Capri Campers launches the Lone Star Junior, an all-new hard side, non-slide, short bed truck camper for mid-size trucks. At 825 pounds dry, the Lone Star Junior brings the affordable and modular concept of the Readers’ Choice winning original to the Tacoma, Colorado, Ranger, and Frontier.
Last December, Capri Campers handily won the Readers’ Choice Award for Best Truck Camper of 2022 with the Capri Lone Star. Priced below the entire hard-side marketplace, at a weight that can match nearly any full-size half-ton truck, and showcasing a 100-percent modular approach to components and systems, the voting wasn’t close. The Lone Star galloped away with it.
Hot on the heels of this award-winning design, Capri is launching the Lone Star Junior, a mid-size version of the original. At twenty paces that might not seem like a big deal, but take another gander. The Lone Star Junior is now the lightest and most affordable hard side truck camper for mid-size trucks. Listen up Taco posse. Pay attention Ranger bandits. Bring it in Colorado crew and Frontier bunch. At $16,995 and 825 pounds dry, the Lone Star Junior could be your hard side huckleberry.
Taking a mosey back, the Lone Star Junior is also the only official Capri cabover camper available for mid-size trucks. In fact, the open modular concept of the Lone Star is what kept this camper within the payload limits of mid-size trucks. A more traditional approach to cabinetry, holding tanks, and built-in appliances would put this camper beyond the mid-size weight target. Going simple, open and modular hit the mark.
To learn more about the Capri Lone Star Junior, we talked to Pete and Tyson D’Acosta, President and Vice President of Capri Campers.
Capri Lone Star Junior Specifications
The 2023 Capri Lone Star Junior is a hard side, non-slide camper made for mid-sized trucks. The interior floor length is 5’8” and the interior height is 6’0”.
The Capri Lone Star Junior has a 3.5-gallon fresh tank (optional RinseKit), 2-gallon RotopaX fresh tank (optional), no grey tank, and no black tank, but there is space for a porta-potty. A GoalZero Yeti 1500 battery is optional. It has a twenty-pound propane tank.
Capri is reporting the base weight of the Capri Lone Star Junior to be 825 pounds. The base MSRP for the Capri Lone Star Junior is $16,995. Click here to request more information about the Capri Lone Star Junior.
Above: The Lone Star Junior on a Toyota Tacoma
Before we talk about the new Capri Lone Star Junior, let’s talk about Lone Star ‘senior’.
Announced in March of 2022, the Lone Star represented a new direction for Capri; decidedly modern, nearly 100-percent modular, and even more affordable. Now that the Lone Star has been out for a year, what marketplace niche has the camper appealed to?
Tyson: People from the West Coast and Northwest who are into skiing are buying the Lone Star. Just the other day I heard from a guy in Colorado who has spent 40 nights in his Lone Star getting down to -30 below zero. It’s good to have those reports come in during the Lone Star’s first winter out in the wild.
Overall, Lone Star owners like the simplicity and the modular aspect of the design. They don’t have to worry about things going wrong.
Pete: Experienced campers are buying the Lone Star. We sell a lot of Capri Retreat and Cowboy campers to newbies or people just retiring. The Lone Star is being bought by experienced campers who know what they want. They know it’s what they are looking for.
On the other hand, the Capri Retreat remains our most popular model because most customers still want built-in components. The Retreat shower stall is also a big deal. If a customer wants a shower, the Lone Star is out. The customer who wants the Lone Star wants the modular simplicity and off-grid features.
The Capri Lone Star Junior targets mid-size trucks. Has Capri ever offered a cabover camper for mid-size trucks?
Pete: Over the years we’ve been talked into building Retreats for Tacomas and mid-size trucks. Every time we’ve said that we’d never do it again. The Retreat was hard to get under 1,000 pounds.
Above: The interior of the Lone Star Junior
With the Lone Star already being more simple and modular, it presented the perfect lightweight shell. The Lone Star Junior is the right approach for Tacomas and other mid-size trucks and hit our weight target. We have gotten lots and lots of requests to build this camper, especially for a Tacoma. We are very excited about its potential. It’s a huge market to go after.
“The Lone Star Junior is the right approach for Tacomas and other mid-size trucks and hit our weight target.”
Exactly what trucks are you targeting for the Lone Star Junior?
Tyson: It’s universal for mid-size trucks; the Tacoma, Colorado, Frontier; really any mid-size truck with a 6-foot bed and enough payload capacity.
Pete: A lot of mid-size trucks have 5-foot beds. That puts the Lone Star Junior past the tailgate and we don’t recommend that for weight and center of gravity.
The original Lone Star was designed for full-size trucks. When you designed the Lone Star Junior, did you start with the same floor plan and layout, or take another approach?
Tyson: We started with a blank sheet of paper. We first built an open shell to see the space we had to work with. Then we worked on different cabinet configurations and listed the pros and cons. That’s how we came up with the floor plan. The floor is not wide enough for a ski closet in the Lone Star Junior, so some things had to be canceled out.
