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Old 04-26-2019, 02:38 PM   #1
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Advantages of a truck camper vs a small travel trailer?

I was at an RV dealer today and was just looking at possible units I like. I looked at about a dozen Lance truck campers. By the time I found one that was comfortably big enough it was too heavy for my current truck (2017 F-250 6.2 gas with 3,497 cargo capacity)

Then I looked at Lance travel trailers. Many of them were big enough and would be easy to tow. They were priced about the same, maybe a bit less expensive then the truck campers.

So there must be something I am missing about a truck camper advantages. What are they?
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Old 04-26-2019, 02:59 PM   #2
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The biggest advantage for us is the ability to haul our boat or our car hauler with our Bronco on it and still have our RV available. A truck with a camper is also very portable and able to get to places you may not be able to with a trailer. Not sure if any of these advantages mean anything for you or not though.
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:02 PM   #3
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A TC is the least Bang for the Buck of any RV. IMHO.

Have had a few!
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:12 PM   #4
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We have both a TC and a fifth wheel. If space is your greatest concern, forget TCs, my opinion. Truck camper to cover distance and when campgrounds are full there is always room for us. Fiver to stretch out when we will be moving around less often.

Really just preference. Everyone has a favorite. Get the one that moves you! ��
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Old 04-26-2019, 04:34 PM   #5
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I read that a truck camper hampers fuel economy about the same as towing a travel trailer. I saw a truck camper come in for fuel while I was gassing up. That is easier than towing a trailer into a gas station.

I am thinking that a 25' travel trailer is way more bang for the $$$. I will keep looking at truck campers, I can not put my finger on it, maybe it is the look of more freedom.

I do have property (where it gets cold in winter) where I can stay in a travel trailer for 7 months if I had to. Then thinking it would be cheap to stay on BLM land in South Arizona in the winter.

But the look of the freedom that a truck camper represents is more than a travel trailer.
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Old 04-26-2019, 05:16 PM   #6
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As my wife says, using our truck camper is an adventure. Using our fifth wheel is like going to a cabin.

No one ever needs an RV of any type. It is a deprecating asset from the day it comes home. That’s why I always encourage folks to buy what they want. Otherwise you buy based on logic and resent it until you get what you really wanted from the git go!
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:07 AM   #7
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The advantages of a truck camper:

1. Can upgrade camper or truck independently like a tow behind
2. Can tow additional items behind it like a motorhomes
3. Can leave RV behind at camp or home and use truck like a tow behind
4. Can outfit truck with 4wd with higher chassis clearance for exploring remote roads
5. Can fit into regular parking stalls

Disadvantages:

1. Highest cost per square foot
2. Smallest living space of RV’s
3. Requires high payload truck
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bedlam View Post
The advantages of a truck camper:

1. Can upgrade camper or truck independently like a tow behind
2. Can tow additional items behind it like a motorhomes
3. Can leave RV behind at camp or home and use truck like a tow behind
4. Can outfit truck with 4wd with higher chassis clearance for exploring remote roads
5. Can fit into regular parking stalls

Disadvantages:

1. Highest cost per square foot
2. Smallest living space of RVís
3. Requires high payload truck
Good list, but hey, how about the TC coolness factor or membership in an elite group?
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Old 04-27-2019, 01:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
So there must be something I am missing about a truck camper advantages.
What are they?
My two cents...

* A truck camper gives me the unique ability to travel long distances at highway speeds and once I've had enough I can stop at any eatery, rest-stop, or hotel I please to rest-up. Thus a TC is relatively compact and can park just about anyplace a typical full sized SUV can fit.

* Foul weather conditions do NOT impede my travel plans, (I frequently travel & camp the Northeast in winter/snow season).

* I can handle reasonably difficult off-road terrain when boondocking. No other type of RV can do that!

* The price is the price...
My (small) truck listed at $70,000 and the (small) camper I haul in it was $40,000.
Not cheap compared to a trusty Jayco tow-behind but what other RV platform would allow me to comfortably & safely traverse the Eastern shores of Wisconsin in winter or navigate the rutted access roads of the Pennsylvania Appalachians in Summer?

