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Author Topic: Why buy a truck camper  (Read 26899 times)

nuevomex

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  • Posts: 23
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2013, 05:54:53 PM »
OK, we have a Class A diesel, 38 feet, 11 inches, 8' plus mirrors wide, with two slide-outs and it's very comfortable and would be possible to live in full time.   We are currently in Mexico for 3 months and loving it . However, I want to add a truck camper to the fleet.  DW is mildly supportive.  I have a 2009,  one-ton Dodge Diesel (3500 heavy duty) with an 8' bed and have read about Arctic Fox, Big Foot, Lance, Adventurer, et. al.  Used ones seem like a good buy.  What would y'all recommend I consider?  I will add air springs for support and probably a few other external amenities as well.  I would like both solar and a generator and am open to other suggestions as to size, brand, and accoutrements.
Thanks and feel free to send email as I don't check this a lot. Happy Trails to you!
2006 AB 38 DP Cummins 8.9 ISL Allison 6 spd Freightliner Chassis
2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport Toad
Yamaha Rhino 450
FMCA-Good Sam-Escapees
Labradoodle - Dude

PancakeBill

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  • Posts: 5037
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2013, 03:45:48 PM »
In the used market also look at AlpenLite.  In the 4 brands I have owned, that was my favorite.
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
WA1RI

ironrat

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  • Posts: 358
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2013, 12:40:36 AM »
I think one really needs to know what type of places one will be camped at. If choosing a TC cause you have the truck to run around in is cool but at lot of camp grounds at least ones I have been at do not allow you to take the camper off!
Manuel & Denise
2001 Safari Trek 2830
8.1 WorkHorse
Loma Rica, Calif

PancakeBill

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  • Posts: 5037
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2013, 08:31:58 AM »
Ironrat, very true, there are some, but after camping in a TC for many years, I found it was not worth dropping the TC unless you need the pickup bed.  I had set up my first TC with saw horses, planks etc so we could take it off and use the truck, but found it wasn't necessary.  If you were to want to spend some time at a place, it might be worth it, but I found having it with me, at the beach, at a park etc, it was nice having my stuff.  Going shopping, groceries can be put away.

With 4 different campers and about 12 years, I can count on my fingers the number of times we removed it for a trip.
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
WA1RI

Robert Ryan

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  • Posts: 87
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2013, 10:08:17 PM »
In Australia we have a lot of Unconventional TC's that are optimized to wade through creeks, semi submerged and  not be bothered by the fine talc like red dust that is everywhere in the Outback
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDHch7bJp8c&sns=em
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 10:11:37 PM by Robert Ryan »

elkhornsun

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  • Posts: 20
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2013, 11:36:18 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.

I spent years camping with a truck and carrying only a coleman stove, a gallon of white gas, and a 5 gallon water container. Went anywhere and spent weeks in the back country on forest service roads and out in the desert. Now with a large cabover camper we have 25 gallons of fresh water, 40 lbs of propane, forced air furnace, propane cooktop, and propane powered fridge. We have enough water for a week and enough propane for a couple months. Our 200 Watts of solar charge the batteries the next day by 10 AM back to 100%. Quite luxurious and still able to go 90% of the places I took the mini-truck with its camper shell. More than 3/4 of the places we have gone in the past year have had campsites where any RV longer than 25 feet would not have fit and anything with a trailer or toad would have been crazy to try.

The half of the year when we are not traveling the camper comes off beside the house and a fiberglass cap goes on the bed. Then I have a perfect vehicle for picking up stuff at the building supply store or the local nursery or to transport our bicycles locked safely in the back for day rides or to take our little Porta-bote to the bay for fishing.

The Porta-bote is turning into a great choice as we carry it on a rack along the side of the camper and it takes 15 minutes to set it up and attach the outboard or the trolling motor and be out on a lake. We do not need a boat ramp and can beach launch. It will do 10 knots with a 6HP motor that weighs only 57 lbs. so it is not difficult to remove and store in the cab of the truck. We have a boat and no need for a trailer.

A motorhome or trailer would need to be stored at a public storage facility and loaded there as we have no room at our house and the logistics would make traveling a pain. The friends we know who have motorhomes and 5th wheel trailers all keep them at such places and would not dream of heading out for a 4-5 day trip while we can head out for a couple days without a second thought. That flexibility is largely what drove our decision to get a truck and a camper. 

Our trip in June will take us along the eastern sierras in California and more than half the trip we will be staying in "primative" dispersed campsites where we usually find ourselves having the place to ourselves. Our daily cost for campsites on our trips averages under $15 and we are by no means "roughing it".

PancakeBill

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  • Posts: 5037
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2013, 08:16:25 AM »
All of the above.  If I had the capacity to tow one behind my motorhome I would, so we pull our VW Westy behind.  We sort of full time and having the MH hooked up, we can still run away to USFS and BLM places we couldn't take the MH.  When it was just the TC back in RI, I woould commute with it loaded.  Great place to have lunch and a relaxing rest.
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
WA1RI

addisonl

  • Posts: 4
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2013, 10:26:52 AM »
I keep thinking about truck campers on and off. I have a regular smaller size motorhome which is great for wife and daughter trips. I would still like a truck camper for my own little short trips into more offroad places by myself. But I have a Toyota Tacoma, 4WD, extras for offroad, etc. But a smaller truck really limits my options. Best of all worlds is a smaller 4WD truck like this but I wish more companies made stuff for it.

