Grumpy Bear Campers Is the Next Big Deal: Their Koda Is Redefining Truck-Mounted Habitats

With advancements in technology and our ability to outdo ourselves, the face of the camper world is changing. How? Let's take Grumpy Bear Campers and their Koda as the perfect example of what I mean. Better ready your checkbooks for this one, folks!
Koda 9 photos
Photo: Grumpy Bear Campers
Dear outdoor-loving ladies and gents, gather 'round so that I may share the news about a little under-the-radar camper crew from right here in our own backyard in Akron, Ohio. I'm talking about Grumpy Bear Campers (GBC) and their Koda truck camper, a hunk of fiberglass that you can mount onto the rear of just about any full-size truck out there.

Now, the story of GBC seems to have popped up overnight, only having been spotted in the news earlier in 2023. But, upon seeing their website for the very first time, I can't say I wasn't impressed with how Koda presents itself.

At first sight, you'd think that this bugger is a monocoque shell, but in fact, it's made up of three separate fiberglass panels, bonded together and gel coated for a smooth, protective, and seamless finish. However, there's a neat little trick up GBC's sleeve; this shell isn't built by them.

Photo: Grumpy Bear Campers
Instead, GBC imports its fiberglass shell from a crew all the way up in Canada. Spacekap is that crew, and they've been in the business of tampering with fiberglass since 1972. that's over 50 years of experience. But it wasn't until 1992 that Spacekap developed a transferable body.

At this time, it appears that Spacekap builds three different units, some smaller than others. Still, it's their Diablo, the largest of their work, that each Koda is crafted upon. Frankly, you might think that importing such shells is going to ring up a rather costly bill, but what if I told you that it doesn't?

Just to give you an idea of what we're up against, GBC was reported as selling units for around the $36,000 (€33,750 at current exchange rates) range, which is pretty decent once we consider all the features in place - we'll get to those. However, my grey matter really started to go wild upon seeing a new 2023 unit on GBC's website, going for just $27,500 (€25,800). $27,500 for this!? Hell yes!

Photo: Grumpy Bear Campers
So, what's in store for this sort of cash? Well, for starters, each unit starts off at around 1,650 lbs (784 kg), including standard features. Oh, it can also accommodate up to three people, two in the main bed, elevated above the cab, and a third on the modular dinette, found at the foot of the main bed. One aspect I need to point out regarding nighttime activities is that the double bed is designed to be an expandable one.

With bedding out of the way, let's explore the rest of the systems you need to survive outdoors and wherever your truck can take you. Let's start things off with a few essential systems like the deep cycle battery, 30 A converter, 16,000 BTU furnace, and 15 gals (57 l) of freshwater. Other standard goodies include a water tank monitor and a tankless hot water heater.

However, all that's typically hidden away from sight, and at your fingertips sits a galley with a fridge and one-burner top, the dinette I mentioned, and a little cupboard for a portable toilet. It may not seem like much, but the essentials are in place - it depends on who you ask, really.

Now, this isn't the end of things. One feature that I'm glad is in place is an outdoor shower system, thus freeing up interior space but limiting this puppy's use to just the warmer months, not because it can't handle snow, it can, made possible by Azdel-covered walls, but because who enjoys showering in winter weather... outside? You can, however, find an indoor alternative for around $200 and try your hand at a ski trip.

Photo: Grumpy Bear Campers
Finally, I want to point out that GBC places some optional gear at your disposal. This includes electric motor jacks to leave your truck behind quickly and effortlessly, another battery, and the all-important solar array. For the latter, you'll also need to grab an inverter, but at least you'll receive a Renogy controller with your panels. Anything else, let GBC know, or get creative on your own.

Last but not least, let's take a little trip through imagination and place ourselves in the center of a Koda. Picture it on the back of your truck, with those forward moonroofs blending into a fluid and flush fiberglass shell. Knowing what's inside, you hop in your truck and drive off, not having to worry about where you can drive; just beef up your truck's suspension and chassis and make sure you know how to handle the modified dynamics due to the load and higher center of gravity.

After arriving at your destination, you unload your Koda and some of the things you packed inside and set up your campsite. Go ahead, cook up a cup of hot chocolate, relax by a fire, watch a sunset, and sleep under the stars. The next day, explore the local lands, be they by foot or truck, and mingle with people only once you've run out of supplies. Not bad for $27K to $36K, not bad at all.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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