Rugged Mountain RV announces the 2019 Rugged Mountain Granite 9RL, an 8’11” hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper for long or short bed trucks. The 9RL features the Best Truck Camper Innovation of 2018, and it’s a tow machine.
70-percent of Truck Camper Magazine’s readership tows something. Would you believe over 38-percent tow a boat? That’s a over one-third of our readership. There’s a reason why our tagline is, “Go Anywhere. Camp Anywhere. Tow Anything.” That’s what we do.
There’s an important design element to consider when putting together a truck camper set-up for towing; hangovers. Whoops! I mean overhangs. The overhang of a truck camper is the length of a camper that extends past the tailgate opening. The longer the overhang, the longer the required hitch extension for towing.
As you know from reading, “How To Tow With a Truck Camper Rig”, the longer the hitch extension, the lower your towing capacity. For this reason, the sweet spot of truck camper floor length for towing is generally between 8 and 10-feet. Ask most hard-side truck camper dealers and manufacturers which models are their best sellers and you’ll find they’re within this floor length range.
Which brings us to the subject of this announcement; Rugged Mountain’s new 2019 Granite 9RL. In short, the 9RL is a Granite 11RL, minus two-feet of floor length. With a floor length of 8’11”, the 9RL actually beats the desired towing sweet spot by an inch. Even better, the center of gravity of the 9RL is 30.25-inches from the front wall.
So there you have it. If you love the award-winning tiny-home interior of Rugged Mountain’s Granite series, and you are among the 70-percent of truck campers who tow, the Granite 9RL was designed and built for you. It’s a towing machine, with award-winning tiny-home flair.
To dig into the back story and details of the 2019 Granite 9RL, we contacted Jesse Collinsworth, Co-Owner of Rugged Mountain RV.
2019 Rugged Mountain Granite 9RL Specifications:
The 2019 Rugged Mountain Granite 9RL is a hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper made for short or long bed trucks. The interior floor length of the 2019 Rugged Mountain Granite 9RL is 8’11”, the interior height is 6’6”, and the center of gravity is 30.25”.
The 2019 Granite 9RL has a 30-gallon fresh tank, a 38-gallon grey tank, a 24-gallon black tank, and a 6-gallon hot water heater. It can accommodate two Group 27 batteries and has two 20-pound propane tanks.
Rugged Mountain is reporting the base weight of the 2019 Granite 9RL at 3,459 pounds. The introductory MSRP for the 2019 Rugged Mountain Granite 11RL is $38,270.
Above: The new 2019 Rugged Mountain Granite 9RL for long and short bed trucks. All photography courtesy of Rugged Mountain RV.
Rugged Mountain RV won Best Truck Camper Innovation of 2018 with the Granite 11RL tiny-home interior. Have you made any changes to the tiny-home interior design for 2019?
The tiny-home interior of the 2019 Granite 11RL was dialed-in when we showcased our line at the Elkhart Open House this past September. The only change we have made since is to the tile backsplash in the kitchen.
On the prototype and first run of the 11RL campers we used tile and mortar. To reduce weight, we are now using a residential-quality sticky-back tile. The sticky-back tile is significantly lighter and a lot more flexible. The look is fantastic.
The rest of the Granite tiny-home interior is exactly the same. We didn’t want to change the interior that just won Best Truck Camper Innovation of 2018.
When the Granite 11RL debuted last year, nobody knew how the tiny-home look would be accepted within the truck camper market. Then RV Pro awarded it a Best In Show at the Elkhart Open House, and our readers gave it a Best Truck Camper Innovation award. What do you think is behind the tiny-home appeal?
It’s the feeling of a high quality residential home. When you compare a Granite truck camper to a mass-produced RV, the Granite’s interior feels like a well-built home, not a mass produced RV with cheap materials.
That’s what I believe caught the attention of the team at RV Pro, and what Truck Camper Magazine readers responded to.
