Scout vs Aterra

Skinhyfish

Observer
Looking for a better winter option for “ ski chalet “

Researched both quite a bit, and understand price differences. Aterra worth the extra money and cost of a flatbed? Or cheaper option suit better. Maybe do a custom flatbed with it and boxes.

Going in 2020 tundra. Dobinson lift, 35’s and 5.29 gears.

Hmm what would you do?
 

simple

Adventurer
Both units would be comfortable in cold climates but not as insulated as others.

The Olympic would check boxes for camping at a ski area for considerably less money. The lifesaver water filter isn't ideal for cold climates because if it freezes the filters can be damaged. Easy to remedy with an alternative jerry can.

I don't really know but it seems the Alterra is a little more rugged for off-road exploring if that's what your into.
 

sn_85

Observer
Looking for a better winter option for “ ski chalet “

Researched both quite a bit, and understand price differences. Aterra worth the extra money and cost of a flatbed? Or cheaper option suit better. Maybe do a custom flatbed with it and boxes.

Going in 2020 tundra. Dobinson lift, 35’s and 5.29 gears.

Hmm what would you do?

I've been in both Scout and the Aterra. I don't think the Aterra makes a good "ski chalet" for a few reasons. The angled roof eliminates the option for a full height hanging closet or overhead storage bins/cabinets. That's essentially a must for a ski chalet when you're trying to hang snowy clothes and boots. You will have to figure out storage for your ski's as well since you really can't store them inside. Same goes for the Scout. I've seen someone mount a large Zarges box on the rear of the Aterra to hold ski's. The Aterra IMO is a better "overlander" and off roader given it's angled roof, feature set and quality/durability. It's also pretty lightweight for being an all inclusive camper.

That being said, the Aterra is build to a much much much higher quality than the Scout. They aren't even in the same league IMO. I've sat in both the Olympic and Kenai models and it's still very tight inside. Because Scout likes to use external storage spaces that decreases the internal width by like 8" or so and you really feel the lack of space inside. The cabinet material also feels like cheap Ikea "wood". The seating arrangement in both Olympic and Kenai is odd. The front dinette in the Olympic is limiting and the seating comfort in the Kenai is horrible since the knee angle is meant for people who are like 6'4" and the lack of thigh support for the seating area is does not make it comfortable. Personal opinion, the Scout is cheap American RV trash masquerading as an innovating minimalist camper backed by strong marketing, $$$ and influencers.

If those are your only two choices, save the bones and get the Aterra. 100%.

My biased opinion tells me you should look into a Total Composites camper. After all my research and check list of wants/needs that is what I ended up with. The best thing about them is that you get the customize your layout. So if you need wet storage, drip pans, full height closets for skis/jackets/bibs, overhead cabinets you can do all that. My camper was also meant to be a “ski chalet” so I designed mine with that in mind. It will have a full height closet along with waterproof side access storage to store my skis/snowboard inside the camper. The availability of options are only limited by your imagination and the builder. They offer both slide-in and flatbed configs.

You should check out Bear Adventure Vehicles and San Juan Vans. They’re making some pretty trick campers with purposeful designs and modern looking interiors.

 

rruff

Explorer
Both units would be comfortable in cold climates but not as insulated as others.
Doesn't Scout have a foam core? That should be better than the honeycomb that the Aterra has.

Researched both quite a bit, and understand price differences. Aterra worth the extra money and cost of a flatbed? Or cheaper option suit better. Maybe do a custom flatbed with it and boxes.
I think a flatbed is a good idea for the Scout, also... with external storage. Below is a 8' camper (Kenai) on the 6.5' bed truck, to give you an idea. I like the simplicity and low price of the Scout campers, too.

One thing about your year of Tundra (like mine) is the torsional flex of the C-channel frame in the back. If you hard mount a stiff flatbed without some sort of pivoting arrangement, you'll alter the way the frame is designed. Everybody does it though, and I haven't heard of failures due to this, but thought I'd mention it. I made a pseudo 3 point with poly isolators on mine.

Also, best to do a 1.5-2" front lift with none on the rear. Use wheels with +25 to +50 offset if you buy new ones. Rear suspension mods will depend on whether the camper will be off a lot of the time.

hq720.jpg
 
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simple

Adventurer
Doesn't Scout have a foam core? That should be better than the honeycomb that the Aterra has.


I think a flatbed is a good idea for the Scout, also... with external storage. Below is a 8' camper (Kenai) on the 6.5' bed truck, to give you an idea. I like the simplicity and low price of the Scout campers, too.

One thing about your year of Tundra (like mine) is the torsional flex of the C-channel frame in the back. If you hard mount a stiff flatbed without some sort of pivoting arrangement, you'll alter the way the frame is designed. Everybody does it though, and I haven't heard of failures due to this, but thought I'd mention it. I made a pseudo 3 point with poly isolators on mine.

Also, best to do a 1.5-2" front lift with none on the rear. Use wheels with +25 to +50 offset if you buy new ones. Rear suspension mods will depend on whether the camper will be off a lot of the time.

hq720.jpg
Yes, the scout has foam core but I think also has some thermal bridging issues. Not as good as total composites for cold weather but a lot of people make them work just fine. They seem to be a good product when comparing to other mass produced truck campers.

My point was that they would both work even though the Alterra honeycomb doesn't have great insulating properties relative to other types of construction. I have to imagine it is considerably better than a built out van and way better than a RTT or back of Subaru which a lot of people do.

For all around ruggedness like resistance to delamination and denting and off road stresses, I think the honeycomb core is tougher. I'm also assuming the FRP skins on Alterra are thicker than Scout than TC but I don't really know. Why I threw out the disclaimer.

Neither are going to be better than a custom purpose built TC camper for highway use and parking in a mountain parking lot.

This is somewhat of an exercise of comparing apples, oranges and bananas.
 
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rruff

Explorer
Yes, the scout has foam core but I think also has some thermal bridging issues. Not as good as total composites for cold weather but a lot of people make them work just fine. They seem to be a good product when comparing to other mass produced truck campers.
Scout looks like it has the same edge construction as a Canadian company (CPT). If that's true there would be a little but not much.

I do think that in a small camper, the ventilation required causes diminishing returns with insulation... unless you also have a heat-exchange ventilator. The OP's desire to camp at ski resorts, means he'll have a need for good insulation if anyone does.
 

simple

Adventurer
I've seen pictures of the corner seams frosting up pretty good on the Scout. Mostly up in the nose area where when it defrosts it gets the bedding and mattress wet.

In the PNW everyone I know who camps in a 3 season RV at the ski area pulls everything out at the end of the weekend and runs a dehumidifier.
 

sn_85

Observer
Scout looks like it has the same edge construction as a Canadian company (CPT). If that's true there would be a little but not much.

I do think that in a small camper, the ventilation required causes diminishing returns with insulation... unless you also have a heat-exchange ventilator. The OP's desire to camp at ski resorts, means he'll have a need for good insulation if anyone does.

I've seen quite a few FB group pictures of condensation around the aluminum edge trim on the inside of the Scouts. To fight this some owners have used neoprene tape along the edges where there is thermal transfer. OEV uses something similar as well but theirs is a soft wall canvas so it's understandable that they deal with condensation. To me, hard for Scout to call their product a "four season" camper when the thing frosts up in the first bit of cold.
 

Skinhyfish

Observer
Not yet. I think the shell is built out but the interior build is coming up next. I'll be sure to post along once I get the camper. We did go over the design in a Sketch Up mock render and I'm very happy with the interior design overall.
Who are you using? Sanjaun vans? How much will it weigh?
 

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