Northstar Campers introduces the Night Hawk; a hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper for long or short bed trucks. This new 7’6” wide floor plan has a 10 cubic foot 12-volt compressor refrigerator, 41 gallon fresh tank, tons of storage, tons of countertop space, 350 watts of solar, and more. Check out the state-of-the-art in Northstar’s hard side evolution.
In a world full of products that are clearly designed by corporate bureaucracies and committees, Northstar Campers is a beacon. The third generation family-run company is a no-nonsense operation commanded by a President and team that still prioritizes the end consumer, practicality, affordability, and real-life truck camping.
The new Night Hawk is the latest in Northstar’s hard side design evolution; wood frame hung wall construction, 7’6” width non-basement design, hard side non-slide floor plan, rear wet bath with a built-in cassette toilet, storage everywhere storage is possible, outlets where they’re needed, and common sense decisions cabover nose to removable wrap tail. If this list checks your boxes, you’re a Northstar customer or probably should be. If it doesn’t, the sixty-three year Northstar history behind these elements may sway you.
That’s where the story of the 2024 Northstar Night Hawk begins. The Night Hawk has roots in the discontinued Northstar Arrow U, which itself was an evolution of design. In the following interview, Rex Willett, President of Northstar Campers, reminds us of what makes a Northstar a Northstar and details the refinements throughout the Night Hawk. Introducing an all-new Northstar with a time-tested foundation.
To learn more about the Northstar Night Hawk, we talked to Rex Willett, President of Northstar Campers.
2024 Northstar Night Hawk Specifications
The Northstar Night Hawk is a hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper made for long or short bed trucks. The interior floor length of the Northstar Night Hawk is 8’9”, the width is 7’6”, and the interior height is 6’8″.
The Northstar Night Hawk has a 41 gallon fresh tank, 4 gallon water heater, 4 gallon cassette reservoir, 13 gallon grey tank, and 5.3 gallon cassette black tank. It can accommodate two Group 31 batteries and has two twenty-pound exchangeable propane tanks.
The base weight of the Northstar Night Hawk is 2,370 pounds. The base MSRP for the 2024 Northstar Night Hawk is $41,760. Click here for a free Northstar brochure.
Above: The 2024 Northstar Night Hawk, photos courtesy of Northstar Campers unless otherwise noted
Dad said it best, “If you get stale, you’re doomed”. We wanted a fresh new camper with more modern offerings. I think the timing is right.
Is the Night Hawk based on a previous Northstar model, or is it an all-new floor plan from the ground up?
It’s a new model inspired by the Arrow U. We built an Arrow U model for years, but it was only for short bed trucks with grey holding tanks across the rear of the unit.
We needed a new model that could fit, payload, and center of gravity match long and short bed trucks. We started with the Arrow U for inspiration and overall dimensions and developed the Night Hawk with our new requirements and objectives.
“We needed a new model that could fit, payload, and center of gravity match long and short bed trucks.”
How is the Night Hawk compatible with long or short bed trucks?
We offer three different rear skirts. The Night Hawk comes standard with long side skirts and no storage doors. In this configuration, the Night Hawk fits standard short bed and long bed trucks.
Above: The Northstar Night Hawk in standard (no wrap) configuration at Truck Camper Warehouse
You can also leave the tailgate attached with the standard configuration. Just lay it down and load the camper. Some customers don’t want to remove a heavy tailgate, or prefer not to disconnect the tailgate camera. If that’s you, the standard configuration is a good choice.
Then we offer two optional wraps that convert the standard skirt. The first option (28) is a detachable wrap. This option adds exterior compartments and lockable doors to the rear skirt and fits a standard short bed truck. If you upgrade to a long bed, or sell the unit to a long bed owner, you can always remove the detachable wrap.
Above: The Northstar Night Hawk with the optional permanent wrap and storage bumper at D&H RV
Option 27 is a permanent wrap that adds exterior compartments and lockable doors (same as option 28 above), but is non-removable. This option is mandatory to get our optional rear storage bumper and is ideal for folks who will only use the camper with a standard short bed truck.
The changeable rear skirt configurations are a Northstar feature we don’t see elsewhere in the industry. What else did you change from the Arrow U that helped inspire the Night Hawk?
Almost everything. In fact, one of the only aspects we kept exactly the same is the floor length. We made the Night Hawk the same 8’9” floor length as the Arrow U. On a long bed, the 8’9” floor length sits flush with the rear of the truck’s bumper. If you want to tow with long bed, that’s ideal.
