Truck Camper Magazine reviews the all-new 2015 Lance 1052 double-slide, dry bath truck camper with the optional multi-function Ultra Deck Plus bumper by Torklift International.
Before writing a truck camper review, I always try to figure out where the camper in question fits into the manufacturer’s product line, and the greater truck camper marketplace. For example, the Lance 1172 is Lance’s direct response to the popular double and triple-slide sofa camper market. Where the 1172 fits into the Lance product line, and the greater truck camper marketplace, is crystal clear.
Which brings me to the subject of this review, the 2015 Lance 1052. Lance already has six long-bed slide-out models including the 950S dinette-slide, 1050S dinette-slide, 1191 dinette-slide, 1181 full-wall slide, 992 double-slide, and the aforementioned 1172 double-slide sofa camper. The question is, where does the 1052 fit into Lance’s already impressive long-bed slide-out offerings?
The answer is quite simple. If you want a rear-entry, hard-side, double-slide truck camper with a dry-bath, and you are convinced by Lance Camper’s market-leading approach to technology, tolerances, and materials, the 2015 Lance 1052 is your camper. Yes, the 1050S offers a nearly identical floor plan, but there’s no denying the 1052 has a lot more floor space. In the truck camper business, floor space sells.
Now that you know how crazy I make myself while writing these reviews, let’s take an in-depth look at the 2015 Lance 1052 and discover the details that distinguish their new double-slide.
Above: The 2015 Lance 1052 at Princess Craft Campers in Round Rock, Texas
In 2013, Lance made a quantum-leap forward with their one-piece, high-impact, molded front nose caps. Made from the same thermoplastic material as many automotive bumpers, these caps give Lance’s 2013 and newer truck campers (with the exception of the 825 and 865 models) greater protection, as well as potentially improved aerodynamics. They also look sharp and modern.
It might not be until you count the second slide that anything really “sticks out” about the Lance 1052. From the outside, it looks like just another – albeit sharp looking – Lance Camper.
The driver’s side slide on the 1052 features the hot water heater and propane tank compartment. The kitchen-slide itself extends approximately eight inches.
The propane compartment is contained within the kitchen slide and contains two twenty-pound propane tanks. We actually prefer twenty-pound propane tanks to thirty pound propane tanks as the smaller and lighter tanks are easier to lift and maneuver and can be exchanged almost anywhere.
The metal straps that hold the tanks in place work well and are relatively simple to open, but can be tricky to close. For protection, we recommend using gloves when handling propane tanks and their metal holding straps, especially in cold weather.
Above: The access compartment door for the dump and drain valves is located in the lower skirt on the driver’s side of the 1052. Click to enlarge the above thumbnails.
It’s always revealing to look closely at the guts of a truck camper as seen inside compartment doors and behind cabinetry and other access points. Are electrical wires and plumbing lines neat and tidy? Do the components and materials appear to be in good condition? Were fasteners and sealants applied with care?
When we opened the dump and drain valve compartment on the 2015 Lance 1052, we had an excellent opportunity for a behind the scenes look at this camper. The plumbing and wiring on display appeared well sorted, and the four-season basement insulation was impressive and in good condition.
The black and grey tank knife valves were color coded and easy to access. The low point drains were also easy to access, an important detail for winterizing. If we had a nit-pick here, we would like to see the wiring secured better and used in more appropriate lengths to avoid coiling and ties.
The driver’s side slide on the 2015 Lance 1052 features a Lippert Components Schwintek in-wall aluminum slide-out mechanism. Compared to other slide mechanisms, the primary advantage of the Schwintek system is its in-wall installation, and significantly lower weight compared to traditional above-floor, double-ram systems.
Perhaps the craziest feature possible with Schwintek slide-out mechanisms is the possibility for a slide within a slide. That’s right folks, we may soon have slide-outs with slide-outs.
