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Author Topic: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.  (Read 1839 times)

VallAndMo

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  • Posts: 455
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Hello everyone,

After spending the last few years planning to go the truck+5thWheel way for our fulltime RVing retirement, we've recently started considering going with a truck+TC instead.

We still know very little re: TCs (for a summary of our knowledge so far, please see this post), so we'd like to ask you more experienced folks a few questions:

1) what is the recommended total weight we should set aside for cargo? We were planning on 2500-3000lb for the 5th wheel, but we know we will need to downsIze that a lot for a TC. Still, what range should we consider? As to ourselves and our planned RVing style, we are a married couple on our early 50s, with no kids and no pets, we're pretty healthy and interested in outdoor activities (hiking, biking, kayaking, exploring, stargazing with and without a telescope, and photography), and plan on staying as much as possible next to Nature (ie boondocking), specially in the US SW deserts.

2) as to the TC proper, we would like it to be as rugged and maintenance-free as possible, and to have good thermal insulation, hard sides and top, a dry bath and a cassette toilet. So far, we've researched Arctic Fox campers (mainly due to it being one of the manufacturers in the shortlist for our 5thWheel plans) but they seem to be rather heavy and not to have any models with cassette toilets, and Northern Lites (great name and they seem to have hardshell units that are both very light and with dry baths and cassette toilets, but they are rather expensive, and their factory is located in Canada). Do you folks have any considerations re: these manufacturers, and/or recommend we look into any other brands and manufacturers?

3) we've recently learned that, besides weight, TC COG location is an important consideration when matching a TC and  truck, but the sum of our knowledge in that area is presently the contents of the 3rd page of this PDF (http://m.ramtrucks.com/download/pdf/manuals/2015-RAM_15_25_35-Camper-Guide-3rd.pdf), whis is of course specific for RAM trucks. Can you people recommend any other resources for us to learn more about that? Also, besides weight and COG, is there anything else we should learn re: truck and TC matching?

4) we were planning on a diesel 4WD SRW CC LB truck to pull the 5thWheel, and were initially planning to keep it in our plans for the TC, but it seems that (a) we will need a DRW instead to deal with the added RA load for the TC, and (b) it seems a SB (short bed) is better for a TC setup than a LB?! This seems very intriguing to us as it's the exact opposite for a 5thWheel, but in our TC research so far we've seem some hints that a SB truck would allow the TC to have more rear "overhang", unconstrained by the bed sides, and therefore better space utilization. Is this true? What other considerations re: the truck should we learn about and/or keep in mind as we adapt our plans for a TC?

Thanks in advance.

Cheers,
--
   Vall and Mo.

skyhammer

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2011 Ford DRW,4X4
Host Everest, 11.5', triple slide

RedandSilver

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Quote
After spending the last few years planning to go the truck+5thWheel way for our fulltime RVing retirement, we've recently started considering going with a truck+TC instead.

I hate to burst your bubble - but are you serious?  A truck camper for full timing?
Do you really want to spend your retirement in about a 8x12 spot?  For 2 people? 

It's your life and you can do what you want.  Go against the flow if you want to. 
Makes me wonder if your afraid to buy the 5th wheel thinking it's too big to handle?
Then again maybe your definition of full time isn't the same as most of us.

Sell your house and 95% (make that 99% since a TC has very little storage space) of your possessions to live in a 8x12 spot? 
Not my idea of comfort.

Sorry I can't help with a TC or any info on them - but I did want to know if you really plan to full time in such a small spot?

It seems one of the biggest mistakes I see on these forums is people buying too small and then upgrading over and over and over.
That gets very expensive vs. starting out with something more up to the task - IMO.  Just trying to keep you from jumping on that
upgrade merry go round that so many other people have been on.

2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp

VallAndMo

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  • Posts: 455
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Hello Skyhammer,
Check this site out.
http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/truck-campers-buyers-guide/

Thanks for the link, very helpful. I was able to find another camper meeting our specifications already!

Cheers,
--
   Vall.

VallAndMo

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  • Posts: 455
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Hello RedAndSilver,

I hate to burst your bubble - but are you serious?  A truck camper for full timing?
Do you really want to spend your retirement in about a 8x12 spot?  For 2 people?

