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Lance 865 or Wolf Creek 816

Lance Wolf Creek first time buyer help better camper quality

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#1 OFFLINE   Shadow

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:04 PM

Hi everyone.  I am looking to buy my first truck camper and am looking at either the Lance 865 or Wolf Creek 816 models.  Both are similar in size but I'm not sure which one is the best quality camper.  It will go on a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 short bed diesel pickup.

 

Looking at the spec sheets, the main difference I can see is the Wolf Creek can accomodate two batteries, whereas the Lance can only accept one.  Otherwise, the differences aren't too drastic that I can tell.

 

I have looked at the Lance camper in person and liked what I saw.  I have not seen the Wolf Creek in person, just online.  But, the Wolf Creek has similar features and is several thousand less.  Wolf Creek is made by Northwood.  What is your opinion on the two manufacturers?  I can't seem to find much info online regarding the Wolf Creek.  It seems the Lance has an edge based on the longevity of making campers but what is your experience with either brand?

 

Any advice / help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.  Although the campers are near the lower end of the price scale they are still an expensive toy that I want to purchase right the first time.

 

If you need any other info from me let me know.....I'm not used to asking questions in an online forum so I'm not sure what info would be pertinent.

 

Thanks.



#2 OFFLINE   farmer

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:58 PM

Welcome to the forum.
Both companies make good campers.
I think the wolf creek is just below the Arctic Fox brand both made by Northwood.
Also take a look at Northstar campers and Adventurers campers.

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#3 OFFLINE   Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 10:43 PM

Last RV show season 2013, I was most impressed by the build quality of Eagle Cap. I also like S&S but you have to go to their factory to get one. You always get what you pay for. Better materials and products used in construction add up. Look at several TCs of similar size to what you want. Go look at a few and give them a good going through. Open and close the doors. Feel how they work. Put some torque on them and see how solid they feel against force. Pump your weight up and down on the floor and see how solid it feels. Grab the dinette table and give it a good pull and shove, lean on it and feel how solid it is. Feel the bath door, the TC entry door and make sure they have a quality feel to them and the lock hardware. Look at the cabinetry and decide if the model is providing enough storage area. Some manufacturers are better than others at creating cabinet storage space. Has it got decent water and waste water sizing, propane 2 tanks is good, battery, 2 group 31 will keep you happy. Test sit in the John and decide if you can live with the all to often limited room. I don't want to bad mouth any builders product because they all fit a place in the market and give some folks what they need be it high quality or the biggest for the buck. Give a few TCs a good go through with testing and you'll get your answer before long.


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#4 OFFLINE   Jillneddie

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:26 AM

I own a artic fox. They have the reputation for making high quality campers and are known for their customer servic. I bought mine used and it has been a great camper. The artic fox is known to be well built however it can be heavy. I would definitely buy another one. Do well in your search.

#5 OFFLINE   KnightEagle

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 07:46 AM

Like it was said go kick the tires sit on the throne check the all out. Some you will find are nice but over priced. And by the same point others are nice but under priced. Dont always get what you pay for in a TC. Norwood has a better coustmer service but heavy TC. Lance has good TC but can get pricey fast with options as so are the others to a point fig what your low point is in cost and what the max is. Also think of used we got a used 1191 from Lance it had 25 hrs on the generator and was owned for less than 4 months before they traded it back in at a loss just because the decide that TC camping was not there bag. The savings was around 6k or more. So look new and used, happy looking


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#6 OFFLINE   Rubyriver

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:07 AM

I bought a wolf creek 850 last year and have been very happy with it, i really like the fact is has 2 batteries and 2 propane tanks.

for me the extra 10,000 for a lance didn't justify 

the fact that wolf creek is made by northwood was also a huge plus.

i have a 2500 duramax shortbed, added super springs and rancho 9000's

rides completley level

it is a little barebones, no oven or microwave, but i boondock 90% of the time so i wouldnt use them anyway

google mello mike wolf creek, he has a good video walk thru of the wolf creek 850



#7 OFFLINE   jamminalong

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:29 AM

You can check out Mello Mike's Blog here!

