2021 Overland Explorer CAMP-HBE pop-up flatbed pickup camper

chadx

♫ Off the road again. Just can't wait to get...
Good input from you both. To help with future readers, I went all the way back to my original post and clarified in my opening paragraph by putting the series in parenthesis after the category: Heavy Duty pickup (2500 and 3500 series). Fullsize pickups (1500 series). (y)

Would love if Toyota made an HD Tundra, even if it was a 'tweener like the Nissan Titan XD which is half way between Fullsize capability and HD capability. Nissan already dropped the diesel engine for the XD. According to Nissan, the Titan and Titan XD have the exact same frame, but the XD has "commercial grade components". They do not specify what those are. Looking at the chassis with body off, I only see a few extra crossmembers. They don't specify that there are bigger/better brakes, etc. Mainly heavier suspension as far as I can tell.

Back 20 years ago, when 1/2 tons really only had 1/2 ton capacity (1,000 lbs), there were occasionally brands that came out with "heavy half tons" with more payload capacity, sometimes different engine options, better brakes, etc. But today's fullsize already have payload capacity that exceeds that of the 2500 from that period.

If I had to piece together my dream truck, it would basically be a modern 2500 chassis with it's current brakes and suspension but a drivetrain from the Fullsize category. I don't need a huge V8 gas or V8 diesel nor a HD transmission because I'm not towing 14,000+ lb. I just need the HD payload capacity to support a pop-up slide-in camper and my gear and I'm only towing 2,000 - 3,500 lb trailers. I would prefer a small V8, a turbo V6, or a small light duty diesel in that big chassis. A small inline 6 diesel (like the Duramax 3.0) with 10 speed transmission in a 2500 chassis = my overlanding dream truck.
 
Quick question, I’ve looked through your review and all of the videos and still can’t find the answer @chadx. Does the bed have an under bed storage for clothes and shoes like the FWC’s? I love everything about the HBE and considering purchasing one sight unseen but the biggest and only downfall to me seems to be a lack of interior storage. Obviously it’s different having the electronics under the dinette vs my hawk flatbed had massive compartments under each. I can get by all that if there is under bed storage but once the toilet is added and the closet taken out it seems there is 0 place to put anything inside? Thanks!
 

chadx

♫ Off the road again. Just can't wait to get...
CAMP-HBE and CAMP-X do not have cabover, under-bed storage. Just not in the cards for the smaller pop-up models as it would add a fair bit of overall height/weight and start to get away from the use case of the smaller pop-ups or require the design to give something up (like the room to keep bedding in place rather than removing to lower pop-top). I believe they offer underbed storage on some of the larger campers such as the BASE-CAMP but with the associated increase in overall height and higher center of gravity, etc.
 
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CAMP-HBE and CAMP-X do not have underbed, cabover storage. Just not in the cards for the pop-up models as it would add a fair bit of overall height/weight and start to get away from the use case of the smaller pop-ups or require the design to give something up (like the room to keep bedding in place rather than removing to lower pop-top). I believe they offer underbed storage on some of the larger campers such as the BASE-CAMP but with the associated increase in overall height and higher center of gravity, etc.
That makes sense. The FWC Hawk has underbed storage while retaining the same dimensions I believe as the Camp-HBE however requires removing pillows to put the top down. However you can throw them on the dinette chairs and once you get to camp just put them back on the bed. A lot harder to do that with clothes storage. It seems like they are focused more on camping out of this unit than extended (multi month) liveability out of a FWC. There is no question that the design is much better, the attached rear tire carrier is stellar, and the insulation and lack of condensation is massive. The lack of storage is a serious downside for clothes food and pots/pans as from what I can tell the DS under dinette booth is filled with electronics and the PS dinette booth is only accessible from the outside pass through while 2 or 3 of the “drawers” are false fronts hiding electrical and plumbing. Ideally you could fit pots and pans next to the LP tank in that bottom one. It’s interesting to see such a diminished storage capacity in the basic same layout between two companies. Different uses I suppose. Thank you for the input and your detailed review and the info on the under bed @chadx!
 

