WildSnow Mobile Headqarters — Eagle Cap 711 Pickup Camper


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

We’ve got Wildsnow HQ here in Carbondale. We’ve got WildSnow HQ in Austria. Now, WildSnow mobile HQ will fill in the gaps!

Eagle Cap camper on 2009 Silverado, 8-foot bed.

Eagle Cap camper on 2009 Silverado, 8-foot bed.

We decided a few weeks ago to do the adventure drive to Alaska and back for our Wildsnow Denali expedition. That’ll make for some great backcountry skiing travel blogging, with perhaps a few ski descents along the way. Problem was, my older 2002 Silverado was getting rather long of the tooth. Plan was to upgrade next summer, so in view of the big AK trip I went ahead and pushed the upgrade up a few months. Replacement is a 2009 Silverado 2500 Duramax (more on that later, when ALL the mods are done).

We’d also been planning for a while to acquire some sort of RV for backcountry skiing and other adventures, either a sport van, smaller motor home, or slide-in pickup camper. Every RV has it’s pluses and minuses for backcountry trailhead use. Perhaps most importantly, most don’t come in 4-wheel-drive without expensive conversions. Even so, I briefly considered a 4×4 Sportsmobile conversion van. But the cost of a dedicated RV combined with eventually upgrading my truck anyway (I always need a truck) was too much, as was the budget burden of owning yet another vehicle requiring insurance, yearly registration, upkeep, and more.

So, as is the solution for bubbas worldwide, our chosen RV option is the big white box that slides into the bed of the ubiquitous pickup truck.

Since we tow our jeep or snowmobile trailer, I wanted a camper that rested flush with the end of a full-length 8-foot bed (which is what we bought the truck with). That way we wouldn’t have to contend with the camper overhanging the rear of the truck, necessitating using a “stinger” hitch extension and other stuff that would just add ever more details and junk to my life.

Though they exist, campers that exactly fit an 8-foot bed are not that common at dealerships. Yet as fortune would have it, one 8 foot long unit was sitting on a lot down in Grand Junction, and it was nearly exactly what we wanted. Check it out:

At 1,760 lbs estimated wet weight for the Eagle Cap 711,our Silverado 2500 longbed supports the camper with almost no sag, and nearly zilch excess sway while driving. I’ll still upgrade to adjustable shocks, but that’s optional. By the way, a good exposition of the Eagle Cap is here.

Camper for backcountry skiing.

Another view of the rig, I like the way it fits tightly to the truck instead of having that bloated highway RV type look.

Camper

BUT first, nothing at WildSnow shall remain unmodified! Turned out the 2009 bed had an extra structural bulge near the rear that wouldn't let the camper fit without shimming it up with a sheet of plywood in the bed. Yet another thing to store and mess around with while dealing with the camper was not what I had in mind. I mean, where am I supposed to store a 4x8 sheet of 3/4 plywood? And who wants to carry that around every time the camper gets loaded or unloaded? So out came the welder and grinder for some hacking on the new truck.

Pickup bed mod for Eagle Cap 711

Mod nearly complete.

Bed mod complete.

Camper installed, arrow indicates are where more clearance was required. I have to admit at a bit of amazement that Chevrolet would change their pickup bed to be incompatible with numerous campers -- or that the dealership didn't know about this issue before they sold us the camper and tried to install it. Oh well, bubba with a welder, no problem. And the planned spray-in bed liner will make it all look 'factory' again.

Interior.

Interior is basic, with real wood cabinetry that's for the most part of reasonable quality. Because this is only an 8-foot long camper and not super wide, the interior is a bit cramped but fine for two people. It'll work for three or four during our AK trip, but I wouldn't want to make a habit of that.

Eagle Cap interior for backcountry skiing.

I'm not all that impressed by the removable table. It's a bit large for the space, and wriggles all over the place during use due to its cheesy attachment system. The thing could be better designed. For two people, I'll probably make a smaller table and figure out a way to hold it more stable. The bench seats do convert to a short bed with an extra fold-up, I removed this since we'll not be using it and it took up space.

