The slide-in camper has certainly evolved over the years and we take its accommodations for
granted, but pickup travel wasn’t always so civilized. I remember sitting on the wheel well
of a 1979 Chevy inside an unheated window-laden truck bed cap during our annual two-week
trip to Pennsylvania each New Year’s holiday. I don’t recall the brand of the bed cap, and
my grandpa is no longer around for me to ask, but I do recall having the best times of my
childhood during those cold road trips inside that shell. To us kids, even that simple
covering, aided by scratchy wool blankets and warm clothing, provided the comfort and
security we needed on the road.
As the years have progressed, we’ve abandoned sitting in
the truck’s bed while traveling; after all, it’s illegal, and statistics prove that
seatbelts are a must anytime while on the road. Plus, RV engineers have since discovered
ways to make a camper as warm and roomy as any typical full-size travel trailer.
camper aficionados pretty much require modern features and luxury items as standard
equipment, and Lance Camper Manufacturing has beefed up its 2010 line of truck campers with
the latest in such accessories that are sure to impress.
Apart from top-notch built quality
and sensible design – features for which Lance has a well-earned reputation – a camper’s ultimate accessory is
the slideout room, and the Lance 992 has two of them. This is Lance’s first double-slideout
camper, and we wanted to see just how comfortable and spacious this new model is.
delivered the test unit installed on a Ford F-350 and the setup worked nicely, although the
truck’s weight capacity would be challenged with excess loading. The truck drove well, with
hardly a notice of the camper’s weight along with all of our equipment on board. The Lance
engineers ensured the rig’s center of gravity was low and forward, and as physics as well
as our test drive would prove, this leads to better balance and handling on the road.
is known for well-built campers, and this model maintains its maker’s reputation. The frame
is the key element in an RV’s long-term durability, and the 992 has aluminum-framed walls,
floor, cabover bed and ceiling. It has a one-piece TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) rooftop,
and laminated flooring throughout with ducted heat, which helped to make our camping trip
nice and cozy.
At the campsite we were eager to see just what this camper could do to
appease our convenience, comfort and entertainment requirements. First, a wake-up switch
activates the remote to open up the slides. In about a minute, both slides opened on
separate rack-and-pinion mechanisms.
Within the Lance’s compact interior confines we were
impressed with the significant expansion of space the two slideouts produce. They relocate
huge portions of the kitchen and dinette from the camper’s living area, creating extra
floor space to move about. Even with just a two-person test crew, the extra space was extra
I’ve always been biased toward the charms of a cabover bedroom, and this unit was
no exception. Although the queen-size bed is of ordinary comfort, as I’m more partial to a
softer mattress, the area around it is way more than ordinary. We were impressed with the
overhead reading light, the nice-size hardwood-framed hamper and mirrored shirt-height
wardrobe curbside from the bed, as well as with the smaller wood storage compartment
streetside. But it was the extra-large standard-equipment Heki skylight vent, with
screening for ventilation and a retractable cover for shade, that we found noteworthy in
Optional cabover equipment includes an AM/FM/CD/DVD with 15-inch LCD TV and
interior/exterior speakers ($1,051). We did without the electronic stimulation because the
weather on this trip was perfect and there was fun to be had in the real-world outdoors.
Had we a child on this adventure, there’s little doubt he/she would have enjoyed the
optional bunk bed (31 x 72 inches) with child restraint ($399) that this test unit offered,
located in the curbside slideout just above the convertible dinette bed (40 x 61 inches).
These two platforms allow for some extra sleeping space in the slideout.
Extra people are
no problem in the living area of the 992. We had as many five adults in this test unit, and
never experienced a claustrophobic moment. The kitchen, housed in the streetside slide, has
good counter space, a three-burner stove and a double-basin sink. And the high-spout galley
faucet made doing dishes much easier than with some of the other setups we’ve encountered.
The refrigerator is located opposite the sink, forward the dinette – a wise design choice,
as it was completely unobtrusive but accessible in that location.
Another good design
choice can be found in the bathroom. Lance is proud of its wet bath in this unit, claiming it’s the largest
wet bath the company offers. We certainly appreciated the extra space as well as the extra
sunlight the dual-pane vacuum-sealed skylight delivers.
Although the sky was clear of any
clouds during this test, the air was chilly and the nights were downright cold. The 992 was
draft-free and well-insulated. Also, the furnace in this unit is an upgraded two-speed
model that had more than enough guts to keep the interior at our desired
thermostat-controlled temperature setting.
To provide 120-volt AC power when dry camped our
test unit included an optional 2.5 kW Onan generator ($3,248) with the wall-mount remote
start/monitor panel and automatic transfer switch. No trekking outside to swap any power
supply plugs or start the generator, and this made our boondocking location even more
appealing. This Lance is civilized.
We found the entire camping experience with the Lance
992 highly appealing. If you’re into the heavier-duty trucks, this camper will add all the
space, convenience and comforts any heavy-duty RVer would need.
truck-cap-sheltered trips had a charm all their own and are sweet memories, but we know
we’ll also appreciate the modern comfort-enhanced recollections of our Lance 992 journey.
Lance Camper Manufacturing Corporation, (661) 949-3322, www.lancecamper.com.