chadx

♫ Off the road again. Just can't wait to get...
In other news, it's official that the batteries have been relocated from below the shower pan. From the below post, moving forward the batteries will now be located in a battery box hanging under, and accessible via, the the passenger-side dinette seat. Not sure if only the batteries have moved or also the REDARC and/or optional inverter. Will be interesting to understand the dimensions of the new battery box for those that want to expand to a large battery bank. For myself, I was hoping the batteries would be located, and accessed, via the outside hatch rather than under the dinette seat, but looks like it would be an easy enough mod. I'd prefer to have the storage under the dinette seat for items I would want or need to access from inside the camper (clothes, supplies, etc.).

For the redesigned shower pan area, I'm assuming they have ensured there will still be good leg support while seated at the dinette and that footwell area will have a removable lid (and storage space) for when shower is not being used,. Then it's removable to access a nice low shower pan when using the shower. Anxious to see the resulting shower pan redesign.

 
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chadx

♫ Off the road again. Just can't wait to get...
That makes sense. The FWC Hawk has underbed storage while retaining the same dimensions I believe as the Camp-HBE however requires removing pillows to put the top down. However you can throw them on the dinette chairs and once you get to camp just put them back on the bed. A lot harder to do that with clothes storage. It seems like they are focused more on camping out of this unit than extended (multi month) liveability out of a FWC. There is no question that the design is much better, the attached rear tire carrier is stellar, and the insulation and lack of condensation is massive. The lack of storage is a serious downside for clothes food and pots/pans as from what I can tell the DS under dinette booth is filled with electronics and the PS dinette booth is only accessible from the outside pass through while 2 or 3 of the “drawers” are false fronts hiding electrical and plumbing. Ideally you could fit pots and pans next to the LP tank in that bottom one. It’s interesting to see such a diminished storage capacity in the basic same layout between two companies. Different uses I suppose. Thank you for the input and your detailed review and the info on the under bed @chadx!
Definitely are trade offs. One of the things I disliked about my previous FWC was having to remove not only the pillows but also our bedding from the cabover prior to lowering the pop-up. The FWC construction type also gives a bit more room (aluminum frame with insulation in between the frame members) compared to thicker, structural insulated panels which eat up some room and already add to the height of the cabover. In my case, that was worth the tradeoff because the condensation was the primary reason I moved to an OEV (CAMP-X in my case) but there were many other reasons. CAMP-HBE cabover is already about 18.5" tall. If adding a 4.5" or 5" deep storage would add 5" to 5.5" to the cabover height, it would be then be 23" - 23.5" with the associated trade offs with overall height (clearing branches and overhead objects), higher weight and center of gravity, higher wind drag, more expensive and even looks. If some buyers think it's worth those trade-offs, I suspect a fair number would not. So that would mean two different runs of CAMP-HBE because the side panels would be different. Perhaps once they are making hundreds of campers per month economies of scale would allow for that, but I suspect that with current run sizes and OEV working to expand to meet current demand and still needing capacity for additional models (BASE-CAMP and SUMMIT), having two different CAMP-HBE wall panel sizes and aluminum extrusions is not in the cards anytime soon. From a business model perspective, it also makes sense to save some options for camper models higher up the model line.

Regarding storage, one thing that would make a big difference is the options of a smaller fridge. That monster that is in there now is huge. A more reasonably sized option would allow for storage drawer underneath the fridge. Some other manufactures offer a choice in fridge size and fill in the resulting space with storage. Hoping that becomes an option for the CAMP-HBE by 2023.
 