The underside skirt area of a truck camper is subjected to water and debris kicked up by the rear tires of a truck. In decades past, this was a weak point of truck camper design leading to rear wing-wall rot and delaminations.
The underside skirt on the 2015 Lance 1052 avoids this issue through the use of water-impervious metal and composites. The sidewalls of the 1052 are wood-free and aluminum-framed with Azdel composite and closed cell foam insulation. The underside skirt is further protected with a metal shield that looks like it came straight out of SolidWorks (which it essentially did). One thing is for sure; this wing wall is never going to rot.
The two access panels on the underside skirt are for accessing the black and grey tank monitor sensors.
The passenger’s side of the 2015 Lance 1052 features the fresh water fill, heater, refrigerator access panel, battery compartment, and three (count them) exterior storage compartments.
Some folks may be initially put-off by the fact that Lance didn’t make the passenger’s side of the 1052 a full-wall slide-out. Other than weight considerations, why not go for the full-wall slide?
While a full-wall slide would have increased the floor space and wow factor of the 1052’s interior, it also would have increased the weight of the camper, and put the refrigerator on the slide. Weight questions aside, putting a refrigerator on a slide-out requires side cooling and the employment of an additional fan in the refrigerator.
Noisy refrigerator fans are a point of contention for many slide-out truck camper owners. Most never considered refrigerator fan noise until the first night they went to sleep in their campers. For this reason, we believe Lance made the right choice, even if if would have been neat to see a full-wall slide. We’ll take a good nights sleep over a little more floor space any day.
Our 2013 Lance 855-S featured sealed inside battery storage under the interior cabover step. This worked well, but removing and re-installing the batteries for winter trickle charging was a real pain.
With this in mind, we were thrilled to see an exterior battery compartment on the 1052. This will make inspecting, maintaining, removing, and installing the batteries much easier.
Together with an optional Ultra Deck Plus bumper (more on that later), the 1052 has an amazing amount of exterior storage. These exterior storage opportunities are sure to make 1052 owners very happy.
For the passenger’s slide of the 1052, Lance has employed an above-floor, double-ram Lippert slide-out mechanism. As Gary Conley, National Sales Manager for Lance Campers, explained when the 1052 debuted, the above-floor, double-ram system offers a deeper and longer slide than the Schwintek system would allow. We also believe Lance wanted the use their more time-tested and proven slide mechanism for the larger and heavier slide.
What’s curious is how Lance used the Schwintek slide mechanisms for both slides in the 1172, including the 1172’s dinette and refrigerator slide. The answer is probably in how the 1172 and 1052 dinette slides differ in length, width, height, depth, and weight. Again in the 1052 announcement, Gary explained how Lance uses the right slide mechanism for each application. As always, we invite Lance Campers to respond to this review to address this question.
Moving to the rear of the 1052, the rear entrance door features a large assist handle, which is always a welcome addition. We also appreciated the stainless steel open door latch (center bottom). We have experienced way too many plastic entry door latches that always seem to break. The metal latches used by Lance are a world better.
The passenger’s side rear of the 1052 has a compartment designed for an optional built-in Cummins Onan RV QG 2500 propane generator.
With all LED lighting, two batteries, and an optional solar panel system (highly recommended), the need for a built-in generator comes down to two additional options; an air conditioner, and a microwave. If you get the optional solar panel system, don’t intend to camp off-the-grid in hot weather, and can live without the use of a microwave when you are dry camping, you probably don’t need a generator.
We lived without a generator in our 2013 Lance 855-S and never missed it. Even better, we used the generator compartment for exterior storage.
On the driver’s side rear of the camper is the shore power connection for a detachable power cord. Given how the location of shore power is anything but standardized at campgrounds, having the power connection on the rear of the 1052 makes sense. As long as the outlet isn’t too far (which is always a possibility), you should be able to reach a shore power outlet on either side of the camper from this location.
