Pop-up Camper Rear Overhang: Recommendations?

#1
Folks - I could use some advice from the experienced among you. I've owned on-road RV's before but would like to do some camping out on some Jeep trails with a little more creature comforts. I'm familiar with 3/4 & 1-ton trucks, and have owned both, but haven't taken them on anything more than dirt roads when hauling a camper. (Easy trails in Big Bend are really dirt road caliber trails)

First, my intended use:
Weekend & 3-day trips into the San Juans around Ouray CO & the Moab UT area, boondocking out in the wide open spaces. Occasional longer distance stuff towing my 2006 Jeep LJ on a trailer, most likely w/ some level of hookups occasionally. Basic quick showers & nighttime or #2's in the potty especially when boondocking. Both my GF & I are very tall: She's 5'10" & I'm 6'3" 250#. So dinette size & shower/potty size are relevant, although I know both are compromises in this size.
The trails I'm interested in are the ones a stock Wrangler can handle, or possibly a stock Rubicon w/ the lockers. Nothing super hardcore - just away from other people.

My initial thoughts:

Given the size items mentioned above, my thoughts are a 9.5' camper is likely a great choice. However I'm concerned about the 18" overhang from the truck, especially with the camper jacks that far back. Not to mention the hitch extensions. Not settled on a particular brand - still reading a lot - but I see the 9.5' Hallmark Cuchara has the same size dinette as the smaller ones (67"). When my GF & I sat in the completed Hallmark Ute when we visited this Spring, the Ute's 67" dinette wasn't big enough - our knees banged into each other. A dinette arrangement where we sat side by side would work, or if it was a facing dinette, it would have to be larger. I've not tried the shower/potty in the Everest, but I'm wondering if it's just destined to be a storage closet for people our size?
I'll be buying a new truck before the camper, so was planning on a SRW F350 Supercab with an 8' bed.

So here's my question:
For those of you that have campers 9.5' campers on 8' beds - or 8' campers on 6.5' beds - have you drug the rear, peeled rear jacks off the camper, or other such damage from the over hang?
Or for those of you bigger folks - I'm not 330# anymore, but not tiny - what size camper works for you?

There are 4 photos on the banner on the HallmarkRV.com main page. That's exactly the type of places I want to take this, and they haven't torn up the rear of their campers....?

I've searched the forum but not found what I was looking for, so forgive me if I missed it.

Thanks for y'all's help.
 
#2
I think you are on the right track. We love our Cuchara though haven't taken the truck on any really rough terrain. I would think with a leveling kit, maybe custom rear leafs and 35" tires you should be able to get there. I'm almost identical dimensions to you, my wife is a little shorter, we drag a one-year-old along and a couple dogs. We all fit great in the camper. I'm not sure the dinette size, but when converted to a bed I can sleep in it with legs fully extended. Our camper is a 2000. Departure angle isn't much worse than stock.
 

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#3
Thanks MTCK. Can you & the wife sit in the dinette w/o bumping knees? Would you mind revealing the length of your respective inseams? Mine is only 32" (long torso, short legs) and the GF's is 35" - no way can we sit there together. That's #1 problem to solve. Then bathroom.
 
#4
I’m a short stubby leg guy too @32” inseam. I don’t recall banging knees with the wife, but I think our dinette is more than 63” end to end. I’m 74” and could lie down flat when it is converted to a bed. I’ll try to get in the camper today and get a measurement on it for sure. The bathroom is tight.
 

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#5
Thanks Marcus. Something doesn't add up about the dimensions, but I'll call Hallmark tomorrow to confirm. If you look at the floorplans of both the 9.5" Cuchara & the 8' Ute, they show the same bathroom (with no dimensions) and the same 67" dinette, even though they are 18" different in floor length. Something about that just doesn't look right, and your 72" height fitting on there confirms - no way is that a 67" dinette on the Cuchara.

I wish they didn't include the sink in the bathroom - can you even get the bathroom door closed when sitting on the throne?
 
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#6
I'm actually the first camper that scrolls across the Hallmark site. K2 (8') on shortbox F350 (7' bed). I have the storage boxes so it hangs out just about as much as the 8'6" Ute. There's been a couple of occasions where I was concerned with the over hang dragging, but it really hasn't been a factor for us so far. We have the rear bumper and a gray water tank that sits between that and the truck bed. The jacks are raised so they don't hang down too much, you do need to set blocks under them though to raise the camper. In a pinch I would consider loosening the rear tie downs and let it float to get over an obstacle, real carefully though.

In hind sight, i think the Ute would have been a little better as it would have given just a little more room for the potty (cassette). It's a little snug, but not that bad. We don't have the interior shower. We haven't used the dinette to sleep on, usually just a flat surface to transport chairs, etc with a cargo net to hold in place. When we sit at the dinette with the table in place, I typically sit sideways with my legs out, but can sit face to face pretty easy, we're both about 5'9, and about 32" inseams

I think the layouts they show are just general representations. As they're made to order, and will lay it out the way you want, each one will be a little different.

Don't have any interior shots handy, but a shot from the rear.


Very happy with the camper, well made, have never had any condensation problems, including when camping on the Oregon coast in early March with it raining hard the whole time.
 
#7
Thanks for the help. Yours was one of the ones I was looking at, as it turns out. Is your truck stock height?
It looks like the K2 has a similar potty as the Everest, but maybe a little narrower? If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to see some photos of that area if you have any.
 

kerry

Expedition Leader
#8
Got a Northstar TS1000 (now called a 950 I think) on our Fuso. Were both shorter than you and drive dirt roads usually, not trails. I don't like the overhang when it comes to towing. The amas on our Sea Pearl Trimaran end up really close to the camper on tight turns. I bought a heavy long hitch extension but I'm not comfortable with the ball that far behind the truck. We do like the size of the camper. Had it for 9 yrs.
 