Ninelitetrip

Active member
That makes sense. The FWC Hawk has underbed storage while retaining the same dimensions I believe as the Camp-HBE however requires removing pillows to put the top down. However you can throw them on the dinette chairs and once you get to camp just put them back on the bed. A lot harder to do that with clothes storage. It seems like they are focused more on camping out of this unit than extended (multi month) liveability out of a FWC. There is no question that the design is much better, the attached rear tire carrier is stellar, and the insulation and lack of condensation is massive. The lack of storage is a serious downside for clothes food and pots/pans as from what I can tell the DS under dinette booth is filled with electronics and the PS dinette booth is only accessible from the outside pass through while 2 or 3 of the “drawers” are false fronts hiding electrical and plumbing. Ideally you could fit pots and pans next to the LP tank in that bottom one. It’s interesting to see such a diminished storage capacity in the basic same layout between two companies. Different uses I suppose. Thank you for the input and your detailed review and the info on the under bed @chadx!
If you are looking for ideas on how to live full time in an OEV product have a look at Jon Burtt on Instagram. He has a lengthy background living full time in truck campers. Ford SC F250 flatbed with a CAMP-X. He previously had a FWC and a Northstar. Works for him.
 

Ninelitetrip

Active member
In other news, it's official that the batteries have been relocated from below the shower pan. From the below post, moving forward the batteries will now be located in a battery box hanging under, and accessible via, the the passenger-side dinette seat. Not sure if only the batteries have moved or also the REDARC and/or optional inverter. Will be interesting to understand the dimensions of the new battery box for those that want to expand to a large battery bank. For myself, I was hoping the batteries would be located, and accessed, via the outside hatch rather than under the dinette seat, but looks like it would be an easy enough mod. I'd prefer to have the storage under the dinette seat for items I would want or need to access from inside the camper (clothes, supplies, etc.).

For the redesigned shower pan area, I'm assuming they have ensured there will still be good leg support while seated at the dinette and that footwell area will have a removable lid (and storage space) for when shower is not being used,. Then it's removable to access a nice low shower pan when using the shower. Anxious to see the resulting shower pan redesign.


Good to see this change has made it into the 2022 production. The single picture does not really help, could use some updating at least on the website, still lacking information in some ways.

I agree on your points of preserving the utility of the shower pan space. Great for dry storage when used as a shower.

On the battery box, I'm guessing to sync production ease between the 6.75' and 8' models they chose to place the batteries higher up. I would prefer to see the batteries at least on the 8' located on the floor to preserve the utility of the storage under the seat and access to the space from inside.
 

Ninelitetrip

Active member
If you are looking for ideas on how to live full time in an OEV product have a look at Jon Burtt on Instagram. He has a lengthy background living full time in truck campers. Ford SC F250 flatbed with a CAMP-X. He previously had a FWC and a Northstar. Works for him.

I will add one more from Instagram. Overlanddad. Family of 5 in a Ford CC F250 flatbed with a CAMP-X.

For myself an 8' foot HBE with say a Super Cab, I don't believe storage will be critical, but certainly well used. However I am more interested in being able to fit say 300ah of LiFePo4.
 

chadx

♫ Off the road again. Just can't wait to get...
...However I am more interested in being able to fit say 300ah of LiFePo4.
You've mentioned some good LiFePo4 brands before, but I'll mention one I'm familiar with: SOK brand. They make really good 100Ah and 206Ah batteries. I couldn't fit one in my CAMP-X due to their non-typical dimensions so I used a Battleborn 100Ah there, but I have used two of the SOK 206Ah in my fishing boat for bow mount electric motor and they are beasts. The also now make two different form factors and case material 206Ah models. Various online teardown reviews have shown the quality inside and the price is very low for the high quality. In my long term plans for a CAMP-HBE, I envision at least two of the 206Ah in the side compartment. May do three or more since I will be charging electric motorcycles, fishing boat batteries, etc. on a regular basis. And I hope to do more than the currently optioned 400watts of solar on the roof.
 

Ninelitetrip

Active member
You've mentioned some good LiFePo4 brands before, but I'll mention one I'm familiar with: SOK brand. They make really good 100Ah and 206Ah batteries. I couldn't fit one in my CAMP-X due to their non-typical dimensions so I used a Battleborn 100Ah there, but I have used two of the SOK 206Ah in my fishing boat for bow mount electric motor and they are beasts. The also now make two different form factors and case material 206Ah models. Various online teardown reviews have shown the quality inside and the price is very low for the high quality. In my long term plans for a CAMP-HBE, I envision at least two of the 206Ah in the side compartment. May do three or more since I will be charging electric motorcycles, fishing boat batteries, etc. on a regular basis. And I hope to do more than the currently optioned 400watts of solar on the roof.

