They make some really nice, although heavy slide in campers nowdays. This leaves you to be able to tow almost any trailer you want...with the right sized truck.
That 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi, quad cab, 2WD truck ain't gonna do it with a slide in camper and the Scout on a trailer.
And there is probably not enough room for a popup and Scout on the 21' trailer too.
I'm aware of all this, hence why I said I'm looking to make my own, without all the extras.
I'm fairly positive that most of the suggestions given here are also not going to fly with a 1/2 ton either. I would LOVE to go pick up a new 1 ton dually, new slide in, and trailer, but it's just not finanically feasible right now.
Although, I was thinking I might be able to move the axles a bit further forward on the trailer, allowing more of the Scout weight to be behind the axles, which may offset the weight of the pop-up on the front of the trailer enough to keep my tongue weight in check. But even that isn't really what I want, which is to keep setup/take down time at a minimum.
I found this neat little idea yesterday, and I like what he's done. Since I don't need to sleep a family of four, I think I could downsise it considerably, keep weight low, and would satisfy my big desire of minimal set-up/take down time.
Back to give the camper idea yet another go-round! Long story short, I had champagne dreams on a beer budget, and my last few attempts resulted in dismal failure, but good (though expensive, lol) lessons learned.
My original plan was a long flatbed trailer, attached to a 1 ton pickup, with a camper on the front of the trailer with enough room behind it for my rock crawler Scout (for those not familiar with the Scouts, essentially the same size as a Jeep Wrangler). I ended up with a slide in truck camper in the back of my impulse bought '65 Ford, which turned out to be rotted well beyond the save point and finding out the cab of a '65 is WAY too small for my comfort.
I scrapped the idea of a camper altogether for a while, as I found out what I really wanted was many thousands of dollars outside of my current budget, and accepted that I was likely going to be a tent camper for some time to come.
I recently picked up a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi, quad cab, 2WD. Factory rated 9100lb tow, class IV hitch. I also have recently purchased a 21 foot car hauler trailer (longer than I really need, but it was one of those "too good to pass up" kind of deals). I figure since I have 5-7 more feet than I really need, I could add a camping platform to it so I don't have to sleep on the ground :D I expect that I'll have to invest in a weight distributing hitch for this.
What I'd like is something that's semi permanent on the trailer, that would involve minimal set-up/take down at the camp site. I'd also like something that would be closer to an actual camper than a tent, in case of inclement weather, also that it would be attached to the trailer as opposed to tent stakes in the ground (I live, play, and mostly camp in the desert - rocks and sand are occasionally hard to secure to :D)
Obviously the simple answer here is another slide in truck camper, or taking a pop up off it's trailer frame, and adding it to my flatbed, but as I have a 1/2 ton truck I'm concerned that will result in too much tongue weight that I won't be able to compensate for enough with positioning of the Scout further back on the trailer.
So what I'm thinking is to build my own little camper box of sorts, on the front of the trailer. I don't expect full ameneties here, mainly just a dry place to sleep at night, perhaps with enough room for a small fridge, dining area, and some gear storage. The key here is to keep things light weight.
I've been googling for a while, and finding examples of truck bed style campers meant for flat beds, people putting normal truck campers on flatbeds, people making campers out of a truck bed with a cap on it, but nothing quite like what I'm thinking of. I'm sure that I'm just not searching for the right thing.
I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of this, anyone else have some bookmarks for this so that I can get some ideas from others?
Here's an idea:
Wow...that looks downright scary...I can't imagine there is any good way to secure the rear of the camper that way.
If a person has hot and cold running water, a sponge bath gets the job done. Heck, I have been doing that for years tent camping, and I have to heat my water in a pail.
There's a BIG difference in camping in the east, vs the west, especially if you're in a desert environment. Yes, when I was tent camping in Michigan, a dip in the lake was plenty (maybe wity a bar of soap if I was parti, and the sponge bath was adequate.
But when I got to the desert, it was a completely different ball game. A splash rinse is next to useless, especially if you've gotten sun burn during the day. A full shower, with soap, is the only way to really get clean in these situations. I can make-do with an outdoor shower, but I'm pansy, and don't want to deal with it if it's hot and sunny out, or raining, lol.
