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Topic: extreme weather rated truck camper ? which is /was best

Posted By: 54suds on 02/13/12 04:44pm

What was the best all weather rated truck camper ever built?
3 classes
1 stock floor model -non custom built
2 stock highly modified
3 unlimited


2015 GMC crew cab,drw,4x4/ torque lift tdn's 36" ext
1988 Bigfoot c11.5 & 1999 Bigfoot 3000 series / 2012 Chalet Ascent s100+
2011 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited


Posted By: KD4UPL on 02/13/12 07:31pm

I don't know about best of all time. Arctic Fox, Bigfoot, and Snowriver have got to up there on the list.


Posted By: Boatycall on 02/13/12 08:07pm

My AF1150 went through 6 gallons of propane boondock camping 4 days and 3 nights in this, including showers, coffee, cooking, coffee, occasional genny running, coffee, and fridge---













01 F350 DRW 4x4, Torklift Tie downs & Stableloads,SuperHitch,F550 Rear Suspension,Roadmaster F & R Sway Bars,Rancho 9000s,Jasper MonsterBox Tranny
2012 Eagle Cap 1160-Six 140Ah AGM Batts,Prosine 2.0 2kw Inverter,100a truck charging circuit, Dish Tailgator



Posted By: Bigfootchevy on 02/13/12 08:08pm

I really have no idea, but I own a Bigfoot and its an extreme weather rated camper, so that's my guess.

Paul


Posted By: WesternRoamer on 02/13/12 08:10pm

The best one, is the one you modify. Stock won't cut it for long below 20F.


- WR
07 Bigfoot 25C10.6 - Trklft, FstGuns, Enclosed AGMs, Xtrx L20, PD9270C, Solar, ESPAR Aux Heat.
08 Ram 3500 CTD, 4x6, 6sp, 3.73, Ride-Rite, Frnt Hitch, Rear Stlth Rack, H2000i Gen, Jeep Tow.



Posted By: Photomike on 02/13/12 10:09pm

Northern Lite is rated high for insulation value. Would have to agree that for good low temp camping mods are required.


2002 GMC 2500HD 4x4 4 Door
1992 Northern Lite 9'- 6" Camper with cargo trailer for hauling supplies
Advanced Elements Kayaks
Border Collie Guard Dog

Paterson Photography Web Site



Posted By: garryk6 on 02/13/12 10:16pm

54suds wrote:

What was the best all weather rated truck camper ever built?
3 classes
1 stock floor model -non custom built
2 stock highly modified
3 unlimited


Most "stock" campers will get you down around freezing, and the "winter prep package" ones will get you usually to around zero, depending. But for anything less than single digits, you will want to take matters into your own hands, and modify with added insulation, window coverings, etc...
I was able to prep my 1966 Avion to handle -9F this last November. It was alot of work, but very worth while.
Garry


Garry K
Wife + 4 kids
Retired Military Family.... Alway's on the move....
2002 F350 CCSB 5.4 6spd 4x4 in AK
1966 Avion C-10 Truck Camper



Posted By: cleary on 02/13/12 10:32pm

Hey Joe,

Both our factory stock 1988 and 2001 Bigfoot campers worked fine up here at temps. well below zero F. Our current 2008 Okanagan does as well, however, it was customized by the factory for use here at 65 degrees north.

Chuck




2006 F-350, 4X4, Crew Cab, V-10, Torqshift, Dually. 2008 Okanagan 106UDB. Both 4-wheelers and snowmobiles. KL7AY Our website


Posted By: bobndot on 02/13/12 10:40pm

non slides
Alaskan,S&S, Northstar


Posted By: covered wagon on 02/13/12 11:04pm

Photomike wrote:

Northern Lite is rated high for insulation value. Would have to agree that for good low temp camping mods are required.