Eagle Cap camper for ski mountaineering.

While the Eagle Cap hull appears to be reasonable quality (other than a small defect I'll write about once we get it resolved), I'm less than impressed by the interior finish work. For example, this photo shows the end of some metal counter edging that's just sticking out in space ready to cut someone's hand. More, a poorly mounted partition intended to close off the battery area simply fell off as soon as we drove away. A neighbor told me that most campers don't have the interior quality you'd expect, so perhaps this stuff is typical. But after spending the bucks, you don't expect to be doing interior finish repairs on day one -- even if you do have a fully equipped shop.

Interior

Looking at interior from rear door.

Eagle Cap camper for backcountry skiing.

The cab-over bed area is huge, as it's optimized to fit over the full crew-cab 4-door pickup. In this photo, we've got the queen sized mattress oriented from front to back and it comes exactly to the edge of the kitchen/living space, with tons of room on either side for baggage.

Eagle Cap camper and sat radio antenna.

Lastly, another mod! The Silverado comes with a few months trial for XM satellite radio. While sat radio reminds me somewhat of that old Boss song '57 channels and nothing on,' it does provide some listening that's worthwhile, and is addictive when you get used to not constantly hunting for a working channel while driving in the backcountry. Problem is, the cab-over camper covers the antenna as indicated in the photo above, pretty much blocking the radio from functioning. Solution was to buy a sat radio antenna for the camper and wire it into the sat radio behind the truck dash. Pain in the rear, but now XM works great. Question is, will the 1-year trial of Onstar work correctly with the camper blocking the signal? More testing required. I'm really digging the Onstar hands-free dialing, though my understanding is it's based on cell service so thus not as useful as it could be if satellite based.

There you go, a first look at the new cab-over Eagle Cap. One we get it set up and finish the initial mods, I’ll file another post. Till then, on the powder road we go!

Camper for backcountry skiing.

This could have been our choice, but it was kinda small. 1947 Teardrip kit camper-trailer is on display down at Centennial RV in Grand Junction, Colorado. If you want to see how Warren Miller lived when he got his start, stop by and check it out.

Update: I’ve blogged elsewhere about the series of problems we’ve had with this Eagle Cap camper. Here is a list in case you land on this blog post.

- Shore power cord box detached from camper wall.
- Partition under refrigerator was loose.
- Converter box (charge controller etc.) turned out to be a defective cheapo that failed during our dream Alaska trip.
- Bathroom vent pipe was not sealed at roof opening, so the holding tank odor was being recirculated back into the camper. Took over a year to figure this one out, what a relief.
- Front bulkhead appears to be weak, outer skin warps and ripples depending on if the camper is supported by the truck bed or on storage jacks.
- Heater fan is incredibly noisy, obviously a poorly designed, low quality unit.
- No roof ladder and no wall reinforcement for installation of ladder.
- Exterior skin cracked next to door, hidden under decorative decal.
- Refrigerator door panel fell out.
- Head liner appears to be gradually detaching from the ceiling.
- Overall fit, finish and interior trim is poorly executed.

A few of the above problems we’re fixed during a painfully delayed (by the dealership) warranty repair process. But most were discovered after warranty expired or else fixed by us due to our lack of faith in the dealership and the problem of them being some distance from our home. We did notice some of the cosmetic problems but the size of the camper was exactly what we wanted, so we figured we’d deal with them once we were owners. We did not anticipate the deeper quality issues. At this point, with most things fixed the unit is functional, though the apparent weakness of the front bulkhead is a concern and something we’re not certain is reparable without major surgery.

Comments

41 Responses to “WildSnow Mobile Headqarters — Eagle Cap 711 Pickup Camper”

  1. Cory November 19th, 2009 10:56 am

    Just curious- Why the hard top as opposed to a pop-top? I’m assuming it’s so that folks can ride in comfort while making the trek north. The benefit of the pop top is it can get marginally better gas mileage. So it goes.
    Another consideration….when and if you look into camper jacks, get the ones that are structural (can hold both the camper and people inside). It’s nice for Moab trips cuz you can leave the camper in camp and folks can hang out there while you use the truck for rodding to trailhead and/or town. Just a thought.

