Meet Karim Bouhdary, Google UX Designer during the week, fly-fishing adventurer on the weekends.
LAUNCH CODE : 073
Toyota Tacoma + Switchback X1
San Diego, CA
How'd you get started in the outdoors?
After a severe leg injury in high school, I lost a few opportunities including the ability to visit colleges. After a couple "virtual" Google Map tours of Boulder, CO I was sold on the mountain lifestyle. I was always inspired by Warren Miller ski movies as a child and living in the mountains was always a dream. Boulder was the catalyst for my outdoor recreation, over the past decade I've slowly picked up on all the different activities the mountains have to offer.
You were new to truck camping before getting your X1. What was your thought process when you began building it out? What problems were you trying to solve?
Before truck camping I was into casual car camping trips and backpacking. I always had a desire to get out farther for longer. I had spent time building out cabinets, water, and power systems for a small Jeep Cherokee but ended up stumbling upon a larger goal.... How can I fit all the amenities of an RV into a 5ft truck bed?
What advice do you have for someone just starting out building out their adventure rig?
Research Online: Whatever you're trying to accomplish someone has done it, you just gotta find the information.
Be Modular: You may think you need a sink, heater, and fridge but when you’re building out the camper make sure things can be switched out and changed for your needs
Connect with the Community: People with trucks and campers are usually pretty darn cool. Reach out and connect with community who are always willing to share build ideas, camp spots, and so much more.
Top 3 favorite things about your current setup?
RedArc Power Management: RedArc is slowly becoming the “Toyota” of the off-road community. They make electronic system simple yet so damn reliable.
Super Pacific Modularity: The camper alone makes it so easy to quickly mock up and add solutions for your needs. Between the standard t-slots, wire chases, exterior wiring slots, molle panels, etc…
Favorite detail about your X1?
The looks. Always getting compliments on how well designed the camper is. There’s almost not straight lines and the balance of hardware utility and beauty is unmatched.
You recently got into fly fishing. What drew you to the sport?
The X1 really enabled two main things for me: Being able to get out farther and stay out longer. I mean if you think about it camp now takes 5 minutes to setup instead of an hour. That saves me so much time to enjoy the places we travel to for quick weekends. Fly fishing was a next step, now that I have so much time at camp I started to study the water and research different techniques. Now I’m hooked and happy to help anyone in the community learn since it can be intimidating at first.
Favorite road trip guilty pleasure?
Chick-Fil-A is a permanent “add a stop” on our google maps every time we travel. We’re always bummed when we head home on Sundays.
Want to see more of Alex’s build & adventures?
Or hit him up with questions in the SP Community Hub
All Photos © Alex K. Bouhdary
Meet X1 owner Matt Swartz, an avid paragliding pilot, outdoor adventure seeker, and photographer. After traveling full time with his AirStream trailer pulled by a Ram 2500, he and his wife Amanda ( and dog Royal) now reside in Boulder, CO full-time. A lifetime love of the outdoors instilled by his grandparents has driven him to explore remote destinations around North and South America, in search of the best paragliding destinations. Oh, and he loves gummy snakes.
My maternal Grandfather, who was a PhD Ecologist, was a big part where my love of the outdoors came from. While my parents got me outdoors hiking and fishing, my Grandfather would build shelters out of natural materials, teach me how to make cordage out of tree bark, (gently) catch wild animals, and photograph birds of prey from a blind he set up on a mountain adjacent to his house. Through hands-on education, he showed me how amazing and important the natural world is.
Way back, when we first lived on the road full-time, we were traveling in a 1964 RV. Living out of a coach was convenient, for many reasons. But at the same time, it was limited in terms of capability. We'd often find ourselves debating if we should take it down that Forest Service road, or if we'd be able to get out of our campsite after significant rainfall. I was also terrified of having a big heavy vehicle like that loaded up on snowy/icy roads without 4WD.
For our next vehicle, we considered doing a camper van build, but thought better, knowing how much time you can pour into a project like that. And an SUV never really felt like it would work either, given payload/towing limitations and the fact that we still wanted to travel full-time. Ultimately, we switched to a truck and travel trailer combo because we felt like it would be a much better fit for our lifestyle. We'd have to travel a bit slower, but we'd have WAY more comfort and storage space. And once we'd gotten the trailer setup at a campsite, we could take the truck wherever we wanted to go (ultimate capability). This was where adding the Switchback to the truck was also very compelling - it would provide a fast and light setup for weekend escapes from the trailer. Ultimately, since moving to Boulder, Colorado, and taking on more of a weekend warrior approach to adventuring, the truck and Switchback is a much more nimble and easy rig to take out for 2-4 days at a time. No more hitching up, no more towing, it all just feels so much easier.
