Here's part two of our epic overland trip with the Camp-X on the back of our Ram 1500 Rebel.
thanks for the pics! Looks great, we have them looking into the floor for us as well. Some people prefer to not have the porta potti drawer but my wife thinks is one of the best features!Here are the images of the new cushions and raised dinette floor we ordered.
The new cushions were ordered for several reasons. Primary reason was to eliminate the battery/water tank compartment lid from being integrated into the cushion. See the separate aluminum lid in the image. This allows one to remove the cushion and have the compartment covered for stepping up there. Second reason is the original cushions were not sewn to the same finish standard as the rest of the camper. The one with the integrated lid always looked disheveled because it had several extra inches of material and was always bunched up. All the cushions were sewn with zippers on three sides which could not be faced away or hidden. We spec'd the new cushions to have zippers on only one side so zippers and stitching around the zippers was not visible when they were in place. Some of the sewn in tags on the back cushions were places where they could not be hidden. We did not replace the back rest cushions and they can't be flipped because of the velcro on the back, so I'll have to work up my courage and carefully try it cut the tag off or out without damaging the zipper stitching. The third reason was that the separate cushion and lid also replaces the 1" thick wood and 3" tall cushion with a 4" tall cushion to match the thickness of the other dinette cushions. Now that Overland Explorer is making all battery/water tank compartment lids out of the thin aluminum, in my opinion, they should do the cushion layout in this format. This gives the owner the option to leave in or remove the cushion under the window. We use storage solutions there (not shown) rather than the cushion. Also, this cushion layout is more comfortable as you sit on a single cushion at each end of the dinette rather than on the crease between two cushions which tends to compress/sink and those are additional reasons. Very happy with the new layout.
As mentioned previously, Overland Explorer is now putting raised dinette floors in all campers moving forward. This gives a nice storage spot underneath and, more importantly, gives your feet and legs the appropriate height support rather than your legs dangling which compresses the front edge of the cushion all the way down. Our camper has the 1" raised floor which the new campers will not, so will look a bit different than this and have even more room in the storage space. I mocked this up with 2x4 on their side and another on edge to arrive at the perfect height for us. It is extremely stable even with this temp setup so we will leave it for a couple trips to ensure this is the height we want before permanently mounting it. I gave the dimensions of the needed dinette floor to Overland Explorer down to the mm and they cut it perfect. It was just a bit too tight to slide into the spot so I sanded and trimmed one end to get it to slide in nice and tight. You can remove material but not add so this worked out perfect. Once permanently mounted, we'll decide if we caulk around the edge to match everything else, but I rather like the non-caulked look. Caulking will prevent dirt, pine needles, liquid spills, etc. from making a mess, though. The floor is a piece of 1" thick honeycomb composite material with the matching vinyl and gray aluminum edge. It looks great and feels even better. Sitting is much, much more comfortable with feet/legs supported. Really love this update.
Original layout and cushions. Table is removed temporarily. Note bunched cushion material and zipper showing on front of compartment cover cushion.
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New one-piece cushions for ends and no cushion under window to allow for our storage bins to sit there (not shown).
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This shows the new aluminum lid, in place, for battery/water tank compartment.
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Original compartment cushion had what is likely a plywood lid (I believe, I haven't unzipped and looked) incorporated inside the case with the cushion. Since the lid is 1" thick, the cushion is only 3" rather than 4" like the other seat cushions. Note: I rarely go into this compartment and the cushion cover fabric was already wearing thin on the corners of the incorporated internal lid. Overland Explorer has changed the design and all new campers come with the separate aluminum lid and seat cushion.
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New cushions and new raised floor looking great!
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About 6" above the existing floor seems the perfect height. That is a 2x4 on its side, one on edge (totalling 5") plus the 1" thick platform. The 5" space is tall enough to allow shoes to fit in this spot and will likely be the items we primarily store there.
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My wife loves the drawer as well, but I prefer to lift the portipotti off the drawer and set it on the floor at night. I gave the drawer a chance all summer, but I just prefer the stability of it sitting on the floor. We only use our portipotti for urine and since a portipotti is a sit down affair, even for guys, it is rather narrow sitting on the drawer and those drawer glides slide VERY easily. Ha. Even though my wife and I both have slim builds, it is vary narrow and easy to touch your leg against shockingly cold cabinet in the night. I'm not a fan of that. Ha. It's easy enough to lift it out of the drawer and set it on the floor at night which is about the only time we use it. Guess the drawer concept is handy for middle of the day use, but we never seem to use it during the day. I thought about removing the drawer and leaving it an open cabinet, but didn't see an immediate way to release the drawer glides when I glanced and noted they are riveted in. Also, it is nice to have the potti out of sight. I have a slight preference for Overland's new setup where there is no drawer/slider and instead is a simple swing-open cabinet door, but not enough of a preference to pursue replacing our sliding drawer with the new hinged door....we have them looking into the floor for us as well. Some people prefer to not have the porta potti drawer but my wife thinks is one of the best features!
