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Author Topic: Why buy a truck camper  (Read 28131 times)

Jammer

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Why buy a truck camper
« on: February 17, 2010, 01:51:49 PM »
Well we have a thread every month on why to buy a MH instead of a 5er or a 5er instead of a TT or a Ford instead of a Chevy.  So why not have a thread espousing the manifold benefits of the truck camper.  I'll start.

1.  All-road and off-road capability.  A truck camper on a 4x4 is impossible to beat if you are camping where ground clearance and traction are a big deal.

2.  Practicality in the city.  Like the increasingly rare class B, smaller truck campers that don't extend beyond the width and length of the truck carrying them can be maneuvered and parked almost anywhere.

3.  Stealth.  If you are visiting your inlaws and parked in the driveway you're much less likely to attract attention of the RV haters in the city gov't than you would with, say, a Prevost.

4.  Ability to launch a boat.  If you like to fish this is really the only way to pull a comfortably sized boat with you and launch it.  Class Bs don't have the traction and the As and Cs are, generally, too clumsy

5.  No registration or insurance.  In most cases though some people might choose to insure the camper itself.

6.  Many of the benefits of a TT.  You can upgrade the TV, have the TV repaired while living in the camper, change tires yourself, use the TV to haul drywall for the basement project, etc.
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Tom

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2010, 02:05:28 PM »
Good topic.

For me, the ability to visit remote mountain lakes and streams, with or without a boat, would be a real reason to buy a truck camper. If I could have got my other half to agree, I'd have bought one years ago.

Quote from: Jammer
Ability to launch a boat.  If you like to fish this is really the only way to pull a comfortably sized boat with you and launch it.  Class Bs don't have the traction and the As and Cs are, generally, too clumsy

Not quite. We towed a 20 foot boat behind a 29 foot class A for many years. Went all over California and launched/retrieved at countless boat ramps.
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brens

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2010, 02:25:47 PM »
Tom, Do you feel that it was any harder launching with the motor home then with a truck?We have a Jeep that I want to sell because I feel nervous about launching with our motor home, My husband wants to keep his jeep. Thanks
Curt & Brenda
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Jammer

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2010, 02:27:18 PM »
Good topic.

For me, the ability to visit remote mountain lakes and streams, with or without a boat, would be a real reason to buy a truck camper. If I could have got my other half to agree, I'd have bought one years ago.

Not quite. We towed a 20 foot boat behind a 29 foot class A for many years. Went all over California and launched/retrieved at countless boat ramps.

They pave the boat ramps there, don't they?
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Tom

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2010, 03:12:10 PM »
Quote from: brens
Do you feel that it was any harder launching with the motor home then with a truck?

I found it much easier to launch with the motorhome than with our short wheelbase Bronco. The long overhang behind the rear wheels of the motorhome made it really easy to control the trailer. I'd launch the boat on ramps that some folks thought were impossible; I've even had an audience from a nearby campground watching and clapping.

When we got home, I'd unhook the boat trailer from the motorhome and hook it up to the Bronco to pop it in the side yard. To see me trying to get in the side yard with the Bronco, you'd think I'd never reversed a trailer before.
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Tom

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2010, 03:13:28 PM »
Quote from: Jammer
They pave the boat ramps there, don't they?

Some, but not all. If someone was really concerned about burying the rear wheels in mud, I'd suggest mounting a front hitch on the motorhome, although I never felt the need to do that.
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Carl L

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2010, 03:19:44 PM »
They pave the boat ramps there, don't they?

Not only can they get muddy, but ramps on tidal waters and at reserviors recently drawn down can get slimy.  I have seen tow vehicles spinning sideways on wet slime.
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Pierat

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2010, 06:40:00 PM »
I would think the truck camper's endurance is pretty limited by small tank sizes, if nothing else. Also, some of the designs look top-heavy or have too much weight behind the truck's rear axle, or both. I haven't owned one, though.
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PancakeBill

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2010, 07:26:00 PM »
Speaking from experience...  I have had 4 disserent truck campers, 2 different trucks.  Launced boats, pulled enclosed trailers, boondocked, hooked up at full hookups.  From a pretty basic one to a dry bath with gen, sat and HDTV, plus mega solar power.

