I’m always pleased to see an easy-to-access exterior battery compartment, but it’s disappointing to see capacity for only one Group 27 battery on a slide-out truck camper. A possible solution to this is to install something like Torklift International’s Hidden Power under your truck. In my opinion, slide-out truck campers need at least two Group 27 batteries.
The majority of truck camper manufacturers have switched to the common vertical 20-pound propane tanks. Not only are 20-pound vertical tanks easy to exchange, but they’re also relatively easy to lift and install.
The Rugged Mountain Polar 860 has two 20-pound horizontal tanks. These will not be exchangeable requiring the owner to locate propane filling stations as they travel.
We have 20-pound horizontal tanks in our project camper and have had minimal issues locating propane on the road. Sometimes a propane station is a bit out of the way, but that’s something we are accustomed to. We also prefer having control over the quality of the propane tank (we bought ours from Manchester Tank) compared to the exchanged tanks.
Under the entry door is a pull-out drawer that pulls out, and out, and out. It darn near runs the length of the basement making it perfect for fishing polls, skis, and other long items. Seriously, this drawer is long!
We have a plastic drawer in our camper basement we call the “Toboggan”. We use the toboggan for all kinds of things including caulking supplies and exterior camper cleaning tools. It’s a fantastic and highly useful storage space.
The sewer compartment on the 860 Polar is located on the rear of the camper behind a compartment door. This area is heated for four-season camping, and convenient to access.
With the mouth of the sewer located inside the unit, owners will need to make sure the sewer hose is tightly installed before pulling the handle. We made that mistake once and now we always check the hose fitting twice and pull the black tank valve.
Well look at that! The water heater is located in the rear driver’s side – right where the shower is located. This means it won’t take fifteen-seconds of wasted water before the hot water shows up. Seeing the water heater located with the bathroom is pure poetry.
Inside the camper continued to impress. The floor plan isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, but materials, fit, and finish were very good for a value-priced unit.
The full-booth dinette featured attractive fabrics, sturdy cushions, and strong stitching. The seat cushions were a tad stiff, but should become more comfortable over time.
The table size was excellent for meals, map work, and dueling laptops, but the leg room was somewhat restricted by the two-post table. The inside of the slide was also a tad low for me to sit, so I sat towards the middle, and moved my feet away from the table’s legs.
Rugged Mountain has chosen not to have a full-wall slide-out. This means the dinette is on a slide, but the refrigerator is not. Personally, I like this approach as the refrigerator can ventilate through the camper’s sidewall and roof (as designed), and will not require noisy fans.