Truck Camper Magazine reviews a 2018 Cirrus 920, a hard side, non-slide, wet bath, long bed truck camper. Has nuCamp pushed too far with their modern Cirrus Camper aesthetic and cutting-edge technology? Or are they inventing the future of camper design?
When nuCamp rolled out the first Cirrus 920 prototype in December of 2015, the nuCamp team wasn’t satisfied. For months, nuCamp’s dealers and customers had peppered the Sugarcreek, Ohio manufacturer for a long bed version of their popular Cirrus 820. nuCamp delivered, collected feedback, and then went back to the drawing board. They could do even better.
“The difference between (the) initial prototype and the production Cirrus 920 is night and day. The prototype 920 was really just a demonstration that we were developing a long bed truck camper for 2017.”
Be sure to also check out nuCamp RV’s response to this 920 review.
The most obvious change was the redesigned in-house cabinetry. Where the 820 had sourced its cabinetry from Italy, nuCamp brought the 920 cabinetry production in-house. Built by Amish craftsman aided by CNC-machined precision, quality control was further improved, and responsive design changes were now possible.
“The in-house cabinetry has a more finished look and feel,” explained Allen Miller, Director of Research and Development for nuCamp. “The quality is as high or higher than the Italian cabinets.”
Freed of six-month delivery lead times mandated by the Italian cabinetry source, the nuCamp team reimagined the 920 interior cabinetry stem to stern. Among other cabinetry changes, the 920 now featured a slide-out pantry, multiple drawers in the kitchen and dinette, and a centrally-mounted 24-inch HDTV media center.
The 920 kitchen also received two cutting-edge appliance debuts; a Thetford N3141 slimline refrigerator, and a Thetford XC200 cooktop (or) optional XR17200 cooktop and oven. “NuCamp is the first company in the United States to actually use this refrigerator,” explained Allen. “It is currently used a lot in Europe, and Thetford has certified it for the US market. “
The forward-thinking N3141 refrigerator and XC200 cooktop join the Alde hydronic heating system, seamless aluminum roof, all-aluminum, composite, and fully-laminated (wood-free) structure, Froli sleep system, and other forward-thinking materials and components first introduced with the Cirrus 800 and refined with the Cirrus 820.
On the exterior, the 920 gets a built-in generator option. After consulting with their dealer network, the nuCamp team selected the Cummins Onan QG 2500 LP for its reported quality and reliability.
“Cirrus owners can also use a portable Honda eu2000i to power the air conditioner, microwave, 110 appliances – and charge the batteries,” added Scott. “The built-in Onan is more convenient, but the Honda is quieter and more versatile. Cirrus 920 customers have two good generator options.”
Just when we thought we had exhausted the 920 news, Scott and Allen revealed that the 920 comes standard with two 6-volt AGM batteries, a new wet bath compartment, a new convection microwave, and an optional Lagun table system.
The irony of all these 920 advancements is the obvious question they raise for the 820. When will we see the 920 updates added to the 820? Just as the fervor over the missing 920 finally settles down, the 820 speculations begin. Here we go again.
Speculations aside, exactly where does the 920 stand as a luxury-featured, non-slide, hard side, long bed truck camper? The Cirrus 920 faces some very stiff marketplace competition in this niche and price-point. Do all their forward-thinking design, material, and appliance decisions add up to a marketplace contender? Let’s dig in.
Floor Plan Evaluation
Immediately inside the entry door on the driver’s side are four well labeled and convenient switches for the door light, porch lights, awning, and rear camera. Having experienced campers without a light switch just inside the entry door, the door light switch is particularly welcome.
Immediately under this row is the optional built-in Cummins Onan generator switch and hour meter. The close proximity of this switch to the actual generator makes sense, but isn’t exactly the most convenient. In an ideal world, the generator switch would be centrally located in the kitchen with the other monitors and controls.
On the other hand, the Rieco-Titan jack activation is right where it should be; low and inside the door. When engaged, this feature activates the jacks for raising and lowering the camper.
Since loading and unloading is done from outside the camper, having the switch just inside the entry door makes sense. Another possible location would be inside an exterior compartment, but most of us are accustomed to the jack activation switch being located here.
