Introducing Fred the Tiger. Fred is named after my wife's father who spent WWII sailing the world with the British Merchant Marine. Fred's travels on the North Atlantic and to Africa left him with an intense dislike of ice and monkeys; while we don't mind ice, we share his dislike of monkeys (no monkeys are allowed in our Tiger). Our hope is that Fred the Tiger will roam the world as successfully as the original Fred and always return home without being torpedoed.
A few years ago my wife and I decided it was time to see more of North America; like many grey-hairs we bought an RV. Our class B was nice in that it was not too large and was easy to drive and park. We found ourselves driving more and more on unpaved, often bad, roads (that seems to be where the good stuff is) and found the RV we had was not up to the task (things started breaking). We also realized we don't like campgrounds too much. I looked around for a more rugged vehicle capable of self-contained travel, one that we could purchase ready to go (I'm not much in the DIY department) and found that a Tiger Bengal TX would give us what we were looking for.
Tigers are well built, have better ground clearance than a standard RV and ours is four wheel drive - also good for winter travel in our home state of Maine. Our Tiger is built on a 2015 extended cab, Chevrolet 3500HD, gas-fueled, 4WD truck. The exterior dimensions of the Tiger are slightly larger than our class B; it is a luxury having that small amount of extra space when cooking or when bad weather drives us inside for an extended period. The class B had a sofa that would convert into a very uncomfortable bed, the Tiger has a full time bed over the cab. Soon after buying the Tiger, I installed a Froli spring system under the bed - very comfortable. There is a passageway between the truck and the camper with a single folding jump seat in the extended cab area. The jump seat is for an occasional passenger or for a not so occasional dog. Our dog, Izzy, likes being able to move between the "dog cave" and the camper at will. We like having the crawl through between the camper and truck when the weather is bad. We made a few additions to a standard Tiger build; two we especially like are the extra solar panels and a composting toilet. The composting toilet frees us from the tyranny of a black water tank. The truck and camper are painted a brown tone that doesn't show dirt/mud and allows us to blend into the landscape (the top of the camper roof is white to reflect the sun).
From the beginning, we decided to keep the truck as stock as possible and only make changes from stock as needs were identified. Our longest trip to date has been a two month, 11,000 mile swing from Maine to eastern Washington to New Mexico and back to Maine - a good shake down. The Tiger proved to be all we hoped it would be. It is comfortable to drive long distances and is a great place to live. Following this trip, the only change will be the addition of some better shocks. We found some wicked corrugations on a very interesting backroad in Utah (see upper left photo above).
A few details about the build: 350 watt solar panels, 440AH from 4x6 volt AGM batteries, oversized alternator, 2800 watt inverter/charger (a girl needs her hair dryer - even in the boondocks), no generator, propane for heat, hot water and cooking, electric refrigerator, dual awnings, composting toilet, wet bath, 33 gallons fresh water (filtered for drinking), on-board air compressor, airbag rear suspension, Aluminess rear bumper/storage box/spare wheel mount. We plan to add an ARB front bumper to give us some protection in the event of a collision with a deer or moose (not uncommon in our part of the world).
That's Fred the Tiger and why we think it is a cool ride. If you have questions, please stop by to see us at Expo East. We will be camping with some of our Tiger-owning friends, it should be easy to find us.
Knapp Hudson • 2015 Tiger Bengal TX