Hallmark RV brings back the Victor, a hugely popular camper design dating back to the 1960s. The new Victor features Hallmark’s latest materials and components, reintroduces the front dinette, and proves that a strong design from the past can be awesome again!
People worship the new. We idolize the latest and greatest. The most current is always better than what it replaced. That’s how things advance. That’s progress, right?
Unfortunately, not always. Far too often something fresh and trendy comes along and out goes the reliable, tried and true. For a time, that proven concept sits, waiting until the pendulum of hip swings back. Waiting. And waiting…
Last year a former Hallmark customer, Scott, walked into Hallmark in Fort Lupton, Colorado on a mission. For over 25-years he loved his mid-90s Hallmark Victor. The floor plan had been refined over decades and was, in his eyes, unbeatable. The shiny new Hallmark models were nice, but he wanted his Victor; fixed up and like new, please.
After surveying the condition of Scott’s camper and totaling the considerable cost of repairs, a new idea formed. Hallmark would resurrect one of the most popular truck campers in the company’s 64-year history and build it with state-of-the-art Hallmark materials, components, and construction techniques. Bring back the Victor, for the win.
The journey of rekindling this venerable design was more than just another new camper build. It spanned experiences and memories from the multi-generational Hallmark family and team and resulted in one of the most exciting Hallmark campers in years. It may look like another Hallmark on the outside, but it’s a time machine; from the past, in the present, and ready for the future.
To get the low down on the new Hallmark Victor, we talked to Matt Ward of Hallmark RV.
Hallmark Victor Specifications:
The 2023 Hallmark Victor is a pop-up truck camper made for standard or long bed trucks. The interior floor length of the Hallmark Victor is 96-inches, the interior height is 80-inches, and the center of gravity is 33.5-inches.
The Hallmark Victor has a 22-gallon fresh tank, no grey capacity, a standard 4-gallon water heater, and an optional porta-potty, cassette toilet or Cleanwaste system. It can accommodate two batteries and one 20-pound propane tank.
Hallmark is reporting the base weight of the 2023 Hallmark Victor to be 1,742-pounds dry depending on options. The base MSRP for the Hallmark Victor is $47,995. Click to get more information about the Hallmark Victor and request a free Hallmark brochure.
Above: The new 2023 Hallmark Victor. All photos courtesy of Hallmark RV.
Before we talk about the new Victor, tell us the history of the original Victor and why this new version came to be.
During the development process of the new Hallmark Victor, Dad had been talking a lot about the original Victor. He explained that, in the 1960s, several different truck camper companies were making front dinette models; Mitchell, Great Divide, Red Dale, and even our own company with the Aspen and WarHawk brands. Back then, it was popular to have a front dinette.
Hallmark entered the front dinette floor plan with the Victor. My dad has been constantly reminding me that the Victor was a best seller for Hallmark from the 1970s through the 1990s. In the mid-1990s, the Hallmark Guanella came along with a side dinette, and the Victor was phased out.
The main advantage of the Guanella over the Victor is that you don’t need to step over someone sleeping in the dinette when you wanted to go to bed.
If the Guanella replaced the Victor, why is it now coming back?
A long-time Hallmark customer named Scott has had a Victor since the early 1990s. A short time ago, he visited us here in Fort Lupton, Colorado and said, “I want my old camper rebuilt to new condition.”
Above: The mid-90’s Victor that inspired the all-new model
Over the years he had backed into things and the camper was generally a mess. The cooktop welds had physically let go and needed to be riveted. It needed so much repair. After my brother, Andy, and I went over the camper, we realized that it was going to cost upwards of $20,000 to fix everything to new condition.
With the camper needing so much repair, we told him it would make more sense to buy a brand new Hallmark Guanella. He said, “I really love the Victor’s floor plan.” We keep the prints from old campers in a wooden box in our factory.
Above: The original Victor prints were stored in a wooden box
Using a flashlight, I found the original Victor prints in the box and we started the new Victor from there. The rest is history.
