Donald Cochran, Director of Sales for Northwood Manufacturing, announces the 2014 Wolf Creek 840, a hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper for long or short bed trucks.
Truck camper design evolved for forty years before the first slide-out model was introduced in the mid-1990s. Between the mid-1950s and the mid-1990s, truck camper designers were essentially forced to focus on developing the best possible truck camper within the limitations of a non-slide floor plan. Even as late as 2000, most truck camper manufacturers and designers were dedicated exclusively to non-slide truck camper models.
How times have changed.
When Bob Mehrer at Interior RV introduced the first production slide-out truck camper in 1995, he changed the dynamics of truck camper floor plan design forever. Twelve years later, the first triple-slide truck camper hit the market. Today, eight truck camper manufacturers build slide-out floor plans. A few truck camper manufacturers have actually abandoned non-slides in favor of the possibilities, and the popularity, of slide-out campers.
So why, given the success of slide-out truck campers over the past decade, is Northwood Manufacturing introducing a third non-slide floor plan as part of their 2014 Wolf Creek line?
The answer, we believe, is in the inherent and sustaining advantages of non-slide truck campers. First, non-slide truck campers, on average, weigh less, cost less, and are easier to maintain and service than their slide-out slinging cousins. Second, because non-slides weigh less, they require less truck, which can also cost less, and offer more efficiency. Third, you can always get to the bathroom in a non-slide. Slide-out truck camper owners often have to relearn the pee-pee dance as they wait for one or more slides to go out so they can reach the bathroom.
One more point is worth making; not everyone wants or needs more floor space or a fancy slide-out floor plan. While it’s easy to be seduced by slides, they’re not the right answer for everyone.
Speaking of a truck camper that benefits from the now sixty years of non-slide truck camper design that came before it, Northwood Manufacturing is announcing the 2014 Wolf Creek 840. The 2014 Wolf Creek 840 sports a non-slide floor plan that’s been refined for decades, but offers a decidedly modern take on materials, manufacturing, and quality control.
To tell us more about the 2014 Wolf Creek 840, we talked to Donald Cochran, Director of Sales for Northwood Manufacturing.
2014 Wolf Creek 840 Specifications:
The 2014 Wolf Creek 840 is a hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper made for short or long bed trucks. The interior floor length of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840 is 8’6” and the interior height is 6’6″. The Wolf Creek 840 has a 29 gallon fresh tank, 6 gallon hot water heater, 27 gallon grey tank, and 20 gallon black tank. It can accommodate two batteries and has two twenty-pound propane tanks. The base weight of the Wolf Creek 840 is 1,992 pounds. The base MSRP for the Wolf Creek 840 is $19,044.
Above: The exterior of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840
TCM: Tell us about the origins of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840.
Donald: The request for the 2014 Wolf Creek 840 floor plan came straight from our dealer network. Northwood Manufacturing’s dealers regularly give us feedback on what they see as potential opportunities in the marketplace.
Our dealers have the benefit of working directly with customers on a daily basis and know what they want. Furthermore, our dealers have extensive knowledge about what trucks our customers are looking to match with a camper.
From the ground up, the 2014 Wolf Creek 840 was designed to meet the opportunities our dealers brought to us, and match well with the trucks they specified. For these reasons and many more, we are very excited about the all-new 840.
Above: The interior of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840
TCM: What was the design and development process for the 2014 Wolf Creek 840?
Donald: The first part of any new product design at Northwood Manufacturing is the development of a concept. Our product development team starts by drawing an initial floor plan. At the same time, our sales team establishes who the end-consumer is and produces a list of desired features. The sales team also carefully identifies the trucks we’re targeting for the new camper including weight and payload capacities.
Once the design team finalizes their drawings and the sales team completes their desired features list and target capacities, the real work begins. Utilizing design software, the product development team drafts the new camper on computers making sure everything fits together precisely; from the floor plan, to plumbing, to electrical, to all components. Everything is accounted for in their computer design, from what you can see, to what you can’t see.
