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Old 09-12-2009, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,841,610 times
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So I'm really interested in Truck Campers, I like the flexability of being able to "unload" the camper and drive the truck around the area, plus you could still tow a small utility trailer behind.

Anyone have one, what do you have what size model etc.

Thanks
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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I've had an 8-footer and (iirc) a 10-footer, both from prehistoric times. The extra couple feet allowed for a bathroom with shower, which for me is well worth the extra size and weight. But it was a little heavy for a 3/4-ton. The 8-footer was a little heavy for a 1/2-ton. I had overloads installed on both trucks to help with the weight.

If I had to carry one on a 1/2-ton truck again, I think I'd look for a pop-up to keep the profile and weight lower, but what I'd probably do is get a big one and carry it on a 1-ton dually.

My trucks (two different ones) couldn't pull anything with the 10-foot camper on it, as the rear of the camper covered the hitch. I imagine it could have been modified to haul a small trailer.

I had a "big mac" box on top of the last camper for storage. It was up there pretty high and caught a lot of wind, but my wife and I could go on long vacations and had lots of storage room. One trip I recall we had with us formal clothing for a couple weddings, film processing equipment and chemicals for slides and b&w film, a big cooler for film, medium format and 35mm camera gear with tripods, flashes, lenses, etc., a sewing machine, guitar, computer, gear for tent camping and more.

We've had a string of 5ers for the last decade, but for most camping I'd still prefer a nice pickup camper. It gives you the option to take your camper with you or leave it at your campsite. With a trailer you've gotta leave it at the campsite while you roam, plus there are fewer options for campsites. We often 4-wheeled over rough trails to get to an isolated camping spot. Can't do that with a trailer. I left the camper on the truck most of the summer -- even a few winters. It was really no problem carrying it around town and parking on the street or in most parking lots. (Just don't forget it's up there an pull under a low clearance sign!)
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,841,610 times
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I'm considering getting an F350 non-duly size PU, I currently have an F150 ('97) and I pulled my 7 1/2 Ft high tag along horse trailer w/ dressing room all over with it without any problems.
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Wyoming
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SRW F350 will work. Tall campers can get a little top-heavy and be monsters in strong side-winds, which is why a dually would be nice. That's why I got overload springs installed. You can always do that if you think it's necessary.

Get a hefty engine in that truck -- the V10 or PowerStroke. The first truck I had my last truck camper on was a Chevy with a 350. I recall times I couldn't maintain minimum interstate speeds due to strong headwinds.
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Old 09-17-2009, 02:37 AM
 
Location: Maryland
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I had a slide-on once. Other than it was very heavy, it was fantastic. Get a air-pillow that fits between the truck cab roof and the overhang. That limits the parachute effect, as when you pass a truck it will want to fly otherwise. Also, backed up to the house back door, it made a great guest room. I'd get the lightest one possible, ultra-lite if I ever get another one.
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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I have been thinking of getting a truck camper, maybe one that pops up, maybe like a SunLite Skyhawk SB 6.

We have been tent car campers but my wife has increasing back trouble. Plus it's often a problem showing up after dark in the rain, no fun to set up the tent then. We often go out rough roads in our travels.

Sometimes I'm off by myself and sometimes with the wife and daughter. For me sleeping in the back seat is just a little too short and can't have ventilation without bugs by keeping a window cracked open.

We don't have a place for a trailer in our driveway.

We do have a crew cab Chevy pickup with a 6' bed and no trouble with climbing mountain ridges or down the interstate highway carrying 3/4 ton of coal - probably it would be better getting these overload springs I see mentioned.

We haul firewood, coal, brush, etc. so don't want a semi-permanent cap. How easy is it for one person to get a truck camper on and off?

Any other thoughts as to what I should be thinking about?
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:30 PM
 
4,285 posts, read 14,422,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
I have been thinking of getting a truck camper, maybe one that pops up, maybe like a SunLite Skyhawk SB 6.

We have been tent car campers but my wife has increasing back trouble. Plus it's often a problem showing up after dark in the rain, no fun to set up the tent then. We often go out rough roads in our travels.

Sometimes I'm off by myself and sometimes with the wife and daughter. For me sleeping in the back seat is just a little too short and can't have ventilation without bugs by keeping a window cracked open.

We don't have a place for a trailer in our driveway.

We do have a crew cab Chevy pickup with a 6' bed and no trouble with climbing mountain ridges or down the interstate highway carrying 3/4 ton of coal - probably it would be better getting these overload springs I see mentioned.

We haul firewood, coal, brush, etc. so don't want a semi-permanent cap. How easy is it for one person to get a truck camper on and off?

Any other thoughts as to what I should be thinking about?

With jackposts installed on each corner of the unit, you shouldn't have any issues loading and unloading.

Disconnect the tether and light harness, jack it up for clearance, and drive out.

Personally, I love the pop-up style for its lower weight, lower COG, and lower profile. Unless winter camping is on your agenda, they are eminently practical.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,416 posts, read 17,385,532 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
How easy is it for one person to get a truck camper on and off?

Any other thoughts as to what I should be thinking about?

As CornerGuy suggested, get the jacks that are permanently mounted to each corner of your camper. My old one had manual jacks on the corners, so I had to go around and jack each corner a couple inches at a time, and with the big handle I had to use, it probably took an extra 5 or 10 minutes each time I put the camper on or off the truck -- maybe 20 minutes total. (I always lowered it nearly to the ground when removing from the truck for safety.) I think most jacks these days are hydraulic, and that's what I'd suggest.

One important decision you'll make is what kind of tie-downs you use. I've used three different kinds. Post tie-downs are the easiest to install, but they're not too reliable. I almost lost my last camper in a strong side-wind when one of them came loose. The front upwind side of the camper lifted about two feet as I crested a hill. I slammed on the brakes and it settled back down, but I thought I'd lost it. I pulled over in the next town in search of better tie-downs.

The cheapest and perhaps best tie-down is four big bolts through the floor of the camper and bed of the truck with large steel plates that act as washers. That's what I had on my first camper, and I tipped it over into a ditch along the AlCan Highway -- the whole truck and camper. It held, and I was able to pull the truck upright and continue on my trip. But that wouldn't work well if you're going to be loading and unloading it regularly from the truck; it's time consuming as you've got to lineup the holes just right. I forget the name of the tie-downs that I finally purchased, but ask around and get some strong ones.
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:54 PM
 
Location: On the plateau, TN
15,205 posts, read 10,596,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoNewk View Post
My trucks (two different ones) couldn't pull anything with the 10-foot camper on it, as the rear of the camper covered the hitch. I imagine it could have been modified to haul a small trailer.
The 10 foot camper I had ( Coachmen) did not drop down to cover the receiver. I used a solid 2"' bar and towed a 23' boat behind with no problems....
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:27 AM
 
4,247 posts, read 9,712,249 times
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I was looking at a used camper yesterday and the side rails of the pickup bed are about 2" higher than the detent (sorry, I don't know correct terminology) height between the base of the camper and the part that flares out over the side rails. (The truck is a full size crew cab but with 6' bed.)

So I didn't drop it onto the bed because it would have been hanging on the sides instead of sitting on the bottom - there would be a 2" gap until the sides broke and gave way.

The seller suggested a couple of 2 x 4's stuck into the side rail pockets of the pickup bed to hold the camper higher to clear the side rails. I'm thinking a sturdy pallet at least, otherwise the wood rails on the camper bottom would be only bearing on 4" total of wood.

Anyone else have experience with this issue?
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