Above the aforementioned switches and controls is a hanging closet.
On the inside right corner of this closet is the ethylene glycol reservoir for the Alde hydronic heating system. Mixed with water, the Alde system circulates ethylene glycol (a common automotive anti-freeze) through a series of convectors to silently and evenly heat the camper. nuCamp states that the ethylene glycol level should only need to be checked once or twice a year.
The closet door features an interior weight sticker, and some really helpful information for anyone doing their proper truck and camper matching calculations.
The inside weight sticker lists the installed options and their weight; Maggie Rack (15 pounds), solar panel (35 pounds), rear awning (30 pounds), backup camera (8 pounds), pass through window (8 pounds), Torklift GlowStep (15 pounds), second television in cabover (5 pounds), oven (51 pounds), and generator (125 pounds). All totaled, these options weigh 292 pounds.
nuCamp is to be commended for having a breakdown of the installed options and their weights posted on the inside of their units. If every truck camper manufacturer did this, proper truck and camper matching would be quicker, easier, and more accurate. Thank you, nuCamp!
Turning 180-degrees to the passenger’s side, we find almost exactly the same wet bath as the 820.
For the 2015 TCM Readers’ Choice Awards, the Cirrus fold-down sink earned nuCamp a second place award for Best Truck Camper Innovation of the Year. In fact, the fold-down sink was only beaten by Cirrus’s integration of the Alde hydronic heating system; 2015’s Innovation of the Year. Not bad for Cirrus’s debut.
The concept of a fold-down sink may seem obvious, but only Cirrus has managed to incorporate this award-winning feature into their production truck campers.
Folded up and away, the sink allows for more toilet and shower room. Folded down, it provides the biggest bathroom sink in the business.
I have two ongoing nit picks with the Cirrus fold-down sink. First, it feels like what it is; light weight plastic. It’s great that the sink is light weight, but I wish it didn’t feel that way. Second, I would give up a little basin bigness for some counter space. While I appreciate the six toothbrush slots and dueling soap dishes, how about a place to put down my razor and hair brush?
Perhaps the nuCamp team recognized this issue when they developed a new waterproof storage compartment for the 920 wet bath. Prior to 920, the Cirrus wet bath lacked even a simple vanity for storage. This new compartment a very welcome addition.
So what would folks likely use this compartment for? Two obvious answers might be RV toilet paper and black tank chemicals. Toiletries would also be a sensible choice. Another possibility is to keep it empty and use it for towels and clothing. This would allow one to dress before leaving the bathroom, a big plus in situations where privacy is desired.
The rear wall storage pockets and pull-down towel rack are nice touches. If you want more storage in a truck camper bathroom, you need a dry bath.
Stop and take a another look at the premium shower nozzle and controls in the above photos. Outside of a Cirrus, you will not see anything like this in a production truck camper. Where other manufacturers employ the same old white plastic shower nozzles and pull-up sink diverters, nuCamp takes us into the future with a modern stainless steel, adjustable-height, removable shower head and separate shower controls. Absolutely gorgeous.
The hardware used throughout a Cirrus camper is equally beautiful, high-end, and high quality. In a Cirrus, something as basic as the wet bath door handle becomes something worth noticing and admiring.
Had nuCamp used a normal door handle, I would not have noticed. The nuCamp team cared enough about design and quality to take this and other details to the next step. I believe that really says something about this company and team.
As you survey the photos in this review, note the high-quality latches, hinges, and pulls. These items take time and money folks; more than you might think. And it also shows a level of attention to detail rarely seen in the RV industry. Well done, nuCamp.
Standing in the center of the unit and looking towards the entry door, the new standard 24-inch Jensen television and audio-video system come into view. In this location the television is visible from the rear-facing dinette seat and – when extended on its swing-out arm – the cabover bedroom.
The standard Jensen JWM9A Theater-Style audio-video system features a DVD/CD player, AM/FM radio, NOAA Weather Band with alert, clock with alarm, Bluetooth receiver, front 3.5mm auxiliary and USB inputs, remote control, and 160-watts total power over 3-zones. The NOAA Weather Band alert is a feature that should make its way into all RV audio-video systems.
