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.
Here are the tank and HVAC capacities for the Arctic Fox 860:
Fresh Water: 46 gallons, including 6 gal. hot water heater
Gray Water: 25 gallons
Black Water: 25 gallons
Propane: 14 gallons (60 lbs.)
Furnace: 20k BTU
Air Conditioner: 11k BTU
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.
This camper has two showers, one in the bathroom and one outside. 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 very workable and I’ve found it easy to make good meals in it.
The cupboards and drawer space are sufficient.
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 60″ x 80″ mattress.
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.
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.
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!!
Never miss a post — it’s free!
More info about the Arctic Fox 860 truck camper:
Old 2004 brochure for the Arctic Fox 860 camper
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)
- Toy Hauler Life – What’s It Like Living in a Toy Hauler?
- Genesis Supreme 28CRT Toy Hauler – Why We Chose It!
- Truck Camper Pros and Cons – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!
- Finding a Fifth Wheel Trailer or Toy Hauler to be a Full-time Home!
- Triple Tow or Toy Hauler? How to RV Full-time with a RZR?
- Escapod Teardrop Trailers – Rugged Campers for Off-Road Adventure!
- What are the Most Important Features in a Full-time Fifth Wheel Trailer?!
- Choosing a Trailer for Full-time RVing: Cargo Carrying Capacity
- Go Cheap, Go Small, Go NOW!! Have Fun & LEARN in a Small RV
- Dodge Ram 3500 Dually Truck – Best RV Fifth Wheel Trailer Towing
- Going Full-time RVing: How to Transition & Which RV Is Best?
- Casita Travel Trailers – Lots of RV in a Tiny Package
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Excellent tour!! Loved it. This little truck camper was so well thought out by the engineers. Have fun exploring the remote places you love. Take lots of pictures of Buddy.
Thanks, Annie! Those engineers sure know how to put a lot of home into a tiny space and still make it inviting and comfortable. We can’t wait to get back out into America’s beautiful countryside, and Buddy is chomping at the bit too!
So glad to see this as I made the suggestion to Wally that this might be the way for us to go after our many iterations of RV’s over the years. Thanks for the tour. I am going to forward this to him so he can take the tour also.
It’s a neat way to go, Liz. After a big RV it takes a bit of adjusting because it is definitely tight quarters. But it makes us as nimble as the truck is and opens up the possibility of camping inside the National Parks rather than miles and miles away outside. We haven’t done a long trip yet, so we’ll be reporting on what the lifestyle is like for both shorter and longer trips as soon as we have some experience with it. We’re discovering that switching from full-time travel to vacation mode is a very big change!!!
We started out small and have grown over the years to the Sprinter 24 foot rv. We sold that, however a few years back, not anticipating the price increase for RV’s during the pandemic year. I really love what you have done with this camper and the fact that it can fit almost everywhere is very appealing. Please do post when you do a longer trip in it so we can see how it works out.
Wally is not convinced, but I think this would be a great arrangement. We started out this way in 1970 but with just a cabover. This looks like an answer to what we want to do at this point.
That’s wonderful, Liz.
I anticipate two big challenges. First will be fresh water, partly because it will be hard to carry jerry jugs (unless we keep them on the RZR trailer) but mostly because the water inlet is about 6 feet off the ground. A 12 volt pump system could get the water from the jugs into the camper, but I suspect we will be taking the camper to places where we can fill the tank from a spigot.
The second challenge will be that although I’d love to unload the camper in a campsite and run around in the truck, it is actually very difficult, perhaps only with this particular camper, to get it on and off the truck. So we will be keeping the camper on the truck 100% of the time. This means that leaving the campsite to go somewhere, whether sightseeing or grocery shopping, we will have to leave the campsite all together.
We are having debates right now about whether we could leave the RZR on its trailer behind in the campsite, locked up, of course, or if there would be too much risk of someone stealing either the RZR or the whole shebang.
If we can leap those two hurdles, then I think we’ve got a keeper on our hands!!
That’s great, thanks for sharing. Great to hear your experiences.
You’re welcome, David. Happy trails!
Emily and Mark…..LOVED the tour ! What a cozy, inviting set-up…. still have fond memories of the pop-up.
The RV designers do an amazing job in a tiny square footage. The popup was a blast and was such a great intro to the RV lifestyle. I’m really glad you had a chance to see it and camp in it with us!
We have learned so much from you two! I love your truck camper! Beautiful 💙💙👏
You know Gary and I have an RV now. Thanks for the tips. I miss the boat so we are getting a power boat now instead of a sailboat. We will keep it at the Coral of course. Come visit😘💙
Beth and Gary Pliley
Wow! So great to hear from you, Beth & Gary! I’m sure you are loving your RV. Every so often Mark gets on Yachtworld and starts lusting over various boats. If we ever got another boat it would be a power boat for sure… there are so many wonderful trawlers out there! We would so love to see you again. I have dreams of an RV trip down the Baja someday, starting with visiting you two!!
