Author Topic: Truck Camper considerations  (Read 2401 times)

Offline surfivor

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2017, 07:49:55 AM »
That is a nice one.

One thing about RV manufacturers is that while they market to the maximums (for example this camper will sleep six), they spec to the minimum constraint.  For the above camper they appear to be spec'ing it for one 'typical' person to dry camp for 3 days. The minimum is set by the 20 gallon fresh water tank (but the
battery, 1.7 cubic foot fridge, and propane tank size give similar constraints)   Based on a standard of 5-7 gallons of water per person per day this gives about three days of dry camping.  They also typically assume 175 lbs weight per person.  So you have for three days:

Person: 175 lbs
Water: 170 lbs
Propane: 18 lbs
Food: 15 lbs
Battery: 50 lb (typical group 27 battery)
Miscellaneous gear: 45 lbs
Total: 473 lbs

Add that to 1095 lbs and you get 1568 lbs which is within the capability of the truck.

But you want to move beyond 3 days of camping.  That is where it is tough not to exceed the specs.  If you go with city water connections that will save the 170 lbs in the tank.  If you go with city AC electrical power, you could jettison one of the propane tanks which will save you about 20 lbs of propane/tank weight.  You would use AC electricity for heat and to run fridge.  The weight savings would be used for the increase in food, clothes and perhaps a second person.

Net, the truck/camper solution you laid out will work for one person going off-grid for 3 to 4 days.  It will also work for one (and maybe two) continuously when hooked to city utilities. But either way gear has to be kept to a minimum.


If I wanted to play it safe, I would go with one of these models below which is similar weight but a hard top. I am aware of the added weight because of cargo etc. I feel comfortable with that because I had a camper of similar weight for many years on the same truck I have now.


The first one, the air I saw last week at the camper place. It was nice, the problem is I really loved a different model; the 800X which is heavier


http://travellitecampers.com/truck-campers/travel-lite-air/

http://travellitecampers.com/truck-campers/travel-lite-690fd/
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 07:55:31 AM by surfivor »

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2017, 08:06:42 AM »

If I wanted to play it safe, I would go with one of these models below which is similar weight but a hard top. I am aware of the added weight because of cargo etc. I feel comfortable with that because I had a camper of similar weight for many years on the same truck I have now.


The first one, the air I saw last week at the camper place. It was nice, the problem is I really loved a different model; the 800X which is heavier


http://travellitecampers.com/truck-campers/travel-lite-air/

http://travellitecampers.com/truck-campers/travel-lite-690fd/

Those are nice to..  What is your plan for water and electricity?  10 gallon water tanks are very stingy. The one optoon has city water connection listed as an option not standard. And it isnt clear how they handle grey water.  Again, this RV design appears set to be spec'd for short term (2 day) dry camping.

Offline surfivor

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2017, 08:26:36 AM »
Those are nice to..  What is your plan for water and electricity?  10 gallon water tanks are very stingy. The one optoon has city water connection listed as an option not standard. And it isnt clear how they handle grey water.  Again, this RV design appears set to be spec'd for short term (2 day) dry camping.

 I can get by on a 3 day weekend with 4 or 5 gallons of water for dishes and 2.5 gallons for drinking. Most campgrounds have water spigots. I have water containers I use. 

 The way to save water for washing silver ware is to have two large tall plastic glasses, one with soapy water and the other with rinse water. The you just put all the spoons and forks in each of those as needed. You have to make good use of the soapy water for multiple dishes or use paper plates and paper bowls.

The guy at the RV place showed me how you can run a line for grey water from the sink to a small container in the bed of the truck outside the camper. That would work for being in a parking lot at the beach and washing dishes
 
 I mostly need electricity for my electric guitar, but I have a small micro cube amp that runs off of 6 AA batteries. I have a very small goal zero lithium battery pack that can charge a cell phone 15 times. I use petzl headlamps a lot too, but the camper would have a battery connected to the truck electrical system also.

 At this point, a lot of the uses would be to drive an hour to the beach, surf, camp the night, surf the next day and head home. I have a camp up in the woods for longer vacations, but I might spend a week in the camper in the Carolinas etc

« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 08:51:18 AM by surfivor »

Offline surfivor

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2017, 09:26:47 AM »
This is a surf cam of one of the beaches I would hang out in if I had a truck camper like I did in the old days with my previous camper. I wish I was there right now, there is a storm out at sea and great waves.

http://cinnamonrainbows.com/surf-cam-report


 Even though I am kind of busy with work right now, if I had a truck camper I could head up there and work over the internet from a library or inside the camper and have some time to surf after work. I got an IPhone last week and it is set up to be a hotspot.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 09:37:25 AM by surfivor »

Offline surfivor

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #34 on: August 31, 2017, 04:24:37 PM »
 I am still undecided on this as ever, but I wanted to post some stuff from my research and because this thread helps me keep track of what I find.

