Angled rear panel as fashion


Loads of reasons ours landed in the shape it did.
While cosmetically it worked, it was entirely function and compromises that ultimately dictated the design and therefore the shape.

Sure, building a box is easy and maximizes interior volume, but that gained space isnt always useable.
And if it isnt useable, it should be considered waste. Waste of conditioned volume means more load on heating/cooling as well as
additional weight, and as mentioned previously adding angles to an otherwise square or rectangular box enhances its strength.

So you have

*HVAC efficiency
Saving unusable interior volume decreases the energy required to heat/cool.
This has miles of benefits.

Cutting down on wall height simply saves weight.

*Overall Strength
Adding angles enhances strength, which also allows you to build lighter

Id say that's a touch more than cosmetic cool factors.
But hey, if you can make it work cosmetically as well, Id say you are a good builder. ;)

Specific design elements of ours...

*Dual roof line..
Early on in the build stage, I made the decision that the cab-over was too short.
So I elevated it. Years later, now running a legit 8" isolated coil mattress, the decision has proven beyond worthwhile.
The main roof remained at the planned height. Only now the solar, roof hatch, and skylight are lower than the cab-over height.
Very protected, and if I can fit eh nose of the camper, I know I can fit he rest, without ripping anything off.

*Sloped rear...
The rearmost of the camper is a bench seat for the "booth" style dinette. You SIT there, so standing height simply isnt needed.
So roof line at that end was shortened. This also aided aero and drainage in a huge way. The roof is designed to shed all moisture to the REAR.
It has roof mounted gutters, and nothing drains down the side walls. One plan that I still havnt developed is rain collection for drink water.
It would be very easy to implement this with such a roof/drainage design.

*Sloped rear...
Departure angle..... :ROFLMAO: What do you think this 10k truck is, a rock crawler??
No, this has nothing to do with departure angle, or even looks. It just happens to look decent.
Again, it is a sitting area on that end of the camper. The entire overhang of the camper is a method of increasing interior space.
So weight concerns are a priority. For the sake of vehicle handling, you SHOULDNT WANT a huge amount of storage that far back.
So the storage is essentially half of it could be, for the sake of weight and overall strength.
In addition, an angled rear allows you to utilize the truck lights, plates, etc. Nothing blocks them.
Some of us however, have added additional lighting to the camper though. Silly tail-gaters ;)

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Odd how some solutions mimic others. I have been thinking about building a fiberglass-over-foam topper super light shell for my first gen. Tacoma. No internal build except a 50”X72” bed with a slide out section. I’m thinking a rear panel with a camper door. I’m 5’7” so it would fit me. It would go into my barn at 101” ground to top. Notice the roof line. It looks Aterra like. I came to that shape to increase the strength of the shell's roof and to cut down on air resistance while still being able to have a place for my feet in the bed. It is somewhat like an upside down boat shape which is strong due to the reduced flat area and overall shape. I have now decided to extend the over-cab section an additional foot to have the bed slideout reduced inside. As this would sit on the bed top and be removable it must be light. I am thinking 1” XPS with two thin layers of epoxy covered fiberglas cloth on the outside and one inside. I’d gel coat it white. No rear expedition angle is planned!
View attachment 690177
Getting pretty far OT... but build plenty of samples! IMO trying to go too light on the shell is not a good idea. I wanted my camper to be able to knock tree branches, birds, and rocks out of the way without getting damaged. I ended up using 1.5" PVC foam and >30oz of cloth on each side so the basic walls are ~1.5 lb/sq ft plus paint. Cutting that in half would only save me ~200 lb, which is trivial in the grand scheme of things. Also gelcoat is heavy, and not so great on epoxy. I'm planning to use an industrial acrylic urethane paint on the outside... gotta figure out exactly what this weekend.

Best cheap and light way to go IMO is 1" XPS with 1x wood stringers every foot or two, and 1/8 luan skins on both sides, with an added fiberglass exterior coat. This is a lighter version of what Idasho did above. Just make a basic box with a molded rounded nose and rounded top edges and it will be aero enough.

If you want to continue, make a thread and let me know...


Active member
Function over form. My plans include a water collection system as well, I'll let mom nature help keep my water tanks full.
Thanks rruff and others,
I am so early in the planning stages I only have sketched something that would work for my size and fit. I built Strip cedar canoes years ago and went way deep into the wilderness of NE on lakes and rivers including a good amount of white water carrying two adults, a 12 YO son or daughter, 150 lbs of camping gear, food and etc. I never holed a boat. They were only 3/16" thick Eastern White Cedar (very soft) and ONE layer of cloth and enough polyester resin to fill the cloth outside and one layer of resin and cloth inside. I cannot believe the foam with 25 psi strength and two layers of cloth filled with resin will not be strong enough? I know a direct hit of a broken branch at 40 mph would go in but it would go through almost any commercial camper I would guess. I am not calling anyone wrong, just using my past experience to try to keep this light enough to carry on my 20 year old Tacoma with my gear. I will go where I can, as I like to get away into the NE wilderness. Not OHV stuff but 4X4 for sure. BTW I resketched the front and the proportions look better.
TacomaCamper.jpeg Here is a boat.FamilyNCanoe.jpg
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If you had an outer layer of 3/16 cedar and 6oz cloth that would be much more durable compared to two layers of 6oz. Make some samples and destruction test them (I used a small sledgehammer). In addition like I said, you aren't saving a significant amount of weight, overall (camper loaded up). Even this level of discussion should be in another thread, because it is OT in this one. I'd be happy to provide a lot more info.