Jensen offers an iOS and Android phone app called jControl that operates the JWM9A system from your smartphone. Unfortunately, the current reviews for this app are abysmal citing numerous connectivity and usability issues. Hey Jensen, please fix your app. Thankfully, there are front controls and a remote that work just fine.
Under the television is yet more evidence that nuCamp went to the nines rethinking the possibilities for their 920. A large cabinet centrally located in a truck camper? Yes please!
And look what we found inside this cabinet; a welcome kit! The last time we saw something like this we were going to Disney World. Talk about a customer oriented organization. So what’s in the box?
A letter from Scott Hubble, CEO of nuCamp, a tactical flashlight, a digital thermometer and humidity meter, a combination bottle opener and 8GB USB drive with the owner’s manual, and a bar of earth friendly hair and body soap. Really guys, you had me with the flashlight.
Having the owners manual digitally on a USB drive is a really nice touch. I can see many folks putting this on their laptop, tablet, or phone for instant recall. Cirrus owners could also take the key to their nearest office supply store and get a manual printed and bound.
Continuing the descent the nuCamp creators added three drawers.
Let’s kill any doubt that nuCamp isn’t kicking out unbelievable quality right here. Stainless steel roller bearings? Check. Extruded aluminum drawer handles? Check.
Lite ply mortise and tenon drawers? Check. Amish craftsmanship? Check. Serious attention to detail? Check. Nobody does truck camper cabinetry like nuCamp. Nobody.
At the base of this impressive stack is a 110-volt GFI outlet and the propane and carbon monoxide detector. Allen and the nuCamp crew could have dropped the mic right here, but they were not done.
Still think the 920 is just a longer 820? Come meet the 920 kitchen.
Where the upper kitchen in the 820 has one cabinet and an enormous Samsung convection microwave, the 920 has two upper cabinets and an appropriately-sized 1.1 cubic foot HiPoint convection microwave.
In a truck camper, a second upper kitchen cabinet makes a world of difference for storing dry foods and dishes. I would like to see some kind of rack or divider system here to prevent food disorder. Mod-makers get set…
The 920 retains the large window of the 820 kitchen, but gains an elegant brushed stainless steel tile backsplash, additional white laminate countertop space, and a full-size two-burner Thetford cooktop.
The new two-burner Thetford XC200 cooktop, or optional XR17200 cooktop and oven (as shown) somehow perfectly matches the modern aesthetic of the Cirrus design, right down to the stainless oven handle. In my humble opinion, this is the most handsome cooktop and oven in all of truck camper-dom. If we replace the set in our project camper, this is what we would want.
Details like this are over the top, literally. Somewhere nuCamp sourced this sleek stainless steel range hood with built-in light and fan. Okay Allen, now you can drop the mic.
The single basin, stainless steel, flush mount sink is exactly the same unit from the 820. The size of this sink is well balanced for the available counter space, but might be a bit small for the largest residential pots and pans.
Mid-kitchen there’s a vertical stack of monitors, controls, and outlets. Top to bottom this includes the (1) Alde touch screen controller, (2) nuCamp combination touch screen tank monitor, battery monitor, and water pump switch, ceiling light, sink light, and accent light switch, (3) 12-volt outlet, and (4) 110-volt GFI outlet. This cutting-edge technology presentation is unlike anything we’ve seen in from another truck camper brand.
The Alde touch screen controls the Alde hydronic heating unit located under the forward-facing dinette seats. The Alde produces heat for both the central heating system and the hot water system. There is no separate furnace and water heater in a Cirrus truck camper. The Alde system performs both functions in one unit.
In addition to controlling the heat settings, the Alde touch screen also displays the outside temperature, offers a night-time mode, and allows for timed starting.
We have reported extensively about Alde hydronic heating system and recommend reading the previous Cirrus announcements for more information about this remarkable component.
The nuCamp touch screen includes the tank and battery monitors. Touching the screen switches between these two monitor displays. Cirrus uses SeeLevel gauges for significantly more accurate tank levels than traditional tank monitors provide.