Pete: We had the Lone Star to help plan out the Junior, so it was easier to visualize. We decided to shrink the ceiling height and the cabover and made other adjustments. Then we went to our wood shop and the guys built it right in front of us; piece by piece. It took about a month to get it framed right. They’d build a side wall and then we would scoot something 3-inches and they would build it again. We may not have the technology of the big camper companies, but we have talented carpenters who can do just about anything.
Tyson: On the first iteration of the Lone Star Junior we had the propane moved off the wall several inches for the closet, and then realized that it shrunk the front seating area. Then we had to worry about weight. Then we played with different size cabinets and weight distribution. Once we had it laid out we had to think through where the Goal Zero battery was going to sit, and then the refrigerator needed to be close enough to plug into it. After that, we thought about the sink and having a fan in the ceiling. Then, five other things. It’s a puzzle. We wanted to make sure the camper was user-friendly for our customers.
How did you decide on the overall dimensions of the camper?
Tyson: We build our Cowboy model for mid-size trucks. It’s 6-feet long by 80-inches wide and has worked well with mid-size trucks for years. We used the Cowboy’s base dimensions. Back when we started, we had a Maverick model. That camper had a 6-foot interior height. We based the Lone Star Junior off that because the Maverick also worked with Tacomas and mid-size trucks.
Pete: The back door is 66-inches tall; the same as our other campers. We didn’t want a one-off model that needed one-off materials. We designed it small and in proportion as much as possible so that we could use the same materials that we have in the Retreat and the Lone Star.
Will Lone Star Junior owners be able to shut the tailgate with a mid-size truck?
Tyson: Customers that want to keep their tailgates on can leave it down and use their camper. That works well. And we have a good solution for backup cameras. Keeping the tailgate down and using a backup camera mounted high on the camper – with better visibility – is a better approach than sacrificing interior floor space. You lose a lot of interior space and storage to be able to shut the tailgate.
Pete: We have an excellent source for backup cameras that has been 100-percent successful for us. On the website, you enter the year, make, and model of your truck, and they have an OEM-compatible camera. It plugs into the truck’s system and works perfectly. With this approach, you can put your tailgate down and have the tailgate step still available. For most customers, that approach beats losing valuable floor space and storage.
Will you be offering the Lone Star Junior in different floor length sizes?
Tyson: The Lone Star Junior will only be available at 6-feet with ten options to choose from. There will be no dimension changes. That’s one way we’re able to keep the final cost down for our customers.
Pete: You can choose your exterior paneling with the Junior, and there are the weathered cedar and pine choices. That’s one change we made to the original Lone Star and now the Lone Star Junior. Our customers love to pick their exterior colors and interior cabinetry wood.
Could the Lone Star Junior fit a full-size truck?
Tyson: It can. You would need to build a platform in the bed to clear the cabover height on an F-150 or 1500-series truck.
Beyond size, weight has to be a critical consideration when designing a hard side camper for a mid-size truck. How did you approach keeping the weight down on the Lone Star Junior?
Tyson: With the Lone Star Junior, low weight is built into the concept. We used nets instead of cabinet doors. That saves a little weight. It’s modular, so there are no built-in appliances. That saves a little more weight. Then the Lone Star Junior is a bit lower and narrower. Again, that saves a little more weight. We did everything possible to keep the weight down, as long as it didn’t impact structural integrity or quality.
Above: Weighing the Capri Lone Star Junior at the factory
While we’re talking about weight, what does the Lone Star Junior weigh?
Tyson: The Lone Star Junior’s base weight is 825 pounds dry. By being under 900 pounds you can actually bring your things with you and stay under the payload of most mid-size trucks.
What does an 825 pound Lone Star Junior have in it?
Tyson: It’s the base camper with a fan, sink cabinet, and propane cabinet, but no options. For example, the Goal Zero and Rinse Kit are not included in the base weight.
Pete: We have a Camper Builder on our website that gives you the standard equipment. It shows you the price and weight as you add options.
That’s a fantastic online tool we wish more truck camper manufacturers would provide. What are the options for the Lone Star Junior and what do they weigh?
Tyson: The Yeti Goal Zero 1500X Lithium portable battery is 45 pounds. The roof-mounted air conditioner unit (eliminates Fantastic Fan) is 90 pounds. The Dometic 35IM Cooler is 37 pounds. The Camco Wave-3 catalytic propane heater is 10 pounds. The RinseKit Pro is 15 pounds. The RotopaX 2-gallon can plus mounting plate is 10 pounds. The Geek Aire Portable Fan is 9 pounds. The Duxtop Portable Single Burner Induction Cooktop is 6 pounds. The Rieco-Titan manual jacks including 4-corner brackets are 85 pounds. The Dometic 970 Series portable toilet is 12 pounds.
