More truck camper news from the 2012 National RV Trade Show from Travel Lite, Lance, Rieco-Titan, and Roadmaster. Plus, the TCM Bowling Tournament winner!
For part two of our 2012 Louisville coverage, we check out the new Travel Lite 770 pop-up truck camper, finally see the 2013 Lance 1172 double slide for ourselves, try out a new accessory-ready remote by Rieco-Titan, get an update on the FuseMaster and InvisiBrake from Roadmaster, and continue the breath taking competitive drama that is the 2012 Truck Camper Magazine Bowling Tournament.
The big news at Travel Lite was the debut of the 2013 Travel Lite 770 pop-up truck camper. The 7’ 7” floor plan of the 770 pop-up is nearly identical to the popular Travel Lite 770 hard side which made it’s debut in 2011.
This floor plan manages to squeeze a lot of functionality into a small footprint by utilizing a European-style mid-camper dinette, an east-west overcab bedroom, and forgoing a traditional bathroom in favor of a porta-potty “room”.
Another stand out feature of the 2013 Travel Lite 770 pop-up is an electric lift system that automatically lifts and lowers the roof at the touch of a button. With this electric lift system, raising and lowering the roof is as easy as using a slide-out room.
Travel Lite also gave the 770 pop-up overhead cabinetry, something previous Travel Lite pop-up truck campers had lacked. Like all Travel Lite truck campers, the cabinetry is Amish made in-house at Travel Lite, with no gimp. To save weight, some of the cabinetry fronts are cargo netting and the table is removable.
Larry Johns, President of Travel Lite, explained that the 2013 Travel Lite 770 pop-up truck camper is designed for use off the truck standing on it’s four Rieco-Titan jacks. He also pointed out the new radius front nose of the 770 pop-up which features a refreshed Travel Lite logo. Inside Larry was sure that we noticed the one-piece fiberglass kitchen countertop. It’s a sharp looking camper.
The rest of Travel Lite’s line up has some nice 2013 updates including fresh fabrics, new wrap-around fiberglass nose caps on the larger hard-side models, and new slide-out bulb seals on the 2013 Travel Lite 900SBSL Ultra and 1000SLRX Ultra models.
2012 TCM Bowling Tournament: Travel Lite
Above: Dustin Johns, Vice President of Travel Lite, was a serious bowling contender
Representing Travel Lite for the 2012 TCM Bowling Tournament was Dustin Johns, Vice President, Lindsey Johns, Sales Administrator and Compliance Coordinator, Diane McManus, Sales Representative, and Ryan Spencer, Sales Representative. Here are their scores:
|Dustin Johns, Vice President||Total Score: 48|
|Diane McManus, Sales Representative||Total Score: 21|
|Ryan Spencer, Sales Representative||Total Score: 7|
|Lindsey Johns, Sales Administrator||Total Score: 35|
It’s not exactly breaking news anymore, but Louisville was the first time Angela and I had ever seen the all-new 2013 Lance 1172 double slide truck camper. After having seen the floor plan months earlier, and Princess Craft’s walk through video just two weeks ago, there were no surprises, but the camper didn’t disappoint. For anyone who’s been waiting and waiting for Lance to come out with a double slide model with a sofa slide, you’re going to love this new camper.
Compared to its direct competition, Lance took a much more conservative approach with some of the macro design elements of the 1172. For example, the basement floor of the camper is built to the wheel wells, not the much higher bed rails. The fresh tank is also more conservative compared to the competition at 42 gallons, but the grey and black tanks are slightly larger at 35 gallons and 35 gallons.
As a result of this more conservative approach, the inside floor space of the camper is not as wide as competing models with the same floor plan, but it’s a few inches longer and offers more ceiling height.
Of course the main advantage to Lance’s more conservative basement and holding tank approach is lighter weight. Lance is reporting the dry weight of the 2013 Lance 1172 at 3,690 pounds. To put that dry weight into perspective, the 2013 Lance 1172 is just 170 pounds more than the 2013 Lance 1181 single-slide dry weight and 185 pounds more than the 2013 Lance 1191 single-slide dry weight.
No matter how you slice it, this is the biggest Lance Camper ever made and, for 170 to 185 pounds more than the 1181 or 1191, the rear sofa slide is a serious crowd pleaser. We want to spend some more time with the 1172 to get a better feel for the real-world usability of space, storage, and overall functionality, but we are impressed. If you have enough payload to handle about 4,715 pounds (wet, with options, and loaded with cargo), put the 1172 on your shopping list.