Northern Lite is only one inch thick bead board and shows condensation stains on the headliner after about two years. The problem is insulating the compounded curves in the fiberglass body with a flat rigid board insul on the roof and corners leaving an insulation void.

On mine you can feel cold creeping inside on the corners and the one inch bead board is cold esp. under the mattress, it telegraphs up thru.

When you get to know a NL camper well enough you can find where they did not insulate some areas.

* This post was last edited 02/14/12 07:05am by covered wagon *


Posted By: drhutch on 02/14/12 06:43am

Only a bit off topic, I would say the best is the one you use for extreme weather. This old rig did pretty good, of course I was a bit less critical in those days. We lived pretty good in that old Hallmark, gravity furnace and all. Only froze the water system up once as I recall.
BTW that wire coming from the camper in the first photo isn't an electrical hook up, TV if I remember.
Hutch



2003 Chevy 3500 EC Dually Dmax/Allison / Lance 980 11'3" camper

NRA Life Member
US Army RVN 68-70
The summer of 69 was NOT the best years of my life.
RVing since 1976


Posted By: Briand on 02/14/12 07:37am

covered wagon wrote:

Photomike wrote:

Northern Lite is rated high for insulation value. Would have to agree that for good low temp camping mods are required.


Northern Lite is only one inch thick bead board and shows condensation stains on the headliner after about two years. The problem is insulating the compounded curves in the fiberglass body with a flat rigid board insul on the roof and corners leaving an insulation void.

On mine you can feel cold creeping inside on the corners and the one inch bead board is cold esp. under the mattress, it telegraphs up thru.

When you get to know a NL camper well enough you can find where they did not insulate some areas.


What year?


'97 F-350, CC, PSD
'02 NL, Ten2000 RD


Posted By: saDgit on 02/14/12 10:48am

Hey guys,
Don't forget us Europeans. My 'Easy Camper EC8L' was built in Dorotea, Sweden, just a few miles outside the Arctic Circle. It's fitted with an Alde wet central heating system and reputedly will maintain an internal temperature of 21 degrees C (70F) while the temperature outside is -35 degrees C (-31F). Although we've never tested it that cold, we have regularly camped in temperatures down around -14C (7F). No problems, and with the heating circulating under and around the overcab bed, a perfect nights sleep!



www.stuff-about-demountables.com

* This post was edited 02/14/12 10:54am by saDgit *


Martin

www.stuff-about-demountables.com

2008 Leisure Camper 'EC8L' on 2006 Ford Ranger Supercab 4x4
before that
1995 Island Plastics 'Suntrekker' on 1992 Ford P100
before that
1992 Amazon 20RB C-class on Ford E350


Posted By: weymard on 02/14/12 11:42am

I agree with you, I owned a Nordstar and went to Pyrenees with -25°C (-13°F) the night in comfort. We can add Artica camper, they have also the Alde heater.

Welcome on board


FORD F250 LARIAT 4X4 DIESEL 2008
Lance 815 2007
France, Normandy


Posted By: zildjian on 02/14/12 12:49pm

Hey I bought that model EC the other year although I doubt we'll see temperatures like that here in the UK,


Posted By: woodhog on 02/14/12 04:07pm

cleary wrote:

Hey Joe,

Both our factory stock 1988 and 2001 Bigfoot campers worked fine up here at temps. well below zero F. Our current 2008 Okanagan does as well, however, it was customized by the factory for use here at 65 degrees north.

Chuck



It would be interesting to know what the factory did to the camper compared to one of their ordinary units????

Thanks


2004.5 Dodge 4x4 SRW Diesel, 245/70R19.5 Michelin XDS2, Bilstein Shocks
Torklift Stable loads, BD Steering Stabilizer Bar, Superchips "TOW" Programed,Rickson 19.5 wheels

2006 8.5 Northstar Arrow Longbox 200 Watts Solar, LED lights.
12 Volt DC Fridge.


