The all-new hard side flatbed OEV High Country is available in Fixed-Removable or Fixed versions and offers a wet bath, north-south cabover, and can be financed as a complete truck, tray, and camper. Wait, what’s Fixed-Removable?
It’s no secret that we have a hard-nosed definition of what qualifies as a genuine truck camper. As our rule states, “If it doesn’t demount, it doesn’t count”. This simple standard has guided us well when determining what’s an authentic truck camper, and thus what qualifies for the selective electrons before you. Motorhomes shall not pass.
At first blush, we were unsure of what to make of OEV’s High Country models. They described them as either Fixed-Removable or Fixed. The “Fixed” word instantly threw a flag on our demountable field, but what about this Fixed-Removable? Aren’t all campers essentially fixed removable? Isn’t that another way of saying demountable?
Well, yes. And no. As it turns out, the OEV High Country Fixed-Removable is a flatbed camper that requires a special version of the company’s Aluma Tray and then uses four bolts to affix the camper to the Aluma Tray bed. According to the company, these bolts should take no more than a half-hour to secure or remove. With available corner jacks the camper remains demountable in the field.
Are we drawing a fine line here? Absolutely, but that’s often the sign that a company is pushing boundaries and innovating – something our industry needs now more than ever. After we step down from our demountable hobby horse, OEV’s Fixed-Removable approach has some compelling advantages including additional storage, easier loading, and eliminating the need for a tie-down and turnbuckle system. A lot of you just read, “easier loading” and thought, “Huh, maybe I should read this article.” Indeed.
To get the full story on the OEV High Country models, we contacted Mark Cymbaluk, and Arnold Baker, Managing Partners of Overland Explorer Vehicles, for an exclusive interview.
2023 OEV High Country Specifications:
The 2023 OEV High Country is a hard side truck camper made for long bed flatbed trucks. The interior floor length of the 2023 OEV High Country is 96” and from the front to rear wall is 111”. The interior height is 75” and the exterior width is 84”. The 2023 OEV High Country has 38 gallons of fresh water capacity, an 18 gallon grey tank, and a 5 gallon cassette toilet. It has space for up to two 320-amp hour batteries and a 20-pound horizontal marine propane tank should you elect to purchase the Fixed Removable.
OEV is reporting the base weight of High Country to be 2950 pounds. The MSRP on the Fixed Removable is $122,000 USD. The Aluma Tray HD HC (X) is an additional $15,750. The MSRP for the Fixed has not yet been determined but will be close to the Fixed Removable. Click here to request an OEV High Country brochure.
OEV launched with hard side models but then pivoted to focus on the pop-up market. Why are you now getting back into hard sides?
Mark: Demand. Our first hard side truck camper was the X10, which is currently owned by Lindsey of Girl Gone Glamping. She’s been living full-time out of it for over three years. We get calls for hard side campers every time she puts something up on her social media.
Arnold: We’re also trying to crossover to the broader traditional truck camper buyers outside of the overland community. As a flatbed hard side with a wet bath and more storage, the new High Country should be welcome by both markets.
Above: Looking from the dinette to the wet bath, galley, and overcab
Below: Looking from the overcab area to the U-shaped dinette
Are your hard sides constructed with the same composite 1.5-inch wall and roof panels, 1.5-inch honeycomb polypropylene floor panels, and aluminum extrusions as your pop-up models?
Mark: Yes. We’re using the same materials and construction methods throughout our production line.
Arnold: It’s a proven construction approach that works well.
The High Country will be offered as a “Fixed Removable” and a “Fixed” model. What does that mean?
Mark: We are offering two versions of the High Country. The Fixed-Removable version works in conjunction with a newly developed version of our Aluma Tray and is designed to be demountable in the field. The Fixed version is mounted to the truck via a subframe and is permanent.
We’ve found that a very small number of OEV customers actually unload their camper. We actually had a customer who bought a flatbed and demountable camper and then sold it to buy a permanently mounted camper. There are many advantages to this approach.