This was the first time we were able to really check-out the new Lance Ultra Deck Plus bumper by Torklift International. Upon close inspection, the build quality and finish were exceptional. The intricate aluminum structure is laser cut to produce the smooth curves and clean lines. The LED tail lights and stainless steel lockable latches fit into the structure with precision, as does the ribbed grip material. Even the interior wiring appeared well dressed.
If build quality is any indication, the Ultra Deck Plus is a product built to last. It’s also a knock-out aesthetically. Who would have ever thought a camper bumper could look so cool?
It took us a couple minutes to get the knack of releasing the deck and rolling it into extended or retraced position. Once released, the deck rolled smoothly on its sealed roller bearings and locked into position confidently with spring-loaded latches. It took another couple minutes to get accustomed to the way the storage compartment lids open and close. In essence, you need to pull the lids up and towards you to release them. Once you get this down, they’re a cinch.
The one issue that concerns us about the Ultra Deck Plus is weight. At 185 pounds empty, the weight of the Ultra Deck Plus is considerable, even before folks fill up the compartments with camping stuff. Furthermore, that weight is about as far to the rear as possible, pushing the camper’s center of gravity back.
Our suggestion for anyone considering the Ultra Deck Plus option is to carefully consider your truck and camper match, and the intended use of the bumper. If your truck has the excess payload capacity to handle the Ultra Deck Plus, and you either need the 7.5 cubic feet of exterior storage it provides, and/or the 43 inch wide by 30 inch deep roll-out deck it offers, go for it. Otherwise, Lance’s standard bumper is also excellent and will save you weight and cost.
Here’s a photograph of the Ultra Deck Plus bumper system from underneath the truck camper looking towards the rear. The protruding portion is the deck tray that extends and retracts. Even from this perspective, the clever design and stellar build quality of the Ultra Deck Plus is evident.
There was a dizzying array of components on the 2015 Lance 1052 roof we reviewed including Fantastic Vents, opaque skylights, an air conditioner, refrigerator vent, radio antenna, television antenna, ladder roof handle, Maggie rack system, and a Heki skylight. In all, there’s either fourteen or fifteen items, depending on how you count.
Fortunately, the roof seals all looked excellent and well applied at Lance Campers. As with any truck camper, the future owner will need to be vigilant about these seals. This is a simple matter of climbing on the roof and inspecting the seals carefully in the Fall (before winterizing) and Spring (during de-winterization). To be sure, you could always take the camper to a dealership with a SealTech system once a year for a pressurized seal inspection.
The weight sticker on the Lance 1052 says the camper is 3,880 pounds with standard equipment, 51 gallons of fresh water, 40 pounds of propane, and a six-cubic foot refrigerator.
When we back out the water and propane weight, we get a dry weight of 3,415 pounds. That’s right on target for the dry weight Lance announced for the 1052.
With standard build features, which this camper certainly includes, Lance reported the dry weight to be 3,987 pounds. This includes the Ultra Deck Plus bumper, air conditioner, generator, convenience package, awning package, four season package, and roof rack.
Based on this 3,987 pound dry weight with standard build features, here are the wet weight calculations for the Lance 1052 under review:
Lance 1052: dry weight, 3,987 pounds + 45 gallons fresh, 375.3 pounds + 6 gallon full hot water heater, 50 pounds + 2x 20-pound full propane tanks, 40 pounds + 2 batteries, 130 pounds + stuff, 500 pounds = 5,082.3 pounds
At 5,082.3 pounds wet with options and your stuff, the 2015 Lance 1052 is firmly in the late-model, one-ton, dual-rear-wheel truck territory. This isn’t a big deal as most late-model one-ton dual-rear-wheel trucks have at least 5,000 pounds of payload. Just make sure to double-check your truck’s payload capacity if it includes heavy options like a diesel engine, crew cab, four-wheel drive, and convenience packages.
