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Tour the 2020 Lance 1172 Truck Camper

Tour the 2020 Lance 1172 Truck Camper

Many people ask us how we liked the Lance 1172 truck camper that we used for our Go North Expedition and if it held up for our trip to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean.  The best answer to this question can be seen in the Go North Series itself as everything we did was enabled by it.

There are pros and cons to every RV type, but for a rugged adventure like this we were very happy with how the rig performed. Truck campers have always been a fringe segment of the RV world, blending the line between overland and RVing comfort, which is exactly what we were looking for. 

Let’s take a dive into the Lance 1172 truck camper that took us to the Arctic Ocean and back:

Tour the Lance 1172 Truck Camper - The Go North Expedition Vehicle | Go North Explore More Ep 1

The Lance 1172 Truck Camper

We partnered with Lance Campers for this expedition and they loaned us a truck and camper for the duration of the trip. The model we took was the 2020 Lance 1172 truck camper.  This is Lance’s largest truck camper that has 2 slides and weighs 2 tons!  ​

Driving through Banff & Jasper National Parks

Because of its size, a beefy dually truck is needed for these which can be both a pro and a con.  The large size of the unit made living in it for an extended time more comfortable at the expense of some limited off-road capability with the higher overheight clearance, heavier weight, and dually tires.  Regardless of these limitations, for this trip, we felt it was well suited to take us to most places and keep us comfortable.  Details and Specs on the Lance 1172 on the Lance Camper website

inside of the 2020 lance 1172 truck camper mystic shores interior
Interior of the 2020 Lance 1172 truck camper with the Mystic shores treatment

We chose the Mystic Shores interior with the lighter back cushion and valence theme and a soft brown seat cushion. While arguably probably not as durable long-term as the Roadster interior fabric (though it held up fine to our 6 months of heavy use), we personally preferred the lighter palette in the smaller space. 

inside of the Lance 1172 truck camper dinette
Lance 1172 truck camper dinette, kitchen, and bedroom

Slide-Outs

This is a 2-slide truck camper. This model has the Schwintek In-Wall Slide-Out drive system for the rear slide and a more conventional electric gear drive for the main slide.  We are not typically a fan of the Schwintek system, but on this small slide it seemed to perform okay, although regular lubricating of the rails was necessary or it would squeak terribly. ​

With the slides in, the Lance 1172 truck camper is completely unusable as you cannot even get in the door. But pushing out the back slide allows some access for quick roadside stops.   We found that partially opening the main slide would allow us to the bathroom and fridge, as long as we could get it out about 18 inches.

Cait standing in the door of the truck camper
The rear slide blocks the doorway when pulled in

Controlling the slides was a bit strange. A wireless remote controls one slide (the rear) while a conventional wall switch controls the other (driver’s side).  It took some getting used to but once we figured it out we were able to make quick stops without a problem.

Bathroom

One of our favorite things about traveling with an RV is having a functional bathroom everywhere we go, and the Lance 1172 truck camper did not disappoint in this department.  Amazingly, even in the small space of the truck camper, this unit has a full dry bath, meaning a completely separate shower. This shower was also tall enough to accommodate Tom’s 6-foot height comfortably. 

Tank Capacities

This Lance 1172 model had 42 gallons fresh water, 35 grey and 35 black which allowed us a few conservative showers and plenty of toilet time to last the two of us more than a week off grid. 

Kitchen

One of our favorite parts of this unit was the kitchen.  It had a large sink, nice Dometic range and oven, a microwave oven, slide-out pantry, and a decent layout for preparing pretty much anything we wanted to cook. 

We love to cook and mainly do so inside as we did not even bring a grill along. While storage in a truck camper can be tight we found the kitchen cabinets adequate to hold our appliances and “most” of our food.  We purchased food in large quantities for weeks off-grid and would frequently end up with extra food stored in baskets on the bed.

We installed an RV Water Filter Store under-counter water filtration system (and also used pre-tank filters) to ensure our drinking water was safe no matter the source. Before heading up we didn’t know if we were going to be so remote that we would have to take water from a lake or something – either way we were going to be ready!