How much of the original Victor design made it into the new version?
We built a skeleton cabinet system from the original prints and then modified them to fit our current fiberglass composite walls and floors.
Above: The new fiberglass walls and windows for the 2023 Hallmark Victor
The new Victor also incorporates countless refinements and improvements that we’ve achieved over the twenty-five or so years since the old Victor was discontinued.
Other than the front dinette, what differentiates the new Victor from other Hallmark models?
The Victor splits the kitchen in two. The sink is on the passenger’s side, and the cooktop is on the driver’s side. The Victor also has a larger aisle space. Two adults can actually walk past one another in the Victor. You really need to squeeze past in a Guanella.
Due to its forward location, the dinette booth size in the Victor is much larger. My brother, Andy, and I can sit next to each other in the dinette.
Andy is no small fella so that’s saying something. Is the Victor essentially a Guanella with a different floor plan, or is it a different camper entirely?
It’s a different camper entirely. We had to build new side wall molds for the Victor. That’s a major undertaking. We were, however, able to use the same roof as the Guanella and the rear refrigerator and closet area are identical to the Guanella. Almost everything else is exclusive to the Victor.
What trucks and truck bed sizes is the Victor designed for?
The Victor requires a 6.5-foot bed or longer. Due to its length and center of gravity, the Victor is not suited to trucks with beds shorter than 6.5-feet. For 6.5-foot bed trucks, two work boxes create the rear overhang.
A set of 21-inch work boxes stick out a bit (see photos above), but can fit a small portable generator. A set of 16-inch boxes will be flush to the rear exterior wall, but limit the amount of available storage (see photo below).
The Victor can also fit long bed trucks without the two rear work boxes. Short bed buyers can also opt to not have the boxes, but the camper will stick out.
Above the work boxes on the Victor are two five-gallon yellow Wavian containers for diesel fuel. Of course, these could be used for gasoline (red Wavian) or fresh water (heavy-duty plastic Wavian). Do you need to add blocking to support the roughly 67-pounds of these containers?
The Hallmark Victor is a double-framed camper; an inner wood-framed camper with our composite fiberglass EXO frame. The composite walls together with the wood-frame and bolt-through attachment approach can easily handle the load of the two Wavian/NATO cans.
Tell us about the cabinetry in the Hallmark Victor. It looks like Beetle Kill Pine.
Across all of our campers, we are using mostly light and dark bamboos and maples. We also still offer oak. The Beetle Kill Pine showcased in this particular Victor isn’t super popular, but customers have requested it. We used it for this Victor because we had some left over from another build. This camper has already been purchased, but we have permission to take it to the Overland Expo West as our demo.
Are any Victor cabinetry elements shared between other models?
The rear-most cabinetry in the Victor is identical to the Guanella. From there forward is mostly unique to the Victor including all of the lower cabinetry and the locations of the sink, cooktop, and dinette cabinet.
It seems that future customers are likely to be deciding between the Victor and Guanella since they are similar in size and features. Which model has better storage opportunities?
Technically, the Guanella has more interior storage, but the Victor has a much larger dinette and a larger aisle. The storage opportunities are not that different, but it does favor the Guanella due to the different layout.
The rear dinette cushions look low. Can a customer add cushions?
You can add your own throw pillows for more lounge support.
Does the dinette convert into a bed?
Yes. The table uses either a pedestal or a Lagun table leg. A pedestal is standard. Both table legs are easily removable to make into a bed. Once the table leg is removed, the table top lowers down to become the centerpiece for the dinette bed.
It lowers down to give you the center piece for the bed. The backs unfold and fold to make the bed. The pedestal is standard.
The Victor comes with a R4500 NovaKool refrigerator. Is the R4500 now Hallmark’s go-to across the board?
Yes, the Nova Kool R4500 is a tried and true make and model for us. We have tried other brands, but have not been as happy. Specifically, we’ve tried the Isotherm Cruise 130 and various Dometic models, but they’re not laid out as well and are not as reliable as the Nova Kool R4500. The efficiency of the Nova Kool is also good.