First of all, thanks for your concern, RedandSilver.

In short: yes, we are serious. We're not set on it yet, but we're seriously investigating the possibility.

In our vacation trip during the last few weeks, we have met and talked with couples which were fulltime living in very small camper vans (which have even less space) and in truck campers, and they all told us they were very happy (one of them was doing that for the last 14 years!). Also, they all had lifestyles very similar to what we are planning for ourselves, ie lots of time outdoors (the RV is mostly for sleeping) and "follow the climate" type of travel (so very few rainy days where you are cooped in the RV because of the weather).

Also, we have had some experience RVing in a small motorhome: during our trip to South Germany a few years back we spent 20+ days in a very small rental (a 17 feet no-slides class C) and we really liked it, so we think we can do it. And we can always change later: if we find we can't do it with the TC, we can sell just the camper (which we plan on buying used, so minimal depreciation loss) and keep the truck as we move up to a 5th Wheel. The loss will be much smaller than if we do the contrary (ie, if buy a 5thWheel first and then have to sell it as we find it's too large for the kind of adventures we have in mind).

But again, thanks for your advice; it's just that we've already thought on it.

Cheers,
--
   Vall.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 06:58:28 AM by VallAndMo »

VallAndMo

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  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Howdy everyone,

2) as to the TC proper, we would like it to be as rugged and maintenance-free as possible, and to have good thermal insulation, hard sides and top, a dry bath and a cassette toilet. So far, we've researched Arctic Fox campers (mainly due to it being one of the manufacturers in the shortlist for our 5thWheel plans) but they seem to be rather heavy and not to have any models with cassette toilets, and Northern Lites (great name and they seem to have hardshell units that are both very light and with dry baths and cassette toilets, but they are rather expensive, and their factory is located in Canada). Do you folks have any considerations re: these manufacturers, and/or recommend we look into any other brands and manufacturers?

Starting to answer our own question, we just finished going through the models listed at the URL Skyhammer pointed us to (thanks again, Sky!) and we found out the following:

a) The Northern Lites are unfortunately off: they have models with dry baths *or* cassette toilets, but *not both*;

b) We found the Northstar 12STC and, after reading these manufacturer specs and this review/interview we were able to find on Google, we are in love ;-) Seriously, it seems to be exactly what we want.

So, does anyone know anything about, or has any experience with, Northstar campers in general? What about the specific model above? Any and all comments welcome.

Also, if anyone can point us to any other TCs with dry baths and cassette toilets we may have missed, we would be much obliged. Ditto for answers/tips/pointers to our other questions, above.

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.

RedandSilver

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First off thanks for replying and explaining things.

I know there are different strokes for different folks.   ;D   And I wasn't trying to tell you just because I don't THINK it would be comfortable for me that it wouldn't be so for you.  Some people like small places and that's fine.  Most of us probably have to much Stuff anyways.

Good luck in making the right decision.

Will be interested to see what you end up with.   8)
 

Only thing I'm left wondering is IF you are planning on selling almost everything and REALLY going full time?
2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp

Gods Country

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Man that's one pricey truck camper. When I sold my old TC the guy that purchased it said the new one's were getting really expensive.

There are definitely some advantages to a TC.


Gizmo

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I hate to burst your bubble - but are you serious?  A truck camper for full timing?
Do you really want to spend your retirement in about a 8x12 spot?  For 2 people? 

It's your life and you can do what you want.  Go against the flow if you want to. 
Makes me wonder if your afraid to buy the 5th wheel thinking it's too big to handle?
Then again maybe your definition of full time isn't the same as most of us.

Sell your house and 95% (make that 99% since a TC has very little storage space) of your possessions to live in a 8x12 spot? 
Not my idea of comfort.

Sorry I can't help with a TC or any info on them - but I did want to know if you really plan to full time in such a small spot?

It seems one of the biggest mistakes I see on these forums is people buying too small and then upgrading over and over and over.
That gets very expensive vs. starting out with something more up to the task - IMO.  Just trying to keep you from jumping on that
upgrade merry go round that so many other people have been on.

