Lance Campers debuts the 2015 Lance 995, a nine-foot, full-wall slide-out camper with a wider floor, larger basement, and a radius cabover step. Lance also teases the 975.
Don’t get too excited. The tease we teased in the teaser is barely tease worthy. Yes, Lance Campers is coming out with a new nine foot camper called the 975, but that’s all we know as of now. The real news – and there is real news – is all the new design features that make up the new 995, starting with a taller basement, a wider floor, and a new radius cabover step and trash can combination that has to be seen to be believed.
Introducing the Lance Can!
Okay, I made the “Lance Can” name up, but they really have introduced the first-ever built-in removable truck camper trash can. No more plastic bags tied to the oven door handle. No more funky containers under the sink. This is an honest to goodness tilt-out trash can. While some may laugh, we think this is a legitimately important and incredibly useful feature.
To tell us more about the wider floor, taller basement, radius cabover step, and the Lance Can, we talked to Gary Conley, National Sales Manager, and Randy Hunter, Product Development for Lance Campers.
2015 Lance 995 Specifications:
The 2015 Lance 995 is a hard-side, wet bath, single-slide truck camper for long bed trucks. The interior floor length of the Lance 995 is 9’11” and the interior height is 79”. Lance is reporting the dry weight of the Lance 995 at 3,290 pounds without options and 3,943 pounds with standard build features including; Ultra Deck Plus bumper, air conditioner, generator, electric rear awning, convenience package, four season package, back up camera, 24” television, solar panel, and roof rack.
The tanks in the 2015 Lance 995 are 45 gallons fresh, 28 gallons grey, and 35 gallons black. The camper accommodates two batteries and two twenty-pound propane tanks. The MSRP for a standard build Lance 995 is $45,998.
TCM: Does the new Lance 995 replace any older models in the Lance Camper line?
Gary: The Lance 995 is a replacement for the now-discontinued Lance 950S. We wanted to give the 950S some upgrades and more floor room. The 995 features a full-wall slide and more counter space. We also improved the television entertainment center location and added a basement pull-out drawer. Furthermore, we wanted Lance’s exclusive Ultra Deck Plus by Torklift International to be available on the Lance 995. We were able to accomplish all of these things, and more, with the 995.
Above: The 1985 Lance 480 helped inspire the floor plan of the 2015 Lance 995.
TCM: The 995 is now the seventh 9’10”-10’ full-wall slide camper in the industry with this floor plan. What distinguishes the 995 from its direct competition?
Gary: Lance has been manufacturing this floor plan, minus the full-wall slide, for almost thirty years. Specifically, Lance introduced this floor plan as a non-slide in 1985 with the Lance 480. Most of our competitors haven’t been in business that long.
We also beat the competition with significantly lower weight. Through our use of SolidWorks computer aided design, state-of-the-art CNC machines, and ultra-light weight materials, the 2015 Lance 995 will be 300 to 500 pounds lighter than the models it competes with. These factors result in higher tolerances and industry-leading quality control for Lance Campers. That’s what we call the Lance Difference.
Above: The exterior of the Lance 995, featuring a full-wall slide-out – click to enlarge
TCM: Some folks may assume that the 995 is just a 950S spruced up. In point of fact, was the 995 designed new from the ground up, or was it simply an adjusted 950S?
Randy: During the development and review cycle for the 995, we wiped the slate clean and started fresh. The design of the 995 is different than the 950S in two key ways. First, it’s a full-wall slide. Second, the 995 features a taller over the wheel-well height basement design.
Above: The interior of the Lance 995. All photography courtesy of Lance Campers.
The full-wall slide and the taller basement really open up the floor plan making the 995 feel like a completely different camper than the 950S. It went from a 48” floor width in the 950S, to a 57 inch floor width in the 995. That’s a really wide, open floor space. You’ll notice it right away in person.
Above: The step-up to the cabover bed has been reduced by five inches
TCM: Is this taller basement, wider-floor design a sign of things to come from Lance?
Gary: Yes, it is. Currently the 1172 and the 995 are the only models that feature above the wheel well basement designs. In the future, we’ll have more models with this design approach.
Another benefit of the taller basement is a lower step-up into the cabover bed. It actually reduces the step-up by five inches.
Above: The 57″ floor width of the 995 and the reduction of the step-up by 5″
TCM: Lance’s new model development approach has been to develop the new model criteria, design the camper on the computer, build a physical prototype, and then adjust that physical prototype before production. Were there any adjustments to the 995 once it was prototyped?
