CBC Ski and Outdoor Reporter Paul Karchut ventures out in his Arctic Fox 990 truck camper to experience everything the Calgary outdoors, and his radio listeners, can throw at him.
What better way to cover the latest Calgary area ski conditions, or discover what real folks do in the Canadian outdoors, than in a truck camper?
Four wheel drive to tackle snowy mountain passes? Check.
Four season insulation and propane heat? Check.
A comfortable base camp to eat, sleep, and work? Check.
It’s a wonder that more field reporters aren’t using truck campers. Think of it this way; would you rather take a “news van” or a “news truck camper” into an area about to be hit by a hurricane? How about areas affected by flooding, or forest fires, or tornadoes?
Give me the go anywhere, camp anywhere, fully self contained capabilities and comfort of a truck camper any time. Besides, how many news vans have holding tanks, refrigerators, queen sized beds, and full bathrooms? Not too many.
All of this is old news to CBC Ski and Outdoor Reporter, Paul Karchut. With his GMC 3500HD and Arctic Fox 990, Paul plows through winter conditions and ventures off the beaten path for his weekly CBC ski and outdoor reports. Paul has even reported live on CBC radio from his truck camper.
Move over news van. Make way for the news truck camper!
Above: Paul and Devon’s 2003 GMC 3500HD and 2005 Arctic Fox 990. Paul wanted a four season camper for snowy days like this one at Rogers Pass, British Columbia.
TCM: How did you get into truck camping?
Paul: My first vehicle ever at the age of seventeen was a VW Westfalia. At that time in my life I was a full time ski bum and used to get around everywhere with the Westfalia. I traveled all across North America. I loved it. It wasn’t particularly warm, it broke down all the time, and cost a fortune to keep it going. So, eventually I got rid of it.
After selling the VW I thought to myself, “One of these days my dream is to get a proper camper van”. As life progressed, that dream was pushed off my radar screen, but it was always in the back of my mind.
When Devon and I first met, she laughed at the idea of traveling in a camper van. We had both been tent campers and gone on years and years of backcountry camping trips. I was slowly warming her up to the idea.
We were on Vancouver Island last August and kept seeing truck campers. Driving into Nitinat Lake, a wake boarding and wind surfing Mecca, all we saw were truck campers on the backroads. We thought, “That’s the way to do it because then we can have a truck and take the camper off when we don’t want it. And if the truck dies, you still have camper.” Of course you know all this. You write about it.
By October we had our own truck and camper.
TCM: So your dream finally became reality, only with a truck camper. Tell us about how you went about choosing your truck and camper.
Paul: We went to a couple of camper dealers in Alberta and started asking them about what we needed to look for. We wanted a camper primarily for skiing in the winter. Specifically, we enjoy backcountry skiing and resort skiing. One particular dealer said, “We don’t sell them, but you want an Arctic Fox camper because they are true four season campers.”