The grey tank is built up into the 6-inch deep floor of the unit. To do this we had to completely redesign the inside flooring. This is similar to many Northstar models.
Since the Night Hawk is a new floor plan, we re-evaluated and improved every aspect of the interior. For example, we eliminated the oven. Feedback from our customers and dealers told us that ovens take up too much space, add too much weight, and don’t offer enough functionality. Customers who want an oven can take an air fryer or a Breville oven.
A Rec Pro two-burner glass top propane cooktop is now standard. This slim cooktop creates more counter space; another important goal for the Night Hawk. We are using the Rec Pro two-burner cooktop in a number of Northstar hard side and pop-up models now and it’s a fantastic and reliable choice.
I have a goal that, in three to four years, nothing in Northstar Campers will run off propane. We also want to get even more 12-volt and off-grid oriented. That was another important part of our vision for the Night Hawk.
Above: The 10 cubic foot 12-volt compressor refrigerator
Moving toward this goal, the Night Hawk has the first compressor refrigerator that doesn’t need to be vented. The 10 cubic foot Furrion is 24-inches deep and draws air in the bottom vent and kicks it out the bottom. That keeps the compressor cooled and makes for a better-insulated camper. To support the 12-volt refrigerator, the Night Hawk has a larger battery compartment and a fully lithium-compatible electrical system.
I’ve been researching electric heat for truck campers. That’s the biggest challenge to successfully offering an affordable all-electric camper. I’m testing a heater that draws two to three amps and provides constant radiant heat. With four solar panels and two lithium batteries, it might be a path forward for electric heat. I think that’s where we’re headed.
There’s a lot of interest and skepticism about all-electric campers, but it’s hard to deny the trend is in that direction. Where did the name Night Hawk come from?
I had a dream. I was thinking about what to call the camper, and the name came to me. Before I went to work that morning, I had the logo in my mind. I went downstairs and sketched it. I used those sketches to have a graphic artist make the logo for me.
I wanted to name the camper something different. There are a lot of non-memorable RV names out there. I think the Northstar Night Hawk is a memorable name for a new camper.
Is the Night Hawk Northstar’s new flagship hard side camper?
The Laredo SC and the Night Hawk are both Northstar’s hard side flagship models. In the Night Hawk’s favor, it has our most current thinking and design elements.
Above: The Northstar Night Hawk at D&H RV
Why did you opt to give the Night Hawk a taller 6’8” interior height and a non-sloping flat roof?
Appearance. During the design phase of the Night Hawk, anyone who stopped in for a tour was shown an older Northstar with a 6’4” interior height and a 2024 Northstar Wind Bandit with a 6’5.5” interior height. Every single person commented on how the extra inch and a half made the Wind Bandit feel like a roomier camper. With the Night Hawk, there are four inches of additional height. There’s a feeling of ambiance because it’s oversized, but it’s not a basement model.
We want Northstar rigs to be shorter than a UPS truck. That’s why we only build non-basement models. On a 36 to 38-inch truck bed height, the Night Hawk should be about 10’3” from the ground to the highest point on the roof. With an optional air conditioner, the camper would still be under 11 feet in overall height. That’s on a tall Chevy or Ford with a 38-inch bed height.
Lower campers handle better. If anyone doubts that claim, put 12-inch boxes under your camper and compare the driving and handling experience. Then tell me which you’d prefer. Everyone talks about the forward and aft center of gravity, but the up and down center of gravity is often more impactful.
“At Northstar, we believe in keeping the camper lower and narrower so that you have good handling and maneuverability.”
The current 2024 Northstar Liberty, Laredo SC, and Wind Bandit are all 7 feet wide. The new Night Hawk is 7 feet 6 inches wide. The industry norm is 8 feet wide. Tell us why you make three models 7 feet wide and the new Night Hawk 7 feet 6 inches wide.
At Northstar, we believe in keeping the camper lower and narrower so that you have good handling and maneuverability. The Night Hawk is 7’6” wide, has a 6”8 interior height, 8’9” of floor length, and has a flat roof. This is all by design to optimize the performance of the camper.
You are able to stay nimble when your rig is narrow. With an 8 foot wide camper, it’s sometimes hard to see around, even with extended side mirrors. If you are towing something, like a boat, you need to be able to see around your rig and be in the nimble category. At 7’6” wide, the Night Hawk allows for a much better rear mirror and tow visibility.