We learned a lot opening the double cabinet doors under the kitchen sink. First, nuCamp filled the gap just inside the cabinet frame that concerned us on the 820 we reviewed in September of 2016.
Now this space is more functional for storage and a trash container. Since nuCamp is already into the details, why not provide a trash container? Knowing nuCamp, it would be sleek, modern, and text you when it’s full.
We also continue to be impressed with the fit and finish the Cirrus production team produces in places most customers will never notice. The PEX plumbing lines are color coded and secured to the wall for durability. The fittings are solid, well dressed, and as out of the way as possible to maximize storage.
Look closely (in the photo above) and you’ll also notice one of the Alde system heating convectors along the wall. This is impeccable work folks, as good or better than anything you’ll find in the RV industry.
The rest of the lower kitchen is nothing but drawers. Without a thought, we would put our silverware in the top drawer, utensils in the middle drawer, and oven mitts, towels, daily vitamins, and some everyday hand tools in the lower drawer. The drawer under the stove is perfection for a larger pan and various food containers.
This is what the right storage solution in the right place looks like. There are large multi-slide truck campers that have nowhere near this many usable drawers in the kitchen area. Again the materials, build quality, and design are nothing short of incredible.
When the final Cirrus 920 debuted, the Thetford Europe N3141 slimline, 5 cubic foot, three-way, gas absorption refrigerator and freezer made waves. The Cirrus 920 was the first RV of any type in the United States to incorporate this radically designed refrigerator.
By running nearly floor to ceiling, the N3141 allowed nuCamp to better utilize the available space, increase the counter width, and create a bonus pull-out pantry. The modern look of the N3141 also compliments the Cirrus interior aesthetic.
The lower drawer is not a freezer, but rather another refrigerator compartment intended for bottles and other large refrigerated items. The .5 cubic foot freezer is actually contained inside the main refrigerator area.
For now, our jury is out on the Thetford N3141. Is the additional counter space and pull-out pantry worth the lost cubic foot of refrigerated food storage and separate refrigerator and freezer doors offered by traditional 6-cubic foot refrigerators? I don’t think we’ll know until we have more experience with the N3141.
Some of the early feedback for the original Cirrus 800 reported that the camper interior was too dark. To help remedy this, nuCamp developed an centrally-mounted LED fixture.
Just forward of this lighting fixture is the standard 9,000 BTU Coleman Mach 8 Plus air conditioner. The Coleman Mach 8 series is well known to run on a 2,000-watt portable air conditioner. We have the original Mach 8 in our project camper and love it. The newer Mach 8 Plus is designed to be quieter.
After being immensely impressed with the kitchen, our immediate impressions of the dinette were not as favorable. The 20-inch by 25-inch table reminds me of those pub tables you’ll see at a bar; two beers and a pretzel bowl and it’s full. Unless breakfast is just two coffees and a banana, we’re in trouble before the day begins.
Above: I put my iPhone 7 on the table to show scale.
Thankfully, Cirrus also offers a full-size dinette table as well (not shown). You can see the full-size table in our Cirrus 820 review. The quality and versatility of the small table and Lagun table leg system are impressive, but I believe most folks would prefer a larger table in a hard side luxury truck camper like the Cirrus 820 and 920.
When we sat down, another more familiar concern registered. As we noted in our Cirrus 820 review, the dinette seats feel too low. And there’s still just 20-inches of width under the dinette seats for legs and feet. The rest of the leg and feet area is consumed by a large box protruding from the side wall. This effectively turns the dinette into a table for two.
With so many other facets of Cirrus leading the greater truck camper and RV industry, there are some missteps in the design of the dinette that need attention. The seat cushions are well made, and the huge insulated dinette window is beautiful, but the overall dimensions of the dinette table, seating, and legs-and-feet area need adjustment.
Once the Lagun table leg and seat cushions were removed, converting the 920 dinette into a bed platform was a piece of cake.
For whatever reason, I was unable to fit the dinette cushions flat to make a bed. In the 820 it was a very tight squeeze, but the cushions fit. In the 920, the cushions would not squeeze into place.