As always, it’s your responsibility to properly and safely match your truck and camper. Lucky for you, we have a straight forward system to follow in our Matching a Truck and Camper article. Please read the Newbie Corner and follow that system.
In the future, we would like to see Lance post the actual dry weight with options for each camper somewhere inside the unit. This could be accomplished with a scale at the factory and a sticker form completed at the end of the production line.
The dry bath in the Lance 1052 is essentially identical to the Lance 1050S bathroom, which is a very good thing indeed.
The bathroom features a towel rack, a hand towel holder, ducted heat, an outlet, and an almost obscene amount of storage.
The bathroom also passed all my elbow-room, knee-space, and sit-on-the-toilet comfort tests. The 1052’s bathroom is a winner.
Lance employed its multi-jointed shower curtain rod in the 1052 giving the bathroom more space when you’re not showering, and more space when you are in the shower. In the way it moves to create more space, it’s like a slide-out for the bathroom.
Having the shower controls in the shower stall is a nice touch. It’s also more convenient than turning the water on and off at the sink.
While it’s hardly big enough for a true bath, the tub in the 1052 is perfect for soaking hike-worn feet or washing the cat. Speaking of cats, this is the perfect spot for a litter box.
The under sink cabinet features a storage opportunity, the toilet paper holder, and a neat plumbing presentation. For convenience, I might move the toilet paper holder to the inside cabinet door as it’s a bit awkward to reach in its current location, especially if there’s stuff stored under the sink that could get in the way. I also prefer my toilet paper mounted horizontally, but perhaps that’s too much information.
The bathroom storage in the 2015 Lance 1052 is off the charts. CNC cut into the solid walls, Lance has created compartments that are perfect for toiletries, and would likely fit folded towels. Even if you only used these spaces for RV toilet paper and chemicals, it’s welcome storage.
Perhaps it’s silly to celebrate a bathroom light switch, but too many truck campers place these switches outside of the bathroom. This is really frustrating as I almost always forget to turn the darn light on before going into the bathroom. So yes, I am celebrating this elegant and simple light switch inside the 1052 bathroom. Well done Lance.
Across from the dry bath is the three-quarter-wall dinette-slide.
The original argument and appeal of slide-outs in truck campers was two fold. First, you gained a lot more floor space. Second, you could have a big full-booth, feet-to-the-side-wall dinette. Sure, some basement model non-slides offered full-booth dinettes, but they were almost never as big as the smallest full-booth slide-out dinettes.
The full-booth dinette in the 1052 is ready for four adults, laptops, a card game, and (of course) breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dream dinette table is post-free and keeps the table nice and steady. We have used dream dinettes in several truck campers and find them to be a real improvement over the old table and leg solutions.
The dream dinette pushes down to quickly make a 71-inch bed.
There’s a certain interior aesthetic to Lance Campers that’s unmistakable. Over the decades the materials and designs have evolved, but the interior presentation still remains instantly identifiable as Lance. Some may find Lance’s sense of interior design a bit dated, but I actually quite like the neutral fabric and wood choices Lance usually prefers. The Lance 1052 under review was finished in Lance’s Rain Forest fabric.
Directly across from the kitchen Lance has placed an additional counter top. While some may use this area while preparing food, we would likely use this space for charging laptops, phones, and cameras. In fact, the drawer under the beautiful 12-volt and USB outlets would likely be full of our power cords and gear.
In all honestly, this is probably my favorite part of this camper. The drawers, outlets, and counter top in this photograph just scream practical functionality to me. It also looks classy. Love it.
Lance has listened to our truck camping prayers and installed a combination 12-volt outlet and dual USB charging station right next to the dinette. I almost had to lie down I got so excited when I saw this beautiful outlet from heaven. Thank you Lance Campers!
Strangley enough, I enjoy looking for gimp in Lance Camper products. Look high, look low, look inside and out, you’ll be hard pressed to find a lick of gimp anywhere.
