nuCamp RV debuts a majorly updated Cirrus 820 with a taller and reinforced basement, SeaFlo doors, bulkhead battery compartment, all-new interior, a list of new standard features, and much more. Oh, and there’s 620 news!
Above: The 2021 Cirrus 820 features an updated exterior graphics package. All images courtesy of nuCamp RV.
There is a remarkably strong culture of innovation and continuous improvement at nuCamp RV. nuCamp uniquely couples this drive with a sharp eye on European design trends, but they’re not just looking.
nuCamp’s design and management teams routinely travel to Europe, discover emerging European products, materials, and design concepts, bring them back, and put them into production. Even a glance at nuCamp’s Cirrus truck campers instantly reveals this influence. It isn’t subtle.
nuCamp also finds inspiration domestically through a focused effort to listen to their customers and dealers. Combined with an open-minded approach to critique, this feedback allows nuCamp to make tremendous leaps from year to year, and model to model.
All of this is on display with the subject of this announcement; the significantly updated 2021 Cirrus 820. Technically, the Cirrus 820 started with the model 800 and is now in its third generation. The advances achieved from the 800 to the 820 were night and day propelling the Cirrus 820 to immediate success since its mid-2016 debut.
Two-and-a-half years later, the 2021 Cirrus 820 updates may not be as dramatic as the 800 to 820 metamorphosis, but they’re stunning in their comprehensiveness – and sheer quantity – across the board.
So what exactly has nuCamp RV put into the updated Cirrus 820? An absolute ton of design changes, appliance upgrades, new features and an all-new interior decor.
Get ready for some new appliance and component brands including Nautilus, Sunflare and SeaFlo. Plus, nuCamp is announcing their first version of Smart Camp, nuCamp’s in-house smart camper system. And they’re making a 1,200-watt pure sine wave inverter standard, along with six other new standard features sure to raise eyebrows.
To get the specifics about all of the changes to the 2021 Cirrus 820, we talked to Scott Hubble, CEO of nuCamp RV.
2021 Cirrus 820 Specifications:
The Cirrus 820 is a hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper for short bed trucks. The interior floor length of the Cirrus 820 is 8’3″ and the interior height is 6’5″. Cirrus is reporting the base dry weight of the Cirrus 820 at 2,916 pounds with standard features. It has a 38 gallon fresh water tank, a 32 gallon grey tank, and a 18 gallon black tank. The camper accommodates two batteries and two twenty-pound propane tanks. The base price MSRP for the 2021 Cirrus 820 is $40,296.
Above: The new interior of the 2021 Cirrus 820; Hazelwood Granite decor
Where did the design choices for the 2021 Cirrus 820 come from?
A critical part of what has made our teardrop trailers successful, outside of quality, is having our ear to the ground. We make sure to listen intently to all of our customers and dealers, and make changes accordingly.
We take exactly the same approach with Cirrus. Most of the inspiration and changes for the 2021 Cirrus 820 came from our amazing Cirrus truck camper customers, dealers and the vibrant truck camping community.
Another constant influence in our design inspiration is the caravan (RV) industry in Europe. We make sure to keep a sharp eye on the latest European trends.
Collecting valuable feedback, complementing it with modern trends and filtering it through the nuCamp vision, delivers what you see today in the 2021 Cirrus 820.
Is the 2021 Cirrus 820 based on the first-generation Cirrus 820, or did you start with a clean slate?
It’s a significantly-updated Cirrus 820. The footprint is the same, but the basement height and structural integrity have been improved. Both the interior and exterior have a long list of new features and what is standard has been expanded considerably.
Jesse Mullet, one of our owners, was truly instrumental on this project. He is extremely focused on quality standards, product function and orderliness. You will see that shine through on this unit.
He brought his own personal truck camping experience and coupled it with feedback from Cirrus 820 customers. Before starting the new 820 project, he was well aware of the opportunities that we needed to take advantage of. From that point forward, he was on the front line with our design and production teams. This is where Jesse thrives, and we’ll continue to see and enjoy his influence on product development.