The Alde Compact 3010 component is installed under the forward facing dinette. As we discovered under the kitchen sink, the plumbing and electrical connections were all tight, well laid out, and secured for long term durability. This is excellent work and should make any future service or maintenance as straight forward as possible.
Under the rear facing dinette seat is where Cirrus installs the two standard 6-volt AGM batteries.
NuCamp selected two 6-volt AGM batteries for their superior amp-to-cost ratio compared to competing Group 27 or Group 31 AGM batteries. More on this later.
We were concerned to find the loose wire on the right. As is our policy, nuCamp is welcome to address this and anything else in this review in a Manufacturer’s Response.
Above the dinette are three pull-up cabinet doors opening to a large open storage space. The cabinet doors are held open by gas struts and stainless steel hardware giving the cabinets an impressive high-end look and feel. The cabinet face releases and drops down to create an overhead bunk. You can see the overhead bunk in action in our Cirrus 820 review.
The step up to the cabover features the 12-volt fuses and 110-volt converter. You can also see a 12-volt outlet under the rear facing dinette seat, a nice touch.
We need to give some serious kudos for the woven vinyl Infinity Flooring. This material was designed for high-traffic aviation, marine, and RV applications, and is exceptionally comfortable to walk on. It’s also stain resistant, antimicrobial, and comes with a 10 year limited UV fade warranty. It’s a big step-up from typical linoleum and avoids the dirt collecting issues of carpeting.
Under the cabover step we were delighted to see an easily accessible water pump with lots of room for future maintenance.
When a water pump fails, the camping generally stops. Having the water pump positioned for fast replacement keeps the vacation going. Nice work, nuCamp.
We were a bit perplexed when we discovered the solar panel controller and display also under the cabover step. The solar controller display should be in the main cabin area for daily monitoring.
There are times, especially when camping off-grid, when knowing the solar charging status is important. We check our solar controller regularly to see our volts, amps, and charging status.
Just look at this symmetrical cabover with two huge hampers, two penguin front cabinets, two two-door overhead cabinets, and windows on both sides! No side-versus-side storage discrepancies to trigger a spousal schism. Whichever side you get, you’re all set.
The two upper cabinets are calling all jeans and sweatshirts. Once folded, you should have more than enough room for these items, and room to spare.
The hampers underneath will swallow just about everything else; socks, underpants, T-shirts, shorts, and belt or two. We also store books and tablets in our camper’s hampers. We love reading at the end of a truck camping day.
I can see the mod makers among us adding dividers to give even more versatility to this huge honking hamper space. And personally, I would like to see that fancy Infinity flooring in here to give the hamper interior a more finished appearance.
The front penguin cabinets are relatively small, but might be the best designed penguin cabinets we’ve ever seen in a truck camper. Far too many front penguin cabinets (which look like the flightless birds when stood on factory floors) are just big empty spaces with deep floors, no shelving, and lots of wasted space. Not these penguins.
The nuCamp design team has integrated a well-placed shelf, made sure the lower floor isn’t too deep, and kept the length reasonable. This all translates to a more useful storage space with less waste. This is the kind of design work that makes us swoon.
And we keep swooning as we open the two bonus storage compartments in the forward nose of the camper. With all of the other storage compartments in the cabover, what in the world does the nuCamp crew think we’re going to keep here? An extra flashlight? My Jerry Garcia ties? Harley’s Harley Davidson cat collar collection? Ab-so-lutely!
Front and center at the tip of the cabover nose, nuCamp has installed a 110-volt outlet, one 12-volt outlet, and two USB outlets. These outlets and their location are pure perfection for anyone who uses a CPAP machine or wants to charge a phone or tablet overnight. This is excellent.
That’s not double vision you’re experiencing, there are actually two Jensen HDTV televisions in this camper. It wasn’t long ago that just having one HDTV in a truck camper was a big deal. Now having two HDTVs is like, “Yeah, big deal.”
Can both televisions be on at the same time? Can you watch a Star Trek DVD in the dinette while your wife watches The Great British Baking Show over-the-air on PBS in the cabover? Why not three HDTVs so the cat can watch Animal Planet?