Also, what about the people that camp in the winter in snow country? I don't care how the water is - I don't want to be standing outside nearly naked in freezing temps trying to clean up, lol.
So for me, yes - the inside full shower is the only way to fly. If I don't have that, I'm not camping, and will be staying at a hotel :D
The more I think about it, the more I REALLY like the idea of something like the UHaul conversion..but the biggest thing holding me back is that I like the idea of having a pickup to use when not camping/wheeling, and to a lesser degree - not having a monster box truck parked next to the house. I can see..uhh..."disagreements" with the local code inspectors with having a "commercial" vehicle parked at the house long term. Ended up having to go to court a few times to get citations tossed out from having one of my old Scouts parked in the driveway because the old guy kept tagging it as "abandoned", despite current tags on it, and driving it daily (granted...it did look like something that had been sitting for a few decades, lol). A neighbor of mine used to have major issues for parking his Class 8 OTR rig in front of the house on the weekend....
If you don't have a life or other things to take up your time, as you stated, I would recommend that you get a second job with your extra time and use that money to buy something you want.
I'd actually LOVE to pick up a second job, if nothing else than to pad the bank account for future needs. Problem is that I don't work a standard schedule, and can't devote a set amount of hours on any particular day(s) for a second job (I work as a Mobile Communications Tech for a large company, with a fleet of several hundred vehicles across the southwest area of the country). I may have to adjust my arrival/leave times on a daily basis to handle the work load, can be sent out of town for a week on very short notice, and am basically on-call 24/7 for the hours I don't spend in the shop.
I'm looking at options for my next camper (I've scrapped the rebuild of the old Juno truck camper, due to excessive rot issues), as well as upgrading my truck.
I was originally looking at 1 ton diesel duallys to carry a truck camper, plus my '64 Scout rock crawler on a trailer behind the truck. The Scout is NOT freeway friendly (large lift/tires, flexy suspension, deep gearing, etc), and the trails I run carry large risk of major breakage, thus putting it on a trailer, so a small TT behind the Scout is NOT an option.
My current issue is finding a 4x4 dually in my price range - they're extremely tough to find, where as SRW 1 ton 4x4s are all over. So I've been looking at other options for the camper, such as getting a longer gooseneck trailer, and putting both the camper and Scout on it, which should put the pin weight within the limits of a SRW truck.
My other thought is picking up a toy hauler, but I don't really want one of the 30+ foot monsters if I can avoid it. It's only myself and the GF camping, and the truck camper was plenty of space for the two of us. I also go camping in some tight areas, so manuverability might be an issue.
Does anyone make a TH that would have a garage large enough for my truck, with a minimal living space up front? With say maybe 20 feet max behind the overhead hitch section? Or is this a situation where I'm more realistially looking at a converted car hauler trailer?
How does this California non-comm class A license stuff work if you're not a California resident/have an out of state license?
I'm a resident of, and possess an Arizona operator's license, with no additional endorsements, as I do not need any endorsements to drive personal vehicles that are not used for commercial purposes.
I'm aware that one must follow the laws of whatever state we have to be in, in regards to speed limits and what not, but would I also need to get a California endorsement in these situations?
Heh...I did exactly that, and decided to take the sawzall to it this morning, and have created one heck of a pile of bon-fire wood :D
I decided against rebuilding this one, largely due to the many "little things" I didn't like about it. It's not so much about giving up and quitting, but more about being realistic about it. I went into the original purchase knowing that there were things about it that I didn't like, but since the purchase price was so low at $250, I felt that I could do some quick patch-ups, use it for a year or so, and continue to either look for a nicer model that I did like or start building a brand new one from scratch exactly how I'd want one.
Upon tearing into it, I found that it needed FAR more than I originally planned, and I attempted to forge ahead anyways. Ultimately I decided that it just needed more time and money than I was willing to invest in something that I still wouldn't have been happy with in the end.
