Northern Lite discontinues the 10-2 RR dry bath and announces a new dry bath version of its popular 10-2 EX CD Special Edition. This is what eight pounds can change.
It’s extremely unusual that someone who wants a dry bath changes their mind and buys a wet bath. It doesn’t matter how nice the rest of a truck camper might be, a wet bath isn’t going to happen. You could practically give a wet bath truck camper away and the dry bath devotees will still say, “No way. Forget-about-it.”
On balance, dry baths keep the toilet area dry when showering, but they also generally take up more interior space and offer less shower room (arm space) and less toilet room (leg space) than wet baths. These differences are often significant.
Did that last paragraph convince a single dry bath enthusiast to switch to wet baths? Actually, yes. According to our spy network of Ninja cats, Bob Smith of Peoria, Illinois just changed his dry bath mind to wet. All the other dry bath buffs said, “No way. Forget-about-it.” It’s amazing how the dry bath mafia always says the same thing.
Which brings us to Northern Lite’s new 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath. For years Northern Lite’s number one seller has been the Northern Lite 10-2 CD Special Edition. The only issue has been the 10-2’s wet bath, a non-starter for about half the hard side truck camper marketplace.
For dry bath customers, Northern Lite has offered the 10-2 RR floor plan with a dry bath, but most folks greatly preferred the layout of the 10-2 CD. Until now the choice for these individuals has been (1) compromise on the wet bath, or (2) compromise on the floor plan. Talk about a conundrum.
At long last, Northern Lite customers can have their dry bath cake and their favorite 10-2. To fully explain the new dry bath option in the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition, we talked to Keith Donkin, General Manager for Northern Lite.
2018 Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath Specifications:
The 2018 Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath is a hard-side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper that is made for long bed trucks. The interior floor length of the 10-2 EX Dry Bath is 131″ and the interior height is 6’8″. Northern Lite is reporting the dry weight of the 2018 Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath at 3,272 pounds with standard features. The tanks in the 2018 Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath are 36 gallons fresh, 40 gallons gray, and 18 gallons black. The camper accommodates two batteries and two twenty-pound propane tanks. The MSRP for the 2018 Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath is $44,450 US.
Above: The Northern Lite 10-2 EX Dry Bath on a 2017 Ford F350
TCM: Does the Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath replace an existing model, or is it an addition to Northern Lite’s current model line up?
Keith: Technically, the dry bath is a new option for the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition. That’s how you’ll see it listed in the 2018 Northern Lite brochure. You can now order the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition with a wet bath or a dry bath.
The 10-2 EX CD Special Edition dry bath option effectively creates a new model; the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath. Now that the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition is available with a dry bath, we are discontinuing the 10-2 RR.
TCM: With the discontinuation of the 10-2 RR, Northern Lite essentially now offers one floor plan across four models. Is that an accurate description?
Keith: It is. Everyone loves the floor plan we offer in the 10-2 EX, 9-6, 8-11 EX, and 8-11. The 10-2 RR floor plan wasn’t nearly as popular. The decision to discontinue the RR in favor of the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition with a dry bath was a no brainer.
TCM: Do you see Northern Lite developing different floor plans in the future?
Keith: We will always consider other options, but the floor plan we have now gives you the roomiest feeling. If you go to a front bath, the camper feels confining. The layout we use in our models feels much more roomy. We receive lots of positive feedback about our floor plan at shows and from our dealer network.
TCM: At first blush, the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath looks like you simply took the dry bath from the 8-11 EX dry bath and put it into the 10-2. Was there more to the development of this model?
Keith: When we designed the Northern Lite 8-11 EX dry bath mold, we engineered it to work in the 10-2 EX as well. That was our plan all along. The 8-11 EX bath mold was six months in the making.
Even with this design effort, there was still some prototyping involved to make it fully operational in the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition. With our backlog of orders, it was hard to squeeze the prototyping into the priority list.
Above: The Extend-A-Shower creates more showering room
TCM: With demand being as strong as it is, how much of the decision to discontinue the 10-2 RR and announce the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath was driven by production?
Keith: Production was a factor, but not a major factor. We just didn’t build as many 10-2 RR dry baths making that model inefficient for us to build.
TCM: That makes sense. By constructing an entire dry bath from molded fiberglass, Northern Lite has taken an unconventional approach to the design of its new dry bath. What has the reaction been to the new design?
Keith: It’s been very well received. A lot of dealers expressed reservations prior to seeing it. After seeing it in person, they have been happy.
All the dealers that have received dry bath models have been surprised at how well they sell. Most all 8-11 EX dry bath campers are sold before they hit the dealer lots.
