Lance Camper out of Lancaster, California, is one of many companies producing RVs in America. In 1965 Lance began building truck campers and eventually expanded to travel trailers. The company offers a well-constructed, lightweight trailer for first-time RVers that has plenty of amenities and space without the need for a big tow vehicle. The 1475 is the smallest and lightest trailer offered by Lance, and we spent a few nights in one at Ford Flagler State Park on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, realizing after two days that we didn’t want to go home — ever.
Cure for Cabin Fever
Last year as the pandemic gripped America and stay-at-home orders and air travel restrictions became the new normal, many homebound folks turned to RVing as a socially distanced cure for cabin fever. As a result, many consumers began purchasing first-time RVs to get out of doors and on the road, fueling a sales boom that continues today. According to the RV Industry Association, initial estimates for new RV sales in America during 2021 will surpass 500,000 units — the biggest year on record.
Even though the 1475 is the entry-level trailer in the Lance lineup, a wealth of standard features means it is far from bare bones. The trailer also includes many optional extras, including a slideout with couch, a 3-burner high-output range with oven, a microwave, a 28-inch LED TV, air-conditioning, a lift kit, an electric tongue jack, a 12-foot power awning and an all-weather package for a total MSRP of $42,518. Competitors to this small Lance include the Airstream Basecamp, Winnebago Hike and Forest River R-Pod.
The Lance 1475’s dimensions are 19 feet 8 inches long, a bit more than seven feet wide, and it stands 9 feet 10 inches tall including the optional roof-mounted air conditioner. Inside, the floor length is 14 feet 10 inches and there’s 6 feet 6 inches of headroom. The dry weight of the Lance 1475 is 2,600 pounds, with a GVWR (fully loaded) of 3,700 pounds.
Slideout With Couch
The most significant option on the Lance 1475 is a slideout section that gives it the designation 1475s. With the slideout extended via the push of a button, it adds about a foot of space in the trailer. It doesn’t seem like much, but it makes a big contribution to the overall feeling of roominess inside. At the same time, the slideout doesn’t take up much space outside so it’s easy enough to maneuver around in camp.
Couch vs. Chairs
The standard Lance 1475 comes with individual swivel chairs and a single table; the 1475s slideout version swaps the seats for a couch and attachments for two tables. The couch is comfortable for lounging thanks to extendable footrests on both ends. Another bonus — the couch can be folded flat into a small bed for one person.
The Lance 1475s has two brackets for table attachments — one in the center of the couch and another at the end of the couch, next to the bed. These versatile tables have height adjustment and arms that allow movement into multiple positions. The table at the center of the couch works well when serving meals for two, and the second table functions as a nightstand when in bed.
A comfortable queen-size bed is located at the front of the Lance 1475s. The area feels spacious and has windows on all three sides, so outdoor views can be appreciated while lounging on the bed — provided there is something visually interesting outside other than the neighboring site’s RV. The bed area also features two individually controlled LED reading lights, and located at the foot of the bed are power outlets as well as multiple USB ports for device charging.
Plenty of Windows
One of the most appealing features of the Lance 1475 is its bright interior, thanks primarily to large windows positioned around the cabin. The windows open outward for maximum airflow, and retractable screens keep bugs out. The windows also have pulldown blackout shades to keep the sunrise at bay — at least until a first cup of coffee.
Although this trailer looks relatively small on the outside, the Lance 1475 has a spacious, usable kitchen. The galley has plenty of countertop surfaces for food prep, and the stove and sink can be covered for additional space. The deep sink has a residential-style faucet with sprayer; a three-burner gas stove and proper oven make it possible to cook just about anything. The galley setup includes a range hood with a light and exhaust fan. For added convenience, this Lance also has a microwave oven.
To stay well stocked, the Lance features a decent-size refrigerator / freezer with 5 cubic feet of space. The refrigerator runs on propane, AC power or battery, and will switch between the sources automatically. For example, when it’s time to leave the campground and shore power has been disconnected, the fridge automatically switches to propane and will stay in operation for the trip home.
Lance designers made maximum use of available space in the 1475, including plenty of usable storage. A narrow yet deep pantry is located next to the refrigerator, and while it initially looks too small to be useful, we were pleasantly surprised by how much actually fits into the space.
Below the sink, multiple drawers are handy for storing silverware and other kitchen utensils. (There’s even enough space for the ubiquitous under-sink garbage can.) The 1475 also has a small wardrobe / closet under the counter, although it seems more useful for bag storage or other miscellaneous items.
The Lance 1475 is equipped with an integrated Jensen audio system with AM/FM and Bluetooth streaming capability. In addition to speakers integrated with the ceiling, the trailer has a portable Bluetooth speaker mounted to the wall that can easily be moved to a mount outside for outdoor music.
Let’s face it, the whole reason to go camping is to spend time outside, but when the weather turns bad it’s also nice to stay indoors and lounge on the couch or bed and watch TV. The 1475’s 28-inch LED TV has a rooftop HD TV antenna that does a surprisingly good job of accessing local stations. There’s also a cable hookup outside, or the TV can be set up for streaming via a Firestick or Chromecast. (The TV is also hooked up to a DVD player for a more nostalgic entertainment solution.)
Full Dry Bathroom
One of the standout features of the Lance 1475 is its dry bathroom. (A dry bathroom has a separate shower space; a wet bathroom uses the entire room as the shower.) The shower in the 1475 offers plenty of space; it has a hand-held sprayer, and the locking curtain keeps water contained to the shower stall. In addition to the toilet, the bathroom also has a sink / vanity combo with storage below. The bathroom also has decent lighting as well as a separate ventilation fan to control humidity.