We like the OP are planning to fulltime and have gone from looking at 5th Wheels to looking at truck campers.  Understand everyone has different needs and space requirements. Having said that, not sure what the OP is looking for, but what changed the game for us is seeing truck campers with double and triple slides, the one we have identified is a triple slide and really creates quite a bit of space.  For us it was a question of how much do we need to live an be happy a TC offers all the basics of living and we gain what is most important to us more freedom and mobility.  Interesting you mention "It seems one of the biggest mistakes I see on these forums is people buying too small and then upgrading over and over and over", why no doubt that is true, what I have heard over and over from many is they have downsized because their rigs were too large, so it goes both ways.  Whether two people can live in a small space is a function of their relationship, some can some can't, but then again two people who have different ideals, goals, wants and needs or do not get along well, are probably not going to be happy in a 40 plus foot rig either.  Sounds to me like the OP understands the limitations and accepts them and I have come across quite a few couples happily living in TC's, some without the benefits of slides.
To the OP, how much weight you carry is dependent on what you deem important to have with you and your payload capacity of the truck.  Also you might consider a DRW which will open up the possibility of double and triple slides.  For example the Eagle Cap 1165 we are looking to purchase as well as other triple slide units require a DRW so getting a DRW opens up a lot of options for you.  Best of luck to you.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

donn

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Well, I guess your much better than I am.  Living 2 people in that small of a box in bad weather is definitely not my cup of tea.  I guess camper size depends on truck size  huge truck means bigger camper, and more weight carrying capacity. If your going this way, you might want to look at Earth Roamer or Tiger motor homes.  Tigers are built on 550/5500 series trucks, so there fully capable of handling more.
Remember in any camper storage space will be at a premium.  Where are you going to put more than one change of clothes?  How about dirty clothes?  Dishes?  What are you going to use?  If this is going to be a full time rig, you will very like
Y want to pull an enclosed utility trailer to carry stuff like lawn chairs, BBQ, folding table, spare clothes, etc.

VallAndMo

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  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2017, 06:38:57 PM »
Hi RedandSilver,

First off thanks for replying and explaining things.
No problem, and thank you for the opportunity to explain them.

Quote
Good luck in making the right decision.
Will be interested to see what you end up with.   8)
We will be sure to keep this topic posted ;-)

Quote
Only thing I'm left wondering is IF you are planning on selling almost everything and REALLY going full time?
Yes: we have rid ourselves of a lot of stuff already... and with the exception of very few things (which would all fit in a large travel bag), we see the stuff I still have around mostly as weighs dragging us down... can't wait to get rid of them also.

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.

VallAndMo

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  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2017, 06:42:20 PM »
Hi Gods Country,

Man that's one pricey truck camper. When I sold my old TC the guy that purchased it said the new one's were getting really expensive.
There are definitely some advantages to a TC.

Yes :-/ we've noted that a good TC costs a large portion of the price we would be paying for a quality 5thWheel :-( But they still seem to be the most cost-effective way to have a go-anywhere small RV, which is what we're after with our TC plans; our research so far seems to indicate that the other option (custom "overlander" vehicles) are waaaay more expensive... (see next post).

Cheers,
--
   Vall.

« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 06:49:21 PM by VallAndMo »

VallAndMo

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  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2017, 06:48:53 PM »
Hi Gizmo,

We like the OP are planning to fulltime and have gone from looking at 5th Wheels to looking at truck campers.  Understand everyone has different needs and space requirements. Having said that, not sure what the OP is looking for, but what changed the game for us is seeing truck campers with double and triple slides, the one we have identified is a triple slide and really creates quite a bit of space.  For us it was a question of how much do we need to live an be happy a TC offers all the basics of living and we gain what is most important to us more freedom and mobility.

Glad to hear you're on the same boat! We basically want a go-anywhere, as small as possible RV... we've seen the ones with slides, but will try to avoid them if possible so as to keep the weight low. And none of them (at least the ones we found so far) have cassette toilets, not even as an option (and this is really important for us).