  2. Lou November 19th, 2009 11:04 am

    Hi Cory,
    We looked at pop tops and they were tempting, but I didn’t like the idea of yet another mechanical system, as well as considerations with warmth, wind noise in camp, and that sort of thing. Nonetheless, they’re nice and worth looking at, and who knows, we might end up with one someday.

    In terms of gas mileage, my research indicated that pop-ups do help, but don’t make a huge difference unless you’re driving big miles at fast highway speeds. We might do some of that, but most of our trips are just a few hundred miles, and I don’t like driving fast in a big truck with a camper and/or trailer. Moab, stuff like that.

    Good point about the jacks. I hadn’t thought of that. We’ve got good ones, but I don’t know how structural they are. It definitely sways easily when up on the jacks. If people were inside it would need to be stabilized somehow.

    As for people riding in the camper while on the road, that’s super dangerous as the camper will self destruct in anything but the smallest accident. Nonetheless, we’ll do it if we need to, but that wasn’t the reason we got the hardsider.

  3. froggy November 19th, 2009 12:42 pm

    thanks very much for this first review. we’re in the process of looking into acquiring one these boxes and this is quite helpful. Besides the AC, did you get any other options?

  4. Cory November 19th, 2009 12:51 pm

    I hate to keep asking questions as I know you’re busy gearing up, but did you do much research into the insulation of this (and other campers)? I understand it can be a huge difference.

  5. Bill November 19th, 2009 1:09 pm

    Can you recommend any other jobs that enable one to buy cool stuff, have fun modifying it, have more fun using it, and then writing it all off? Just a little jealous.

  6. Pat Wright November 19th, 2009 1:28 pm

    That tie-down through the rear bumper is not so great unless you have an reinforcement built on the backside to prevent flex and twist. The bumper flexes and the camper can skoot around. I have a set up similar and use mine for weeks in the winter. As you shall soon find out campers are a bit..interesting to keep running in cold weather. I’ll look for you guys out there.

  7. Lou November 19th, 2009 1:41 pm

    Hi Cory, no worries about the questions. That’s my job! I did look at the insulation issue and Eagle Cap is not particularly well insulated, though it is wood framed with foam panels, so it’s not like a plywood box or an older camper with moldy fiberglass in the walls.

    Big thing we need and didn’t get are the double glazed windows. Condensation on the windows is more an issue than anything, as a camper this small is super easy to heat.

    Pat, I noticed the bumper flex, am planning on adding a nice beefy aftermarket type rear bumper. That should take care of it. But pretty bogus for starters.

    My approach with cold weather is to just fill the water tank with RV antifreeze solution good for about 10 below zero, use the toilet occasionally, and not use the sink faucet. If it gets colder than 10 below here, I’ll stick a electric heater in the thing for the night.

    Would like to rig up the fresh water system so it would work in the winter, but doing so involves tank heaters and stuff like that. Not up for it at the moment, but I’m sure it’ll be fun to install eventually.

    Bill, yep, life is good.

  8. Matt November 19th, 2009 1:42 pm

    That first camper looks like something they quarantined the Apollo astronauts in.

  9. Lou November 19th, 2009 1:44 pm

    So that’s why there is a space suit in the closet?

  10. Nathan November 19th, 2009 1:58 pm

    What are you going to do about those bald highway tires? Looks like you need some meats to get you to AK.

  11. Lou November 19th, 2009 2:04 pm

    For this winter I’ve got those nice retread snow tires that were on the other Silverado last winter. Don’t know about next spring. The street tires are probably ok but I’ll evaluate and get better tires if necessary.

  12. justin November 19th, 2009 2:34 pm

    Nice camper! I’ve decided I’m going to sell my Westy and get a diesel Sportsmobile once we go live and sell Mobspot. It’ll be my ‘grow a ponytail/midlife crisis’ vehicle, but probably not quite as attractive to the younger wimmenz as a convertible.

  13. Lou November 19th, 2009 2:49 pm

    Justin, just please don’t grow the tail if you’re bald in front. Skulletts are as bad a mullets, maybe worse.