Above: The pantry and cabinetry is exactly the same as the wet bath 10-2 EX
TCM: Folks who are interested in Northern Lite 10-2 EX will now have the choice between the wet bath and the dry bath models. Are there any differences between these two models other than the wet bath versus dry bath choice?
Keith: They are basically the same. In fact, the whole key of putting the dry bath in the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition floor plan was keeping the pantry exactly the same. The pantry is a key feature. Another key 10-2 EX feature is the longer dinette bed, which is the longest in anything we build.
Above: Northern Lite 10-2 EX Sapele cabinetry and stainless appliances
TCM: Is it possible to tell the two models apart without opening the bathroom doors?
Keith: Only from the bathroom doors and doorways. In the 10-2 EX CD Special Editions, we are able to have a 25.5-inch door. The 10-2 EX RR had a 23.5-inch entrance door.
Above: The 10-2 EX campers now have a 25.5-inch entry door
With the dry bath mold we are able to make the entry way bigger. And the door actually opens the other way with the dry bath; towards the back.
TCM: Are the capacities the same as well?
Keith: Everything is the same. There are 35 gallons of fresh, 40 gallons of grey, and 18 gallons of black. There are two vertical 20-pound propane tanks and room for two Group 27 batteries; same as the wet bath version.
We didn’t want to take away any of the cabinetry or drawers. We didn’t want to compromise any storage for the dry bath. Nothing has changed except the ability to get a dry bath.
Above: The microwave is inside a cabinet in a the 10-2 EX
TCM: How about weight?
Keith: Weight wise the two campers are eight pounds different. The dry bath weighs just eight pounds more.
TCM: That’s remarkable. How do you explain the minimal weight difference?
Keith: The dry bath has the raised ridge on the floor and an Extend-A-Shower rod for the curtain, but that offsets the sink in the wet bath.
When we weighed two dry bath versions of the 10-2 EX right off the production line, one was six pounds more and one was eight pounds more. It’s negligible.
TCM: What does the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath weigh with standard build features?
Keith: It only weighs eight pounds more, so it’s at 3,273 pounds.
TCM: Did the center of gravity move for the dry bath model?
Keith: It’s in exactly the same place as the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition at 48-inches.
TCM: What is the MSRP for the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath?
Keith: Unfortunately, there is a price difference. The 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath is $980 more than the wet bath. The MSRP is $44,450 USD.
TCM: What is the warranty on the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition models?
Keith: There is a six-year structural warranty on all Northern Lite campers. The appliances are covered under their own individual warranties.
Above: The Northern Lite production line this past Tuesday
TCM: When will the 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath be available?
Keith: They are going out continuously. We have increased our production. The more we build, the more we sell. If you are interested in a 10-2 EX CD Special Edition Dry Bath, contact your local Northern Lite dealer so they can you tell when they will be arriving.
Above: The Northern Lite 10-2 EX Dry Bath on a 2017 Ford F350
TCM: On a different note, have you had any issues with Northern Lite’s fitting the 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks? Other manufacturers have needed to adjust their campers.
Keith: We bought four new 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks and tested them out. If you put in a 1-inch plywood board with a 3/8-inch rubber mat, you will have adequate clearance for all Northern Lite camper models.
TCM: Are there any other changes to Northern Lite campers for 2018?
Keith: We changed from Coleman 9200 air conditioners to the new Dometic 10,000 BTU air conditioner. We had no complaints with the Coleman product, but the Dometic has a little more cooling capacity, is really quiet, and works just as well with a Honda EU2000i portable generator. We also have better distribution with Dometic in Canada and can get just-in-time inventory.
Above: The molds in the Northern Lite fiberglass shop
TCM: Has the expansion of the Northern Lite factory been completed?
Keith: Yes, the expansion has been completed and has increased our output from the fiberglass shop. Now we’re looking at buying the property beside us to do even more expansion. It’s a pretty serious consideration.
Above: Part of the factory expansion was adding a service bay
TCM: That’s exciting news. Are you able to find enough qualified people for this continued expansion?
Keith: It’s challenging to find people, but we’ve added good guys to our team this year.
TCM: You mentioned that the KV Private Equity acquisition in May made more of Northern Lite’s initiatives possible. Is the expansion tied into these initiatives?
Keith: The expansion would be related to the initiatives we’ve been looking at. And we may be building additional RV products.
TCM: Now you’re really making news! Can you give us anything on these additional RV products?
Keith: There will be more exciting announcements in 2018. Stay tuned!