TCM: How did those experiences go? After all, not everyone knows how to drive and handle a truck camper rig.
Mike: One editor didn’t understand when the grey tank filled up. The Lance 650 has 22 gallons of fresh, 15 gallons of grey, and 16 gallons of black. Well, they were confused when the grey tank was full and didn’t know what to do. Now I explain how the tanks and other systems work before journalists take the rig.
If you’re not an experienced RVer and conserving, the grey tank can quickly from doing dishes and showering like you’re at home. I didn’t tell them about water allocation and dumping. I have learned to set those expectations up front.
For me, the Lance 650 tanks last three or four days. As you know, you need to be mindful of how long you take a shower, how much water you’re using when doing dishes, etc. It’s second nature to me. That’s the reality of using a camper.
Above: Buses by the Bridge event at Lake Havasu
TCM: We call that the zen of truck camping. After a while, you become in-tune with where you are with your propane, battery, and holding tanks. Most journalists – even in the RV industry – don’t camp long enough to experience that. What have you done with the Rule Breaker since SEMA?
Mike: For my first trip out, I took the Rule Breaker to Buses by the Bridge at Lake Havasu. Buses by the Bridge is an annual gathering of vintage VW bus owners. The event was the same weekend as a hot air balloon festival making for a perfect shakedown trip for the Rule Breaker.
The Rule Breaker got at least as much exposure as the VW buses. During the event, thunderstorms rolled in and some attendees were freaking out. All we had to do was roll out the awnings and invite folks to take cover.
Above: Early Saturday morning photo shoot after SEMA 2016
TCM: Had you always intended the Rule Breaker to be used after SEMA? SEMA vehicles are not normally driven much after the event.
Mike: Most companies have a “show queen” they take to SEMA, put it back in the wrapper, and only cut it loose for a few shows.
You can’t say the Rule Breaker is a true overland vehicle if it stays in a garage. We invited experienced off-road and overland journalists to take the Rule Breaker out and show off its capabilities. It was built for that purpose, not as a show piece.
Using the Rule Breaker also validates Hellwig as a company that’s serious about the overland market. The installed Hellwig products on the Rule Breaker are standing up to abuse. That gives consumers comfort that our products are tested in the real world.
Above: Rule Breaker at the main entrance of the 2017 King of the Hammer event
TCM: Just to be clear, are you fully using the Rule Breaker – sleeping in the cabover, cooking in the kitchen, sitting in the dinette, and using the bathroom?
Mike: You bet! I took the Rule Breaker rig to King of the Hammers in Johnstown Valley for four days of off-grid camping. I used all of the camper systems during those four days.