  14. mark November 19th, 2009 2:50 pm

    Hey Lou!
    Nice ride. We’ve had a Lance on our F250 for about 4 yrs now and find it to be the perfect rig for 2 people. Few thoughts for you……. 1. You might want to get a rubber bed mat, keeps the noise down and seems to “hold” the camper in place. 2. Torklft tie downs are the bomb, they let you mount the camper directly to the trucks frame. Very solid feel. Check it out http://www.torklift.com/p.php?w_page=tie_downs 3. I put neoprene insulation all water lines and added solid foam where ever I could. If out of rig during the day and at night I turn pump off and open taps…..seems to work for us. Dont forget to put together a waterline repair kit (misc. fittings etc…)
    have fun,mark

  15. Lou November 19th, 2009 2:56 pm

    Hey Mark, thanks for the tips! My neighbor told me about the bed mat as well. Wish I could get one in before we leave on trip Saturday. We shall see.

  16. Randonnee November 19th, 2009 3:29 pm

    Very nice, brings back memories for me in dad’s pickup camper. Good family fun. Dad had a 1966 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup with the long camper and the extended bumper. Taking care of his RVs became dad’s hobby, so I have not been interested in taking on something else to maintain even though it is appealing. I also live in a place where folks drive to in their RVs, so I just recreate and then go home. But cool, it should be fun for you all.

  17. justin November 19th, 2009 6:03 pm

    LOL – agree Lou, and I’d say worse. A mullet you can kind of explain as a cultural difference, but the skullet…no.

    Fortunately I’ve got a full head of hair *knocks on wood*

  18. Lou November 19th, 2009 6:26 pm

    A skullet merely shows that pride has overcome any sense of attractive male grooming. Or else the guy is just too lazy to get a haircut.

  19. Mark H November 19th, 2009 7:02 pm

    I have a similar idea to get a camper going to support 1) family trips with two little kids, and 2) skiing/climbing trips with the fellas. I’ve been leaning towards the truck camper but it’s equally likely I will go for an older small Class C RV. In California, I can probably make do with chains to access snowy but well-paved Snoparks. And be selective about weather forecasts…

    But I am very interested in an tricks or mods to make a little camper or RV serviceable in winter conditions. I’ll be watching your posts, Lou.

    Sorry to hijack the mullet thread…

  20. Walt November 19th, 2009 10:43 pm

    Nice camper, Lou. I was wondering if you could answer a Dynafit question?
    I bought my Dynafit FT 10’s just before the Dynafit FT 12?s came out. I really wish I had the 12’s because I am a big guy and usually ski right around 10 or 11 DIN. Anyway, there looks to but very little difference between the two models. So, I was wondering if you know if it is possible to convert the FT 10’s to FT 12’s by changing the springs and whatever else that needs to be done? Will Dynafit sell the parts?

  21. gtrantow November 19th, 2009 11:01 pm

    Very nice TAV. Check out the travel trailer link http://www.casitaforum.com/ for great ideas on modifications, heating, lighting, solar panels, generators, etc. The conversion to LED lights saves batteries if boondocking for multiple days.
    The 17′ Casita travel trailer works great for camping, hunting, fishing and is designed to go off-road. The downside is you cannot haul another trailer.

  22. EMCWIZ November 20th, 2009 6:53 am

    Lou,

    Yes, the metal structure placed behind and above the roof mounted cellular and GPS antenna will be affected, not in a positive way. Cellular may work some of the time; connections will be ok, but not reliable, the cell towers on the ground and love horizon views, which it has, but not in the back and the metal atop the antenna will change the pattern.

    GPS will not work at all, the antenna will not see enough satellites, they are floating, for the most part, above the horizon and will be blocked by the camper. This is risky because the OnStar ‘Emergency’ function will be critically hobbled.
    OnStar will not be able to locate you in case of emergency, if you and your passengers cannot communicate, OnStar will know where you are.

