Advertisement

Slideout rooms make a difference in truck campers

January 20, 2006|by JEFF JOHNSTON/Motor Matters

Slideout rooms continue to be the most significant new RV design element in decades. More than any other recent technical innovation, slideouts have had a major impact on the RV market. They've appeared in all kinds of RVs, including truck campers, and now Host Industries Inc. has introduced a double-slideout model that takes camper design a step further.

Truck campers have always been popular first-timer RVs because of their relatively low cost, ease of use and versatility. Many people already own a pickup, and many of those trucks can be fitted for safe and secure camper use.

The most serious tradeoff for camper use has always been interior space. Because the camper is hemmed in by the truck bed dimensions, there's always a limit to the available floor space and square footage. Numerous manufacturers have used single slideouts in campers, but Host added a second slider to create even more room inside some of its units.

Advertisement

Dave Hogue and Mark Storch, co-owners of Host Industries, have long experience in the RV industry dating back to their fathers' creation of Beaver campers and motor homes. Applying the dual slideouts made sense to them as the next logical step in answering a customer need.

The double-slideout Host Yellowstone camper is a large unit, and tips the scales in excess of 3,000 pounds. That figure can jump to 3,500 pounds with the addition of popular factory-installed options, and the weight still doesn't include personal cargo. That means it's going to need a hefty 1-ton dual-wheel truck to haul it without exceeding the truck's gross vehicle weight rating.

Many truck campers use a slideout to move the dinette, and perhaps some adjacent cabinetry, outboard to produce more floor space and allow the design of a slightly wider, more comfortable dinette. Host goes a step farther by also moving the kitchen unit plus a wardrobe storage space out via a second street-side slideout. While the surface square footage of the kitchen and other features haven't changed much, the big difference is in the floor space.

In a standard camper, one person fits very well and two are OK as long as they're friendly and don't mind bumping into each other now and then. Add a child or two or an adult guest, all wanting to move around inside at the same time, and the floor space gets pretty crowded. Toss in the rainy day factor that drives campers inside more than usual, and a non-slideout camper becomes snug indeed.

Add one slideout, with more room adjacent to the dinette, and you have more breathing room. With two sliders, a camper becomes far less closed-in and more amenable for extra bodies spending time inside. The cook can work in front of the kitchen while others pass behind in or out of the camper. Elbow room for putting on heavy coats, for example, is valuable and plentiful when there's enough floor space for users to stay out of each other's way.

Another unusual feature, available on the side-entry Yukon camper, is the rear-wall fold-out tent sleeping platform. It's much like the end tent on a fold-down tent trailer, in that it's fitted with a mattress and has a roof and walls made of tent fabric, but rather than sliding out, it's hinged at the bottom. This feature, identically configured, is also popular on smaller hard-wall trailers, and makes sense in a truck camper. It dramatically expands the unit's interior space when set up to provide another full-size bed sleeping area, and also serves as a relaxing getaway spot for the kids on those rainy days.

Host has changed over to a vacuum lamination construction process that uses aluminum framing and polystyrene insulation. A fiberglass exterior and single-piece TPO roof are standard construction features, as are Grani-Coat solid-surface countertops. Buyers can also choose from a broad array of optional features including top-end electronic entertainment, self-containment, comfort and convenience features.

All of these features come at a cost. While it's possible to buy a low-priced, fully-featured truck camper from other manufacturers today, a Host Yellowstone, nicely equipped, will run in excess of $30,000. That's becoming the high-end standard of the industry at a time when many truck campers are breaking the 30-grand barrier.

The company's top four campers can be ordered with the dual-slideout option. Models ranging from 8 feet 6 inches through 11 feet 6 inches are among the Host offerings.

For more information, contact Host Industries Inc., 300 SE Scott St., Bend, Ore., 97702; (541) 330-2328.

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2006

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|