Utility Bed and Slide in Camper

#1
I have seen some buids with utility beds and slide in campers. Does anyone know if a full size truck camper will fit in one of these or will I need a truck camper for a midsize/mini truck? Are utility beds custom fit to certain model trucks or do you have to adapt them? Looking for something to fit my 2000 F250 w/8' bed. d216393ac3f03c9fea8863d425e458de.jpg
 
#2
My understanding is that generally campers will not fit well with most common utility beds. Look closely at that pic there is a pretty big gap between the body and camper that is filled with another box of some sort. You could spec a bed to work with the camper, that has been done. Done right it would be a pretty sweet setup.
 
#3
Well here's a few of my own thoughts and experiences since I'm looking to do the same thing - just because I have so much stuff I normally take anyway and a service bed would be PERFECT to store everything. Currently I'm considering a 4 wheel camper if I can convince them to do some minor changes.... The thing I would be most concerned about is most newer campers toward the tail gate are wider than 50" to accommodate things like a toilet. So getting one, or having a place custom build one, that is 50" the whole length (like the inside of most service beds) could be difficult.

I did find a thread on here somewhere where someone had a steel service bed and actually cut and re-welded the back 1/3rd of the bed to accommodate the camper. It was actually a super sweet set-up. But for me anyway, since I'm looking at aluminum, and new, that might not be a good idea since it could be a costly mistake to modify a new bed that I personally dont have proper equipment to weld (aluminum).

As JCatt said, the height is also an issue. It really depends on the vehicle. Most 'newer' trucks (like pictured) have pretty high bed sides, and on top of that most service beds for such trucks (that I've seen anyway) are even higher - like half way up the side windows. I'm sure you could find one to fit, or get a custom one built. For my particular truck (1997 OBS 350), most service beds are perfectly in line with the original height of the bed, so gap shouldn't be an issue.

I think what it comes down to is just making sure you get the specs of several campers, and several service beds, and see what would work best, and who might be willing to make some changes to accommodate (although most places that advertise "custom work" are anything but these days).

In the end though, I have found weight is a bigger issue. Depending on what your payload capacity is, and how much and what you plan on putting in the service bed - I have found that aluminum is pretty much a requirement, and with everything I have calculated, my truck will still be overweight. So that is something to seriously consider and research as well.

Another option I am considering that you might entertain is still a service bed, but ordering a custom fit canopy (not all that expensive, forget the company name), and then building your own quarters inside. If you take time, it could even be much nicer than most mass produced campers (like pictured). the problem here (for me anyway) is finding a way to cut the top out to make it a 'pop-up' (like pictured) so that overall height doesn't become an issue, especially when carrying 2 kayaks, and 5 or so antennas.

Hope this gives you some things to think about - I've been researching, thinking, making decisions and changing them again, for about 3 years on this topic alone.
 
#4
I think a camper with the utility box is a great setup. Re: the gap between the top of the utility box and the bottom of the camper wings referenced in the pic. The box shown in the pic lines up pretty well with the normal bed height and style lines in the truck body. You can buy the lower utility boxes. Ford cab heights tend to be taller than other mfrs. My guess is that the owner raised the camper via a bed platform to clear the cab rather than having to clear the top of the utility bed. That gap is the byproduct. My FIL has the same issue with his new Ford.
 

AbleGuy

[Back] Roads Scholar
#5
There’s a shop in the San Diego area that builds affordable custom shells....just about any width, length and height including cabovers. Sorry but can’t recall their name (it’s not Callen, but I think they’ve also starting building custom shells again).
 
#8
Nice fatkins - if you dont mind, can you give more details on the process it took for the custom camper? Have you checked your rear axle total weights fully loaded?
 
#9
Nice fatkins - if you dont mind, can you give more details on the process it took for the custom camper? Have you checked your rear axle total weights fully loaded?
Don't want to hijack the OP but truck sent to Phoenix custom after discussion of layout/options and agreeing to recommendations of builder.
Yes, checked again today, wet weight front and rear within specs.
 
#10
If you like the FourWheel camper and need something more custom, take a look at All Terrain Campers in Sacto. Everything they build is custom, said they have never done the same thing twice.

Also, what about doing a flat bed instead of a service body. Huge improvement in interior size and you can still get outside storage. I would guess it would be lighter too. My Protech Aluminum flatbed weighs less than the stock bed, the four steel tool boxes put it over by about 200 lbs. The interior floor is now 7' x 8.5' instead of only 4' x 8'. ATC base price for the flat bed shell is only $8000. Flatbed base was $3400. Tool boxes are about $220 base.

TruckCamper-coast.jpg
 
#11
There’s a shop in the San Diego area that builds affordable custom shells....just about any width, length and height including cabovers. Sorry but can’t recall their name (it’s not Callen, but I think they’ve also starting building custom shells again).
I’d be very interested in knowing who the other fabricators are for the custom shells.
 

Mundo4x4Casa

West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
#12
I am looking for a new aluminum bed with storage boxes also. My '01.5 RAM short bed is getting long in the tooth and has pulled an anchor bolt bracket (one of only four 3/8" bolts holding the bed and my 2600 pound loaded and wet Lance camper down to the frame). The woe is exacerbated by this type of travel:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/y9nfstvqf6hk4ab/up Fish Cr. Anza.m4v?dl=0
My plumber has an interesting bed on his 2000 SRW Ford F-350: note the size and lines are exactly like the factory bed only with storage.





Here is the mfgr: I don't know if they are still in business.
 
#13
The stock bed is designed to carry the load low, with no up lift. A tall camper and a lot of off-road will really work that sheet metal. My 2001.5 Dodge had only 6 - 3/8 bolts. The newer 2013 long bed used 8 larger bolts, maybe 10 mm. It took some time to adapt the flatbed to the almost flat frame. Protech spec'd it should sit flat with less than 1/32" gaps. A cab and chassis truck is much easier, it has a totally flat frame with nothing sticking up.
 
#14
I am picking up a 99 F350 with an eight foot bed in about month and would like to go the utility bed camper combo. I saw a guy down in Baja that had a utility bed with a Lance 835 that looks to be the perfect set up.

What company makes aluminum utility beds that are low rise and don't have access on top of the boxes? Also anyone have any idea which campers don't have gray water and black water tanks in the way?
 
#15
If you like the FourWheel camper and need something more custom, take a look at All Terrain Campers in Sacto. Everything they build is custom, said they have never done the same thing twice.

Also, what about doing a flat bed instead of a service body. Huge improvement in interior size and you can still get outside storage. I would guess it would be lighter too. My Protech Aluminum flatbed weighs less than the stock bed, the four steel tool boxes put it over by about 200 lbs. The interior floor is now 7' x 8.5' instead of only 4' x 8'. ATC base price for the flat bed shell is only $8000. Flatbed base was $3400. Tool boxes are about $220 base.
Zuber, is that your truck? Very nice, would love to do something similar. However, in checking All Terrain's website I don't see where they offer a flatbed camper for only $8K. They quote $13,995 for the flatbed shell and $9,459 for a slide-in shell. How did you get it for $8,000?
 
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