The Truma VarioHeat system is featured on the Victor. Is this now your standard furnace?
We like the VarioHeat for its efficiency. There hasn’t been much innovation in propane heaters for the past fifty or so years, so we were glad to see an improved product come to market. The variable speed fan and higher propane efficiency are excellent.
Our one current complaint about the VarioHeat system surrounds more recent examples of the product having operational issues above 8,000 to 9,000-feet in altitude. The early VarioHeats did not have an issue with altitude, so we believe it’s a software or chip issue caused by the pandemic supply challenges. We have talked with Truma and they are working with corporate in Germany on a solution.
Hopefully, they will provide a retrofittable solution under warranty. What do you recommend for a water heater?
A tried and true Suburban water heater remains our go-to solution, especially if you’ll be camping in cold weather. A four-gallon Suburban water heater will work down to -10 to -15 degrees Fahrenheit (-23 to -26 degrees Celsius), as long as you’re running it. The Suburban water heaters are not as efficient as the tankless Truma alternative, but they are super proven.
The Truma AquaGo tankless water heater is fantastic, but it doesn’t operate below 10-degrees Fahrenheit (-12 degrees Celsius). In their defense, Truma is upfront about this limitation and not everyone camps in temperatures below 10-degrees.
In the first new model Victor, the customer omitted the cabover underbed storage area and added cabinetry. Was that a one-off, or will that option be available on the Victor and other models?
Scott’s camper is a one-off. It’s a celebration of the original design, but the new Victor will come with our fiberglass underbed storage and composite upper cabinetry. The advantages of the fiberglass underbed storage for strengthening the structure of the camper are considerable. The wood-built overhead cabinets are nostalgic, but the new composite models are much lighter and stronger. We’ve come a long way in 25-years.
As a side note, we couldn’t locate the design prints for the old overhead cabinetry. Thankfully, we have team members who have worked here from long ago and could build them from memory.
That’s funny. Old guys rock. What are the available interior fabric choices for the Victor?
We like the Cordura 1000 nylon fabric line. You can see the Cordura 1000 fabric colors on their website. When you order a Hallmark camper, you can select the Cordura 1000 color you like. If you want a different fabric brand, there will be an additional charge.
For the Victor, you’ve selected Tern Overland acrylic windows. These are known to be high quality, but also quite expensive. Why did you choose Tern windows for the Victor?
The original Victor had a smaller window on one side, and two larger windows with the front dinette. Scott asked us to match the windows he had in his original Victor. When we looked at Tern Overland’s offerings, they had window sizes that fit the build perfectly. Since they already made these sizes, a large order of custom windows wasn’t required. That together with Tern Overland’s known quality made them a shoo-in. They are more expensive, but they make a really nice quality window.
Can a customer opt for different windows?
For now, the Tern Overland windows are the only choice for the Victor. If the Victor becomes as popular as the Guanella, we might look into a custom window order.
Tell us about the pop-up mechanism on the Hallmark Victor. Are you still employing the Super Manual lift system?
Yes, we are very happy with our Super Manual lift mechanism. It’s our own design and offers superior strength and reliability. It raises and lowers smoothly with a portable electric drill or a hand crank. There’s a small learning curve to operating the lift, but I’ll take that to the idiosyncrasies of four electric actuators any day of the week. If your electric drill fails, you can get a new one almost anywhere. And you always have the manual crank option. I’d much rather have the strength and reliability of the Super Manual lift.
Above: Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power 4000-Series “Mighty Mini”
The Victor has a Redarc Manager 30 battery management system, but a full RedVision system is available. Has Hallmark installed a full RedVision system?
Yes, we’ve installed several Redarc RedVision systems. However, the Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power 4000-Series “Mighty Mini” is standard on all Hallmark campers, and is what we typically recommend for its versatility. It’s lithium battery ready and offers what most people need.
