Palomino RV debuts the 2022 Palomino HS-2912, a 10-foot 8-inch, hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper with side entry, a huge fold-down rear patio and an outside entertainment system.
With the announcement of the 2022 Palomino HS-2912, the 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards for Innovation of the Year has become a lot more competitive. At first blush, Palomino’s new non-slide is the first production camper to have two doors, the first to feature a side-entry Moryde StepAbove system, the first to have a pull-down patio system and the first to have an outside entertainment center with a television and refrigerator. You may have seen these features as mods in our contests, but never on a production model.
While the specific innovations are exciting, we are not surprised by the source. Over the past decade, the Palomino truck camper team debuted the first automotive-style front windshields, the first production application of Line-X, the first exterior charge port, and a number of boundary-pushing rear bumper designs. Palomino may be a budget-oriented brand, but they are not afraid to push the truck camper concept.
With that innovation comes risk. For example, the development and production costs of the automotive-style front windshields had to be considerable. The Palomino team was confident it would be successful, but what if the camper buying public decided they didn’t want a front windshield? Fortunately for the Palomino team, the front windshields were a big hit and are now standard on all hard side Palomino models. With risk comes reward.
What interests us the most is the sum of the HS-2912. A nearly 11-foot non-slide hard-side is a rare floor plan, and for a good conventional reason. Common camper industry wisdom suggests that anything over 9-feet needs a slide-out to be marketable. There are a few notable exceptions to this rule, but that’s the consensus.
We also haven’t seen a manufacturer attempt a production patio. That stated we do have irrefutable evidence that such a concept appeals to Truck Camper Magazine readers (more on that later). However, even with the Magic TCM 8-Ball saying, “Outlook good”, there’s no way to know if the camper buying public wants a drop-down patio. The patio is a standard feature on the HS-2912, so we’re about to find out.
Ben Meloche, General Manager for Palomino RV, is especially keen on this point. During the following interview, he said, “I’d love to know what you’re readers think of this patio concept. It would be great to get their feedback.” We answered, “We can do that.”
Please read the interview, check out the photos and then click here to answer a few questions about the Palomino HS-2912’s patio. Your comments will directly impact Palomino R&D.
To get the details on this groundbreaking new truck camper, including the patio, we talked to Ben Meloche, General Manager for Palomino RV.
2022 Palomino HS-2912 Specifications
The 2022 Palomino HS-2912 is a hard-side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper with a rear patio for long bed trucks. The interior floor length of the Palomino HS-2912 is 10’8”, the patio is 6’7″, and the interior height is 6’6”. Palomino RV is reporting the standard build dry weight of the HS-2912 at 3,572 pounds.
The 2022 Palomino HS-2912 has 45-gallons of fresh, 20-gallons of grey, and 20-gallons of black. The camper has room for two Group 31 batteries and has one vertical thirty-pound propane tank. The MSRP for a standard build Palomino HS-2912 is $41,500. Click here to request more information about the Palomino HS-2912.
Above: The Palomino HS-2912 patio fully deployed. All photos courtesy of Palomino RV
Does the HS-2912 replace any older models in the Palomino hard side line?
No. The HS-2912 is being added to our hard side lineup.
We continuously evaluate the sales numbers for all of our camper models. If one model drops too low, we will eliminate it. For example, the SS-500 pop-up had low numbers, but that’s started to improve with the growth of the mid-size truck market. As of now, nothing is on the chopping block.
For floor plans over 9-feet, common industry wisdom suggests that the consumer wants slide-out floor plans. What’s the thinking behind Palomino debuting a 10-foot 8-inch non-slide hard side camper?
A slide-out basically doubles the usable living space inside a camper. That’s what customers want when they select a slide-out model; more living space.
In the HS-2912, the rear 6-foot, 7-inch long patio gives you that additional living space. Our thinking was, “Are you going to spend the majority of your time inside the camper, or on the patio?” The patio gives the camper a wide-open feeling.
What is the floor length of this new model?
The floor length is 10’8”.
Why did you decide to make the HS-2912 a side entry model?
Side entry is often preferred for towing, but it also made the patio concept possible. There are actually two entry doors on the HS-2912; side and rear. You can’t access the rear door until the patio is deployed.
Are the doors both full-size?
Yes, they are both full-size doors. The side entry door is 72-inches by 24-inches.
The rear door is a larger (72-inches by 30-inches). When you’re inside the HS-2912, the rear door is like a big window. From the outside, it looks like a one-piece glass window. When you’re driving, the rear glass door is protected by the closed patio.
