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Author Topic: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.  (Read 1929 times)

VallAndMo

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  • Posts: 466
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Hello Ernie,

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.

Our idea isn't do to crazy rock-crawling 4WD off-roading with the camper, but just to go further than 5thWheel would allow us to.

Also, trees and branches aren't a real concern as we like much more to camp in desert areas than in heavily forested ones.

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I'd suggest some research before relying on the assumptions you have made.

Thanks for the suggestion, but would one go about researching that? We have no 4WD experience... our plan is to try it out with the camper first, and if we find it doesn't work for us (or don't buy us enough out-of-the-beaten-path capabitilty to offset its restriction inconveniences) then we can always sell the camper later and buy a 5thWheel, all the while keeping the truck, right?

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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!

Good tip re: the empty 2WD pickup rule. Alas, we do plan on having a winch (plus carrying around shovels and a couple of 4x2s plus a  ground/sand anchor) to help us get out of eventual mishaps... but our first rule is to use 4WD to get us *out* of trouble, not *into* it.

Cheers,
--
   Vall.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 10:45:29 AM by VallAndMo »

BRex

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Host Campers "Mammoth" model. About 11'6" or so. 4000lbs. Probably the nicest camper we've seen, built in Bend OR.

Follow your retirement dream any way you desire!


'97 Country Coach Intrigue

Gizmo

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The Host Mammoth & Everest are nice and among the 3-slide TC's.  We have pretty much settled on the Eagle Cap 1165, also a 3-slide unit.  It sounds like the OP does not want to go this large with slides, but for us because of our two large dogs we need more floor space which the 3-slide units offer.
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

SopranoKris

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ValandMo,

Have you looked at the Adventurer TCs? They have models made for trucks that don't require a dually. And then they have the lux models that do need one. Quality-wise, they are similar to the Arctic Fox. We just love the Arctic Fox models and were looking at the Arctic Fox 1140. However, the Adventurer 116DS is a dual slide and it also has a California King size bed, plus it has recliners & a separate dinette. I absolutely love the layout. It's a wet bath, but the shower is on the other side of the sink, so you're not right on the toilet to use it. I'm usually opposed to wet baths, but I would actually use this one.

We actually found the Adventurer had some models that would work for a short-bed, 1/2 ton truck as well. Not as big an investment up front. Even the models with no slides are still very nice (like the 89RB). (I could be wrong about this, still a complete newbie!)

Like you, we're new to RVing and are still in the planning stages. We were looking at trucks & TTs, but were intrigued by the TCs we saw. We went to an RV dealer and fell in love with the Arctic Fox 1140. We would love to have the freedom to dry camp just about any where and the TC would give us that freedom.

I haven't yet seen the Adventurers in-person, but we found a dealer that's about 4 hours away. We may take a "field trip" over there to see how they compare to the Arctic Foxes. I just love the construction on the Arctic Fox and it is so incredibly roomy inside with the cathedral arch roof. My husband & I would be quite content in it.

Our debate has been: do we just go ahead and get a dually now and the top-of-the-line TC? Or do we get a smaller truck with a smaller TC and upgrade down the road when we have the ability to RV 3/4 to nearly full time?

I'm excited to see what your final choice will be. Keep us posted!!!
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 06:02:12 PM by SopranoKris »

VallAndMo

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  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Hi SopranoKris,

Thanks for the info on the Adventurer TCs, we've just checked them and their floorplans do look ample & flexible, and having models that work with SRW trucks is certainly a plus. The only thing they seem to miss from our wishlist is the cassette toilet...

We hear you re: the big decision on whether to start out with a DRW or with a SRW and then upgrade later; we never owned either, but lots of folks told us that the extra capacity provided by a DRW is a good thing to have. And we think that, as a TC will be wider than the truck bed anyway (and we plan on having the camper mounted on the truck most of the time), perhaps the "lateral excess" from a DRW will not be as bothersome with a TC...