Kitchen with extendable counter
truck camper kitchen sink
We used RV Water Filter Store’s Essential System plus a the Ultrapure Premium Under Sink Drinking water system

RV Fridge + Extra Electric Cooler

A standard dual-fuel RV fridge is located opposite of the dry-bath and galley. We anticipated long stretches of time between good groceries (like on the Dempster Highway to Tuktoyaktuk). We also planned on bringing home some Alaskan salmon with us (Salmon Fishing, Episode 14). Because of this, we brought some additional fridge/freezer space in the form of the Dometic CFX 50W and Portable Lithium Battery (PLB40). We kept this setup in the backseat of the truck during our travels.

dometic cfx in the backseat of the truck
Dometic CFX 50W with Portable Lithium Battery (PLB40)

Bed(Room)

The bed in the Lance 1172 truck camper was quite comfortable although we had added a 2-inch memory foam topper.  The bed rests over the cab of the truck, which makes it a bit short and tight to move around in. But we only bumped our head a few times in the beginning as we got used to our new digs. 

We found that the biggest challenge to this arrangement is making the bed. But like everything else, we figured it out. The bedroom also had a closet for hanging clothes and a few storage compartments.  We mainly kept our clothes in these as we had to bring 3 seasons worth of different clothing.  It was essential to try and keep clothes put away or else in the small space it would end up a huge mess quickly. 

Living Space

During the day most of our time was spent at the dinette and main living space.  The second slide in the back of this unit provided lots more floor room, which was great for our 2 dogs and also gave us a couch at the back of the rig. This was great to open the place up and give us another place to relax.  As most of our downtime was spent editing the videos for the Go North Series, we found our time mainly spent at the dinette which is designed to seat 4 people and fold down to a bed.  While we never folded it, we found the design quite functional.

inside of the truck camper with dogs and wine

Both seats under the dinette had rolling storage trays.  The couch could also fold out into a bed, and we found this a great spot for naps. We also stored lighter, bulkier items underneath the couch, like fishing poles and empty hiking packs.

Connectivity

With the help of Mobile Must Have, we installed several routers and antennae to improve our connectivity to cell signal. Check out all the details in our extensive post about Connectivity in Alaska & Canada.

Exterior Storage

The exterior of the camper had 3 storage bays. Two of which were quite small and one very large one at the back.  While we did not feel that it was a good idea to put heavy items in the rear storage bay for weight distribution, we kept a table, chairs, and other bulky items in here.  We packed two smaller storage areas on the side of the rig with outdoor things, like leveling blocks, saws, ropes, etc. ​

lance 1172 truck camper with slides out and jack down
Boondocking along the Dalton Highway, Alaska

Propane

One of the largest exterior cabinet doors accessed the propane bottles of which this rig had two 30lb tanks. It was great to have so much propane onboard for extended stays off-grid or in cold weather. The only downside, which we expect is true for most truck campers, was reaching these bottles was a bit of a challenge especially when replacing full bottles. 

With the rig off they are at a manageable height. But with it on the tall truck, lifting the bottles was sometimes a two-person task. At one filling station, they had a long hose and were able to fill them in place. While nice this was the rare exception.

Power (Generator, Batteries)

The Lance 1172 usually comes with a built-in propane generator and two standard lead-acid batteries, but for numerous reasons, we did not want this.  Instead, we decided to mainly power our trip with a little solar (two 100watt panels that came on the roof as part of the factory solar package), lots of alternator charging, and a huge Battle Born lithium battery bank in place of the generator.  

→ You can read more about the details on this custom electrical system over here: Lance Truck Camper Lithium + Alternator Charging.

battle born batteries installed in the truck camper
Battle Born Batteries installed in our Lance Truck Camper

Water Heater & Furnace

Another extensive mod we made to this RV, for test purposes was replacing both the water heater and furnace with Truma units.  We had the on-demand Truma AquaGo Water Heater and their high-efficiency VarioHeat furnace installed in our expedition vehicle.  

truma aquago installed in lance 1172
truma control panel

These retrofits were done mainly as a test to see how they performed in a Lance truck camper, and we can say they work great!   See these modifications being installed in Go North Episode 2: The Build. 