    You mentioned that you installed an XM antenna atop the camper and connected it to the XM radio in the dash. You may consider a similar (temporary) solution for the OnStar system. A trip the dealership (or bone yard) will get you another roof mounted combination antenna; same as you have on the roof of your truck now, attach this to the camper roof. The coax cables (there should be two, one for GPS and one for cell) will be too short, you will need to fabricate two coax cables to extend from the OnStar module to the camper roof mounted antenna; the local radio shop or a ‘ham’ radio buddy can help you with the coax and terminations.

    The performance of both GPS and cell will be affected, not in a positive way, for many reasons by this modification also, but it should be better than leaving the cab roof mounted antenna covered by the camper.

    Another option is to find a magnetic mounted GPS [5V phantom fed, 5V provided by OnStar module to power the GPS low noise amplifier within the roof GPS antenna] (with long coax and proper termination) and magnetic mounted cellular antenna (with long and proper termination) and pop them atop the camper. This is not as reliable as a permanent installation on the roof due to risk of them popping off if there is a roll-over accident.

    Also, if you choose to install something other than the production roof mount OnStar antenna, you will see the OnStar tell tale turn Red (instead of Green), due to the production roof mount antenna no longer being connected. The OnStar system should work ok, but there will be a diagnostic code set in the OnStar module, indicating the antenna circuit is ‘open’. The telltale should return to Green status after the production antenna is connected again.

    Whatever you choose do, nothing or a modification, please test the OnStar system a few times around town by pressing the ‘OnStar’ button and asking the OnStar operator for your location. If you get connected, the cell is ok (for that moment), if the OnStar operator has an accurate location, then the GPS is also ok (for that moment). Please do not hesitate to push that ‘OnStar’ button several times.

    Good Luck!

  23. Lou November 20th, 2009 7:23 am

    I theory you could convert, but the parts are not available and I’m not 100% certain it would work.

  24. Lou November 20th, 2009 7:26 am

    Dang, so much for the mullet thread!

    Only trick I know of so far is to forget using the sink faucet and fill the holding tank with a dilute antifreeze solution that’s flushed sparingly for toilet use, because even the cheap RV antifreeze at Wally World is still expensive. Other than that, I just can’t see risking a freeze that could wreck hard to access plumbing parts. Having lived for years in houses with plumbing prone to freezing, I might be paranoid. But hey, do I have time to be an RV plumber? Heck yeah, career number 1,782 in the making!

  25. Lou November 20th, 2009 7:36 am

    Grant, yeah, tandem trailer hauling of any sort is a pretty major safety compromise unless everything is set up perfectly. That’s why I didn’t even think about it. Would love to own a stand-alone RV someday if it was a 4×4, but like I said, the budget works much better by owning one truck of the sort I would have bought anyway, and a camper that’s 1/4 the cost of an RV, and doesn’t require yearly registration tax etc. Though I’m already seeing that a camper is like a boat, a hole in the water you throw money into?

  26. Lou November 20th, 2009 8:46 am

    EMCWIZ, thanks for the info. Not sure I’ll bother tweaking the Onstar as I won’t pay up after the year trial is over. Not that I don’t like it, but I’m not that impressed with what it provides.

    On the other hand, I can’t get a good answer anywhere about what Onstar will do when there is NO cell phone connection available. In other words, does it use any sattellite connection other than GPS? If so, then perhaps it could still be useful.

    But we do so much driving where there is no cell service, if cell is required for Onstar to work correctly I just don’t see the point of paying for something that doesn’t work.

    I’d rather spend the money on a sat phone subscription.

  27. emcwiz November 21st, 2009 7:56 am

    Lou,

    Without cellular connection OnStar provides no value, there is no GPS cell, good luck and be careful.

  28. Lou November 21st, 2009 8:44 am

    Too bad about Onstar, but nice to get clear on what they can’t do so I don’t throw my money away. Sat phone is the solution.

  29. Erik Kratzer November 21st, 2009 10:20 am

    Greetings,

    in the image with the view back to front , w/ the king sized bed on top :

    What is that sliding window on floor level?
    – Is it an access route to the cab of your truck? – Sure would be a handy dandy thing to be able to crawl back into the cabin withought the need to circumnavigate through a stormy night to the back door.