At first blush, the new HS-2912 looks like a non-slide version of the HS-2910. Is the HS-2912 based on that model?
The HS-2912 and HS-2910 share a lot of design features. From the bath forward, the HS-2912 is nearly identical to any of our Max models. The bathroom, kitchen, and cabover are all the same.
For us, the engineering challenge of the HS-2912 was the longer floor plan, the patio and additional patio structure, and the outside entertainment center.
Where did the concept for the rear patio come from?
We have long loved the concept of patios on toy haulers. What we’ve developed is essentially a toy hauler ramp, but we only use it as a patio. Within the truck camping lifestyle, there are so many uses for it. I keep thinking about backing it up to a lake here in Michigan and fishing with my son, but I also believe hunters, tailgaters, and beach campers are going to love the patio.
The patio concept has been kicking around here for years, but couldn’t find the traction it needed to move forward. Then the 2020 mod winner was someone with a Palomino HS-2910 who built a rear patio. His design was different than what we were developing, but it looked great. I give that customer a lot of credit for helping to prove this concept would be successful. The fact that he won the contest showed us that truck campers were interested in this concept.
That was Nelson Dion, our 2020 Mod Squad Contest winner. He’ll be excited to learn he was part of the inspiration for the rear patio. Had you installed a rear patio on a Palomino towable before?
No. We don’t make toy haulers and hadn’t worked with patios until the HS-2912.
Due to the unique dimensions of a truck camper, our patio supplier had to design end develop a new patio specifically for the HS-2912. The build and mechanical elements of the patio are the same, but the size is unique to our new model.
What is the weight rating of the patio?
The patio is rated at 1,500 pounds. Beyond that and you risk the camper tipping when it’s not loaded on a truck.
Does the rear patio require any additional camper structure to support it?
Yes. We use thicker gauge aluminum framing on the rear wall and the areas where the patio is tied in. We tie the patio in at multiple points.
When it’s deployed, does the patio have legs that go to the ground?
No. The patio hangs with marine-grade steel cables that are each rated for 1,200-pounds. The patio is similar to how we build the pop-out bedrooms for our hybrid travel trailers. Based on our years of experience, there shouldn’t be any issues with strength or support. It’s a beefy design that doesn’t require support from the ground.
What is the patio made of?
It’s a framed and laminated structure, much like our campers. It has a non-slip coating similar to the Line-X we use on the front nose of our units.
How do you deploy the patio?
The owner releases two bar locks (shown above), one on each side, and gently pulls it down. There’s a resistant spring that allows the patio to come down safely. Once the patio is down, you put up the guard rails and you’re done. The whole process should take less than 5-minutes. When it’s time to go, you fold down the guard rails, put up the patio and re-engage the bar locks. That’s it.
How high are the bar locks?
That will depend on the size of the truck. I can reach them on our demo truck, so that’s about 7-feet off the ground. Some people will need a step stool. It’s about the same height as our roof latches for our pop-up models.
Another first for the HS-2912 is the Moryde StepAbove system entry system. We have seen this style of step on travel trailers and fifth wheels, but never on a production camper.
The Moryde StepAbove system has taken travel trailers by storm. The steps come in different sizes and widths. We found a four-step version that works perfectly on the HS-2912.
Does it work with all truck and camper combinations?
There could be an issue with campers with lifted trucks, but you don’t see too many truck campers with 12-inch lifts.
How does the Moryde StepAbove system work?
In the travel position, it stows inside the entrance doorway. To deploy the steps, you open the entry door, pull a lever, and guide the steps to the ground. When it’s time to go, you lift the steps up and into the entryway until they lock back in travel position.
The system is a no-brainer for side-entry truck campers. It’s a great invention.
Will you be using these steps for other hard side camper models?
For rear entry models, the challenge is the space the system requires inside the camper and the rear bumper. The rear bumper on our Max series eliminates using it. We love the new steps and would love to incorporate them across the board, but it would require a good number of changes.
What are the two large doors on the rear of the camper?
The top door is for the outside entertainment center including a 32-inch television, three-cubic-foot refrigerator, and stereo system with speakers.
The television is mounted on a swing arm. Behind the television is where the stereo system is located. It also works off Bluetooth for playing music or video from your phone. The refrigerator is a 110-volt model. The idea is that you arrive at your destination and plug in or use a generator. We would love to use a 12-volt refrigerator and believe our suppliers will offer one in the future.
