The Alaskan Camper: A History of Rugged Innovation

In the world of truck campers, there’s one name that stands out for its history of rugged innovation: the Alaskan Camper. In this article, we’ll take a journey through time to explore the fascinating story of how Alaskan Campers revolutionized the world of camper RVs, creating a camper that’s as tough as the Alaskan wilderness itself.

The Birth of Alaskan Campers

It all started in 1953 when R.D. Hall embarked on a three-month road trip to Alaska with a dream of crafting the perfect camper for his adventure. This journey laid the foundation for what would become Alaskan Campers. Hall’s vision was clear: a camper designed to conquer difficult terrains, provide shelter from the elements, and reduce wind resistance for improved gas mileage.

The hallmark of the Alaskan Camper was its innovative hydraulic system that allowed the camper’s top to be raised and lowered. When in camp, it provided ample standing space inside, but during travel, it seamlessly integrated with the truck cab, minimizing wind resistance. The phrase “It raises – It lowers” not only described this ingenious design but also embodied the company’s commitment to excellence.

Evolution of Alaskan Campers

In 1958, Alaskan Campers sold its first camper to the public, marking the beginning of a legacy that has endured for over six decades. These campers, with their hydraulically raised and lowered hard-sided roofs, set a new standard for durability and functionality. Over the years, as camper technology evolved, Alaskan Campers remained a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts.

What Sets Alaskan Campers Apart

So, what exactly makes an Alaskan Camper unique? These campers are renowned for their ruggedness and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. With sturdy, well-insulated walls, tight-sealing doors and windows, and the option to include essential amenities like stoves, refrigerators, heaters, and even cassette toilets, Alaskan Campers are self-sufficient and ideal for remote camping adventures.

While they may not be the lightest campers on the market due to their wood frame construction, they strike a balance between durability and weight. Various models have different dry weights, ranging from around 1,400 lbs to 2,000 lbs, so it’s essential to ensure your truck can handle the load.

Alaskan Camper Models

Alaskan Campers offers a diverse range of hard-sided pop-up models to suit various needs. They categorize their campers into two groups: cabover models and non-cabover models, all equipped with a hydraulic pop-up roof.

Cabover models come in lengths from 6.5 feet to 10 feet, catering to both short-bed and long-bed trucks. Most feature a dinette that converts into a bed behind the truck’s cab, with additional sleeping space above the cab in many models.

For those seeking a non-cabover option, Alaskan Campers offers 8-foot and 10-foot models with similar designs but without the space extending over the truck’s cab.

Year-Round Comfort and Efficiency

Unlike many truck campers that have adopted aluminum frames, Alaskan Campers continue to use wood frame construction. They argue that wood is more manageable, provides better insulation, offers equal durability, and is easier to repair. This choice sets them apart in terms of comfort and efficiency.

Four-Season Camping

Alaskan Campers are built to handle all four seasons. With features like spray insulation, two reversible MaxxAir vent fans, and a 20,000 BTU furnace included as standard equipment, these campers ensure you stay comfortable whether it’s the scorching heat of summer or the bitter cold of winter.

Furthermore, you have the option to customize your Alaskan Camper with a wide range of additional equipment to meet your specific needs.

Leak Prevention

While Alaskan Campers are renowned for their quality and durability, they, like any camper, can occasionally experience leaks. Most leaks result from poor maintenance, especially if seals around windows and doors are not well-maintained.

It’s essential to regularly inspect and maintain these seals, as well as the caulk or sealant around roof vents and skylights to ensure a leak-free camping experience.

Is an Alaskan Camper Worth It?

Ultimately, the decision to invest in an Alaskan Camper depends on your camping style and needs. If you’re looking for a compact truck camper for weekend getaways in the summer, an Alaskan Camper might be overkill. However, if you seek a genuine four-season truck camper that’s sturdy, well-insulated, and equipped with essential amenities, Alaskan Campers are hard to beat.

These campers are not only tough and resilient but also more fuel-efficient thanks to their hydraulically lowered hard-sided roof. So, if you’re ready to take on the most challenging terrains and weather conditions, an Alaskan Camper might just be your perfect adventure companion.


Truck Camper HQ Website moderator. Loves camping and especially love truck campers. If it has to do with a truck camper I want to know about it and share it with others.

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