Outpost camper pickup offers turnkey overland adventure under $40K
Overlanding continues to grow and attract interest, but the prices of adventure rigs and equipment can be downright prohibitive. Washington state's Caravan Outfitter takes a break from launching compact, affordable camper vans and sub-$40,000 mini-campers to offer an intriguing overland solution: a turnkey adventure truck that costs less than many regular pickup trucks or SUVs. It focuses its work on the Nissan Frontier, building up the midsize pickup for off-roading and overnight camping. After paying less than US$40,000 for the fully prepped truck, buyers can be overlanding the day they drive off the lot, no getting weighed down with aftermarket upgrades or DIY work.
The good news is that a straightforward, affordable overland truck is available. The bad news is that Caravan Outfitter's Outpost is based on the 2021 Nissan Frontier, a truck platform that's been positively begging for an overhaul for years and will finally get one ... for the 2022 model year. So buyers will be committing to an aged pickup model that saw its 2020 US sales cut down to under 37,000, just over half of 2019's number. Still, the Outpost looks like a slick intro-to-overlanding package for those who don't have the money for a six-figure adventure van or the time or energy to spend building out their own overland rig.
More specifically, Caravan Outfitter builds the Outpost on a new 2021 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab with 310-hp 3.8-liter V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission. It throws in the Midnight Edition 4x4 package, which brings not only four-wheel drive but also upgrades like step-on rock rails, a bed extender, tow package, remote keyless entry and four-wheel vented disc brakes.
To transform the Frontier Midnight 4x4 into a proper overlander, Caravan Outfitter plants a two-person iKamper Skycamp Mini atop a Yakima bed rack system. It straps a pair of recovery boards on the included Yakima side rails and wraps the black-out 18-in alloy wheels below in all-terrain tires.
Outpost owners will have to pack their own cooking equipment and camping supplies, as the truck doesn't come with any type of kitchen, but Caravan Outfitter will throw in a 45-quart (43-L) Yeti Tundra cooler for those who preorder in time. The complete truck prices in at $39,894 before taxes, documentation and title fees. Caravan Outfitter also currently lists its 2020 Frontier-based demo model for just under $38,000.
Since the Outpost relies on off-the-shelf components, as opposed to something like a house-developed camper conversion package, it's easy to see how it compares to buying a new Frontier and putting together the same overland package for it. Bear in mind that you could probably find a better deal on the elderly Frontier, but going by MSRP, the Frontier Crew Cab Midnight Edition 4x4 wears a price tag of $35,530, after shipping. The iKamper Skycamp Mini retails for $3,500, and Yakima's cheapest truck bed rack, the OutPost (sounds familiar), runs roughly $1,000 for the towers, crossbars and side bars. So those puzzle pieces alone get you up over $40K, before adding on the $300 cooler, the traction boards, the custom-embroidered leather interior and other bits.
The Outpost seems like a solid turnkey option that'll get the buyer out into the wilderness immediately after drive-away. It becomes an even better option if said buyer can buy one without the long lead times and backorders plaguing other RV products and accessories that he or she might be considering. For example, even simple items like vehicle racks have been more difficult to find over the past year – many of the Yakima OutPost components were listed as out of stock when we looked up pricing today on Yakima.com.
Caravan Outfitter also offers Outpost test drives from its two Campbell Nissan dealerships and plans to offer rentals, as well. The dealerships are located in Edmonds and Everett, Washington.
Source: Caravan Outfitter