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Thread: school me on truck campers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Abingdon MD
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    2

    Default school me on truck campers

    ok so i have never owned a camper, and i am completely new to all of this but i have an idea of what i want, i just dont know where to start

    my ideas
    i need to be able to tow my 10,000 car trailer with my jeep on it, and i would like to be able to use the factory hitch on my truck

    and i would like to have a bathroom with a shower

    and i want an all hard side camper with basically all the normal options .... heat, a/c, small cooking area

    what should i look for ? and how much should i be looking to spend?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Cookeville, TN
    Posts
    163
    First, what truck do you plan on using? Details are important, like short or long bed, 3/4 or one ton, etc.
    How many adults/kids do you plan on traveling with?
    Chris Robinson

    14' VW Passat SE TDi (hers)
    97' Land Rover NAS DI
    08' Conqueror Base Camp --(for SALE)
    02' F250, Crewcab, 4x4, 7.3 Powerstroke
    06' BMW F650GS Dakar

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    US
    Posts
    394
    One ? I can answer is; if you want to tow off your factory hitch (I assume you mean "no extension") then look at TC's that are no longer than your bed length...if you over hang...you will need a hitch extension.
    Post some truck deets and we can hekp you out.
    Shorts answer is; yes, you can find something to meet your criteria.

    Bill
    2006 D/A CC
    25'Airstream Excella
    Eagle Cap 850
    Good People Drink Good Beer-Hunter S Thompson
    Driver only carries $50....worth of ammo.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    La Habra, CA
    Posts
    503


    You want to haul and tow at the same time.

    Does your truck have single rear wheels (SRW) or dual rear wheels (DRW)? DRW provide more stability and allow you to haul and tow more weight. DRW struggle on narrow dirt roads and in sandy situations offroad.

    IMO know what your trucks capabilities are before you select a camper. The rear tires will dictate the amount of weight you can haul and tow safely.

    8' campers are lighter than the longer campers. 8' campers make it much easier to tow heavy trailers. Only a small portion of 8' campers have all the amenities you are looking for (bathroom). If you have a SRW truck you will want to find a 8' camper.

    Longer campers really add weight and you need to add special towing hitches (Reese Tow Beast or TorkLift Superhitch) Much of the camper's weight and all the tongue weight (15% of the trailer weight) sit on the rear axle. There are quite a few campers made that are over 4000# and even a DRW struggles with the weight without pulling a trailer.

    Truck campers (TCs) are very expensive (per square foot) compared to other types of RVs. TCs are more plentiful out west and probably quite scarce in your part of the country. Used TCs can be found with patience and searching, although it is a much easier task out west.
    Doug N1DUG
    2004 WJ stock
    1996 ZJ locked on 35's, Claytons LAs
    1999 Ford F250 V10 4x4 19.5s, 1988 Lance ES3000
    Life Member CA4WD, CORVA, BRC
    over 2500 hours volunteered with the SBNFA
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    264
    I know that FishPOET just showed that he's willing to do otherwise, but my advice would be to either go for something bigger, or set your comfort sights lower. (Edited to add: looks like his trailer is lots lighter than 10,000 lbs, so he's much more conservative than the scenario I lay out below.)

    From memory, the GVWR of my 2003 F350 is 9900 lbs. Since the curb weight is listed as about 5500 lbs, that sounds great. However, that's the curb weight for the stripped-out base model. Mine is an extra-cab with lots of options. Then you get the miscellaneous crap behind my seats, and a driver and a little fuel. My actual driving-around town weight is nearly 7,000 lbs. If you have bigger tires, aftermarket bumpers, etc., you will be higher.

    An 8-foot Lance with a bathroom is going to weigh about 2,000 pounds, maybe more. Add in water, propane, food, your family, maybe some bicycles, coolers, etc., and you can easily add 1000 pounds to that total. You're now over your weight limit.

    Max towing on a SRW F350 is 11,500 lbs. Tongue weight is supposed to be about 10% of total weight. You're looking at 1,000 pounds on your trailer. Have you weighed your trailer, and tongue weight? When I towed a 27-foot race car hauler, I was really surprised to find out how far off I was in my loading.

    Anyway, your 1,000 pounds of tongue weight has now put you over your weight limit by 10%, and you're towing at 90% of rated capacity.

    For me, that's not enough margin, especially considering that we're all on an "expedition" forum, talking about going places that are tougher on vehicles than I-40.

    Yes, lots of people do it. And you will probably get away with it.

    But what if you don't? Where will you be when you have a failure?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    34
    The best way to start is to pick your camper and then find the truck to carry it. Most people, however, have the truck and then work it out.
    Check out truckcampermagazine.com, they have alot of info on the different brands. Also RV.net on the truck camper forum for info on truck mods.
    By watching the wet weight of the camper and adding the right stuff to your truck, like airbags and a Torklift Superhitch, you should have no problem with a truck camper and a trailer. I tow a 2 horse trailer behind a F250 with my Lance 830 and it handles just fine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Glen Burnie, MD
    Posts
    92
    I'm Mopar's buddy who directed him here. He has a 2002 Dodge ram 2500 Cummins Long Bed 4x4. Yes he wants to use the factory hitch without any extensions. I'm gonna guess at 2 people max.

    Hopefully he will chime in here soon.

    Rick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Pine Cove/ Idyllwild CA
    Posts
    816
    I've had 8', 8 1/2', 9', and 10 1/2' campers.
    The longer ones made it impossible to tow without an extension, and I compensated by getting a Ruenel HD bumper/ hitch combo and used a dual arm extension to tow with. A very HD solution. You mentioned wanting to use your factory hitch, so I'd highly recommend getting either an 8' or 8 1/2 camper. Finding one with a shower will be the key. My 8 1/2' was an older Pilgrim that had a shower. Weight was 1800 dry. I ran Air Lift bags and everything was great. Easy to tow with since it only hung off the back 6", so no extension needed. Another option is a pop up. My 2003 pop up Starcraft 8 1/2 also had a shower and was easy to tow with. 1600 lbs dry.
    2010 Toyota Tundra 4x4
    '65 Chenowth Baja Bug
    '69 Bandit 4 Seater Buggy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Glen Burnie, MD
    Posts
    92
    He wants to be able to tow his Weekend Wheeler on the car trailer and keep the camper on the truck.

    Rick

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    La Habra, CA
    Posts
    503
    Quote Originally Posted by ramsport59 View Post
    He has a 2002 Dodge ram 2500 Cummins Long Bed 4x4.
    OK. It is SRW. What are his rear tires rated for? Add the tire ratings of both rear tires. Stay within your rear tire limits and you will be fine.

    An 8' hard side camper loaded and ready for camping should be approx 6000 lbs on his rear axle. A weekend wheeler on a trailer might add another 800 lbs of tongue weight. If his tires are rated at 3500 lbs apiece or more he should be good to go.
    Doug N1DUG
    2004 WJ stock
    1996 ZJ locked on 35's, Claytons LAs
    1999 Ford F250 V10 4x4 19.5s, 1988 Lance ES3000
    Life Member CA4WD, CORVA, BRC
    over 2500 hours volunteered with the SBNFA
    CASSP
    TreadLightly! Trainer
    ForestAid Reforestation Supervisor

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