Let’s check out the 2012 Lance 825. Smart design? Check. No slide-outs? Check. Good looks? Check. Storage? Well, yes and no…
Text and photos by Jeff Johnston, Pictures & Words Productions
Fade in: A lone figure, not exactly slender, stands in the deserted street of a dusty western town. Cut to a closeup on his face, and he says, “This camper ain’t big enough for both me AND my camera…”
Okay, in fact there is more than enough space inside the 2012 Lance 825 truck camper for both me and my camera, but my size combined with the lack of any slide-out-enhanced space created some interesting bodily convolutions while trying to shoot those broad interior scenes and simultaneously staying out of the camera’s view. Such convolutions are not part of normal camper use!
The 2012 Lance 825, at 1,730 pounds dry weight, is the smallest slide-in camper model in the Lance catalog. Lance describes the 825 as being, “light enough to fit on a Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, or F-150/1500 Series short six-foot bed.”
That’s a tall order, considering the modest gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of some 1/2-ton-sized trucks, and the potential and tendency of people to load down their rigs with masses of cargo when prepping for a camper outing. However, if any Lance model has a fighting chance at making a non-overloaded match up with a half ton, it’s the 825. Just be sure to use our, Matching a Truck and Camper system when designing your lash-up.
Above: Holy retro, Batman! It’s a normal-sized camper that fits a normal-size truck! And a good looking one, at that.
In addition to its relatively compact size, the Lance 825 also carries a modest $16,337 base MSRP. That’s a pretty decent starting point compared to the stickers that we’re accustomed to seeing on today’s lavishly-equipped campers. Even in its nicely-equipped state, the 2012 Lance 825 we viewed topped out at $21,629 MSRP, still a bargain in today’s world of $30 and $40K-plus truck campers.
Although it is a lightweight, relatively speaking, the 825 is still built to the usual Lance quality standards. It’s framed entirely with aluminum, employs polystyrene foam insulation throughout, and features laminated construction. Lance uses a variety of weight-saving but sturdy construction methods for its cabinets, countertops, and the like to pull all the weight out they can without compromising strength or durability. The roof is one-piece TPO rubber and the exterior is laminated smooth fiberglass making the camper as sleek and contemporary as any on the market.
We spent a bit of time in our example 2012 Lance 825 model at Guaranty RV Center in Junction City, Oregon. It’s not hard to spot the 825 sitting on the dealer’s lot. It almost looks downsized compared to its bulked-up multi-slide-out brethren. In general appearance, the 825 is a return to the earlier pre-slide-out days of truck camping. It measures a trim 16-feet 6-inches long with an 8-foot 6-inch floor length, a feature of its design for short bed trucks, and about 7-feet 6-inches tall off the truck.
Campers with slide-outs tend to have raised floor levels, sometimes as high as the truck bed rails, to accommodate the slide-out design requirements. Combined with full-clearance interior ceiling heights, some campers present incredibly tall profiles that seem to overwhelm their pickup partners. Not so with the 825! It seems it would fit its pickup hauler in a well-balanced way that would be less intimidating to some less-adventurous drivers, yet it still offers a full 6-foot 6-inch interior headroom.
The camper’s curbside exterior is smooth and adorned with nothing but a pair of external speakers. Optional wireless-remote jacks make the mounting and dismounting job easier.
Above left: A propane-line quick-disconnect fitting is tucked into the upper corner of the propane cylinder compartment. Middle: There are a few semi-fragile plumbing lines in exposed spots the user should be careful about, but the two exterior storage compartments can handle a decent quantity of hoses, level blocks and other hardware that you’d rather not have inside. Right: The driver’s side compartments closed up for travel.
The street side is where all the interesting stuff is positioned, including the single 20-pound propane tank, water heater panel, 30 gallon fresh water fill, and external shower. Interestingly, there’s also a pair of generous-sized storage compartments in the rear corner, which represents more outside storage space than we’ve seen in some larger campers. Very impressive.
An optional roof access ladder and optional rear-wall awning adorn the rig’s aft end. That awning is a must-have for us because it’s entirely worth the cost. We really appreciate being able to climb into the camper without the rain chasing us inside. Entry is via a fold-down step assembly that may also call for an extra ground-level step or block if the camper is on a taller model pickup.
Above: Exterior plumbing compartment with dump valves
In the lower-right corner there’s a small door accessing the tight and somewhat cluttered compartment with grey and black water dump valves, a winterizing hose, low-point fresh-tank drain hoses, plus tank level sensor wires running all over the place. An owner would want to rearrange the clutter to provide clear access to the dump valves and avoid having to work through the obstructions with each dump station visit.
Above: Interior of the Lance 825 with the Rain Forest theme