 The guy at the RV place claims that 90% of the trucks out there with campers are overloaded and he sells them that way all the time ..

 Anyway, this site talks about boosting 1/2 ton trucks suspensions for campers:

http://www.trucktrend.com/how-to/towing/1111rv-half-ton-camper/

"After you learn that some 3/4- or 1-ton diesel trucks can cost as much an average U.S. residential condominium, smaller half-ton trucks start to look very appealing—especially if you are in the market for an in-bed camper.

The problem is unlike many of the 3/4- and 1-ton trucks on the market, most half-tons are not equipped to handle the bulkiness of a full-size camper. None of the current or even older half-ton pickups can safely haul a 1,000- to 2,000-pound payload in the bed. Fortunately, there are plenty of aftermarket companies that offer products that can help you get to your destination safely.

What we discovered is most of the products are bolt-on ready. In fact, we were able to transform a squishy 2004 Ram 1500 half-ton truck into a true camper hauler with only a few hours work in the driveway using common hand tools and some key components."

..

=============

campers for 1/2 ton trucks, the campers here all weigh under 1,900 pounds and more than 1,500 pounds

http://www.truckcamperadventure.com/2016/05/top-five-truck-campers-for-half-ton-trucks/

=============

Lance camper for 1/2 ton trucks weighs  1,896 pounds

https://www.lancecamper.com/truck-campers/650/

============

Adventurer camper weighs 1700 pounds or so, the article mentions Tundra here with regards to that camper:

http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/news/tcm-exclusive-2014-adventurer-80rb/

"The base dry weight unit weighed in at 1,720 pounds with a center of gravity of 27.5 inches from the front wall (the front of the bed back).  I have not measured every super short bed truck, but that puts the 80RB center of gravity forward of the rear axle on the Ford, Dodge, and Toyota Tundra."

============

Tundra is listed as one of the best 1/2 ton trucks

https://www.autobytel.com/trucks/car-buying-guides/best-half-ton-trucks-119060/

« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 04:31:50 PM by surfivor »

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2017, 05:58:12 PM »
You have obviously already decided what you are doing.

If it was me, I would not risk killing some innocent person just because you refuse to accept that the truck you have will not safely handle the truck camper you want to put on it.

Go with a camper shell, a mattress and a portable toilet. 
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Offline Zef_66

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2017, 01:33:39 PM »
You have obviously already decided what you are doing.

If it was me, I would not risk killing some innocent person just because you refuse to accept that the truck you have will not safely handle the truck camper you want to put on it.

Go with a camper shell, a mattress and a portable toilet.

Agreed. Just because everyone else is doing it. Or even that you can beef up suspension to handle doesn't make it right. And doesn't make it safe. Especially on an older, well used truck, the unsafe factor increases because of worn components.
~Derek

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? ~ Proverbs 6:6-9

Offline Carl

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2017, 01:40:47 PM »
  Prepare to spend what you think you are saving in maintenance and shortened life of your truck plus fuel mileage etc.

While you think some more ,you might read some from this site:

http://carliving.info/
Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

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Offline surfivor

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #38 on: September 01, 2017, 03:28:28 PM »

Quote
If it was me, I would not risk killing some innocent person just because you refuse to accept that the truck you have will not safely handle the truck camper you want to put on it.

 I wanted to get that camper but I don't have to worry as the government will take care of those unsuspecting motorists instead.

http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/344141-driverless-car-bill-speeds-through-house

"The Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved a legislative package Thursday that would bar states from setting certain driverless car rules and allow manufacturers to deploy up to 100,000 self-driving vehicles per year without meeting existing auto safety standards."

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #39 on: September 01, 2017, 10:45:46 PM »
Agreed. Just because everyone else is doing it. Or even that you can beef up suspension to handle doesn't make it right. And doesn't make it safe. Especially on an older, well used truck, the unsafe factor increases because of worn components.

I must be missing something now.  Originally I thought surfivor was talking about longer stay use.  But it seems he is most interested in three day dry camping trips.  He should be able to do that within the weight limits of his truck.  It will be close to its limits and i certainly wouldn't recommend mountain travel in hot weather with it.  But it should be safe if speeds are kept in check.

Here are the details:

Lightweight Camper = 1095 lbs
Water: 9 gallons @ 8.34 lbs/gsllon = 75 lbs
Propane: 20 pound tank worth of fuel = 18 lbs
Food for three days = 15 lbs
Battery:(typical group 27 battery) = 50 lbs

That is 1,253 lbs for trailer fully set up.  According to here and what he posted earlier he has 1545 - 1575 to work with:http://www.new-cars.com/2003/toyota/toyota-tundra-specs.html

So it should work.  If he filled up the water at the campsite and disposed of the grey waste there, it would definitely work as that would save 75 lbs while traveling.

