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Old 03-15-2014, 11:56 PM   #1
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Hello, we are Snow and Anton. We currently own a 03 2500 Dodge Ram Short Bed with 293,000 miles on it. We currently use it to pull a 34' 5th wheel. We are looking to sell our 5'ver and downsize to a truck camper. We are looking into hard sided units preferably with a slide. We not sure brand or anything else but so far have liked the Adventurer Campers. Any help would be greatly appreciated. We're not sure if we should look for a long bed truck so we could get a bigger camper or keep the truck we have and maybe upgrade later. We currently live in Arizona and truck camper dealers out here are scarce. Again any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Snow & Anton
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:20 AM   #2
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I would go for the LB first and then find a camper to fit. Just my long experienced opinion.
Joe Myers (Retired) GOD Bless Our Troops.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:36 PM   #3
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2 things will significantly limit your choice of camper, the fact that your truck is only a 2500 and the short bed. There are many more choices of long bed camper than SB units. Unless you're looking for a rather small camper with few weight adding options I would probably upgrade the truck first. Look for a long bed 3500 series at minimum. A dually is called for if you want one of the really large campers with multiple slides.
2005 Chevy CC Dually D/A, 2009 2500 Suburban, 2004 Rinker Captiva 232 boat
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:54 AM   #4
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Snow and Anton:

We recently purchased a camper for our short bed GMC 2500. We too are used to much larger RV's. We still currently own a Diesel Pusher Motor Coach that we use for our long trips and tours. We bought the camper to use for short trips into more remote campgrounds while towing our fishing boat.

I say the above because you must really change your mind set if you are coming from a much larger rig to a camper. I'm am amazed with how much stuff you can pack into them and just how much stuff you really don't need. The biggest adjustment is regarding the comfort of the furniture and the lack of walking around room. I'm an old tent camper as well so it wasn't a problem. These are all things that I quickly got used to.

As for camper options, Lance has been building models for short bed trucks for years. There are used units as well as new ones to pick from. We bought a seldom used 2001 Lance 825 8'-6" model. It is full self contained including a wet bath, a/c and side awning and designed specifically for short bed trucks. I weighed the camper and it came in a 1960 lbs dry. Our GMC 2500 handles the camper fine without airbags or modification. This rig will serve our part time needs just fine.

Like others have said though, A long bed 3500 truck would allow you to buy a larger model. I guess you could always try buying a used camper for your current truck at first. You can always change to a larger truck and camper later without taking a financial bath if bought a used camper for your current truck.

Truck campers and dealers are also hard to find in California. I got lucky and located a wholesaler in the Sacramento area that buys campers from both private parties and dealers trades. He had 3 short bed rigs for us to pick from. He had many more long bed rigs because they are more plentiful. Look up "Truck Campers" in Craigs List Sacramento and you may find his listings. Contact me off line if you are unsuccessful and I'll locate his number for you. He's a semi retired truck accessory shop owner who is very knowledgeable, fair and a pleasure to work with.

Good Luck,


Clovis, CA
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:36 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input so far. If we can find a 3500 LB for cheap we might go that route. Just cause we could have a rig with more room. We'd obviously have to sell our current truck. How much do you think a 2003 or new 3500 would be? I would say it depends on the miles. Anything to stay away from? I was thinking Ford but our Dodge was fine. Not our choice, it was a combo deal with the 5'ver. Thanks for the help so far and let us know if you have any other advice.

Snow & Anton
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Old 03-17-2014, 04:38 PM   #6
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:53 PM   #7
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Snow & Anton,
I would encourage you to visit Truck Camper Magazine | Truck Campers Go Anywhere.
You will find everything you need to get started. You can never have
enough truck. Chevrolet and Ford are debuting their new Heavy Duty
Dual Rear Wheel trucks this year. The new 2014 Dodge is out already.
Good luck and safe travels!!
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:15 AM   #8
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With newer trucks the differences between a 2500 and 3500 truck is very slight. With the 2011 and later GM and Chevy trucks the 3500 adds an extra leaf pack and can come with DRW. Axles and wheel bearings used on Ram and GM/Chevy trucks are rated for 10,900 lbs. so load limiting factor is the tires at the rear drive axle. Two tires at 3750 (Toyo and Nitto) provide 7500 total load minus weight of the truck at the rear axle of roughly 3,000 lbs. of 4500 lbs.

A camper with a dry weight of 2600 lbs. will weigh about 3600 lbs. with various mods and addition of gear, water in the holding tank, and such. Lots of campers in this dry weight range including ones Lance who manufactures its campers and trailers in California.

You can go online and download brochures with camper dimensions and weights from the Lance website for both current and prior years (helpful if shopping for a used camper). Lance has made three classes of campers, ones for short bed trucks, one for long bed trucks, and ones that require a DRW truck to support the weight. The last group will have more storage space and a dry bath.

I purposely chose a SRW 2500 short bed truck as I wanted the shorter wheel base and better maneuverability of this type of truck and I wanted an extended cab which was only available with the 2500. I added Supersprings to increase the load capacity of the stock springs and it handles a 4000 lb. camper with no problems at all.

For me a DRW crew cab long bed truck would be a royal pain to drive with or without the camper and I would sooner have a Class C motorhome if I was going to drive around with something that large. So I picked a camper that would fit on a short bed truck.

The SRW long bed campers have more storage space and usually have a larger fridge and may have a dry bath though most are wet, and some have a slide out section.
With SRW there is also the option of putting on the truck 19.5 rims and tires and these have a tire load rating of 4400 lbs. per tire for a rear axle load capacity of 8800 lbs. without having to add two more tires and have the truck 2 feet wider.
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