When nuCamp debuted the Cirrus 800, they also introduced the truck camping universe to the Froli bedding system. Through a series of square-shaped springs, the Froli system elevates and supports the top mattress, much like a domestic box spring.
This elevation allows for airflow under the mattress avoiding condensation and permits the Alde heating system space to properly heat the cabover. Having experienced cabover condensation ourselves (we solved it with Hypervent), the Froli system is a very clever solution.
Looking back, the 2018 Cirrus 920 is a very impressive camper. nuCamp has made tremendous strides with their long bed model pushing the edge of truck camper art forward on multiple fronts. Now let’s dig into the specifications, capacities, and weight and see how the rest of this camper measures up.
|Dry Weight||2,905 pounds|
|Wet Weight*||3,900 pounds|
|Center of Gravity||43″ without a generator|
45″ with a generator
|Truck Type||Long Bed|
Truck Camper Magazine has visited the nuCamp factory and the Cirrus production line three times. During those visits we were extremely impressed with their team, quality, and quality control, but did not see scales at the end of the Cirrus production line.
Truck Camper Magazine would like to encourage nuCamp to purchase an Intercomp scale system; specifically the SW500 E-Z (wired) or SW888RFX (wireless). Intercomp scales are exceedingly accurate and reliable, have become something of a standard in the truck camper marketplace, and will allow nuCamp to weigh each Cirrus camper once completed.
As the manufacturer of [email protected] and [email protected] trailers, nuCamp has scales at the factory and likely weighed a representative 920 using these scales. For this reason, we believe the cited base dry weight of the Cirrus 920 is accurate at 2,905 pounds.
In the context of this dry weight, it’s important to remember the extensive standard feature list included with Cirrus 820 and 920 truck campers. These standard features are incorporated into the base dry weight and include an 8-foot power awning, insulated windows, Fantastic Fan, Coleman Mach 8 Plus air conditioner, keyless entry, convection microwave, 24-inch HDTV and CD/DVD/bluetooth audio-video system, and more. Many of these features are optional on competitive units.
The 10’1” floor length of the Cirrus 920 is excellent for those who want a long bed truck camper, but still want to tow. According to our 2018 Reader Survey results, 68.7-percent of truck campers tow something; boats, utility trailers, ATVs, horses, and more. If that’s you, the 10’1” floor length of 920 is in the towing sweet spot. Just make sure to consider the Cirrus 920’s rear bumper in your hitch extension calculations.
Above: nuCamp designed their own aluminum bumper step for the 820 and 920 models
Compared to similar floor plans from direct competitors, the Cirrus 920 has a narrower width. In some cases, the 920 is actually a full foot narrower compared to its peers. This is generally not evident when inside the 920, and has the added benefit of reducing the overall weight, and improving the side-mirror visibility when driving a Cirrus rig.
Standing at 6’3” tall, I really appreciated the 6’6” height of the Cirrus 920 interior. This height was also appreciated in the wet bath where I could fully stand, and cabover area where I could fully sit up during the photography session.
NuCamp lists two center of gravities for its 920 model; 43-inches without a generator, and 45-inches with a generator. This is a great example of how options, option weight, and the position of options in the camper can change the center of gravity of a truck camper. For the 920, just adding a generator moved the center of gravity two inches back.
It’s becoming increasingly common for truck camper manufacturers to specify their truck campers as both long or short bed compatible. All too often, this translates to campers that match long beds well, but can be a fit, payload, and center of gravity challenge for many short beds.
Thankfully, nuCamp has not taken this approach with their Cirrus 820 and 920. The 820 is a short bed only model, and the 920 is a long bed only model. The 820 and 920 are thus optimized for their intended truck bed lengths including fit compatibility, weight, center of gravity.
As a consumer, you’re still responsible for a proper truck and camper match, but that goes for all truck campers. Lucky for you, we have an article titled, “How To Match A Truck and Camper”. Please do not buy a truck camper before reading this essential Newbie Corner article.
|Water Heater||1 gallon|
|Propane Tanks||2x 20 pounds|
The tank, propane, and battery capacities of the Cirrus 920 are exactly the same as the Cirrus 820. While it’s somewhat disappointing that the long bed 920 did not receive larger holding tanks, the 920 remains competitive and well balanced with 38 gallons of fresh, 32 gallons of grey, 18 gallons of black, two 20-pound propane tanks, and two batteries.