    How do you go about the loading and unloading of the cabover cabin?

    About all the work needed to finish a new camper ….
    Seems like boats often suffer from a similar crutch .
    Pretty and sleek on the outside – while creative challenges abound inside.

    A sleep on board cruiser i once sailed had all electrical wireing laminated between layers of glassfiber in the hull, with under sized gauge and very little fuses .

    I’m continueing the process of finishing my ski-mobile van (for 2) .
    1 very effective improvement is to install some inside insulating covers to all windows. The ones made from various layers of thin foam,alum. foil….
    They will also darken the windows nicly to prevent curious eyes.
    Venting is in add. to heating a very worthwhile investment.

    All the best -
    may snow always be found in sufficient quantities beneath your skis.

    Cheers,
    Erik
    :tongue:

  30. KDog November 21st, 2009 11:08 pm

    Lou,

    We had the same decision to make and although the dream is a 4X4 Sprinter Diesel, we settled for a crew cab Tundra 4X4 with a Four Wheel Campers pop up on it. We really needed the four wheel drive for snow trips and although the camper is snug, it works for my wife and I and our old shepherd.

    The problems are, the propane heater’s blower is obnoxious when trying to sleep, there’s no where to put skis with the dog in the camper, and down booties are mandatory when sitting at night due to the cold air “well” at floor level.

    The heater can be replaced by these slick propane radiant heaters that don’t use electricity (saves your battery), and I plan on doing that.

    I have already made Reflectix window covers like Erik mentioned and they help a lot. For water, we just use a Coleman water container with spigot right into our sink with the exterior drain hose hooked up. It’s hard to find places to fill your onboard tank in the winter anyway, most outdoor faucets are turned off.

    The fridge is propane and we seldom run it in winter as it will freeze everything. We are usually trying to keep the stuff in the fridge warmer than cooler. Get a thermo and you can play the “keep the beer just right” game like I do.

    For skis, I’m thinking of mounting a exterior box (I’ll make from plywood and seal well) with a locking lid mounted along the length of the camper. I haven’t come up with another solution. For long trips, we pull a small enclosed cargo trailer with everything in it. (we sold our sled awhile ago)

    All in all it seems to work pretty well. We camped at Roger’s Pass last winter in sub zero temps and were fine in three season sleeping bags. The heater ran constantly though.

    Keeping the snow outside is a challenge and so is wet ski clothes. We think of it as glorified winter tenting. Hot soup for lunch is awesome though!

    You probably already know that most ski areas let you camp somewhere in their parking lots. Some have amenities. Fernie has hook ups and a shower house. LUXURY!

    Have fun.

    Kevin

    Kevin

  31. Lou November 22nd, 2009 9:31 am

    Hey Kevin, I’m sitting here listening to that blower heater right now as I write this. I’m sitting in the Eagle Cap looking out the window at the Colorado River and red cliffs near Moab Utah, hooked up to the Wilson cell phone amplifier I installed yesterday before starting our Thanksgiving road trip. Funny, I already decided to fix that heater with a silent one! Also realizing that the small cargo trailer is probably the way to go. Don’t know about the skis… as of now they’ll probably just end up on the floor and placed outside while were using the camper.

  32. KDog November 22nd, 2009 9:55 pm

    Hey Lou,

    What is that cell phone amp? I have an Autonet Mobile router in my camper for internet. It works on 3G cell systems, but since you subscribe to Autonet and they by bandwidth from the networks, you aren’t locked into your cell providers coverage area. A signal booster would be helpful if it could interface with the router.

    One problem is that we live in Canada in the winter (or not a problem) and Autonet cancelled it’s contracts with the cell providers up here.

    The heater I’m looking at is the Olympian Wave Catalytic, ventless I think and no electric needed. I’m told they take longer to get up to temp, but our camper is so small it shouldn’t be a problem. There are different sizes and easy to install.

