After 13 years of living on the road, first in a 2007 27′ Fleetwood Lynx travel trailer and then in a 2007 36′ Hitchhiker 34.5 RLTG fifth wheel, we switched gears and moved back into a sticks-and-bricks home.
But we didn’t want to give up the thrill of the open road completely! Since we still owned our 2016 Dodge Ram 3500 dually pickup truck, we decided a truck camper would do the trick for shorter duration adventures.
A 2005 Arctic Fox truck camper turned up on Craigslist in excellent condition, garage kept and barely used. Counting our lucky stars, we took the plunge, bought it, and have been having fun setting it up and taking it on a few short trips.
Here’s a quickie tour of the camper that will be our new little home on wheels.
The Arctic Fox 860 has one slideout on the passenger side and is on the smaller size for a long bed truck camper. It is designed to be carried by a single rear wheel pickup truck so it is an easy load for our dually.
One of our goals was to be able to travel with our Polaris RZR in tow. We had triple towed the RZR on a small flat bed trailer behind our fifth wheel for two years. That worked, but it was cumbersome.
Having the RZR right behind the truck now rather than 40′ behind us makes it a lot easier to bring the RZR along on our travels. One thing that Mark has found, though, is that because our utility trailer is only 5′ wide, he can’t see it in the rear view mirrors when he’s driving unless he makes a very sharp turn. This makes it a bit tricky to back up!
Also, because our utility trailer is only 10′ long, it holds our Polaris 900 series UTV but can’t carry our bikes at the same time. I have a secret wish for a larger utility trailer which might solve both problems… we’ll see!
The Arctic Fox 860 does not extend beyond the back of the truck. Many larger truck campers hang out a foot or two beyond the back bumper of the truck. With those campers you need a hitch extension to tow anything behind. With this model, the RZR trailer hitches directly to the hitch receiver on the truck without an extension.
The floor plan for the 2005 Arctic Fox 360 is very similar to the current (2021) Arctic Fox 811 truck camper. The 860 is 6 inches shorter than the 811, but other than that, the floor plan is the same as far as we can see.
The dinette converts into a bed, but at just 64 inches long, it is not long enough for most adults. This is one shortcoming that was improved with the later model Arctic Fox 811 which has a dinette bunk lenth of 68 inches.
The tank capacities are small and have been increased in the Arctic Fox 811 model.
Here are the 860 capacities with the replacement 811 model capacities in parentheses:
Fresh Water: 46 gallons, including 6 gal. hot water heater – (50 gallons w/ 6 gal heater)
Gray Water: 25 gallons (38 gallons)
Black Water: 25 gallons (23 gallons)
Propane: 14 gallons (60 lbs.) (same)
Furnace: 20k BTU (same)
Air Conditioner: 11k BTU (same)
By comparison, our fifth wheel’s capacities were:
Fresh Water: 70 gallons, including 10 gallon hot water heater
Gray Water: 78 gallons
Black Water: 50 gallons
Propane: 14 gallons (60 lbs.)
Furnace: 40k BTU
Air Conditioner: 15k BTU
The tank capacities and heating and cooling units are much smaller than our fiver, of course. However, it is a miracle so much can be fit into the bed of a pickup truck! While we will have to watch our water usage, we will be able to use our small Honda EU2200i portable generator to run the air conditioner. Also, with the same overall propane capacity, the small furnace and hot water heater will use a lot less propane and make it last longer, even if we decide to camp in cold places.
Oh look, there’s Mark at the door. Let’s head inside!
The interior is open and bright.
The dinette is on the passenger side as you walk in and it’s very comfortable for two. Since there are no recliners or sofa, we both like to turn sideways on the benches, lean against a cushion behind us and stretch out our legs!
The louvered window makes it possible to keep the window open even when it drizzles.
The three-way 6 cubic foot refrigerator can run on 12 volt DC electricity, 110 volt AC or propane. The fridge is the same size as the one in our Lynx travel trailer that we lived in during our first year on the road. Our fifth wheel had an 8 cubic foot refrigerator.