End result - cut losses, and move on. At this point, my losses are only in the neighborhood of $350, and the time invested in it, and I consider that to be a very cheap life lesson :)
Seeing as how it's just too darn hot to really do a lot outside this time of year in Phoenix, I figure I have a solid 3 months to look at other campers available, and see if I find something else that I like better. I am still really liking the idea of building my own, and the thought of designing something new from scratch isn't in the least bit daunting to me, especially having been inside this one and now getting a first hand look at how they're built inside. I also hope to be able to get ahold of some design drawings from current manufacturers to see how the modern ones are built, especially the basement models.
Just a thought I don't want you to think I'm trying to belittle you. That's what I would tell my kids who are older than you are.
Oh, no worries, I take no offense :) I can't very well ask for opinions, then get upset over the very thing I asked for, now can I? :)
Honestly, the biggest thing holding me back from getting another used camper is the rot issue. Granted, I've learned a LOT from this one, despite having never actually camped in it, in the sense of things that never crossed my mind, or issues that I didn't realize were issues when I first looked at it. But now after having torn into it, I believe I can spot these issues on a walk through, and before attempting any level of repairs.
All that said, at this point in my life, I just can't see dropping 15 or 20, or even 10 thousand on something that's only going to realistically get used a handful of times a year for the forseeable future (I understand that people here aren't necessarily suggesting doing just that). I think 2K is my upper limit given the frequency of use.
Yes, I agree that what I have invested in this one so far is relatively small (and why I'm stopping now, rather than after I've dumped even more money into it).
I think what I'll do for the next few months, while it's still miserably hot here in Phoenix is keep my eye on the classifieds, and see what else I can find in the used market. Maybe I'll come across one of those gems going for cheap. If I find nothing that I like by say, the end of September when the weather becomes reasonable, I'll start building one out from scratch.
You are probably going to find other areas, as you dig into it,. and you might as well just get ahead of it now.
I already have, and that's why I'm where I'm at now. This started because the jack support areas felt a bit weak, the inside ceiling was sagging, and I knew the cab over needed some work. Upon tearing into it, I found the wood along the bed rail area on both sides to be highly rotted, and major warp in the frame work in that area. One corner of the cabover was GONE inside, with the rot extending about 3 feet in all directions. I basically had to replace that entire side of the cabover. The entire roof under the aluminum panels was rotted, along with the press board used as the ceiling panels. The entire rear wing area is rotted, and needs to be replaced, and it looks like the pretty much the entire floor is rotted.
Thus at this point, I just don't see the value in trying to salvage any part of the frame work here. Plus, there was a few things I didn't like, especially the shower being about 3" too short for me to stand up straight in, and the cabover bed area being a really goofy size. If I'm doing a full rebuild, I'd like to address that, and if I'm doing that, there's a few other nit picks that I'd address, which will result in a complete redesign....
I was thinking of a newer camper that I saw some time ago where the owner somehow destroyed the cabover section, but the rest of it was in real nice shape. I seem to recall that he was only asking $500 for what was left, and I think something like that might be the way to go - use the appliances and whatnot from that, and build a new camper the way I'd want it.
I'm 32 years old, and have no life :P My time is worth zero to me :D I enjoy these kinds of projects, and it would be awfully nice to have something that I can say "I built it myself, 100%". That alone is worth an awful lot in time to me :)
But I do understand that many people would rather camp than build, and to them, they'd rather pay someone else for a complete product.
My fear is that I'll end up like so many stories here, where someone buys a camper thats only a few years old, for many thousands of dollars, then shortly after find a very well hidden, backyard "repair" that results in a similar project that I find myself in now. At least doing it myself means that I know 100% that what can't be seen is good and clean.
As as about 10 minutes ago...I'm raising the white flag on my camper rebuild...the rot is just too darn extensive. I thought I was going to be starting on putting the new roof structure up tonight, then realized I forgot to finish tear down on the very back section. Started on that, and found basically the rear 2-3 feet of camper from the floor down is gone. This is in addition to the already known rotted roof, cabover, and bed rail area.
