Truck Camper Adventure Rally report, p. 2


West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
The campers covered a wide swath of camperdum: these were the dirty dozen plus two lined up for the run on the Bradshaw Trail: the first one is Tim's Northstar 650 on a lifted, bullet-proof 2007 Duramax:
Pres's long 2001 F-350 with utility bed and 9 foot Alaskan. The Classic. The inside is like being on a ship with all the tongue and groove wood siding.
Arctic Fox on a F-350 SRW. Nice package.
Below are the 4 Northstars that came on the trail run: 3-Laredo SC's and a 650. 2001, 2007, and 2015 RAMs, plus Tim's 2007 Chevy.
jefe's is on the right:
Airing down for the trail run in a light rain:
The 13-headed white snake on the move over the Bradshaw:
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West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
In September. We drove to the factory in IA to pick up our customized Northstar. It is a quantum leap over our 1998 Lance Lite 165-s which was built the same year as yours. Rex @ Nstar even said Lance made a very good product during that era, so keep fixing your up; it's worth it. The NS Laredo SC has no AC; no oven; no microwave; no TV; no awnings; no rear door window; but a 41 gallon water tank; Sub-Zero insulation; double pane Euro View windows; a compressor 12v fridge that works even if you are not level; Lagun rotating table giving an abundant ammount of floor space when you need it; no black tank but a cassette toilet that works a lot better while boondocking; plugs for your phone or computer; a lots of little extras like an amazing amount of interior LED lighting including inside otherwise dark cabinets, and the most cherished thing we wanted: maximum storage. In the absence of all the extras are cabinets, drawers, and cubbies. Our new rig is around 600 pounds heavier than our old Lance, with 2 propane tanks and 2 batteries, which means we are slower on the hills. The fit and finish are THE best I've ever seen.
The caulking is perfect. Below is one of our campsites near Tonopah NV on the way home from the Rally. After the cold front passed, the low temp overnight was 15 degrees F. We were cozy and warm even with a non winterized camper. You can see the two-160w solar panels on the roof which run the fridge, pumps, and lights.

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Fantastic! That's good to hear that you are so happy with it. We have been thinking of downsizing lately into something with less rear overhang. I've got 3 feet of camper hanging off the bed of my truck and that ruins any sort of workable departure angle. I've even considered just buying a small Skamper or Lance 815 for off-road adventures and keeping the Lance 990 for long distance highway trips with the wife. We do love our 40/22/26 F/G/B tanks, though! I've explored the thought of getting a Bigfoot 25C9.4LB camper, too, with it's 38/32/22 F/G/B tanks. The problem with the Lance 815 is it's holding tanks (or lack of them) but I do like the lack of any overhang. I've been slowly conditioning the DW to use a different toilet system other than a black tank and so far, so good. She is slowly coming around to a portable toilet or a cassette toilet as an option. She used a bucket with a toilet seat the other day and I was very proud of her!

The benefits of the Northstar are very easy to see and I have actually walked inside one of their popups at the Louisville Boat and RV show. It was nice to have have that much headroom. I agree that storage is nice but we are currently paring back the amount of stuff we carry. We have switched to Harmony House foods as one of our main food sources when camping and we have been cooking outside more and not using the 3-burner stove and oven as much. We are trying to go
"ultralight" for truck camping and only take essential items. Reducing our hauling weight is good but the overhang cannot be left behind. Hearing your experiences with the Northstar is really helpful. What does Northstar use for sub-zero insulation? Is it just MORE insulation? We do a lot of winter camping and this is important to us. Our 990 does great but lately we have been just sleeping in the bed of the truck with the truck topper on rather than de-winterize/winterize the 990. I have installed 12V tank heaters on all holding tanks in the 990 so that keeps the liquids in liquid form but it demands over 15A from the truck alternator. I recently installed the Renogy 40A DC-DC battery charger inline between the truck and the camper batteries and that has really helped speed up charging the batteries back to 100%. The 400W of solar on our roof doesn't help much during the winter months here in KY. We camped at Elkmont campground in the Smoky Mountains (no hookups) for 10 days and the 4 hour drive back to Louisville did not re-charge the batteries very much (hence the reason for installing the DC-DC charger). It works phenomenally well!

As for heat, do you use any secondary heat source? We just purchased a Wave 3 catalytic heater and I installed the gas plumbing for it in the camper. It does help quite a bit and is completely silent in operation. The furnace is just too noisy and uses too much battery.

Your truck and camper look awesome!


West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
Red, my old Lance 165-s was 1842 pounds wet with manual jacks; and the Nstar is specifically listed as 23XX pounds wet with electric jacks. The difference could be the tank size: Lance 18 gallons water. Nstar 41 gallons water, and the added insulation/windows/batteries/propane tanks/solar panels on the Nstar. It looks like about 500 pounds heavier with the Nstar but I don't know whether the jack weight was included in the individual weight estimate. I do know that the rig felt lighter and sleeker with less sway when the 150 pounds of jacks were removed. The 'T' post below keeps autos from parking on our green septic tank hatch.thumb_DSCN2287_1024.jpg
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