Above: The service center on the Cirrus 920 including the dump valves, low water drains, and battery disconnect
Where the Cirrus 820 capacities came out on top of its short bed competitors, the 920 faces stiffer long bed competition. If a competitor has a larger fresh tank, the 920 might beat it for grey or black, and vice versa. Taken as a whole, the 920 capacities are not marketplace leading, but hold their own against the competition striking a smart balance.
The 920’s holding tanks should last approximately 5-6 days of off-grid camping. Take a shower every other day, use only paper plates, and use the bushes and it’s possible to push that time limit to 9 days, or better. Been there. Done that.
Nearly the entire hard side truck camping marketplace – including the Cirrus 820 and 920 models – have moved to two 20-pound vertical propane tanks. This is a change we have strongly supported as the size, weight, and exchangeable ubiquity of 20-pound vertical tanks is simply unbeatable.
Challenging the nearly universal standard of two Group 27 batteries, Cirrus has opted for two 6-volt AGM batteries as standard for the Cirrus 920. When we asked why they selected two 6-volt AGMs versus 12-volt batteries, Allen Miller, nuCamp’s Director of Research and Development explained, “Two 6-volt batteries offered the best amp hours with less weight and cost compared to 12-volt batteries. Those were the deciding factors.”
The 6-volt versus 12-volt battery debate would require far too many electrons for this review. Thankfully, nuCamp side steps the argument by offering 12-volt Group 27 AGM batteries for those who would prefer 12-volt batteries in their 920. You must use sealed AGM batteries in this design.
At 14 3/4” x 13 3/4” x 10 ½” the battery area should be big enough for two Group 31 AGMs – what we use in our camper. That said, always take measurements before committing to a battery purchase. We bought ours at an Interstate store and did a dry fit first.
Wet Weight Calculation
Let’s run the numbers on the 2018 Cirrus 920.
Base Dry Weight – option-loaded as standard
Cirrus 920: dry weight, 2,905 pounds + 38 gallons fresh, 316.9 pounds + 1 gallon full hot water heater, 8.3 pounds + 2x 20-pound full propane tank, 40 pounds + 2 batteries, 130 pounds + stuff, 500 pounds = 3,900.2 pounds
Base Dry Weight – option-loaded as standard, plus review unit options
When we opened the rear closet on the 2018 Cirrus 920, we found the interior weight sticker complete with the delineated option weights. Thank you, nuCamp, for including this information.
All totaled, the options weigh an additional 292 pounds. Adding this option weight to the base dry weight, we get a dry-with-options weight of 3,196 pounds. Let’s run the 920 numbers again with this weight.
Cirrus 920: dry weight, 3,196 pounds + 38 gallons fresh, 316.9 pounds + 1 gallon full hot water heater, 8.3 pounds + 2x 20-pound full propane tank, 40 pounds + 2 batteries, 130 pounds + stuff, 500 pounds = 4,192.2 pounds
How about 4,192.2 pounds for a fully-loaded and seriously well optioned luxury long bed truck camper? That’s incredible! It’s also a very welcome alternative to the multi-slide flagship campers that are pushing well past 6,000 pounds.
In this payload range, we can safely talk about one-ton single rear wheel trucks. We recently spec’d out a 2018 Ford F350 XLT 4×4 Super Cab Long Bed single rear-wheel with an impressive 4,710 pounds of payload. This Ford would have no less than 517.8 pounds of extra payload with the well-optioned 920 review unit.
Of course this truck required Ford’s 11,500 pound GVWR, a Super Cab, and some very careful package and option selection. In other words, you’re not going to find this truck on a dealer lot – it’s a special order. Ram, Chevy, and GMC also offer one-ton trucks capable of proper payload matching to the fully-optioned 920, but they too will be special order trucks. Just be very careful with heavy options like diesel engines, upgraded transmissions, and luxury packages.