Really a neat way of RV-ing, but mainly for short term.  Longest time we spent in ours was 2 weeks.  Could have easily gone longer, but I wouldn't want to spnd a summer in Yellowstone in one.  Too confining. 

As to tanks, yeah, for boondocking, you need to do things a little different.  strict budget on water etc.  However, we were usually within an area we could dump and replenish. 

If I had unlimited time, money and space and only 2 choices in RV's One would be a TC.  Also a great choice for an AK trip.
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

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Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2010, 08:21:25 PM »
I would think the truck camper's endurance is pretty limited by small tank sizes, if nothing else. Also, some of the designs look top-heavy or have too much weight behind the truck's rear axle, or both. I haven't owned one, though.

When I had a pickup with a camper on it I put 2 aux fuel tanks on it. With the stock tank plus the aux tanks I had a total of 90 gallons.

Google "auxiliary pickup fuel tank" and you'll get lots of options. I think I got mine from Transfer Flow.
Don & Peg
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Currently located here.
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PancakeBill

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2010, 07:36:02 AM »
AK, I am pretty sure the post was regarding to the 3 water tanks.  I had a 30 gal fresh,I think a 15 B and 20 G on mine.  My truck had 38 gal fuel.  Besides adding all the aux fuel tanks just subtracts from weight capacity.
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

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Marsha/CA

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2010, 11:44:09 AM »
We had a TC for over 10 years and I loved the thing.  We went everywhere with it and pulled horse trailers into some beautiful spots to camp.  I loved the freedom of it; but didn't like having to break camp if we were in a "full hookup" situation and needed to go into town.  Yes the tanks were small; but workable.  I think ours had a 30 gallon fresh water, 20 gallon grey and 15 black.  Of course when you camp out in the boonies, you use the campground facilities; or the trees and/or big bushes.   ::)

I also spent a great deal of time researching things regarding TCs such as: center of balance, weight, tank capacity sizes, dual or single axle truck and overhang lengths.   The only thing I really didn't like was putting it on and off the truck with the hydraulic jacks, that was a bit nerve wracking.

We gave the TC to our kids and each time I climb into it; I get a bit nostalgic.   It's a 93 and everything still works.  The only thing we had to do was replace a water pump.  It was a Caribou made by Fleetwood.

Marsha~
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tfconlon

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2010, 12:04:46 PM »
And another reason to own one is because they are just so cool!!
Tom C
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Pierat

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2010, 02:25:36 PM »
Cool I can sure believe. Goes lots of places other RVs might have trouble.
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WileyClarkson

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2010, 07:32:43 AM »
We bought our first camper, a 12.5ft cab over fully equipped TC that had already been to Alaska from Texas three times before we got it, in 1983.  With three daughters under 6 years old, it was great!   I mounted it to a 1978 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab 3/4+ ton w/camper mounting package and proceeded to take it camping spots in Colorado that trailers have trouble going!  The kids could ride in the back seat or climb directly into the camper through the rear window when nature called while not having to pull over. I would love to have a similar rig again but my wife is not into TC's anymore.  She thinks she needs the room of a hybrid trailer with a slide out and digital entertainment system :)  Got to admit that it is a very comfortable compromise and the gas mileage is about the same! 
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1GypsyRose

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2010, 03:17:58 PM »
Why a Truck Camper?  It's just the 2 of us (hubby and I) and we love boating and camping, but the TENT thing was getting way OLD!  So, I can still camp (with a/c and most of the comforts of home) . . . I can go most anywhere I want to . . . I can take the boat . . . and I can either leave the camper on the truck or take it off and use the p/u for exploring (without tearing down camp).

Happy and safe camping!
John & Debbie
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seilerbird

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2010, 03:37:03 PM »
I was going to buy a truck camper until I realized I am not a sardine.

PancakeBill

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2010, 07:02:34 PM »
Tom
For you it would actually be a pretty good rig, just you and Tarzan.  Plus with it off truck you have a get around vehicle.  Last two we had both had slideouts, pretty roomy, about the same as a 22' class C.