Arnold: By offering a Fixed-Removable version and a Fixed version, the same product can work for two very different markets. There are also fuel and appliance differences between the two versions. The Fixed-Removable has onboard propane appliances, like the Truma heat and hot water system. The Fixed version can be ordered with gas or diesel-powered appliances for heat and hot water.
Does the choice between Fixed-Removable and Fixed alter the cost of the final unit?
Arnold: The Fixed-Removable requires an Aluma Tray. The Fixed requires the more expensive gas or diesel appliances along with a subframe, under-cabin storage boxes, and a rear bumper. It winds up being very close to the same price.
Mark: The Fixed also has additional interior storage space because you gain the storage space used for the propane and Truma system. The gas and diesel appliances are far more compact.
Above: The Aluma Tray HD HC (X) with the High Country Fixed Removable
The High Country Fixed-Removable is designed as a system with the Aluma Tray HD HC (X). Tell us about the Aluma Tray HD HC (X) and how the High Country mounts to it.
Mark: We designed a new mounting system for the High Country and Aluma Tray. There’s a series of four pockets and tapered mounts that guide and center the camper while loading which makes the process easier. The Aluma Tray also has isolating mounts to keep torsion out of the camper. We specifically reinforced areas of the Aluma Tray for that. The camper is then bolted down using bolts.
Arnold: People like that the camper is self-locating. It lessens anxiety. And because the camper is bolted, it’s not using an exterior latch tie-down system. Now the truck, tray, and camper become viewed as Class C motorhome. The Fixed-Removable and the Fixed version can be financed as a complete rig; truck, flatbed, and camper.
“There’s a series of four pockets and tapered mounts that guide and center the camper while loading which makes the process easier.”
Financing entire rigs is something we really haven’t heard the manufacturers or dealers talk about much before. How does financing work for a truck, tray, and High Country?
Arnold: Because these campers in both the Fixed-Removable and Fixed versions are bolted to the chassis, it permits them to be financed as a complete package. We have already financed one truck, tray, and High Country in the United States. The Fixed-Removable camper and associated tray share the same serial number as Part A and B, whereas the fixed has only the camper serial number. These serial number(s) are then associated with the chassis VIN for financing. It should be noted, finance terms can be up to 16 years in Canada and 20 years in the USA for qualified buyers.
Is this how you see the High Country being purchased; as a complete truck, tray, and camper system?
Arnold: Everyone will approach the purchase differently. Not everyone will want the Fixed-Removable option, and that’s why we offer the Fixed model. Others will already have a truck and will only need to finance the tray and/or camper. You can do that. The financing adds additional flexibility for the buyer. It is nice to present people with choices on what can be a very expensive purchase.
Do the High Country Fixed-Removable and Fixed models work with a standard pickup truck or do you need a 60-inch commercial cab and chassis?
Arnold: Initially we designed the High Country to work with a 60-inch commercial cab and chassis, but we have since decided that we could adapt the design to a standard one-ton truck. If that’s what customers want, we will work with them.
Mark: The design won’t change. The camper won’t change. Just the fitment.
How many bolts are there between the camper and the bed?
Mark: There’s one bolt in each corner. With hand tools, it might take half an hour to install and uninstall the bolts. The bolds are accessed from interior access hatches in the under-deck storage cabinets.
Is the Aluma Tray included in the purchase price of the High Country?
Mark: It’s a separate purchase but they share the same serial numbers; Part A and Part B of a system.
Can the camper, tray, and truck all be put together by an OEV dealer, or does it need to come from the factory?
Arnold: The Fixed-Removable can be fully assembled by select OEV dealers. While the Fixed will be mounted at the factory only.
Is the floor plan of the High Country based on an existing pop-up model, or is it a completely new floor plan and model?
Mark: It is 100-percent new. People love our large U-shape dinette and wet bath. The wet bath in the High Country is a great feature. I’m 6’1” and can fully stand up inside. We made the camper as short as possible without losing features. It also has a ton of upper cabinetry storage.