Quote
Interesting you mention "It seems one of the biggest mistakes I see on these forums is people buying too small and then upgrading over and over and over", why no doubt that is true, what I have heard over and over from many is they have downsized because their rigs were too large, so it goes both ways.
Our thinking exactly: better to err on the side of being too small and then upgrade, than the other way around... both financially and emotionally.

Quote
To the OP, how much weight you carry is dependent on what you deem important to have with you and your payload capacity of the truck.
No doubt. But we would like to hear from people who are actually fulltiming in TCs as to how much weight they carry around, in order to have numbers for our planning...

Quote
Also you might consider a DRW which will open up the possibility of double and triple slides.  For example the Eagle Cap 1165 we are looking to purchase as well as other triple slide units require a DRW so getting a DRW opens up a lot of options for you.
We have noticed that :-/ Initially we were planning to avoid a DRW if at all possible, but it seems that a DRW will be a good thing everything considered.

Thanks for your input!

Cheers,
--
   Vall.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 08:35:03 PM by VallAndMo »

VallAndMo

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  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2017, 08:28:53 PM »
Howdy Donn,

Well, I guess your much better than I am.

Not better by any means, but we do guess we are all different ;-)

Quote
Living 2 people in that small of a box in bad weather is definitely not my cup of tea.
Not ours either. We plan on staying outdoors as much as possible, and to travel in order to avoid the bad weather. Of course bad weather can't be avoided all the time, but we plan on minimizing it as much as possible, and I think we can endure staying a few days stepping on each other's shadow if we can keep it infrequent enough.

Quote
I guess camper size depends on truck size  huge truck means bigger camper, and more weight carrying capacity. If your going this way, you might want to look at Earth Roamer or Tiger motor homes.  Tigers are built on 550/5500 series trucks, so there fully  of handling more.
We have had theTigers pointed out to us, and have already checked them out; we loved them and found them to be just about perfect except for the price. Their simplest model is the Benghal (in its basic configuration, with no options) goes to the tune of $125,000... ouch! And that's for a gasoline regular cab (diesel crew cab costs even more)... this is about 2x the price of a truck+camper, that's waaaaaay too rich for our blood, and that using a 1-ton (350/3500) pickup truck chassis.

Tiger's most capable model, the Siberian (which is the one built on top of the 550/5500 chassis), ups the ante to a "mere" $248,000 (!!!) also for a basic configuration, but at least that's for a diesel crew cab. Anyway, there's no way we would be spending that amount of money... and to make things worse, we are pretty sure that if we change our mind later and decide to swap it for another kind of RV, the financial loss on such a custom, expensive vehicle would really hurt. So yes, they seem to be fantastic... but from a cost-benefit standpoint, an absolute no-no for us, unfortunately, at least until we win the Lotto (and we don't bet, so it makes things just a little more difficult ;-)).

We haven't checked the EarthRoamers yet, thanks for bringing them up; we will surely have a look.

Quote
Remember in any camper storage space will be at a premium.  Where are you going to put more than one change of clothes?  How about dirty clothes?  Dishes?  What are you going to use?
Thanks for asking about these points; here's our thinking so far
Clothes:  The Northstar 12STC we're considering has two wardrobes (small ones, but they seem to be able to cope with reasonably more than a single change of clothes) as well as many overhead cabinets all around (for non-hanging clothes like underwear, tshirts etc which constitute most of our dressing, we think we would be using the ones around the bed).
Dirty clothes: the idea is to stash them at the hampers that are pictured at both sides of the bed.
Dishes (and a reasonable number of pots and pans and cups etc): our plan is to store them in the storage under the kitchen, as well as in its overhead cabinets.


Quote
  If this is going to be a full time rig, you will very like[l]y want to pull an enclosed utility trailer to carry stuff like lawn chairs, BBQ, folding table, spare clothes, etc.

You know, we have actually thought about that. The fact that the Northstar 12STC entry door is on its side actually (we think, please correct if wrong) would enable us to use the TC for sleeping/eating/etc even with such a trailer still attached... so no need to unhitch for quick overnight stops. We plan on trying without the trailer at first, but it's good to know we can move up to one if the cargo capacity of the TC proves to be too limiting.

