Recreational Vehicle innovations continue to energize recreational market

February 28, 2009/Steve Tackett


The downturn in the economy and RV industry do not mean RV manufacturers are sitting on their hands. To the contrary, they’re designing and producing some great new products and camping tie-ins that should catch the attention of RV enthusiasts everywhere.
R.C. Willett Company’s Northstar camper division has added a new twist on the slide-in truck camper theme. It’s called an Escape Pod, and it’s a truck camper that’s designed to fit a flatbed truck.
The concept is a pretty smart idea. For years commercial and agricultural workers who drive flatbed-equipped pickups have been strapping truck campers, designed for conventional pickup beds, to their flatbeds for weekend recreational fun. The Escape Pod was designed with a full body, lacking the “cutaways” needed for pickup bed use, and those extra square feet make a lot of difference when it comes to storage space and interior design flexibility.
This camper was designed for use on a midsize Chevy Colorado pickup with a 7-foot 5-inch flatbed but other rigs will work. The camper weighs about 1,840 pounds dry. Fiberglass skin, wood framing and polystyrene insulation are standard.
“We debuted the 2009 Northstar Escape Pod last October and it was one of our most popular stories of the year,” said Gordon White, publisher of Truck Camper Magazine ( “Having the weight of the camper distributed over an aluminum flatbed is a big part of what makes the Escape Pod and Colorado combination work. This is one truck and camper combination to watch for 2009 and an efficient alternative to all those expensive Class-Bs.”
The Escape Pod floorplan has a side entry door and a pair of small dinette seats on the rear wall flanking a removable center table. Just ahead of the entry door is the wet bath with cassette toilet, the compact galley with 3.7 cubic-foot refrigerator is curbside, and forward is the usual 56×80-inch cabover bed. Insulated dual-pane windows with built-in screens and shades are standard, and there’s a large picture window next to the dinette for scenery viewing pleasure. Extensive interior cabinetry provides ample storage space.
The base price for the Escape Pod is $20,125, not counting the truck, of course. For more information, contact, or phone (319) 233-3461.
The new Adventurer Manufacturing model 950B is a traditional-style camper with a new first-time-ever truck camper feature: bunk beds. The bunks are located in the streetside slideout, opposite the galley and wet bath, and provide comfortable sleeping accommodations for two.
An L-shaped sofa/dinette with a removable table is adjacent to the bunks and the cabover bed is flanked by storage cabinets streetside and a shirt wardrobe curbside.
Fully-laminated construction with aluminum framing, polystyrene insulation and high-gloss Reflections fiberglass siding are standard. Other significant features include the 6 cubic-foot refrigerator in the streetside aft corner, heated holding tanks, a tray sized for a pair of group-27 batteries, and fluid capacities including 38 gallons of freshwater and 31 and 18 gallons of gray and black water, respectively. It weighs in at around 2,900 pounds, so a hefty truck will be needed to haul this camper once it’s loaded and outfitted with a variety of options. The 950B is base-priced at $24,920, or about $30,688 equipped with a list of popular options including Thermo-Pane windows, Happijac electric jacks, a skylight, air conditioner, rear awning and others. For complete information, contact, (866) 312-0799.
Airstream and Kampgrounds of America have partnered on a project that makes Airstream trailers available for rental at select KOA locations around the country. In addition to its RV campsites, many KOA locations have long had on-site cabins available for rent, and the new Airstream project makes it possible for visitors to experience RVing in the classic trailers.
“This relationship will benefit everyone, most of all enthusiasts who can now take a vacation at a fantastic KOA campground in a fully equipped Airstream,” said Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler. “We hope that many people will enjoy the experience so much that they become hooked, but even if you only rent one once, we promise a premium and totally unique experience.”

The Northstar Escape Pod is a slide-in truck camper designed for use on a flatbed truck.

Adventure Manufacturing’s 950B camper — with dual bunk beds — calls for a heavy 3/4-ton or 1-ton truck as a safe hauler.

Select KOA campgrounds will offer on-site Airstream trailers for rent for visitors who want to try the RV experience.

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009