cubic foot Norcold, 3-way refrigerator.

Other interesting features? How about, "no more swinging screen door." The screen door to the radius arched doorway comes out of a recess and cleverly slides over the door opening. Keeps the bugs out, while allowing in plenty of light.

Yes, there are curves everywhere in this new Cirrus camper. Take a look for yourself in the company video. It's a rather lengthy 16-minute presentation with a couple of goofy talking heads, but if you can wade through some of the inane commentary, you'll find out what the future holds for Little Guy – and maybe your next truck camper.

Listen to Russ and Tiña's new Internet program, Your RV Podcast. Click here to go to their Program Notes page. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hello (truck camper) Dolly!

RVing with a truck camper certainly has its advantages – but at times there are some drawbacks. Storage for some can be an issue. We've heard situations where a TC owner's landlord wouldn't permit him to off-load the camper and store it on the slab with the jacks supporting it. "It's gotta be on wheels!" came the argument. Or then there was the camper owner who wanted to store his rig under cover – but the ceiling height wouldn't allow him to back the rig into storage while on the truck bed. Oh, wouldn't it be nice to be able to move a camper around easily, when off the truck bed.

Some enterprising truck camper owners have come up with solutions. Think about a truck camper dolly – a wheeled platform you can off-load your camper to, then push theunit around. "OK, landlord! It's on wheels!" And with lower overhead areas, with the camper on the dolly, the height issues are erased. One camper owner had what he needed – a narrow, flatbed trailer with low-slung axles that he could back under the camper and drop the unit onto the trailer.

A few years back, one of the mail-order tool companies had what they described as a "utility wagon," that boasted a 4,000 pound capacity. Alas, they don't seem to carry it any longer. Ah, but a little research yielded up this idea: A commercially built camper dolly, specifically designed for truck campers. With a price tag of less than $600 Reico-Titan's carrier will handle "most campers up to 6,000 pounds." No, we haven't tried it – anybody out there had experience with one? Drop us a line, Russ at rvtravel dot com.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rare tag-axle truck camper -- alive and well in Pennsylvania

Here's another for your, "Haven't seen one of those in years," file. No, it's not some sort of photoshop joke, this is a for-real truck camper with a tag axle, a Born Free.

Back in 1947 Dodgen Industries started building feed and grain handling equipment in the Mid West. Feed trucks eventually branched out because in 1969, Dodgen built their first slide-in camper with a tag axle, "which allowed standard pickup trucks to carry larger and heavier campers." The company eventually branched out farther into the RV field with the introduction of a Class C motorhome.

You don't see too many of these original tag-axle rigs, but reader Bruce Badger spotted one out in Pennsylvania and was kind enough to send us pictures. Got a spare $5,000 in your pocket? You can pick up this classic oddity – and a pickup truck to haul it.

As of press time, the rig was still for sale. Ken at (570) 878-2674 is the seller.