This blog isn’t dead

I’m sorry folks in being negligent in posting to the blog.  been very busy with work and travel.

as i write this i’m in Port Townsend, WA, for the start of Race 2 Alaska.  the companies i work for, Sage Marine and Spyderco, are two of the event’s sponsors and i’m here to ‘wave the companies flags’.  in addition i will be sailing across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Townsend to Victoria, BC.

looking at the forum statistics it is clear that there is a lot of interest about the Roamin’ Chariot camper.  as the unit is no longer built my guess is folks are seeing them out camping or are while looking at craigslist.  i’ll take some detailed photos and write more about the camper when i return to Colorado.

for this trip to Washington State i’m in the Outfitter Caribou Lite.

USFS Quartz Flat campground about 30 minutes west of Missoula, MT.  this is my favorite 'overnight' place to stop along the Interstate system ... well spaced spots, just off the I-90 (take the Quartz Flat Rest Area exit) and on $10.

USFS Quartz Flat campground about 30 minutes west of Missoula, MT. this is my favorite ‘overnight’ place to stop along the Interstate system … well spaced spots, just off the I-90 (take the Quartz Flat Rest Area exit) and on $10.

Port Townsend is a wonderful old town and a great place to look at boats … especially sailboats!

Hawaiian Chieftain at Boat Haven marina, Port Townsend, WA.

Hawaiian Chieftain at Boat Haven marina, Port Townsend, WA.

I have enjoyed the last couple of days sailing in Port Townsend Bay and up to the Point Wilson lighthouse.

Fun sailing in Port Townsend Bay.  Photo by Deb Colvin.

Fun sailing in Port Townsend Bay. Photo by Deb Colvin.

Tomorrow morning, 4 June, at 5am, Race to Alaska (leg one) begins.  I’ll post information about my adventure crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca and in Victora, BC … really … i will.

– Dave

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4 thoughts on “This blog isn’t dead

  1. Hey Dave, Neil here. (skipper of M15 TwoCan)

    Just stumbled across your blog site. VERY COOL! Nice to see you at Cruiser Challenge, by the way. Regret we didn’t have more time to hang out.

    The DW and I are contemplating a truck with popup camper rig. I’ve researching and vacillating for weeks on which one–having considered FWC, ATC, Phoenix, Hallmark, and Outfitter. On the various forum (like WTW for example) there are strong opinions and experiences–good and bad–with owners of the various models.

    Can you share with me your experience and decision process that led you to choose Outfitter vs. the various other makes? And, what was your experience like during the order process, delivery, and initial quality of construction? If you had any issues, how was your experience in dealing with Outfitter and getting those resolved? Would you buy again from them?

    I really like the very functional floor plan of the Caribou Lite. Very similar to the Hallmark Nepal / Milner except for differences in construction techniques.

    Anyway, thanks for any input you may have, and safe travels. Give my best to S & G as well.

    -Neil

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  2. Neil: the #1 thing for me was price = Outfitter had the least cost and most standard items (ie, a Four Wheel Camper with the same setup would have run about $25,000, another $5,000 (ie, $30,000+) for a Hallmark and about the same fore a Phoenix). #2 was standard setup = Outfitter had the layout i preferred as standard (side dinette) in addition to the standard items of a 3-way fridge, fantastic fan, good quality soft sidewalls. #3 was weight = Outfitter and Four Wheel are essentially the same weights (Phoenix & Hallmark weigh a more). I quickly passed on Palomino as their ‘similar’ model was of much lower quality in the frame and the soft sidewalls (in addition to Palomino’s bad rep in build quality). I also looked at Northstar … but they also had low quality soft sidewalls, heavy (1350# dry) and their shortest camper would overhang the back of the Tundra requiring me to get an expensive hitch extension. #4 i really like the soft walls on the Outfitter (much better than Four Wheel, Palomino and Northstar). I believe Outfitter uses the same as Phoenix.

    The other issue was Outfitter could get me the camper in time for my long trip February ’15 trip to FL, then LA, then CA and back to CO . Four Wheel usually has a 2-3 month wait. Hallmark over 1/2-year.

    Campers are not built to boat standards so all I look at make me unhappy (as a boat builder).

    Bob was OK to work with. I’ve not contacted him for any service (can do all I need to do in the boat shop). Don’t know if you know this – the owners of Outfitter & Hallmark are the same family (Bob owns Outfitter and Bill owns Hallmark) that ‘split’ because of internal ‘disputes’ on running the business (Hallmark). Bill runs a cleaner shop that Bob. I’ve read many good comments about Bill’s customer service v. more negative comments about Bob.

    Would I buy from Bob/Outfitter again … don’t know.

    One important consideration when getting a pop-up camper – storage. pop-ups don’t have a lot of storage. I was OK with this as the relative storage space, in comparison to my Romain’ Chariot and the boats, is slightly greater on the Outfitter. If storage is needed you need to get a hard-sided camper (and a truck that can handle the weight and high center of gravity).

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    • Dave, thanks for your insights.

      I like the floor plans of the Caribou Lite and the Hallmark Milner & Nepal. I have yet to find a negative comment on Hallmark, while with Outfitter I have found some forum posters who are “happy campers” and others who have had less than ideal experiences. I have also found mostly fave reviews on FWC and ATC. But I am not wild about the floor plans. The only way to get a cassette toilet on FWC is with their front dinette which I don’t prefer.

      Thinking about Northstar. What about the soft wall did you find of lesser quality? Do you suspect that it will not nod up to the rigor of many raise / lower cycles, or is it more about just thickness, or waterproofness?

      Thanks again,

      Neil

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  3. Pingback: More fun in Port Townsend and then home | Adventures in a truck slide-in pop-up camper

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