Arnold: The High Country is a throwback to our humble beginnings loosely based on the camper that got us started, the X10. It is also our largest demountable camper. It’s 1.5-feet longer than our Hudson Bay camper. Even though is longer, we still want it to be nimble and lightweight for off-road use. Once you get past a 9.5-foot floor length, it gets challenging to build something that’s truly off-road capable.
Mark: The longer a camper gets, the more weight there is behind the axle. You can’t get too much longer without creating a problem with off-road travel.
The North-South cabover is an $8,895 option, including cabinetry, floor-to-ceiling wardrobes USB/110-volt ports, and LED lighting. Why not make the North-South cabover standard?
Mark: It comes down to the overland market. They don’t want a lot over the cab, and the increased weight that it would bring. That’s all it is. Myself, I have had an OEV Summit, and Basecamp now, and each one has an East-West cabover. I wouldn’t want a North-South for what I do.
Are all the cabinets 100-percent aluminum throughout the camper?
Arnold: Yes, the cabinets are powder-coated aluminum across the coach.
Why not build your interior cabinets with wood or a lightweight composite?
Mark: Aluminum is very light and adds structure to the product. The aluminum has no structural fatigue, and everything stays tight over time. Go into one of our original Summit models and the cabinets are all still tight. Wood cabinets get screwed down and then twist with the camper body during travel. Eventually, they loosen and start to separate. If you travel off-road in Baja or forest service roads, wood cabinets start to have issues quickly.
Arnold: Wood is fine for stationary things like houses, but we choose the materials that are the best for weight and off-road use.
Tell us about the wet bath. Does it contain a toilet, shower, and sink?
Mark: There is no sink, but there’s a toilet, medicine cabinet, and shower. The shower drains into an 18-gallon grey tank.
Arnold: It comes standard with a Thetford Cassette Toilet but can be optioned with a Wrappon Trekker (no water required).
Is the shower a permanently mounted showerhead, or is it a Sagiv shower connection?
Mark: It’s a nice brass mixer valve with a shower head on a rail; all marine grade.
Above: The door to the wet bath in the High Country
The High Country features a 38-gallon fresh tank with a 12-volt pump. Where is that tank located?
Mark: The fresh tank is under the rear dinette seat; galley side/driver side.
And where is the 18-gallon grey tank?
Mark: It’s under the dinette seat as well. You could add a larger grey tank, but you would lose storage. For dumping, we don’t use an RV dump valve, but rather an industrial valve that you can attach to a garden hose.
Above: The Wrappon Trekker WT-4; the Thetford cassette toilet (not pictured) is standard
The standard toilet on the High Country is the Thetford C223CE cassette with a 4.7-gallon tank. Why did you select a Thetford cassette toilet for the High Country?
Arnold: It’s the most common toilet we install. We also offer the Wrappon Trekker WT-4. The overland guys usually choose the Wrappon. It’s a much better alternative to a porta-potty because it does not require water.
Above: OEV High Country Truma Display
The 2023 OEV High Country features a Truma Combi heat and hot water system. Why did you select the Truma Combi for this model?
Arnold: The Truma Combi gives us the ability to utilize more ducting for heat and comfort. The High Country is ducted in three areas which helps to keep the entire unit warm.
Mark: The Truma Combi heats more volume and space. We needed the additional capacity for the High Country Fixed Removable. The Fixed has gas or diesel heating systems that are equally adept at heating the unit.
Above: Nomadic Over Table Vents
What is the OEV hydronic system that’s listed as an option?
Mark: That’s one of the available heating systems for the Fixed version.
The High Country gets a full Victron electrical system; 100/30 mppt solar controller, Orion DC/DC charger, 2,000-watt Multiplus 12/2000/80 inverter, and Cerbo GX color display. Why did you choose Victron for the High Country?