The great thing with LifePo4 is that change is quick and prices are dropping. There are a lot of brands, which honestly most seem to repackage the same available cells into different packages or features. While still costly the dropping price makes a brand new drop in much more attractive than repurposing used cells. I have seen the review Will Prowse did on the SOK Marine grade 206ah that he lists on his webpage as his top choice now. .39 cents per Wh is a fantastic deal for what they offer. He also reviewed the Bestgo / Electric Car Parts Company 200ah battery and liked it, except for the cost. Currently $500 more than the SOK 206ah at $1029.

For my planned needs I see the standard installed items in the HBE, plus induction cooking, electric bicycle, and the usual electronics. The one big item is possibly a Cruise N Comfort HD-12L 8K BTU/h AC. This was the unit originally specced for the Base Camp SW but has been dropped. Maximizing the solar on the roof, 397a dual alternator setup, and 2 x SOK 206a maybe it can be done.

I really would like to see what can be accomplished on the HBE roof with solar. Would 600 watts be feasible?
 

Ninelitetrip

Active member
So that would mean two different runs of CAMP-HBE because the side panels would be different. Perhaps once they are making hundreds of campers per month economies of scale would allow for that, but I suspect that with current run sizes and OEV working to expand to meet current demand and still needing capacity for additional models (BASE-CAMP and SUMMIT), having two different CAMP-HBE wall panel sizes and aluminum extrusions is not in the cards anytime soon. From a business model perspective, it also makes sense to save some options for camper models higher up the model line.

I wonder how much flexibility they have with their panel supply and design? When the panels are manufactured in the US are they cut to size per model with only the windows and door entry needing to be cut in Red Deer and eliminating the excess waste, or do they get large panels and then cut to model dimension in Red Deer? At least with the 8' HBE and BASE CAMP it seems it adds @14 inches in rear length and @ 5 inches in overall height? It may seem "simple" enough to customize dimensions for a given model, but gets away from efficiency in production.
 

Ninelitetrip

Active member
And I hope to do more than the currently optioned 400watts of solar on the roof.

Yes the key is to be able to maximixe that real estate on the roof. With the 250 pound weight limit and two roof vents I think you can comfortably install either 6 x SunPower 100w flexible panels or 6 x Renogy 100w flexible panels. What I would like to determine is if the SunPower 170w panel would fit on the roof. I know there is a perceived drawback to the flexible panels because of a lack of an air gap for cooling effecting longevity, but they really do seem optimal. Interesting that the SunPower 100w is tariff free, while the 170w is subject to an 18% import tariff. Going by claims in the spec sheets the SunPower at 22-25% efficiency certainly beats the Renogy 14.9% claimed efficiency.




100-watt-12-volt-flexible-monocrystalline-solar-panel


Current spec is a single 200w with an optional 180w from OEV, unknown brand or model.
 

chadx

♫ Off the road again. Just can't wait to get...
I wonder how much flexibility they have with their panel supply and design? When the panels are manufactured in the US are they cut to size per model with only the windows and door entry needing to be cut in Red Deer and eliminating the excess waste, or do they get large panels and then cut to model dimension in Red Deer? At least with the 8' HBE and BASE CAMP it seems it adds @14 inches in rear length and @ 5 inches in overall height? It may seem "simple" enough to customize dimensions for a given model, but gets away from efficiency in production.
OEV CNC routers the panels in house. They don't specify who manufactures them, but they are proprietary (though I'm sure similar) to other industrial composite panels. The need for different extrusions would likely be the bigger factor. Those are manufactured in Alberta. The main deciding factor might be if there is demand for such a tall popup camper. I imagine they are always exploring and weighing options, demand, profitability, etc.


Image of their CNC router machine working on CAMP-X panels.
Camp-X-Factory-Production-CNC.jpg
 
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