Truck Bed Campers

Discussion in 'Off The Wall Campers' started by PopUpSteve, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    League City, Texas USA.
    You know, for me, pop ups are appealing because they typically are small, and light enough to tow behind a half ton without killing MPG or making the truck break a sweat. Equipped correctly they are rugged enough, and will have clearance enough for mild off roading (beaches, forest service roads, hunters camps etc...) and tyically have generous beds (Queen / King size bed is typical for the end bunks). Not to mention the used market at least where I live is flooded with them and they can be had for a pittance. Sometimes people give them away in decent shape just because selling them is more hassle than it is worth.

    That means getting into a pop up, at least used, isn't a huge deal cost wise.

    Drawbacks are plenty too though. Kind of hard to discreetly urban camp in a pop up. So say long road trip, overnight stops at Walmart / Truck stops could be a bit more concern generating... A hard sided TC doesn't really have that issue...
     
    Toedtoes likes this.
  2. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    774
    515
    May 28, 2018
    California
    Yep. It's just a matter of finding what fits you and ignoring what doesn't.

    I see it a lot on the other forums. They insist that there is only one way to be happy: buy the biggest and newest you can afford. Someone wants to get a class B and travel and they are told they need at least a 30ft rig for 1 person and must have a toad. If there are two or more people, then you need 40ft. And don't worry, you can go anywhere... as long as you don't want to stay at this campground in the forest for $20... But you can stay at that RV park at the fairgrounds for $40 per night and it's just as good.
     
  3. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

    119
    29
    Sep 19, 2018
    League City, Texas USA.
    The perpetual fuss I have with my wife. I want to step into a SMALL RV, either a pop up, a small off roadable trailer, or a truck camper. She wants a 40+ foot house on wheels with a washer and dryer.
     
  4. Dingit

    Dingit Active Member

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    Mar 8, 2017
    Can those 40 footers go anywhere you can't get a nice hotel at? I bet they are nice for full-timing, though.
     
  5. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    774
    515
    May 28, 2018
    California
    Folks who own them will say they can go anywhere a small rig can go.

    However, the reality is that when they say that, they don't mean every campground. They mean that you can find somewhere in the vicinity where they will fit.

    So, if you want to go to Smallville Lake with a 40ft rig, you might end up at a campground 5 miles away instead of the one right on the lake.
     
  6. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

    119
    29
    Sep 19, 2018
    League City, Texas USA.
    Okay here's a thought. Malequite campground on Padre Island National Seashore (one of my favorite beach locales) access while not REQUIRED to have 4 wheel drive, it is a VERY GOOD idea. The camp sites are nowhere near large enough to accomodate any 40 foot rig of any sort. Even combined TV and trailer can't exceed 30. Unhitch and park next to your trailer...

    Any of hte campsites in the Guadalupe Mountains, again terrain FAR too rough for a 40 footer. Smaller the better...

    Probably 50% of the parks I can think of that I want to visit, have length limits.

    Funny thing is, I know several people that have had the huge rigs, most of them have downsized. The giant rigs tend to be a lot of effort to manage.
     
    Byrd_Huntr and Toedtoes like this.
  7. Dingit

    Dingit Active Member

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    Mar 8, 2017
    My kid really loved the big 5th wheels at the RV show. But after a few years in a truck camper, he finds the popup trailer with a slide to be positively spacious.
     
  8. Dingit

    Dingit Active Member

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    Mar 8, 2017
    I've been plenty of places with my TC that our popup trailer couldn't get to or couldn't fit. And we aren't into offroading. Just regular forest service campgrounds.
     
  9. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    774
    515
    May 28, 2018
    California
    Owners of the 40ft rigs would say "but I can stay at the private RV Park 10 miles away and enjoy that same beach."

    I see that all the time on other forums. People with small rigs talk about "fitting" relevant to specific campgrounds. People with big rigs talk about " fitting" relevant to general areas. When deciding on a rig, one must decide how they see "fitting".

    In general, I think camperscampers see fitting as the former, while travelers see it as the latter.
     
  10. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

    119
    29
    Sep 19, 2018
    League City, Texas USA.
    10 miles from the beach? What's the point in that? I live 2 miles from the closest beach! (25 from the closest beach campground). If I wanted to stay near the beach, I'd stay home. I mean I get the point though. Nebraska corn farmers might be satisfied with being within a 20 minute drive from the beach. I want to leave the camper windows open and have the sounds of the waves lull me to sleep...
     
  11. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    774
    515
    May 28, 2018
    California
    Personally, I agree. That is why I have a 20ft motorhome and a 12ft box trailer. Those with a 40ft rig think differently. That's why I believe in making your own decision based on wants and needs.
     
    dbhost likes this.
  12. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Jun 6, 2018
    WV
    Someday, I'll be looking at either a Class B or small C and my motorcycle trailer.
    I see these huge fifth wheels lumbering along the curvy roads here and just thing that it would be a huge PITA to deal with something like that.
    Not to mention parking it, getting fuel anywhere but a truck stop, fitting into some of my favorite campgrounds and so on.
     
