Second look at Titan Fun with the
Outfitter Popup Camper
Here it comes like an Abrams
tank with great ground clearance and important body parts like the transfer
case and transmission, tucked above the bottom of the frame, so you can climb off-road to the best
camping spots. My first review was at the media launch in California last
time it's me and the Titan alone off exploring. Since the Titan is a 1/2
ton, I wanted to try a camper that would be at capacity. This was easy, as
one of the best popup campers are built here in Colorado, from
Nissan's Titan, in it's first
year ever in the full size truck market, has a lot of folks watching. Some
want it to fail and some are glad to see the companies that bring them
dependable Japanese cars, do the same for full size trucks. The way I see it
is competition improves our lives. I remember the gas guzzling boats we
drove in the seventies, that improved when Japanese car competition caused
fuel economy to improve in all cars. And why not 5 full size truck brands.
There are over 100 horse trailer brands, over 50 car brands, and at least 50
RV trailer brands, so why be so limited on truck choices? Pickup truck
diesels has gotten very competitive since 2001, and improvements have sped
up because of that competition.
So now that you have an open
mind to possibilities, test drive one of these Titan's and try not to "burn
rubber". They do have spunk and the torque feels more like the muscle car
you had in high school. The only engine option gives you 305 horsepower
along with 379 torque. Titan is making an impact as you will see it
badmouthed often in Ford, GM, Dodge message boards. Though the Titan is
built in Mississippi, creating jobs in the US, Nissan being a foreign
company rubs some folks the wrong way. But when the US truck manufactures
moved many truck plants and parts plants to Mexico, taking away US jobs, it
didn't seem to cause the same concerns. Truck folks are very
brand loyal just like with tractors. My family is that way too. My grand
father had Fords, my uncles had Fords and my dad had Fords, then the only
new truck he bought was a GMC. I'm owned them all, and sold all the truck
brands. So I've leaned to have an open mind. And then there's religion and
The Titan has great visibility
and room for your cowboy hat with the A-pillar (windshield frame) far enough
away. That's one of the reasons we buy big trucks is all the room. Not all
full-size trucks pass the hat test. I drove the XE Titan model, the base
work truck model in the King Cab version which only comes in the 6'6" bed.
This truck had the 40/20/40 bench seat, so I had room for 6 people. With the
large folding center console, that I needed for my desk, the split bench is
my favorite. The rear seat is a 60/40 bench that folds up for more inside
storage. The overhead console is long, almost reaching glass to glass. Along
with the deep pockets in the doors, you can put away all the junk we usually
pile on the dash and under the seats. When you think about it, all the junk
we leave on the dash and floor will be flying back at us in an accident.
That's cab cargo management, then Nissan is ahead of the curve with bed
cargo management. With optional driver side toolbox, bed floor and bed rail
channels all for securing cargo. A feature that really separates the
Titan is the King Cab rear doors. They open opposite the front doors like
the Ford Super Cab and GM Extended Cab, but they really open. These special
doors are double hinged and almost open 180 degrees, so you can get past the
open door in a parking lot.
The XE Titan has a standard
5-speed automatic transmission with the steering console shift lever having a toggle
switch for manual shifting. This feature is ideal for managing a trailer
down the big hills here in Colorado. The Titan fit's me with seat and
steering wheel setup high like a truck should be.
The truck I reviewed had the
optional Off road package, with P285/70R17 B.F. Goodrich Rugged Trail OWL
Tires, Rancho shocks, fog lights, lower axle ratio, tow hooks, and skid plates.
A nice package and even a door on the skid plate for accessing the oil
filter. The Titan has excellent clearance, with a clean underbelly protected
by the frame. Good for off-roading (coyote herding).
