Words often fail to describe the sheer volume of amazing to outrageous truck camper builds we encountered at Overland Expo West 2023. Here are the stand-outs; promising upstarts to crazy one-off whack-a-doos.
Following our reporting on the major truck camper manufacturers, we did our best to cover the entire truck camper presence at Overland Expo West 2023. In addition to the true demountable campers, we saw dozens of rigs that challenged the definition of a truck camper rig, or outright failed our, “If it doesn’t demount, it doesn’t count” standard but managed to reel us in anyway.
Hang on. We’re diving deep into Overland Expo West 2023…
Bear Adventure Vehicles
We were totally surprised to discover Bear Adventure Vehicles from Santa Paula, California.
The team was young, fun and oozing with passion for truck camping; all hugely positive signs for a start-up brand.
Bear truck campers feature aluminum and composite construction, are built to order and feature warm and inviting interiors (see above). This is definitely a company to watch.
What would happen if you directly translated a teardrop trailer into a demountable camper? TC Teardrops showcased a small, lightweight, highly versatile hard side truck camper that offered an intriguing answer.
This camper was all about form and function with just enough comfort to be comfortable. In addition to the overland market, I can see long-distance shipping companies that tow with pickup trucks using these to save hotel bills. Really neat concept.
Without a doubt, Nimbl showcased one of the most advanced pop-up campers we’ve ever seen. The pop-up build features a unique blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass hard walls with a soft-wall cabover.
The interior floor plan presents more fiberglass and carbon fiber features and a hide-a-way bathroom including a toilet and shower. The catch? These units run $300K with a flatbed. And no, that does not include the truck. If that doesn’t phase you, Nimbl is impressive.
AT Overland is decidedly focused on the overland market with seemingly little interest in the greater truck camper marketplace, but they build and sell demountable truck campers.
The featured AT Aterra XL hard side flatbed was another expensive build (around $180K fully loaded with a Ram 3500 cab and chassis, flatbed and a full American Expedition Vehicles treatment) but it’s purpose designed and constructed to handle punishing off-road conditions. Mario Donovan, President of AT Overland stated that the AT Aterra starts at $76K and goes up to $84K with air conditioning, a larger lithium battery system and additional accessories.
AT Overland also had a more affordable demountable AT Aterra Topper (starting $20,500) on hand, and are well known for their AT Habitat and AT Summit toppers. Hellwig Products had two AT Overland toppers in their Expo West booth which you can see in our first report.
SuperTramp and Bowen Custom Beds
Insane. Just nuts. As in, “What the heck is that?” I had to stand and stare at SuperTramp’s display to take in their monster hybrid pop-up truck camper, custom Bowen Custom Bed and garage, and truck cab-mounted tent topper. Yes, that’s a fully demountable truck camper in the rear.
It counts, but what is this? Upon closer inspection, the build quality, features, and amenities were all top-notch, but the overall size and weight challenge the “go anywhere” purpose of a pop-up truck camper or rooftop tent.
I was transfixed and bedazzled by this brilliant and insane creation. Evidently I wasn’t the only one as the crowds around this rig were continuous. I got about thirty seconds inside the unit, asked a few questions and took one interior photo (see above) before another person entered. Hopefully we’ll get another whack at this confounding truck and camper.
Kudos to the young couple who owns SuperTramp and have the courage and conviction to bring this vision to Overland Expo West. It’s was a knockout.
There are a lot of fun and amazing people at Overland Expo and the team at LOKI Basecamp is certainly no exception. The Quebec-based manufacturer brought a LOKI Icarus fiberglass truck camper outfitted with advanced overland features and technology stem-to-stern.
LOKI is clearly still in the truck camper game, but they’re also moving into different niches within the overland and greater RV marketplaces. That said, our conversations with Pierre-Mathieu, President of LOKI Basecamp, confirmed his passion for demountable truck campers. We will be keeping an eye on this creative and ambitious team.
We almost missed this company entirely. On day three of the show, we spotted a set of Rieco-Titan corner jacks on Globe Trekker’s aluminum and composite structure. This obviously isn’t intended as a slide-in or even a flatbed for a standard pickup, but the company told us that direction is something they’ve been thinking about.
What intrigued us was the relatively approachable price (under $50K) and the wide-open, ready-to-build-out nature of their product. This isn’t a finished camper, but rather a blank slate to envision whatever you want. Here’s hoping Globe Trekker makes a more flatbed pickup friendly version. We were impressed.
Norweld Flatbeds and Canopies
Norweld is well known as a popular flatbed solution for Four Wheel Campers. What’s not as well know is that Norweld builds flatbeds for campers well beyond the Four Wheel Camper product, and has a line of Australian-style canopy campers as well.
The build quality of Norweld products is beyond reproach and I was surprised to hear that their flatbeds start around $16K USD for a well-featured unit.
Above: A Norweld flatbed and Australian-style canopy camper
Of course, all of that went out the window when Isaac Edmiston, Special Projects Director, literally, made me my first Vegemite sandwich. The first thing that hit me was salt. Then a yeasty, meaty, almost soy-sauce flavor emerged that was honestly nothing like my palette had experienced before. Mind blown. Thank you, Issac and Norweld team!
Two Chassis Mounts of Insanity
From there we dove into the overland ocean of whatever goes. The following gallery is what caught our attention as we walked and walked around the enormous Overland Expo West 2023. Take a deep breath, let go of your truck camper bias and beliefs, and drop into the wild yonder of overland….
If Captain Nemo built a chassis mount, it might look something like 27North‘s creation. There are many elements of this concept that confounded us, but the overland steampunk aesthetic blew us away. If a camper ever needed a periscope, this one does.
Erik Petroni of Never Quit Overland brought this chassis mount with a roof top deck. It was roped off so interior shots were off limits, but I was too mesmerized by the height and scale of Erik’s creation to care. Erik told me the rig cost $590K to build, but he was entertaining offers at $425K. Yes, his build sheet backed that figure up. And up. And up.
More Camper Expo Discoveries
Want more rigs? Of course you do! Here’s more of what we discovered walking the expo…
Truck Campers Camping at Expo
On day two, Angela went on a walkabout surveying the many dozens of truck camper rigs camping at Overland Expo West 2023. She found a lot of production campers from the major manufacturers, many more than what we saw in the show itself. She also discovered some equally impressive and out-there set-ups. Here are the attendee rigs from the show.
Believe it or not, there was even more truck campers at Overland Expo West 2023 than we’ve shared in the two articles published this week. If you even have a passing interest in the overland scene, put an Overland Expo on your bucket list. It’s a fantastically overwhelming experience.
Check out more Overland Expo West 2023 coverage including videos on our Instagram story highlights.