Randy: This is one of the first prototypes we’ve designed and built that needed minimal changes. We had some cosmetic tweaks but, overall, it was ready for production.
Gary: As I said earlier, we have a thirty year history with this floor plan. We know what works in this size camper. We were also able to incorporate design elements from other successful models.
TCM: Were there any new materials, components, appliances, or processes used in the development of the 2015 Lance 995?
Randy: The 995 is the first Lance truck camper to feature a full-length longitudinal laminated floor truss design. The laminated floor truss on the 995 runs from the front to the back of the camper, in addition to lateral trussing running side to side.
Gary: The new laminated floor truss system supports all the weight of the camper. It’s like making a cross from the front to the back and then the floor sits on it. There are no breaks on the truss from front to rear. The new truss adds tremendous strength and rigidity to the floor keeping the camper square when you use your jacks. The truss system then ties into our Lance Lock interlocking aluminum frame system.
Randy: We have also designed and developed several new extrusions. They still interlock as they did before, but we were able to improve the strength to weight ratio in the Lance Lock design.
Above: The rear wet bath in the Lance 995
TCM: Can you access the bathroom in the Lance 995 with the slide-out in?
Gary: No. Our customers tell us they want to access the bathroom with the slide-out in, but they want the deeper slides more. In the end, they would rather push the slide out a bit to access the bathroom than have a shallower slide.
Above: The Happijac Secure-Trac fixed frame slide mechanism under the 995 slide-out
TCM: Speaking of slide-outs, what slide mechanism does the Lance 995 use?
Randy: We are using the Happijac Secure-Trac fixed frame slide mechanism.
Above: The dinette and refrigerator are on the full wall slide-out
TCM: Why not use the Schwintek slide mechanism for the 995?
Gary: For the larger and heavier slide-out applications like the 995 full-wall dinette and refrigerator slide, we prefer the performance of the Happijac slide mechanism.
Randy: In our opinion, the Happijac slide mechanism is a more stable system on larger slide-out applications.
Gary: The Happijac slide is also better if you need to manually override the system. With the Happijac system, it’s much easier to open and close the slide manually. We have done our research and decided the Happijac is the right slide mechanism for the 995.
Above: The cabover in the Lance 995
Above: Radius steps to the cabover
TCM: Tell us about the radius steps up to the cabover.
Gary: The most important feature of that step is that there’s a trash can in the cabinet. It’s the first standard trash can inside of a truck camper in the galley area. We have always wanted a trash can in our campers, but never had the physical space. Now, with trucks eliminating slider windows, there’s no need for pass-through windows. And with backup cameras, people don’t need a front window area. That space is now available for cabinetry, and makes a great spot for a step-up to the cabover, and a trash can.
Randy: The radius design softens the step area and took the boxy look away.
TCM: How much weight can that middle step support?
Randy: There is a gentleman in engineering who is quite robust. He climbed up on the step just fine. The step is through-bolted. We’re not just using screw fasteners. We’re using bolts, nuts and washers. The prototype step was wood, but we’re going to laminate for production.
Above: The trash can cabinet in the Lance 995
TCM: Does the camper come with an actual trash can?
Gary: Yes, it does. One great thing is that the grocery bags you get at the store will fit in it.
Randy: If you need a replacement, we used a Sterilite brand trash can that you can purchase at Target, Walmart, Lowes, or Home Depot.
Above: The pull out basement drawer in the rear of the 2015 Lance 995
TCM: With the increased height of the basement, did you change the sizes of the holding tanks compared to the 950S?
Randy: The tanks are larger in the 995. In the 950S, the tanks were 30 gallons fresh, 20 gallons grey, and 25 gallons black. In the 995, the tanks are 45 gallons fresh, 28 gallons grey, and 35 gallons black. The total fresh capacity is 51 gallons if you include the 6 gallon water heater.
Above: Two twenty-pound propane tanks
TCM: Does the 995 get the usual two 20 pound propane tanks and two batteries?
Gary: Yes, the 995 has two 20 pound propane tanks and two batteries. Increasing capacity would mean increasing weight. For most people, two 20 pound propane tanks and two batteries are more than adequate, especially with LED lighting and an optional solar panel.
