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Jen and Connor are visiting Grandma in the great white north of Utah, so I’m going to make a big mess of the house, leave the toilet seat up, and eat crumbly foods on the couch.  I also plan to make some more bike bags, a backpack for Connor, do some bikepacking, and work on the Caribou. 

It looks like pretty good weather, so I’ll test out my new Montbell 30 deg down bag.  I’ve never owned a down sleeping bag, and I’m pretty stoked at how small it compresses.  If I can get my bag, bivy, and pad to less than 5 lbs total and have it on the bars, I’ll be g2g for AZT and CTR.  Now I need to figure out how to set up my lights so the bar bags don’t cast a shadow.  I figure I’ll ride about 4 hours a night on AZT so I’ll only need two batteries if I’m out there 2 nights.  Things are finally coming together.  If my Montbell UL down jacket comes next week, I’ll test it out next Friday. 

While we were probably a year late on purchasing our 5th wheel, we couldn’t get rid of it fast enough.  Our biggest mistake was driving it off the lot when we bought it.  It was too small for our truck, didn’t have any window tint, and had all kinds of issues with the plumbing (nothing which couldn’t be fixed, but a pain in the ass).  Friday we were all packed up to head to Tucson for Dejay Birch’s birthday party SS extravaganza when I noticed that it wasn’t a flipped shackle that was causing the trailer to list to one side, it was a bent frame attachment for the shackle.  In order to find the number for the guy who did a spring lift on it, I had to look on Craigslist for one of his ads.  Just above one of his ads, there was an ad for this bad boy!

It was a bit overpriced, but I figured that it was time to ditch the embarrassing monstrosity dwarfing our tiny house and yard.  So after a weekend of haggling, it now sits on our truck in our driveway!

So here are the kick ass stats on this bad boy:

  • I can stand up inside it and don’t hit head on AC!*
  • Queen bed with storage underneath** and I can sit up on it!*
  • Propane generator that will run the AC!**
  • Slide** with dinette large enough to sleep a grandma!
  • 46 gallons of fresh water!!!!!**
  • Rear AND side awnings!**
  • Fantastic fan!**
  • Toilet that I can sit on with the bathroom door closed!*
  • Separate grey and black holding tanks.
  • Water filter**
  • Smaller Blue Rhino grill tank size propane tanks (2) (old Lance had two big tanks that sat on sides)
  • Tethered jack controller**
  • Tinted windows
  • Wet bath/shower/bathroom
  • 9′ long.  Over a foot shorter than our old Lance

*unable to accomplish this in old Lance

**not an option on our old Lance

So we spent about 3 hours on the lot and in the RV dealer’s garage getting it all sorted out.  It’s a beauty inside with little use.  Shower was probably never used as the curtain appears brand new.  The floor is in good shape and the generator only had 40 hours of use on it.  The tie down points are in good shape, 2×6’s were permanently attached to the bottom so it fits in our deep GMC bed, and everything is pretty tight.

The bad stuff…..

  • While minor, there has been some roof repair and there is still a crack on the nose above the front window.  Easy enough to fix.  Just not pretty.
  • It has a front window.  Most truck camper companies don’t put front windows in their rigs anymore.  They leak and require a ton of sealant.  They also make the rigs super hot/cold during extreme weather.
  • It does not have a dry bath.  I don’t mind this, but it will be interesting to see how Connor takes to not having bath time every evening.
  • It’s really TALL.  On the outside it sits probably a foot taller than our old Lance.  It is a long way up to the door.  This may prove difficult with an 80 lb. dog named Luna who can’t jump.
  • Generac generator.  This isn’t the cat’s meow and you’ll find no shortage of complaints, but hopefully with just a few hours on it we’ll be okay for a few summers.
  • Less counter space.  …but then the 5th had less counter space than our Lance.  Kind of strange.
  • Fiberglass siding.  While durable, it adds about 400 lbs. over aluminum.  But I don’t think I’ve seen an aluminum sided truck camper that has a slide.

So the plan with this bad boy is to grind it into the ground over the next 6 years or so and by then Connor will be approaching 6′.  I’m hoping he’ll want his own tent and will be happy to come inside for an occasional shower and meal by that time.  I’ll have to reconfigure our hitch/platform so we can use the ramp.  I’m hoping our Saris rack works well on it for shorter/local trips.  Our little Pace trailer is awesome, but a bit of overkill for local stuff.

I’m very excited to be back in the truck camper fold.  The roominess and luxury of the 5th was nice, but it was a bear to get anywhere cool like Hartman Rocks or any of the meadows in Colorado.  Hitching it up was easy, but I’ll be I won’t take more than 15 minutes extra to mount up the Caribou.  Bye Bye 5th.  You served your purpose.  Next time I’ll buy a trailer if I ever want anything with lots of room.  For now, it’s truck camper or bust.