Colorado Built Outfitter
I've taken notice of Outfitters
Popup Campers at the winter RV shows. The first thing that caught my eye on
the Outfitter Apex camper, is the large rear door. Most of the popup campers
have a doll house door that you have to crawl threw. But the Outfitter Apex
has a full-size door you see on solid side campers. The Nissan Titan is
surprisingly an easy truck to fit a camper to. The bed dimensions are very
similar to the Ford F150 short bed 2003 and older, also the Ford Heritage 04
model. The Titan King Cab 6'6" bed with a 1508# payload as with most 1/2
tons, just fits the Outfitter Apex 8, with a 1300# dry weight. With a
completely stock Titan, loaded with the Apex, the truck was basically level
loaded. The majority of 1/2 ton trucks need aftermarket overload springs or
air bags for a camper to be level. I had to take the Titan's tailgate off to fit the
Apex 8, which was no problem as the tailgate has a slotted hinge and quick
release cables needing no tools. Driving down I-25, on a typical windy day,
the Outfitter and Titan swayed little from side wind on the low profile
I took the rig off-road on some
trails around a lake. The Titans grab handles came in handy as I parked at
different angles in creek beds to admire the great clearance under the truck
as well as take pictures of the sharp looking camper. This would be a nice
combination for duck or pheasant hunting or any outside adventure. That's
one of the advantage of a slide in camper, you can still pull a horse
trailer, boat or motorcycle trailer as a compact unit and with a light
aluminum framed popup like Outfitter, you have a full-sized camper. When
determining your payload and trailer capacity, don't forget to add the
weight of people, water, propane etc. and the trailer tongue weight.
Outfitter Manufacturing, has an
unusually amount of history behind it as Brian Ward is the third generation
camper builder. His grandfather founded Hallmark Campers and was
instrumental in many camper companies in Colorado. This family business hand
builds over 100 campers a year in the factory near Longmont. After the large
entrance door caught my eye, the next impressive characteristic is the
quality. Top components make the look. The frame is aluminum, the walls are
thick foamboard-insulated vacuum bonded flat fiberglass and the crowned roof
is a one piece rubber Patrick 2000 designed to withstand hailstorms. The
Weblon softwalls are double stitched and insulated. And an RV industry
first: basement capacity. Just like the campers made in the North part of
North America. Having a basement allows more water capacity and it doesn't
freeze. Then having that extra weight on the bottom lowers the center of
gravity, a good thing for camper stability.
Outfitter is made for enjoying
the great outdoors but lets you keep all the convinces, like a full bathroom
with standup shower, toilet and sink. You will find the higher quality
components inside as well with a marine grade porcelain toilet, Shurflo
electric water pump, 3 way insulated refrigerator, Polar Aire ventilation
system, 3 burner high-output stove with Piezo ignition, oak cabinet
doors, and the largest cab over sleeping area with a Queen size 60"x80" mattress.
Here is the optional dual pane European windows
with screens. They swing out with struts.
2004 Nissan Titan 4x4 XE
2004 Outfitter Apex 8
|MSRP: $28,470 with optional
Off-road package, $1000, Preferred package, $650, Rear Privacy Glass,
$110, Bedliner $320, Non sliding bed extender, $240
||Base List Price: $15,695
|EPA MPG 14 city 18 highway
0-60 time 9.8 seconds at 4830 ft above
sea level, 69 degrees F
|Standard on Apex 8, not mentioned above.
|Limited Warranty includes
36 month/36,000 mile coverage, and 5 year/60,000 mile limited powertrain
|Solar Reflective windows, 3'-3 way
insulated refrigerator, 20k BTU electronic ignition furnace, Polar Aire
ventilation system, Insulated 32 gallon fresh water tank, Insulated 16
gallon each black and grey water tanks, City water hook-up, outside
shower, shower stall enclosure with sink, electronic ignition 6 gallon
water heater, 30 AMP converter with trickle charge, under bed storage,
LPG & carbon monoxide detectors, camper anchor tiedowns, 4 corner jacks,
20# LPG bottle with gauge and much more.
Warranty: 10 year on exterior with 1 year
bumper to bumper. Unlimited structural warranty to the original owner.
For more details visit
www.outfittermfg.com/ Brian Ward Ph.
Come by for a visit at
Copyright 2004 H. Kent Sundling. All rights reserved
including digital rights.