Some of you already own one; some of you are still on the fence trying to decide if the investment is worth it. For those of you in either category who might be wondering how this Brand-New-To-The-Market pop up shell would hold up in real world world trials, I've taken one for the team, albeit unintentionally, and have walked away convinced that the M1 is an absolute beast!
It occurred to me to share this little story, as I was looking at some competitor forums for build/mod ideas; looking at their construction, I realized that some of those other campers would not have fared too well on my latest excursion.
A couple days before Halloween, one of my local Overland/Off Roading clubs put on a Trek-or-Treat run. We spent the day running some trails in the AZ mountains & then decorated our camp into a haunted forest for the kids to go around trunk-or-treating to the different rigs; It was a lot of fun. Now, the guy leading this run, a good friend of mine, had run this trail a couple years ago and picked it because he really enjoyed it and thought everyone else would also. Well... the Juniper forest surrounding the trail had grown in (more than just a bit) since he last ran it. For any of you not familiar with Juniper, their branches are fairly dense and highly abrasive, even the small/thin ones are deceptively so. When pushing through them, they make the most lovely SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE sound as they slowly slide down your rig. You cringe as visions of Edward Scissorhands & Freddy Krueger having their way with your truck dance in your head. When you finally work up the courage to get out and look, you're usually overjoyed to just see a whole new batch of pinstriping instead of a pile of shredded metal; It's fun stuff.
That was our day; hours of pushing through dense Juniper forest (On a legal trail!). Once you were in there and the forest closed in around you, there was nowhere to turn around; you were committed & just had to make it through. It could have been worse, at least I wasn't driving my buddy's brand new Raptor; he is not at all happy about his new battle scars. In addition to the scraping/shredding branches, I had to push through some fairly thick low hanging stuff as well. Looking at the construction of most of TUNE's competitors, the traditional aluminum square tube frames with thin aluminum skin for a shell, I can just picture the mangled messes that would have exited the other side of that trail. I guess the M1 is officially "mine" now, since it's just about as pinstriped as my truck at this point, but it just bulldozed through the stuff.
The composite corners have light scratches; no cracks, breaks, or tears. The anodized finish on the aluminum is fairly scratched, especially on the door panels, but that's going to happen sooner or later if you're truly outdoors anyway, and it proves that I actually use mine. I can always paint or wrap the thing if it ever starts to bother me. The combination of the main extrusion beam and the composite end caps just make for a battering ram! I'm not suggesting you go out and start knocking over trees with it, that's not what we do! There's just no way I can see a thin aluminum tube framed & aluminum skinned camper going through something like that and coming out as anything other than "Totalled". And as you know, the M1 is modular; IF I had really damaged any part of it (thankfully I didn't), I could have replaced that individual part. Any traditionally constructed camper that takes even minor damage is looking at some extensive (& expensive) repair work. (note from Tune - after a good wash, most of these scratches will fully disappear!)
So, If you already one one, rest assured that the M1 can take a beating and come out (mostly) unscathed. The money you spent on it was a good investment for a rugged piece of kit that will be with you for a very long time. If you're one of those who are on the fence, I strongly encourage you to look closely at the construction of the other brands you might be considering. I'm sure they are nice people and make a quality product, but they are mostly geared towards wide open spaces without the ability to stand up to any real obstacles. With the M1, TUNE has approached this pop-up shell genre from a new direction; its construction is a whole new concept and from what I've personally witnessed, I don't think any of the current competitors in this space can compare.
Mike is located in Arizona and loves to show off his Tune M1. If you'd like to reach out to him directly, his Instagram is @hyagmike.