Off Road Hard Side Camper

mtn lion

New member
Off-Road Hard Side Camper

I have a Bigfoot 1500 / 8.2 camper. I have taken it on several fire break roads. Yes I had to drive slower but I think you can take most smaller sized campers most places if you are driving right.

IMG_1963.jpg


Additional info: Camper is for sale.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
In terms of durability, bigfoots are great.

The clampshell construction is great.

Insulation is okay, not great

Everything else, interior, appliances, fixtures is typical RV junk.
 

Jonnyo

Observer
not sure if bigfoot is insulated the same way as northern lite (i m pretty sure yes) but my experience in canada for winter camping...they are the reference in term of insulation. no termal bridging. So i would consider the insulation part to be ;exceptional.

interior is normal stuff like others. But i do like fiberglass as you can always repair it....easily and as strong as new.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
If you have ever torn one apart for repair or remodel, you'd understand my comment about insulation.

Cheap EPS foam and not fitted all that well. I've come across large gaps, where foam simply wasnt fitted well.

Most of the older ones that have wood framing supports within the walls have all but rotted, due to the air gaps from the poor fitted insulation.
Leave any gaps, and moisture condenses inside the walls, rotting the wood.

Not so sure about lack of thermal bridging. Even the new ones have framing within the walls (aluminum) , that are bonded right to the inner and outer shells.

This is straight from a 2005 brochure



https://recreationalvehicles.info/2006-bigfoot-truck-campers-trailers/ (PAGE 5)
 

Jonnyo

Observer
i have repaired northern lite campers in the past. I do some fiberglass work and redone some flooring on them. i live next to the northern lite and bigfoot factory but i never work on any bigfoot. The picture you show as a lot of components and my understanding is the aluminum framing was on the bigger 2500-3500 series?

The northern lite in smaller size have only fiberglass, foam, and finish with mostly car liner or some finshing board in some section. The foam is molded to the shape of fiberglass so there is no gap. I m not sure how they molded the foam but i simply try to preserve it. The foam use in the XPS (down/owens corning at R5/inch) The only wood i could find was mostly around door frame and a few peice in the cabover. It s very impressive to see how little there is to those. The rigidity of the shell rely on the foam and interior furniture. But the fiberlass is very thin.

Anyway, my experience, the best winter camper i have seen.

I build 5 all aluminum teardrop trailer and truck camper in the past and very interested in moving to fiberglass/composite to improve insulation. i would be curious to see if bigfoot 1500 series as the same build as northern lite?
 

Mundo4x4Casa

West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
WAuch,
We've had very good luck with our setup for off-road. In short, the lighter your TC, the better luck you will have over rough surfaces. Our 1998 Lance Lite 165-s, XCab weighs 1842, wet; more now I'm sure with 200 watts of solar on the roof, but not a whole lot more.

We bought it used; 3-years old and only used 3 times for $6500. It looked brand new at the time. It's old enough to have a wooden frame, which has held up very well even over rocks and down arroys. With hundreds of nights in the box, it stays on my truck most of the year and has just enough insulation to work well in summer/fall/and spring, but not below zero/F. As a former hard core rock crawler, I simply moved my technique over to the TC and made adjustments as needed. The recommendation of lowering the tire pressure on rough, slow trails is a good one. we use a speed tire deflator and a 20 pound CO2 tank with correct hardware to reinflate tires. But, mostly it's the jeeping technique that allows you to either hold 'em or fold 'em when the going gets rough.

I have no qualms about getting in the rough as the TC now has nothing to loose. I have beat this rig up mightily and it keeps popping back with only minimal TLC.
Everything still works. It has small tanks which help keep the weight down. I have traveled thousands of miles on dirt and gravel roads, adjusting the T.P. at intervals to keep the best ride and the least jarring for the TC. Here is the latest incarnation with 16 inch steel wheels:


It has taken me decades to get the truck the way I want it, and just as long to dial in all the foibles of trying to take a 10K pound beast off-road. Still, there's the thrill of seeing people's faces when you shoot the dunes with said beast; running T.P. @ 22 pounds or swimming upstream in a flash flood:
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
WAuch,
We've had very good luck with our setup for off-road. In short, the lighter your TC, the better luck you will have over rough surfaces. Our 1998 Lance Lite 165-s, XCab weighs 1842, wet; more now I'm sure with 200 watts of solar on the roof, but not a whole lot more.