Chadx, great ideas! My wife generally only uses the porta potti at night for peeing as well. Getting up and sliding it out of the way is handy, plus I don’t like it in the way if I’m going outside. Lol... As far as lighting goes we don’t have much problem with the current setup either but I would agree some light bars around the outside would be great. Our “likes to have” would be something above the table while reading and something over head, again for reading in bed. The centre light shines right in my eyes while laying in bed reading, this is no big deal and since every person sleeps in a different orientation it would be tough to please everybody.My wife loves the drawer as well, but I prefer to lift the portipotti off the drawer and set it on the floor at night. I gave the drawer a chance all summer, but I just prefer the stability of it sitting on the floor. We only use our portipotti for urine and since a portipotti is a sit down affair, even for guys, it is rather narrow sitting on the drawer and those drawer glides slide VERY easily. Ha. Even though my wife and I both have slim builds, it is vary narrow and easy to touch your leg against shockingly cold cabinet in the night. I'm not a fan of that. Ha. It's easy enough to lift it out of the drawer and set it on the floor at night which is about the only time we use it. Guess the drawer concept is handy for middle of the day use, but we never seem to use it during the day. I thought about removing the drawer and leaving it an open cabinet, but didn't see an immediate way to release the drawer glides when I glanced and noted they are riveted in. Also, it is nice to have the potti out of sight. I have a slight preference for Overland's new setup where there is no drawer/slider and instead is a simple swing-open cabinet door, but not enough of a preference to pursue replacing our sliding drawer with the new hinged door.
Regarding the mounting of the raised dinette floor, the two aluminum support brackets are the same as the two brackets already mounted higher up to support the table top when one converts the dinette to a sleep surface. It would be easy enough to drill and use bolts to mount the rear bracket, but on the front bracket (water tank cabinet end), to use bolts, one would likely have to remove the water tank to get nuts on the back of the bolts. My first thought is that I would use rivets, to attach the bracket, instead of bolts so I would not have to access the backside. That would work great, however, now I'm considering using material under the floor to support it rather than the brackets. This would be similar, but much nicer looking, than my temporary 2x4 setup pictures shown above. I'd use wood, or synthetic material, of sufficient strength to support the ends from below. The floor is a tight enough fit that it is not going to rack or slide at all; it just needs some support from below so it doesn't push downward with the weight of a person or two standing on it. 1/2" - 3/4" thick pieces of painted plywood, or something similar to the starboard used elsewhere in the camper, cut to 5" tall and run on edge under both ends of the raised floor would give us the desired 5" of lift without the need for precise hole drilling, bolts and rivets. Not that I foresee ever needing to, but it would also be less permanent if the floor ever needed to come out which is the same reason I was considering not caulking. At a minimum, it would be a more finished way to secure the floor for now while we use it for the rest of the season and ensure we get the exact floor height we want. Easy enough to cut a different size plywood insert and retry 1/2" - 1" higher or lower in order to tune it just right for us. But I'll tell you from our demoing in the yard that this is a significant increase in seating comfort for us over the stock, low floor that had our legs dangling...and I'm 6' and wife is 5'10". Really great move on Overland Explorer's part to make the raised dinette floor standard to increase seated comfort (and the extra storage cubby is a great bonus).
The raised dinette floor and cushions were the two primary things that we wanted to change. With that done, I can only think of one thing that we want to update and it's rather minor; the overhead lighting solution. Where the two dome style lights are currently located, the light given off is plenty bright, but since it emits from a compact source, it is not spread out enough, meaning, it's easy to block the light and cast harsh shadows. LED light bars spread out the source of the light over a length and cast less intense shadows than a compact dome light. Having more than two overhead lights would do the same and the quickest solution would be to simply add an additional dome light on the dinette side of the vent/fan. Currently, when the overhead dome light is on, there is great light over the stove, but when you turn your back to the stove and go to serve on the dinette, your body casts a black shadow over everything, even with the front dome light on. Light bars spread out the source of the light so shadows are much softer edged and less harsh. That is one thing our FWC did really well. The LED light bars were positioned well and the light bars spread out the light on each unit plus there were three lights (ours was a shell; I think standard have 4 light bars so four light sources and the more light sources the better). With multiple lights, light comes from several directions and so a much more pleasant, less harsh shadowy light. And the newer LED light bars are dimmable so one could have on all four lights and dim them slightly for a nice even light. Really makes a quality feel having a spread out light sources.