 

I have a used Lance and so far I'm pleased with the construction, even for its age. 


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#8 OFFLINE   KnightEagle

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:31 AM

We all still like those blinds lol


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#9 OFFLINE   countrycampers3

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:27 PM

Shadow,

 

Welcome to the Forum,

 

you have come the the right place for advice.  From those who own truck campers, not those who sell truck campers.  I'm new to truck camping myself, so I don't have years of expericence in knowing first hand who has a t/c that lasts and lasts.

From what I have read on those that have posted before me they all have great advice.  Go and kick the tires i've heard alot.

Camper jeff & kelli, layed it out in detial best I think, go and spend some time, sit on the throne, lay on the bed, sit at the table, open the doors, cupboads, tv swing arm, open the windows, the roof vent,  You'll soon know which seems better built.  And they might both be better built.  I've heard nothing but good things from the two companies you have mentioned.

I live in Iowa and NorthStar campers are manufatured here so I went and checked them out.  Kicked the tires all around and I could see it was built well.  I got a tour of the factory and got to see them from skeleton all the way down the assembly line and could tell they were built well.  So even if you have to drive a day or two, to kick the tires on a t/c the money you spend doing that will give you peace of mind in the long run that you did the right thing in checking it out, and like you said you don't want to make the mistake and pay for it later on.

 

Have fun hunting for that perfect T/C.  The Hunt is part of the fun.  You'll know when the perfect one for you is in your crossheirs.

Later,

Doug B)


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#10 OFFLINE   Shadow

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 07:29 PM

Thanks for the great advice.  I have sat in a Lance and liked it, but the closest dealer that has a Wolf Creek 816 in stock is about 5 hours away.  I live in Nor Cal so the trip to Oregon (where the camper is) would be a good investment as there is no sales tax in Oregon....so, I'm not against the drive but am leery if it's worth it.

 

I have looked at some other campers including a hard sided Northstar Laredo.  I thought the table leg on that camper was wobbly and not very sturdy.  Compare that to the Lance I sat in which had a sturdy table.  I do like the Wolf Creek 816 because it has the option for two batteries whereas the Lance can only accept one (unless I engineer something after purchase).  Neither model (WC 816 or Lance 865) offers two LP tanks.

 

I have somewhat settled on the smaller campers because I like to "boondock" (new term since I started looking at campers, but it describes me) and eventually take a long trip to Alaska.  I've been told my 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup could handle a larger camper, such as a Lance 855 but am worried about the extra suspension work I might have to do to make it ride nice.  Is that a legitimate concern?  The other disadvantage is the larger camper is taller and wider which would cause a reduction in MPG.  If you had to buy a camper again, would you go bigger than you thought or stay small?

 

The advantage to going up one step would be two LP tanks and two batteries.  Are these items worth the extra few thousand dollars, less MPG and additional suspension mods?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike



#11 OFFLINE   Bedlam

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 06:13 AM

If you winter camp or have a LPG generator, you will want two LPG bottles. If you camp in fair seasons and use an external gasoline generator, you should be able to make due with one bottle.

 

The severity of your off road excursions will determine how big you can go with your TC choice. The front draft of the TC will affect mileage more than the weight if you are choosing based on efficiency.


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#12 OFFLINE   countrycampers3

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:45 PM

"The front draft of the TC will affect mileage more than the weight if you are choosing based on efficiency."  I agree with Bedlam on this statement.


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#13 OFFLINE   Gakdoom

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 03:37 PM

Truck Camper Magazine www.truckcampermagazine.com did a review of a Wolf Creek a year or two ago.  They took it out for a few days and had a pretty good write up about it.  You should be able to find it in their archives online.



