The AT Overland Aterra truck camper has become reality. Our resident overland expert Bryon Dorr got a chance to crawl around it in the wild and came away impressed.
From one of the original overland industry companies in North America comes a new take on the truck camper. The AT Overland Aterra is a unique expedition-quality hard-sided flatbed truck camper that has now made it into production.
It was one year ago that I broke the news of the AT Aterra camper coming to market. Back then, I just had renderings and many shared stories with its designer around the campfire to base my reporting on. Now, however, I’ve had the chance to get out in the wild with the Aterra a bit and really see what this new truck camper is all about.
There have been some interesting and exciting developments in the truck camper space over the past few years. From integrated rigs like the TruckHouse Tacoma and EarthCruiser TerraNova to the Loki Basecamp Falcon aluminum slide-in, there is no shortage of options for your next home on wheels.
Let’s dive into what makes the AT Aterra Camper different, interesting, and compelling.
AT Aterra Camper
Remember, AT Overland’s current primary product line is pop-up truck topper campers: the Habitat, Summit, and Atlas. The new hard-sided Aterra is a big departure from AT’s current product line.
While nearly everything has stayed true to the original plans, the Aterra has gone through a few design tweaks to make it even more refined. So far, three prototypes have been created and extensively tested in the field.
The first production unit is scheduled to roll out of the factory in Prescott, Ariz., this month, with 10 more on order, and scheduled to be built out before November. As production gets ramped up, one to two campers per month are expected to roll out of the factory this year.
The first, and currently only, Aterra model on offer is the Aterra XL. It is designed to mount on a 6.5-foot or longer flatbed. It will fit on any 80×80-inch tray, which is a common size offered by companies like FiftyTen, Norweld, AlumaTray, Ute, Alumalite, and others.
While the Aterra XL will fit on many different manufacturer flatbeds, AT Overland highly recommends the Overland Expedition Vehicles (OEV) Aluma Tray flatbeds. It has gone so far as to discontinue its own line of custom flatbeds, in favor of the Aluma Tray units that perfectly match up with the mounting needs of the Aterra. The OEV Aluma Tray flatbeds are aluminum powder-coated units that are competitively priced and feature-rich.
The first thing that sets the Aterra camper apart from other campers is its unique construction. The camper shell is made up of panels created with a fiber-reinforced honeycomb with specialty film, coatings, and additives that are then assembled with adhesives.
That construction recipe and the geometric design combine to create an incredibly lightweight, super-strong, extremely durable, and impressively sound and thermally efficient four-season hard-sided truck camper.
The shell construction was engineered by the team at Tern Overland, a top supplier of windows, doors, and other overland camper construction components. Tern Overland, however, didn’t want to get into the camper construction and sales business, so it turned to its friends and neighbors in Prescott, Ariz., AT Overland.
“Our specialty is engineering and design, so when we went looking for a manufacturing partner, AT Overland was at the top of our list,” explained David Soza, CEO of Tern Overland.
“AT Overland has a long history of excellence in manufacturing, innovation, customer support, and marketing. Through our partnership, AT Overland will be assembling, outfitting, and exclusively marketing the Aterra.”
For those of us that like to haul bikes and kayaks and other big adventure gear, the only real drawback to the Aterra Camper’s shell construction and design is that it doesn’t easily accept things like a roof rack. There is a rear accessory rack, however, which does provide some exterior bulky gear transport options. It is designed to carry things like Maxtrax, gas cans, and more, and offers a Molle-style mounting system for versatility.
While the Aterra XL isn’t a tiny camper, it also isn’t all that big. It, however, feels way bigger and brighter than its exterior dimensions might suggest. This is mostly due to the large number and big size of the opening double-pane acrylic — with integrated bug and sun shades — Arctic Tern windows.
The rear and side windows have all been moved up 4 inches on the camper walls since I photographed the prototype, which improves the views from the seating in the camper. A wide Arctic Tern entry door — with integrated window and security screen door — along with a MaxxAir Dome Fan add to that roomy and bright feel.
Production campers will have a full 6 feet 5 inches of headroom inside, which is 2 inches more than the prototype I photographed and crawled around in. Headroom was one of my few complaints — I’m 6’3″ tall — in this camper, which is no longer an issue.
The increased height comes in the camper body, which now allows a 40-inch spare tire to fit under the cab-over on the flatbed, and for the cab-over to have enough clearance to not touch the truck roof when the truck is flexed off-road.
Camper Build Out
The layout of the AT Aterra XL flatbed truck camper is optimized for two-person travel, with a pet or child easily being accommodated as well. Entry is through a passenger side-entry door.
A rear dinette offers comfortable seating, can be converted into a small bed, and has both an integrated Wrappon waterless toilet and an integrated shower pan. A driver-side kitchenette has a built-in sink and stove, as well as tons of gear storage.