We have received very positive feedback about the Granite 11RL being a non-slide floor plan. People who are tired of the weight and problems of slide-outs are consistently amazed at how roomy the 11RL and the new 9RL feel. When you’re in the unit, you don’t missing a slide-out. It’s a very open and bright design.
Let’s turn our attention to the 2019 Granite 9RL. Is the 9RL a short bed only camper, or can it also fit long bed trucks?
The Granite 9RL can fit both long and short bed trucks. If the 9RL is equipped with a built-in generator, it will only fit short beds. Long bed owners can always opt for a portable 2,000-watt generator.
Many truck camper owners actually prefer the versatility of portable generators. Other than the shorter floor length, what distinguishes these two campers?
The biggest differences between the two campers are the length, weight, dry versus wet bath, and the mid-camper storage.
Everything else is exactly the same. The cabovers and kitchen/dinette areas are identical in both campers. In the Granite 9RL, we eliminated the wardrobe closet of the 11RL and created a recessed spice rack in the kitchen.
Tell us about the wet bath in the 9RL. It appears to be a full fiberglass stall.
It is a full fiberglass wet bath. It’s the same wet bath that we use in our Polar slide-out truck camper line. The wet bath stall is a hold-over from Northland and is made in Caldwell, Idaho, about a mile from the factory. The same company makes our fiberglass nose caps.
The decision between the Granite 9RL and Granite 11RL really comes down to the payload capacity of your truck. The 11RL is about 300-pounds more. That can be a lot when matching a truck and camper. The center of gravity on the 9RL is also more truck friendly 30.25-inches. That’s another big difference when matching.
The Granite 9RL gets a 5-cubic foot refrigerator and the 11RL gets a 7-cubic foot refrigerator. Why did the refrigerator size need to change between the two models?
We had to install a smaller refrigerator in the 9RL because the propane tanks had to be placed under it. In the 11RL the propane tanks are under the wardrobe. I t’s amazing how much two-feet in length can change a truck camper design.
Some might assume removing two-feet from a camper design is no big deal. Was it challenging designing the 9RL?
It was more challenging than I had anticipated, but it was not as hard as designing and developing the Granite 11RL. We needed to move the propane tanks and find a new location for the jack controller. That necessitated reconfiguring the mid-ship storage and refrigerator compartment.
The fiberglass wet bath also presented some change requirements. The water heater in the Granite 11RL is under the sink. In the 9RL it had to fit under the shower. In the 11RL the power panel is under the steps, and in the 9RL it is under the seat. Everything works extremely well in the 9RL, but it took some engineering.
Let’s take a step back. Why did you build the Granite 9RL?
When we launched the Granite 11RL, some dealers and consumers loved the concept and tiny-home look, but thought it was too big. It was suggested to us that a smaller version would be more successful, and that a big dry bath wasn’t essential. That’s why we designed and built the 9RL.
Another benefit of the shorter 9RL is towing. Not everyone wants a long extension to tow a trailer. The 11RL requires a 3-foot extension to tow, which drops your towing capacity down dramatically. The 9RL will not require a long towing extension.
Have you made any changes to the way you are building Granite truck campers?
We just changed to LaSalle Bristol XTRM PLY PVC for our roofs. It’s truly unmatched for strength, requires no maintenance, has high reflectivity, and an incredible 15-year warranty. It’s a much higher quality roof than you’ll find on our competition. That’s the only significant change we have made to our construction for 2019.
What are the available interior fabric choices for 2019?
For both the 9RL and 11RL we offer grey, purple, green and turquoise. Not everyone likes the bolder colors, so we offer the subdued grey. They all look fantastic.
What type of windows are standard; single or thermal pane?
Single pane windows are standard. Dual-pane windows are an option. About 75-percent of the dealers order the Granite models with dual-pane windows.
How did you put the same-size holding tanks in both the 11RL and 9RL; 36-gallons fresh, 38-gallons grey, and 24-gallons black?
The basement layout didn’t change that much. We moved the tanks forward on the 9RL to accommodate the shorter floor length and improve the center of gravity.