#14 OFFLINE   KnightEagle

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:55 PM

What the front end on my Lance ruins my milage? yes it did droped from 12.5 to 10.5 front nose is higher but not by much. I measured my clearence the other day belive it was 12' 3" the Weekender had a clearence of 12' 6". Yet the space between the cab and the nose of the Lance camper is closer than the weekender. My drop I belive was head winds and 1000 lbs heaver than the other.


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#15 OFFLINE   Norske

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:14 PM

The Wolf Creek line isn't insulated as well as Arctic Fox.  It MAY have the same excellent framing.  From what I read about them, I'd hesitate to call Wolf Creek a four season camper.  3 1/2 season maybe, but certainly not as good as an Arctic Fox, likely not as good as a Lance.



#16 OFFLINE   Rusty Bridges

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 10:58 AM

It is hard to compare Lance and Wolf Creek. The materials and processes used building them are entirely different. Lance uses the most modern methods of design and manufacture. They also use many new materials that MAY prove to be superior, but only time will tell if they are superior or if they have unique problems of their own. The Northwood products (Arctic Fox and Wolf Creek) employ more conventional and time proven methods. That is not to say they haven't evolved, they just haven't haven't found another way that is better for them. I have owned an older Lance, and I now own an Artic Fox and while both are good campers, I like the AF better. Arctic Fox or Wolf Creek, Northwood builds a quality product that they STAND BEHIND! I and others have found Northwood's customer service to be second to none, that means a lot to me.

 

I have never taken a good look at a Wolf Creek. I have seen only one, but I was purchasing an AF and didn't have the time or inclination to crawl all over the Wolf Creek , but I am very bias toward Northwood products. It may be worth a drive to investigate. Blast up on a Saturday and lookt it over, then take a senic drive home with and overnight stop - make it a mini vacation.

 

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#17 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 12:21 PM

The wolf creek is a lower end camper. the joist are 1/2 the thickness of those used in the Arctic Fox. Designed to make it lighter. I visited AF last spring and while I have no complaints about the wolf Creek, do not expect it to be of the same durability as a regular Arctic Fox. It is also not a winter camper.


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#18 OFFLINE   Shadow

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 09:42 AM

Thanks for the info guys.  This is all stuff I would not have known if not for this forum since I have never owned a camper before.  I am happy to hear Northwood stands behind their products...there is a website online where there are many people complaining about poor treatment from Lance regarding repairs and warranty issues.  Is that the experience from people on this board?  I regard that website cautiously because I know it is hard to please everyone, BUT if that is the norm maybe I should steer clear of Lance?

 

Mike



#19 OFFLINE   countrycampers3

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 09:55 AM

Good question shadow.

 

  I don't know that answer myself for I'm new  to T/Cen as well.  Your doing a fine job of finding out all of the problems to avoid down the road

 

.  Another thing to think about is a good rv dealer if you buying from a dealer.  If your buying from the manufacture then that's different.   I have personaly read posts on here of how well Northwoods Manufacturing has treated it customers that own a Northwoods product.  I read a post on here of someone who bought a used Artic fox.   I believe it was an older one.  He took it to the manufacture to get some problems worked on and they went over and beyond fixing the main problem, and fixed a couple of other little things to for the guy free of charge.  Wow that floored me.  They might not do that for everyone but, word gets around and people tend to buy from places like that.  A manufacture that stands behind their product.  I'm sure that guy will buy another Arctic Fox someday.  Good sales point for Northwoods too


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#20 OFFLINE   Bedlam

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:39 PM

Lance sells the most TC's over other brands. I would expect the most feedback about Lance for that reason. More people respond to negatives about a product than positives since the happy people are camping instead of posting, so I also expect a disproportionate number of unsatisfied responses than positive.

On the other hand, I looked at the quality of build on the Lance, Adventurer, Northern Lite and Arctic Fox - The Lance was at the bottom of that list and Northern Lite was on top. I didn't have any experience with any these manufactures, but Northwood Mfg (who makes Arctic Fox) always had high praise from its owners whether trailer or TC.

 

* Corrected spelling and grammar


Edited by Bedlam, 24 March 2013 - 05:35 PM.

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