RV Review: Lance Camper 1191
June 10, 2011
Filed under RV & Trailer Reviews
Truck campers come in all sizes, ranging from compact units with just a few modern conveniences and enough room to sleep to structures that rival small luxury apartments in their accommodations and creature comforts. The Lance 1191 we spent some time with was much closer to the latter end of this range of camper classification.
At an overall length of 20 feet 2 inches, the Lance 1191 is the largest truck camper the company builds and is designed for 350/3500 and larger pickup trucks. Its dry weight, according to the factory specifications, is 3,683 pounds. Taking into consideration that dry weight is calculated with no options, and this unit was loaded with options, filled with about 20 gallons of freshwater and a fridge full of food, we guessed it tipped the scales at well over 4,000 pounds.
The unit we tested was strapped to a 2011 Ford F-450 Crew Cab DRW four-wheel-drive pickup powered by the all-new and awesomely powerful 6.7-liter V-8 turbodiesel. There was little problem getting the two tons of camper moving. The suspension system of the F-450 didn’t need any upgrades to handle the camper, and the hefty load felt secure and stable under all the driving conditions and terrain we encountered, including the moderate winds blowing across California’s high deserts that weekend.
We could go on about the comfort and ease of driving, all the data delivered by the driver information system, the secure handling ability of the 2011 Ford F-450 with the Lance Camper 1191 riding piggyback and what a perfect match they were, but this is supposed to be about the camper.
Parking and getting the Lance settled into place was no trouble at all. Even as big as the Lance 1191 and the Ford F-450 combined seemed, the setup wasn’t really that large (about 28 feet) and was much more maneuverable than any mini-motorhome its size. And the new hand-held remote-control system for the electric camper jacks made the finishing touches a breeze. The jacks could be retracted or extended all at once or one at a time. Best of all, the same hand-held remote operated the slideout.
As with all new Lance campers, a system of interlocking aluminum extrusions bond the exterior panels of the 1191 together into a sturdy unified structure. The company calls this proprietary construction process LanceLock. High-pressure laminated Filon fiberglass exterior walls and panels are made with frames of precision-welded .060-inch wall aircraft-grade aluminum. Insulation throughout is made from solid high-density block foam. Seamless TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roof material is used to top off and seal the structure.
Stepping up into the Lance 1191 you immediately find a bonus. There is a large sliding storage drawer located in the stairwell that’s perfect for tools and outdoor equipment. Inside the Lance 1191 we found spacious living quarters — it was, after all, a slideout model with an interior floor length that stretched nearly 12 feet. This side-entry camper offered a rear streetside bath, streetside convertible dinette slide, curbside galley and roomy cabover filled with a queen-size innerspring mattress. An optional fold-down tent on the back wall and a bunk bed option for the convertible dinette slide can bring the sleeping capacity of the Lance 1191 up to seven people.
The dry bath offered a curtained shower that could easily accommodate my 6-foot-2-inch frame standing, a flush toilet, a cabinet and countertop with a small sink, a medicine cabinet with a mirrored door, a dual-pane skylight, a towel rod, a power vent and a mirror on the back of the bathroom door. It offered a furnace duct and was warm and toasty at night. Hot morning showers were no trouble either, as the water heater worked like a charm, firing up quickly, and the water pressure was good and steady even when running on 12-volt power. Overall, it was a fairly well-appointed and sized bathroom for a truck camper.
Cooking or leisure time spent in the Lance 1191 was a pleasure. Among its many attributes, the galley offered a three-burner high-output range with a 16-inch oven, as well as the optional 900-watt microwave. We were dry camping, so we only took advantage of the microwave (or any other 120-volt appliances such as hair dryers or toasters for that matter) by firing up the optional 2,500-watt Onan generator on rare occasion. The double galley sink featured a high-spout faucet, which made it easier to get large pots under the tap. There was plenty of storage space in the drawers and the cabinets above and below the galley counter. Occupying the remainder of the galley area was the very convenient optional slide-out pantry that provided a sizeable amount of storage, and the huge (6-cubic-foot) standard three-way power refrigerator/freezer that held enough to feed a small army and kept it all cold and fresh.