I started into the tearout of the rear section, and sprung a leak in the black tank piping. Did I mention I neglected to drain the black tank before starting all this? :D It's dripping into a bucket right now, so it's not horrible, but I'll certainly be needing a new pair of shoes after this.
Right now, I'm into the camper for an estimated $300-$400, including purchase price - bought it for $250, and I'd estimate that I have somewhere between $50-$150 in wood and materials used to partially rebuild sections of it. I have another $100-$200 in lumber sitting on my back porch that was slated for it (that I haven't cut up yet)..don't know if Home Depot will take it back or not.
I know the fridge is at least functional on AC, and gets cold. Never tested it on propane, or the stove/oven, furnace or water heater.
At this point, I'm going back and forth as to whether I gut all the appliances, water tanks, electrical stuff, etc, and start over from scratch - as in build a brand new camper from the ground up myself to my specs/design using what I can salvage from this camper or try to sell what I can to recoup what ever money I can, accept this as a thankfully not too expensive learning experience and start looking for another camper in better shape. The appliances appear to be original to the camper, which is a 1974 Juno.
If I do start from scratch, I'm really thinking I'd want a basement camper. Assuming I reuse all the appliances, tanks, lifting jacks, etc, would it be feasible to build new for less than $2,000? Given what I've seen in this one so far (and I've gotten it down to the bare framework, minus full gutting of the interior..so I feel like I've seen 90% of what it would take to rebuild), it seems like if I'm sufficiently frugal, I could build something equivalent to what I have now for less than $1,000.
I'm really disappointed, as I was really looking forward to getting away for a few weekends this summer, but I suppose better to quit now than to dump several hundred more into this, and still end up with a lack luster camper. Plus, I really have learned a LOT about these things, what's involved in seemingly "minor" repairs, how electrical and plumbing systems are set up, what to look for in other campers, etc.
You guys must have exhaust leaks in your trucks or something... There is no way you're going to find a decent used diesel that isn't a Ford 6.0L for $15K.
I looked for TWO SOLID YEARS, private sales and dealers. $15K gets you a clapped out, 10-year-old truck with a ton of miles.
I've actually found quite a few at the 15K mark that were nice trucks. Yes, they're all approx 10 years old, but I just plain don't have the money right now to buy new, or even 5 years old.
That said, they've all been either private sales, or independent used car dealers, as in not a large Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Nissan, Toyota, etc dealer. At those, I've only been finding stuff that's around 30K and up.
I did find one 2000 model F350 dually with the 7.3 that is super clean inside and out, just turned 100,000 miles. With the exception of needing tires pretty soon, it appeared that the PO did a pretty good job of maintenance on it. Asking price was 15K, and it books at around $13,500 in excellent condition. I came pretty close to offering the dealer $11,000 for it as a starting point, considering a full set of 6 tires will be around $1,200.
But after reviewing my credit situation, I decided to wait a few more months to try to pull the score up a bit more (yeah, I got hit in the depression pretty hard, and still pulling out of it) to get a better interest rate, plus I've decided that I'd really like to have 4x4, as this won't just be a truck for the camper but also a tow rig for the Scout and it's rare that there will be pavement all the way to the trail head where I go.
I really appreciate all the help you guys have given me here :)
You know...I really didn't intend for this to devolve into yet another gas vs diesel thread...I could have done that a lot easier by just titling the thread "which is better, gas or diesel?" :D
Although, on the other hand, I suppose when you ask for opinions, stuff like this should be expected, lol.
The Ford stuff was what I was leaning towards, specifically something with the 7.3L turbo, although one of the later Dodge 12 valves also crossed my mind...I've just never been much of a fan of the Dodge bodys. Not to say they're bad by any means, I've just never liked the layout/never been too comfortable to me (same with the 73-79 Fords...LOVE the looks of the body, HATE the interiors. Actually, that could be extended to 96 on the interior side).
