The XPCamper V2 debuted at Overland Expo and created quite a buzz. Before the prototype was disassembled, for final production, I managed to snag the keys and take it on a little adventure in the California mountains. I picked up the Toyota Tacoma based rig at the XPCamper factory in Grass Valley, CA and headed up to the Bowman Lake area. Afterwards I also talked Marc Wassmann, XPCamper’s designer and owner, into a little overland adventure to the Black Rock Desert. These experiences all highlighted the fact that the XPCamper V2 is an extremely capable overland expedition camper.
I like to think of XPCampers as the luxury yachts of the truck camper world. The high quality marine grade appliances, electrics and fittings let you know that the camper is built to last. The extremely tidy layout utilizes many ideas from yacht interior design to optimize the use of all available space. The monocoque foam core fiberglass shell and smooth fiberglass interior structures would feel right at home in any luxury yacht. They also combine to provide a super durable, well-insulated and lightweight camper.
The V2 is designed to fit on medium sized pickups with 6’ or longer beds. Options in the US are limited to the Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier and Suzuki Equator. In order to fit the V2 to these pickups the bed must be removed and exchanged for the custom XPCamper flatbed. While this adds some cost, that cost is easily offset by the extra camper living space, extra built in storage space, utility when the camper is removed and the quality XPC flex mount system.
Interior Camper Update (10/29/13)
The V2 Interior has been redesigned with the dinette on the driver’s side, instead of across the back by the entrance. This creates a 6′ long sleeping area for another person, meaning the V2 now sleeps 3. It also creates a closet area, shoe storage and makes it easier to get in or out of the camper without moving the table or disturbing anyone seated inside. The updated prototype also has more interior lighting, a small gray water tank, a interior shower system, under bed storage, a water filtration system as well as making the exterior hatches into outdoor counter space. The interior of the hatch door makes for a great outdoor kitchen area and the interior storage is even now accessable from the outside through sliding doors on the rear of the interior cabinets. Check out the three photos below to see the new setup.
The first thing you’ll notice about the V2 XPCamper itself is the streamlined and completely hard-sided design. With the V2’s pop up design you get great fuel efficiency while still having a very secure and weather resistant living space. It is a bit annoying that you can’t access the interior of the camper without raising the top, but at the same time it creates a very secure area for all your valuables while traveling, and is super easy to raise with the touch of a button. The interior composite construction makes for smooth easy to clean surfaces that are designed to last. The composite construction also allows for built in insulation making this a great 4-season camper, especially with the included diesel heater unit and the HUGE windows, 3 on the sides and 1 on the roof, as well as 2 roof vents with built in fans. The large volume of living and storage space in this relatively small truck camper is what really sets this camper apart from many of its competitors. Things like the huge under bed storage area and access to some of the interior cabinets from the exterior side lockers highlight the well thought out ergonomics. The first time you spend anytime in the V2 you will quickly fall in love with all the quality creature comforts that come standard: large solar power system with 12v and USB interior outlets, removable toilet, interior shower, 27 gallon heated water tank, diesel cook top, Spinflo kitchen center, 4.2cuft fridge and much more.
Probably the main weakness in this build is the vehicle options available on the US market. The Tacoma probably being the best of these options, and the base of the V2 prototype build. The 2013 Toyota Tacoma quad cab with 6’ bed only has a payload of 1,050 lbs. Now I think most would agree that this is actually a very low number compared to what the vehicle can really handle, but it is the listed max payload. With the camper coming in at about 800 lbs and the flatbed adding 40 lbs over the stock bed your only left with 210 lbs of carrying capacity, for fuel, people, water and gear. So in the end the truck will for sure be way over the listed max payload, which is really the case with any truck camper on a medium sized US truck. In order to handle the extra overall weight properly, especially in offroad conditions, the truck needs to be re-geared, suspension upgraded, brakes upgraded and a more offroad suitable wheel and tire package installed.
MSRP: V2 Camper: $32,875 + XPC Flatbed w/drawer & boxes: $8,100 = $40,975
-LOTS of interior living and storage space in a small package
-Huge windows provide lots of natural light and fresh air
-Quality diesel appliances are reliable & efficient
-Security: NO way to access interior of camper when closed
-Size is suitable for accessing relatively small remote trails
-Great all weather camper due to insulation, ventilation and diesel heater
-Camper has most of the comforts of home!
-No access to camper interior unless popped (also a + for security)
-Side windows stick out and are vulnerable on tight trails
-Can’t sit up in bed
-Must change the bed of the truck to a XPC flatbed (only a con due to added cost)
-Available vehicle payload on US medium sized truck platforms
-No current good option to relocate spare tire from under vehicle
-No good diesel US vehicle platform options
It/s hard to compare the XPCamper to normal truck campers as it really does shine above them all in many ways, especially for offroad overland travel. It is much easier to compare them to other overland adventure rigs like Sportsmobile Ford vans, the Fuso based Earthcruisers and the like. Like these expedition rigs the XPCamper is containerable, uses high-end durable appliances and is built to last for many miles of offroad adventure. Where the XPCamper falls short of some of these other expedition rigs is the option of a new US registerable efficient diesel vehicle option and living space access from the driving position. The XPCamper shines bright when you compare it in price to these other overland expedition rigs, as they can range from $100,000-$300,000+ and a new turnkey Tacoma based V2 XPCamper can be had for around $70,000.
Another new entrant into the mid size pickup flatbed truck camper market is the Four Wheel Campers Fleet Flatbed. You can read an in depth article about the unit online by Truck Camper Magazine HERE. The unit has many of the same creature comforts like solar, fridge, toilet, shower, sink, outlets, etc as the V2 but differs in most other ways, and actually differs greatly in the type of fixtures and appliances used. The glaring differences are the build materials, small side entry and soft-sided pop-top. The Fleet Flatbed ranges in price from about $20K for a bare model to $29K for a well-optioned camper. The number that scares me a bit is the weight of a well-optioned Fleet Flatbed, listed at 1,475 lbs, as that puts a Tacoma way over GVW without fuel, water, gear or occupants. In the end it is good to see companies pushing truck camper development in new directions to maximize storage and living space on small and medium sized vehicle platforms while still providing the creature comforts that customers demand. I’d love to spend some time in a Four Wheel Campers Flatbed model for a proper evaluation.
V2’s bigger brother the original XPCamper V1 is designed for full size trucks and has many of the same features, only with a lot more living and storage space. The V1’s extra space does come at a price, $63,875. Consider though that you will have tons of room for the whole family, or a few friends, on your next adventure and have the option of many diesel platforms to choose from in the US market. I’d have to say that a classic extra cab Dodge with an early Cummins motor and a V1 on the back would be a pretty amazing overland rig!
In the end the V2 is a great value all the way around, but for sure one of the more expensive “small” truck campers on the market. It utilizes only top of the line components in a very tidy and well thought out package. I really wish there was a quality mid sized diesel truck option in the US to build this camper on, but for now you will have to settle for the trusty V6 petrol Toyota Tacoma, or get creative and import an older diesel option from abroad. Your next adventure awaits and the V2 XPCamper is ready and capable to take you there.
Suggestions if I were to have a Tacoma V2 based expedition camper built, above XPCamper’s “standard” offerings:
-High-end inverter with wired 120V plugs in the camper.
-Top load fridge in the back of the cab, replacing one of the back seats.
-New more comfortable front seats.
-Re-gear Tacoma for more control offroad.
-Upgraded brakes on Tacoma to handle extra weight.
-Add a roof rack and ladder for kayak/bike rack on roof of camper.
(XPCamper can accommodate all of these options in house on your build.)