The Redarc system is an awesome DC system, but it’s not designed for plugging into shore power to use 110-volt power. It can charge batteries from an AC source, but it’s not designed to provide live 110 plugs and run air conditioning directly from shore power. In contrast, the Redarc system has to convert everything to 110-volts.
I do not plug into shore power when camping and would personally want the Redarc system. That’s the way I camp. If you camp exclusively off-grid, the Redarc is the way to go.
The full RedVision system allows you to monitor and control everything from your phone including the refrigerator, lights, and more.
Above: A screen capture of the Redarc RedVision phone app
Then again, it adds complication to a truck camper rig. Everything has trade-offs.
The Victor has a 22-gallon fresh tank. Is that the only option for a fresh tank size?
Victor customers can sacrifice the storage under the one open dinette seat and add an additional 22-gallons of water, but they lose precious storage. Another option to add water capacity is to add two five-gallon Wavian cans to the rear of the camper. That would bring the total fresh capacity to 30-gallons, which is more than the 27-gallon capacity of the Guanella.
Above: The mini-shower stall option
Inside the rear door on the passenger’s side there are three options. Can you tell us about these options?
They’re the same options that are available in this area for the Guanella. You can get the closet and porta-potty as shown on both of the first two Victors, a mini-shower stall, or a cassette toilet in a mini closet.
The mini shower will fit a Thetford porta-potty that you can lift into the shower stall. The built-in cassette is exactly like what we installed in the Guanella and K2 series.
Above: The closet and porta-potty option
What do you recommend for a toilet system in the Victor?
There are several excellent options. One is the Thetford Curve on a slide-out tray. That system has the most capacity for a wet toilet; even higher than a Thetford cassette toilet.
Above: The built-in cassette toilet option
However, the built-in cassette toilet allows the cassette to be accessed from outside the unit and some folks really want that feature.
I have been really impressed by the Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Portable Toilet system for $85 USD. Lots of people like the Laveo or Wrappon Green systems but, for $85, I think the Cleanwaste is as good as the other more expensive systems. And it’s made in the USA by a company in Montana.
Talk to us about the battery options in the Victor.
The front wall has space for two 6-volt AGMs or two 12-volt Group 27 batteries. I have added an additional third battery space in the storage area under one of the dinette seats. With three 100-amp hour lithium batteries, the battery bank can run the rooftop Dometic RTX2000 DC air conditioner for seven hours.
We were just about to ask you about the Dometic RTX2000 DC air conditioner. From your testing, is it the real deal?
Yes. I was skeptical about that unit, but it is the real deal and it works well.
We have been installing Coleman Mach 8 air conditioners and adding a soft start feature. The soft-start allows the Coleman Mach 8 to start at 80-amps and then level off to 70-amps while running. If you put the new Dometic RTX2000 DC air conditioner into Eco mode, it draws 17 to 19-amps. Going down from 70, that’s amazing. And it puts out a nice amount of cold air. With 300-amp hours of lithium batteries, you can run the Dometic RTX2000 for seven hours. It’s a game-changer.
The catch is the cost. We have to run heavy welding wire to the unit. For a pop-up camper, that is not fun, or cheap. Also, the unit itself isn’t cheap. We also need a gasket kit to make it fit properly with our fiberglass roof. That’s another couple hundred bucks. In total, you’re looking at $3,800 for the Dometic RTX2000 DC air conditioner option.
Are you going to be able to retrofit older Hallmark campers with the new Dometic RTX2000 air conditioner?
Due to the required changes, we don’t have a solution for that yet. We even had to change the roof mold to accommodate the RTX. For now, the only possible way to do would be to replace the entire roof. Existing units are going to be a challenge.
The interior RTX2000 shroud has lights. Is that a Hallmark creation?
That’s part of the Dometic RTX kit. We use their garnish and add lights.
The unit is super low profile on the roof, but it has to be spaced up a bit inside or tall people will hit their heads. Even with the spacer, it’s still super low profile on the roof.
What are the propane tank sizes in the Victor?