Thanks for your input, Donn, much appreciated! Please tell us anything else that comes to your mind, the more ideas we get, the better.

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 08:31:03 PM by VallAndMo »

donn

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Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2017, 10:05:22 PM »
The last thing I would consider is cost per sq ft of room.  Aa decent quality 10 foot camper is going to cost 35+ K or roughly $3,500 per foot of floor space.  A decent quality fifth wheel might set you back 70K, but thats for 35 to 40 feet of floor spade, or roughly $2,000 per running foot. Just seems to me a decent fifthwheel is a far better choice.  A fifth wheel gives you  a decent sized bathroom vs a cramped wet bath in a camper.  A fiver can have room for a washer/dryer so you dont have to spend hours a week at some dingy laundrymat.  A fiver can have a fill queen or king bed at normal bed height vs having to crawl onto the bed. A fiver can have a nice place to relax in the evening vs a campers only seating is at the dinette. A fiver can have a nearly real kitchen vs cooking next to the toilet.  A fiver can comfortably seat 4 or 5 for occasional guests,vs a campers cramped for two.
Believe me sitting outside,mor in the great outdoors is wonderful and works well for a weekend or maybe a week.  But month in and month out you will want times when you can go inside, and sit in a nice comfortably chair and relax. Maybe read a book or watch a few minutes of TV.  Not to mention a nice hot shower before bed.
We have either owned,rented, or borrowed every concievably type of RV except a DP and a class C over the years.  Our fiver is by far the most comfortable, livable RV we have ever owned.  If DW would, I would sell this house and be a full timer in my fiver. 

VallAndMo

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  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2017, 11:17:58 PM »
Hi Donn,

The last thing I would consider is cost per sq ft of room.
I entirely agree with your thinking, area/cost-wise a 5thWheel is a much better deal, hands down. That's why our main plain was (and still is) a 5thWheel.

But, we would like to be able to take the rig to some areas that are only accessible over very some very badly maintained, sandy/muddled dirt roads.... a truck could get there, specially a 4WD truck as we are planning to get; a truck + TC, we think, would also have no issues... but we seriously doubt a truck plus a fifth wheel would be able to. Just for an example: Joaquin Rocks, in Central California. We tried, and failed, to get there in a non-4WD SUV in early 2012: no 4WD and not enough ground clearance forced us to give up right at the beginning. I have no doubt we could do it with a 4WD and a few inches more of clearance, eg with a 4WD truck. Our plan is to try again, that time bringing our home along with us! ;-)

Destinations in that same vein are the entire reason we are considering going with a TC instead of a 5thWheel -- sorry if we haven't made that clear earlier.

Cheers,
--
   Vall.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 11:28:34 PM by VallAndMo »

redneckgearhead

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Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2017, 12:35:19 AM »
I'm not sure I would be attempting to make that trip with a TC on the back of the truck.  It sounds like a hairy situation to have that much weight at the very top of your rig.  Will the increase in COG be an issue on trails like that?
2012 StarCraft Autumn Ridge 235FB

OutdoorFT

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Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2017, 10:14:22 AM »
Well, I guess your much better than I am.  Living 2 people in that small of a box in bad weather is definitely not my cup of tea.  I guess camper size depends on truck size  huge truck means bigger camper, and more weight carrying capacity. If your going this way, you might want to look at Earth Roamer or Tiger motor homes.  Tigers are built on 550/5500 series trucks, so there fully capable of handling more.
Remember in any camper storage space will be at a premium.  Where are you going to put more than one change of clothes?  How about dirty clothes?  Dishes?  What are you going to use?  If this is going to be a full time rig, you will very like
Y want to pull an enclosed utility trailer to carry stuff like lawn chairs, BBQ, folding table, spare clothes, etc.
The price of those are so far out there, not many can afford that. I think base price for lowest one is 148k?
Future Fulltimer

2011 F350 Lariat CCLB SRW
No RV yet!!

VallAndMo

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  • Posts: 455
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2017, 02:50:25 PM »
Howdy redneckgearhead,
I'm not sure I would be attempting to make that trip with a TC on the back of the truck.  It sounds like a hairy situation to have that much weight at the very top of your rig.  Will the increase in COG be an issue on trails like that?