We will keep looking and planning, and when decide we will post the results here.

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.

Gizmo

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Hi SopranoKris,

Thanks for the info on the Adventurer TCs, we've just checked them and their floorplans do look ample & flexible, and having models that work with SRW trucks is certainly a plus. The only thing they seem to miss from our wishlist is the cassette toilet...

We hear you re: the big decision on whether to start out with a DRW or with a SRW and then upgrade later; we never owned either, but lots of folks told us that the extra capacity provided by a DRW is a good thing to have. And we think that, as a TC will be wider than the truck bed anyway (and we plan on having the camper mounted on the truck most of the time), perhaps the "lateral excess" from a DRW will not be as bothersome with a TC...

We will keep looking and planning, and when decide we will post the results here.

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.

The answer to the question on which direction to go relative to your intended needs, is do you prefer to trade vehicles in every couple of years or do you look long term and want to hang on to a vehicle as long as possible?  If you do not have an aversion to trading up short term and your intended truck camper does not require a DRW, then likely a SRW will be perfect.  If on the other hand your truck purchase is expected to last a long time, then I would argue a DRW makes sense as it will allow you to step up in the future to a larger TC if you decide to without having to buy another truck and in the interim you will have the added stable platform a DRW provides. 
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

OutdoorFT

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  • Posts: 354
Id invite you to search youtube with full time truck camper keywords. Watched a few interviews (cheaprRVliving channel) about truck campers. One guy had a tacoma with airbags for his truck. another was an F250 with 7.3 for 2 people. so it can be done. Depends on your neeeds. If you dont need a bathroom in it, youll save space and weight.

But to the nay sayers...its very possible.
Future Fulltimer

2011 F350 Lariat CCLB SRW
No RV yet!!

Gizmo

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  • Posts: 860
Id invite you to search youtube with full time truck camper keywords. Watched a few interviews (cheaprRVliving channel) about truck campers. One guy had a tacoma with airbags for his truck. another was an F250 with 7.3 for 2 people. so it can be done. Depends on your neeeds. If you dont need a bathroom in it, youll save space and weight.

But to the nay sayers...its very possible.

Good suggestion, these videos are worth looking at and I agree it is possible.  As a matter of fact when my wife mentioned our plans to go fulltime in a truck camper to her sister, her reply was "you have got be kidding", well yesterday her sister was in town to visit and we showed her our truck camper and she was like "wow, now I get it and see the possibility".
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

OutdoorFT

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Good suggestion, these videos are worth looking at and I agree it is possible.  As a matter of fact when my wife mentioned our plans to go fulltime in a truck camper to her sister, her reply was "you have got be kidding", well yesterday her sister was in town to visit and we showed her our truck camper and she was like "wow, now I get it and see the possibility".
luckily you got a dually. endless options!
Future Fulltimer

2011 F350 Lariat CCLB SRW
No RV yet!!

jackiemac

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Remember you can always park up and take a tent for a few days if you are somewhere really rough. We have been on several  4x4 roads with our truck that have been very bouncy indeed. Great fun though.

I'm sure some folks here must take theirs off road so hopefully you will get feedback on feasibility of doing that.

Good luck with your search, look forward to the results!!
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.4L Hemi

8th May to 30th October 2017 - Touring Western US

IowaNomads

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  • Posts: 30
  • 34' 1995 Fleetwood Bounder
If I were a single man I'd buy a TC or camper van in a heartbeat. I need little space to live in. Most of my time I spend working on the computer or outside enjoying nature. I'd love the freedom to be able to go to spots other RVers aren't able to get to. It's freedom. Also a smaller space would be easier to heat or cool. I believe that's what the OP wants too. However as a married man it wouldn't work well for us. My wife wants to go to those places too but for her room is more important. Which is fine because there are a lot or beautiful places we can go in a larger setup.
Taking the road less traveled usually means a few bumps along the way, but a lot more freedom and happiness.