We bought it used; 3-years old and only used 3 times for $6500. It looked brand new at the time. It's old enough to have a wooden frame, which has held up very well even over rocks and down arroys. With hundreds of nights in the box, it stays on my truck most of the year and has just enough insulation to work well in summer/fall/and spring, but not below zero/F. As a former hard core rock crawler, I simply moved my technique over to the TC and made adjustments as needed. The recommendation of lowering the tire pressure on rough, slow trails is a good one. we use a speed tire deflator and a 20 pound CO2 tank with correct hardware to reinflate tires. But, mostly it's the jeeping technique that allows you to either hold 'em or fold 'em when the going gets rough.

I have no qualms about getting in the rough as the TC now has nothing to loose. I have beat this rig up mightily and it keeps popping back with only minimal TLC.
Everything still works. It has small tanks which help keep the weight down. I have traveled thousands of miles on dirt and gravel roads, adjusting the T.P. at intervals to keep the best ride and the least jarring for the TC. Here is the latest incarnation with 16 inch steel wheels:


It has taken me decades to get the truck the way I want it, and just as long to dial in all the foibles of trying to take a 10K pound beast off-road. Still, there's the thrill of seeing people's faces when you shoot the dunes with said beast; running T.P. @ 22 pounds or swimming upstream in a flash flood:
Nice rig indeed and it's proven itself time and time again.
Looks like the Coop's are holding up well to the beating.
 

boxcar1

boxcar1
I'm a firm believer in custom builds. in that way you get exactly what you need and nothing more. I had the same questions and problems you are currently having. I looked at the Big foots and Northern lights . While beautiful campers externally. Internally they were, JMHO, kind of cheesy. Cabs were 1x2's and paneling just like everyone else. Then attached to the inner skin and what framing there is. They do suffer from dry rot in the door area And in the corner jack mounting locations. I spent part of this winter repairing my best friend's Big foot. It was an interesting job. Again, IMHO, what kills a camper that is being used off the highway is flex. This is what pops the joints and creates problems. It's a tough nut to crack. Conventional wood framing and or improperly designed aluminum framing IE: non 100% welded or tech screwed framing. Is the worst. My solution, An un orthodox one, was to create an all steel frame work designed to eliminate the chassis flex. Done properly it is extremely light and very strong. Mine is a some what standard 8' camper. A bit narrower than most as it didn't need to be more than 6' wide. I'm vertically challenged. The entire frame , bare, is just under 300lbs.


We then insulated and sealed the chassis using poly ridged insulation and joint tapes.



Once that layer is accomplished . The skin is all that it is left. I chose to skin the camper with aluminum. Fiber glass sheeting would work just as well.



The firs rig it was set on and designed for was this little Nissan.


The camper all dressed out came in at just over 1000lbs . Believe it or not, the little rig performed pretty well on road but would have suffered off road.

The same camper was then adapted and installed on a ford F-250 flat bed chassis for all of the obvious reasons.



This little unit has been on several extended trips over rough terrain The last was 1000 miles of mixt on and off road around central Oregon.
Spent 2 winters out in the elements with no cover. No leaks , no damage and as we speak, getting ready for Alaska.
The steel chassis allows the builder to optimize what ever type of interior suits your needs and or wants.
I opted for a conventional camper design that you would find inside any camper.


This , IMHO, is One example of the the best way one can to achieve a light weight, Off road slide in that will be able to survive the rigors of off road use without braking the bank , or requiring constant repairs.

If this interests you PM me for more detailed information .​


The build thread : http://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/152075-Can-t-find-what-I-want-so-the-build-begins




 
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boxcar1

boxcar1
Thanks Jeffe. This has been and continues to be a great investment.
The wife and I love having the freedom to go literally anywhere we think we might want to be.
The coach has proved to be warm , dry and cozy. The package in it's entirety has proved very efficient and comfortable to travel in. All without spending $100 grand. My favorite part.
 
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