A quicker and easier truck recommendation would be nearly any late model one-ton dually. In the case of our 2014 Ram 3500 (5,851 pounds of payload), you would have 1,659 pounds of extra payload with the Cirrus 920. With the base model, you would have 1,950.8 pounds of payload room. That’s just 49.2 pounds shy of a ton!
That’s a stunning amount of spare capacity for towing and/or upgrading to a possibly heavier truck camper in the future. Beyond the addition of Torklift Upper StableLoads, a late model dually truck would need no aftermarket suspension products and would handle like a dream. Can you tell what gets our vote? Go big. You’ll thank us later.
After rocking the truck camper universe with the Cirrus 800, nuCamp listened carefully to the truck camping community on what they did right, and what needed improvement.
Feedback in hand, they punched out nearly every suggestion – one by one – and debuted the heavily evolved and highly competitive Cirrus 820. Marketplace success followed, but what about a long bed version?
A similar process occurred with the 920, only this time nuCamp started with the refined 820, and produced a long bed prototype. Once again, they gathered feedback, made a punch list, and executed with precision. And somewhere along the way, they decided to kick things up a notch. If anything, the Cirrus 920 is even more impressive than the 820 that proceeded it.
Despite all the superlatives in this review, there remains a few areas that need further design attention. Specifically, the dinette seats are too low, and the box underneath the table consumes far too much feet and leg room. Your personal opinion may vary, but this has been our personal takeaway since we first encountered the 800. Love the camper, minus the dinette.
On balance, we would not change a thing in the cabover of 920 (or 820). The balance and passenger to driver’s side storage symmetry is simply perfection. There are very few truck camper cabovers that reflect this level of storage sensibility and design refinement.
The 920’s kitchen is equally remarkable with a modern aesthetic and care for design that belongs more in Dwell Magazine (or Architectural Digest for that matter) than an RV. We’re still not sure about the new Thetford N3141 refrigerator, but will hold ultimate judgement when we’ve had more experience with the unit.
Which brings me to a problem we need to resolve at Truck Camper Magazine. While we have spent days at the nuCamp factory on the Cirrus production line, and been through multiple Cirrus 800, 820, and 920 units, we have not actually camped in a Cirrus truck camper. With that experience we would learn about the day to day realities of the Froli system, Alde system, and other unique design, material, and component choices of the Cirrus truck camper line. This is a priority for 2018.
The 920 makes an strong case for the most cutting edge non-slide truck camper on the planet. It’s no wonder it won TCM’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Award for Best Truck Camper last year. Our next step is to see how all this adds up in the field. We can’t wait.
All-aluminum, composite, and fully-laminated walls, floor, and roof
Fit and finish throughout is exceptional; wiring, plumbing, cabinetry, and beyond
New in-house cabinetry features impeccable quality, hardware, and design
Cutting-edge technology; Alde hydronic, touch screen monitors, SeeLevel, Froli, etc.
Built-in generator option and competitive holding tank, propane, and battery capacities
Impressive quantity and quality of standard features – see review
With a $39,533 base MSRP, the Cirrus 920 is a premium-priced luxury camper
Dinette seating is low with limited leg-feet space; optional larger table is recommended
Fold-down wet bath sink is almost all bowl and no counter top
Solar controller and generator controls should be centrally located
We were unable to make the dinette cushions into a bed
N3141 refrigerator decision is questionable. 6-cubic foot model might be preferable
2018 Cirrus 920
Warranty: One Year Warranty
Quality, Customer Service, and Long-Term Reliability
Truck Camper Magazine inspects all reviewed truck campers for design, material, and quality issues and reports what we find. However, since Truck Camper Magazine reviews only brand new truck campers, our reviews do not address long-term quality, customer service, or reliability.
To learn about a brand’s long-term quality, customer service, and reliability, Truck Camper Magazine recommends talking directly with truck camper owners at truck camper rallies and online via truck camper forums and truck camper owners groups.
Please be sure to balance your gathered feedback across multiple sources including direct correspondence with the truck camper manufacturers and your closest truck camper dealers. If you are new to truck campers, please start in the Newbie Corner.