Great Horned Owl

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  • Posts: 1235
  • Lake county, IL
I can't imagine trying to full time in that small a space. DW and I used to use a class C. It was great for a long weekend. It was adequate for a two week week trip. It was barely ok for a three week trip. Then, I retired. We set off on a six week trip, that about drove us nuts. At one point, we had three successive days of heavy rain. Talk about cabin fever. We came home, and bought a truck and 5th wheel.

The TC is not the only way to get off road. There are a few rugged, off road RVs made. See http://www.pddoc.com/camp/mini003.htm, or for the ultimate. see the Unicats https://www.unicat.net/en/index.php.

Joel

Joel & Dorothy
Retired electronics engineer. Avid photographer, paddler & birder.
2011 Silverado 2500HD, Duramax, 4x4,crew cab, 8' bed
Palomino Puma 253-FBS  27' 5th wheel
1994 19' Class B Horizon / Chevy

hopefulrver

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Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2017, 04:20:36 AM »
    My wife and I are considering a truck camper also , for long time outs on the road . You could tow a small hard shell trailer behind for carry tools and other heavy hardware needed to cope with everyday life. Good luck and have fun , hopefulrver

Gizmo

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Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #43 on: October 12, 2017, 09:46:51 AM »
We just returned from our maiden voyage in our new truck camper we will be full timing in at the end of this year and was a rousing success.  We found it provided all the room we really need, we were comfortable and happy, even with our two big Akitas.  We had two other campers want to take a look of our TC, one who is considering the make/model we have and another who was curious.  Both were skeptical about full timing in a TC.  When they came in they were completely blown away and could not believe the space provided with the three slides.  One said "I get it now" the other a full timing couple wanting to downsize from their 5th wheel, sent his wife over, saying she needs to see this and now they are looking to buy.  We are fortunate enough to have 3-slides which is what we felt we needed for our F/T travels, but there are others full timing in double, single and no slides TC's that make it work and enjoy it, hell there are folks full timing in class B's and we have more space in our TC than any of the class B's we have seen.  Granted it is not for everybody, but 5th wheels, Class A's, C's & B's are not for everyone either. To the OP it can be done if it is important enough to you. It comes down to what is the most important thing for your needs?  In our case it was more mobility and we have found we get that in our TC with minimal sacrifice to space.  Good luck in your journey.
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

Lou Schneider

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Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #44 on: October 12, 2017, 01:20:17 PM »
One concern I have about the big slide truck campers is their high center of gravity.  Raise the floor level a couple of feet above the truck bed so the slides can clear the bed rails, put it on a 4wd pickup that's taller than the 2wd version and unless you're carrying rocks for ballast in that basement compartment, things can get tippy in a hurry.  Even if you beef up the suspension, all that means is you won't get a lot of body lean before things go south.

Then there's the basic structure of the platform.  A truck camper rests on a 4 ft. wide footprint in the truck bed, limited by the space between the wheel wells.  A conventional Class A or Class C is supported across the entire width of the body.  Basically, the only thing that keeps a tall truck camper from rolling out of the bed are the tie downs, which pull downwards instead of providing support.

If I wanted a rig to take back into the boonies, I think I'd look at a conventional trailer that contains the essentials needed to support a full time lifestyle and could be left behind as a base camp.  Then put a smaller and lighter camper on the truck, maybe even a pop-top model.

But that's just me.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 01:42:10 PM by Lou Schneider »

Gizmo

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Re: HELP NEEDED: Truck Campers for fultiming? Models, considerations, etc.
« Reply #45 on: October 12, 2017, 03:03:08 PM »
A legitimate concern Lou and one I had as well.  After talking with several owners of these multi slide TC's about my concerns, did we feel comfortable enough to make the purchase.  Now having driven with our TC I can say, I notice the difference but not anywhere near the point of a white knuckle experience.  Driving conservatively, being mindful of the higher COG and weight make it a very doable drive.
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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