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

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seilerbird

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2010, 07:50:36 PM »
Tom
For you it would actually be a pretty good rig, just you and Tarzan.  Plus with it off truck you have a get around vehicle.  Last two we had both had slideouts, pretty roomy, about the same as a 22' class C.
No way could I live in a truck camper. This 27 footer is even a bit too small for me. I would like about two or three more feet in the bedroom so I could put in a queen sized bed. I spent too much time living in a van to ever be comfortable in a truck. I get around just fine in my motorhome. I got around just fine when I was getting around in a 39 footer. And I positively hate slide outs. When I finally do trade up it will be to something like a 90s class A about 30 feet long. It sure would be nice if one of the pieces of optional equipment were blonde.

34footer

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2010, 07:15:59 AM »
And I positively hate slide outs. When I finally do trade up it will be to something like a 90s class A about 30 feet long. It sure would be nice if one of the pieces of optional equipment were blonde.
What are your biggest issues with slides?
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Jammer

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2010, 11:11:28 AM »
Well it looks like Tom and I found something to agree on.

I don't like slides, for a number of reasons:

1) They lead to an impossibly cramped interior in those situations where it is inappropriate, impossible, or inconvenient to deploy the slide.  These include brief rest or meal stops while traveling, loading or unloading supplies at the beginning or end of a trip, overnight stops in non-campground locations of various kinds, and older campsites at state and national parks where clearance is a problem.

2) Visual appearance of the outside of the RV while camping is a big deal to me, and slides are ugly.

3) Comparing two RVs with the same floor space -- a longer one without slides and a shorter one with slides -- the one with slides will generally be heavier, with attendant consequences for axles, tires, hitch, fuel economy, ability to pass slow moving Ford escorts, and (for a tt or 5er) tow vehicle selection.

4) I like windows and skylights.  Again comparing two RVs with the same floor space the one with slides has fewer opportunities for windows and skylights.

5) Slides increase the encamp and decamp times.

6) Slides occasionally fail to retract leading to an inability to decamp.  While rare, this is a major inconvenience when it occurs.

7) Slides are a fruitful source of water leaks.

8) Slides pose problems in high winds: air and water leakage, and increased susceptibility to overturning (unless auxiliary jacks are placed under the slide).

9) Slides raise the CG and can lead to lateral imbalance, both of which reduce drivability.

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GregScott

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2010, 08:53:30 PM »
I know this is an old topic, but one use for a truck camper, is to use it in "stealth camping" mode.
There are lots of places where it is difficult to find a legit camping spot, but you can park maybe half the night, get in the back of your truck camper, and nobody cares. An example is trailheads.
As a photographer, I like to be right on the spot before the sun rises.
So in national parks, the truck camper gives some "flexibility", in this regard.
I use a pop-up camper. So nobody thinks I'm inside if I don't pop the roof. I can get some Zs while waiting for sunrise.
See my photos at http://www.gregscott.com

Retiredfromthefunnyfarm

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2011, 10:29:23 AM »
I go to a Lot of antique engine shows. Many times the display areas, Camping and trailer parking is just in a Field with No improved roads. And you know what happens to Fields when it rains :(

A few years ago at the Baraboo Show we got 6 inches of rain on Sat night. Only way Class A's were moving was with 2 tractors ahead of them... I went out and got a trailer for a friend and then mine... No problem...

I'm usually by myself so room is not a problem. I have Queen Bed, shower if I need it, Now AC if I need it, and room to plug in the puter and TV if I so desire and it's so easy to get around in crowded areas with a short vehicle. The Cummins and 5 speed 4X4 usually gets from 15 to 17 MPG with just the camper or 12 to 13 with the trailer attached. I got a different camper last spring but you get the idea...

roger31

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2013, 07:45:43 PM »
I would take the versatility of a truck camper over extra space anyday. I've never owned one but its def on my list.  I currently own a short wheel base dodge ram 1500. For this light duty truck options are somewhat limited but after extensive research ive got it narrowed down to the palamino 1251SB which yields a price tag of $9000 which seems reasonable when i look at the fact that I'll have a compact rv that i can simply pull up in my apartment complex with and not have to pay for storage.  It's a pop up camper that has a low profile when not in use. I really like that.  It comes with toilet shower furnace hot water heater fridge stove and queen size serta bed over the cab. Air conditioning would be extra . Sometimes don't u just wanna fall off the grid for a day or two? Have u ever lost heat dead in the middle of winter and had to sleep in a freezing house?  Having one of these genius thought up campers would be your simple peace of mind knowing you have some type of temporary or emergency dwelling.  One other thing thats unlikely but possible.  In the rare event somebody with one of these suddenly became homeless for whatever reason....he'd still have a roof over his head along with all the basic needs to get by til things smoothed out. That sounds alot better than sleeping in some alley way. I've done my research and this camper setup would claim about 4mpg if left on the truck which it will be. I don't drive this truck daily my civic gets me to work throughout the week so i dont mind the extra weight being pulled around when i do drive it.  Let me know what y'all think id love to hear some feedback