All of our models have fishing pole drawers in the basement. The Granite 9RL has a shorter 5-foot long drawer because the camper is shorter. The 11RL is much longer which gives you a much longer fishing drawer.
Both Granites offer class-leading interior storage capacity.
How many batteries does the Granite 9RL have, and where are they located?
The 9RL battery box can fit two deep cycle Group-27 batteries. They are located in the rear passenger’s wing area in an exterior compartment.
What are the propane tank sizes in the 9RL?
The 9RL has two 5-gallon horizontal propane tanks with gauges located under the refrigerator on the passenger’s side.
Where are the low water drains and battery disconnect?
Access to the low water drains is under the bench seats on the 9RL. The battery disconnect is standard on all models and is located where the tank access door is, so it’s easily accessible on the rear of the camper.
Earlier you said the hot water heater had to be moved. Is it still easily accessible for maintenance and water heater bypass?
It can be accessed from removing the top of the table seat and also from inside the bathroom from the toilet paper door.
Can the optional air conditioner run on a portable Honda EU2000i generator?
Yes, the Dometic Penguin II low profile runs on a portable 2,000-watt generator.
Are there any new options for the 2019 Granite 9RL?
The 9RL has the same option list as the 11RL; dual pane windows, electric rear awning with LED lights, and a 170-watt Zamp panel. All of those options are very popular on the Granite campers.
What does the 2019 Granite 9RL weigh with standard build features?
It weighs 3,459 pounds base. With the above mentioned options, the fully-loaded weight comes to 3,760-pounds.
Where is the center of gravity on the 2019 Granite 9RL?
It’s 30.25-inches from the front wall.
What is the MSRP for the 2019 Granite 9RL with standard build features?
The MSRP for the Granite 9RL is $38,270.
What is the warranty for the 2019 Granite 9RL?
We have a 2-year structural warranty. The new PVC roof has a 15-year warranty and the appliances have their own warranties.
When will the 2019 Granite 9RL be available?
The 9RL is currently being built and shipped. We already have about ten units on dealer lots. If you want to see a Granite 9RL or 11RL, contact us and we’ll point you to the closest dealer that has them in stock.
Should we be looking for any additional announcements from Rugged Mountain in 2019? Anything in development?
Yes. We are in the works to design and build a lighter and less expensive camper. This will be an entirely new model targeting the half-ton marketplace.
Beyond truck campers, I am also working on 12-foot and 20-foot travels trailers that will feature the Granite tiny-home interior. Our dealers are very excited about all three models we have in development.
This past December, Rugged Mountain debuted the 2019 updates for the Polar 990 and 860 slide-out models including bigger holding tanks. How are the Polar models performing for Rugged Mountain?
Overall, Rugged Mountain truck camper sales started off slow, but they’re definitely picking up with the 2019 RV show season. Keep in mind this is the first year our Granite and Polar truck campers have been in-stock at dealers and getting in front of customers at RV shows.
We are going to as many RV shows as we can to support our dealers and meet potential customers. It’s been amazing to see how the Granites and Polars have been received in the different parts of the country. For example, the response in Denver to the Granites was exceptional. We expect several to be on order in the coming weeks from that show.
In Portland, the response to the Granite was strong, but the sales favored the Polars. In Spokane, the interest was almost entirely towards the Polar models, but the Granite still had serious interest. What’s important is that the campers are available at dealerships now and we are getting them in front of the customers. It’s been a lot of fun.
As a passionate truck camper owner myself, I personally look over every Rugged Mountain truck camper that goes out the door. Compared to our corporate-owned competition, we are a relatively-small family-owned company. As the owner, I am 100-percent focused on quality and customer service. That’s how our quality surpasses what they can produce. We truly care about what we build and ship.
In September, we walked away with a Best of Show from RV Pro at the Elkhart Open House, the biggest and most important RV industry event of the year. In December, we were elated to win Best Truck Camper Innovation of 2018 from Truck Camper Magazine. Our team is very proud of of these accolades. If you’re in the market for a truck camper, you’re going to be surprised by the quality, design, and value of Rugged Mountain RV.