Good point, I truly don't know (no experience at all with this kind of setup). But (and that's another advantage of a TC, it would be much easier to turn around and return with one than with a 5thWheel. And also much easier to find some empty space on the side of the trail to leave the TC while going ahead with the truck alone....

Cheers,
--
   Vall.

VallAndMo

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  • Posts: 455
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2017, 02:56:21 PM »
Hello OutdoorFT,

The price of those are so far out there, not many can afford that. I think base price for lowest one is 148k?

Exactly, see my post above.

Alas, I just checked the other manufacturer Donn mentioned (EarthRoamer) and their prices seem to be even more outlandish (or should I say, "overlandish"? :-)): could not find the prices for new units, but their site has a "preowned" section  which lists some second-hand units for sale (presumably from other customers who upgraded). The less expensive one is a 4-year-old (ie, 2013) XV-LTS model (which doesn't even have a dry bath, settling for a wet one instead) with 40,650 miles for $460,000 (!!!!).

I think those custom "overlander" RVs, on a cost-benefit basis, are definitely out of the game for us.... :-/

Cheers,
--
   Vall.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 02:59:18 PM by VallAndMo »

skyhammer

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Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2017, 04:12:04 PM »
Howdy everyone,

Starting to answer our own question, we just finished going through the models listed at the URL Skyhammer pointed us to (thanks again, Sky!) and we found out the following:

a) The Northern Lites are unfortunately off: they have models with dry baths *or* cassette toilets, but *not both*;

b) We found the Northstar 12STC and, after reading these manufacturer specs and this review/interview we were able to find on Google, we are in love ;-) Seriously, it seems to be exactly what we want.

So, does anyone know anything about, or has any experience with, Northstar campers in general? What about the specific model above? Any and all comments welcome.

Also, if anyone can point us to any other TCs with dry baths and cassette toilets we may have missed, we would be much obliged. Ditto for answers/tips/pointers to our other questions, above.

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.

North Stars are very good campers. The main problem I can see is the small tank sizes, 41 gallon fresh, 20 gallon grey and 13 gallon black.For full timing, you may find yourself emptying and filling tanks quite often.But RVing is all about compromises.
2011 Ford DRW,4X4
Host Everest, 11.5', triple slide

skyhammer

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  • Posts: 29
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2017, 04:19:50 PM »
Man that's one pricey truck camper. When I sold my old TC the guy that purchased it said the new one's were getting really expensive.

There are definitely some advantages to a TC.

As far as campers go, I would call the 12STC moderately priced. You should expect to get 15-20% off retail price.
My campers base price was $39,100, I added $16,539 in options, retail was $55,639, paid $43,887.
2011 Ford DRW,4X4
Host Everest, 11.5', triple slide

VallAndMo

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  • Posts: 455
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2017, 04:36:08 PM »
Hi Skyhammer,

North Stars are very good campers. The main problem I can see is the small tank sizes, 41 gallon fresh, 20 gallon grey and 13 gallon black.For full timing, you may find yourself emptying and filling tanks quite often.But RVing is all about compromises.

Sure thing. We're ready for more frequent refilling/emptying runs as we will be picking up a unit with the cassette toilet (so just 3.5 gal black water instead of 13).

As far as campers go, I would call the 12STC moderately priced. You should expect to get 15-20% off retail price.
My campers base price was $39,100, I added $16,539 in options, retail was $55,639, paid $43,887.

Thanks for the numbers. One question, when you say "retail price" you mean the MSRP, right?