  13. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

    119
    29
    Sep 19, 2018
    League City, Texas USA.
    I keep pondering it. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE pop ups, however for travel / urban camping I am very leery of them. Likewise I don't want a trailer with slide outs either. I really want nothing that has to be set up and expanded to sleep in. I wouldn't be able to sleep staying in more urban environments. I.E. Walmart parking lots on the trip to wherever I am going...

    A Class B or Class C is a good idea. My preference though is for a lightweight truck camper. My reasons?

    #1. Mobility. A hard side, lightweight truck camper can easily slide into a 4x4 pickup, and go where that truck goes. Yes there are limits due to height and center of gravity, but forest service roads, beaches and the like are fair game where I wouldn't even consider a Class C for fear of killing it instantly...

    #2. The ability to offload the camper from the truck, use the truck separately is a HUGE bonus.

    Of course the drawback is weight and cost. I.E. Most lightweight campers come close to 2K lbs. The Alaskan camper is about 1.3K, The Eureka for a non cabover model comes in just under 800lbs, but there is no stove, no heat, no water heater etc... HOWEVER, it IS a good step up for tent campers.... Used truck campers can come cheap (again heavy so half ton trucks will have trouble) but new ones are priced in the same range as much larger travel trailers...

    I am not certain, but reasonably sure that I am going to go the following route...

    Truck. My existing 2004 Ford F150 XLT 4x4 Super Cab 5.4L 3V. (New engine in progress now...). Payload package. Ford Says 150lbs per driver / passenger x 6, plus 1,790lbs. 6.5ft box. It's just my wife and I. Not saying our weight, but I am a big man. My weight is coming down, but it is still high.

    Camper. Eureka SlideInn 8ft with the 4ft cabover and RV short queen overcab bed with 8" folding memory foam mattress.
    The camper comes with the following features stock.
    • Omit factory fridge opt for Magic Chef 4.4 cu/ft 1.5amp MAX draw mini fridge / freezer. (I can orient the doors on this to open so I can get to it from within the camper, the factory one I can't).
    • Danby 700w .7 cu/ft microwave.
    • Danby 5K BTU Air Conditioner.
    • Progressive Industries Converter.
    • 54" wide seating / dinette booth converts to 54x78" bed. Table optional.
    • City water inlet with single handle faucet / sink. No gray tank. (Hose that will reach almost to the ground, typically this will be put into one of those flexible water carriers as a gray tank... Cheap, simple, effective.
    • 6 gallon Reliance BPA free jerry can style fresh water container connects to a marine style hand pump faucet.
    • LED lighting.
    Things this camper lacks, but as an avid tent camper I have solutions...
    • in Added water capacity. The camper has space for a second of the 6 gallon jerry cans under the sink. Easy enough to add, they are at Walmart for about $7.00 each. Easy peasy... The dinette seats have storage under them enough for 6 of the 7 gallon Reliance Aqua Tainers. I have 4 and honestly, that is more than enough water.
    • Stove, oven, or means of cooking of any sort beyond the Microwave. A simple Coleman propane stove is easy to use and cheap enough. Preferred method, hopefully obviously should be cooking outside under a cover on a picnic table, or under an awning, which is intended add on to the camper. Coleman says don't use their stoves indoors. LOTS of people do it and live no issues, but again.... better safe than sorry... Coleman folding camp oven (have one) for baked goods....
    • Heated water for bathing / sanitation. I have a Zodi Instant hot shower system (propane). Same caveats as the Coleman stove...
    • Heat. Even if it came with a furnace, I still would prefer the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy, just to save battery. If I am somewhere I can plug in, I have a little ceramic heater with anti tipover, and a thermostat...
    • 110V off grid power. Need to add an inverter. Since I will be powering things like laptops, I will want to use a pure sine wave inverter. I have my eye on a 3KW peak, 1.5KW running Pure Sine Wave inverter.
    • Power storage. I have my jumper box for now, but would add 2 100amp hour AGM batteries.
    • TV. My wife and I want to upgrade the TV in our master suite. Probably retire the older Vizio that uses 12V DC input from its transformer (imagine that!) and run it straight to 12V DC in the camper. Use one of those little window pad antennas and my cell phone as the WiFi hotspot for the smart features...
    • Toilet. The camper comes with, but can be optioned out to reduce cost, a 2.6 gallon tank port o potty. I already grabbed a 5 gallon portable toilet recommended by other members here that is working well for me...
    Since it is just the wife and I, "extras" can go in the back of the truck cab, like the privy tent while travelling. I have seen this done, and it compacts really small, but a largeish tote, big enough to stand and move a bit in, can be rigged. Some 3M hooks in the celing and bungee cords to act as a shower rod in a circle, and a cheap Walmart shower curtain liner can make for a makeshift shower inside the camper keeping all else dry. Once done, the water from the tote can be dumped down the drain, typical water use for a full shower by ME a big guy is only 2 gallons, so not bad...

    YES a pop up would offer a LOT more interior room, but I think the drawbacks are too much.
     

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