July 1, 2009
Filed under Trailer Reviews
It’s always the same situation with slide-in truck campers: How do you fit everything – and everyone – into those limited space confines? Camper manufacturers are producing some innovations to improve available space, as exemplified by the new 950B from Adventurer. It’s the first truck camper with a pair of bunkbeds in a slideout room.
The bunkbed slideout in this moderate-sized unit measures 9 feet 10 inches on the floor and is on the streetside just ahead of a rear-corner cabinet housing the refrigerator. The L-shaped dinette/lounge is adjacent to the slideout, while curbside, the galley is aft and the wet bath is forward, abutting the cabover bed.
Each bunkbed measures 30 x 72 inches, so fairly large RVers can easily sleep there. These definitely aren’t miniature baby-only bunks.
The camper weighed in at 3,158 pounds wet and very well equipped with our travel gear, so a stout pickup will be needed to safely haul it. The manufacturer had the demo unit set up on a new single-rear-wheel Ford F-350 fitted with rear airbags inflated to about 45 psi, and the combination drove and handled superbly.
Externally, the 950 looks good with its extra-thick and extra-smooth gel-coat fiberglass skin. The usual array of utility access compartments and a pair of storage cubbyholes make up the exterior appointments. Optional Happijac electric jacks ($973) make camper installation and removal much easier.
Adventurer definitely has the dry-camper in mind and includes a standard two-battery compartment that fits Group 27 12-volt batteries with ease.
The optional Comfort-Step rear bumper ($357) is made of welded heavy-duty aluminum and has two steps that flip down to make it an easy climb to the interior. Tucked away behind the removable top step is access to the heated and insulated basement compartment with its long, narrow storage tray and gray- and black-tank dump valves. There’s also extra space for cords or long items like fishing rods or a cleaning brush with handle, and the water tanks are within the same space where they help keep the center of gravity low. Care must be taken to avoid pushing anything to the back of the basement area or you’ll spend some time fishing things back up front where you can reach them.
Interior access is pretty good in travel mode. There is some edging that must be done to avoid the slideout-room components but the bath is readily accessible and that’s what’s important.
The slideout lower-front edge moves closely across the dinette seat area so the cushions are stored in the slideout during travel. With the room deployed, it’s a simple matter to position the cushions for camp use.
The test camper had the Big Sur Beige scheme, and the color matchups were pretty good.
Adventurer builds storage into every reasonably available space inside, including beneath the main dinette seat area. We found more than enough spaces to store a weekends’ worth of hardware.
Center stage overhead there’s an optional skylight and blind ($322) that helps bring light and implied open space inside.
Our enthusiastic cook absolutely loved the kitchen. Adventurer’s solid natural maple woodwork, with no chipboard or pressboard anywhere in the rig, made for great looking and solid-feeling cabinetry. The drawer glides left something to be desired, but the rest of the hardware worked well enough.
The huge double-bowl sink abuts a decent-sized counter work area that handled our campsite meals just fine. The optional microwave ($175) is almost a must-have add-on.
The L-shaped sofa/dinette can handle the parents and those kids who occupy the bunk beds. Its single-post support leaves things a bit wobbly. However, on the plus side, you can rotate the table to adjust for varied occupant girths nearby. Also, the cushions are well padded and quite comfortable.
Sofa/dinette occupants can view the optional 15-inch, 12-volt DC flat-screen TV ($546) because its adjustable mounting arm allows the TV to swivel between the bed and the living area.
Compact-but-functional describes the wet bath, which is formed of molded-fiberglass and looks like something you’d find in a private aircraft. The company wisely includes a furnace vent in the bath so you can clean up in toasty comfort.
We slept well on the cabover bed. Curbside there’s a handy shirt-depth wardrobe that holds a surprising amount of clothing, and streetside, a low-profile cabinet at mattress height is likewise a welcome storage option. The adjacent sofa/dinette seat makes bed entry an easy two-step climb.
The 950B feels solid underfoot, it has features and details that camper enthusiasts want and its bunkbed-equipped slideout is just the ticket for young families with extra bodies to accommodate. The Adventurer is another great example of value-adding innovation in action.
(866) 312-0799, www.amlrv.com.