Cheers,
--
   Vall.

skyhammer

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  • Posts: 29
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2017, 04:39:06 PM »
The last thing I would consider is cost per sq ft of room.  Aa decent quality 10 foot camper is going to cost 35+ K or roughly $3,500 per foot of floor space.  A decent quality fifth wheel might set you back 70K, but thats for 35 to 40 feet of floor spade, or roughly $2,000 per running foot. Just seems to me a decent fifthwheel is a far better choice.  A fifth wheel gives you  a decent sized bathroom vs a cramped wet bath in a camper.  A fiver can have room for a washer/dryer so you dont have to spend hours a week at some dingy laundrymat.  A fiver can have a fill queen or king bed at normal bed height vs having to crawl onto the bed. A fiver can have a nice place to relax in the evening vs a campers only seating is at the dinette. A fiver can have a nearly real kitchen vs cooking next to the toilet.  A fiver can comfortably seat 4 or 5 for occasional guests,vs a campers cramped for two.
Believe me sitting outside,mor in the great outdoors is wonderful and works well for a weekend or maybe a week.  But month in and month out you will want times when you can go inside, and sit in a nice comfortably chair and relax. Maybe read a book or watch a few minutes of TV.  Not to mention a nice hot shower before bed.
We have either owned,rented, or borrowed every concievably type of RV except a DP and a class C over the years.  Our fiver is by far the most comfortable, livable RV we have ever owned.  If DW would, I would sell this house and be a full timer in my fiver.

I don't think you looked at new camper lately.
I have a King bed and my closet is 8' long, 3'wide and 4' high.
My bathroom is a dry bath, has a tub, shower, toilet, vanity with sink and cabinets. Two people can and have easily fit.
As far as seating goes, I have two recliners and a couch for 3. The table collapses flush to floor when not needed.Washer and dryer were options.I also have a full stereo system and 2-32"-40" TVs and an electric fire place.
My kitchen has nearly everything a home kitchen has. Double sink, huge counter top, microwave convection oven, regular oven and lots of cabinets.
Depending upon what state you live, no license fees. Insurance is cheap, as long as it is on the truck, the truck policy covers it. I have an additional policy for when the camper is off the truck, less than $200/year.
I take my camper off the truck every chance I get, takes 10 minutes by myself, on or off. With camper off, I can use the truck as I want.I tow a 20' jet boat where ever I go, most states don't allow you tow a boat with a 5th wheel.
2011 Ford DRW,4X4
Host Everest, 11.5', triple slide

skyhammer

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  • Posts: 29
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2017, 04:39:48 PM »
Hi Skyhammer,

Sure thing. We're ready for more frequent refilling/emptying runs as we will be picking up a unit with the cassette toilet (so just 3.5 gal black water instead of 13).

Thanks for the numbers. One question, when you say "retail price" you mean the MSRP, right?

Cheers,
--
   Vall.
Yes.
My tanks are 70,40, 40.
One thing to consider is many manufactures will build you camper to your specs. If something is not on the option list, as them if they will put it in.
Host campers is happy to make any changes you want. It is rare to see any two Host campers built the same.
North Stars are below the bed rails, so you won't have a basement for storage(my basement 5' long X4' wide.My camper sits above the bed rails so I have a 12' wide floor. With the camper above the bed rails, I also have access to my tanks if there is a problem, plus all the tanks and basement is heated. But... because of this I am 14' high.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 05:02:53 PM by skyhammer »
2011 Ford DRW,4X4
Host Everest, 11.5', triple slide

Gizmo

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  • Posts: 850
Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2017, 05:14:50 PM »
I don't think you looked at new camper lately.
I have a King bed and my closet is 8' long, 3'wide and 4' high.
My bathroom is a dry bath, has a tub, shower, toilet, vanity with sink and cabinets. Two people can and have easily fit.
As far as seating goes, I have two recliners and a couch for 3. The table collapses flush to floor when not needed.Washer and dryer were options.I also have a full stereo system and 2-32"-40" TVs and an electric fire place.
My kitchen has nearly everything a home kitchen has. Double sink, huge counter top, microwave convection oven, regular oven and lots of cabinets.
Depending upon what state you live, no license fees. Insurance is cheap, as long as it is on the truck, the truck policy covers it. I have an additional policy for when the camper is off the truck, less than $200/year.
I take my camper off the truck every chance I get, takes 10 minutes by myself, on or off. With camper off, I can use the truck as I want.I tow a 20' jet boat where ever I go, most states don't allow you tow a boat with a 5th wheel.

