I’m amazed each day at the number of folks that visit the blog looking for information about the Roamin’ Chariot camper. With the number of visitors it is sad that the builder closed in 2008/2009 as, in my opinion, many folks are interested in the product and maybe there remains a viable market them to go back into production. (wishful thinking right?)
I’ve owned the Roamin’ Chariot for 17 years and here I’ll outline why I like the camper so much:
- it is lightweight … important for a compact pickup
- it is simple … the only ‘high end system’ on the camper is a interior light and an exterior light by the door.
- being simple I can still use the camper to haul things. because there is only a small cabinet in the camper I can use the large open space like it is a topper.
- well built … overall the camper is solid. my guess is the camper has traveled over 180,000 miles. in its 17 years it has only been stored indoors for four years. for most of its years the camper has been on my truck ‘full time’. besides some dings caused when off-roading, many bugs on the forward end, one time the camper fell off the jackstands (only damage were some scrapes), and some rusting at the rear top latches i’ve had only a few problems: the interior light, starting about two years ago, will not work when the top is down (issue with the wire at the forward hinge); the thumb screws holding the rear canopy have rusted and no longer turn (one broke off when trying to turn); and the lifting mechanism came loose from the roof (aft end of the camper) about 10 years ago (i dropped by Roamin’ Chariot and they fixed it for free … and even when the lift mechanism was broken the roof opened & closed with little trouble). yes only three issues in 17 years (I’ve had more with the Outfitter Caribou Lite in the past eight months).
- an example on how well built: two years ago an a**hole broken into the camper when i was at a regatta in Monterey Bay, CA. The low-life tried to pull the rear door open putting a slight bend in the door’s frame … but the latch didn’t fail. the bottom-feeder then threw a rock through the rear door’s window to get into the camper.
- the roof has never leaked.
- good quality soft sidewalls. the sidewalls have little sign of wear, the screens are still good, and the zippers for the windows are like new. the windows don’t leak water when closed or when the top is down and driving through a driving rain (the windows on the Caribou Lite leak in heavy rain (top up) and when driving into heavy rain (top down) … I’ll discuss this issue in a future blog post.
Looking through my photo albums I found a picture of the first Roamin’ Chariot I remember seeing back in Fall 1991 –
Eight years later (1999) I was back at the location, Adventure Dynamics (located NW of Spokane, WA), doing team building exercises with a group of students. The owner of the camp, the same guy from back in ’91, was leading our group and I asked him about the camper … he stated ‘yeah, that was mine. I loved it and wish I still had it.’