A flip-up counter in the stairwell at the aft end of the galley and the cutting board that filled the right-hand sink helped out with what would have been only moderate food-prep space, if it were not for the dinette table directly across the wide aisle.
The U-shaped convertible dinette was large, with a broad expanse of tabletop, and was capable of seating four quite comfortably for dining or entertaining. There was also ample storage space underneath the dinette seats. The window featured a sliding vent and day/night shades, and from that high perch, offered an eagle’s-eye view from the camper’s streetside. It was a perfect place to relax and watch the blush of the sunset across the desert hills. The reversible cushions were thick and firm and made excellent seating surfaces. Converted to a bed, the 72×51-inch surface would be good for adults or teens.
Far forward was the cabover and a generously sized and comfortable queen innerspring mattress with a pillow top. A broad access step between the camper floor and the cabover section made entry and egress easy and secure, and an accordion-style privacy curtain could be used to close off the section. Sliding windows with blackout shades were on each side of the cabover, and a row of storage cabinets ran above the streetside window. A medium-size storage cubby sat in the far forward lower corner. A storage rack stretched across the front roofline bridging the two sides, and a large cabinet stood upright in the far forward curbside corner. Standing on the other side of the curbside cabover window was a fairly decent-sized, mirrored sliding-double-door wardrobe. There was certainly no lack of storage for clothing and bedding in this area of the camper. Hanging on a swing-out arm next to the wardrobe was an optional flat-screen DVD TV system.
The overhead escape hatch/skylight in the cabover was large, and incorporated a dual perforated shade/blackout screen. We could partially pop it open and stargaze at night when we chose to, although that didn’t last long, as it was below freezing both nights. The Lance’s furnace, with ducts in every room, worked to perfection at night to regulate the interior temperature of the Lance 1191, keeping us cozy even though the surrounding hills were dusted with snow.
We do wish the thermostat had been located next to the cabover, rather than all the way at the other end of the camper by the bathroom. But that’s easily forgivable considering that the fridge was located within arm’s reach of the cabover. The fact that a midnight snack was easily had while watching a late-night movie in bed was just one of the many things we quickly came to like about the Lance 1191.
Major Standard Features:
Aluminum-framed floor, bed, walls and ceiling; block foam insulation; laminated Filon fiberglass exterior; one-piece TPO roof; electric camper jacks; 6-gallon DSI water heater; enclosed, insulated and heated water tank; three-burner range with oven; molded-in double galley sink with high spout faucet; 20,000-BTU furnace; two 7-gallon LPG tanks; 6-cubic-foot, three-way refrigerator; flush toilet; dry bath; queen-size innerspring mattress; fluorescent and incandescent lighting; and wireless remote camper jack and slideout control.
Major Optional Features:
Fold-down tent bed; slideout pantry; microwave oven; insulated LPG and battery compartments; cabover twin beds; bunk bed over dinette; 2,500-watt generator; AM/FM/CD stereo; 12-volt TV with DVD system; satellite dish; Fan-Tastic roof vent; Coleman A/C ceiling unit; 85-watt solar panel system; backup camera with monitor.
LANCE CAMPER 1191
Base Price: $30,450
Int. Floor Length: 11′ 11″
Int. Height: 6′ 8″ (w/o int. A/C)
Cabover Int. Headroom: 3′ 8″
Ext. Width: 8′ 0″
Overall Ext. Height: 9′ 5″
Exterior Length: 20′ 2″
Dry Weight: 3,683 lbs.
Freshwater Cap: 35 gals.
Gray-Water Cap: 35 gals.
Black-Water Cap.: 35 gals.
LPG Cap: (2) 7 gals.
Furnace: 20,000 BTU
Sleeping Cap: Up to 7