The trip that sticks out most in my mind was when I hiked the first 800 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail back in 2014. I had just gotten divorced and laid off, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go do something a little more intense that would require my full commitment and which didn't have a specific end date. I remember getting dropped off at the Mexican border in April, taking a few photos with my Dad at the monument, then walking north into the desert. What I found on the trail was an incredible and diverse community of people from all walks of life who had all come there for different reasons.
There one part of the trip that stands out most in terms of sheer beauty was the Eastern Sierras (John Muir Trail section), but there were many incredible moments: hiking through southern California wind farms in the middle of the night (to avoid the heat), almost stepping on huge rattlesnakes in the mountains high above Los Angeles, visiting the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Morongo casino, and summiting Mount Whitney at sunrise all rank high on that list.
Right now I've got my sights set on a paragliding hike-and-fly trip in Europe (most-likely France or Switzerland). The idea would be to carry an ultralight camping/bivy kit along with my paraglider, flying from one launch to another, and camping or staying at huts along the route. This style of flying is referred to as vol-biv, and Europe is one of the best places to do this style of flying, mostly this is because the sport is embraced there and you can reliably launch/land just about anywhere that you want (weather permitting).
Oh man, where to begin! I really appreciate that the team at Super Pacific designed the X1 with customization in mind. Everything from the integrated wire chases to the threaded inserts, to the pre-drilled holes at the cab-end of the camper make it easy to build it out exactly how you want.
Personally, I've found the integrated lashing/tie-down tabs in the four corners of the X1 to be extremely useful, and I often utilize them to secure our full-size spare, paragliding gear, and cargo boxes in the bed of the truck so that they don't slide around while we're driving through bumpy terrain.
Definitely Haribo gummy candy. Lately I've been a huge fan of the twin snakes, but the coke bottles and old fashioned gummy bears will do the trick too.
One non-profit that I think is really worth supporting is Big City Mountaineers. They focus on bringing under-served communities into the outdoors and facilitate transformative experiences.
Follow Matt’s adventures:
Expedition Portal: expeditionportal.com/author/matt-swartz/
Photos by Matt Swartz
Truck campers are perfect for anyone who loves to go on outdoor adventures frequently and needs a cozy space to set up camp. Of course, finding the perfect truck camper takes time, from ensuring truck compatibility to clarifying additional functions.
One factor that rings true for all campers is that they all need to be properly maintained to ensure a consistently helpful performance. Use our ultimate guide to maintaining your truck camper if you want to ensure consistency and comfort during each camping trip. The tips below are invaluable to your camper, but don’t worry—each step is far from complex, even for newcomers.
Truck campers come in many forms, but each deserves care during its time on the truck. Thus, one of the easiest steps of this guide to remember is to travel with care when you have a truck camper in tow. Much like the truck itself, your camper will endure the impact of the road during trips. Luckily, some camper designs are more durable than others.
For instance, our wedge rooftop tents at Super Pacific are built with longevity and durability in mind, so you can drive with peace of mind from destination to destination. After all, rugged terrain isn’t exactly uncommon around campsites. Longevity is one of the key reasons to prioritize camper maintenance in the first place; if you take care of it, then it will take care of you anytime you’re ready for another outdoor outing.
Don’t forget to account for the additional size that the camper adds to your truck in terms of width and height. For example, if you have to park in a parking spot with the camper installed, be sure you have the vertical and horizontal space to do it safely.
After all, when you’re so used to parking with your truck, it takes time to change your habits with a camper in tow—as small as those changes may be. Keeping your height in mind will help with storage too, if you plan to keep the camper in a garage or another indoor space.
Along with careful driving, completing consistent inspections is the key to taking care of your camper over time. Before each trip, take a closer look at the camper for any signs of damage. That way, you give yourself enough time to fix the problem, so it doesn’t hinder your experience outdoors. For instance, a hole in your tent will be a problem if it starts raining during your trip. If you want the best experience from your camper, search for kits that prioritize durable materials.
That way, you can have ample protection against the elements, no matter which seasons you’re taking a camping trip. We design our campers with all four seasons in mind, so you can remain cozy in any season of the year. After all, whether it’s winter or summer, there is always a great place to camp for an evening or two.
Another easy but critical way to take care of your truck camper is by maintaining cleanliness indoors. For example, if you eat a meal in your tent, clean up any trash and crumbs left behind. It’s a simple step, but bringing along a trash bag for your camping trip can make a big impact on the camper’s comfort level.
Plus, disposing of trash around your campsite will help you avoid attracting critters into your temporary living space. Luckily, trash inside the tent might not be an issue if you’re camping on beautiful days. In those cases, setting up a dining space outside is a great way to enjoy your surroundings, which is fundamental to any camping journey.