When the product development team completes the new camper design, it’s reviewed by management. If it’s approved, we build a physical prototype.
Constructing a prototype is an extremely time-intensive and painstaking process. We build one unit and make sure everything that works on the computer rendering fits together and works properly. The prototype construction process also gives us the opportunity to determine the best possible way to manufacture the new camper.
Above: CNC routers are used for cutting laminated side walls at Northwood Manufacturing
Every step of the way we rely heavily on our team’s extensive manufacturing experience. As a company, Northwood has been manufacturing RVs for over twenty years. Collectively, our team has hundreds of years of RV design and manufacturing experience. More than any other factor, this experience ensures that we build every new model to Northwood’s high quality standards. The 2014 Wolf Creek 840 is no exception.
Above: Northwood’s eight ton lamination pinch roller and Wolf Creek wall assembly
TCM: Were there adjustments made to the initial prototype?
Donald: Once we completed the first 2014 Wolf Creek 840, we determined that there were further opportunities to improve the design and build a better camper. While the basic floor plan for the 840 remained the same, we were able to make a lot changes that will benefit the consumer in subtle but important ways. These kinds of fine-tuning adjustments and improvements are only possible when you build a complete prototype.
Keith Williams, Lonnie Savage, Tony Carman, and Grant Burnell all spent many hours going over every detail of the 840 optimizing the storage, floor space, plumbing, electrical, weight, and the overall integrity of the camper. I also personally drove the camper to the RV show in Pomona and gathered extensive consumer feedback. This feedback, together with our own internal review, mandated that we construct another prototype. If it’s not as good as it can possibly be, we won’t build it.
TCM: What trucks are the 2014 Wolf Creek 840 campers designed for?
Donald: The 2014 Wolf Creek 840 is designed for a three-quarter ton truck with at least 3,000 pounds of payload. That takes into account the 2014 Wolf Creek 840’s 1,992 pounds of dry weight, 241.86 pounds for 29 gallons of fresh water, 50 pounds for the 6 gallon hot water heater tank, 40 pounds for two full 20 pound propane tanks, 130 pounds for two batteries, and 500 pounds for options, and your stuff.
The 840 is ideal for those customers with that, “Roam Where You Dare” attitude. It’s light, not too tall, and has all the comforts of a small cabin. This is also a great size camper for those that have something they’re towing including a boat, horses, or just about anything.
Above: The 2014 Wolf Creek 840 has a panoramic view in the back of the camper
TCM: If you were talking with a customer and they were choosing between the Wolf Creek 840 and 850, what would you want to point out?
Donald: They couldn’t go wrong with a Wolf Creek. Both the 840 and the 850 are great campers. Since the two models have nearly identical capacities, the crux of the decision would come down to which floor plan they prefer.
Above: The wet bath in the 2014 Wolf Creek 840
The mid-bath in the 840 gives the rear of the camper a wide-open feel that some customers love. The mid-bath also gives the cabover some separation, another feature some customer must have.
Locating the bathroom in the rear opens the middle of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840 floor plan and makes access to the cabover more open as well. Either way, it’s a win-win for the customer, and matter of personal preference.
Above: The dinette bunk in the 2014 Wolf Creek 840
Above: The dinette and the optional five cubic foot refrigerator in the Wolf Creek 840
TCM: The 2014 Wolf Creek 840 floor plan reminds us of the 2010 Arctic Fox 865 we had for a year. The panoramic view we had out the back of that camper was a favorite of ours. If we were deciding between the 840 and the 850, we would go for the 840 for that reason. What size refrigerator is in the Wolf Creek 840?
Donald: The 840 comes standard with a three-cubic foot refrigerator which works well for some customers. However, we also offer a five-cubic foot refrigerator as an option.
Flexibility for the end-user is one of the cornerstones of all Northwood products. Depending on the camper’s intended use, we have it covered. Both size refrigerators are a great fit for this camper.
Above: The kitchen of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840
Above: Note the spice rack behind the kitchen sink
TCM: In the original set of photography for the 840, there’s a cook top with storage underneath. For customers who want an oven, can they get an oven in the 840?