Our narrower campers give Northstar owners other advantages; not pushing as much wind, improved fuel mileage, and overall safety. The main thing is to stay in the nimble category. We don’t want to lumber down the road, we want to move down the road.
One of the biggest advantages that people don’t even think about with a narrower camper is that it is so much more stable standing up on the jacks when you take it off the truck. With this added stability, you can fully use a Northstar when it’s off the truck, and confidently go around to explore.
The tradeoff of a narrower camper is interior space and storage. That’s why we work to keep our campers roomy inside and make sure there is a lot of storage.
At 26 inches wide, the Night Hawk’s entry door is a full 4 inches wider than the Wind Bandit’s entry door. Why did you decide on a larger door for the Night Hawk?
If I can put a wider door on my campers, I’m going to do it. The cassette-style wet baths allow us to use wider doors because our bathrooms don’t take up as much space. Many campers are 8 feet wide with a 22-inch door. With a rear bath, they are hedging four to five inches into the aisle which means the door has to be narrow. We know customers are constantly loading and unloading their belongings and stuff. That’s when a 26-inch wide door is a nice feature.
Another item that some might not think about is that our refrigerators can all fit through the back door for repair or replacement. Now that we’re using 12-volt compressor refrigerators across the board, replacing a refrigerator is no longer a major undertaking.
“We know customers are constantly loading and unloading their belongings and stuff. That’s when a 26-inch wide door is a nice feature.”
Were there any changes to Northstar’s framing material or construction methods required for the Night Hawk?
We now have an Azdel composite front nose. The Azdel is grooved to roll it around the top and nose. We don’t like to use Azdel for side walls because it’s wobbly, so the sidewalls are luan-backed for increased strength.
By using Clear Select lumber, we have taken 100 pounds of weight out of the camper. I would have guessed the Night Hawk was going to be 2,500 pounds, but it was only 2,370 pounds. A lot of that weight reduction is the Clear Select lumber.
Given the increased floor length, width, and height, is the Night Hawk wet bath dimensionally larger than the wet bath in the Laredo SC?
Yes. Everything in the Night Hawk is deeper, and the shower pan is wider than the Laredo SC. The Wind Bandit and the Night Hawk have the same shower pan, but the cassette sits back 3-inches further. The Night Hawk is 6-inches wider and has 3.5-inches more interior height than the Laredo SC or Wind Bandit. To make it seem even bigger, we also offer an insulated window in the bathroom. Some people love that feature.
Above: The Night Hawk’s optional window, photo courtesy of Truck Camper Warehouse
We love the bathroom window. Is the bathroom window standard or optional?
It’s an option because of the cost. It’s $465 to add the 18-inch wide by 10-inch tall window. The difference is striking, but windows are not cheap.
The Night Hawk features a standard Thetford Cassette Toilet. Northstar has been a proponent of cassette toilets for nearly two decades, long before the rest of the domestic RV and overland industry caught on. What is it about cassette toilets that’s made them become an industry standard?
Cassette toilets make sense. Northstar had cassettes and acrylic-insulated windows clear back into the 80s. In the camper industry, people who were ribbing me 30 years ago about acrylic-insulated windows and cassette toilets are trying to play catch-up now.
If you look at any campground, the best campsites are on the outer perimeter. They’re often not the full hookup sites with septic. The electric-only or non-electric sites are usually the best. When I’m camping, I don’t want to see or hear people next to me. I didn’t buy a camper to be in a mobile home park.
With a cassette toilet, I can stay in the better campsites and use the toilet as much as I want. Then, when I need to dump, I don’t have to load the camper to dump it. I just pull the cassette out, walk it to the bathroom or pit toilet, and empty the cassette.
With a cassette toilet, you’re also able to use your camper any time of the year, even when dump stations are closed. Put RV anti-freeze into the cassette reservoir and find a bathroom somewhere.
Above: The dinette in the Night Hawk, photo courtesy of Truck Camper Warehouse
Cassette toilet systems are definitely more versatile. The Night Hawk dinette is a U-shape. How many adults can sit in that space?
I believe truck campers are good for two people, but three adults can fit in the Night Hawk dinette. You have the option to get an additional cushion for the step-up area. That gives you another sitting area.
We are putting in the black anodized Lagun in the Night Hawk which gives you more space. Lagun is changing the RV industry. If you go to Amazon and put in Lagun table, you’ll see fifty to sixty knock-offs. I have bought some of the knock-offs and they are terrible. They look good, just like a 1968 Camaro. From 25 yards away, it looks sharp, but as you get closer, not so much.
