Rex: The short bed Freedom has been eliminated. We want to keep the long bed Freedom for someone who wants a lightweight camper and needs room for more than two people. The Freedom has a dinette bed in the lower part for sleeping, and has the capability to go on half ton trucks, payload permitting.
TCM: How is the Liberty a better camper than the Freedom short bed it replaces?
Rex: The center of gravity, floor length, weight, ride control, and the ability to tow without an overhang makes the Liberty better than the Freedom for short bed trucks.
Above: The Northstar Liberty has the capacity for dual propane tanks
TCM: At Louisville, you said you were thinking of some changes to the Liberty. Have you made any changes?
Rex: The Liberty that we showed in Louisville had room for a single twenty pound propane tank. The revised Liberty models have room for a second twenty pound tank. To reduce weight, the Liberty features a single regulator hose so you’ll need to switch over the tanks manually. We always have to be conscious of overall weight and cost. The Liberty offers a great bang for the buck, has great versatility, and comes in at the right weight.
Above: After revisions, the Liberty’s power cord fits in an outside compartment.
TCM: Are there any new materials, components, or options in the Liberty that haven’t been in Northstar Campers before?
Rex: We have R16 insulation in the ceiling, and all rest of the camper body is R5, including our floors. That’s a pretty good insulation factor, and it makes the camper quiet. We’ve also been offering an insulation pack for the past six to eight months. It costs a couple hundred bucks, and almost everyone wants it. Our insulated windows are standard in the Liberty, which makes for a warm, comfortable camper.
Above: The optional Northstar insulation pack on the production line
TCM: What’s in this optional insulation pack?
Rex: There are actually two materials used in the insulation pack, Celotex and Astrofoil. Celotex is a much better extruded foam insulation than our standard foam insulation. For our insulation pack, we substitute the Celotex for the standard foam. Then we add Astrofoil to the roof before we deck it. Astrofoil is a foil edged bubble wrap insulation that reflects heat or cold. Of course the roof has Celotex as well.
We build our campers out of wood. I just want to say that they’re warm. You can’t stop aluminum from transferring cold or stop aluminum from sweating. Plus, with wood you can fix it locally if there’s an issue. With a laminated wall or aluminum framing, you’re in big trouble if you need a repair, even if you’re right at the factory.
TCM: What is the dry weight and MSRP of the Liberty?
Rex: With standard equipment, the Liberty is 1,750 pounds. In the near future, we will have new materials for all of our countertops, tables, and all interior doors. The material itself is 50% lighter than what we have now, so I think I can get the Liberty to the 1,600 pound range. We weigh every camper before they leave the factory and will report the change in weight with the new material to Truck Camper Magazine.
I don’t think customers will put a lot of options on the Liberty. On our website we list options and accessories with their weights, so start with the base weight and add the accessory and options weight you want. For example, an antenna is nine pounds and outside shower is eight pounds. Some of that weight is the required wiring and plumbing and other materials necessary for those options.
The MSRP for the 2012 Northstar Liberty is $19,770. I wanted the whole enchilada to be under $20,000.
TCM: Anything close to a 150 pound weight reduction from the new material would be very impressive. Are there Northstar Liberty models at Northstar dealers now?