Donald: Yes! You can option in the oven, no problem. Again, we want to be as flexible as possible for our customers; whether they want the cooktop with extra storage underneath, or the convenience of a full oven, the 840 has it covered.
Above: Looking from the back door to the overcab; you can also see the black-out cover on the pass through window
TCM: There appears to be a step-up into the bathroom of the 840. How tall is that step-up, and why is it there?
Donald: We designed a handy drop-down step to assist with the ten-inch step up from the main floor into the bath floor. In order to maximize the space in the 840 floor plan, the bath floor is even with the knee wall. For convenience, we built the easy-to-use, drop-down step to make it easy to get into the bathroom. When not in use, the step folds up so that it is easier to move through the camper.
TCM: With the front wall window and rear door window, it appears that it’s possible to see straight back through the camper while driving. Is that correct?
Donald: Yes, it is possible to see through the camper while driving. With the truck’s rear view mirror, the driver can see through the camper pass through window and the lower window of the camper rear entry door.
Above: The driver’s side of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840
TCM: That doesn’t sound like much in terms of visibility, but it really does help to see vehicles and headlights behind a truck camper rig. Plus, you can better see what just fell or opened in the camper as you’re driving down the road.
The exterior graphics package and new Wolf Creek logo look really sharp. For the customer that doesn’t want the decals over the windows, are they easy to remove?
Donald: The new Wolf Creek graphics have been a huge hit with dealers and customers alike. It is true that when the graphics are applied at the factory they partially obscure some windows. They are easily removed by the dealer if a customer wishes them to be.
Above: The overcab of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840
TCM: Are the reading lights in the cabover LED?
Donald: No, the reading lights in the cabover are not LED. All exterior lights and interior utility lights are LED to minimize amp draw but we found our customers still prefer incandescent light for reading and decorative applications.
TCM: What are the holding tank sizes in the Wolf Creek 840?
Donald: The 840 boasts some great holding tank capacities for a little camper; 29 gallons of fresh, 6 gallons in the hot water heater, 27 gallons grey, and 20 gallons black.
TCM: How were those tank sizes determined?
Donald: In all Northwood RVs, we strive to optimize all of our holding capacities. The tank sizes were determined by tapping the experience of our seasoned staff, like our Camper Production Manager, Lonnie Savage. During the prototype development process we discussed earlier, Lonnie and his production team are able to consider every inch and angle to get the most holding tank capacity possible. Both the 840 and the 850 have benefited greatly from Lonnie’s experience.
Above: The water fill, propane compartment, battery compartment, and hot water heater are located on the exterior driver’s side of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840
TCM: What are the propane tank sizes in the Wolf Creek 840?
Donald: Like the 850, the 840 has room for two 20 pound bottles. One is standard and the second is a option.
TCM: How many batteries does the 2014 Wolf Creek 840 feature?
Donald: The 840 will accommodate two batteries in an enclosed battery compartment.
Above: The Fox Landing is an option on Wolf Creek campers
Above: The Fox Landing in travel position
TCM: Does the 840 use a bumper step or scissor step entry system?
Donald: The 840 has a bumper with a fold down step standard, but here’s the neat thing; all 2014 Wolf Creek bumpers are Fox Landing ready so you can have an optional a Fox Landing rear porch if you like!
Above: The rear of the 2014 Wolf Creek 840 with the optional Fox Landing bumper
TCM: What is the MSRP for Wolf Creek 840?
Donald: The 2014 Wolf Creek 840 is $19,044.
TCM: When will the 840 be available?
Donald: You will be able to see this new floor plan at your closest Wolf Creek dealer by the end of March.
TCM: Is there anything else about the Wolf Creek 840 that you would like to add to your interview?
Donald: The future of the Wolf Creek line is very bright with great floor plans, great features and, of course, Absolute Northwood quality. We are very excited to add the 840 floor plan to our Wolf Creek line up and look forward to more great Northwood customer feedback.
For more information on the Wolf Creek 840, visit the Wolf Creek section on Northwood’s website.