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Old 04-30-2012, 11:50 PM   #1
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Considering a Truck Camper,

Current owner of a 40' DP (see signature picture)

We are looking to go into places we just can't get into in the MOHO, and I don't want to pull a trailer. I got a trailer for motorcycles and ATV's.

Looking for lots of water and waste storage,
lots of battery space and generator space

I am willing to get whatever size truck I need with 4X4 to get to those dispersed camping sites in the NFS.

I LOVE the EarthRoamers, but they are a bit pricey

What do I need to look for and know before I begin shopping?

Thanks in advance for the help
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:15 AM   #2
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Ha! You want all the space you have in your DP, but you want it in a truck camper? Are you dreaming? I've owned several different campers in the last 20 years and have reached the following conclusions:

1. They are short of space almost everywhere. That's how they fit in the bed of a truck.
2. When loaded with your stuff, they will put you at or above the GVWR, causing you to look for airbags and sturdier tires.
3. They are more expensive in dollars per square ft than almost any other RV.

If you are headed into the boondocks, a large camper will sometimes put you in contact with trees and tree branches. That's no fun. Some guys use pop-up campers to avoid this.

One of my friends tows a 4WD jeep on the back of his MH and camps in tents when he goes off road. Something to consider. Good Luck!
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Full.Monte View Post
Ha! You want all the space you have in your DP, but you want it in a truck camper? ...
Nope, we know the space is limited. And in truth since we don't FT the 40' is way too much for the places we like to go. when we pull our explorer, we can't bring the trailer also.

The only space I am truly concerned about is water, waste, and electrical power (could go solar if there is enough battery space.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:35 AM   #4
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Do not know about waste, but have you thought about an enclosed trailer? That would allow you to install a aux tank for water and possibly some shelf space above the toys. Would also give additional room for batteries and solar panels.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:24 AM   #5
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You are going to get into the same issues that I am having trying to fit into a truck camper. Loading a large truck camper on a F-350 Crewcab, 8 foot box, with 11,500 GVW, and then trying to tow something behind it will overload the truck, by 2K. We have considered buying an 8 foot slide-in with an extended bunk, so we can still tow our large boat without hitch extentions, so as not to overload the truck, specifically the rear axle. The problem with that size camper is you get one 20 lb LP tank, a 30 gallon fresh water tank, a 10 gallon grey tank, an 8 gallon black tank, room for one battery, zero outside storage, and a shower stall that resembles a postage stamp. Even if you move up to an F-450 or equivalant the weight rating for hauling a large TC is still not that much better. If you figure out the solution, please post the answer for the rest of us. Charles
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:06 PM   #6
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You are going to get into the same issues that I am having trying to fit into a truck camper. Loading a large truck camper on a F-350 Crewcab, 8 foot box, with 11,500 GVW, and then trying to tow something behind it will overload the truck, by 2K. We have considered buying an 8 foot slide-in with an extended bunk, so we can still tow our large boat without hitch extentions, so as not to overload the truck, specifically the rear axle. The problem with that size camper is you get one 20 lb LP tank, a 30 gallon fresh water tank, a 10 gallon grey tank, an 8 gallon black tank, room for one battery, zero outside storage, and a shower stall that resembles a postage stamp. Even if you move up to an F-450 or equivalant the weight rating for hauling a large TC is still not that much better. If you figure out the solution, please post the answer for the rest of us. Charles
An 8.5' slidein will also let you tow without extension and give you another 6".
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:59 PM   #7
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If your trailer is full on the bed, you might want to add another lever for the ginny, etc., if the Trailer GVWR is not already met. I have observed this procedure being used by other RV'ers. Of course this may/probably will require an upgrade for the Truck.
I too share your concern since I am considering a redesign for my old 11 foot Cabover into a more self-contained unit. Back in the 70's when I built mine, holding tanks for grey water was not an issue. But now that I want to return to some of the camping areas that are not designed for MH's, I find myself trying to find room in the truck bed for more tank storage, to delay trips to the dump station. One thing I am considering is the addition of portable blackwater/greywater tanks. I have a built-in 40 gal FW tank, so that helps, but adds weight.
I wanted to add a rack on the front of the PU for the ginny, extra gas tank and two 6 volt batteries. Oh my...., now I am over the 8800 lbs GVWR. Oh well, I suppose I will have to pull my small flat bed trailer that I have used in the past to carry the ginny, gas tank, battery, etc. I was overloaded then too, but that was the only way I could take all of the goodies and be cool during the heat of the day. I do overload the chassis weight rating, but never the tires. I do not like to break down on the road. DW doesn't like the Cabover. Likes the MH best. I could ramble on, but for now the trailer is the only way to meet my needs. Good luck with your search.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:02 AM   #8
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You can have the best of both worlds within reason. We use to travel in our 38" Mobile Suite 5'r. We now travel in our Lance 1181 TC with a Chevy 3500. With the slide there is plenty of room for the wife and I. We love it. Storage is an issue, but you just bring less stuff you probably wouldn't use anyway. We also tow our bass boat with it at times.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:50 AM   #9
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I'm curious, are the places you want to go on the pavement, or back country roads? What level of convenience do you require? There are many truck campers, but also, less expensive than Earth Roamers, but roomier than truck campers are products from Tiger motor homes, another possibility would be a flat bed camper, a bit more storage than a slide in. There are some very nice, well equiped pop up truck campers, particularly from Hallmark and Outfitter. There are other options in pop ups if you are interested.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:36 AM   #10
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Most of the Forest Service areas are not paved. Out West, such as Yellowstone, you will need a hard side camper because of bears, etc. FWIW.
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:22 PM   #11
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Any of the current 3500 DRW pickups will handle the latest TC's. With GVWRS at 13K, that gives a 5K payload. Suggest you take a look at Arctic Fox or Lance. My 05 has large tanks, dual 30 lb tanks, dual batteries, etc...
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:03 PM   #12
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Since you used to have a truck camper........what year and model was it?

You already know 40/30/40 gallon tanks are available. You can cram six 6v golf cart batteries in a compartment or patch two compartments together; and also install a 3000w inverter/charger. Two dandy roof solar panels and a read-out to go with your generator.........and you are set.

Well......you might need a Ford 550/650 or Chev 5500/6500
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:16 PM   #13
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I understand RVers concerns over the weight of there Truck Camper but how much do you really need to bring. Truck Campers were built to get out in the backroads so you don't need to much stuff to began with.

Below is a link to a blog about a man who owns a Wolf Creek Truck Camper and he has some good ideas.
Mello Mike's Truck Camper Adventures: Wolf Creek 850 Solar Power Installation, Phase I
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:00 AM   #14
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For the type of load you propose you will need to start with a 450 class truck at a minimum with DRW. A number of people have taken a flatbed truck and mounted a camper to it and used the space in front of the camper and under the "cabover" section to create a large square storage space for items like the generators you mentioned and fuel tanks and even toys.

Even the largest 11' slide in camper with slide outs is not going to have anywhere near the living or storage space of a 5th wheel or even a 20' TT. Easy to do the math when you have a 7' width and a 11' length and compare that to a 20' long TT or 5th wheel. Slide-outs add to the living space but also can take away from the available storage space.

For international travel folks have taken a forward control type of 4x4 or 4x6 heavy duty truck and modified it for carrying a camper. But I would not want to navigate anything that large down NFS logging roads.
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