To toss a few more wrenches into the mix - am I wasting my time looking at some of the F450/550 stuff? I was browsing some dealer lots yesterday, and noticed that they all seem to have 250/2500 stuff, fully loaded out on the used lots. Frankly, I don't care about all the options, and don't really want to pay for them if I don't have to. Looking at some of the Craigslist ads, I've seen quite a few of the 450/550 trucks from the late 90s to early 2000s right about the same price range as many of the 250/350 trucks, although many of them are either cab/chassis or flatbed trucks. Not a deal killer to me, as I kind of like the idea of a flatbed for the additional storage space around the camper, but I wonder - will the fuel economy of those drop a big deal?
I'm looking at options for replacing my '65 F250 with something newer for hauling the camper. I'm figuring on an approx budget of 15K, maybe as high as 20K. Obviously I won't be getting a brand new truck for this amount, I put new in quotes as to say it will be new to me.
I'm fairly positive I want to go diesel, DRW, and prefer a manual trans. I'll be having 4K pounds in the bed between the camper and trailer tongue weight, so I feel I'll be solidly in 1 ton territory, perhaps even 1.5 tons. I'm still on the fence as to whether I want to go 2WD or 4WD. I'm not sure I'd ever need it, but I'd like it just in case.
I have no brand loyalty in this.
I'm also aware that everyone's needs are different, people's opinions/wants are different, etc. I'm just curious what other people choose. Perhaps they come up with an option that I didn't think of or consider.
In other words, you know of no specific example involving a Truck Camper. ;)
You're seriously going to argue that 1,500lbs overweight of truck camper is somehow OK when 1,500lbs of concrete or dirt isn't? Yeah, Ok..whatever. Any reasonable person would understand that overweight is overweight, it doesn't matter what the source of that weight is.
Bottom line though - it's won't be my ass looking at denied insurance claims, lawsuits, and potential prison time when something goes wrong. You can feel free to do whatever you like :) Including telling the judge "but hey, it was a truck camper, and EVERYONE is overweight with these things!" :D
This comes up from time to time. AFAIK, nobody has been able to produce an actual example of this happening. Is this a guess or do you know of this happening?
This is similar to saying an insurance company won't pay if the accident is your fault, which we know isn't the case!
Actually, I do know of specific examples. The first one that comes to mind is a buddy of mine broke his Jeep on a trail run some time ago. It still rolled, but wouldn't move under it's own power. Another guy that lives close by to him says "no big deal, we'll just strap it home", meaning they will connect a tow strap between the two vehicles, and tow it home that way rather than call a wrecker. Some miles down the road, something in the front end locks up, sending him across the median, and into oncoming traffic causing a head on collision with another vehicle.
Insurance company denies the claim on the basis of negligence on his part by illegally towing a vehicle in a manner that does not provide for a reasonable amount of control of the towed vehicle (yes, he was in the Jeep being towed operating the steering and brakes).
I also know of an incident where a guy rents a Uhaul truck, and backs it into his neighbor's car. His insurance denies the claim based on the weight of the vehicle exceeding a limit in his insurance policy. I checked my policy at the time, and also found that there was a limit in my policy of only being covered in vehicles up to I believe it was 10,000lbs.
I had called my insurance company at the time to verify that, and had also inquired as to limits on towing trailers and such, and the conversation had gone into GVWRs as I was doing a lot of heavy hauling at the time. According to my agent, if I had a bed full of gear, lumber, concrete, dirt, whatever, when I was involved in a collision that was determined to be my fault, and the investigation determined that I was in fact over weight for the vehicle, that could be grounds for denial of the claim as it exceeds the safe limits of the vehicle and negatively affects the handling, performance, and braking of the vehicle. Although at the time, he also said that it likely would be a case of severe overloading, such as the rear end sitting on the bumpstops, with the front end pointed skyward. This would be similar to the act of torching the house, as you would know you're doing something incredibly unsafe and likely to have bad consequences.
Notice that both here, and prior, I'm saying COULD be, not WILL be. It carries the potential, but is not a guarantee of denial.
Another something to keep in mind - if you're over the factory rating, and you're involved in a collision that is determined to be any amount your fault, that's another out for the insurance company not to pay on your claim. It could also be used as supporting evidence of negligence.
Might be interesting to look at some data involving truck campers involved in accidents, especially when the driver of the truck carrying the camper is determined to be at fault in a collision resulting in serious injury or death.