Cleanliness extends beyond trash, too. If you have any cables set up in the camper, take the time to install them without making a mess. Cable management will help you maintain an efficient camper setup, and it will also help your cables remain in good condition over time. Anyone who will be using a lot of cables should keep that in mind when browsing camper models because accommodating options are available.
At Super Pacific, our campers feature wire chases that make it simple to route electrical, water, and air lines during any outdoor adventure. Like campers, your cables require care when they’re used, and secure chases and overall excellent cable management will keep their lifespan from diminishing quickly.
If you need a place to store cables during your trip that aren’t hooked up to the truck, consider installing a rack or packing a secure container to put them in. That way, they’re out of harm’s way, but will be ready when you need them.
Finally, our guide to maintaining your truck camper addresses how to care for it after trips, too. When you’re not using the camper on the trip, you’ll need a safe place to secure it to ensure it doesn’t accrue damage during those times. Plus, storage at home isn’t unlimited, so you should know whether you have a way to store the camper properly before buying it for your next trip.
Depending on the size of your camper, your garage may be a suitable storage area. However, if you frequently go camping, consider using a camper that you don’t have to dismantle constantly. Some camper models prioritize a low-profile design that doesn’t hinder daily driving.
We carry campers that are lightweight so that outdoor enthusiasts don’t have to put too much stress on the vehicle when using them, keeping daily driving easy. Not only does weight contribute to daily driving, but also access to truck bed storage. The Super Pacific truck campers have side hatches that allow you to quickly access the truck bed
The tips above showcase how easy it is to maintain truck campers over time. That said, just because the maintenance is easy doesn’t mean it isn’t critical. Keeping up with the maintenance above will help your camper last a long time, no matter how frequently you go on trips out in the wild. Use the guide above on your next trip to start taking great care of your camper.
Everyone has their own reason for truck camping. However, one reason that may be surprising to some is the health benefits. Mental health and truck camping are two very different topics, but they can mix in an incredible way under the right circumstances. Keep reading to learn more about the mental health benefits of truck camping.
If your busy schedule is taking its toll on your mental health, consider truck camping to get away from it all. Camping is a way to leave the office and other daily stressors at home so that you can decompress and reconnect.
This is especially helpful if you don’t get enough facetime with your significant other due to your schedule. Simply pack up and take the weekend to relax and enjoy the great outdoors with one another. Plus, thanks to aluminum truck bed campers, you don’t have to sleep on the ground at your campsite; you can have a cozy mattress instead.
For some folks, it’s not just about escaping from the hustle and bustle of work and other daily routines. For instance, if looking at social media and other online sources is affecting your mood, hop in your truck and go camping. This is an easy way to step back from the screens of phones, tablets, and beyond so you can focus on yourself and the nature around you. Of course, you don’t have to go tech-free when camping, but the opportunity is there for those who need the escape.
If you’re dealing with loud sounds at home that interfere with your sleep, one of the most helpful mental health benefits of truck camping will be the quiet. From trains to noisy neighbors, the typical sources of loud sounds around houses or apartments are completely gone when camping in the wilderness. Instead of finding life hacks for a good night’s sleep, you can try escaping to the outdoors for the weekend to catch up on some much-needed rest.
When you’re adventuring outdoors, your camping options are diverse. For instance, the difference between camping in a truck or van might not seem apparent at first. However, understanding what sets these two options apart will help you find the best option for your next journey. Let’s dive into the difference between van life and truck camping.
Truck campers attach to, you guessed it, a truck. The reason that’s important to bring up now is that when you’re looking for a vehicle to take off-road to a campground, a truck delivers a more versatile and reliable performance than the average van. Plus, your truck of choice isn’t very limited, thanks to the many models you can attach a camper to without worry.
For example, our truck bed campers fit a wide range of models, delivering consistent convenience across them all. Thanks to the versatility of truck bed campers, you can attach them to the vehicle you feel is the best fit for the task at hand. Suffice it to say that when it comes to the terrain out in the wild, not all vehicles are ready to handle it successfully.
If you’re truck camping, you can find options that feature distinct boundaries between driving mode and camping mode. For example, the campers at Super Pacific easily open and close back up, so you don’t have to drive around with an open tent on your car. When it comes to van life, it’s more like driving around in your temporary home. So if you want a way to separate your car from your sleeping area, a truck camper can help you accomplish that balance.
If you want a spacious mobile camper, vans can certainly get the job done, but everyone’s preferences vary in terms of the experience they’re looking for during their adventure. However, one key difference between van life and truck camping you should remember for practical reasons is the size differences.
For instance, one of the goals of the Super Pacific campers is to remain practical, even if you’re driving with it on a regular workweek. Thus, campers can make trucks as easy to store as they would be without the campers. On the other hand, vans tend to be bulkier and harder to put into garages, parking spaces, and other tight storage areas carefully. Now that you know the difference between these two exciting travel options, you can plan your next adventure accordingly.