As a result, nuCamp management is more confident about the 2021 Cirrus 820 than anything we’ve ever done. We feel strongly that we did everything right with this unit, especially the new interior aesthetic. As you can see, it turned out extremely well. It’s exactly what we were looking for.
Are there any changes to the materials or manufacturing process?
Our all-aluminum framing and wood-free lamination construction remain the same for the new 820.
We made a few minor changes to our roof to improve water surface runoff. The old designed allowed water to sometimes get trapped with the previous rear cap implementation.
We also adjusted the arc on the underside of the cabover – where it meets the front wall. Doing this vastly decreases the possibility of de-lamination in that area. Our design and production teams are always looking to improve our units.
Why did nuCamp redesign the 820 basement for 2021?
There are two reasons. Truck fitment is extremely important. We sent a couple nuCamp team members to Detroit to research the latest truck dimensions.
The previous 820 sometimes required a lift kit and we wanted to eliminate that need. The 2021 Cirrus 820’s basement is taller to accommodate all late model full-size, short bed pickup trucks without a riser kit.
We also strengthened the 820’s basement. We did not have any structural issues with the previous generation 820, but we bulked up the new 820 basement to provide even more structural integrity. Since we were already making the basement taller, we also made it stronger.
The front of the basement features a diamond plate door. What’s behind that door?
We relocated the batteries to that position. That puts the batteries as far forward and low as possible to maximize center of gravity. We also put our newly standardized 1200-watt pure sine wave inverter in that location. This area accommodates two Group 31 batteries.
You will also notice that the basement comes forward approximately 2.5-inches. This is space that was previously unused under the forward lip of the truck’s bed. Combined with our new bumpers, we recapture this space and use it for the batteries and inverter.
When you redesigned the basement, did you incorporate the access panels underneath the unit?
Yes, we still have the access panels, but we changed them. There are now two removable panels instead of four. You still have the same level of access, but incorporating two panels allowed us to improve the quality.
Tell us about the new entry step system.
The previous 820 incorporated Torklift’s Stow N’ Go GlowStep system. You very favorably reviewed the system in Truck Camper Magazine during your Cirrus 920 demo last winter. Cirrus 820 customers can still install the Torklift system, but it’s not something available on a standard build of the 820.
For 2021, our design team wanted a cleaner presentation. The new two-step system leaves a little more distance to the ground, but we think it’s an improvement. The steps are easier to extend and retract and gives the camper a much cleaner appearance.
Before this announcement, we had not heard of the Nautilus water management systems.
Nautilus water management systems are relatively new to us as well but are an absolute no brainer. After considerable internal review and testing, we are implementing Nautilus water management systems across nearly everything we build.
The 2021 Cirrus 820 features the Nautilus P3 water management system. From this one panel you can fill fresh water, connect to city water, flush the black tank, sanitize the fresh tank, connect an outside shower, and even connect to coax cable television.
The Nautilus P3 puts all of these features in one convenient location. This is a much better approach than having everything sticking out from various sidewall locations. It also means less sidewall seals to maintain, and a cleaner look for the overall camper.
The Nautilus P3 appears to have a water pump switch. How does this relate to the water pump switch inside the unit?
The Nautilus system has a water pump with a three-way switch on the exterior and interior of the unit. These switches allow the pump to be turned on and off from the inside or outside of the camper. There is also a light by both switches to indicate when the pump is running.
The Nautilus system provides a setting that will allow you to winterize the water system and continue to use the Alde heat system. The second switch on the Nautilus system is for the light inside the Nautilus compartment.
The 2021 Cirrus 820 also has SeaFlo exterior doors with motion sensor lights. What’s the story behind choosing these new doors?
SeaFlo manufactures marine-grade products. While the doors are not insulated, SeaFlo designs them specifically to hold up against water infiltration and harsh weather. The reinforced doors are made from ultra-violet resistant ABS plastic. They’re light, strong and durable.
While current SeaFlo door production does not feature locks, SeaFlo is designing them into future runs of these doors. Overall, SeaFlo doors are a very nice upgrade in function and aesthetic.
