The Diesel Apartment Gets a Guest House: How We Chose, Found, and Bought Our Off-Road Camper

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When we sold our house in Indiana and moved into our 39-foot diesel pusher motorhome, we knew there were some places its phat ass wouldn’t be able to take us. 

What we didn’t know was how our full-time RV life would look. We knew we wanted to be in Tucson, and we had reservations at an RV park, but our initial plan was to skip around between RV spots to figure out what we liked and how we wanted to live.

We didn’t know how well the first RV park we picked would work out or that we’d still be happily parked in the same place three years later. And as two people with full-time jobs (and one who must be near an airport at all times), packing up all our stuff and taking the diesel pusher out for trips hasn’t always been the best solution.

Just like things came together for us with our house selling and diesel pusher situation, so too have they come together for our evolving full-time RV needs three years down the road.

During this year of quarantine, lockdowns, and social distancing, one evening, we happened upon a couple of documentaries on overlanding. Overlanding combines camping and off-roading, and as avid off-road and outdoor nerds, they had our attention. 

Where we park our diesel pusher

It seemed like an ideal solution for us as RVers with a home base who still want to get out and see things without packing up our entire life every time we go on a trip.

While we don’t want to overland across South America or all the way up to Dead Horse, Alaska like they do in the Expedition Overland documentaries, Arizona has many BLM and dispersed camping spots to take advantage of. There’s still a whole lotta cool things in the southwest at large we’d like to see.

We decided The Diesel Apartment needed a guest room and started researching overlanding trailers and teardrop campers. We ended up with what’s known as a squaredrop camper, and we think it’s the best of both worlds. Keep reading below to find out why and how!

Why we chose our off-road camper

Our tow vehicle is a 2-door 2012 Jeep Wrangler with upgraded gears, so we knew the trailer we ended up with had to be light. We also knew overlanding can get expensive fast and set a trailer budget of $10k – 13k.

Those two considerations narrowed down the choices for us quickly, and after a few false starts, we decided the InTech Flyer series was for us.

We like InTech trailers because of how they’re built and the value you get for the price. The all-aluminum frame means the trailer won’t rattle apart after a few years on rough trails, and they have just enough features and comforts without being gimmicky or adding unnecessary weight.

InTech has four campers in its Flyer series — Discover, Explore, Pursue, and Chase. Our towing vehicle eliminated the bigger, heavier Discover and Explore as options, and we were left to choose between the Pursue and Chase models.

The difference between the Pursue and Chase models is that the Pursue has a pull out kitchen area with a stove, sink, and small refrigerator. We decided that the kitchen wasn’t worth the additional expense and weight for our needs and settled upon the kitchen-free Chase model.

Bacon on a camp stove out of the back of my Jeep? Don’t mind if I do!

Now it was all about finding one to buy, which was more difficult than we were expecting for a few reasons. The first being that people weren’t taking us damn millennials seriously, and the second being that these little trailers are apparently freaking popular AF. Both dealers we talked to said they can’t keep InTech campers on the lot and that there’s often a waiting list for all things InTech.

How we found our off-road camper

When we purchased our diesel pusher, we had a problem with dealerships taking us seriously. Maybe it’s our age or something about us that we’re not realizing is a thing, but we usually have to visit several places before someone understands we actually want to give them caaasshhh money. 

This small trailer purchase was no different. Their loss, boss.

After being ghosted by a trailer manufacturer in Oregon and blown off by a dealership in Phoenix (we don’t like big cities and not-so-affectionately refer to it as Spicy Chicago), we found an InTech Flyer Chase at Aloha RV in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Not only did they take us seriously, they allowed us to make most of the arrangements by e-mail and phone, so we weren’t exposing them or ourselves to unnecessary contact during a pandemic. Hooray for 2020!

And so, with arrangements made and down payments paid, we happily set off on a long-weekend trailer acquisition trip to the state we affectionately refer to as our side chick, New Mexico.

Rough and tumble I-10 through southern New Mexico — dust storms and snow!

Getting our off-road camper home

We 110% need to write about some of our adventures in New Mexico. It’s a beautiful, rugged, remote, delightfully weird place that we love visiting. But for now we’ll keep it short and focused on how we drove to Albuquerque and got our trailer home.

We rolled up on Aloha RV at around 8 a.m. on a Saturday. After having our temperatures checked (mine was low because I’m a human lizard and high desert Albuquerque is cold in the winter, yo), we were whisked into their service shop and given a walkthrough of our new trailer.

There’s not much to her and we had done so much research before hand that there weren’t any surprises. After the walkthrough, they let us hook it up to our Jeep and make sure the brake lights yelled “STOP!” and the turn signals yelled “HEADING THIS WAY, MATE!”

After hooking her up we were led to an office where we plunked down our dollar dollar bills and signed some paperwork to make her officially ours. Then we were on our way back to Tucson.

Not only did our Jeep tow the trailer like a freaking champ, it. looks. so. coooool!

Our plans for the off-road camper

A few days after getting our Flyer Chase home, we hit up 4 Wheel Parts for a rooftop tent. Why do we need a tent on top of our trailer? Because it looks badass. Oh, you meant the practical reason. Well, one of us is a light sleeper and the other snores, so to keep us both happy separate sleeping quarters is a must.

We ended up going with the Smittybuilt gen 2 overlander tent because a few YouTube reviews on the first-gen tent said the ladder sucked. Also, because the gen 2 is grey and matches our trailer, and we’re basic like that.

Now that we have the rooftop tent in place, we’re on the hunt for a solar setup and a camp kitchen solution. We’ll update you on what we come up with, but for now we’re still in research mode.

Our maiden voyage in the trailer will be somewhere close to home in case we screw something up and need to come home quickly. We’re looking at Colossal Cave, Madera Canyon, or Molino Basin Campground on Mt. Lemmon. Our goal is to camp on Christmas Eve, and we’ll write a post about it here if we’re able to make that happen.

And there you have it. With a lot of research, a little planning, and some major saving, we were able to acquire an adventure mobile we hope will get us out of our own asses and back into nature. 

We can’t say enough good things about Aloha RV in Albuquerque and highly recommend them if you’re ever in that area in need of RV things.

Here’s to unlocking off-road achievements and bringing a new meaning to social distancing!

I’m a Tucson, Arizona-based web developer. I live in a motorhome with my significant other and in my spare time I enjoy photography, blogging, hiking, drawing, and playing video games.

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