Posted By: WesternRoamer on 02/14/12 06:22pm

Scientific data is, not surprisingly, rare, when it comes to these discussions. Any camper with access to AC will do fine in the cold provided the fuse panel does not blow. Outside of that, it starts getting interesting and it boils down to how cold and for how long. Stock campers sell to the normal summer camper, not winter sport nut cases, like us. From the base set of capabilities it is up to us to modify. I wouldn't have it any other way myself. Mods are just downright fun.


Posted By: covered wagon on 02/14/12 07:44pm

Briand wrote:

covered wagon wrote:

Photomike wrote:

Northern Lite is rated high for insulation value. Would have to agree that for good low temp camping mods are required.


Northern Lite is only one inch thick bead board and shows condensation stains on the headliner after about two years. The problem is insulating the compounded curves in the fiberglass body with a flat rigid board insul on the roof and corners leaving an insulation void.

On mine you can feel cold creeping inside on the corners and the one inch bead board is cold esp. under the mattress, it telegraphs up thru.

When you get to know a NL camper well enough you can find where they did not insulate some areas.


What year?


I bought it new in 2003, an 03 10-2000 RR. I've had lots of trouble with it. Mostly leaks in the first few years.

A few tips... insulate behind the tail lights, the basement storage area sides and floor, the big escape hatch, under the mattress, power cord box and caulk around the fridge with clear caulk on the inside. Just a micro bead will stop a lot of cold air from coming in.. These chores made quite a difference in cold weather.

* This post was edited 02/14/12 07:56pm by covered wagon *


Posted By: recycler on 02/15/12 08:41pm

covered wagon is right on the tips i would insulate around the fridge too since it is open to the outside if it isn't already


Posted By: Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli on 02/15/12 09:15pm

Did anyone mention CITATION TC with the 2" Polar Package?
I looked at one of those and it seemed like the best all weather TC with all the cold weather work they did to it. Heated tanks and all.


Camper Jeff and Kelli's Blog!

A CLOSED MOUTH GATHERS NO FEET!



Posted By: Capt. Caper on 02/16/12 05:06am

Artic Fox is supposed to have 2 in of insulation in the walls but who knows where or if it lacks in certain other areas. My new Lance is 4 season (only 1 1/2 in I believe in the walls) certified with duel panes,heated basement,duel furnace but I think if it's cold enough and long enough no truck camper will survice a wet camping expierence. So it depends on what your going to do.
I would get the one you like and then worry about the cold camping. Any camper can be used in a dry camp mode. Lot's of posts here by some who have taken it to extremes like stuffing the sides between the camper and truck bed walls with insulation.


2011 F350 Super Duty,SRW, 6.7 PowerStroke,Crew Cab,Lariet,4x4, 3.55 Locking Diff ,Short Box.Timbrens,Happy Jack's, Gator Guard bed liner, Penda bed mat.
2012 Lance 855S 9K Coleman A/C,Duel Batteries


Posted By: 54suds on 02/16/12 05:29am

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli wrote:

Did anyone mention CITATION TC with the 2" Polar Package?
I looked at one of those and it seemed like the best all weather TC with all the cold weather work they did to it. Heated tanks and all.



If you look at the spec sheets that was one of the very top tc's of its time (2007)unfortunatly they droped out of the tc market after only mfg a small number at that standard.


Posted By: silversand on 02/16/12 05:33am

Quote:

...is only one inch thick bead board and shows condensation stains...


Bead-board, or MEPS (molded and then expanded pentane-containing bead polystyrene) average density is 1 LB per cubic foot. However(!), there are numerous densities available in MEPS sheeting and various bead chemistries that give R values from R-3.8 to just under R5 (R 4.4) per inch of thickness. Obviously, price is a substantial determinant for R value (or, greater density). The compressive strength, and water absorption around the beads and its use as a structural component in a compound wall isn't comparable to the next type of foam board: XEPS.