The countertop is very generous in the Night Hawk. Are there other important details in the kitchen area?
Yes. The cabinets above the kitchen were lowered down when I decided to put in more counter space. The bottom has an outlet and there’s a light on the bottom of the cabinet for a coffee machine or toaster sitting on the counter.
Our campers do not come standard with microwave, but they are pre-wired for one. It would take 15 minutes to install one. Plug it in and screw in the front face to put it in place. Slide in the microwave and boom. It’s optional because a lot of people are off-grid and would rather have storage than a microwave.
Above: The interior of the Night Hawk, photo courtesy of Truck Camper Warehouse
Is the dinette table top larger than other Northstar dinette table tops?
It’s 18 by 36 inches. It’s bigger than the table in the Wind Bandit.
Does the Night Hawk dinette convert into an adult-sized bed?
Yes, it comes with a bed board that can be used for storage. The dinette bed is 37-inches wide by 73.5-inches long.
Is the drop-down dinette bunk standard or optional?
The bunk is optional. An overhead cabinet is standard, offers more headroom when sitting in the dinette, and has cabinet doors to access two large and divided storage areas. Night Hawks without the overhead bunk feel more open because there’s no divider wall needed to hold the bunk in the down position.
More customers order bunks because of their versatility. The bunk has a 300-pound capacity and could be more useful for long-term travel for even more storage. In the down position, the bunk is 36-inches deep.
The driver and passenger sides of the cabover in the Night Hawk are equipped equally with outlets, charging points, lighting, and CPAP areas. Why was this an important design consideration?
The wiring in the Night Hawk is intense. There are a lot of outlets. And there’s an optional 2000-watt inverter that makes three 110-volt outlets hot; one near the refrigerator, and two in cabover; one on either side. Also, there are dual USBs and USB-Cs throughout the camper.
On each side of the cabover, there are dimmable LED light strips with individual switches for each person. They are nice and bright for reading and are dimmable with the standard dimming switches.
Northstar has always been progressive with LED lighting going back at least fifteen years now. For the Night Hawk you’ve also added LED light strips on dimmer switches. What does this bring to the unit?
The LED light strips are tucked into the kicker under the kitchen facing down. They create an ambient night light allowing people to see where they’re going after dark.
Above the kitchen overhead cabinets is more dimmable lighting. That lighting is bright white. If you want to work in that area, you can turn up the light and really see what you’re doing.
With the 6’8” interior height, is the Night Hawk cabover a comfortable sit-up height?
Yes. There’s plenty of cabover room to sit up. From the mattress to the ceiling it’s 33-inches.
Above: Night Hawk cabover and mattress, photo courtesy of Truck Camper Warehouse
What is your standard mattress now?
We have a 5-inch foam mattress with a 1-inch memory foam pillow top. It’s a good mattress. Even our pop-tops have the same mattress. I can’t see sleeping comfortably on a thin mattress. Sleeping comfort is important when camping and traveling.
There’s a carpeted area next to the bed that’s a good spot for a pet to have its own place. Pets are important to our users. People can also place a duffle bag with their clothes in that area, especially if they are only going out for a few days. I like that open area because I sleep on my stomach and like to raise my knees up. With that area open, I won’t bang into a cabinet.
Tell us about how you fit a TV in and added a wardrobe in that space.
We wanted a 24-inch, 12-volt smart TV with a built-in DVD player for the Night Hawk. We also wanted a wardrobe ceiling to floor. We had the challenge of how to get the TV to come out. I found a swing-out arm for a TV that was two inches longer. Most are 16-inches max extension. We mounted it on the side wall so the television swings past the cabinetry allowing you to watch TV from the dinette. It also allowed us to put an extra wardrobe in the cabover.
Storage is big. This camper wins on storage. Plus, with no basement, truck bed access doors ahead of the wheel wells are perfect for water or pop.
Are any of the acrylic thermal pane windows larger in the Night Hawk than the other Northstar hard sides?
The dinette has a bigger window like the Laredo SC that’s roughly 47-inches wide by 20-inches tall. The cabover and kitchen windows are the same as the Wind Bandit and Laredo SC.
Our windows are unique because the shades and screens are adjustable and can be tightened with an Allen wrench. You can wind them up and tighten them quickly. This is really important because when the camper gets a few years old, the blinds and screens need to be snugged up. It’s so easy and worry-free to have this feature.
