Scout pickup camper creates flexible indoor/outdoor base camp

One of the overwhelming themes of the 2019 RVX show was the American RV market prying itself out of the past and evolving to meet the demands of a younger, more active demographic. This year's show was canceled even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit US shores, but that hasn't stopped sleek, new camper designs from moving forward. The Scout Olympic becomes the latest, a pickup camper with more modern looks and a set of off-the-shelf plug-and-play camping equipment that erases the divide between inside and out.

The wheels of change have been spinning slowly but steadily in the pickup camper market, heavy, ungainly outdated campers from the past now joined by a new generation of modern, lightweight designs. Newcomers include fully enclosed campers like the EarthCruiser GZL and Kimbo and the lighter topper branch of truck campers, like the recently launched Hiatus Camper and the Go Fast Camper.

Washington's Adventurer Manufacturing launches the Scout brand to keep those wheels moving with a more contemporary spin on hard-roof alcove truck campers, designs better suited to the adventurous millennial buyers who are taking the driver's seat in the RV market. And that's not an easy nut to crack. Most modernized pickup campers maintain a sleek, lightweight profile by leaning on pop-top design. Hard-roof alcove campers are large, top-heavy and unsightly by definition.

Scout doesn't exactly escape the big, top-heavy fate all together, but it does move away from the blinding white shells that dominate the industry, launching the Olympic in a subtler earthy gray. It also keeps the camper's dimensions largely within the footprint of the pickup bed, preventing it from spilling way out over the sidewalls or rear bumper. The front roof drop isn't exactly a Pininfarina-smooth styling cue, but it suggests Scout at least considered the exterior view when sculpting it.

Thanks to the inherent ruggedness of its base vehicle, a truck camper is a great option for escaping densely packed campgrounds in favor of primitive campsites with nary a neighbor for tens of miles. Chances are someone going to those lengths wants to spend time enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors, not crammed into a wheeled micro dwelling. So instead of bolting all the camper equipment down inside the Olympic's walls, Scout reaches for portable camping gear to use both indoors and out.

In place of a full-time kitchen block with fixed equipment, Scout breaks its kitchen into a flex space anchored by a driver's side cabinet with worktop. The surface also includes a rectangular stainless steel sink basin with countertop-matching lid below a 20-L LifeSaver Jerrycan hanging on the wall next to it. The water canister has a sprayer with hose to serve as the faucet, and the sink drains directly outside.

Scout pickup camper creates flexible indoor/outdoor base camp

LifeSaver's Jerrycans are designed around water purification capabilities (bacteria, cysts and viruses), as we've looked at in the past. They make an excellent off-grid water storage solution, allowing campers to fill up at rivers and lakes along the way and filter the water right out of the container.

That's it for standard kitchen equipment, but an optional dual-burner stove can be used atop the counter. The Dometic brand is better known for inbuilt RV stoves, but Scout selects a portable model that easily picks up and cooks outside. The available slide-out worktop on the camper rear wall provides an outdoor surface on which to cook and prep.

Completing the flex kitchen is an optional 75-L Dometic CFX3 fridge/freezer that stores across from the kitchen counter. The cooler box-style electric fridge also easily removes for outdoor use. It doesn't even need to stay tethered to the vehicle thanks to the portable Goal Zero Yeti 1000 lithium power station that serves as the Olympic's battery. The Yeti 1000 packs 96.8 Ah/1,045 Wh of lithium battery capacity, which is about what you'd expect from a typical small-RV AGM battery. It also includes an integrated inverter and 110-V, 12-V and USB outlets. The Olympic packs the Yeti as standard along with a 160-W solar panel on the roof.

Back inside, the front half of the Olympic camper gets filled out by an alcove double bed and a four-person dinette that converts over to a second double bed. Need more sleeping space? The available Roost hardshell roof-top tent with integrated hatch access from the Olympic interior ups total sleeping capacity to six.

Other standard features include a solar porch light with motion sensor, a vented propane compartment with dual 5-lb tanks, LED ceiling strips, a 142-L storage locker, a moon roof with screen, a solar-powered vent, and even a bottle opener secured to the wall. Available options include a Dickinson Marine Newport propane fireplace that warms the cabin with a tiny indoor campfire, a 270-degree Rhino Rack Batwing awning, a portable toilet, and Rotopax water canisters.

The standard Olympic weighs 1,133 lb (514 kg), according to Scout's spec sheet, which is on the lightweight end of the four-sleeper pickup camper segment. It's built from gel-coat fiberglass and composite with aluminum exoskeleton framing.

Olympic pricing starts at US$19,980 before optional add-ons. Interested buyers can register with Scout for preorder information. The company plans to follow up the midsize Olympic with smaller and larger pickup camper models.

Source: Scout Campers