The bathroom is on your left as you enter, behind a sliding door, and the kitchen is beyond that.
The bathroom is a wet bath, so we get to take showers with Mr. Toilet standing right there next to us and then wipe him dry afterwards. It’s awkward but manageable.
Models that have a dry bath are longer and hang off the back of the truck. Buying used, you get whatever’s out there, and all-in-all the wet bath was a compromise we didn’t mind. If we’d bought new and could order anything we wanted, we probably would have gone with a longer model that had a dry bath.
As an alternative for showering, there’s also an outdoor shower. Back in our days of camping in our little popup tent trailer, we made good use of our outdoor shower and got a kick out of bathing in the fresh air (in remote places, of course!). Mark used to love showering on the back of the boat too!
The kitchen is small but workable. There isn’t much storage space, but the slide-out pantry is very handy. We had one of those on our boat too. We don’t eat a lot of canned goods, but other things fit nicely in there.
The cupboards and drawer space are minimal, but keeping dishware and cookware to a minimum helps.
Years ago, for the boat, I bought a stainless steel Magma nesting pots and pans set which has several sizes of pots, pans and tops that all stack into each other along with two removable handles. I’ve always said this high quality, handy dandy compact kit would be ideal for a truck camper, and it is! (I just noticed that Camco and Stansport make similar smaller sets that are much less expensive).
I’ve never used the plastic cutting board sink covers in our previous RVs, but I find I tend to cover one side of the double sink all the time in the camper to get a little more working area when cooking.
When we took the camper out for our first overnight, we quickly realized we needed a little trash can. Mark improvised and converted a Deschuttes Pale Ale 12-pack box. Ya gotta have a little whimsy in life, so we’re keeping it for now!
The bed is in the cabover part of the camper and is a queen size. The current model Arctic Fox 811 has a 58″ x 80″ bed but our older 860 model has a true 60″ x 80″ queen size. So, a queen fitted bottom sheet is nicely taught across the mattress, however you don’t have those extra two inches to tuck in the rest of the bedding on the sides, and it’s a tight squeeze if you need a lot of blanets! We are using the inner spring mattress that came with the camper with a 2″ My Pillow topper and it is quite comfortable.
On either side of the bed there are two shirt length hanging closets with mirrored cabinet doors. There’s also an alcove with a window on each side. This makes the bed feel wider than a queen.
I found a dog bed that fits in the alcove just right, and Buddy loves to lie there and look out the window. When we open the window he sniffs the air!
Each alcove has lift-up tops to access a deep storage area underneath. We can easily fit two week’s worth of summer clothing with plenty of room to spare.
At the foot of the bed on the driver’s side there is a TV cabinet with a slide-out tray for the TV to sit on (flat screen TVs weren’t around in 2005). Since we don’t watch TV we’ll use that for something else.
On the opposite side at the foot of the bed a small door opens to reveal a full-length hanging closet that goes deep below the level of the bed.
And that’s the tour!
I’m heading out — I think there’s a hammock under the trees waiting for me out there!!
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More info about the Arctic Fox 860 and 811 truck campers:
Our other rolling and floating homes:
- Our rigs over the years – Overview of our RV and truck migration
- 2005 Colonial Popup Tent Trailer – First RV for weekends / vacations
- 2007 Fleetwood Lynx Travel Trailer – First full-time RV (1 year)
- 2007 Hitchhiker II 34.5 RLTG Fifth Wheel – Second full-time RV (12 years, some years split with sailing)
- 2008 Hunter 44DS Sailboat – Our cruising home on Mexico’s Pacific coast (nearly 4 years split with RVing)
- Finding a Fifth Wheel Trailer or Toy Hauler to be a Full-time Home! 05/25/19
- What are the Most Important Features in a Full-time Fifth Wheel Trailer?! 10/13/17
- Choosing a Trailer for Full-time RVing: Cargo Carrying Capacity 05/01/16
- Go Cheap, Go Small, Go NOW!! Have Fun & LEARN in a Small RV 03/31/16
- Going Full-time – How to Transition & Which RV Is Best? 09/02/15
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