#9
Sorry, can't seem to find any pictures of the inside, and it's on the other side of the Cascades otherwise I would take some. The layout they show for the K2 is pretty close to what we have, the toilet faces the fridge with no door. There is a storage cabinet that sits above the toilet and then a small padded board to cover the toilet to give a seat or to set things on.

The truck is stock, no lift. 285/75/18 Toyo AT2 (basically a 35x11.5). I did put the Torklift upper Stableloads on, they just engage the overloads sooner. I flat tow a 2dr Wrangler too, I added a 14" extension and use a ReadyBrute tow bar. It extends out far enough that I don't have any problems with tight turns.

The truck handles it all great, the only thing I need to do is spend the money and get really good adjustable shocks. There's enough weight behind the axle that sudden bumps get amplified. Having the storage boxes is great, one of the best things, but it makes it easy to carry more weight farther back. With a long bed I would think you could only do the boxes with the Cucharra.
 
#10
Spare tire is another consideration. There was no way mine would fit under the truck so I had to wing it out front. With the rear overhang all those nifty bumpers with swing outs won’t work. 5E3C9425-3BEE-4555-9760-7666A0088F44.jpg
 
#11
I bought a heavy long hitch extension but I'm not comfortable with the ball that far behind the truck.
Sorry, can't seem to find any pictures of the inside, and it's on the other side of the Cascades otherwise I would take some. The layout they show for the K2 is pretty close to what we have, the toilet faces the fridge with no door. There is a storage cabinet that sits above the toilet and then a small padded board to cover the toilet to give a seat or to set things on.

The truck is stock, no lift. 285/75/18 Toyo AT2 (basically a 35x11.5). I did put the Torklift upper Stableloads on, they just engage the overloads sooner. I flat tow a 2dr Wrangler too, I added a 14" extension and use a ReadyBrute tow bar. It extends out far enough that I don't have any problems with tight turns.

The truck handles it all great, the only thing I need to do is spend the money and get really good adjustable shocks. There's enough weight behind the axle that sudden bumps get amplified. Having the storage boxes is great, one of the best things, but it makes it easy to carry more weight farther back. With a long bed I would think you could only do the boxes with the Cucharra.
Spare tire is another consideration. There was no way mine would fit under the truck so I had to wing it out front. With the rear overhang all those nifty bumpers with swing outs won't work.
Gang - thanks for the help. Couple of follow-on questions.
Hopeless Diamond - no issue on the photos. Any estimated how wide & how deep that potty compartment might be?

Two of you presented perspectives on towing with the extension hitch. I would think flat tow would be the toughest, and yet you said it worked great. Besides dragging the overhang, this tow extension is another concern. Can you tell me more about where you've towed & how it handles with the hitch that far back (although zero tongue weight flat towing - not sure if that helps or hurts on the extension hitch)

MTCK - good point on the spare tire. Can you still access it under the truck with the camper overhang?
 

kerry

Expedition Leader
#12
I've got a 14" (or so) extension and I've towed our Sea Pearl 21 across country and back with that. I have a 36" heavily reinforced extension that I thought I might use to pull our Corsair F-24 since the 14" is too short for it. However, I balked once I thought more about it.
 
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#13
If my spare still fit under the rear of the truck, I would be able to access it. At 35” it doesn't fit so it is mounted up front. I think access is more a function of your truck's layout. My old chevy is pretty simple but some newer trucks have fancier mechanisms that may require access to the rear bumper to lower the spare.
 
#14
Yeah, making sure you can drop the spare is something to be considered. I can access on my Ford, some of the other makes may be different though.

Haven't flat towed over anything more than a forest service road. Anything more than that it will get unhooked and the wife will drive it. 3 point turns don't work as you can't back it up (at least with the tow bar I have). Have gotten in the Jeep and pulled the truck backwards though to just get enough to go around.

For the potty area, I would say it is about 28-30" wide, snug but your mileage may vary...
 
#15
Guys, your experienced feedback is invaluable. The more I hear you, the more I think I don't want any overhang past the end of the truck. As much as I'd like the extra space. (I'm willing to be convinced otherwise....would use a Superhitch by Torklift & their extender...) Especially with real tongue weight on those trips where I'm towing the Jeep on a trailer. I don't mind flat tow, and have done it a number of times, but for the long hauls would prefer a trailer...easier on the brakes, but also can bring home the Jeep if I wreck it on the trail. :-O

So now my quest is to see if we larger people can fit into a camper w/ no overhang. I think 8'6" is my limit - pending any compelling arguments to the contrary here.

Hopeless Diamond, I had a full cabover Lance on my 2002 F350. They're all snug. (like my days on a submarine!) Sadly, I think the only way to know for sure is a butt-test!

The GF & I talked last night - we both prefer a cassette toilet. It seems the cassette toilet bathrooms have a tad more space in them as they don't scrunch you up against that tiny sink. (Washing hands in the kitchen is fine by us). But she wants an inside shower, despite the water limitations.

The top couple of models now are the Hallmark Everest & the Northstar 850SC. Looks like Everest has no inside shower? Time to call some companies.

If needed, we could even modify the dinette so we both sit side by side - no need to leave it sleep-able for us.

Thanks again everyone - invaluable.