XEPS (extruded expanded polystyrene) too is made of beads (or, pellets) however(!), those pellets are dissolved in chemicals, then the sheet product is extruded (rather than blown and molded). The production process introduced tiny bubbles, or foaming agent, in the XEPS, then the sheets are die-cut into size. The huge difference between MEPS and XEPS are the following: XEPS is far more uniform in density, rendering a much more uniform R value over the entire sheet; the density alone in XEPS sheeting is far and away higher than MEPS, at 1.5 LBS per cubic foot (this gives a far higher R value per inch {at a minimum, R-5} above that of MEPS's R-3.8 bead-board, AND, has a much, much higher compressive strength, AND, has a substantial advantage over MEPS in vapor transmission THROUGH the sheet foam itself, rendering it effectively a vapor barrier: if any moisture infiltrates into/around the beads in bead-board (and it does!), your R value will drop substantially {like to R2 or less}). Also, MEPS (unless it is a very expensive specifically structurally designed bead-board) is not used as a structural component in a compound wall, roof or structural system, where XEPS is specifically used (and designed) to be used as a structural component in a compound wall/roof system because of it's superior deflective and compressive properties.

There are a lot of trade reading materials (chemistry and processes) out there describing both products, and their strengths and weaknesses for myriad uses. And, knowing just what MEPS or XEPS your particular camper manufacturer is using and how the compound structure is manufactured (glue type, compression/bonding specifications, curing, relative humidity in the process, cure room temperatures, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc) can be difficult to find out (this is a tightly guarded trade secret).


Silver
2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 6.0L Ext/LB Tow Package 4L80E Michelin AT2s| Outfitter Caribou


Posted By: covered wagon on 02/16/12 06:46am

Interesting point about the bead board type loosing some of it's already lower R value because of moisture absorbtion. I think this is a contributing factor to some delamination problems, becoming 'unglued so to speak'. The bead board is glued to the body with contact cement. The same thing used on laminate counter tops. Only the newer water based cement is not as strong as the older toleulene (sp.) type. Lower R value from condensation absorbtion can add even more hydrolic pressure between the body and insulation. Sort of like a dry 2x4 sitting under a truck tire, capable of lifting up the truck after it gets wet and swells in size from moisture.

Thanks Silver for the great info on the different types of rigid insulation.

* This post was edited 02/16/12 07:24am by covered wagon *


Posted By: Less Stuff on 02/16/12 09:07am

Our winter package equipped 2004 915 Lance Lite has spent some time in below Zero weather.
Our windows are only single pane so inside moisture will freeze.
We have the Lance insulated covers for all roof vents. Even the bathroom skylight has it's insulated cover.
We also put Reflectix insulation over the windows.
The furnace runs a lot in very cold weather.
The plumbing systems have never frozen. But we do run the camper furnace when driving the truck at those temps.
Our camper is not a basement model yet the waste tanks have ducted warm air from the furnace.
Comfort in the camper was good.

Comfort for this old fart in cold weather is less than good. So winter now finds the camper in storage or someplace warm.


DG
Former user name: "Lots of Stuff"
2014 Jeep Patriot
Future folding trailer or ?


Posted By: silversand on 02/16/12 09:24am

Covered Wagon wrote:

Thanks Silver for the great info on the different types of rigid insulation.


....my pleasure

I have very close relatives in "the polystyrene industry" and consulted with them before buying our XEPS composite walled camper.


Posted By: dakonthemountain on 02/16/12 10:24am

Once I get the front window leak fixed I'll be looking into "add on" dual pane windows for winter camping. Though I'm not the diehard snow bunny camper some of you are, I do like the desert in the winter and it sure blows a cold wind sometimes! I had no problems with 27 degrees last weekend, but did have the condensation on the windows a bit from the furnace and two big guys shoring all night! But I also didn't crack a vent to allow the moisture to escape because the wind was so strong coming at the opening I was worried about it tearing the plastic vent off the roof. I'm going to be putting MaxAire covers on the bath vent and over the bed after I install a Fantastic Fan so then I'll be able to. My little Weekender is a well built unit in many regards and other than adding a little insulation to the access door areas everything/place else is already done, with ducted heat too. Extreme winter camping?... not so much I would think, but more because I don't want to be there in the first place if it's under 0 degrees outside!

