Truck Camper Magazine reviews a 2017 Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition, a hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper. Is this one of the highest quality RVs on the planet? Grab your skepticism hat, and let’s get to work.
After a devastating fire burned the Northern Lite factory to the ground in February of 2014, the Kelowna, British Columbia manufacturer had a new facility, new fiberglass molds, new tools, new jigs, and had resumed production with the same management and production team by the following December.
As stunning as the 10-month factory rebuild was, the debut of their first all-new model was equally compelling. The Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition was proof that Northern Lite was not only back on its feet, but ready to chart a new and exciting future for its popular non-slide two-piece clam shell fiberglass truck campers. If there’s a better come back story in the history of truck campers, we haven’t heard it.
Above: The 2017 Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition we reviewed was inside the covered building at Truck Camper Warehouse in West Chesterfield, New Hampshire.
Keith Donkin, General Manager for Northern Lite, announced the Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition in Truck Camper Magazine on March 17, 2015. The all-new and significantly larger 10-2 EX molds opened a world of possibilities for the three 10-2 EX floor plans.
“The 2016 Northern Lite 10-2 EX features an additional 11-inches of interior floor length for all three 10-2 EX floor plans,” explained Keith. “We had a lot of feedback from customers and dealers who wanted the 10-2 to be a little larger.”
When asked about specific changes the new 10-2 EX molds brought to the Special Edition, Keith answered, “We lowered the side wings on the 10-2 EX by two inches. That change brought the wings closer to the truck box rails, created two inches of increased headroom in the dinette, and increased cabinetry storage in the kitchen.”
He also talked about the new wet bath molds. “The wet bath in the (previous) 10-2 was already one of the largest in the truck camper industry. For the 10-2 EX, we didn’t change the size of the wet bath, but we did move the sink to the corner. When you’re in the new 10-2 EX bathroom, it feels larger because there’s more space where the sink used to be.”
Keith added, “One of the benefits of leaving the wet bath the same dimensions is the addition of the new pull-out pantry on the driver’s side. We were also able to add three inches to the dinette bed. The dinette bed is now 6’3” in length. The dinette table is the same size, but we added to the seat depths. Where the seat depths were not equally deep before, now they are.”
Keith went on to describe other changes afforded by the larger molds. “On the passenger’s side, we added an additional cupboard and drawers beside the refrigerator, and have an additional storage area for taller items in the kitchen area.”
“The generator box has been redesigned to fit up to two Honda EU2000i generators. We wanted to make it easier to get the generator into the box,” he stated, describing how the previous design made fitting a portable generator a tight fit. “The patio is now standard on all Special Edition models.”
If you’re unfamiliar with Northern Lite’s two-piece clam shell fiberglass design, or just want to see one of the most impressive truck camper factories on the planet, check out our 2015 Northern Lite factory tour, “Up and Running at Northern Lite”. It’s a must read to fully appreciate Northern Lite’s come back, and their product philosophy.
A Closer Look
Before the fire, Northern Lite was a quality standard bearer for not only the truck camper industry, but the RV industry as a whole. The question is, are Northern Lite truck campers built in the new factory of the same or better quality as what they were building pre-fire?
Based on our observations at the new Northern Lite factory last year, along with the fact that they retained their entire production team, our initial answer is a resounding yes. But what happens if we take a closer look at a Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition in the field, thousands of miles from where it was shipped?
We evaluated this 2017 Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition at Truck Camper Warehouse.
Floor Plan Evaluation