The bottom door is open storage. It’s not built as a generator compartment, but it will fit a portable 2,000-watt generator. The compartment is not ventilated, metal, or non-combustible. It’s only for generator storage and transport.
Palomino shocked the truck camper marketplace a few years ago with the introduction of front windows. Now that you’ve been installing them for a few years, have you had any issues with leaks or breaks?
We look at all our warranty claims every week. We find areas we are having issues with and adjust them. Front caps and windshields are never in the conversation.
If you look at travel trailers and motorhomes, they have successfully gone back to front windshields. I am much more confident with a truck camper window above the truck, than a travel trailer behind the truck and lower to the ground.
Is the front window standard on the HS-2912?
Yes. We made the front nose cap and window standard on all hard side campers two years ago.
Have you made changes to the exterior graphics for 2022?
Yes. We wanted something fresh for 2022. Typically we have graphics for two years and then change. The truck camper line has gone nearly three years. For 2022, we got away from the swoops and went to a cleaner geometric look.
Are you still coating the front nose Line-X?
Absolutely, yes. The Line-X has essentially eliminated our warranty for front nose caps. There are no issues with spider cracks with the Line-X. It’s a great example of what can be done to improve the quality of your products.
Palomino is known to offer one interior per year across all of its products. What is that interior for 2022?
For the past few years, we offered our traditional brown wood and Mesa Maple wood interior. For 2022, we are exclusively going with our lighter Mesa Maple cabinetry and wood color. That’s been the more popular choice.
The only other change is the flooring which will be a herringbone tile pattern. That change will start in November. The floor color is almost the same, and the wall board, valances and other materials will all be the same as last year.
Tell us about the sofa in the HS-2912.
It’s a two-person sofa with TV tray-like tables that slot into the sofa arms. The sofa is standard on the HS-2912. We don’t offer a traditional dinette in this model.
Does the sofa recline?
Unfortunately, no. We offer optional recliner theater seating in the HS-2910 and HS-2902. You need the interior width from a slide-out for the theater seating.
The one negative of the theater seating is that you lose the sleeping area of a traditional dinette. That is why theater seats won’t be standard. The option is currently $1,100.
The HS-2910 gets a center console with cup holders and storage between the seats, but the HS-2902 does not. Otherwise, the theater seats are identical.
I would say the customer response to theater seating has been one of the biggest surprises in the past year. Dealers are getting in campers with that option and selling them faster than the identical model with a dinette. It was an immediate reaction.
The kitchen features a large farmhouse-style sink. Why did you make this change?
We went with the largest single basin sink we could find. We got feedback that our double basin sink was too small for washing large pots and pans. With a larger single basin sink, you can put a Tupperware-style container inside the sink if you want a divided sink. With the large single-basin, you have the option.
The HS-2912 has a standard solid surface countertop in the kitchen. Solid surface counters have been a Max option for some time. Why are they standard in the HS-2912?
The solid surface counters are a very popular option, and making it standard helps production. The counters are a solid surface material similar to Corian, but more like an engineered granite. It’s a fantastic material for aesthetics and durability.
Are you using the same material for the bathroom counter?
No. It’s only in the kitchen. The bathroom is a vacuum-formed press top; a seamless vinyl-wrapped material. The dinette is the same press top.
What are the holding tank sizes on the HS-2912?
The holding tanks are the same as the HS-2910; 45-gallons of fresh, 20-gallons of grey, and 20-gallons of black.
Where is the battery compartment in the HS-2912?
The battery compartment is located under the step-up to the bed. The single Group-31 battery is in a battery box and ventilated to the outside. There is room for an additional battery box and battery and many dealers are making that change for customers.
Are you offering an option for lithium batteries?
We have offered lithium battery options on our travel trailer line. We understand that lithium batteries make a ton of sense for truck campers, but are still working on the location and component considerations. The innovations in solar and lithium batteries are rapidly evolving and prices are coming down. It’s an area we are focused on.
What size propane tank is in the HS-2912?
It has a single 30-pound vertical propane tank. We use a single 30-pound vertical tank for its space efficiency. You get two-thirds the capacity of two 20-pound tanks in significantly less space. We use two 20-pound vertical tanks in the HS-8801, but they are more expensive and increasingly difficult to source.
What is the air conditioner you’re using for 2022?
Air conditioners have been a big challenge during the supply shortages. We are installing what we can get our hands on. On any given day, you might see Dometic, Coleman, Furrian, or GE air conditioners being installed on Palomino models. As far as performance goes, we have not had any complaints about any of the installed models.
