$325K TruckHouse Tacoma carbon camper explores Earth in all its glory
With visions of bringing back the rugged reliability of the Toyota Sunrader 4x4 campers of decades' past, Nevada startup TruckHouse started off 2021 by announcing its plan to build the carbon fiber monocoque-based BCT all-terrain motorhome. At the time, it had only nice, polished renderings and a few close-up teasers to show, but now it's touring the adventure and overland show circuit with a fully built rig. The 4x4 mini-RV combines the off-roadability of an upgraded Toyota Tacoma TRD, the light, tough performance of carbon fiber, and the comfort of a thoughtfully appointed mobile mini-home.
With its modern dimensions and double cab, the TruckHouse BCT isn't quite as brilliantly compact as the much-loved 18-foot (5.5-m)-long Sunrader 4x4. But its 21.9 feet (6.7 meters) are definitely distributed in a more flattering way than on the 21-foot (6.4-m) Sunraders of yore. That's due in no small part to the more muscular stance of the Tacoma TRD and the 11 inches (28 cm) of ground clearance below. The available double cab also brings some nice, comfortable stretch for whisking the whole family away on an on-/off-road trip of epic proportions.
TruckHouse performs some upgrades around the Tacoma itself, but the real beauty of its work lies on top of the pickup chassis. The carbon fiber monocoque module arrives after a vacuum infusion process, bringing along the superior strength and low weight for which carbon is prized. The wraparound array of dual-pane safari-style windows lets sunlight flood over top the stainless steel fixtures and wood trim throughout, warming the space and ensuring it never feels closed off from the surrounding scenery.
Truckhouse makes the most of the space inside by hoisting the primary queen-size mattress up in the alcove. The wet bathroom stands right behind the alcove for convenient wee-hour access. At the opposite end, the rear dinette and its wraparound bench convert over into a full-size bed to sleep another one or two adults.
The kitchen occupies both sides of the aisle in front of the dining lounge. It comes generously equipped with an oven and microwave in addition to the usual dual-burner cooktop, stainless steel sink and fridge. The latter is a marine-style stainless steel-faced dual-drawer fridge/freezer combo. A filtered water tap beside the main kitchen faucet pours clean-tasting drinking water.
The interior stands at 6.3 feet (1.9 m), offering ample height for average-sized American men and women. It includes a pass-through to the Tacoma cab for more convenient back-and-forth.
TruckHouse offers various equipment package levels for specific systems and component groupings. For instance, the base-level Stage I electrical package pairs a 240-Ah lithium battery with a 400-W solar panel setup, while the Stage II package ups that to 540 amp-hours of lithium and 600 watts of solar. Onboard heating and hot water come standard, but those looking for heated floors, air conditioning, upgraded insulation, and heated fresh and gray water tanks will need to move up to the Stage II "Severe Weather" package.
The most comprehensive stage differentiation comes in the mechanical upgrade category, with the Stage I kit bringing on a custom 9-in fully fabricated rear axle, upgraded rear suspension and chassis reinforcement to handle the extra weight the motorhome; a long-travel front suspension; 33-in tires; 4.88 gearing; and a dual-swing rear bumper. By the time you move up to the Stage III package, you're looking at 35-in tires, secondary bypass shocks up front, 5.29 gearing, upgraded front and rear differential lockers, an auxiliary air compressor, a snorkel and other off-road-centric goodies, all in addition to the chassis reinforcement package.
Using price as a guide, TruckHouse clearly isn't interested in clogging up forest roads and trails with long lines of BCT camper rigs, starting it off at a cool $325,000 for a Stage I model built atop the 278-hp Tacoma TRD Sport Access Cab. That price is up from the $285,000 introductory special pricing TruckHouse put on offer earlier this year.
Perhaps TruckHouse will introduce a more affordable, fiberglass (or perhaps flax-composite)-shelled model in the future, but as it is, the BCT prices in between HD pickup-based offerings like the new EarthCruiser Terranova and the Earthroamer XV-LTS. We'd love a simpler, more affordable Tacoma-back all-terrain camper, but we can't argue with how nicely TruckHouse has put the BCT together, inside, outside, underneath and everywhere in between.
TruckHouse gave the BCT an official showing at last month's Overland Expo Mountain West (Colorado) show and plans to be at Adventure Van Expo Lake Tahoe this weekend and Overland Expo West (Arizona) next week.