I love your new camper! Thanks for the tour 🙂 We went to an RV show in Atlanta last March and I loved the truck top campers. I had always wanted to see the inside of one and they are so much roomier than they look! We haven’t been on the road full time since the beginning of 2020. We definitely miss our travels. We did one small trip last fall but I told Chris I’m ready to head back out west! I think when we chatted in Scottsdale we talked about the boat life, too. Our friends on their sailboat have just been hanging out in the Caribbean and making things work during the pandemic. Enjoy your adventures in your new rig! -Sandra, Chris and Poodle James
There’s a lot to be said for truck campers, and we’re just at the very beginning of learning. I’m sure many of our readers have owned a variety of truck campers for many years!! The biggest ones I’ve seen are by Eagle Cap. They make one with 3 slideouts that has both a dinette and two recliners as well as a king bed and stall shower. It is a fifth wheel in a truck bed! But you need a gargantuan truck to carry it. Our dually isn’t even close to being up to the task!
I feel badly for the cruisers who rode out the pandemic off their boats. Friends of friends were on a world cruise and left their boat in Portugal to return home as the borders all closed. As of a few months ago, they still hadn’t been able to return to it. Those that stayed on their boats could at least enjoy the sea and the beach if they were allowed ashore. I know in Mexico some port captains were leery of letting cruisers come ashore. As with everything, world cruising is much more complicated than RVing in North America.
Thanks for dropping us a line. I hope you get back in your rig and travel out west again this fall!!
I really love your truck camper. Now I want one, lol! Sometimes those 12 pack boxes fit beside the toilet, too.
It is a really nice little rig. We’ve known people who have both a fifth wheel and a truck camper. They use the fiver for months-long winter travels down south and use the little one for short jaunts to favorite spots near home in the summertime! Gotta love the 12 pack boxes…and what comes in them too!!
Wow. It’s perfect for your home away from home! (And I do like the trash can.)
Thanks, Donna. I think it will be lots of fun — and the trash can is a winner!
What a great opportunity and still be able to get out without having to unhitch! Love the trash can and the dog bed location. What fun!
I think it’s going to work out well. We’ve got some goodies to share about how we’re making the RZR super easy to tie down onto its trailer too and also some more goodies related to increasing the storage areas in the camper. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
We’ve discussed the same. We bought our FW, a 3055RL Bighorn brand new in 2010 and still have it. At 65 and 57, someday we will tire of hitching, unhitching, and towing the beast. A truck camper would be ideal considering we have a 1 ton pickup. Thanks again for the window shopping experience.
Thanks for sharing. I Always wanted a cab over as well. We looked at them. Thanks again for sharing.
You are welcome, Cheryl!
Thanks for the great tour & info. During the hiatus, my Wife & I were a little concerned that life may have presented you with a “bump in the road”, glad it did not. We have followed you for a long time & have gotten to enjoy places & adventures our advanced maturity will no longer allow. Your writing & photography is of the highest achievement & makes us feel we are there with you, Thanks.
Being “dog lovers”, we knew Buddy would change your life. We cannot imagine life with out a canine member of the family, although we tried once….there was a huge void…we scurried back.
Thank you for those very high compliments, Dick. You made our day! It is wonderful to know that our pics and stories could bring you to places you wouldn’t see otherwise. We have been blessed to uncover all kinds of hidden jewels and also to live in an age when we could send out “postcards” to all kinds of travelers and would-be travelers via this blog.
Buddy did indeed change our lives completely. We knew that taking on the responsibility of a pet would impact our day-to-day lives, but we’ve been blown away by how much a little furry kindred spirit would round out the love in our home. He is a dear little personality who brightens our every day.
Enjoy your pup and thank you for being a part of our adventures all these years.
Thanks so much for posting this info on your truck camper. I will certainly be looking forward to further updates as you guys break it in!
How is your truck handling its new cargo? Enough oomph with a little to spare, or is it right up to its limit on what it can carry? (Especially pulling the RZR)?
The truck can handle the weight with room to spare, but it drives like a boat, swooping and swaying down the road. I’m not sure if that’s because we got the auto-leveling option on the truck which removes a leaf spring or if it just the nature of trucks carrying truck campers. We haven’t gone up any mountains yet but we do have a short 20% and then 25% grade nearby and the truck gets up that without breaking a sweat. I’ll be posting more info once we get out on the road “for real” with a trip that is longer than just a few days. We had a few setbacks so we aren’t out there already as we expected, but we hope to do a longer trip starting next week!
