During COVID thousands of people decided that the only way that you could vacation and get away was with camping. Having a little kid at the time meant that I needed to re-evaluate my path towards the backcountry if I was to take everyone. I was getting into backpacking, but taking an 18 month was a non-starter. My wife and I had enjoyed tent camping while dating and married, but it just wasn’t going to work. So looking for something towable with my Gladiator to have two dogs, two adults, and a baby, we entered the RV market.
It’s been a learning curve as I’m coming from not towing anything larger than a big smoker for events. RV Camping though has made it so that I can take my entire family and everyone is relatively comfortable enjoying the great outdoors. Towing the rig with my Gladiator is important because I can still get to the skinny 4×4 trailheads and we can enjoy all the same places we did before, without staying at a hotel or VRBO.
Now that we have a few seasons under our belts, I think it’s worth giving this GeoPro G20BHS “COVID Camper” a full review.
GeoPro G20BHS Setup and Features
The GeoPro lineup from Rockwood is a budget line of campers that puts boondocking at the forefront with solar and an increased height without going nuts. There’s plenty of “overland” rigs out there, but many of them come with double the price tag. The GeoPro, and it’s sister lineup, the E-Pro cuts a balance in capability and affordability. It’s worth noting that the GeoPro and E-Pro lineup by Rockwood are nearly identical other than sticker packs. It’s literally so that competing dealers can sell something “different”.
I think it’s worth decoding the model number first and foremost. The GeoPro G20BHS is a GeoPro camper, 20ft long, Bunk House model, with a slider. For us, the bunkhouse was one of the most important features. It meant that it could in theory sleep up to 6 adults despite the tiny size. There’s two small RV size bunks in the rear of the camper tucked into an alcove next to the bathroom. It’s a little like sleeping in a rack on a submarine, but perfect for kids.
Towing and Tow Rig
After much agonizing during the shopping phase we figured that our Jeep Gladiator Overland would be a fine tow rig for this camper. Ideally I wanted something that we could tow and then unhitch and do some light offroading with the family. The GeoPro G20BHS is the biggest camper that Rockwood makes in the E-Pro/GeoPro lineup so it suited our family while still being towable by the Gladiator. I detail the towing setup behind the Gladiator in another article.
What we enjoy
Attention to detail really helps with the design of the GeoPro G20BHS.
- It comes with a Suburban flat top grill that hangs off the side, there’s a propane stove and oven which makes meal time easy and versatile.
- The hookups are easy to get to and are well labeled.
- There’s an outdoor shower in case you need to get the mud off of you from a hike, or you take a swim in the lake.
- There is a small tub. You’re not going to take a bubble bath in it, but more than enough to bathe a toddler.
- The GeoPro G20BHS in it’s extra foot from the 19BHS has a full size pantry cupboard, indispensable when camping more than a few days.
- It comes pre-wired with solar, depending on the year of your camper anything from 100w to 190w — newer models have the option (I believe) of 2x 190w panels.
- The sliding dinette just makes so much more room available to you, even with 4 humans and two dogs it doesn’t feel like we’re camping inside a Volkswagen.
- The large front bed for my wife and me provides space to put gear when traveling and doesn’t feel like a college dorm bed when sleeping.
Additions and Upgrades
There’s been little comfort upgrades we’ve added along the way. Most of the upgrades are small ones like a full size cutting board that sits on top of the gas range. That ensures that there’s counter space in the GeoPro to cook while my kid uses the dinette for his coloring books.
While it came pre-wired for one, the addition of a backup camera system was a night and day difference for a person new to towing like me. While tow mirrors on the truck helped, the backup camera is a game changer for getting into National Forest and State Park spots.
Even though not entirely necessary I also took the liberty during the 2022 camping season of adding the JT Strongarm stabilizers to the jacks. It took a little while to install, drilling into the frame and properly placing them the X braces really help with stability. A one axle trailer with 4 humans and two dogs can get a lot of sway, so this helped immensely.
The space can be an issue. There’s very little storage space, the under bed storage is usually used for an auxiliary outdoor table, firepit, and some other odds and ends. Having two kids now means I can’t stage gear in the upper bunk bed. Once both kids are of the age where they need to sleep in the bunks, the ladder storage becomes an issue. I store the ladder under the upper mattress when in motion. When stopped and camped I can sling it on the back of the bathroom door.
The refrigerator for this setup has been an issue. In hot weather with the fridge kicking on quite a bit it drains the battery to the extent where careful monitoring is necessary. When you lose battery power the CO monitor shrieks, which, in the middle of the night with young kids and big dogs makes for an angry dad. I’ve since combatted this twofold, with an inverter generator we use to top off around dinner time, as well as a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) 200aH battery. While your mileage may vary, I found that some fenagling is necessary to get a new tongue box into place for a larger battery setup. More on that in a future post.
Since the camper is a house on wheels you take to the mountains we’ve had to deal with everything shaking. Since this is a budget camper, purchased during COVID years when demand was up — construction quality suffered. Every few trips I have to chase down wobbly hinges, make sure the gas stove isn’t ripping itself out, and check the bathroom door knob. Honestly it’s not that big of a deal, and if anything becomes too loose it’s easily dealt with by adding some Loctite on threads.
I’m satisfied with our investment into the camper. Without one our family wouldn’t be out in the woods near as much. The GeoPro G20BHS is just enough camper for our needs without being too much for my vehicle.