People sometimes get confused as to what they really need. More is not always better. For example, some people get multiple solar panels, batteries, and big inverters. The problem is that they never figure out what they need to power. How many amp hours do they really need? For most people, when they do the math, they don’t need the expensive multi-panel, multi-battery, big inverter system. They do very well with two batteries, and one solar panel, and all-LED lighting.
Propane is another area where people get confused. Bigger 30-pound tanks are great, but you cannot exchange them. They’re also much harder to lift and maneuver when refilling. The twenty pound propane tanks in the 995 can be easily exchanged at any Home Depot or Lowes. It’s all about knowing what you need, and not wasting money or weight on excess capacity you don’t need.
Above: The battery disconnect is just inside the back door close to the floor (right hand side of the above photograph)
TCM: What considerations are given for winterizing the 995?
Randy: Starting with development of the 1052, new Lance designs feature exterior battery compartments. The 995 has a dual battery compartment located under the dinette seat that is accessed from the exterior. The battery disconnect is just inside the front door.
The winterizing bypass valve on the 995 is on the back side of water heater and is easy to access. The low point water drains are on the service panel on the road side of the unit. There is also access to the dump knife valves there.
Above: Battery compartment on the exterior of the camper
Gary: Also note that you can get to our batteries without removing the camper. They are not located on the front wall of the camper, as they are on some of our competitors’ designs.
Above: The Lance Ultra Deck Plus bumper by Torklift International
TCM: Tell us about the standard bumper and entry step system for the 2015 Lance 995.
Randy: Our standard bumper is the new wide tread design which increases the step tread for 2015. The Ultra Deck Plus is the new Torklift International bumper with the rear storage compartments. The Lance Ultra Deck Plus bumper has been very well received.
TCM: What is the weight of the Lance 995?
Gary: We just weighed the prototype at 3,290 pounds. Our goal was to keep the camper under 3,200 pounds, so we’re looking shave another 90 pounds before the unit hits production.
Above: The galley area of the Lance 995 – click to enlarge
TCM: How would you remove 90 pounds without sacrificing structural integrity?
Randy: The prototype did not feature our one-piece molded galley counter top. Instead it featured particle board counters which weigh a lot more. When the one-piece molded countertop featuring a new European-style sink design is completed for the 995, that will remove a significant amount of weight. The rest of the weight will be removed through small adjustments throughout the camper.
Gary: You make a good point about structural integrity. We never remove weight where it would sacrifice structural integrity. In fact, we use stronger and lighter materials than our competition including Lite Ply hardwood and our proprietary aluminum-frame Lance Lock construction.
TCM: Any chance Lance will be adding a scale at the factory? We would publish a front page story with the news of Lance getting a scale at the factory, weighing each camper individually with that scale, and posting that weight inside the camper.
Gary: Our intention is to get scales. It will validate what we’re doing. For now, inside of a cabinet we put the weight of each camper, based on our computer models. So, the weight of the camper is posted in the camper, as equipped with options.
We know that other companies have mandatory options on their campers. We don’t do that here at Lance. We want to be transparent and open about the weight of the campers because we want the consumers to make an educated decision on buying a camper based on the floor plan, options, and weight. We deal with a technical product and people want to see that information and want it to be accurate.
TCM: What is the center of gravity of the 995 at base dry weight?
Randy: The 995 without options, including a full tank of water, reflects a center of gravity 45” from the front of the camper.
Above: The storage in the galley area of the 995
TCM: Why doesn’t Lance mark center of gravity on its campers?
Gary: When a camper leaves our facility, we could mark it, but dealers add options that the customers want. Every added option changes the center of gravity, making the factory mark incorrect. That’s why we don’t mark center of gravity on our campers.
Every camper we build has a center of gravity range that will work with the widest number of truck configurations possible. Unless someone is towing something really heavy with a huge amount of tongue weight, or putting a lot of weight in the rear and nothing in the front, the center of gravity of Lance Campers will be in the appropriate range.
It all goes back to floor plan and design. The heavier features are forward of the rear axle. We have the refrigerator up front because we know that people are going to fill it up with food and drinks. When we build our campers, we know that fifty pounds will be added to the water heater, the batteries are going to add sixty pounds each, and food is approximately one hundred pounds. We look at where people are going to load gear. Added gear is also important with figuring out center of gravity.
Above: The wrap-around thermoplastic polyofin (TPO) front nose on the Lance 995
TCM: We have received emails from readers about Lance not using sealant around windows and compartment doors. Is this accurate?
