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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Rear door vs side door..

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07blacktruck

Central Illinois

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Posted: 02/25/12 08:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all:
New to the group here and still a non-owner yet of an RV. I am leaning towards a TC right now. I have the truck (07 Dmax DRW on 19.5 tires)and it would be just me or hopefully two of us someday. I would probably need a trailer to haul a bike or some other stuff and like the idea of the side door for pulling a trailer. From those that own or have knowledge of both kinds (side or rear door), which do you prefer and why?


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the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. Winston Churchill


kerry4951

East Central Pennsylvania

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Posted: 02/25/12 08:39pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For me either door location would not be a deal breaker one way or another. I never owned a side door TC but I can certainly see how nice that location could be while towing a trailer. We tow and have a rear door and have no issues at all. Our TC has several mounts for the steps so they can be off set to one side while towing. I also installed a trailer tongue step plate on the trailer so that also gives us a place to step onto to when entering or coming out. When we get where we are going, we always unhook the trailer and set up our Glow Steps which we love. There are also times where a rear door is nice so you never have to worry about opening the door into traffic or obstructions. I could make due with either one and be perfectly happy either way.


2009 Silverado 3500 dually D/A, Supersprings, Stable Loads, Bilsteins, Hellwig Sway Bar.
2010 Arctic Fox 1140 DB, 220 watts solar, custom 4 in 1 "U" shaped dinette/couch, baseboard and Cat 3 heat, 2nd dinette TV, cabover headboard storage, 65 TC mods

Eycom

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Posted: 02/25/12 09:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First... my truck is a 99 1/2 F-350 dually. Second, I can only speak to Lance's 04 models. That year, Lance's big units, the 1121 and the 1161 offered rear and side entry respectively. The 1121 had slightly larger holding tanks. While I really liked the layout of 1161 better with it's side entry, the extra holding tank capacity was more important to me due to the nature of my camping. Towing was not a desired. However, if it was, a side entry camper would be preferable. Both of those 04 units push the weight limits of my truck without extra tongue weight. Of course, today's trucks carry a little more.


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Photog101

Garden City, Michigan

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Posted: 02/25/12 08:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most side door models need a 48" extension. When adding extended hitching, it is real easy to overload the rear axle, due to the lever action. My side door would actually need a 68" extension and with the weight of my T/C there is no room for adding additional weight to the rear axle ... and I have an "02 Chev Dually.

Before towing, I suggest that you weigh your Truck empty and with a camper on it, so that you have a fairly accurate idea of how much tongue weight you can add.

But you are doing it right, by checking so that you don't get into a situation where the T/C could be to heavy and you could not tow a trailer. Just because you have a dually, there are still weight limitations.


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1997 Veri Lite RL1200 on a '02, K3500, CC, DRW, 8.1L, Allison, 4.1 gears, Bridgestone 225/70R19.5 tires.


Joners

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Posted: 02/25/12 09:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's an interesting question that I had not considered. I've thought of towing a drift boat behind, or even a small, enclosed trailer. A side entry would be most convenient, and I don't understand why a side entry would add weight. Or did I misunderstand what has been said?
Cap'n Bob


1996 Chevy K1500 4X4 Short Box, 5.7L Vortec, E rated tires, Lance Model 820 with Cabover Struts, Firestone Ride-Rite Air Bags, KYB MonoMax Shocks, Torklift Stable Loads, Happijac Truck Camper Tiedowns and Turnbuckles, Honda Eu2000i Inverter/Generator.

Bigfootchevy

Bancroft, Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 02/25/12 09:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have never owned a side door camper but I can see if your towing a trailer that a side entry camper would be preferable. Just my opinion.

Paul

Photog101

Garden City, Michigan

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Posted: 02/26/12 06:29am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Joners wrote:

That's an interesting question that I had not considered. I've thought of towing a drift boat behind, or even a small, enclosed trailer. A side entry would be most convenient, and I don't understand why a side entry would add weight. Or did I misunderstand what has been said?
Cap'n Bob


Most side door entry have a 12' floor length, so they are the largest of the T/C's. Mine is actually 156" (13') long, plus a 6" bumper in the rear. That makes them on the heavy side. They need the extra length to accommodate the door entry. There were some older models that were a little shorter, but most of them are gone now.

I get a kick out of my certificate of origin. It says that the shipping weight was only supposed to be 3100#, but inside the cabinet it says 3750#. When I took it to the scales, empty (no propane, no water, nothing in the fridge, no bedding ... totally empty) the difference between my truck empty and with the camper on was 4570#. I have not had a chance to weight it loaded out ready to use, but I'll bet that it is close to 5500#, leaving me only 300# of tongue weight and just a 48" extension (which is not long enough) would eat that up. So basically I can't tow anything behind my truck and camper. Hence, my warning to the original poster to watch his weights if he wants to tow.

I did my research and thought that 3750# would have left me with enough for towing, until I actually put it on the scales. So now I have to come up with a "Plan B" if I want to take the golf cart, or the bikes with me. I would hate to see another camper wind up in my situation, thinking that a dually will "do it all".

Bumpyroad

Virginia

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Posted: 02/26/12 06:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

back when I was looking at Lances IIRC the side door model was NOT available with a gen set.
and the rear door with window was handy for looking out back with a fresnel lens.
bumpy





07blacktruck

Central Illinois

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Posted: 02/26/12 06:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hmmm, thanks for the info. I'll have to look at the weights and lengths a bit more. I'm well aware of the limitations on the rear axle. I sometimes pull a 48' gooseneck and the GM is rated a little below the Dodge in RAWR. I am surprised that the certificate of origin is so much different than the actual weight. I know options and other stuff add up but almost 1500 lbs? Looks like I will do some more research. I still like the idea of the side door but I am away from the US for a bit longer so this is just for reference for now.
Thanks for the posts. Gotta figure something out so I can take some toys when I go.
Stay safe out there.
Ken

Hodag1

Mount Wolf, PA

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Posted: 02/26/12 08:57am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

http://www.outfittermfg.com/campers/new-campers/juno/juno-10

Check out this side door

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