Having recently received my custom built Callen Camper, I'm finally at the modification stage! First a few pics, then I'll mention why I ended up with the Callen.
Clicking on an image should display a larger picture.
To fit the Dodge short bed - 75" bed
Sidewall Height: 40"
Cabover: 36" overhang, 13" interior height
Double rear doors with standard windows 15"x29"
2- Windoors: Door dim:60"x30" Window: 90 degree 54"x15" Black, horiz. sliders w/ screens
1 Porch Light, 3 Dome Lights, 4 Clearance Lights
Roof mounted crank ventilation dome
weight: approx 550lbs
Here's our (my wife's & my) criteria for a camper. One thing for sure, my criteria will not be your criteria.
In no particular order:
- Able to feel nature as much as possible (big windows and/or windoors/ large opening in rear). That's why we go camping, right? Privacy is not an issue where we camp but I could see it might be in the Eastern US.
- 4x4able: not extreme roads but getting up Elephant Hill in Canyonlands shouldn't stop me. I routinely drag my hitch when crossing washes so I didn't want a camper extending past the back of my shortbed.
- Able to pack up and leave within 10 minutes.
- Fuel mileage has to be a consideration these days.
- Need to have adequate headroom to situp - in bed or otherwise. Need to be able to lean comfortably against the side of the camper. Fiberglass toppers are angled inward making this difficult.
- Room for 3 to comfortably sleep.
- The more storage inside the better. Need room for camping gear and an extensive selection of climbing and canyoneering gear. Gear on the roof leads to a reduction in mileage.
I strongly considered (and spent a lot of research on) the following:
- Aluminum flatbed w/ some kind of custom camper. Something like this from Alumline ( http://alumline.com/cgi-bin/csvsearc...d=perfect&ID=1 ) might have worked out ok and the pricing was decent. I could had Alumline customize as needed but it would have required too much long distance interaction without visual inspection.
- I talked extensively with Stan Kennedy at Four Wheel Campers. They couldn't do the windoors or double rear doors but they could build a shell model w/ a 36" wide rear door and big windows on EACH side for the Hawk model (which fits my short bed). Problem w/ a popup is that you lose storage over the cab and we don't want to sleep above the cab anyway because of no headroom. Despite this, we ALMOST went with the Hawk. Thanks for working w/ me on this, Stan!
I also talked w/ A.R.E. & All Terrain Campers and visited the local popup companies: Litecraft, Outfitter and Hallmark.
Briefly I considered a trailer but I do too much seaching for the perfect camp. Sometimes it's hard enough to back a truck out of a narrow forested road that's dead ended. I'd be hosed w/ a trailer.
I tried to find someone to build a lighter aluminum frame custom camper but couldn't. In the end, my wife can't tell the difference driving w/ the Callen - at 80mph or on 4x4 terrain. So it's not a bad compromise.
Also it's not a slide-in so it's not a slide out. I could remove it but I probably won't due to the hassle. I can get 4'x8's sheets of plywood inside so I'm good.
Low tree limbs will catch on the rack. Luckily, the rack can be removed w/ 4 bolts per piece.
So that's why I decided on a Callen Camper. Time will tell if it's a good choice. With 4 weekend trips under my belt, it's looking pretty good.
bench / sleeping / storage platform build
cargo net for cabover section (to keeps stuff from falling out)