Yes, agree.  The TC's of today are not your Dad's TC, especially with single, double & triple slides.  My wife initially said no way on a TC until she saw the triple slides we have seen and now leaning towards.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

DWJoyce

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  • Posts: 73
Wow, full-timing with a truck camper for two people. You must have a great marriage, congratulations!

If at some point you find it too small, you can always get a travel trailer to supplement the camper. Of course the TC allows one to get off road and into places a TT just cannot go, which is why I chose a TC. Of course it's just me and my dogs... ;-)

VallAndMo

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  • Posts: 455
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Howdy DWJoyce,

If at some point you find it too small, you can always get a travel trailer to supplement the camper.

This is actually one of the alternatives we're exploring. In fact a few days ago we came across this TT for sale on PPL which seems to be exactly what we would want (a "man's cave" for Vall's projects plus a way to transport an ATV/motorcycle, and added fridge/storage/tank space plus a second bathroom and backup appliances in case any breaks down in the camper. And the total length should still be less than the truck pulling a single 32-35' 5thWheel behind.

Our main question right now is, when we camp at parks/resorts (provided we can fit it all in a single campsite, of course), do the truck+camper+TT combo counts as 2 RVs or does it still count as a single one?

Quote
Of course the TC allows one to get off road and into places a TT just cannot go, which is why I chose a TC.

Our thinking is that, on a camper + 21' TT scenario, we would not be worse off in the "off road" department than we would be with a 5thWheel... And we could always park the TT somewhere before going into the really rough parts.

Cheers,
--
   Vall.

Ernie n Tara

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  • Posts: 3230
  • Life is Good - Together
I think you're heading for a disappointment planning to take a large TC  off the beaten path. We do a lot of less travelled roads and find that even large 4WD pickups often have problems staying with us. Trees and branches can be a problem in wooded areas and rocks in the more open ones. In both the slope side to side is often quite steep. I'd suggest some research before relying on the assumptions you have made.

A final thought is that if an empty 2WD pickup can't make it, a heavily loaded 4WD won't either. And don't forget the winches if you do try this!

Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

2011 Winn Journey 34y
2012 Jeep Rubicon - Dozer (orange - kinda)
2006 Jeep Wrangler

Gizmo

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  • Posts: 850
The last thing I would consider is cost per sq ft of room.  Aa decent quality 10 foot camper is going to cost 35+ K or roughly $3,500 per foot of floor space.  A decent quality fifth wheel might set you back 70K, but thats for 35 to 40 feet of floor spade, or roughly $2,000 per running foot. Just seems to me a decent fifthwheel is a far better choice.  A fifth wheel gives you  a decent sized bathroom vs a cramped wet bath in a camper.  A fiver can have room for a washer/dryer so you dont have to spend hours a week at some dingy laundrymat.  A fiver can have a fill queen or king bed at normal bed height vs having to crawl onto the bed. A fiver can have a nice place to relax in the evening vs a campers only seating is at the dinette. A fiver can have a nearly real kitchen vs cooking next to the toilet.  A fiver can comfortably seat 4 or 5 for occasional guests,vs a campers cramped for two.
Believe me sitting outside,mor in the great outdoors is wonderful and works well for a weekend or maybe a week.  But month in and month out you will want times when you can go inside, and sit in a nice comfortably chair and relax. Maybe read a book or watch a few minutes of TV.  Not to mention a nice hot shower before bed.
We have either owned,rented, or borrowed every concievably type of RV except a DP and a class C over the years.  Our fiver is by far the most comfortable, livable RV we have ever owned.  If DW would, I would sell this house and be a full timer in my fiver.

You obviously have not looked at the 3-slide truck campers, where there are comfortable places to sit to read, enjoy a movie, where the kitchen is not right next to the toilet and if a couple needs their separate space from time to time, there is space to do that as well.  They have all the necessities of life and a few luxury features as well, albeit in a smaller space, but then again it becomes more efficient use of space.  Granted a 5er has more room, but at least for us it always comes down to just how much room does one really need to live comfortably for some that may mean mean a Mcmansion, others a studio apt, a 45' plus fifth wheel or motorhome, that is fine.  We do not require a lot of space to be happy & value more, the freedom to go almost anywhere that we would loose with a 5er. 
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

 

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