With every option, the Lone Star Junior would be 1,091 pounds.
What is the cabover bed size and orientation in the Lone Star Junior?
Tyson: It’s an East-West bed that measures 45-inches by 76-inches.
One of the goals for the original Lone Star was to use the best modular components and potentially improve those components over time. Have you changed any of the ten modular components for the full-size Lone Star?
Tyson: We added a roof-mounted air conditioner because not having an air conditioner option excluded all of us here in the south. The original Goal Zero battery system, Dometic refrigerator, Rinse Kit, and other options are the same. We keep an eye on alternatives but still stand by our original choices. They’re excellent products.
Pete: The roof-mounted air conditioner is routed to a standard three-prong plug on the rear wall. You can plug in the air conditioner to a portable generator or shore power. That rear wall plug only powers the air conditioner. Most importantly, that solution doesn’t change the modular approach of the Lone Star.
Were you able to fit all of the same modular components from the full-size Lone Star into the mid-size Lone Star Junior, or were some changes necessary?
Tyson: You can get the same ten options in the Lone Star Junior as the original Lone Star.
Pete: The only difference is the Dometic refrigerator. It’s a slightly smaller model to fit the Junior; the Dometic CFX3 35IM.
Were you able to create storage areas for every component and option as you did with the full-size Lone Star?
Tyson: Yes, and that’s because it followed the same path. We have a space under the sink and counter for the Rinse Kit and the induction stove top. The heater mounts on the face of the cabinet, but it’s still removable.
The toilet and battery fit under the front seating area. The refrigerator sits on the bench. Everything has its own space and can be stored away.
Are thermal pane windows standard on the Lone Star Junior?
Tyson: The thermal windows are not standard on the Junior. We had to go with smaller windows, so the Junior will not have a thermal window option. The Lagun table system and roof mount solar panel are standard.
Does the dinette convert into a bed?
Tyson: Yes, it does. We struggled with that because we really wanted the Junior to have that feature. The dinette bed is 22-inches by 76-inches. That’s 6’4” lengthwise.
Talk to us about the available storage in the Lone Star Junior.
Tyson: There’s an upper cabinet on the driver’s side that provides quite a bit of storage. There’s a closet with a clothes rod that offers a lot of closet storage. You can also put your shoes in there. Under the sink, there’s a little space and under the seating area there is additional storage.
Pete: If you’re a solo traveler using the cabover sleeper, you can use all of the bench space below. With the table down, you have an area 22” X 76” to stack or store things.
Have you stayed with the Camco Wave 3 catalytic heater as the optional heating system for the Lone Star Junior?
Tyson: Yes. It’s mounted on a cabinet door on the left back driver’s side. On the Lone Star, it’s on the back wall, so it’s in a different location in the Junior. The reason for the different location goes back to the camper being user-friendly. The propane compartment on the Junior is on the backside of the propane heater. That way there is a short and easy line which makes for less for things to go wrong.
Above: Measuring the center of gravity using a pole
What is the center of gravity on the Lone Star Junior?
Tyson: It’s 26-inches from the front wall.
What is the MSRP for the 2023 Lone Star Junior with standard build features?
Pete: The base price is $16,995.
That’s the same price as the original Lone Star.
Pete: That’s correct. Building the Lone Star and Lone Star Junior takes almost the same amount of time and effort. For all of our models, we don’t upcharge for different lengths.
What would a Lone Star Junior with all 10 modular options cost?
Tyson: Fully loaded the Lone Star Junior is $24,745. The beauty of the Lone Star and Lone Star Junior is that you can choose what options you want. And you don’t always have to take every option you have with you.
“The beauty of the Lone Star and Lone Star Junior is that you can choose what options you want.”
What is the warranty for the Lone Star Junior?
Tyson: The Capri warranty is one year. The modular options have their own warranties.
When will the Lone Star Junior be available?
Tyson: It’s available now. You can order one today.
Are you working on any other new models for 2023?
Tyson: There is not enough time.
Is there any other news to share from Capri Camper?
Pete: We just launched a new updated website. It has the same interactive camper builder functionality, but it’s a lot more visual, including lots of customer photos and testimonials. Every single day a potential customer finds our website for the first time. We want them to know in the first thirty seconds that Capri Campers are the real deal. So we try to do that visually with the new site.
We also dedicated a page to celebrate our deep rodeo cowboy roots. Professional rodeo may not be a big deal in the greater truck camper marketplace, but there are over 70 world-ranked rodeo cowboys in Capri Campers, including many of the current and past world champions.
This past year, of the top 17 world-ranked professional bareback riders, 14 of them rodeo in Capri Campers. Three of them were here at the factory yesterday. These are the nicest, most respectful guys on the planet and they are the very best at what they do. We believe that professional rodeo will continue to get bigger and bigger, and shows like “Yellowstone” have certainly helped.
Tyson: You offered a dare last year. I’d like to dare you to come back to Texas in 2023.