Up front are a massive 90L National Luna fridge/freezer and storage bin area. Atop this setup and in the cab-over of the camper is a king-size bed featuring the comfy Froi Travel Modular Sleep System and even more storage.
My photos here show the prototype’s queen-size bed, which has been upgraded with another cushion to make it a king, and also to offer the right cushions to convert the rear dinette into a love-seat lounge at the back of the camper.
All cushions and mattress pieces in the camper also now feature a durable Sunbrella material. This means they’ll last longer, fade less in the sun, and handle life on the road with a dog without an issue.
Lots of storage is on offer inside the Aterra XL, over 35 cubic feet of it. Besides the big hidden storage under the bed, you also get a bunch of little cubies with Step22 Stingray storage cubes to help you organize all your gear.
A cool pin/key setup in each cubby ensures the packing cubes stay put when bouncing down rough terrain. There is also more storage, for bigger items, under the rear dinette seats and a small wardrobe closet just inside the door of the camper.
The systems in the camper are all controlled through the new Garmin Switch System (instead of the sPod system shown in the pictures on the prototype) — things like a 400-watt roof-mounted solar array and 105-amp-hour lithium battery bank.
Also standard are a furnace, on-demand hot water, inside and outside showers, and a 30-gallon freshwater tank. Later this year, you’ll even be able to get a DC-powered 5,000 BTU air conditioner system, which is a split unit that mounts on the rear accessory rack (notably, it doesn’t add any height to the vehicle).
Aterra XL Standard Features:
- Arctic Tern windows and door
- MaxxAir dome fan
- Rear accessory mount
- King-size bed with Sunbrella mattress covering and Froli Travel modular sleep system
- National Luna 90L legacy fridge/freezer
- Step22 Stingray boxes
- Truma Vario furnace
- Truma AquaGo on-demand water heater
- Dometic two-burner sink/stove combo
- 20-pound propane tank
- 30-gallon freshwater tank
- Wrappon toilet
- Inside and outside showers
- 105-amp-hour lithium battery
- 400-watt solar system
- National Luna NLDC 40-amp DC-to-DC charging system
- Garmin switch system
Aterra XL Optional Features:
- Fresh air replenishment system
- Air conditioning
- More batteries
- More solar
- Camper jacks
- Exterior shower curtain
- Custom camper shell color (can be vehicle color matched)
- Flatbed mods: Storage locker, spare tire carrier, etc.
“The Aterra XL is going to be the lightest-weight, fully equipped camper in its class that you can buy, period,” said Mario Donovan, AT Overland’s owner. “We’re at 1,200 pounds. Nobody can touch that.”
AT Overland Aterra XL Prototype Build
The AT Overland show build, which has the final Aterra XL prototype on it (and featured in this story), is built on a 2018 Ram 3500 cab chassis regular cab truck with a 6.7L Cummins turbo diesel under the hood. It was ordered with the ambulance package and had to be converted from a dually to single real wheels. It also has a massive 74-gallon fuel tank, giving the truck over a 1,000-mile range.
Upgrades include massive 40-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires, a 3-inch AEV lift, and AEV fender flares. An AEV front bumper provides animal strike protection, a light bar mount, and a mount for the big Warn 16.5ti S winch. An onboard compressor, air tank, WeBoost cellular booster, and plenty of recovery gear round out the truck upgrades for this build.
Besides looking amazing, being perfect for travel for a couple, and the big range on offer, this truck was chosen for its load-carrying capabilities. This build fully loaded with camper, fuel, gear, and humans is right around 10,800 pounds, which is about 3,200 pounds under its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
Aterra XL Pricing
A base AT Overland Aterra XL will set you back $69,000. Expect to add at least a few thousand more for quality options like the side awning, spare tire-holder, outdoor gear garage, etc. Also be sure to factor in the cost of a quality flatbed system, which will generally range from about $12,000 to $16,000.
Obviously, you’re also going to need a big, burly truck. Pricing on new and used trucks varies widely and is pretty steep on the current market, but you can easily expect to pay around $75,000 to build up a fully off-road-ready truck, like the prototype build seen here.
Quality adventuremobiles don’t come inexpensively, as a fully built and outfitted truck with AT Overland Aterra XL will easily set you back $150,000+. With that said, if you look at the current market and available expedition quality adventuremobiles out there, I think you’ll find this option to be quite an impressive value proposition.
Coming Soon: More Aterra Models
The Aterra XL flatbed model is just the beginning. In 2023, you can expect to see an Aterra XL slide-in truck camper and even a 6-foot flatbed Aterra model for midsize trucks. (Tacoma owners rejoice!)
If you want to get out exploring in an AT Overland Aterra XL flatbed camper anytime soon, you’ll want to get your order in soon. Production is booked out until about November already.
To order your own Aterra XL and/or get more info on this impressive overland camper, go to ATOverland.com.