The challenge that Overland Explorer would face is running the wiring in a tidy fashion since the wiring is in conduit rather than internal to the ceiling. But with the current format, it would be easy enough to replace the cookside dome light with a light bar, but also add an LED light bar coming off the dinette-side of the vent housing. The front dome could also be replaced with an LED light bar. This would give a total of three lights.
If the wiring could be hidden in the roof's honeycomb panel (they did this with my second front vent/fan) rather than conduit, even better. Then I would suggest four LED light bars that run front to back rather than side to side; one over the stove, one over the dinette, and one at each end of the bed. The main light switch on the control panel would still allow/cut power to all overhead lights since all LED lights have their own combination on/off and hold-to-dim button. A four individual light LED light bar configuration would give an extremely pleasant spread of light which is key to eliminating shadows and giving a natural and upscale feel to the light. That's my 2 cents. It sure has been fun watching the CAMP-X an the CAMP-HBE evolve. Very excited to see continued updates as we save save save for a CAMP-HBE.
I need to go check our camper for how the top of the battery compartment is configured. As ours is one of the originals it has the wood in the bottom of the cushion and didn't have the aluminium angle section to stop it sliding backwards - many times climbing up to the bed we almost did damage. Camp-X/Big Sky RV supplied the angle at a later date.
I would definitely prefer a 4" cushion and the all metal cover, just not sure it can be done on ours.
Our last trip I removed the table, it just takes up too much space.
My layout inside that compartment is definitely different, our water tank is on the right side running north/south, pump is bottom left, battery is north of it. If I remember I'll snap a photo tomorrow.6th,
Check out the pictures in both post-2787061 and a few posts ago and compare to yours. I can't recall what they did for your prototype rig, though I recall seeing the video long ago. More than likely the new aluminum compartment cover will work for your camper, or they can custom cut one to the needed size. The new lid is held in place with hook-and-loop (velcro) fastener tape so quick and easy install and the 4" thick replacement cushion prices were fairly reasonable. Shipping to your dealership might be a large part of the expense for a U.S. order. If you can order through a dealership that will be receiving campers and you are not in a hurry, sometimes the parts may be able to come along with a camper delivery to avoid shipping costs. I'll note that all parts orders, coming to the US, are now only fulfilled through Overland Explorer dealerships and not directly from Overland Explorer like they used to be. For folks in Canada, I'm not sure how they are handling it, but they are moving towards a "dealership only" model.
As you alluded to, it is amazing how much space there is with the dinette table removed. We use ours constantly, however, so not something we consider doing, but every time I have it out when working on the camper, it makes for a really open, great-feeling space.
Sounds like your layout is similar to the 2019 production models. But the arrangement inside the compartment doesn't matter for the lid. Surely the rim of your compartment is very similar in that it has enough of a lip for a aluminum cover. You'll just need to measure the opening and ensure the new lid spans the entire opening side to side and front to back. Tomorrow, I'll throw a tape on my 2020 compartment opening as well as the aluminum lid so you'll be able to determine if the new stock lid will work or you'd need a custom sized lid.My layout inside that compartment is definitely different, our water tank is on the right side running north/south, pump is bottom left, battery is north of it. If I remember I'll snap a photo tomorrow.
Mike,I removed the entire front face of the potti cabinet (and added additional bracing). To keep the potti in while traveling, I added a 3/4" aluminum plywood edge channel 5.5 inch long vertically on each side so the open ends faced each other. Then cut a 1x6 to fit between them.
The 1x6 slides into the channel to hold the potti in place and slides up and out when you are parked. The potti is easy to slide forward and out on the level floor with no lifting necessary.
I forgot to take a tape measure, but very different construction for that opening compared to the photos above.6th,
I measured the lid and compartment opening on my 2020 so you could compare with yours and determine if the new stock lid would work.
Lid: 18.5" wide x 20.5" deep.
Opening: 15.5" wide x 16.5" deep.