After doing some research on trailers and truck campers, I’ve come to the conclusion that an Arctic Fox is about the best way to go. There is a video on youtube, 38 min. long, about the construction methods behind the Arctic Fox. It’s not made cheaply, and an older one would probably still have a superior built frame as long as it had no leaks. My problem is that even with the ones that are 10-15 years old they are still expensive! I looked at your on NADA.com and the high retail price of the base model is around $8,000. But the actual value is much higher than that! Enjoy your new truck camper!
We visited the Arctic Fox plant in our first year on the road (2007) and it was a neat factory. Many of the workers had come from an old Fleetwood plant nearby and we were in a Fleetwood trailer at the time, so that was cool.
Arctic Fox has been conservative in their approach, and when they design a model of anything they keep building it for a very long time. They also don’t venture into new territory very often. I’d love to see them build a fifth wheel toy hauler someday, but so far that’s not in the cards for them.
We’ve heard mixed reviews from Arctic Fox truck camper owners. We have a friend whose opinion we trust implicitly — he owned both Arctic Foxes and Lance campers for 20 years — and he hated his Arctic Fox with a passion and ditched it after one season. He felt it was built like a tank, which is great, but had a very bad layout for storage and the entry door was positioned way too high up in the air. We can attest to all of those things in our unit (a different floor plan than his), but we still like the model we have and we’ll just have to see how it goes as we use it. We have friends with a Cirrus who swear by it as the best of the best, and the Eagle Cap looks just plain awesome to me.
Prices of RVs — and everything else — are soaring, with no end in sight. Going with a very old model like ours definitely saves a lot of money compared to buying new, but it is still an expensive thing to buy. In general, the best bang for the buck is a travel trailer. Truck campers pack all the goodies of a longer travel trailer or fifth wheel into a tiny space and you pay for that.
A solid tent and a good quality air mattress, sleeping bag and cooler will cost a whole lot less and get you to the exact same places and even a few more…
Wow, great tour Emily. Looks very cozy and homey.
It sure is, Pete. We’re getting a huge kick out of it!!
Thanks for the tour, Emily – that’s a sweet camper! Your boating experience will ease your transition to a smaller space. I’m thinking that you and Mark will intuitively adjust your camping style and make the most of the space you have because of it.
If a bigger trailer isn’t yet in the plan, would the frame on your current trailer support a hitch welded to the back that would accommodate a bike rack? Another option – our son switched to a double receiver set up on his truck. He needed to add an extender for his jet ski trailer but now he can tow the trailer and use a bike ride in the second receiver. If you want more technical info or want to see photos, just let me know.
Believe it or not, Mary, our boat was as spacious as our fifth wheel, if not more-so! It’s our memories of traveling in our popup tent trailer that keep bubbling to the surface. That was a longer unit when it was set up (20′ versus 16′ or so), but it didn’t have a bathroom or a “full size” range or fridge. The trade-off for those was that it had both a king bed and a queen bed!!. I think the floor space in both units is about the same!!
Thank you for your very creative suggestions for the RZR trailer. Those are great ideas! We could definitely modify the RZR trailer to accommodate bikes somehow, but my preference would be to have them in/on the trailer rather than hanging off of the sides or back end. Also, I think it would be pretty cramped behind the trailer if there were a bike rack with two bikes along with the RZR trailer and the bikes would risk getting crunched.
One big problem is that the distance between the RZR trailer and the truck is not very long, so if we jackknife in a turn, the trailer hits the landing legs of the camper and we risk denting or bending them. It is a great trailer for towing the RZR to a trailhead, but it is not really adequate (in my mind) for long distance towing behind a camper.
We’ll see how it goes. It’s all a great learning experience. Thanks so much for your ideas.
We just purchased a Arctic Fox 990 2000, in order to travel in vs our 1985 class c. but with the dually how much clearnce is there on the truck with the swing jacks ? was just wondering. alo where do you put the towels ? I am wondering..we still have our bigger fith wheel it is for luxuray clamping LOL
Congrats on your purchase! It will be great to have both options — big and small — for camping.
The clearance with the swing jacks on our dually is fine. We have an inch or two on each side.
However, the clearance between the wheel wells in the bed of the truck is only 1/4 to 1/2 inch on each side. Getting the camper on and off the truck is a nightmare. Unfortunately, it is a design flaw with the 860 and the placement of the sewer apparatus. It’s possible the camper was designed for a single rear wheel truck which may have a wider distance between the wheel wells in the bed of the truck than a dually does.
We keep the towels in the bathroom. Right after showering we’ll hang one on the bar on the screen door or lay them out (sometimes hung outside in the sun) to get rid of most of the moisture. After a few hours we hang them on a fold-out towel rack in the bathroom. I believe the towel rack was factory installed but I’m not sure.
We also use swim towels which can dry us off and/or wipe down the bathroom nicely. We learned about these from our boating days. These towels are more or less the same as absorber towels which accomplish the same thing.