Class-A, Travel-Trailer, or Truck-Camper...
No 'one' is any better, they're just different tools for the job.
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Old 04-27-2019, 06:55 PM   #10
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I get the cool(ness) factor. They do fit into a much smaller place and have a much smaller foot print vs the same truck towing a travel trailer.

One thing that I could do with a travel trailer is put a cap on the truck and turn that into a lot of storage. Maybe even into an additional sleeping area.

Right now I do not see me towing a boat like you can do with a truck camper.

Also right now I do not see me getting off the beaten path too much but can understand that appeal.
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Old 04-27-2019, 07:49 PM   #11
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Funny how much you can carry and what you can’t remember why you needed it with a TC.
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Old 04-27-2019, 09:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
I get the cool(ness) factor. They do fit into a much smaller place and have a much smaller foot print vs the same truck towing a travel trailer.

One thing that I could do with a travel trailer is put a cap on the truck and turn that into a lot of storage. Maybe even into an additional sleeping area.

Right now I do not see me towing a boat like you can do with a truck camper.

Also right now I do not see me getting off the beaten path too much but can understand that appeal.
I'll have to admit; storage space can be an issue with a TC.
Some people solve that storage problem with a trailer. . .



However, that wouldn't work for me because it kills my ability to park in a standard parking lot space. . .



After a long days drive it's nice to know I can hit any hotel along my route, park "everything" in a standard spot, and get a good night's sleep, or swim, or do some laundry, etc...
Quote:
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Funny how much you can carry and what you canít remember why you needed it with a TC.
Exactly right Mr_Fixit
But the bigger problem with a TC is running out of GVWR.
I'm registered at 12,300 pounds and hit the scales at 12,280 ready to camp.
That's cutting it close!
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Old 04-28-2019, 08:27 PM   #13
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I had a TC because I also had a boat. I could pull the boat to the lake, take the camper off at the campsite, and then use the truck without the camper to launch and retrieve the boat all weekend.
Then, come Monday, my truck was used as my work vehicle. Try doing all that with a motorhome or travel trailer.
In VA as well as many other states truck campers are not considered vehicles, they are just cargo to be hauled around in a truck, much like mulch or firewood. Therefore, there is no personal property tax on a TC, no tags, no yearly inspection, etc. There's no tires or brakes to keep up with and no additional drive train like in a MH.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:42 PM   #14
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I had a TC because I also had a boat. I could pull the boat to the lake, take the camper off at the campsite, and then use the truck without the camper to launch and retrieve the boat all weekend.
Then, come Monday, my truck was used as my work vehicle. Try doing all that with a motorhome or travel trailer.
In VA as well as many other states truck campers are not considered vehicles, they are just cargo to be hauled around in a truck, much like mulch or firewood. Therefore, there is no personal property tax on a TC, no tags, no yearly inspection, etc. There's no tires or brakes to keep up with and no additional drive train like in a MH.
Yes, not having to maintain running gear (axles, brakes, tires), fast and easy set up, ability to go where other rigs cannot, ability to drop the rig and drive just the truck - these were all considerations for us.

We got our rig to travel - we don't think of ourselves as "campers." 11 k miles and 17 states in 10 weeks last summer. Many times we parked where there were no other rigs - only tents. We seldom plugged into shore power and we don't do reservations more than a day or 2 in advance. One slide, dry bath, 300watts of solar, 315 amp hours in the agm battery bank. 60#s of propane, 46 gallons of fresh, 39 of grey, 37 of black and a standard queen mattress (the same model is on or bed at home). We are very comfortable on the road. But, our rig is heavy. We carry it in a one-ton, extended-cab, dually, gasser (a rare configuration). We would be over-weight with a diesel.

We just spent 5 weeks in FL doing a combination of travel and parking (visiting relatives). We enjoyed the visit time, but, prefer being on the move - seeing places and things. Headed to Alaska, in a few weeks, for a few months. Our rig works very well, for us, because of the way we travel. If we were going to drive to a destination, and park for several weeks, we might consider something else.

Although a TC can cost more $/sq ft - I think the better TC brands (Arctic Fox included) last longer and hold their value better than towables. Today, most rv manufacturers are building lightweight rigs to be pulled by SUV's and half-ton trucks. Light weight = thinner everything, fewer fasteners, less infrastructure. I think you get my drift.
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