Lance Camper Max 1181

December 1, 2005
Filed under RV & Trailer Reviews

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Lance has been in the business of building slide-in truck campers for more than 40 years and has been quite successful for two main reasons: The company has never lost focus on its primary product to drift off into other types of RVs, and Lance offers a wide variety of products to suit every outdoor enthusiast’s needs. Today, more than a dozen models are available, ranging from eight-foot to 11-foot floorplans.

Top of the line is the Lance Max 1181. New for 2005, but updated with new features for 2006, the Max 1181 is highlighted by its generous dry bath space and furnishings on the passenger’s side of the camper; extra large, L-shaped kitchen with top-notch appliances; sizable pantry for storing an expedition’s worth of dry or canned food stuffs; increased counter space for food preparation and serving; and a full-wall, roadside slideout that carries a convertible dinette and a deluxe double-door refrigerator.

We spent some time in the new 1181 and found it to be spacious and accommodating. To begin with, the head occupies close to one-quarter of the Lance truck camper’s floor space (excluding the found room that the slideout creates). Within that huge and fully appointed bathroom is a fresh-water flush toilet, medicine cabinet with a mirrored door, towel bar, ceiling-mounted exhaust vent with an electric fan, large oval sink with faucet, linen storage underneath the sink cabinet, removable clothes bar in the shower stall, and a large skylight over the shower.

Unlike so many smaller truck campers (and even some large units with less attention paid to the head), the Lance 1181 offers a bathroom facility with a shower that has room for me (6 feet, 2 inches tall) to stand up in, and enough space in the head compartment to get dressed and take care of bathroom chores without feeling like Houdini trapped in a trunk.

The entire passenger-side rear quarter of the floorplan is dedicated to the kitchen. With lots of working space for food preparation and service, the galley also sported appliances such as a six-cubic-foot, three-way power mode refrigerator (located opposite the galley in the slideout); three-burner range-top and gas oven with piezo-electric igniter for matchless operation; and a microwave oven mounted above the range.

In addition to these kitchen mainstays, the galley provided a white double-basin sink with home-style mixer faucet, a sink cover/cutting board, a spice-bottle rack, and a flip-up counter top extender. Even the pantry forward of the stove provides some additional countertop space. Oodles of cabinet storage throughout the galley, and the voluminous refrigerator, allow owners to carry a week’s worth of consumables aboard the Lance 1181.

Living aboard the Lance 1181 was a breeze. Its full-wall slideout carries the refrigerator and the dinette, and brings considerably more room to the camper’s interior when deployed. The new convertible dinette design provided a sumptuously comfortable seating platform with supportive upholstery covered in rich leather, and a unique and simple solution to the dinette-seat access problem. The dinette table stands on a J-shaped post that rotates, allowing the tabletop to be turned outward and away from the seating to provide easy entry and egress.

Sleeping quarters range from the well-appointed (LCD TV, lots of cabinets, inner spring mattress) queen-size bedroom in the cabover to the plush converted dinette (sleeping space for two children or one small adult) to the optional swing-down single bunk (room for a child) above the dinette.

Aside from these wonderful creature comforts and accommodations, the Lance 1181 is also superbly functional. A four-foot-long, subfloor pull-out storage tray slides out of the rear (directly beneath the door) of the camper, making access easy. We loved the remote-controlled electric jack stands for easy leveling once in camp. Furnace heat is ducted to all rooms including the bathroom. And the 1181 camper’s rear outer utility bays (filled with water tank and other facility controls) have a pass-through storage tray running the entire width of the camper body.

Spacious living quarters, sleeping arrangements for up to five persons, a well-appointed galley, and a head that compares well to those found in much larger RVs are all available in the 2006 Lance Max 1181 slide-in truck camper.

>> Major Standard Features. Sliding pass-through window, roof ladder, all wooden drawers with metal guides, mini-blinds in galley, one-piece TPO roof, welded aluminum framing throughout, 45-amp converter, 25-foot camp power cable, three-way refrigerator, forced-air furnace, three-burner range, six-gallon water heater, enclosed and heated water tanks.

>> Major Optional Features. Side and rear door awnings, Yakima roof rack system, 13,500-BTU air conditioner, satellite TV dish, folding bunk bead, LPG-fueled genset, 50-watt solar panel, gas oven, microwave oven, color rear-view camera with in-cab monitor.

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