Dak


2007 Lance 1055 and Calvin, the 1996 creampuff Chev Silverado 3500 extended cab dually
Escapee member #224325-Since 1992



Posted By: cleary on 02/16/12 10:41am

woodhog wrote:

cleary wrote:

Hey Joe,

Both our factory stock 1988 and 2001 Bigfoot campers worked fine up here at temps. well below zero F. Our current 2008 Okanagan does as well, however, it was customized by the factory for use here at 65 degrees north.

Chuck



It would be interesting to know what the factory did to the camper compared to one of their ordinary units????

Thanks


The things I know they did was to add a layer of insulation under the camper to keep the basement from freezing from the bottom up as our old Okanagan 116 did. They added extra furnace ducting to the basement and to the cab over sleeping area. I think they also put vent holes in some of the partitions in the basement so the heat could circulate better down there. That was part of the freezing problem in our 116. Beyond that, I don't know.

Chuck


Posted By: 54suds on 02/16/12 12:40pm

silversand wrote:

Covered Wagon wrote:

Thanks Silver for the great info on the different types of rigid insulation.


....my pleasure

I have very close relatives in "the polystyrene industry" and consulted with them before buying our XEPS composite walled camper.



if you look deeper , there are huge differences in the insulation & moisture and strength and r values of open cell / closed cell /extruded /blown or injected foams which are made mostly of either ,polystyrene or polyurethane and each of these can have a great difference in r values & moisture resistance , thickness alone is not proof of high insulation rating


a great short general information site on foam insulations link

* This post was last edited 02/16/12 02:43pm by 54suds *


Posted By: mastercraft1995 on 02/16/12 05:02pm

We use to have a 1995 Lance 880 that we dry camped in every weekend on the mountain so we could snow ski. I covered the windows with cheap plastic stuff you get at Walmart and covered 2 of the vents with insulation put 1 inch think pink insulation boards under the cab over bed and put insulation in between the wheel wells and camper.

The coldest it ever got to was -10 with 40 or so mph wind Presidents day a few years ago. We never had any issues at all. We ran a generator a few hours a day while we ate breakfast and dinner.


2012 Tundra, Super White, Double Cab, 4x4, TRD, 5.7L
1999 Nash 25S


Posted By: WesternRoamer on 02/16/12 06:01pm

A lot of this is relative. Camping dry is relative to winter camping in a tent. Running wet is relative to staying in a house or hotel room. Weekend trips are easy because of thermal momentum coming from the shore tap. A week or two is steady state. Trips that long let you know where you really are.


Posted By: d3500ram on 02/16/12 10:08pm

I regularly camp in winter conditions in the Colorado High Country... often for ski outings and hunting trips. Last years 3rd season elk for 10 days saw winter temps into the teens and unlike my comrades who were uncivilized in their outfitter wall tent (I so do not miss those days!)...

...I was cozy and warm with showers each night, quick microwaved precooked dinners, getting dressed every morning in comfort while the coffee was perking...



Up high in the Loveland Pass/ A-Basin area can get downright chilly:





I have never been cold in my NorthStar. The fact that it is a non-slide model and relatively small compared to other types helps a lot. Even though I have issues with the insulated Dometic glazing, it cannot be beat for really cold temperatures.


2005 Dodge 3500 SRW, Qcab long bed, NV-6500, diesel, 4WD, Helwig, 9000XL,
Nitto 285/70/17 Terra Grapplers, Honda eu3000Is, custom overload spring perch spacers.
2008 NorthStar Arrow short bed.



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