Outdoors

High-rise electric pickup camper houses adventurers and accoutrements

High-rise electric pickup camp...
With the ability to hold up to 300 lb with its roof open, the Hower Base Camp ensures that owners don't have to unload gear when they don't want to
With the ability to hold up to 300 lb with its roof open, the Hower Base Camp ensures that owners don't have to unload gear when they don't want to
View 10 Images
After exploring corner actuators with its second prototype, Hower goes with a beefy scissor lift on its production Base Camp
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After exploring corner actuators with its second prototype, Hower goes with a beefy scissor lift on its production Base Camp
With its electric-lift design, the Base Camp pops to life with minimal effort
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With its electric-lift design, the Base Camp pops to life with minimal effort
The Base Camp is built as a light, hassle-free adventure shelter
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The Base Camp is built as a light, hassle-free adventure shelter
Carry gear, cargo boxes, luggage or whatever else you need atop the Hower Base Camp
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Carry gear, cargo boxes, luggage or whatever else you need atop the Hower Base Camp
Outside of a two-person mattress and some electrical equipment, the Hower Base Camp comes empty inside, letting buyers build out a camper interior or simply use their pickup bed for storage
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Outside of a two-person mattress and some electrical equipment, the Hower Base Camp comes empty inside, letting buyers build out a camper interior or simply use their pickup bed for storage
With the ability to hold up to 300 lb with its roof open, the Hower Base Camp ensures that owners don't have to unload gear when they don't want to
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With the ability to hold up to 300 lb with its roof open, the Hower Base Camp ensures that owners don't have to unload gear when they don't want to
Making base camp with the Base Camp
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Making base camp with the Base Camp
Find a scenic pull-off and create a cozy overnight camp
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Find a scenic pull-off and create a cozy overnight camp
Hower offers buyers customization options, including kitchen build-outs
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Hower offers buyers customization options, including kitchen build-outs
Hower shows its high-popping aluminum-skinned wood pickup camper prototype at Overland Expo 2019
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Hower shows its high-popping aluminum-skinned wood pickup camper prototype at Overland Expo 2019
View gallery - 10 images

At Overland Expo West 2019, we spent some time looking over a high-lifting pickup topper from Oregonian startup Hower Overland. The model stood out from the pack due to its towering height, rough prototype construction and snorkel-breathing two-door Land Rover Defender pickup base. Two years later, the Hower Built Base Camp still stands out for its height but is now a polished any-pickup camper capable of sleeping two people and holding up to 300 pounds of gear on its electric-lift roof. It seems a natural fit for adventurers who chase every last sliver of daylight before pulling off the dirt track for some shut-eye and starting all over again at first light.

The model that we looked over at OX 2019 was Hower's second prototype, a larger alcove version of its original boxy wood pop-up that didn't extend over the driver's cab. Hower explored corner lifts with that second prototype before ultimately going back to a scissor lift system. The electric lift is wired to an included 100-Ah lithium battery, providing fast, effortless setup.

Hower shows its high-popping aluminum-skinned wood pickup camper prototype at Overland Expo 2019
Hower shows its high-popping aluminum-skinned wood pickup camper prototype at Overland Expo 2019

The Base Camp is a pickup topper, not a fully enclosed camper, so it secures to the bed rails and keeps the pickup bed largely open and available for storing things like camping and sports gear, coolers or slide-out kitchen equipment. The full-width double doors pictured create a wide entry for loading, and Hower also offers alternative rear door options for those who want to keep the truck tailgate in place.

Step inside, and the high-rising Base Camp roof provides 6.4 ft (195 cm) of standing height. The sleeping platform inside the UV-resistant waterproof-breathable tent canvas comes topped with a 3-inch-thick (7.6-cm) mattress. Since the Base Camp relies on a battery for roof operation (a manual version is not offered), it comes standard with a basic electrical system with LED lights and interior 12V and USB outlets. It's also prewired for solar.

With its electric-lift design, the Base Camp pops to life with minimal effort
With its electric-lift design, the Base Camp pops to life with minimal effort

The Base Camp's 300-lb (136-kg) rooftop weight capacity separates it from other pickup toppers that offer lesser capacities or no option for loading gear on the roof. For example, both the Atlas and Summit toppers from AT Overland are limited to 100 lb (45 kg) of gear when open. The Go Fast Camper handles 75 lb (34 kg) when popped.

Hower's higher weight capacity gives owners more leeway in loading things down and opening the roof up without having to remove anything. Pull into a primitive camping spot after dark and be in bed in minutes rather than fussing around unloading gear and cargo. Or, if you do unload that gear and cargo, you can use the popped roof like a lookout deck, as 300 lb is more than enough to support an average-sized person and maybe two people.

Unlike manufacturers that build pickup toppers for specific trucks, Hower says it will custom-build the Base Camp for most pickup makes and models, including upcoming electric pickups, which will allow it to wire the electric lift system directly to the truck battery. Dimensions and weights will vary accordingly, but Hower lists base weight at 400 lb (181 kg), a little heavier than the 300 and change of some other toppers but less than half of what you'd have with some of the lightest complete pickup campers out there. Hower builds the Base Camp with composite panels atop an aluminum frame.

Hower offers buyers customization options, including kitchen build-outs
Hower offers buyers customization options, including kitchen build-outs

The Base Camp starts at US$13,000, and Hower offers additional add-ons including kitchen build-outs and solar panels. It is currently developing a flatbed camper and also specializes in camper van interiors.

Source: Hower Built

View gallery - 10 images
2 comments
2 comments
BlueOak
All those photos and not a single from inside? How is the over cab portion laid out?
guzmanchinky
I gotta say, having a 4x4 van with an indoor shower (and a motorcycle or electric mountain bike) is the best camping you can do. This looks like it could go further off road and into smaller roads.