First Alaskan-Flat bed side door entry-A dream

#16
Thank you for posting this information and photos.

That side door is fantastic! I love the way it modifies the interior and softens the "linear feel" of the typical truck camper layout. I'm drooling over how easy it would be to have bumper mounted racks for a small motorcycle or bikes and no interference with the entryway.

Safe and enjoyable travels to you!
 
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#18
Thanks a lot for sharing. How did you convince Alaskan campers to do this? I imagine you weren't the first person to ask. How is the camper structurally, any weakness? Who am I kidding I bet it is strong as an ox... Alaskan campers definitely on my list!!!
 

Romero

New member
#20
I am not sure if I was the first person to ask Alaskan Camper (Bryan) if they were willing to build a flatbed side door entry. But I was the first to go to their factory with my plans in hand, go through the factory, see how they build campers and sit down and work out a plan with Bryan. After a day of discussion and measuring, and figuring, he was willin to put my plans to build, using their specs for quality. I was also willing to put the down payment for construction. We both felt good that the camper could be built with the same strong quality and nice interior that AK had to offer. The one slight worry was that the door opening was a few inches shorter to accomodate the curve in the top pop up. The camper is strong as an ox and I have been using it alot. The Center of gravity is great, handles well on curvy narrow roads, high winds on the interstates. No lean and I have gone through some steep rocky roads. The truck with a full load of stuff including 2 mtn bikes has no problem feeling stuck to the road.
 
#21
wow great set up!!!

I have lusted over an AK camper for a while just b/c it is the only insulated pop-up and has a full size door.

I realize for most people a flatbed truck is not appealing but a side door makes for such a better camper layout inside, more real estate for hanging stuff off the back and you get less road grime over your entryway.
 
#22
Great looking rig, I have an 8' cabover on a modified utility bed and must say I'd love a side entrance. I haul a moto on the back of mine and this would allow me to keep the bike high and tight instead of leaving room to get in the back door. Brian is great to work with and has always had time for my many questions in the upkeep of my older camper I bought 2nd hand.BTW keep an eye on all the screws and fasteners as they do loosen up over time and over rough roads and occasionally even strip. When that happens I use a little water and gorilla glue which expands inside the stripped hole renewing it's bond.
Enjoy your next adventures and keep us posted with more pics!
 
#23
Thanks for the comments, nice info and good tips on the screws. A little update on inverter and showing a beautiful trip to Bosque in NM. Not much rough rode this time. We camped near the Refuge on BLM land and it was a bit chilly in the morning (~20F). The solar, heater, insulated curtains, did the job. No condensation. It was pleasant waking up turning on the heater from bed and making coffee before daylight in order to see thousands of snow geese and sand hill cranes burst out for their morning flight.

It's now a couple weeks after Bosque trip and the last of the electronic gadget installs was the Morningstar pure sine inverter 300 W. Solid state and no fan noise. I had to mount it upside down in order to fit in the cabinet and so the wires would flow easily to their end spot. All went well and for the next trip it will be much easier charging the camera equipment.
 

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#25
Beautiful rig! I would love to move from my van to something similar. I have a couple questions that might be obvious to those more familiar with truck campers.

1. Flatbed / Frame Flex

What material is the flatbed made out of? (Steel?). Did you mount in any way to account for frame flex? (3 point mount etc.). I’m thinking/hoping you found this unnecessary due to overall size, stiffness of the truck/flatbed frame, flexibility of the actual wood framed camper, intended use, etc. Spending time on this forum might have me overthinking this aspect!

2. Attaching the camper to the truck

I didn’t see this anywhere in the post. I’m guessing it might be attached straight to the flatbed?

3. Did you choose the regular or extended length cabover?

Thank-you!!!!
 
#26
Frame flex

Yep,
I was concerned about frame flex. Before I built the flat bed I tested my truck on steep rocks and ditches measuring the movement. Pretty much figured with the 2016 F350 the cab over should be at min 2” above the cab (3" perfect) so not to touch the roof of the truck, if we were on a bad dirt road with dips and dooos. Didn't have to be 5 inches but that's how it worked out.

I wanted to keep the camper as low as possible to the truck. But when I added the 2 inches insulated floor and accounted for the fuel fill height needed for the fuel to flow into tank well we ended up with the cabover at 5 inches above the roof of the truck. I was anal about the build of the STEEL bed. I couldn’t afford an Aluminum one but as it turned out the way we braced it all my steel bed including the tool boxes added only weighed 100 lbs. more than the original fleet side bed that was on the truck when I bought it. If I had more of a budget and thought about the fuel fill more I could have made a fill site channel at the bottom of the windows up higher. You know how older trucks used to have their gas caps/fills up by the back window of a truck and the gas tank was in the back at shoulder height.

My long time lurking has really helped me design and figure out what I wanted in a camper and what I could afford. I thought I should share a bit of this build because of all the others sharing their great trials and inventions.
I chose the extended bed CO which fits great over the extended truck cab. Make all the room I could to fit on the 7 foot flat bed. Since AK had a 7 foot floor plan in their brochure I went as close to that size, since I was redesigning the floor plan and putting on a side door entry. I wanted to keep the truck as close to the length of the original truck for angle of attack on roads. Making the flat bed 7 feet was the same length as bumper to bumper of the original bed on the Ford.

The camper so far is doing fine with 4 bolts holding it down directly bolted to the flat bed. I have been chatting with folks on wander the west site and here is a link with most of the same pics and story as expedition portal.
A link to some of the pics and conversation on Wander the west.
http://www.wanderthewest.com/forum/topic/15633-flat-bed-side-door-entry-dream-camper/page-4
 

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#30
This is an AWESOME setup! I'm not going to lie... A 10' side entry with a wet bath would start to rival some of the real big ticket camper options out there. It seems like a ton of people are always trying to create this balance between the Poor mans Earthroamer and something you can take up the side of a mountain. 10' flatbed, side entry, hard side pop top, with bath would really be HIGH on the list.

Great work on the design and execution, what a great looking setup.