PancakeBill

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2013, 10:24:32 PM »
Look at the Palomino brand very carefully.  Check construction, look at other brands and compare.  If it fits you and you are happy with the construction and strength go for it.  I have had 4 different TC's and had looked at Palomino a couple times, I always ended up with something else.  Good luck! 
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
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roger31

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2013, 08:01:39 PM »
Thank you for your response.  I think its neat that you've had four campers.  I can't wait to get my first one.  From a financial standpoint palamino seems to be a great starter unit but for the long haul if i had to get one camper and one only it would be a hard side with the insulated four seasons package which would run over $20k brand new.  Maybe by the time i purchase one my credit will be good enough to finance a more longer lasting design.  Which brand do you favor the most out of the four you've had?

PancakeBill

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2013, 08:53:42 AM »
First off, get a good look at the used market.  The economy has not been kind to the TC industrry.  Lance came out OK, and these are good units, but among the 4 (Sunline, Coachmen, Arctic Fox and AlpineLite), my favorite for many reasons was the AplineLite.  It was the last one we had and what we traded for our motorhome.  Mine was a 2002, had a slide, solar, genset, sat TV etc.  But the layout was the best with a 'dry' bath, IOW, the shower was seperate from the toilet and sink. 

Used you can find in the range of a new Palomino. 

One of the weaknesses in tc's is wooden frame, they don't last as long as the aluminum framed units.  My 1st three were all woodframe, and on all 3 I had some issues.  The Arctic Fox a year newer than mine went to aluminum framed.  I would go back to one of these, but again, best was the AlpineLite. 

SHop them out, where are you located? 
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
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wylie

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2013, 10:15:27 AM »
We thought we were going to get a crank down trail manor light,then we were sure a fifth wheel,we changed our minds quite a bit. Then we met a couple in there 80,s  . They invited us into there lance truck camper. They said they have owned fifth wheels ,class a ,and everything inbetween. They came back to a truck camper and it was there favorite. They had camp hosted all over the country. They were the friendliest couple,after that we went to hershey show and  checked out lance campers. We ended up buying a lance 1191 with tent fold down in the back. Also purchased  a 2011  f-350 . In the two years we have owned it ,weve gone camping all over and love it. The plan was eventually to get a boat. Just got a used 19ft montauk a couple months ago.Plan is to haul it behind truck camper and fish many lakes and bays and some offshore. For me dropping the truck camper is quick and easy to free up truck . A fifth wheel would have cost less,but for now chose this setup.

roger31

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2013, 08:21:31 PM »
Thank you for your responses.  Its really nice to be on here getting feedback from people who have experience with this type of thing. I live in memphis tn by the way. I have family right off the tn river and that is the general area I'll be using my camper the most once i get one.  Ive seen aluminum framed campers on the market but never gave it much thought due to the price but whatever i end up with i want to last so im gonna look into those a little more.

tc tom

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2013, 10:07:01 PM »
I think one needs to figure out how they want to camp. My wife and I have gone from backpacking, tents, pop ups, travel trailer and a class c. What we determined was we just want to spend time in nature simply. We wanted something more than a tent but simple. No tanks, no roof air, no pumps you get the idea. We wanted a hard walled tent that we did not have to set up and take down and nothing I couldn't get fixed at the hardware store or Home Depot. We ended up with a stripped out TC with two very comfortable beds, a little sink and a vented gas heater as simple as a propane stove. Our water is gravity fed from a tank on the roof and our shower is a solar shower. Our longest time out has been two and a half months in campgrounds and the woods.
The way we camp is not for everyone, most peoples comment, but it has been the best times we have had camping. Just to give you a look from the far side of the continuum. I'm sure you have fun how ever you chose to camp in what ever you chose to camp in.

Happy Camping , Tom

 

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