One last thing to point out is that we have equipped every external compartment with built-in, automatic lighting. The only compartment that does not have automatic lighting is the LP compartment – due to RVIA regulations.
The 2021 Cirrus 820 has a new interior decor called Hazelwood Granite. How did you come up with this new look?
The original Cirrus 820 cabinetry was dark brown. After a couple of years we began building our own Cirrus cabinetry and transitioned to a grey stain. The grey stain received a great deal of positive feedback.
For the new 820, we observed what manufacturers are currently doing. The vast majority are going with some variation of grey or dark brown. While we love our gray stain, we opted not to remain stagnant or stay with the pack. Instead, we developed an all-new interior color palette for 2021.
First, we decided to trend much lighter in color. We wanted something that could blend beige with grey tones in the cabinetry. We worked with our finish department and developed a custom stain for the new 820.
Here at nuCamp, we hang our hat on quality. It is a well known fact that we use 100-percent real wood. When you opt to stain real wood, the stain reacts differently to each piece thereby creating natural variances to the stain colors. We felt that it was imperative to literally see the unique grains in our wood cabinetry and walls. This blended color pallet gives the new 820 a bright and modern interior aesthetic that you have to see in person to fully appreciate.
It appears there are some other changes to the interior. For example, the wall separating the dinette from the cabover has changed.
To give the new 820 more airiness and open function, we eliminated the end caps from the dinette. We also removed the back support between the bed and dinette. The 820 was already a relatively open-feeling camper, but these changes really accentuate that open feeling.
Speaking of the dinette, tell us about the new Plush EZ-Clean Upholstery.
We have always used a two-tone fabric in our Cirrus 820 models. For 2021, it was time to get away from that two-tone fabric look. The new material is a neutral grey top and bottom, and extremely stain resistant heavyweight vinyl. It has a visible texture that’s very appealing.
The standard for all 2021 Cirrus 820 models is a full-size table with table rail system. That’s what you had in your demo 920. The smaller table and Lagun table leg system in the photos is an option.
We did appreciate the larger table for our magazine work. Did you make any changes to the dinette height or dimensions for 2021?
We’ve found that there is a fair number of people wanting both table top sizes. The Lagun’s footprint covers about 60-percent of the standard table top, but offers mobility.
With respect to the dinette seating, the height and dimensions remain largely the same, but there is an incremental increase to the height of the base.
Why did you decide to make the microwave smaller?
The Samsung microwave in the previous Cirrus 820 was admittedly huge. It was central to the original Italian overhead cabinetry design, so it wasn’t something we could change. When we transitioned away from Italy and began building our own cabinetry for the Cirrus, we stayed with all of the appliances we used from the onset.
The development of the 2021 Cirrus 820 was the perfect time to select a more appropriately-sized microwave. While it is a standard feature, customers can custom order an 820 without a microwave and get a cabinet instead.
Tell us about the new kitchen sink, faucet and glass top range.
The new glass top range has a push button ignite. Our previous range needed a match or portable igniter, which isn’t always convenient.
We took this chance to move away from the previous sink and faucet. The sink basin proved to be too small for pots and pans and the mounting location of its sister faucet could make washing dishes a challenge.
The new sink is wider, longer and deeper. The new faucet is mounted on the countertop and is out of the way. It also features the ability to swivel for even more room. Washing larger pots and pans is much easier now.
Is there an option for an oven in a 2021 Cirrus 820?
No. We did prototype one with a convection microwave, but it required a much deeper cabinet which ruined the kitchen’s aesthetic. The cabinet actually came out as far as the refrigerator, so we didn’t pursue it.
I believe this is the first time we have heard of a Bluetooth controlled air conditioner. What is the make and model?
It’s a Coleman Mach 8. It’s controllable via Bluetooth, but also works from controls on the unit itself. The Mach 8 is taller and added approximately two-inches of height to the unit.
The 2021 Cirrus 820 has an entirely new audio-video system. What components did you select?
We have transitioned from the large audio-video system and swivel cabinet that housed the TV in the previous 820.