Gary: For the windows, we have an automotive bulb seal. With a bulb seal, we don’t need secondary seals. Our windows are sealed just like your truck’s door. Plus, with the automotive bulb seal, it’s either installed correctly or it’s not.
Our compartment doors are glued in. They are permanently affixed to the side wall. The adhesive also gives the camper structural strength. We have eliminated screw holes, so it is a solid fused line. Again, it is either installed correctly, or it’s not.
From a maintenance standpoint, bulb seals and adhesive is much better because they do not need to be secondary sealed. We don’t have window leaks or compartment door leaks.
Our perimeter trims are still double sealed. A secondary seal is hand applied at the factory.
From an aesthetic standpoint, caulking is ugly and attracts dirt. It also fades and cracks. Without the secondary seal materials, our campers look better.
Starting in 1988, we used a bulb seal for our front windows. It’s a clean seal around the window. Now that bulb seals are less expensive, we have been using them for the better part of twelve years. We want to do everything we can to provide our customers with a maintenance free product.
TCM: What is the MSRP for the 2015 Lance 995?
Gary: The MSRP for a base camper with no options is $32,762.
TCM: What is the warranty for the 2015 Lance 995?
Gary: We have a two year structural warranty. Appliances are covered from the appliance manufacturer’s warranty, and we have extended warranties available at our dealerships.
TCM: When will the 2015 Lance 995 be available?
Gary: The 995 will be available in January. It will debut at the Denver RV Show on January 9th, and will also be at the Pleasanton RV Show in California in January.
TCM: Is there anything else about the 2015 Lance 995 that you would like to add?
Gary: Sometimes I think we could do a better job of highlighting the standard features and value of our campers. For example, we have an entry door pull shade so you don’t have to step outside of your camper to pull the shade down.
We have a removable clothes rod in the bathroom, giving the owners an extra hanging area. Our storage compartments are insulated so cold air does not transfer into the unit.
Above: LED docking lights on the rear of the camper
The 995 features new LED docking lights on the rear of the camper. We have moved away from halogens to save energy. The 995 is all-LED, inside and out, like all Lance Campers.
Every Lance Camper features a battery separator ensuring that your camper does not drain your truck battery, and vice versa. To the best of my knowledge, no other truck camper manufacturer builds in a battery separator.
Our campers have a higher insulation R value than our competition. The way our walls are constructed, our aerodynamic TPO nose cap, and thermal Heki skylight all contribute to make Lance Campers a true four-season product.
We have a roof rack for mounting solar panels or storage pods. With the built-in roof rack, nothing is riding on the structure of the camper. The roof rack allows you to add things without drilling holes in the roof. The less holes, the less potential for leaks.
Above: Three-way refrigerators are available in the 2015 Lance 995
We also have a three-way refrigerator available. You can turn your refrigerator to 12-volt when filling with fuel. We feel this is important from a safety standpoint.
We have a full fiberglass shower stall. There’s no ABS plastic in it, which is what’s commonly used throughout the industry. The fiberglass stall we install costs an additional 500 dollars and it’s heavy, but it’s high quality. Plus, the full height fiberglass is basically maintenance free.
Above: The counter top area, along with a double sink, three burner stove, oven, and microwave
The counter area in the 995 is really impressive and a big step up from the 950S. It’s probably the biggest counter available in a nine-foot truck camper.
Above: A 24″ HDTV television, USB charge port, 12 volt outlets and Bluetooth compatible stereo
Our 995 also has an improved entertainment center with a 24” HDTV television. The 995 has a USB charge port with twelve-volt outlets and a Bluetooth compatible stereo.
Due to our proximity to the aerospace industry here in southern California, we are fortunate to have engineers who have worked in the aerospace industry, including a designer that worked on the Lockheed-Martin F35 stealth fighter project.
Our in-house aerospace experience is just one reason that we’re at the cutting edge of technology including computer aided design, CNC machines, and materials. Weight, design, and aerodynamics are always in focus here at Lance because we have talented people who make those aspects a priority.
TCM: Are there any other new model announcements coming from Lance Camper in 2014?
Gary: We have another new camper coming down the turnpike; the 2015 Lance 975. For now all I can tell you is that it’s a nine-foot model. Stay tuned in TCM for an announcement in the Spring!
Thank you, Lance Camper, for sending in photos of the Lance 995 for this article.