For 2024, Northern Lite announces a whopping 600-watts of solar standard, Dometic acrylic thermal pane windows standard, patio bumpers on all Sportsman models standard, and more. Carpet is out. Two-way refrigerators are in.
A few months after departing from our Florida winter hide-out and home, Angela and I rolled into Northern Lite in Kelowna, British Columbia. Before we got two steps up the stairs, we were greeted by the youngest and easily the most enthusiastic member of the Northern Lite team; Georgia.
Georgia is Keith Donkin’s (aka, Northern Lite’s President) new French Bulldog. Georgia bound up the steps with us and demanded our undivided attention. As you can see above, Angela was more than happy to oblige.
Now, what were we visiting Northern Lite for? After all, we drove about 6,000 kilometers (roughly 3,728 miles) to get here, with a few stops along the way. Oh yes, to tour the clamshell fiberglass camper factory, and hopefully gleam some updates from the notoriously buttoned-up leadership team. When Keith rounded the corner from his office, we quickly dispensed with the pleasantries and got right to it.
“So, Keith, what’s new at Northern Lite?”
It was then that we learned about the forthcoming Northern Lite 610 half-ton camper. Honestly, we were flabbergasted at this news and asked why he hadn’t told us prior to our arrival. With a grin, Keith said, “You weren’t here.” I kid you not.
We have since published a teaser on that tantalizing new model. We’ve been promised full 610 photography, specifications and an in-depth interview and announcement. Evidently, we may need to drive back to Kelowna to get it, but we’ll get it.
2024 Northern Lite Announcements
Northern Lite is announcing 600-watts of solar standard for 2024.
We were able to see the three panel, 600-watt solar panel systems being installed in the Northern Lite factory. One 200-watt panel is mounted east-west behind the cabover skylight, the two 200-watt panels are mounted north-south on either side of the mid-ship antenna and air conditioner. That’s some serious solar power, standard.
To be clear, every 2024 Northern Lite 8-11, 9-6, and 10-2 model is getting 600-watts standard. That goes for the Limited, Special, and Sportsman Editions. Northern Lite has not stated yet the standard solar panel configuration for the 610. It’s unlikely to get 600-watts due to the roof space limitations.
Another subtle but important update for 2024 is the removal of carpet. Northern Lite customers will still be able to get a carpet runner for the main walking area, but Northern Lite has removed carpet from the cabover step and under the dinette in favor of linoleum. Over time, carpet can become worn and soiled, where linoleum is significantly more robust and much easier to clean.
Above: A shipment of 2024 Northern Lite campers with Dometic thermal pane acrylic windows
Northern Lite has selected Dometic thermal pane acrylic windows across the board for 2024. All Limited, Special, and Sportsman Editions will now feature these Dometic windows. Previously, some Northern Lite editions were shipped with glass windows, but the company has championed thermal pane acrylic windows for some time.
The Sportsman Editions get a patio bumper standard for 2024. This is a fantastic feature on the Special Editions and a welcome addition to the Sportsman line. We have a deep patio bumper on our camper, and love it for the comfort and safety it provides when entering and exiting our unit.
Northern Lite has discontinued Corso Bronze and the Black Diamond leatherette interiors for 2024, and added a new Arctic Blue Leatherette interior; Limited Editions only. As it is with most manufacturers, interior decor decisions are made by the popularity (orders) of the different interiors. If one or two interiors don’t perform, out it goes.
On the exterior, Northern Lite now gives you the choice of carbon fiber graphics in grey or black.
For appliances, Northern Lite has changed from an 18K BTU furnace to a 20K BTU furnace and made two-way refrigerators standard for 2024.
During our conversations about the 2024 updates, Brad also mentioned that Northern Lite acquired the building next door and turned it into a warehouse.
The new warehouse allows Northern Lite to stock more inventory, avoid potential shortages, and reduce costs. The new warehouse also freed up valuable manufacturing space in the main Northern Lite factory.
Outside the warehouse is another benefit; finished camper storage. Newly completed campers are brought to this storage area and prepped for transport.
In the warehouse lot, finished campers are forklifted onto trailers Northern Lite specifically built to transport their campers. From here they go to Northern Lite dealers across the United States and Canada. During our visit, a load of two shipped out.
Walking The Factory
It has been about five years since we had last walked the Northern Lite factory and we were eager to see the production team and learn about any changes.
Above: Under Brad’s supervision, Gordon checks out the new 600-watt solar installation at Northern Lite
By far the most impactful change at Northern Lite since our last visit (2018) was a significant influx of new team members.
Northern Lite was able to absorb experienced fiberglass technicians and builders from a local fiberglass boat company that went under last August.
To put the increase in personnel in perspective, Northern Lite’s second shift now has about as many team members as their main shift did in 2007. The first shift is double that total, or more.
No visit to Northern Lite is complete without witnessing a fiberglass mold pull or two. Northern Lite’s clamshell fiberglass construction is the cornerstone of every product they make and the primary selling feature.
I’ve gone on the record many times stating there is no better way to construct a non-slide hard side camper than clamshell fiberglass construction. It’s not the most affordable solution, nor the most flexible in terms of floor plans and truck compatibility, but it’s otherwise hard to beat.
Another area Northern Lite excels at is cabinetry. Here we see their signature Sapele, and newer Greystokes cabinets. We still pine for the Special Edition Sapele, but there’s no doubt that the Greystokes is more modern.
When a complete set of cabinets is completed, they’re gathered into a kit for a specific camper build. Above you see two 10-2 cabinetry sets prepped for the production line; one in Greystokes and one in Sapele.
Overall, the 2024 updates are modest, but that’s what Northern Lite has always been about; slow and steady improvements. Over time they add up to one of the best quality RVs on the planet.