The Victor is designed for either a 20-pound horizontal or vertical tank. A vertical tank can fit inside a rear work box. A horizontal tank can fit in the closet. The first two Victor customers wanted a vertical tank for the option to exchange. Another consideration is that the 20-pound horizontal tanks are becoming very hard to get.
Are there any new or unique options available for the Victor?
Nothing unique to the Victor. The only options I highly recommend are solar panels and lithium batteries.
Are you 100-percent on the side of lithium versus AGM batteries now?
Yes. At this point, I would absolutely opt for lithium batteries. For usability, information, and power, lithium is the way to go. I use LiFeBlue batteries which have internal heaters so they can charge in cold temperatures. That was not the case for generation 1 lithium batteries, but we’re now looking at generations 3 and 4. The addition of heaters and advances in battery management systems (BMS) is incredible. Batteries now either use their own charge or incoming solar to stay above 32-degrees. Both solutions work flawlessly.
LiFeBlue batteries have built-in Bluetooth and an app that tells you exactly how the battery is doing. If there’s an overcharge or surge, the battery will tell you. It will tell you how much is being drawn without going through a shunt. I actually use this feature to test the air conditioners and other systems. I can see in real-time how much a new system is drawing from a battery bank. I don’t always like more technology in a camper, but this is one place where I do.
Above: A screen capture of the LiFeBlue battery phone app
How much are the LiFeBlue Group 27 lithium batteries?
LiFeBlue Group 27 lithium batteries are currently about $965 each.
What does the Hallmark Victor weigh?
A Victor will be very similar to a Guanella at about 2,000-pounds. That’s with 22-gallons of water, two batteries, and full propane. Dry it would be about 1,742-pounds. I tell customers that a three-quarter ton truck is ideal, or a heavy-duty half-ton.
Where is the center of gravity on the Victor?
Compared to the Guanella at 34-inches, the center of gravity on the Victor is pushed back to 33.5-inches. That’s why a 6.5-foot truck is required.
Tell us about the Hallmark RV warranty for the Victor.
We have a five-year structural warranty. Appliances are warrantied through the manufacturer.
What is the MSRP for the Victor?
The MSRP for the Victor is $47,995 USD.
How does someone option and order a Hallmark Victor?
Send us an email or submit a brochure request through TCM and we’ll send you the standard option sheet PDF. Then, fill out that standard options list and email it back to us. We will then review your choices and advise you on your build and answer any questions you might have.
What kind of wait time is there for production?
If you order a camper today, it will be 12 to 14-months to delivery.
The Hallmark Victor is making its public debut at the Overland Expo West that’s running from May 20-22, 2022. Talk to us about what Hallmark will have on display at the expo.
We will have the Victor and, hopefully, a Hallmark Milner with the Arctic Tern windows. We will have a Guanella as well. The Victor will also be at Overland Expo Mountain West here in Colorado from August 26-28, 2022.
Above: Matt’s video walkthrough of the 2023 Hallmark Victor
You seem really pumped about this camper. What is it about the Victor that has you excited?
Some of my excitement is from my dad’s excitement about it. The Victor was a best seller for about thirty years. It’s been fun watching him so excited and then experiencing the Victor for myself. I can remember being in Victors as a kid, but I didn’t pay any attention. It’s one of those things you didn’t pay attention to and wish you had. Now the new Victor has come into reality and I’m really excited it’s out.
A young family visited us from Boulder, Colorado the other day. They went into the Victor and said, “We’ve never seen anything like this.” They were really interested in it. As the saying goes, what’s old is new again.
Above: The Hallmark Colorado; a 6.5-foot flatbed camper
Should we be expecting anything else new from Hallmark before the end of the year?
Recently we produced a 6.5-foot flatbed based on the Hallmark Nevada. We’re also working on a 7-foot side-entry flatbed. We’re always working on different designs.
For more information about Hallmark Campers visit their website at hallmarkrv.com. Click here to request more information about Hallmark’s Victor.