Truck Camper Magazine reviews a Palomino Maverick 8801 in the middle of a torrential rain storm in Albany, Oregon. If only we had a baloney sandwich.
I love the sound of rain on an aluminum RV roof. Listening to the sound of an Oregon coastal storm on the roof of my family’s Red Ball “canned ham” trailer, parked at Beverly Beach State Park back in the 60s, was one of my favorite parts of camping. I’m sure it brought fear to my parents as they envisioned the five of us cooped up in our fifteen-foot RV if the storm continued by day.
Flash forward a few years. An aggressive Oregon almost-tropical storm blustered and dumped rain as I spent time inside a 2012 Maverick 8801 by Palomino RV. The camper shimmied and shook on its legs, and the small front-wall window protected by the cabover was also getting blasted with rain, to give you an idea how the storm was progressing. Shooting the interior photos was easy, getting outdoors for the rest would be another matter.
Our hosts for the day, Lassen RV in Albany, Oregon, had thoughtfully positioned the camper so I could shoot all four sides relatively unobstructed, but the weather was putting a damper on that part of the job for now. Back inside, the camper’s EPDM rubber roof was muffling the raindrops, but the plastic lid on the large over-bed escape hatch delivered enough rain sound to add a pleasing ambiance to the unit.
With a baloney sandwich on utterly generic white bread, lukewarm grape Kool-Aid in hand, plus the smell of a propane-fired gas lamp burning over the dinette, I could have easily been transported back to those days of youth.
Short bed, long living
Campers designed for use on short bed trucks are all the rage today. That makes sense considering the popularity of short bed pickups among recreational users. The 8801 from Palomino RV is an interesting and fun addition to those offerings.
The weight label on the 8801 says 2,315 pounds, not counting any added options, cargo and so on, so a heavy-duty truck, like a 2500 series or better, would be a best match for this camper. Even without any slide-out room weight, this camper will pack on a few pounds when it’s ready to go and it’s never a good idea to under plan when it comes to the camper-hauling pickup selection. According to the TCM Buyers Guide, the Palomino Maverick 8801 is 3,302 pounds wet and loaded.
A break in the rain gave me a chance to jump outside and blast a few exteriors even as the next grey wall of doom approached from the southwest.
This is one clean, smart-looking camper. It’s not excessively tall, long or wide and its smooth fiberglass skin is decorated with just the right touch of today’s fashion in RV graphics. The black and white plus greyscale graphics would be an easy match for most of the popular truck colors out there.
The unit we examined included the optional Rieco-Titan electric jacks ($1,145.50) that look good and held the camper very steady, even with my bulk thrashing about inside while the wind blasted the exterior.
Curbside details include a pair of external speakers, the refrigerator service access panel, a compartment housing dual 20-pound LP cylinders and a security light. The optional awning ($536.50) would be a must-have option for us, as is the optional rear-wall awning ($587.25). The compartment door in the lower wing-wall provides a pass-through means of reaching hardware behind the wing wall as opposed to accessing a storage compartment.
An optional rear bumper ($522.00) with a non-slip top surface adds a touch of impact protection to the rig. It works in conjunction with the optional four-step entry step ($287.10) to enable camper access, and the swing-out grab handle helps add stability to the climb. While the over-door awning isn’t huge, it’s enough to keep the rain off while using the entry door.
Over on the street side wall, the electric and water hookups, water fill, furnace vents, exterior shower, and water heater access panel decorate the area.
On this side, the lower wing-wall access door opens to reveal the black and grey water dump valves and sewage hose connection. This area is completely not insulated and open to the air so use of this camper feature in extra-cold weather will be challenging at best. The plumbing and adjacent effluvia will be frozen hard as a carp if the temperatures plunge seriously. A few wraps of plumbing heat tape that plugs in to shore power would make this feature winter functional, but it would also tie the user to a shore-power pole in an electric hookup campsite.
In addition to helping you enter the camper, that optional rear bumper also doubles as a dump hose storage spot. There are no exterior storage compartments for anything else on this camper so you’ll need to shift for yourself in that regard.
On first entering the 8801, we’re standing in a small alcove between the curbside refrigerator and opposing street side wet bath. Even without being supported by the truck bed, the floor feels really solid underfoot, and that’s saying something considering the load I place on it. The standard steel floor framing element helps with that secure sensation. Aluminum framing along with polystyrene insulation and the laminated fiberglass exterior skin round out the bulk of the rig’s construction features.