Lance Campers showcases a 2024 Lance 805 concept targeting full-size half-ton trucks. Hold the press! There’s actually a second Lance camper coming for the mid-size Tacoma, Ranger, and beyond. It’s a double Lance Camper announcement!
This past Sunday (yesterday morning), Angela and I were walking the grounds a day early at the Elkhart RV Open House in Indiana when we spotted something new. It was nestled deep in the REV Group booth tucked behind a sea of Class A motorhomes and towables.
“Angela, is that what I think it is?”
“It can’t be!” she exclaimed. “Is that a new Lance truck camper?”
Not since the debut of the Lance 960 in 2020 had we seen an all-new Lance Camper in the wild. Not believing my eyes, I checked the Lance sticker on the back of the unit.
“Holy smokes! It’s the Lance 805!”
Above: The new 2024 Lance 805 at the Elkhart RV Open House
Actually, it’s the return of the Lance 805
Back in late 2004, Lance debuted the 2005 Lance 805. That same year Lance launched the Lance 981, 1181, and 1191; the now legendary Lance Max series. Those groundbreaking aluminum Lance Locked slide-out models went on to become some of the most popular Lance Campers of all time, but the original incarnation of the ultra-lightweight, half-ton targeting, non-bath, Lance 805 was ahead of its time. When the Great Recession reared its head in ’08, the 805 fell victim.
Fast forward to 2023 and a lot has changed in the truck camper world. Slide-out campers are still a critical segment of the marketplace, but ultra-lightweight, half-ton targeting, non-bath, truck campers have found a new audience in the RV marketplace. Add to that the phenomenon known as ‘overland’ and the appeal of lightweight hard-side campers for half-tons has become even more popular.
Ever since Lance Campers discontinued the original 805, the Lancaster, California company has had nothing to offer this growing product niche. Yes, technically the Lance 650 can work with the most payload-maximized half-tons, but it’s really a three-quarter ton camper. If you’ve wanted a brand new Lance truck camper for your half-ton, the all-new Lance 805 is your huckleberry.
Not One 805, But Two
Moments after our new Lance 805 discovery in Indiana, Lance Campers sent us information about a second version of the ultra light concept; a model focused on the mid-size truck market. They also explained the 2024 Lance 805 we were looking at was technically a prototype. The final version should be announced in the next few months.
Taking a step back, we’re not just looking at new Lance Camper announcements here. We’re witnessing a significant strategic shift in Lance’s truck camper focus. Lance is clearly done watching competitors launch unanswered half-ton and mid-size truck camper models into the marketplace.
With the new 805 (and their as-yet unnamed second version), Lance Campers is targeting its considerable design, production, and distribution firepower in this segment. The question isn’t if Lance Campers will take some market share of this important niche, but how much.
Lance 805 First Blush
I’m writing this article less than an hour after having seen the Lance 805 for the first time. We hope to get further into this new model with the Lance team in the coming weeks, but here are our first photos and take of this first all-new Lance truck camper in three years.
From fifty yards away (literally) we knew Lance was up to something when we spotted the bold new mountain graphics. Whoever designed this graphics package might want to switch to decaf. This is one aggressive-looking Lance Camper. I dig it.
On the forward passenger side is a compartment that can fit two Group 27 batteries. This is an exceptionally large battery bank for a small camper like the 805. Some competitors in this niche are opting for portable power stations like a Goal Zero 1500X rather than house batteries. It’s interesting to see Lance make a very different choice here.
You will also note that the Lance 805 features Happijac 4220 electric jacks. Again, most competitors in this space are opting for manual jacks to save weight and cost. Whether or not electric or manual jacks are standard on the 805 is something we look forward to learning as this camper is finalized.
On the forward driver side is a single 20-pound vertical propane tank. The size, orientation, and location of this tank are spot on; perfect for exchanging or filling and way forward for the center of gravity. Some may prefer to have two tanks, but that’s a lot of weight for a small camper. One 20-pound vertical tank was a solid choice for the 805.
The rest of the driver side features the furnace, 30-amp shore power port, and an outside shower connection. The outside shower can be combined with an outdoor portable shower enclosure for privacy.
Outside showers are also handy for rinsing feet off after the beach, washing pets, or hosing down the kids. Less screens. More dirt. It’s a good thing.
Although it wasn’t shown installed on the 805, the entryway features a Torklift International Stow N’ Go step system. We used the Stow N’ Go for seven months in 2018 and 2019 and absolutely loved it.