    I am also thinking of putting a weatherproof cargo box on the front of the trailer and put a battery and propane tank inside. Then I’ll run a line inside, hook up a Mr. Buddy heater and lights and have a gear drying room in there. I already have the roof vent with Max Air cover on it, so no snow inside the trailer when it’s open. Now, I wonder if I can fit a ski tuning bench in there? :biggrin:

    Cheers,

    Kevin

  33. Erik Kratzer November 23rd, 2009 2:42 am

    Hello Lou,

    here are 2 a stove/heater options that i am considering for my Van .

    They runs on lamp oil or diesel , dont use any electricity and some have a stove plate for cooking aswell.

    They do need a chimey through the roof – shouldn’t be a problem as you can buy or build one. They are 2 walled stainles chimeys with rock wool insulation .

    Here are some links , they are sold in some sailing outfitters, but can be ordered online . Can’t go wrong with the rustical style , at least in my opinion.

    http://www.refleks-olieovne.dk/default.asp?pagenumber=1563

    http://www.taylorsheatersandcookers.co.uk/pch1.html

    Oh and here’s a link to a very usefull sailing forum , that i have been “living in ”
    last year …. great knowledge base that suits the needs of land based mobile living aswell.

    http://www.sailnet.com/forums/

    My current heater , that i use for heating /drying only when i am awake though,

    is The Origo Heat Pal , that runs on denatured alkohol.
    1 liter is enough for about 8 hours . It gives off enough heat for my vans
    5 cubic meters of air space to warm up to very toasty warmth in the deep of winter.
    It does however give off a bit of a stink – so windows / vents must be cracked open, and i’d rather not have it running , even for a little while when i’m not present or sleeping .
    What i don’t know for sure though is if the burning alcohol itself gives off
    moisture , or if moisture is evaporating off of the cars upholstry and gear .

    Sounds really beautifull – to camp out next to the colorado river ….
    Can you catch some fish – is it sufficiently stocked?

    All the best,
    Erik

  34. Mary Lou November 23rd, 2009 9:51 am

    Here are custom-done Silver Tear Campers. Talk about luxe!! I would love one for fly-fishiing trips!

    http://silvertearscampers.com/

  35. J and S December 21st, 2009 10:41 pm

    :unsure: Hi Guys. Good to know so many people have positive things to say about these. We’ve had the travel trailer and the motor home but they never quite worked out for us. Now its either a huge toy hauler or a cab over…the hubbys jeep either gets a comfy ride or the tow behind treatment. Now I have a silly question, what kind of papers do these things have? I went to an RV lot and the lady said there are just bill of sales, if even that. There are no annual registration fees per this dealer . I’m in California, but I’m sure if they have titles that would be the same everywhere. The reason I’m asking is because no one seems to have “papers” of any kind. Is this normal. All our toys are papered every year dollar after dollar goes to the state for something I’ve paid for a while ago :-) but thats what toys do. As for the cold or warm… my thoughts are more blankets in the winter or the closest lake in the summer, but I like that you guys are all sharing those thoughts too. If anyone has tips I would appreciate it. I just don’t want to find that private party to good to be true deal and find out later its a friend of a friend of a friend… It’s to much of an investement.
    Thanks

  36. Lou December 22nd, 2009 8:49 am

    No papers here in Colorado, other than a bill of sale from the dealer. BTW, be careful with Eagle Cap, their quality control is pretty bad. Our camper is already back at the dealer for warranty work, and we were planning on using it! It’s been there more than 10 days, and getting it to and from costs us $50 in fuel every time. We are not happy campers at the moment.

    Will update this blog once we know the outcome.

  37. Neilie January 13th, 2012 9:25 am

    Hi Lou,

    My fiance and I are going to look at a used six pac camper mounted on a 1998 chevy silverado 1500 4×4. looks like a sweet rig, and just what we are looking for for skiing and summer trips. It doesn’t have a bathroom, so we’ll use a chemical toilet or something (we are rafters so we are used to a groover system?). Thanks for the posts, keep them comming as I would love to know how you are fairing with your system, especially in winter.

    Happy New Year!!

  38. Lou January 13th, 2012 10:49 am

    Hi Nellie, we don’t use it much in winter, though we could. We just don’t have much need for camper type travel in winter.

