The setting sun was peeking through the keyhole of Longs Peak as I navigated a series of dirt tracks before arriving at my campsite for the evening. The fresh mountain air, brisk as the sun began its descent behind Colorado’s front range, was just cool enough to warrant putting on a light fleece but warm enough to negate the use of the Stealthy-Mini’s onboard 10,000 BTU LP heater. Which was fine by me as I was ready to pop open my basecamp on wheels and enjoy the serenity of the mountains while lounging in the new Phoenix Popup Stealthy Mini camper.

For those of you not familiar with Colorado-based Phoenix Popup Campers, the company began production of high-end, custom campers in 1988 after the family’s patriarch literally created the camper business in the early 1970s. For thirty years, Phoenix Popup Campers has been building a myriad of camper products through a built-to-order system direct to consumers without a dealer network. This has resulted in a small but respected brand whose innovation has led them to their newest creation: the Stealthy-Mini camper.

Stealthy Mini Camper

When I arrived in Denver to take delivery of the Stealthy-Mini camper, mounted onto a mid-90s model Ford Ranger that’s been all over the great state of Colorado, I was tired but ready to drive the truck into the mountains and relax before a busy week at the recent Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show. Before departing, I unlocked the camper and did a quick walk-through to get a basic idea of the layout before heading to a local grocery store to load up on food for the next few days.

The Stealthy-Mini is built on a double-welded “pro flex” aluminum frame that’s extremely durable and lightweight, mated to fiberglass siding with a liner that’s triple layer insulated. This results in a surprisingly “light” dry weight of 800lbs. The camper’s layout is quite accommodating and well organized with access to a fridge/freezer (my test unit had a 35 liter ice chest) directly to the left of the entrance in an accessible position that’s easy to grab food items without having to get into the camper to reach for them. Below this area is a small but useable storage box that rests next to the heart of the Stealthy Mini’s electrical system and heater which includes one 12V outlet (I’d like to see a few USB outlets placed throughout the camper). The Stealthy-Mini has solar charging capabilities with a LED-screen solar controller that provides all the data you need to ensure the camper’s battery is charged and ready while on your adventure. Additionally, the 10,000 BTU propane-powered heater (the propane canister is located on the driver side in an exterior storage box) is easily accessed and simple to engage though I didn’t require its use while on this trip.

Resting atop three sizeable storage cabinets, one of which houses the Stealthy Mini’s 11-gallon water tank, is a Dometic sink/two-burner stove with a flat food preparation surface on the left side of the stove. I really like the integration of this Dometic product into the Stealthy-Mini was the sink and stove can be covered when not in use and is functional and aesthetically pleasing when it’s time to chow down then clean up.

Directly across from the sink and storage cabinets is a bench seat that’s multi-functional as both a seating surface for 3-4 adults but also folds out to provide under-seat storage as well as a 68″ long x 30″ wide sleeping surface large enough for one adult or two small kids. While I wasn’t particularly crazy about the early 1980’s pattern of the materials used, I was told by Phoenix that each camper is built to be 100% custom and the carpet, vinyl flooring and cloth materials used throughout the Stealthy-Mini, as well as all Phoenix Popup Camper products, can be chosen by the owner. Regardless of the cloth pattern, the bench seat itself is quite comfortable and I enjoyed most of my first evening laid out on the bench seat while reading a book with the windows open and the ceiling LED light on with a view of the surrounding front range.

One of the cool things about the Stealthy-Mini is how easy it is to lift and close the camper itself. On the exterior are four latches (two up front and two in the rear). Once the camper top is unlatched, simply enter the Stealthy Mini and depress the open/close switch to engage the electrical lift system for the camper. It takes about 25-30 seconds for the camper to completely lift upward to allow the main sleeping compartment located in the front area of the Stealthy-Mini. Once fully deployed, the camper has a voluminous amount of space with a little over 6′ of headroom a half dozen Velcro screens/windows that can be opened and closed with ease as well as a Fantastic Fan that helps to circulate air and cool temps down a few degrees. I’ve had plenty of experience with Fantastic Fans and they work wonderfully in camper and teardrop trailer applications.

The main sleeping compartment is deceptively large, housing a full-size main loft bed, measuring 54″w x 73″ long that’s extremely comfortable with an LED light mounted in the ceiling that’s easy to reach.

On the outside, the Stealthy-Mini is designed to be aerodynamic with an angled front cab over and no frills exterior. As noted earlier, there’s a propane storage box on the driver side as well as the drain spout for the Dometic sink. The Stealthy-Mini’s rear entrance features privacy curtains and is lockable to provide security when not in use. And because the Stealthy-Mini is designed and built in Colorado, it features a prominent Colorado Made decal next to the rear entrance.

My overall impression of the Phoenix Popup Stealthy-Mini is that it’s evident that 30 years of production and nearly 50 years of camper knowledge make it an exceptional consideration for anyone seeking comfort while on the open road (or trail). While it is an investment at $24,995 it’s also 100% customizable with a max height at 52″ when closed, allowing for your vehicle to still be parked in a garage depending on vehicle and garage height. I dig the Stealthy-Mini and depending on the needed application and use, I have no problems recommending it as a quality option whether at the local KOA or exploring the world over.

* OutdoorX4 Magazine Promoting responsible 4×4 adventure travel and outdoor recreation