In fact, I spent a moment too long looking for gimp in the 1052 and somehow forgot to photograph the largest component in the camper; the six-cubic foot three-way black refrigerator. Seriously, I forgot to photograph the refrigerator! You’ll just have to trust me that there’s a refrigerator in the 1052. That’s what Lance gets for stunning me with the 12-volt and USB outlet, and dazzling lack of gimp.
On the outside bathroom wall facing the kitchen is the optional Cummins Onan generator control, and the tank and battery monitor. Both are black in color, matching the kitchen color scheme, and are installed at eye level.
To the right of the generator control and tank monitor is an in-set pantry CNC cut into the wall. This storage is welcome as it helps to off-set the kitchen storage lost by the slide-out.
Curved walls are always a challenge in truck camper design. The 1052 under review had what looks like a wrinkle in the wall material. I’m sure this could be fixed, but it’s unfortunate that this passed Lance’s quality control. With everything else being CNC precision cut and assembled to such high tolerances, this cosmetic hiccup stuck out.
Now this is a serious kitchen area. The second slide in the 2015 Lance 1052 offers a deep kitchen counter for food preparation, a large kitchen window for natural light, and a good amount of cabinetry. The molded countertop and backsplash, stainless pull-out faucet, black microwave, propane range and oven, and sink cutting board give the kitchen a modern and upscale vibe. There’s even a solid wood spice rack tucked in the right corner. This kitchen looks the business.
On the flip side, having the entire kitchen on a slide means you lose horizontal counter space and horizontal and vertical cabinetry space. In other words, you gain floor space and a deep counter with the slide, but lose counter width and storage. The slide-outs gods giveth, and taketh away.
It should also be pointed out that the deep counter space could be a challenge for those who are not height inclined. If anything over five feet high is a stretch, the far side of the 1052’s counter space may pose a challenge.
The upper kitchen has an optional microwave and two storage cabinets. Immediately above the kitchen is a skylight and Fantastic Vent. Under the upper kitchen cabinetry are two LED light fixtures.
One thing we noted was the absence of a range hood. Since the window on the kitchen slide does not open (due to its location, it would be awkward to open even if it did) one would open the vent above the kitchen and turn on the Fantastic Vent mid-rear on the camper to ventilate while cooking. Given how strong and effective Fantastic Vents are, that should work well.
This photograph shows both the glossy finish of the one-piece molded countertops, and the lost storage and counter space due to the slide.
The two kitchen drawers are perfect for silverware and other cooking utensils. With their steel roller bearings, the drawers opened and closed confidently.
Lance has made wide-spread use of Lite Ply throughout their product lines. This material is significantly lighter than the plywood it replaced. It’s also more expensive, a cost that’s off-set by the fact that Lance’s CNC machines are able to minimize waste.
Even Lance’s interior walls are made with solid Lite Ply allowing customers to attach towel and magazine racks almost at will. When working RV shows, Lance reps like to knock on Lance interior walls to show how they’re solid wood. That’s right folks, Lance reps knock on wood.
Under the kitchen sink we found another opportunity to look behind the scenes. Once again, the fit and finish was excellent, as were the plumbing lines and fixtures. Lance’s advantages in SolidWorks design, CNC routing, and Lite Ply material are on full display here.
Under the sink, Lance has provided an area that’s begging to be used as storage. Then there’s a red cock-eyed sticker on the kitchen door that warns, “THIS IS NOT A STORAGE COMPARTMENT”. Well, if this isn’t a storage compartment, what is it? The tooth fairy? A grapefruit? Or maybe a nice smoking jacket?
Okay, I kid. And Lance is probably forced to put this sticker on the door by Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) safety codes. That would explain the other two warning stickers with language only a lawyer could love. If that’s the case, the stickers are understandable, but I would like to see them applied straight.
The reviewed 2015 Lance 1052 featured an optional Winegard satellite dish. The controls for the dish system are located just above the Atwood digital thermostat on the front wall.
