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Old 12-04-2013, 12:49 PM   #1
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How big should I go??


My wife an I are considering moving away from a trailer and into a slide-in TRK camper so that we can get into smaller locations easier. I have a 2004 Dodge Ram Diesel 2500 4 wheels. It is a quad cab with the smaller bed (I think about 6.5 feet).

What is the largest camper I can consider. Reading post here it seems like AF and Lance are strong products. It is just the two of us and we are accustomed to trailers in the 30 foot range so we understand that we are going to have to make some large concessions.

We feel pretty certain that a wet bathroom will be ok, but we do need toilet and shower for our travels.

I welcome any advise to help us get a start.



Dave and Anita
Two empty-nesters
2015 Itasca Sunova 33C
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:00 PM   #2
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Your going to hear about weight, measurements, going to a scale, manufacturing recommendation, tires recommendations and some folks are going to say get a bigger truck. Then other will say you got to figure out your comfort level. Also are you going full time or traveling for extended times like months, 6 months!
Just to say what some will say! For me I had a 2002 Ford F250 7.3 don't know the gear ratio but some one will, I pulled a 32.5 Hitch Hiker 5th wheel no problem. When I bought the Carriage Cameo 38 I went with a dully and then someone said I still didn't have enough truck for my trailer..
A lot of the fun is finding the best rig for you and DW. There's going to be some great advice for you here good luck and best wishes.. Don

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Old 12-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #3
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A diesel 2500 is going to have a rather small payload. Weight the truck, with your normal passenger load, full of fuel, and without the tailgate. Get separate weights for your front and rear axles. Subtract your rear axle weight from the rear axle weight rating on your door sticker.
That's how heavy a camper you can haul. Assume you'll add about 1,000 pounds of water, food, luggage, and options to the manufacturer's "dry" weight.
Since I have to guess I would think you're truck might have 3,000 pounds of capacity left on the rear axle. I would think this would put you looking at 8' or maybe a light 9' camper at the most.
I suspect, like most people wanting a nice, hard side, well optioned truck camper you'll find you don't have a big enough truck. My 11' camper has no slides and I'm overweight on my dually.
2005 Chevy CC Dually D/A, 2003 Fleetwood 11X truck camper, 1997 Larson 206SEI boat
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:13 PM   #4
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Try Wolf creek 850 or 816 from Northwood Manufacturing
Same company as Arctic fox. Non-slide truck campers would be close to GVWR Weight but doable. Will have to upgrade shocks, sway bars, and maybe add air bags. Check your tires may have to upgrade also to a higher rated tire level that will fit your wheels.
Hope this helps. Scott
PS I am looking at the Wolf creek 850 myself. Looking to get a Dodge 3500 Cummins 4x4 SRW in the future. Want the SRW like you to get into remote areas.
Scott Stielow IC1(SW) USN Retired
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:57 AM   #5
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Thanks! I am suprized at the limitations. I see trks like my 2500 in CGs all the time with truck campers, I rarely see a dually. Without looking at the numbers, I just sort of felt like a Ram diesel 2500 would have some good options.
Dave and Anita
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:08 AM   #6
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I would look at anything up to the weight of a 992 lance without worrying. people get a little over zealous with the so called weight restrictions. just remember the manufactures have to put something on just like med. exp. dates.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dave1956 View Post
I am suprized at the limitations. I see trks like my 2500 in CGs all the time with truck campers, I rarely see a dually.
Yes, you do see plenty of folks using a 2500/250 series truck with too much RV for it's ratings. They for the most part, do not care as they feel their is safety in numbers...enough people do it wrong and it means it is fine to do.

They add helper springs to prop up the back end of the poor little trucks and they feel it is O.K.

I'd suggest you weight the truck and see just howm much camper yo can tow within ratings.

Amateur Radio Operator (KE5DFR)|Full-Time! - 2012 6.7L Ford Crew Cab Dually -2013 HitchHiker Champagne 38RLRSB - Travel with one Standard Schnauzer and one small Timneh African Gray Parrot
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:43 PM   #8
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Your Dodge will do fine, too bad you didn't get a long bed, but look a Lance for the short bed trucks lots of options, I would buy used at first
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:17 AM   #9
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Good timing of the question. Just did what your are thinking of doing. We have a large DP motor coach and decided to look for a truck camper to be used in conjunction with a small boat in high Sierra campgrounds. You know, places were the Diesel Pusher wouldn't be appropriate. (Still keeping it for long trips.) I have an '07 GMC 2500 HD 6.5' bed truck. The "Camper Weight Certificate" in the glove box of my truck indicates a 2400 lb weight limit.

I searched the used market and found a wholesaler in Sacramento who had a 2001 Lance 825 LITE 8'-6" model (designed for s.b. trucks). It was really clean and the price was right so we bought it. The camper's dry weight with a/c and the awning came in at 1835 lbs. It fits the truck nicely with just a couple of feet of overhang. A hitch extension makes towing the boat easy. The truck sits level, handles well and rides great. Everything worked as it was supposed to on our shake down trip.

But... It will take some getting used to if you are used to 4 slides, recliners and all the stuff we've gotten used to. The on-board head is great at night but the 825's wet bath is a bit too small to take much of a shower. Only 1 person can be on their feet at a time, especially when stepping over a lazy Golden Retriever. Be prepared to spend a lot of time outside (which is kind of the idea for this type of rig anyway). The small dinette was more comfortable than I had anticipated. I was also surprised how much stuff you can pack inside the cabinets. Also get used to small holding tanks. It wasn't a problem since we stayed on the move most of the time - one of the reasons we bought a camper.

There have been a lot of Lance models designed for S.B. trucks made over the years. 805 (no bath), 815, 825, 845, 865... the list goes on and on. I'm happy with the unit I selected considering the limited amount of use its going to see. If a camper was going to be my primary RV, then a larger unit and a long bed truck would be a must in my opinion. But that's just my opinion.

Bruce L.,
Clovis, CA

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