Lance didn’t bring any other new models, but did have their full line of truck campers on display. For an in depth article on their 2013 changes, check out, “TCM EXCLUSIVE: 2013 Lance Camper Announcements”.
2012 TCM Bowling Tournament: Lance Campers
Above: Gary Conley, National Sales Representative for Lance, in fine bowling form
Representing Lance Campers for the 2012 TCM Bowling Tournament was Gary Conley, National Sales Manager, Scott Martin, Sales Representative, William Hill, Sales Representative, and Lou Bonessa, Sales Representative. Here are their scores:
|Gary Conley, National Sales Manager||Total Score: 46|
|Scott Martin, Sales Representative||Total Score: 32|
|Lou Bonessa, Sales Representative||Total Score: 30|
|William Hill, Sales Representative||Total Score: 63|
The most exiting new product Rieco-Titan had to tell us about wasn’t even at the show; Rieco-Titan Stability Sticks. Like the name suggests, Stability Sticks are a new product designed to stabilize truck campers when used off the trucks. Specifically, Stability Sticks brace a camper from the front of the cabover to the ground stabilizing the camper and preventing the possibility of a tip over.
For the record, we have never once heard of a camper tipping over because people were in the cabover (no matter what they were doing), but Rieco-Titan’s new product will certainly add a reassuring margin of safety and keep the camper steady.
Bob McCarthy, President of Rieco-Titan, and Doug Bakker, Rieco-Titan’s Product Manager, were eager to show off their mechanical to electrical jack conversion kit. Essentially, it’s a kit that allows you to convert manual jacks to remote control electric jacks.
Based on the demonstration Bob gave us at the show, it’s a relatively straight forward conversion process, but we suggest calling Rieco-Titan with your application before ordering the kit.
Rieco-Titan’s electric jack remote control and receiver system has also received an exciting update; the ability to remotely control slide-outs and pop-up roof lifts. Bob made sure to demonstrate the safety of this new feature by showing us how a user needs to hold the remote control accessory button for five seconds until an LED light on the remote goes red. “This is a very deliberate action people are not likely to do by accident” explained Bob.
2012 TCM Bowling Tournament: Rieco-Titan
Representing Rieco-Titan for the 2012 TCM Bowling Tournament was Bob McCarthy, President, and Doug Bakker, Product Manager. Here are their scores:
|Doug Bakker, Product Manager||Total Score: 26|
|Bob McCarthy, President||Total Score: 44|
Roadmaster did not bring anything new for the truck camper market to Louisville, but they were very happy to report success with their FuseMaster and InvisiBrake products. If you tow a vehicle behind your truck camper, these two products should prove indispensable to make towing easier, more convenient, and safe.
David Robinson, Roadmaster’s Director of Marketing, was very excited to have won Motorhome Magazine’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Award for their Roadmaster All-Terrain tow bar series and supplemental EvenBrake, BrakeMaster, and InvisiBrake breaking systems. Congratulations Roadmaster, but what’s a motorhome?
2012 TCM Bowling Tournament: Roadmaster
Representing Roadmaster for the 2012 TCM Bowling Tournament was David Robinson, Director of Marketing, Robin Robinson, Purchasing Manager, Eric Jason, National Sales Manager, Wayne Wells, OEM Sales Manager, and Mary Rasada, Roadmaster Representative. Here are their scores:
|Robin Robinson, Purchasing Manager||Total Score: 46|
|Mary Rasada, Representative||Total Score: 22|
|David Robinson, Director of Marketing||Total Score: 24|
|Wayne Wells, OEM Sales Manager||Total Score: 29|
|Eric Jason, National Sales Manager||Total Score: 40|
Announcing the Winner: Well, that’s complicated.
At the end of the day, the winner was clear. Ben Meloche of Palomino handily beat the competition with a near perfect score of 78. Best of all, Ben did it while eating a sandwich. That’s right, a sandwich.
Above: Ben Meloche bowls a near perfect score while eating a sandwich
When Angela and I showed at the Palomino display up to give Ben his prize, there was no Ben to be found. Ben had been sent home. That’s when Angela and I decided that you had to be present to win the Truck Camper Magazine Bowling Tournament. Were we making up the rules as we went along? You bet! Sorry Ben.
Taking another look at our tournament scores, we went to our number two top scoring competitor, William Hill of Lance Campers. Quickly Angela and I darted to the Lance booth and found William lounging in something called a, “travel trailer”. When we told him he had won the first Truck Camper Magazine Bowling Tournament, by default, he did this:
Congratulations William on your second first place win! Enjoy your prize; a ridiculously over-sized hot chocolate mug, marshmallow, and peppermint stick kit.