Now we have a much simpler audio-video component. The new system, called The Cube, is located on the passenger’s side of the cabover. The Cube phases out a traditional CD/DVD player in favor of Bluetooth or streaming media. For customers who prefer to watch films on DVD, there is an HDMI input on the front of the component.
The TV is now on a high-end swing-out arm located just behind the refrigerator. From its stowed position, it swings to the cabover or dinette for viewing. The television is the same 19-inch size as it was previously, but the swing-out arm is extremely high quality and easy to use.
For audio, the 2021 Cirrus 820 has an incredible Fusion speaker system. The sound from this unit is night and day better than what was in the previous 820. When you audition a new 820, don’t miss the performance this new Fusion speaker system offers. It’s incredible.
The LED lighting fixtures were a signature element of the Cirrus 820. What have you changed for the 2021 model?
The 2021 Cirrus 820 all-LED lighting continues with the cool LED color and signature ambient lighting strips. You’ll find a new LED light strip over the dinette along with new circular LED lights for more direct lighting. We also have a circular LED light in the entry way.
In the cabover, more strip LEDs adorn the headboard between the forward cabinets. In a corresponding move to further balance the lighting, we removed the circular lights from over the bed. Overall, the lighting is designed to be in the right place, with the right amount of lumens.
The 820’s wet bath features a new fan with built-in light. We haven’t seen this fan with the built-in lighting before.
It’s actually the main light in the bathroom. We were able to change the fan and the light out with a one-piece fixture. The unit has two buttons; one for the light and one for the fan.
With a simple turn and push, the fan is ready to operate. It’s a fantastic component we will likely be using in other nuCamp products in the future.
Tell us about the step-up to the cabover, and why you made that addition.
We have never had a step up to the cabover but have received numerous requests for this feature. It does not get in the way and is easy to find in the dark. We added reinforcements to the front wall and refrigerator cabinet to ensure it can handle the necessary weight.
Where have you added shelving and cubbies in the 820?
There were two shallow drawers under the refrigerator in the original Cirrus 820. These were problematic when we wanted to add the cabover step. As such, we replaced the drawers with cubbies. This retains most of the storage while adding the safe step up to the cabover.
We also added shelving in the kitchen cabinet over the sink as well as in the center cabinet below the kitchen counter. Both cabinets were previously large open spaces, but the added shelving makes them both much more functional.
In the cabover, we replaced the penguin cabinets with cubbies. We did this largely because the access to the storage space was curtailed given that the doors couldn’t fully open due to the window shade’s frame.
Many items that were previously options are now standard for the 2021 Cirrus 820. This includes a Maggie Rack, Pass-Thru Window, Solar Panel Package, Low-Profile Back-Up Camera, Side Awning with Built-In Dimmable Porch Lights and Auto-Retract Feature, and an Exterior LP Hookup. Why did you make these options standard?
You get everything you need when you purchase a 2021 Cirrus 820. We want to give you the best. We are not going to nickel and dime you with needed options. It all comes standard. That’s reason one.
Reason two is production efficiency. When we see that specific options are always ordered, we follow the numbers and transform those options into standard items for purchasing and production efficiency. For the Cirrus 820, nearly every unit was ordered loaded with the options that we are now making standard.
The new awning is very well featured Carefree model. The exterior LP hookup is something we had never previously offered but something for which we had garnered numerous requests.
Above: Exterior LP hook-up is now standard on the 2021 Cirrus 820
With that said, making these features standard was a no-brainer.
What brand, type and wattage of solar panels are you using?
We are using Sunflare flexible solar panels. Sunflare has been a great partner in customizing solar panels for us. Sunflare takes a unique approach to solar by employing cell by cell manufacturing versus roll by roll. These SUN2 cells have a lower temperature coefficient so they create more power during the warmest hours.
The flat, single Sunflare panel we use for the 2021 Cirrus 820 is 210-watts. We then couple it with the Victron 7515 solar charge controller with Bluetooth for monitoring input.
