Truck Camper Magazine reviews a 2016 Alaskan 7 hard side pop-up truck camper designed for short-bed trucks. Punch the Flux-Capacitor to 1962. This time machine is ready to roll.
While not a literal transcript, the following phone call to Alaskan Campers has happened many times over the past few years.
“Hello, Bryan? This is Gordon from Truck Camper Magazine.”
“Hey Gordon, what’s up?”
“Well, I was wondering if you might have an Alaskan Camper we could review. We have never reviewed an Alaskan Camper, and I’d really like to.”
“I just built one for myself that you could have reviewed, but I sold it this morning.”
“Afraid so. I’m sure I’ll build another one for myself soon.”
“Okay. Thanks Bryan.”
Bryan Wheat, President of Alaskan Campers, wasn’t trying to avoid us. In fact, he has contacted us on several occasions about a camper we could review, but our magazine schedule didn’t allow for a quick cross-country trip to Washington. It was almost comical how something as simple as access to an Alaskan Camper for review never worked out.
So imagine how excited were we when we pulled into Alaskan Campers this past June and found a completed Alaskan Camper at the end of the line. It belonged to a customer who was scheduled to arrive the next day. In other words, it was available to us to photograph and review. Camera in hand, we immediately leapt into action.
At long last, we get to dig into an Alaskan.
**Click to enlarge any of the thumbnail photos in this review. Click here to contact Alaskan with questions or to get a free brochure.
The front, side, and rear profiles of an Alaskan Camper have remained essentially unchanged for the better part of fifty years. It always amazes us how similar a vintage Alaskan looks compared to a brand new one. From fifty paces, you might be hard pressed to tell a 1976 from this 2016.
Take forty-five paces towards the 2016 and the differences begin to emerge. The materials are essentially the same, but the quality of the materials is notably higher. The amenities are essentially the same, but the appliances are better built, more efficient, and offer more features. Upon closer study, even more refinements abound; Wilsonart laminates, LED lighting, 12-volt refrigerators, integrated cassette toilet systems, AGM batteries, Coleman Mach air conditioners, and beyond. Think you’ll find these items on that groovy ’76? Think again.
The Alaskan team may approach change with raised eyebrows and crossed arms, but they have made evolutionary material, product, and even floor plan improvements over the years. They even announced a new model this past March, the 2015 Alaskan 6.5. Just because they have stuck with tradition doesn’t mean they’re stuck.
The driver’s side exterior front wall features the truck’s umbilical connection for the marker lights and charging the camper batteries while driving. The driver’s side also has a 110-volt, 15-amp connection for shore power, an optional outside shower, and a Suburban water heater.
You may also note the jack brackets for four manual Rieco-Titan tripod jacks. The crew at Alaskan loads their campers with only two, but please don’t try that at home, or anywhere else for that matter.
While I certainly understand that most Alaskan Campers certainly don’t need anything more than 110-volt 15-amp connections, models optioned with air conditioners, even the efficient Coleman Mach units, would benefit from a modern 30-amp connection.