Good info everyone, thanks. I did email Northstar and I found out the TC800 won't work for my needs, but the 850SC is still a possibility, just heavy IMO. It looks like Phoenix, Hallmark and Outfitter are more likely. The Hallmark K2 looks like a champ that's for sure, and the Outfitter has a full bathroom, hard to beat. Phoenix will do just about anything which is awesome. The actual purchase is still some time off, but I want to get as much info and advice before jumping to anything.
I'll put a sway-bar on too; what about shocks, anybody have advice there? A lot of Tundra Owners use Bilstein 5100's but I'm guessing HD shocks would be a better idea.
Jumping in a bit late here, I think you would be fine carrying a bit more than a tc650, especially if you will not be doing any real wheeling. I seriously considered upgrading to the 850SC that is on the forum for sale right now- but alas, i have a camper that is just fine. A great condition used camper can help with alot of unknown questions about which brand is perfect and all the other details that get lost when the price is right.
With a 6foot bed you will be great with the added length of the SC, tailgate down.
I would, without question, add E-rated tires to your airbag setup to handle the additional weight.
Shocks are more of a personal preference, they dont help carry weight, they absorb the rebound of your springs going over bumps. You could try stock and go from there as needed.
Sway bar might be a bit redundant with airbags on unless your bags are pneumatically linked. Add air to bags and the suspension stiffens lessening sway.
'87 &'10 4runner
After 3+ months of use I can say I am pleased with my Hallmark Ute XS, but we've had some issues.
Foremost, the tie down scheme provided by Hallmark was a simple chain and turnbuckle setup. We didn't get 5 minutes down the road before the turnbuckles started loosing up. We swapped out the turnbuckles for some Fast Guns hoping this would solve our problem but there was simply too much side-to-side movement of the camper in the truck bed to keep the camper in place. After almost loosing the camper out the back of the truck while driving down a mellow graded graveled dirt road we got in touch with Hallmark and talked through some potential solutions. I installed 2 21/2 inch aluminum angle in the bed of my truck, sparing about 1/8" on either side. I also hooked chain between the trucks tow hitch and the campers bumper to prevent any more than an inch or so of movement aft. So far this fix has worked and I have driven up and down a fairly nasty piece of dirt road. The camper is solid, I just need to work on securing everything else inside the camper.
I have an '04 Tundra with a Northstar TC800XB. I also mounted Yokahama "E" rated tires and air bags. I have had no problems with this set-up. There are times I wish I had a little more power, but thats all. I have also pulled a 5'x8' enclosed trailer with 2 dirt bikes, riding gear, fuel, toolboxes and the camper. With just the truck and camper, I found if I keep the speed at 60-65mph on interstate (75mph speed limit), I can get 11-13 mpg.
I think you'll be very happy with a Northstar. I have said it before in other posts that Northstar's customer service is FANTASTIC! The quality of their campers are top notch too.
Last edited by knobbytracks; 05-25-2011 at 06:50 PM.
2004 Toyota Tundra - Daystar 2.5" leveling/lift kit, airbags
2008 Northstar TC800XB
Wow, good info and more importantly, real world stuff. And like I said, this would be 99% paved road travel to improved campgrounds, some with hook-ups, some without.
And gregd, is your truck 1/2 ton or larger and short bed or long bed?
I spent about 18 months researching pop-up truck campers before purchasing an Outfitter Apex 8 Long Bed. I needed a truck camper without any overhang as I planned to tow our Airstream travel trailer with the truck camper on board. I shopped them all, and eventually narrowed it down to the Outfitter Apex 8 and the Northstar 850SC. I had ruled out the Hallmark because they did not offer a north/south sleeping arrangement, which was an absolute must for us. We finally decided on the Outfitter due to the construction and features offered. We ordered the Outfitter in May of this year and took delivery at the Outfitter Factory in Longmont, Colorado, on September 24th.
We gave used our Outfitter extensively for the last three months. The fit and finish is excellent. It camps good, sleeps good, and works very well for our purposes. It also handles very well on the road with or without the Airstream in tow. We have now covered about 15,000 miles with the camper on board. Our truck is a 2011 Silverado 3500 4x4 crew cab long bed SRW. We have been in the back country with it in both Wyoming and Maine. It handles well and goes where we want.
SuEllyn and Brian McCabe
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
2005 GMC Yukon XL 2500
2011 Silverado 3500 with
Outfitter Apex 8 pop-up
Oh where do I begin?? Please, please don't buy an OUtfitter!! If you read further on down this thread, you will see the number of posts from very unhappy Outfitter owners. We can back them up 100%. They custom built our camper with the pop out room on the back. I was so excited to have our camper and it cost us $33,000. From the very beginning, we had problems: there was glue all over the place from their sloppy workmanship (can't get it off no matter what we try. Now it's a nice bright yellow color); the floor squeaks soooo bad other people can hear you in the next camp; solar panels were not enough to power the refrigeration even though they swore it would; cupboards fell apart; doors fell off; fiberglass siding is buckling; seams are falling apart; customer service when we called was absolutely horrible; would not help us at all (since we live in California, they knew they had us over a barrel); way heavier than they said (close to 4,000 pounds); plywood used is particle board; plumbing under sink was only hand tightened and leaked all over the place; when I look at the floor inside the lower cabinets it's all wavey now from water damage; and now for the best part - the pop out room??? It looks like a 3 year old put it together. It has always leaked when it rains therefore mold grows, the windows are inadequate for actually sleeping in there and the molding on the outside is completely pulling away from the siding, they left the edge raw on the floor - feels great when you scrape your foot on it; in 8 months, the solar regulator had to be replaced. We had a Four Wheel pop-up for many years. We never had these kinds of problems. We can happily say that we have stopped many people from making the mistake of purchasing an Outfitter. When people see our rig, they think it's awesome and always ask about it. We tell them the truth. We are taking the Outfitter decals off our rig so we are not moving billboards for this horrible company. We are so sad that we spent sooo much money and got "taken".
WOW, sorry for your issues, outfitter is at the top of the list...this might have to go on the "pros & cons"