We understand that truck campers camp off-grid more than other RV types and need solar power. That’s why we chose Sunflare – we’re basically the only ones using their products in the RV industry.
nuCamp debuted a Smart Cirrus 820 prototype at the Elkhart Open House in September. For the 2021 Cirrus 820, nuCamp is offering a Smart Camper Package. Is the Smart Camper Package essentially the same system we covered last fall?
Yes and no. Smart Camp, as we call it, is essentially the same in terms of technology and components, but we needed to scale back the vision to make the system more production friendly, service friendly, and customer friendly.
The final production version operates offline. You can literally connect to it from your smartphone without an internet connection. That was important.
When connected, the system can control your interior lights in multiple environments as well as the main fan. Being that it is offline based, the initial version requires you to leave the main control interface in order to use the component-specific apps to control the air conditioner, awning and solar.
We are taking a crawl, walk, run approach with the smart camper concept. The system we are launching in the 2021 Cirrus 820 is a solid first step, and we will be advancing this system methodically as technology moves forward.
Above: You can use the Smart Camp app or the switches on the wall of the 820
Does the system work with Android and iOS phones?
Smart Camp works on any smart device such as cell phone, laptops and tablets. Of course you don’t need a smart device to operate a 2021 Cirrus 820 that is equipped with Smart Camp. All of the original switches and controls are available, and functional – just as they are on a standard unit.
Any plan to make lithium batteries available for the 2021 Cirrus 820? Are all the existing electrical systems lithium compatible?
Absolutely. All of the components that are in the Cirrus are 100-percent lithium battery compatible, so as long as the batteries themselves have a built-in BMS (Battery Management System).
What does the 2021 Cirrus 820 standard build weigh?
The 2021 Cirrus 820 standard build is 2,916-pounds. That is up from the previous weight because it includes the taller, reinforced basement and the newly standardized features.
Once equipped with full LP tanks, batteries and fresh tank, the 2021 Cirrus 820 weighs in at just over 3,272 pounds. The weight of the 820 is essentially unchanged from previous years given that most dealers were ordering with the additional options.
With that said, many class the 820 in the one-ton truck market. No doubt, there are three-quarter ton trucks that can handle the Cirrus 820, but for those that cannot, we built the Cirrus 720. Listening to the dealer in your purchasing process is paramount for correct pairing and safety.
Where is the center of gravity on the 2021 Cirrus 820?
The center of gravity is 33.5-inches wet and 34-inches dry.
What is the MSRP for the 2021 Cirrus 820 with standard build features?
The MSRP for the Cirrus 820 is $40,296 including all of the new standard features.
What is the warranty for the 2021 Cirrus 820?
Every nuCamp model has a one year bumper-to-bumper warranty and a three year structural warranty. Individual components have their own warranties.
When will the 2021 Cirrus 820 be available?
They are just now starting to hit dealer lots. Call your local Cirrus dealer to see when they are expected to arrive.
Are there any additional new truck camper model announcements coming from nuCamp RV in 2020?
We are still on target to announce the Cirrus 620 this fall. It will be a true half-ton compatible hard-side truck camper – no fooling.
Can I get you on the record declaring that the Cirrus 620 will not exceed a specific weight?
The Cirrus 620 will not exceed 1,500 pounds. As I eluded to earlier in the interview, Jesse is extremely passionate about this camper and beating that weight target. We already have identified what will be on the chopping block if it exceeds 1,500 pounds.
Above: The interior of the Cirrus 720
That’s exciting! How’s the Cirrus 720 performing?
It wasn’t an immediate success right out of the gate, but I can tell you that all the Cirrus 720 owners I know of are happy today. We had a number of the early units experience some design problems but, per our reputation for superior customer service, we took good care of those customers.
Inventory on dealer lots across the country has dwindled to less than 20, but with the overwhelming demand on 820s and high expectations on the 620, we have not been able to slot for them on the production schedule.
We will eventually circle back and make the 720 even better. It’s a really cool and unique camper with a great deal of potential.
What’s going on with the updated Cirrus 920?
It’s definitely on the drawing board – both with and without a slide-out. I don’t think we’ll see that camper until next year. Right now, we are laser focused on quality and are extremely excited about the new 2021 Cirrus 820.