Can you get an optional window in the door?
Yes. It’s covered behind the door screen, so you would need to remove that cover before closing the door. Another option is to take your backup camera monitor into the camper and use that. The unit we use is digital and infrared; it displays black and white at night. It also has audio so you can hear what’s going on. That’s big for security.
For additional security, our three exterior patio lights are on an inside master switch. All three LED lights come on at once.
Tell us about the standard bumper and entry step system for the 2024 Northstar Night Hawk.
It’s made by Torklift as all of our bumpers and optional steps are. We are happy with the function and weight of Torklift’s bumper. It’s aluminum, powder coated, includes a pinned-in-place swing-down step, and is made in the USA. Torklift products are difficult to match for quality and performance.
In 2023, I started using a telescoping ladder for Northstar campers. Everyone was concerned about how it was going to work. Now I’m starting to see other brands adopting this approach. Because of us taking the permanent ladder off Night Hawk, we can put the bathroom window on the back wall and you can open the window all the way. The telescoping ladder we use comes out of the same factory as Little Giant ladders.
What air conditioner unit are you offering with the Night Hawk?
It’s a Dometic Penguin. It’s quiet, is high efficiency and it’s affordable. It runs on a Honda EU2200i portable generator. With the Night Hawk, if you go short bed with a permanent wrap-around, you get storage and an outlet to plug a generator into. You need to put the generator on the ground, but you can plug it in there. It has an automatic transfer switch.
“Our tanks are accessible in our campers and have openings so you can properly clean them out.”
The fresh tank in the Night Hawk is 41 gallons. That’s a good-sized fresh tank capacity for a camper this size. Given that Northstar Campers are non-basement designs, where is this tank?
The step up to the overcab is all water tank underneath. A feature that people don’t think about is the fresh water tank clean out. Our tanks are accessible in our campers and have openings so you can properly clean them out. When storing your Northstar, you can fully drain the tank and then take the top off so it gets air. Towel it down and dry it off.
I owned a Freightliner motorhome with a 150-gallon fresh tank. I couldn’t fully empty it or properly clean it. If water is left in a fresh tank, it’s going to get funky. To fix this, I had to put in three ports to reach the tank and clean it. That feature is included with every Northstar with a fresh tank.
Where are the batteries in the Night Hawk?
Two Group 31 AGM or two Lithium batteries fit under the dinette seat. Our converter auto-detects what batteries are in there; AGM versus lithium. Also, one large 300-amp hour lithium will fit in the same space or take the space of two 100-amp hour Group 31 lithium batteries.
What are the propane tank sizes and where are the tanks located?
The propane tanks are above the generator storage area or on the driver’s wing behind the refrigerator. The Night Hawk can carry two twenty-pound exchangeable tanks.
Does the Night Hawk come with solar panels?
Yes. Two 175-watt solar panels are standard for a total of 350-watts. There’s room for two more panels. The Night Hawk is also our first camper to be built with weatherproof M/FF and F/MM ports. M/FF and F/MM ports are higher quality, weatherproof, and snap into the roof port making the connections secure and with no added connections.
It’s easy to add two more panels by simply adding a Y for the M/FF connections on top. It literally would take less than an hour to install two more panels if someone wants to, thus doubling their solar collection to 700-watts.
What is the dry weight of the Night Hawk?
When we weighed the base Night Hawk, it was 2,370 pounds dry. That’s good for a camper that size.
Then we weighed a completely loaded Night Hawk with a full wrap, bumper, bunk, air conditioner, awning, and inverter. It was 2,690 pounds dry.
What is the center of gravity for the Night Hawk?
It’s 32-inches from the front wall.
Are there any new options that are available for the 2024 Northstar Night Hawk?
The new options for the Night Hawk are the 2,000-watt inverter with three outlets in the camper, and the 12-volt smart TV with a built-in DVD player.
What is the MSRP for the 2024 Northstar Night Hawk with standard build features?
The MSRP for the 2024 Northstar Nighthawk is $41,760.
What is the warranty for the 2024 Northstar Night Hawk?
Northstar has a two year warranty on the body and structure. The installed components have their own warranties.
When will the 2024 Northstar Night Hawk be available?
They’re being shipped from our factory now. They have recently arrived at D&H RV in Florida and North Carolina, Truck Camper Warehouse in New Hampshire, Trailer World in Colorado, and SCATT Recreation in California.