The Stow N’ Go system was easy to use, convenient to stow and deploy, and much sturdier than traditional scissor steps. Owners can also adapt the system by selecting three, four, or even five steps to fit their truck and camper height. Another solid choice for the 805.
Stepping inside the new 805, I did a double-take. Right off the bat, the new 805 is a clear echo of the original Lance 805 floor plan. If there are differences in the layout (I am sure there are), the changes are incremental. This isn’t a criticism as the original Lance 805 was well thought out and way ahead of its time.
Once you get past the familiar floor plan, everything else has been updated for 2024. Where the original 805 was wood framed, the new 805 is aluminum framed with Lance’s signature Lance Lock extrusions and structure. Where the original had single-pane glass windows, the new one has thermal pane acrylic windows. And it flows from there; material for material, component for component, detail for detail, the 2024 Lance 805 is a thoroughly modern Lance Camper.
The next thing that caught my attention was the bamboo countertops and dinette table. This is likely inspired by the overland marketplace which has gone all in with bamboo, and for good reason. Bamboo is lightweight, modern, neutral, attractive, and renewable. I would replace our heavy and tired solid surface countertops and table with bamboo in a hot minute for exactly those reasons.
The rest of the interior palette is also modern and neutral; light woven wallboard, wide plank linoleum floors, grey-brown dinette fabrics, and grey-brown cabinetry. This interior is not only in tune with the times, but it also helps to keep the small 805 open and breezy.
The 805 kitchen area features an enormous amount of counter space for a small camper, a large round stainless sink that invites normal-sized pots, pans, and dishes, and the first induction cooktop we’ve ever seen in a Lance truck camper.
Remember the battery bank ready for two Group 27 lithium batteries? The induction probably explains that choice. Like most induction cooktops, the one Lance selected for the 805 requires 1,800 watts. For this reason, I’d go with two lithium batteries for the 805.
Under the sink are two pull-out drawers. As I say in my reviews, this is exactly the right storage in the right place. Where do people want to keep their silverware and utensils? In pull-out drawers under the kitchen counter. Nicely done, Lance.
Above the kitchen is an open aluminum cabinet. This same concept is mirrored above the facing dinette and offers a ton of storage space at a lower weight than traditional wood cabinetry.
Across from the kitchen is a large U-shape dinette that could seat at least four, or possibly five adults. The window is also right-sized for viewing the outdoors from both sides (north and south) of the dinette. One might not expect a big dinette and dinette window in a camper the size of the 805, but that’s exactly what you get.
Mid-ship on the driver side, the Lance 805 features a Dometic refrigerator and freezer.
This is a relatively small unit, but it offers more than enough capacity for three day weekend adventures. As a side note, I’m hoping Lance reverses the way this refrigerator door opens.
Across from the refrigerator is a closet. And under the closet was an important surprise.
I honestly didn’t know what this space was for when I first saw it.
Whenever we see a camper without a built-in bathroom, we always hope to find a dedicated storage area for a porta-potty and we found one.
The height of the cabinet is a bit too tall for comfort when using the porta-potty (as I tested in the name of reputable journalism), but owners at least have the option of using the porta-potty on the floor or on the cabinet.
The Lance 805 cabover is a simple affair; an east-west mattress, no cabinetry, and two large windows on either side of the unit.
Some will lament the lack of storage, but you can always use duffle bags for clothing and move those duffles from the dinette to the cabover and back again. These are the kinds of compromises that are necessary to keep the weight in the half-ton category and cost down. Need more? Check out the Lance 650, and get a three-quarter ton.
More To Come
We didn’t get a lot of lead time on this new camper and are looking forward to learning more about the 2024 Lance 805 in the coming weeks. I expect this model to go through another design round or two before hitting production and dealer lots next spring.
When the final 805 is ready, we’ll throw tiny rocks at the Lance leadership team’s windows until they give us every single detail. That’s what we do.
Lance 805 Prototype Specifications:
Above: The 2024 Lance 805 prototype floor plan
The 2024 Lance 805 is a hard-side, non-slide truck camper for super short bed, short bed, and long bed trucks. The interior floor length of the Lance 805 is 8’6”, the width is 7’0”, and the interior height is 77”. The fresh water tank, grey tank, and water heater size are to be determined. There is a porta-potty.
Lance is reporting the base dry weight of the Lance 805 prototype at 1,340 pounds without options. The base price MSRP for the Lance 805 is TBD. Click here for a free Lance brochure.