Mark: Victron is rock solid with very limited failure rates. The Victron includes fresh and grey tank-level monitors, a 110-volt inverter for the microwave, and Bluetooth connectivity. Many of our customers want these Victron features so we might as well install them here at the factory. Plus it is high quality, simple to use, and extremely durable.
Arnold: Agreed. Reliability is paramount, especially when you are off-grid.
What is the 164L DC compressor refrigerator/freezer?
Mark: We use Domestic or Nova Kool depending on what’s available. Our go-to is the Nova Kool R510 5.8 cubic foot model. We also use a 164-liter refrigerator in the Hudson Bay and Basecamp.
Arnold: In the overland community, a lot of people use a second 12-volt chest-style refrigerator/freezer in their truck cab. That gives owners a lot of flexibility and refrigerator storage without installing a larger unit in the camper that takes up more storage space and adds weight and cost.
The High Country comes standard with two 200-watt roof-mounted solar panels. Can a customer get more solar installed?
Arnold: People generally want more solar than battery capacity. For most of our customers, the minimum is one 200-watt solar panel. Many will add as many panels as we can fit on the roof to take advantage of the sun in both low and high light times.
Since they were already adding additional panels after the sale, we decided to make it available from the factory.
Mark: Some of our customers are going to the moon with battery capacity. We have one customer with 1,860 amp hours of lithium batteries. That’s the equivalent of over 40 standard AGM batteries. People want power.
Arnold: Part of that is from the cost of lithium batteries coming down. If people have the space, they add more batteries. I can see our future models offering induction cooktops. If a company is able to manufacture a 12-volt low BTU air conditioner, people will be installing those. Big battery packs are here to stay.
Are you continuing to not offer a standard battery?
Mark: We are not offering a standard battery, but offer several options from the factory. The Victron 100Ah AGM is $450, the Relion LT100 100Ah Lithium is $1,618, and the Lithionics 12-volt 320Ah lithium battery is $5,557. The Lithionics is UL listed with state-of-the-art safety features. They’re hands down the best. They have measures in place so they physically can’t catch fire.
I have Relion batteries in my campers and I love them. They are proven in cold temperatures.
What does the 2023 OEV High Country weigh with standard build features?
Arnold: The 2023 OEV High Country Fixed-Removable weighs 2,950 pounds. We have not weighed the Fixed version yet.
Where is the center of gravity on the 2023 OEV High Country?
Arnold: The center of gravity on the 2023 OEV High Country Fixed-Removable is 39-inches from the front wall. The Fixed version has not been calculated yet.
What is the MSRP for the 2023 OEV High Country with standard build features?
Arnold: The MSRP on the Fixed-Removable is $122,000 USD. The Aluma Tray HD HC (X) is an additional $15,750. We do not have the MSRP for the Fixed yet but will be close to the Fixed-Removable.
What is the warranty for the 2023 OEV High Country?
Arnold: The warranty for OEV campers is five years. Auxiliary components have their own warranties. At the end of the day, it’s our name. We take care of our customers.
When will the 2023 OEV High Country be available to order?
Arnold: It’s available now. There’s about a ten to twelve-week wait, and then it takes about a week to get to the dealer.
Are you working on any additional demountable truck campers for 2023?
Arnold: Our Hudson Bay hard wall will be available this summer. If possible, we would like to have it at Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, Arizona, but that remains to be seen.
“If you want to pass a camper down to your kids, OEV is your brand.”
Is there anything you want to add about OEV or the 2023 OEV High Country?
Arnold: It’s a nice camper. People are going to love it from the floor plan to the wet bath. My wife loves that feature. It’s a true four-season camper. It’s fixed removable and the versatility that offers owners is huge.
Mark: The difference between OEV products and a typical truck camper is everything. They may look similar, but they are different from materials to build quality to design to engineering. If you want to pass a camper down to your kids, OEV is your brand. We’re not after building as many as possible. We build 100 units a year and we’re happy. That means our end users get to enjoy the highest quality campers available.