I was sent this photo by one of my customers. Originally I thought it was a crime scene photo assuming the occupants had frozen to death overnight.
Apparently the photo is being used in an ad for Palomino Campers.
It is fair to say that the person organising the ad and/or the dealer involved has spent very little time in the product they sell and virtually no time camping in a pop top camper in the snow.
Perhaps they spent the night in the vehicle with the motor running or left the fridge open to get some warmth into the camper.
No problem for a Northern Lite, but you can't insulate a pop top.
Was it a crime scene?
One of the problems with long term travel in a Truck Camper or any RV is the ability to do washing, with efficient use of power and water.
Those who only ‘camp’ in caravan parks will tell you it is not a problem as they use the laundry at the park. But this is not always a good option for a number of reasons. A lot of people use these facilities and many only ‘camp’ at a caravan park to do their laundry. The last things they wash are items like their fishing clothes and the dog blanket etc. Unfortunately the next load in the washing machine often comes out smelling of odours you would prefer were not present in your delicates!
Of course many people don’t stay in caravan parks, especially in the more remote regions so finding a laundromat or caravan park laundry is not always possible and clothes need to be washed.
Over the years we have tested virtually every laundry option on the market and as a result, we have decided to fit a 5kg twin tub washing machine to our Aussie Base Station. Smaller machines have proven impractical. These type machines allow you to recycle water when practical (eg. rinse and spin water to the next wash cycle) keeping the water usage low and the power requirements are average for this type of machine.
By fitting the machine beside the outside shower we are able to utilise the shower hot and cold outlet for use with the machine. We installed a 240 volt external power outlet which is connected to the 2500 watt inverter. An additional awning was installed so that the new laundry was not in the hot sun and the awning can be utilised as a clothes line when required.
We are now working on making the same washing machine a viable option for our Australian Ultimate campers..
Another great innovation from Redarc and now standard across the entire Northern Lite range in Australia. The Redvision system allows you to control multiple on-board devices, such as lights, inverter, water pumps and other loads such as televisions and fridges on or off. It also provides you with the ability to monitor water levels, temperatures, energy (battery power) consumption and storage, with the battery information available when used with a REDARC 'Manager' battery management system (which has always been standard in Northern Lite Australian Models).
RedVision comes equipped with an In-vehicle mounted display and Bring Your Own Device ‘BYOD’ Smartphone iOS or Android app that features the control and monitoring of many functions in a camper, caravan, or motorhome in one place. These days it is essential to have a fully functional electrical system and it needs to be expertly managed which the RedVision does perfectly.
What you need 12 volt power for:
For starters, the electric jacks or legs on the camper; the fridge, even when switched to gas needs 12 volt power for the operating system; the hot water heater, same as the fridge for operation; the lights, inside and out; the water pump; the inverter for 240 volt power; the Fantastic fan, rangehood fan and bathroom fan; the furnace fan and operating system; the water level monitors; the rear electric awning; the TV and the TV antenna signal booster; the radio/stereo unit; the USB ports; the automatic TV satellite dish; +?
Of course you can just take pot luck the house battery won’t go flat and flatten the vehicle battery in the process, or trust it all on the little green light that comes on your solar regulator that says the battery is fully charged. With the Redarc RedVision and Battery Management System, you are in control.
Much discussion has taken place over the need or desire to have an outside kitchen in our top line campers. Indeed indoor cooking on hot days is not a good thing, even with a range hood and an air conditioner running. Customers have made the point that most camper trailers have a slide out kitchen although that is their only kitchen and we already have a full kitchen in our campers.
We have researched the idea on numerous occasions. We have looked at kitchens that slide out, fold out, swing out and pull out in various configurations and sizes. There are several problems to overcome. Firstly, if you are leaving your camper on the truck, then the slide out kitchen will be too high or too low when the camper is unloaded although we investigated ways around this problem.
Secondly, where would you have the kitchen located. Under the awning would probably be best but the heat generated could be a problem for vinyl awnings and you would be using much of the available shade space. Also it would not be practical with the annex fitted. The other side of the camper is a possibility but without a second side awning, it would not be sheltered.
Under the rear awning is an option, but it could not be attached to the camper in this location and would have to be a stand alone unit. A stand alone unit makes more sense as it can be deployed anywhere you choose. So if you have a stand alone outdoor kitchen, why make a bulky unit with that includes everything like a sink three burner cooktop and BBQ etc which is heavy and hard cart and set up and stabilise?
The best option, in our humble opinion, is a standard makeshift outside kitchen. A decent sixed folding table, a portable gas cooktop and an optional 2 burner gas BBQ. You can locate it wherever you want, you can take it with you if you are heading off somewhere remote without the camper and it is lightweight and cheaper to buy and replace the components when required.
Our unit: a blow moulded folding trestle table with a 2 burner Coleman Fyreknight portable cooker. These units have wind shielding around the actual burners so you get more heat for the gas you bought. The two burners are far enough apart to be able to use two frying pans at the same time. You can also buy the full sized griddle that is designed for this unit meaning you may not need to carry a separate BBQ unit at all.
Having had manual TV satellites in the past we quickly decided that the automatic satellite finding system was the way to go. No assembling and setting up, No azimuths and elevations etc. Just push a button and turn the telly on.
We did a fair bit of research on the various satellite systems available and Outback TV was our choice. You only have to visit their website : http://www.outbacktv.com.au/OUTBACK%20TV%20RV85A%20Features.htm and see what they offer, look at the features and compare to the other brands to see why. We have developed a ‘ground mount’ option for those who do not wish to have the units mounted on the roof. If you do have it roof mounted, it is comforting to know that the unit shuts down and folds up when the vehicle ignition is turned on!
While emptying black water tanks is relatively easy, finding a ‘dump point’ is not always easy. Finding a dump point when your black tank is full is near impossible. Worse still, when you have set up camp with all the awnings out et, it is most inconvenient to have to pack everything up just to go and empty the toilet.
In the past we have always tried to have cassette toilets fitted to our campers. Cassette toilets can be easily emptied, either at a dump point or virtually any toilet system. Note you have to use the approved toilet chemicals, like Thetford Green or Biomagic, to ensure you do not damage septic or compost toilets but the ability to easily empty these toilets is great.
In these larger sized campers they have been unable to fit cassette toilets. To overcome this problem we have included a Thetford Tote Tank which stores directly under the black water outlet on the new Aussie Base Station model. While the cassette toilet have a capacity of only 17 litres, these tote tanks have a capacity of 65 litres, meaning you have to empty it less often. Of course it is heavier so it comes with its own wheels and handle, a bit like modern suitcases. Easy to empty, even into toilet systems.
The best of both worlds - the storage of a black water tank system and the convenience of a cassette toilet combined.
Northern Lite have released a new model, The Limited Edition, in Canada and the USA. This new model is available in Australia along with our already extensive list of standard features. Again Truck Camper Magazine have reviewed the new model and you can read their review here.
Truck Camper Magazine in the USA is an online publication that specialises in all matters pertaining to Truck Campers or Slide on Campers as they are known in Australia.
Their article on How to Tow with a Truck Camper is a must read for both current and future Slide on Camper owners.