Jacks

The Lance 1172 had 4 electric-remote HappiJac truck camper jacks with swing-out brackets so you can get the dually wheels out from underneath the camper. We found these jacks very slow to deploy, but straightforward and reliable. They made it easy to remove, mount, and level front-back and side-to-side.

detached lance 1172 truck camper and truck with mountains behind
Unloaded the truck camper in Banff to explore the National Park

After removing the truck camper, we would lower the jacks down as far as possible to reduce the amount of sway, especially on the taller front legs. Check out this step-by-step video on How to Load and Unload a Truck Camper.


The Truck – Ford F350 DRW

We had the camper on a 2019 Ford F350 dually truck with their 6.7L Turbo Diesel engine.

truck with wrap

For this expedition, we drove a Ford, but any of the Big 3 in a dually configuration can carry this camper.  The truck had a GVWR of 14000 lbs and the truck camper came very close to that number.

Because of this, we modified the truck (shared below) to better handle the weight. An alternative to this could have been to put it on a bigger truck like a 450 or 550 model.

Truck Camper Tie-Downs and Turnbuckles

For a truck to be able to carry a truck camper, you need to install hard points to tie it down to. For this build, Lance Campers added Torklift Fastguns and Tie-Downs to the truck.   The rear hitch was also upgraded to the Supertruss Hitch System that includes tie-downs for the camper. The Fastguns are what Torklift calls its tie-downs, as they are very quick to install. 

These work by using a traditional turnbuckle style latch combined with a spring-loaded adjustable length solid stainless steel rod with a hook on it to connect to the camper.   While these are super convenient, the internal spring inside the units squeak as the stretch and contract during camper movement and can be annoying.  Maybe some grease would quiet them down but we never tried.

Suspension

Hellwig Big Wig Airbags were added under the rear axle to provide additional lift support for the weight of the camper and to keep the truck riding level.  ​

hellwig big wig suspension on the truck

While these do not add weight carrying capacity or shift the weight, they keep the truck’s ride height correct so you do not ride nose high or bottom out the springs. In addition to the airbags, we had Hellwig rear and front sway bars that helped keep the truck level in turns and when going over bumps. 

These oversized sway bars are essential for high center-of-gravity vehicles and Hellwig manufacturers bars for many RVs and box trucks. With the weight of the truck camper so high, the truck became top-heavy and these sway bars did a ton to stiffen up the ride.  

hellwig sway bar suspension on truck

Alternator Charging

Lastly, the truck was modified to provide the charging for the Battle Born Battery bank we installed in the RV.  A 1/0 cable run from the engine to the back of the truck was put in with a big plug to connect to the camper. This was connected directly to the battery system of the truck with a battery isolator in between. 

Read more here: Truck Camper Lithium + Alternator Charging.

electrical system connected to truck batteries

While this worked well, the load of the truck was so great that we had to limit charging time to prevent alternator overheating.  A DC-DC converter in line would have allowed much better control and prevented this.  


Final Thoughts on the Lance 1172 Truck Camper

Overall, we really liked this camper & truck combination.  Everything worked exactly as we had hoped and it enabled the exact adventure we wanted to have.  Truthfully, we were expecting to have some challenges as we were traversing such rough terrain, but the rig and all our modifications fared well. 

The handful of issues we had were minor, like when a dog collar bumped the “Extend” button on the awning control while we were driving down the road (Episode 6 at minute ~21), and when muddy gravel got caught in the steps after driving on wet dirt roads (this could easily be fixed with a set of rear mud flaps.)

We may have been able to get away with a smaller one-slide truck camper unit as the rear couch was not completely necessary for our travels, but it did help a lot with floor space which we and our dogs appreciated, especially over 6 months and when the colder weather set in. 

