First Trip in an Overland Explorer Camp X

sg1

Adventurer
#1
In 2016 I posted a thread complaining about condensation in my Hawk (https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/a-hawk-in-the-arctic.163254/). After this experience I started looking for a pop up camper with a reasonable insulation. Earthroamer and Hallmark looked interesting but when I had decided to book flights to their plants to look at their campers Overland Explorer started a build threat for a new insulated pop up. They are located in Red Deer AB which is not too far from Canmore where I live. I drove over to their plant, looked at the prototype and ordered the first production unit for my F 150. Because I was the first customer I could still influence the design a little.
A few months later in June 2018 I took delivery of the finished camper when it was back from Flagstaff where it was exhibited. The first impression was very positive. What a difference to my old FWC Hawk. The lower half of my Hawk was uninsulated 3/4 inch plywood stapled together, the upper half was mostly aluminum frame with very little insulation and plenty of thermal bridges. The soft walls where made of sturdy truck tarp. The so called arctic pack was fairly thin softer material which at least prevented us from touching the wet outer soft walls. All windows where single pane. My new camper is entirely made of composit panels with strong aluminum corners and the soft walls consist of two layers of tent material with padding between the layers. The window and the big roof hatch are dual pane. Except for the strong extrusions on the edges of both the roof and the solid walls I could not find thermal bridges. Mark told me that they are still experimenting with different insulation materials to insulate even these small remaining thermal bridges and once they decided on the right material it would be added to my camper. Pretty soon I made a trip through the Rockies in Alberta and BC to test the new unit.
All in all the Camp X passed the test with flying colors. But it became obvious that the details still need some fine tuning. Especially the lifting mechanism for the roof still needs some work. Smaller issues like some wiring problems I could sort out myself. But these small problems were no surprise. Things like that happen when you buy the first unit which is essentially still a prototype. Mark gave me tremendous support to solve these problems.
The concept however is working extremely well. We spend a total of 12 mostly cool nights in the camper and had very mixed weather with 2 cold nights in the mid 30s with lots of rain and some sleet. To test the concept I only opened the small Seitz window a crack and heated the camper to 70 F. After both cold nights with 2 people sleeping in it there was only some condensation on the 2 extrusions I had previously mentioned ( and which will be insulated soon) and on the frame of the rear door. The hard walls, the soft walls and the floor of the alcove under the mattress were completely dry. Not a drop of condensation. The Truma heater had no problem keeping the interior warm (70 F) and there were no cold corners. I don´t know how often it cycled on during the nights because the Truma is extremely quiet. Even when you are awake you really have to pay attention to hear it running. It will not wake you up. With such a well insulated pop up camper there is no reason any more to buy a hard sided camper.
In fall we will travel to the Northwestern Territories. This will be the final test and I will report.
Stefan
 
#2
Thanks for the review! I have a few questions.
Did the lack of windows bother you?
Is there ample storage compared to the FWC?
Has Mark discussed a solution for the lift?
 

sg1

Adventurer
#3
Thanks for the review! I have a few questions.
Did the lack of windows bother you?
Is there ample storage compared to the FWC?
Has Mark discussed a solution for the lift?
The size of the window was my decision. The big window in the Hawk was quite useless for us because it was usually blocked by the backrest of the seat. In addition we could only open a small part of it. Therefore we choose a smaller window which can be opened completely. Light for us comes in through the big sky light. Because the sidewall is frameless you can get any size window you want as long as it fits in the sidewall.
There were 2 issues with the lifting mechanism. First it didn´t align properly when coming down if the truck was not level. Mark drove out all the way to Canmore to tighten the tolerances in the lifting mechanism to fix the problem. Now it comes down properly. The 2nd issue is to find the right balance between the weight of the roof and the lifting power of the struts. Mark has ordered stronger struts and the location of the bungee cords pulling the side walls in will be modified. This is not urgent (I am strong enough to lift the roof now) and it will get fixed when I drive by Red Deer when I go up to the NWT. The long term solution is to make the roof lighter. We discussed some modifications which are likely to be introduced into production to achieve that.
 
#4
Thank you for the update. It’s good to hear a follow up on this. I look forward to hearing more as we gett later into the season and Fall.
It’s quite something to think of not having condensation build up in our climate - yet there is no reason for it to not be with appropriate construction and materials.
 

sg1

Adventurer
#5
You are absolutely right. I am not worried about the parts with composite panels. I have had a hardsided composite camper for 8 years and I know that with a minimum of ventilation you can avoid condensation even in lousy weather. Except for the two extrusions and the frame of the door I mentioned there are no thermal bridges. These extrusions will be taken care of soon with closed cell foam insulation. The only unknown is how the insulated soft walls will perform long-term. The performance during 2 cold and wet nights and 10 cool and dry nights is very encouraging but definitely not a long-term test. I will keep you posted.
 
#6
Thanks for the report and congrats on your new camper. Please post any pics that you have in camp mode. I'm patiently waiting to see the 8ft model and what the floor plan will be like.
 

Runt

Adventurer
#9
Congrats! Very nice camper! Really like it. I think the soft wall will do well. Looks to be a better system then my Phoniex camper.
 
#10
You are absolutely right. I am not worried about the parts with composite panels. I have had a hardsided composite camper for 8 years and I know that with a minimum of ventilation you can avoid condensation even in lousy weather. Except for the two extrusions and the frame of the door I mentioned there are no thermal bridges. These extrusions will be taken care of soon with closed cell foam insulation. The only unknown is how the insulated soft walls will perform long-term. The performance during 2 cold and wet nights and 10 cool and dry nights is very encouraging but definitely not a long-term test. I will keep you posted.
Indeed. Thanks for taking the time to update us now and in the future. It's good to see these made in Canada as well and not being at the mercy of the exchange. I've been looking for a North American option to European style construction for a number of years now and there are few options (basically none) for 1/2 tons that are within this price range. The value on these is extremely good, especially considering the pricing of an FWC and how average the quality of materials and construction are on those.
 

Runt

Adventurer
#13
Will you be travelling through Prince George? I would love to check out your camper! Im interested in the Camp X for my 2017 Tacoma.
 
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