Somewhere between a classic Sunrader and an EarthRoamer lies the latest overland truck camper to hit the market, the Tacoma-based TruckHouse BCT.
TruckHouse, a new overland vehicle company based out of Sparks, Nev., worked for 2 years to bring its midsize backcountry vehicle vision to life. This new overland camper builds on the much loved Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro to create a compact luxury home on wheels.
Taking cues from the very best expedition vehicles in the world, the TruckHouse BCT offers a cab to camper pass-through, four-season capability, and all the amenities you would expect in a modern home.
“We were inspired by the idea of bringing the beloved 1980’s Sunrader 4×4 into the 21st century,” TruckHouse CEO and co-founder Matt Linder told us. “The BCT is built for those who desire a similar footprint of a van, the living space of a Class C RV, the capability of a purpose-built 4×4, and the fit, finish, and dependability of a high-end yacht.”
So what’s the TruckHouse BCT all about? Here’s everything you need to know.
Composite Luxury House on Wheels
The TruckHouse BCT starts by building a one-piece, carbon fiber-reinforced, foam-core composite shell, using a vacuum infusion process. The whole idea here is light and strong. TruckHouse hasn’t calculated the final numbers yet, as it’s finishing up the first prototype now, but the naked shell will likely weigh just over 500 pounds.
Inside, you’ll find a floor plan designed to maximize space while providing every living amenity you would expect in a modern house. A tried-and-true setup for small campers, the layout is very similar to what you find in Sunrader, Four Wheel Campers, Nimble Vehicles, and others.
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TruckHouse BCT: Built for Rugged Getaways
This Tacoma overland camper craves off-grid adventures way off the beaten path. The TruckHouse BCT offers up a 30-gallon freshwater tank, a 20-gallon gray-water tank, and a powerful electrical system. Battle Born lithium-ion batteries — up to 500 Ah, along with up to a 600W rooftop solar array — will keep your electronics powered up for quite a while in the backcountry.
Luxury touches on offer include an optional 32-inch LED TV on an articulated arm, heated floors, 12V AC, outdoor speakers, awning, and more. Each camper is custom built to order, which allows each owner to customize the look and feel to their preferences.
But the highlight of this camper, to me, is the pass-through from truck cab to camper. This means you don’t have to exit the vehicle to go to bed or move the vehicle when you wake. Think all the benefits of a van layout with the factory off-road capabilities of a 4×4 truck.
Tacoma Truck Upgrades
Of course, my first question was, “How in the world will a Tacoma handle such a camper setup?” A stock Tacoma TRD Pro only has a carrying capacity of 1,155 pounds, and that’s before you factor in fuel, people, or gear.
If you figure about 126 pounds of fuel (21.1 gallons at 6 pounds per gallon), two adults at about 350 pounds total, and some basic camping gear and recovery gear at 150 pounds (126 + 350 + 150 = 626 total load), you’ve only got about 529 pounds left over for the camper, camper systems, water, and other truck upgrades.
This means it will prove impossible to come in under the manufacturer GVWR with this vehicle.
TruckHouse said it will address this issue on a number of fronts. First, it plans to reinforce the frame in key locations. It will swap out the rear axle for a custom Currie S9, which is basically a beefy Ford 9-inch.
And it upgraded the brakes to drilled and slotted rotors at all four corners of the truck. The suspension is a combination of Total Chaos long-travel up front, custom leaf packs in the rear, and custom-valved FOX 2.5 Series shocks all around.
The Tacoma will also be re-geared to provide better low-end torque. This will help move the extra weight and get over off-road obstacles easily. That’s a necessity, as the Tacoma’s V6 isn’t known as a powerhouse to begin with.
The only upgrade planned for the engine at this time is a high-output alternator to more quickly charge the house batteries while on the move.
There will be lots of other truck upgrades available as well: up to 35-inch tires, off-road wheels, front and rear WARN ZEON 12-S Platinum winches, auxiliary lighting, sand ladders, high-clearance front bumper, Safari Snorkel, larger fuel tank, and even secondary external bypass front shocks.
Out back, you can option a rear swing-away bumper with a spare tire carrier, storage box, and 1UP bike racks. Another big upgrade to the truck cabin will be the available quad captains chairs setup, which will make the camper pass-through that much easier to access.
Of course, looking at the renderings of this impressive machine, one key issue comes to light: the need for extended side mirrors. From what I can tell, there’s little chance you can see past the camper with the factory mirrors.
TruckHouse BCT Overland Tacoma Camper
There will be very limited build slots available in 2021, with production starting in February on the first customer build. Be aware — it takes a $50,000 non-refundable deposit to reserve your production spot. And full camper pricing starts at $285,000 and goes up to $380,000! Yep, lightweight, custom, fully featured off-road campers don’t come cheap!
The TruckHouse BCT carries with it a limited 36,000-mile, 3-year warranty. That is important, as it remains unclear exactly what the over-GVWR final build weight and vehicle modifications will do to the factory Toyota warranty.
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