    We have used it in winter conditions. First problem is without double glazed windows we get an immense amount of condensation on the glass, and I suspect elsewhere in the rig as well. To me, the first step for winter use would be to convert to all double-glazed windows, as well as going through the interior hidden spaces with silicon caulk to try and block interior air from migrating into the wall cavities and damaging the structure with rot, or causing mildew.

    And yes, the plumbing is totally not freeze proof so it has to be left winterized during winter use of the camper, thus meaning we have no water system and no chem toilet.

    The heater works, but is super noisy. Another thing I’d do for winter upgrades would be to figure out a silent heater for the night times. I’d also install in extra CO detector…

    I think a bigger camper would be better as well, for winter use, since you can’t use the outdoors for living space as easily.

    Main lesson specific to our camper is whatever you do, don’t buy an Eagle Cap! Amazing how many problems we had, for something as new and expensive. It was like it was built by meth heads who ran out of meth. I detail more of the problems somewhere else here, but frankly don’t have time at the moment to dredge that stuff up. I’ve fixed most of everything now, but doing so took quite a bit of time and some money.

    Lou

  39. Shannon March 6th, 2013 11:59 am

    Hi! I notice that your blog started in 2008. I am headed to Alaska at the end of April with my 1995 Dodge Diesel 2500 (2WD) and 1976 cab-over camper. I have been searching the web for some tips and tricks and found you.
    I have some questions:
    What was your destination and what kind of mileage did you get?
    Were snowy roads manageable with good tires or do you recommend studs?
    Are there any great RV park/ski touring destination combos on the road from Seattle to Juneau?
    How did you secure your gear/skis? Inside or outside?
    I have the book, “Exploring the Coast Mountains on Sks”, are there any that you can recommend for further north?
    Thanks for your help!
    -Shannon

  40. Lou Dawson March 6th, 2013 12:02 pm

    Hi Shanon, we drove in spring when there was no snow problem. If I went in winter I’d used studded snow tires and carry chains. The kind of mileage would be classified as low, but then we were pulling a trailer and had 4 people sharing the expense, so that’s what was. Our destination was Talkeetna. Plenty of RV parks, but the farther north you get the fewer you’ll find, and some are quite primitive, which we liked. Baldwin’s book is pretty good. Lou

  41. Shannon March 6th, 2013 12:28 pm

    Just to fill you in… I have used this camper to live in the parking lot of Crystal Mountain as an instructor from 2003 – 2006. When I returned to Crystal to become a patroller in 2008, I was required to have a land line (avi mornings) and so lived in it from 2008 – 2010 in the driveway of other patrollers.
    I have found that for winter use, keeping it simple is the best way to manage.
    For water related tasks:
    I never had a toilet or running water per se. I set up a cat hole for liquids and used the adjacent buildings’ toilets for solids. I used gallon-jugs for drinking and washing via a camel-bac bladder and tubing. I kept the full gallons in the closet with my clothes. The waste runs through a short plumbing system just outside where it collects in a gallon jug and can be disposed of by flushing.
    Heat:
    I insulated the camper well with closed-cell foam under the mattress, couch, in the closet and on the floor. I have an old, no-fan propane heater that works amazingly! Just need fresh batteries in the carbon monoxide detector.
    Light:
    LEDs are the way to go. I use the stick-up variety when I don’t have power.. with rechargeable batteries they are very efficient. Otherwise the propane light works well enough for cooking and reading.
    Refrigeration:
    In the winter, no problem! The camper has a pass-through to the bed of the truck and the beer goes in the bed, the fridge items go into the compartment, close the door and it’s a perfect temp.
    The camper I have is old and ugly and no-frills, but it’s a tank. It seems the more fancy stuff gets, the more power snafus happen, the less moisture-resistance (moisture happens, venting is the key), and the more systems fail.
    No I want to take the tank on the road.. setting myself up for epic fail?
    Thanks for your replies.. currently looking at your book, but not finding stuff on our route in there. Otherwise, always a good one for dreaming!

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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