If you get the HD payload package, you should be fine with a 1600-1700lb camper.
2002 Chevy 3500 DRW 8.1L/Allison
2000 Palomino B1500
...and the reason why I need a DRW to haul a Palomino:
2004 United 7x14 tandem axle enclosed toy trailer
2011 PJ 8x20 7-ton deckover equipment trailer
Interesting topic, I would consider a 3/4 ton IMHO. In the old days as kids my Father had a 1/2 ton new 65 chevy & hauled a 8ft Shasta TC. We took many trips & never had any problems, I'm sure we were well over loaded on that coil springed pickup. Here's what just recently happened to my Brother In Law, he purchased a new 06 F-150 4 X4 Long Box with the heavy GVW. I don't have the exact #'s in front of me. He bought my Mothers old S&S 8 1/2ft camper. He towed this truck behind a motorhome, it had only 33000 miles. The transfer case starting to make a funny noice, he took it to the local Ford dealer (still under warranty) because when he took it in with the camper on, they said Ford would not warranty the transfer box!! Even though the camper did not come close to the maximum wt for the rear axle, or even the gross GVW!. I forget what the GVW was I think it was 7700#'s. He weighed everything as was within the trucks specs. He had only hauled the camper once on the truck this past Sept. when we all took a trip up into BC. He said the truck handled the camper great on the highway. This dealer suggested he take the truck to another dealer (with no camper on it) to see if Ford would cover it. He decided not to deal with it & traded it on a new f-350 gas pot SRW truck. Anyway my point here is we don't know if it was a faulty transfer box, (when they drained the oil out of it, it has metal fillings in it) or if its like so much now days on stuff that its only marginally engineered to the bare basics, with no margins for anything other than strictly hwy. use. Actually he said as long as he keeps his foot out of it, the F-350 delivers about the same MPG, BUY A 3/4 TON TRUCK, over the long run, it will last a lot longer, heavier rear ends, front ends, etc. (sorry for the long post, but he just stopped buy this week to the dealer where he bought the new truck, & they told him that they wholesaled out the 2006 F-150 because the whole front end was shot!!) With only 33,000 miles!!. They said that towing behind a motorhome caused this, who knows? Anyway something to think about!!
Hallmark, Phoenix, and Outfitter, all make nice, innovative popup campers that will fit your truck. Phoenix has one on their site custom designed and painted orange to match a customer's new Ford Raptor.
And, for the 80% of the time I will be running without the camper . .
Any thoughts? Anything I missed?
Maybe I missed it - You never answered why *not* a trailer?
You might be surprised what two wheel drive with factory non-slip rear end can / will do in snow, ice, etc.
A lot depends on how much - and the conditions.
I used to have a place at 8K ft in the mtns.
An intersection entering the main road (both paved) had a slight downhill section that was shaded and would ice up (black ice).
The best approach was real s-l-o-w.
Fun watching the flat-landers with 4x4 figure they had it "made" and approach it fast, slide out into the cross traffic.
I'm sure there was lots of white knuckles & stained shorts!
(Unless you have full lockers - it's just 2 wheel drive - at each end, LOL!.)
Started out with the 2 wheel drive truck I had before mtns - no non-slip. You learn a few tricks - chains, shovel, etc.
(Towed a TT)
Next - had two 4 x 4 SUVs - *never* used the 4wheel drive, even with heavy snow. Guess it was nice to have, if needed.
(Towed a TT)
Went back to 2 wheel drive with non-slip, no regrets - don't miss 4x4.
(Tow a 5th)
Off-road is a different story & different vehicle/s.
BOMBERO - I do a lot of back roads. It is not heavy duty 4 wheeling but gravel, winding, sharp curves etc. So, a trailer is not for me.
I think I have this light weight camper / truck combo thing worked out. Tomorrow I negotiate for a truck which I think will do what I need it to do. There are a number of slide in camper options for it. Details to follow, IF I am successful in my truck negotiations tomorrow.
Using the new ecoboast F150 is doable. You will need to upgrade the tires as the F150 will come with Passenger tires to LT. You may also need to add stable loads or timbrens or ??? to allow a more comfortable ride. The ecoboast will get great mileage while empty, but will be sucking the fuel back under load. Adventurer makes a camper for the F150.
I use to have an import camper on a 92 Isuzu 2.6 L 4 banger. I added another leaf to the back and LT tires and it worked great for 13 years. Empty fuel economy was 24 mpg, loaded 13 mpg. We only upgraded as the kids got to big to fit in the truck and camper.
I am transitioning from a small motor home to a truck camper. I know the "Big Guys" are going to tromp me but here is the deal.
One of the reasons I sold the motor home, with a V10, E450 is gas and maintenance cost. I am trying to simplify and cut costs as I approach retirement. Thus one vehicle (a truck) with a slide in, -vs- a motor home AND a car.
I carefully researched 3/4 ton trucks and matching campers ... no problem. Now, I am trying to see if I can match a truck camper with a half ton. 80% of the time the truck is my daily driver. Over 100,000 miles the difference in gas cost between 1/2 and 3/4 ton trucks is over $11,000, more as gas prices rise. I would really like to make this work.
On a new F-150 you can now get 2,080 lbs of payload in a short bed, super cab, 4WD. (More if you go 2WD and regular cab.) I have found a number of suitable campers with a dry weight of 1,600 to 1,700 lbs. Adding liquids, gear, camper options etc will most likely put me 100 to 200 lbs overweight. Airbags, Timbrens or the like will stabilize the truck but I know, won't add payload.
Before I get beat up by the big truck guys, IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE WHO HAS PUT A SLIDE IN ON A HALF TON TRUCK AND HOW HAS IT WORKED?
Yes, I would like to have a 3/4 ton but, on a very limited income I may not be able to afford to drive it. I could also drop the 4WD but driving unloaded would get stuck in the snow, drop the extended cab but would have the dogs in my lap, drop the wet bath but would stink to high heaven.
Can anyone help me. I promise to pack lightly, drive easy and lose weight myself.
I just signed for a Ford F-150, extended cab, 4WD, ecoboost engine, max payload package AND max tow pkg, with 17 inch, 7 lug, E rated tires, larger radiator, transmission cooler, HD shocks, upgraded springs, stabilizer bars, and an 8200 lbs GVWR. It has a payload of 2,400 lbs. (By the way, you can take payload up to 3,100 lbs by dropping 4WD and extended cab.) Mileage is rated at 21 highway and 15 city, unloaded of course.
There are a number of hard side, wet bath, Truck Campers available with a dry weight of 1600 to 1700 lbs. Some are short bed campers that will fit on a long bed. Some are made for long bed, although a few of those add 100 lbs or so. (NOTE: The reason I got the long bed is that the only way to get the payload to 2,400 lbs is to get both max towing and max payload which for some reason requires a long bed ie 8ft bed.)
So, it looks like I have achieved the goal of putting a hard side, wet bath camper on a half ton. It is close but, if I'm careful, achievable.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO EVERYONE FOR THEIR ADVICE. I am very impressed with this forum. In other forums I got beat up by the Big Truck Mafia for proposing this concept. Here I got encouragement and good advice. Even the doubters were polite and their concerns were valid, especially if they were not familiar with the new options for payload in a half ton truck.
I feel like a "living light" expert now and would be happy to return the favor to the group by helping anyone interested in light truck and maximum mileage camping.