Between the kitchen slide and the cabover on the driver’s side is a CNC routed multi-purpose nook including an optional Jensen 24-inch 12-volt HDTV on a swivel arm, a storage cubby, another larger storage cubby with a smart-looking shelf, and a Jensen audio-video system with DVD, USB, MP3, and a partridge in a pear tree.
This is what happens when a company gets fired-up with the seemingly limitless possibilities of SolidWorks and CNC routers.
Lance pulled another “how did they do that” CNC cabinet thing in their 1172 kitchen area. The truck camping community always asks the manufacturers to maximize every possible inch of storage space. With SolidWorks and CNC routers, Lance is delivering.
The Jensen 24-inch HDTV swings out for visibility from the cabover bedroom, kitchen, and dinette. While we appreciated how easily the swing-out bracket released and then locked back into position, the television’s velcro straps were a bit fiddly to secure for transport.
The front wall of the 1052 has a removable window and curtain. Since you cannot see through the rear door while driving (the view is blocked by the two slides), this window would primarily be useful for pets. Most 1052 owners will likely opt for the optional rear view camera system anyway.
The front wall also has the LP detector and fuse box. Note the ducted heat under the refrigerator.
With the Heki skylight, windows on both sides, and LED lighting, the 1052’s cabover bedroom feels open and spacious.
The storage hamper on the driver’s side is big enough for underwear and socks. The top of the hamper looks perfect for a smart phone, tablet, or a book.
If we were using this camper, we would use open fabric storage containers on the floor next the hamper. In those containers we keep travel brochures, cables and wires for electronics, and other items that need a home.
I’m not sure Lance intended this, but the LED reading lights swivel to shine right into the hampers on both sides of the bed; a very convenient bonus feature. Even better, the LED reading lights are low power, work well, and (unlike traditional truck camper incandescent reading lights) don’t cook your brain or make you want to confess where you were last Tuesday.
The passenger’s side of the cabover has a hamper, window, and a large mirrored wardrobe. In another 2015 Lance 1052, we saw this same wardrobe with a wood finish rather than the mirror. While the mirror front certainly opens up the cabover aesthetically, it can be odd and even startling to see yourself in the cabover bedroom. Your opinion may vary.
Wrap It Up
With its molded front nose cap and bonded high-gloss Lamilux 4000 fiberglass siding, the 1052 is a sharp and modern-looking truck camper. The 1052’s floor plan offers lots of floor space to a time-tested and proven interior design that shows decades of design evolution.
Previously mentioned nit-picks aside, I was continuously impressed with the high level of fit and finish Lance has been able to achieve through their commitment to SolidWorks design technology, computer controlled CNC routers, and state-of-the-art materials. All of this is on brilliant display in the 1052.
If you want to know what really differentiates a Lance Camper, it’s this synergetic use of technology and materials. Lance Campers are not the most revolutionary or least expensive truck campers on the market but, from a design, manufacturing, and material point-of-view, they are the most technologically state-of-the-art.
The quality of the Lance Ultra-Deck Plus bumper by Torklift International was equally impressive. If you have the payload, I can’t see buying the 1052 without the Ultra-Deck Plus. It’s a beauty.
For someone who has narrowed down his or her choices to Lance, the strongest competition for the 2015 Lance 1052 comes from their own 1050S. The 1050S gives you an almost identical floor plan with more storage, less weight, and a lower cost. Then again, I’m a non-slide guy. I don’t swoon at the floor space a slide-out creates. If you do, you’ll immediately gravitate to the 1052 over the 1050S. No contest there, the 1052 has a ton more floor space.
As for the comparisons to the 1172 (not to mention the 1181 and 1191), the floor plans are truly apples and oranges. If you’ve decided on a long bed slide-out Lance Camper, my advice is to go see them for yourself, pick one, properly match it to a truck, and go have fun.