17 Oaks

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  • Posts: 11
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2013, 11:25:04 AM »
We have a 45' motorcoach and pulled a 28 ft enclosed trailer (my garage with a Jeep TJ in it).  Bought it when we retired and went full time.  What a mistake.  Where can you go?  Just about no place, Interstate is your home, anywhere else you better be driving a mile ahead or find your in box canyon.  I am good driver and could drive the big rig trailer and all and got into the outback more than most would imagine.  But my hopes and dreams of parking at trail heads and unloading my Jeep to go deep just did not materialize...and yes I should have know this to begin with...Soon we got tired of beginning to look for a camp spot at 4 in the afternoon hoping to find one before dark, that and the never ending hassle, maintenance and challenges became more of a stress-work than a retirement.  Not to even mention the lack of a piece of terra firma under my feet I owned.  After 1 year it was so long.

We knew we wanted something else:  5th, pull behind, something and TC was not even in the running.  Who wants to live and play in the bed of a truck?  After several years of looking and reflecting upon what we had done and where we wanted to go we finally looked at a TC.  WOW, there is THIS much room and storage?  Amazing says wife.  Walk in shower, heat, AC, you name it, as well equipped as our MH and everything we have been looking at.

The more we looked and researched the better the TC looked.  Several years ago we bought a Arctic Fox 1150, 4 season camper and loaded it onto a F 350 crew cab, long bed, dually...that has been going on 4 years again and we are as happy with it today as the day we bought it.  We (me and wife) and our 4 dogs, 3 weigh less than 14 lbs and one weighs 80 lbs and they love it as much as we do.  We lived in it for 3 months when we moved from Az to Texas (while we were having work done on the place we were buying).

As or towing, again been there done that and with a 350x series truck you can tow more than most other rigs out there.  We often bring a trailer (holds stock for our business) and on several occasions I have the TC and have pulled 8000+ lbs behind that.  As for launching a boat.  I see no issue with that, BUT you would need to take into consideration the steepness and condition of the launch ramp.  My truck has 4x4 and would consider that mandatory if you want to launch with the camper on the truck.  Some boat ramps are VERY steep and require 4x4 even unloaded especially if you are going to unknown locations.  Here in Texas we have seen a couple of years of drought and lake levels in some places are way down and below the concrete line of the ramp.  This gets folks in trouble quickly if they are not prepared for it or have the vehicle for it.  Drive down some ramps with 4000 lbs of TC plus a boat and the ramp is slick with water and often slime/moss and you may need a winch to pull you out.  I am winched and have had to pull some folks back up the ramp.

For all the reasons listed the TC is the answer in our book

Don
US Army Retired
F350 CC, LB, Dually
Arctic Fox 1150 TC

John Beard

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Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2013, 11:39:51 AM »
After I bought my Fleetwood Bounder 33U I was thinking of selling my F550 and Lance 1120 Camper. I have decided to keep the camper for many of the reasons already noted. I like to get out on my own on occasion, and the TC allows me the freedom to do just that. After a year with the Bounder I am thinking of going back to the TC, cut my losses and sell the motor home. I enjoy driving the F550 turbo charged diesel and camper combo, I don't so much enjoy driving the V10 MH.
John & Susan
2014 Winnebago Aspect 30J
2005 Jeep Wrangler X, Toad, a little modified
Northwest Las Vegas, NV

Greg H.

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  • Posts: 67
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #40 on: August 23, 2013, 07:10:46 AM »
On a recent camping trip to a popular state park in Virginia, we pulled to our campsite in our truck camper and backed right in.  Two minutes later, we were fully setup and ready for a weekend of hiking.  Our friends with the large fifth wheel had arrived a half an hour before us and were still trying to back their camper into what I would consider a generous-sized camp spot.  After another 15 minutes they got it in, but not after tying up traffic on that camping loop for the entire time.

With our truck camper, we don't need a pull through, in fact I've even parallel parked my beast in front of a restaurant  on a busy street!

Another benefit is stealthiness, we can boondock practically anywhere.

With 4WD, I can get to places you'd never go in a regular camper.

I go camping because I enjoy the outdoors.  Having a small camper provides the luxuries I like to make camping comfortable, but not overly comfortable that it keeps me in from the outdoors.
Can't retire fast enough...

Ford F350 Dually V10 gas guzzler
Lance 500 Legend truck camper

PancakeBill

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  • Posts: 5037
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #41 on: August 23, 2013, 08:49:40 AM »
Greg, I would say your friends need a lot more practice.  Most 5ers can pretty much just stick it right in, and into places I looked at and marveled.  However, I agree with you about the TC, we had them and loved them, and if there was a way we could have kept our truck and camper when we bought the motorhome we would have, but too heavy to tow, and wife not interested in driving behind.  So, now we have best of both, a motorhome to travel in, and we can set a base camp, plus our toad is a VW Westy we can get into places even smaller than you can go to. 

Al that being said, I still wouldn't mind getting another P/U and slide in. 

Our last one was the ultimate for us, an Alpenlite with a dry bath and gen!  Plus two big solar panels, on a 350 4wd diesel. 
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
WA1RI

John Beard

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  • Posts: 2553
Re: Why buy a truck camper
« Reply #42 on: August 23, 2013, 09:05:23 AM »
I will never get rid of my 2003 Ford F550 4x4 (68,000 miles) and 2003 Lance 1120 Cab-over Camper. I can set up anywhere in this rig. I've taken 13% grades up and down towing my 1974 Jeep CJ5 without any troubles and/or nervousness whatsoever. I've been miles out into the outback boon docking for a 2 weeks at a time...tank levels dictate my time in the bush. I keep both the camper and truck inside my shop so they will last a good long time. I might trade my Class A for a Class C here in the near future, but I'll keep my truck and camper for the duration.
John & Susan
2014 Winnebago Aspect 30J
2005 Jeep Wrangler X, Toad, a little modified
Northwest Las Vegas, NV

 

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