Cait on floor of lance 1172 truck camper with dogs

While big, it isn’t the largest truck camper on the market. Read 6 Largest Truck Campers That Will Blow Your Mind to see what we mean!

A Truck Camper In Our Future?

We have traveled in fifth wheels and in motorhomes and still feel that after this experience a truck camper is one of the most versatile type rigs on the market and can go just about anywhere you want. if we did it again would choose a truck camper again.

This particular vehicle was a loaned vehicle from Lance Campers for this expedition and we have since returned it. However, in 2021 we built our own expedition truck camper overland vehicle!

lance 1172 truck camper rv on bridge over river
Driving Canol Road in the Yukon  

follow the journey go north

Love truck campers? Check out our truck camper trip to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean that we documented in a 20-episode web docu-series called GO NORTH. Also check out more Explore More videos on truck campers and traveling in Northern Canada & Alaska.  


The Go North Expedition was made possible by Lance Camper ManufacturingBattle Born BatteriesTruma North AmericaDometicLivinLite.netHellwig Suspension Products, and viewers like you through Patreon. Thank you!

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David

Monday 11th of October 2021

Hi, Tom How do you terminate the Multiplus chassis ground in a truck camper? Do you run 4/0 wire to the truck frame via a detachable connector? Running off-grid without solar is really some ground-breaking work. Thank you for your incite and effort.

Mortons on the Move

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

If the system is floating the chassis ground is not required, as long as AC in and Out are grounded the system will be safe as the multiplus chassis is connected internally to these. If the batteries are grounded to the chassis then I would add a 4/0 ground to chassis. It all depends on fault path potential and can vary depending on how its installed.

Jeff Hankinson

Tuesday 5th of January 2021

Thanks for the great Go North video series. Of course in Canada we’d say “Go North eh”. I was wondering what kinds of RVs you saw travelling up the Dempster. I noticed truck campers and Class C units of course. Did you see anyone pulling a travel trailer or 5th wheel? Did you find the Dempster highway suitable for pulling trailers despite being an all weather gravel road?

Mortons on the Move

Wednesday 13th of January 2021

We saw many truck campers and vans, but there was an occasional small travel trailer. We saw one large fifth wheel heading back the other way (we looked them up on Instagram after and they reported getting a LOT of dust in their RV) and one Class A motorhome. One person told us they attempted the Dempster with their Airstream and when they stopped at the Tombstone Territorial Park they went inside and found things had rattled apart. Truthfully, we wouldn't recommend taking a 5th or travel trailer unless it had upgraded shock absorbers and suspension - it's a lot of rattling and 500+miles of gravel. 4x4 is also recommended because of soft gravel in some places it can get squirrely. Hope this helps!

Wayne

Tuesday 21st of April 2020

Only in episode four did you mention the DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) did you carry Exter containers of DEF or was it available everywhere you went when you needed it?

Andrew Briseno

Monday 20th of April 2020

Loved your travel videos. You have gotten very professional in your videos. Great to see you folks covering so many places in Alaska and in the Northern Canadian lands. I am sure that your New Zealand videos will also be amazing. Glad you are home safe. Enjoy your recharge and hope your visits to family are able to be done soon.

Wade

Thursday 16th of April 2020

It looks like you boondocked a lot, so where did you vacate your black/grey tanks at? Can you publish a complete list of what you took (support gear) and if any of it wasn’t really necessary. Thank you! Love your channel.

Caitlin Morton

Thursday 16th of April 2020

Hey Wade, Great question, and we will actually be pulling together a video in the coming weeks talking about our Utilities and consumables in the north (power, water, sewer, propane). To short answer your question, we had no problems finding dump stations all along our routes using the Campendium App. As for our support gear, here is a pretty good list we put together: https://kit.co/Mortonsonthemove/alaska-gear I'd also recommend jumping over to our blog post on Episode 3: Packing that goes into a bit more detail, that can be found here: https://www.mortonsonthemove.com/travelblog/how-we-packed-our-truck-camper-for-alaska-go-north-episode-3 Thanks for watching and reading! :D

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