The issue with installing the air conditioners we can get is that we can’t guarantee that the model you get will run on a portable generator.
What water heater is standard on the HS-2912? It looks like a tankless system.
It’s a Girard tankless water heater system. That’s not something we did on a whim. Again, it comes down to space. We changed our campers to the tankless Girard about two years ago. Now we can use the additional space for other things.
We were initially concerned about how the system was going to perform. The Girard has been great. Our dealer and customer feedback have been positive. And Girard has been great with supply during this challenging time.
Above: The HS-2912 bumper incorporates the patio hinge
Does the HS-2912 have a rear bumper?
Yes. We worked with our supplier, L&W, on a storage bumper that incorporated what we needed for the patio system. They’ve been a great partner to work with developing three prototypes for the HS-2912 before we got it dialed in. The new design lost a bit of storage but added the necessary hinges and camper attachment points for the patio.
We also shortened the bumper for easier towing. The new design is a little more box-like, but still has multiple eyelets to attach steps and accessories. It’s also more user-friendly.
What options are available for the HS-2912?
The only option is dually brackets. Everything else is standard.
Are you adding any options for the rest of the 2022 Palomino truck camper line?
No. Our mindset has changed. In fact, we are thinking now about any changes we might want for 2023. A couple of years ago we might talk about new options and model year changes in December, and have those ready to go in April. That’s not the case anymore; not with some suppliers out six and nine months.
We had to change the way we do things. Every morning we talk about what product didn’t show up and how we’re going to keep production going. We literally have dozens of units in our yard red-tagged for shortages and waiting for parts. When we get the parts we’ll finish the units. Then we’re waiting for shipping.
What is the center of gravity for the 2022 Palomino HS-2912?
The center of gravity is 53-inches from the front wall.
What does the 2022 Palomino HS-2912 weigh?
It weighs 3,572 pounds dry. Again, the camper comes standard with every option but dually brackets. That dry weight is what you’ll find at your Palomino dealer.
As a side note, the HS-2912 only weighs 17-pounds more than the HS-2910. Even with all the included options, extended floor-length and the patio, it’s almost identical in weight to the HS-2910.
What’s the MSRP of the 2022 Palomino HS-2912?
The MSRP is $41,500. The dually brackets are a $181 option.
What is the warranty for the 2022 Palomino HS-2912?
One-year bumper to bumper. The individual components have their own warranties.
When should customers expect to see the HS-2912 arriving on dealer lots and at RV shows across the United States and Canada?
Transport will be our biggest hang-up, but our hope is that they will be arriving in late December or early January. We are initially building a run of twenty but will build another run in January.
Why are you excited about the HS-2912?
More living space. The HS-2912 is literally out-of-the-box for us. We’ve been talking, designing and building truck campers for years. All of those discussions have been confined to the inside floor plan. With the patio on the HS-2912, we expand what people can do with their truck camper.
I don’t know what it is, but there is something that excites me about a patio. It’s different than being on the ground. I am looking forward to seeing what customers will do with their patios. Drinking coffee at sunrise looking at the mountains. It’s exciting!
Is there anything else about the 2022 Palomino HS-2912 that you want to add?
I am very curious about what truck campers think about this concept. I’m hoping folks take a moment to complete your survey. Positive or otherwise, I can’t wait to see what they say.
Is there any other news at Palomino?
We are getting a much-needed lamination machine, but that’s also been held up. When it finally arrives it will tremendously help us with production. It’s really challenging to invest in production. We can’t get the parts and materials to support an increase.
Production is limited to our allocation of key components. For example, we are only receiving a percentage of the adhesives we ordered. Water-based adhesive manufacturing was crippled by last February’s extreme cold weather in Texas. We are all allocated a certain amount of supply so that everyone has what they need to keep going. Due to these bottlenecks, we couldn’t increase production even if we wanted to.
Does that preclude additional new models for the foreseeable future?
We have two floor plans that we want to get to but they probably won’t be in the cards for 2022. And a slide-out version of the HS-2912 may be the next thing down the pike, but that is at least a year out.
Our order backlog is ridiculous. We haven’t built an open (non pre-sold) truck camper unit in over a year. Except to build excitement, there really is no reason to launch the HS-2912 right now. Typically you launch new models to build excitement and keep production going. That’s not the case with the HS-2912. We have been working on this model for so long that we wanted to launch it. That speaks to how excited we are about the HS-2912.