Car and Camper

As we were making our way south from Alaska in the fall of 2013, we were contemplating if we would join the 'normal' world again (as in: settle down and get a job) or if there was an option to extend the road trip a little longer.
When we opted for the extension, we realized that since it was wintertime, the only possible road trip would mean going south into Central America.
Since most roads in Central America are narrower and in worse condition than up here in the US, we realized we would need to change the Jeep Commander and Airstream for a smaller camper. A camper, with 4X4 capabilities, that would allow us to drive dirt roads or on beaches.

We bought a pick-up truck and a slide-in camper to place on top of the truck.

Truck: 2008 Dodge Ram 3500, long bed, crew cab, 6.7L diesel, 4X4, 'dually' (dual rear wheel)
Camper: 2014 Livin Lite CampLite 8.6 aluminum truck camper.



We chose this camper because it's lightweight, doesn't hang over the end of the truck bed (overhang is dangerous whilst offroading) but still has a bathroom with shower and the usual amenities of a camper (fridge, freezer, A/C, water heater, 2 burner cooktop, TV, etc.).
It's pretty sturdy construction, built completely in aluminum and composite materials. There is no wood in this camper, not even in the interior cabinets (we didn't want wood since it can rot over time). There's also no steel in this camper (so no rust over time).

Previous car and camper

The trip from Texas up to Alaska (and back) was done with what we already owned at the time: our Jeep Commander towing an Airstream travel trailer.
This was a great combination: not too big or too small, just right for most situations we encountered. You see, most Americans seem to like big things. Most campers you see on the average campground in the US are either huge buses or huge '5th wheel' travel trailers. Basically houses on wheels with all the comforts from home (sometimes even including a washer and dryer!). For the more adventurous traveler, those huge campers are pretty inconvenient as they basically restrict you to drive from campground to campground without much opportunity for stops along the way.

Back in the fall of '12 when we were looking for our first travel trailer, we chose Airstream for the quality of construction, looks and potential to hold its value. We found and bought a 1995 Airstream Sovereign: 21 feet long so small enough to give us freedom (for example, to take it wild camping in the woods), and, light enough to be towed by our Jeep Commander.
It is the smallest Airstream travel trailer that comes with double axles, which is important for safety whilst driving plus because of the double axles, it can carry more weight (which translated in bigger holding tanks for the fresh water / grey / black water).

We bought the Airstream in October '12 and finally sold it in January '14 to make room for our new camper to use on the Central America road trip.
In the 15 months that we had the pleasure of using it, we took it on many weekend trips to the lakes around Austin, Texas; on a week-long trip to New Mexico; on a week-long trip to southern Arizona; and finally on the 7 month trip up to Alaska and back. We used it for a total of 274 nights!

The Jeep Commander Limited 4x4 with the 5.7L HEMI also served us very well. Not once did we run into mechanical trouble and it took us everywhere we wanted to go: up the Dalton highway in Alaska; on 4x4 roads into the mountains around Ouray, Colorado; to White Pocket in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in Utah ...
We sold it in December '13.


 

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