Personally i would rather (and do) use a towable. Something like the Aliner Ranger 15 would be more functional and would maintain its value better: http://aliner.com/campers/ranger-15/.  With a propper brake controller it would be safer too. 
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 10:56:40 PM by iam4liberty »

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #40 on: September 02, 2017, 09:22:23 AM »
The guy at the RV place claims that 90% of the trucks out there with campers are overloaded and he sells them that way all the time ..

The guy at the RV place isn't paying to replace brakes, suspension components, or vehicles more frequently...so why wouldn't he sell overweight campers?

It's as simple as this: What will last longer, a vehicle that's driven 100 mph all the time or the same vehicle driven 50mph all the time? The same applies to weight. There are no small number of trucks out there that have been overworked until they simply fell apart. This is particularly true with half ton trucks.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #41 on: September 02, 2017, 05:19:07 PM »
The guy at the RV place isn't paying to replace brakes, suspension components, or vehicles more frequently...so why wouldn't he sell overweight campers?

It's as simple as this: What will last longer, a vehicle that's driven 100 mph all the time or the same vehicle driven 50mph all the time? The same applies to weight. There are no small number of trucks out there that have been overworked until they simply fell apart. This is particularly true with half ton trucks.

I've heard RV sales guys tell people at RV shows that they can easily pull that huge 5th wheel with their F-150.

For anyone that's looking to get a large 5'er, don't just look at what the truck can tow or haul.  The important thing is being able to stop that load.  That's the reason that so many of the full timers out west have converted semi trucks.
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Offline Zef_66

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #42 on: September 05, 2017, 10:02:52 AM »
I must be missing something now.  Originally I thought surfivor was talking about longer stay use.  But it seems he is most interested in three day dry camping trips.  He should be able to do that within the weight limits of his truck.  It will be close to its limits and i certainly wouldn't recommend mountain travel in hot weather with it.  But it should be safe if speeds are kept in check.

Here are the details:

Lightweight Camper = 1095 lbs
Water: 9 gallons @ 8.34 lbs/gsllon = 75 lbs
Propane: 20 pound tank worth of fuel = 18 lbs
Food for three days = 15 lbs
Battery:(typical group 27 battery) = 50 lbs

That is 1,253 lbs for trailer fully set up.  According to here and what he posted earlier he has 1545 - 1575 to work with

My safe suggestion was, and still is, an 800lb camper. Again, I have no idea if they even make a thing that light. But based on reasonable numbers and safe limits, that is my recommendation.

Yes, he can push the truck to max weight. Yes, he can even push the truck over max weight. Should he? Again, my recommendation is no, do not get even close to maximum. On a well used truck that doesn't drive, steer, or stop as well as it was when it was new, you are much better to stay well under the maximum weight.
~Derek

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? ~ Proverbs 6:6-9

Offline surfivor

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2017, 11:07:26 AM »
 I am probably going with one of the 1100 pound models. I am going surfing up to the beach Saturday morning as there are some decent swells out there. On the way back from the beach I may stop at the RV place and sign a purchase and sale agreement and start the process rolling. It's two birds with one stone because the truck RV place is not close by but on the way to the beach.

These camper models are about $12,000 or a little more. I have loans approved. I could buy it without a loan, but I like to establish credit and I may buy more land in southern Maine. I would like to have land to camp on perhaps with the camper if that is easy to find. My BOL has a yurt but it is 200 miles away whereas parts of southern Maine are 80 to 130 miles distant
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 11:13:08 AM by surfivor »

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2017, 05:58:58 PM »
I still thinking you are making a mistake.  But good luck with the camper.
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Offline Carl

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #45 on: September 09, 2017, 04:13:54 AM »
I still thinking you are making a mistake.  But good luck with the camper.

Keep good documentation and history for those who may follow.
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Offline Zef_66

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #46 on: September 11, 2017, 10:26:18 AM »
I still thinking you are making a mistake.  But good luck with the camper.

+1
~Derek

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? ~ Proverbs 6:6-9

Offline surfivor

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Re: Truck Camper considerations
« Reply #47 on: September 18, 2017, 06:38:11 PM »

 I got the camper and spent a couple of nights down on the coast.

One thing I was wondering is how would AAA or a towing service be able to move the truck and camper if it was needed. The guy at AAA told me that they have around a 9000 pound limit which is fine. They can sometimes get flat bed trucks. I had to do that once with my old popup camper.

This camper when on the truck measures 9 feet tall from the ground to the top of the roof. The skylight is only a few inches above the roof but there is an antenna that goes maybe another foot. Possibly the antenna could be tied down somehow, but I am not sure ?

 Depending on how high off the ground the flatbed is, I don't know how much room there is to work with. I noticed a lot of the bridges on the highway are 14 feet or 14 feet 10 inches or something like that, and some roads have tree limbs. It seems like you might have to stay on the bigger main roads but I am not sure about the bridge height issue