Seems like the lower triangular space would be a good spot to store blankets and pillows.
Yep, as well as long stuff. But, at least for ours, it isn't terribly easy to access.
So things are primarily seasonal items we choose to haul, they weight next to nothing.

Her snow skis, my snow board, snow shoes, fishing rod(s) and.... blankets ;)


Western Dirt Rat
Can I get something off my chest? I don’t get the angled rear panel on most “expedition” campers. I mean, I understand why they are supposed to be there but I don’t get what they are actually doing on most of them.

If you angle the back panel up to improve your departure angle, but then put the camper on a flat bed (or other solution) that hangs lower, you have just increased manufacturing cost to create an additional angle and reduced the interior storage capabilities.

An example is the camper on the front page right now. If you draw a line from the rear wheels to the low part on the chassis you can see that the angled back wall does nothing other than look cool.

it’s an awesome camper, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t understand why you would go to all the problem of building a vestigial feature.View attachment 689805
Thanks for bringing this up. I totally agree and I have yet to see one of these swooped duck butt camper setups that gives any practical advantage other than street cred. Consider it the overlanding version of a snorkel. They do look sharp. The obvious solution is to just make the flat deck longer because it's not gaining you anything usually when the hitch/bumper is taken into account. Also a flat back wall is much easier to attach stuff to and doesn't create a weird overhang you have to deal with if you're using rear hitch accessories. Also any under storage ends up being an inverted angle. No disrespect to those who refer this but no thanks.


There is a lot of "what looks good " in overloading vehicles. Lift kits and giant tires for one. Here in north america 99% of your driving will be on paved or graded roads.
If you want the lift and tires go for it. Not very comfortable on the highway when your trying to get 1800 miles away in 3 days. If your building a rig for the local area thats different. You know what you need and you won't drive it far. Overlanding, IE, driving across a country, lots of miles. Even in Africa they are on paved roads 90% of the time. Here in America everyone is free to build the way they want. Which is the way it should be. I will always choose comfort in the vehicle over a long drive, IE 10K miles to Alaska and back. Cheers


The obvious solution is to just make the flat deck longer because it's not gaining you anything usually when the hitch/bumper is taken into account.
I agree with the sentiment... that the wee angled thing at the back isn't functional at bottom or the top... it isn't as simple as drawing a line from the bottom of the tire through the hitch. Driving through arroyos in the desert (sharp slope changes on both ends), I'd often encounter situations where a bit more length out the back would have created an issue... ie you want the rear of the camper farther above that line the further you go behind the axle. I also don't mind hitting the hitch on dirt or even rocks, but I don't want to subject the camper or flatbed to that abuse.


Just saw a banner ad for adventure pants. 😂 I have wheeled and rock crawled a ton. I don't understand the desire to take a camper off of a dirt road. I could see some limited 2 track to get to a camp site or beach but trails or rough terrain just doesn't seem worth it.


I think many are mistaking the angled rear as a LOSS, when the entire thing is already a GAIN.
I added 24" to the rear of our camper, beyond the deck, in order to GAIN useable space, without adding much weight/cost.
Nothing has been lost. ;)

Its also built in such a way that it will fit essentially any standard SRW 8' flatbeds.
So it is future proofed a bit. And is already on its second truck.

The obvious solution is to just make the flat deck longer because it's not gaining you anything usually when the hitch/bumper is taken into account.
Extending the camper and not the deck provides a substantial weight and cost savings when building both the bed and the camper.
Far more expensive and lighter than a hitch extension, that's for certain. (y)
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Well-known member
you SHOULDNT WANT a huge amount of storage that far back
This for sure.

I can't count the number of injured hockey players in Alberta, Saskatchewan from E350 extended 15 passenger vans in accidents because ALL the hockey gear was stored in the rear overhang and the driver lost control in winter driving conditions.... usually at night on the trip back home.

Excessive rear overhang in dangerous.


Well-known member
I tend to look at what commercial trucking does. Any choices they make are done to support, build business, none are done for cosmetic reasons. And truck design is based on the fastest, most economical, most durable choices. Unfortunately most home built rv, overland design is built to be noticed. None of the units which are built around an incredibly short wheelbase while maxing out cubic volume with massive overhangs and adding multiple angles inspire me. I just go WOW thats a lot of work.

This is a cool Toyota, But the rear end is an uninspiring foot too long.... or the wheelbase a foot too short.


This is near perfect


I am surprised this has not made a come back


ps, this a currently driven unit. very cool but I know I'd only drive it locally.

I think this is about perfect..... I love duals over super singles but this rear track is bit wide.... or it needs a wider body.
But the short rear over hang and the squared off body definitely works.

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