Heating and Cooling
The Lance 1475 comes with a Truma 14,300 BTU gas furnace and hot water heater, easily controlled from a wall-mounted remote. When we arrived at the campground, the outdoor air temperature was in the 40s yet it took only 10 minutes of furnace use before the trailer became uncomfortably hot. Multiple vents throughout the living space distribute heat (bonus points for a vent in the bathroom). For summer camping trips, the Lance can be equipped with an optional Dometic air conditioner. Although the unit is a bit loud when running, we anticipate folks will get used to the hum if it means staying cool and comfortable.
Fantastic Roof Vent
When the weather outside is pleasant, the best mode for air circulation in the Lance 1475 is leaving the heat and AC off and using the standard Fantastic Roof Vent. This remote-controlled vent operates manually or automatically, turning on and off according to temperature. The vent can be set to allow air in or out, and the system will automatically shut the vent if it detects rain.
This power awning on the Lance 1475 creates a pleasant outdoor living space when the weather isn’t optimal. Easily deployed or retracted with the press of a button, the awning has a useful safety feature — if it detects high winds it will automatically retract. Fort Flagler State Park is right on the Puget Sound and winds can be strong. As luck would have it, after only a few minutes being extended the awning began being buffeted by strong wind gusts and it automatically retracted as if on cue.
The Lance 1475 has plenty of outdoor lighting for night use. In addition to the standard light by the door, the stairs feature a separate light for better footing at night. The LED lighting in the awning also does a great job illuminating the outdoor space.
The Lance 1475 may be small, but it offers plenty of exterior storage. At the front, a large pass-through cargo space with lockable doors on both sides spans the width of the trailer. This setup allows for longer items, although we found the access on both sides of the trailer especially convenient since hoses and electrical cords can be stored on the street side, while items such as chairs and fire-building necessities can be kept on the camp side of the trailer. Doors have a handy built-in magnet catches so they stay open for easy access.
This sliding cargo tray is an optional extra installed in the front storage area of the Lance 1475. At first blush this feature seems convenient, making it easier to access out-of-reach items at the center of the space. However, the drawer and mechanism cannibalize a lot of valuable space while adding considerable weight at the front of the camper. Also, when setting up or breaking camp on rainy days (common in the Pacific Northwest) the extended storage drawer sits below the rain gutter, so care must be taken to prevent water from collecting inside the drawer.
Most campgrounds with full hook-ups have a water connection at each site, meaning there’s no concern about running out of water during a stay. For those who might be boondocking away from conveniences such as water, the Lance has a 26 gallon freshwater tank. In addition, the 1475 has a 26-gallon grey water (sink) tank and a 26-gallon black water (sewer) tank.
Speaking of boondocking, the Lance 1475 setup means time spent off grid is easy with little sacrifice. A battery and propane tank are stored up front, providing power or fuel for the refrigerator, stove, oven, lights and furnace. The trailer also comes pre-wired for solar panels to extend time off grid.
We towed the Lance 1475s with a 2021 Subaru Ascent Limited. The fully loaded Lance 1475s weighs in at 3,700 pounds — well below the Ascent’s 5,000-pound towing capacity. Subaru’s Ascent has a 2.4-liter twin-scroll turbocharged 4-cylinder boxer engine that produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The engine gets teamed with a high-torque Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. Given all the low-end torque, the Ascent has no problems accelerating and maintaining speed with the trailer in tow. As expected, fuel economy takes a hit — the Ascent averaged about 13 mpg while towing the Lance.
On the Road
Whether driving at 65 mph on the freeway or winding through back roads of the Olympic Peninsula, the Ascent feels stable and comfortable. During our trip we encountered some high winds while crossing the Hood Canal Bridge, and although the 1475 wobbled when buffeted the setup never felt uncomfortable. Granted, some of this confidence comes from Subaru’s Trailer Stability Assist, which monitors trailer sway and applies brakes to individual wheels to stabilize the vehicle and trailer.
The rearview camera of the Ascent makes backing up to a trailer tongue a breeze. The camera lets the driver clearly see the hitch and ball, so backups for trailer connection can be perfect every time. The power-operated Smart Jack can be programmed for correct hitch height and features a light for nighttime camp arrivals.
No Cargo Access
One unanticipated issue we ran into when preparing for our test trip: once the trailer is attached, the rear hatch of the Ascent cannot be used due to the height and proximity of the Smart Jack. The Ascent’s hatch is power operated and won’t open manually; that said, vehicles with manual hatches could be opened slightly for some creative hatch access even after the trailer is attached to the tow vehicle.
An additional option on the Lance 1475 is a wireless rearview camera. Mounted up high at the back of the trailer, the camera feeds to a display screen mounted on the windshield of the tow vehicle. Not only does this help tremendously when backing into a campsite, it also operates as a rearview mirror while on the road, making it possible to see what’s coming up from behind the trailer.
Lance has earned a deserved reputation producing lightweight travel trailers that don’t skimp on details or quality. After spending a few nights in the company’s least expensive offering we concluded that reputation is well founded. The materials in the 1475s feel solid and have a premium vibe, and although the trailer is small it works well for two adults and a small dog without ever feeling cramped. With its confidence-inspiring road manners and range of optional extras, the Lance 1475 offers an excellent cure for COVID cabin fever.
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