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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > hard side camper like to drive? (cross winds, handling)

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LosAngeles

Los Angeles, CA

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Posted: 03/28/19 11:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

what is a hard side camper like to drive? (cross winds, handling on highways)

Hi all

Plan is to get a 2020 8’ bed Ford F-350 Crew Cab - and always keep a new camper (yet to buy) mounted. (Quick overnight camping trips, 4 seasons! plus longer camping trips. One, two or 2 adults + child)

I don’t drive much at all, and our family will have a 2nd regular car.

I had planned on a Hallmark 9.5’ pop up truck camper (wet about 2,500 lbs)

however I’m now considering a hard side camper instead.

Advantages of hard side camper:
More sound and thermal insulation in upper walls. (Minor issue - hallmark pop up has 3 good layers soft insulation, plus we’d get almost silent Truma propane heater built in it)

Never have to pop up or down. (Easy with power drill on Hallmark, my pop up choice)

Disadvantages to hard side camper:

More susceptible to cross winds while driving. Being taller. This is my main concern, by far.

heavier.

Much less able to go off road (tree branch clearance issues)

And... price point about the same..... ish.

Thoughts? Discuss.

bonus question - do any hard side campers use or offer the Truma water + air heater ? quiet and efficient. desired for sure.

Good article below:

long bed HARD SIDE campers for 1 ton trucks

http://www.truckcamperadventure.com/2018/11/top-8-long-bed-truck-campers-for-one-ton-srw-trucks/

LosAngeles

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Posted: 03/28/19 12:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

p.p.s whatever we get (even a pop up) it'll be too tall to garage.... and it will be in midwest (!) so the strongest roof possible is key. and yes i'll have to manage the snow load on the roof. Ug.

work2much

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Posted: 03/28/19 12:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As long as you have enough truck crosswinds really aren't a problem, yes the wind will push a taller rig more but I wouldn't make that a priority issue unless you are a nervous driver in windy conditions. Reduced clearance is a big deal if you want to go out where trails aren't maintained for 12' high vehicles.

If you want a hard side and pop up Alaskan makes a nice camper.

If you want a nice hard side with a radiant heater check out the Cirrus brand. They use the Alde system. Other high quality campers that will work on a 1 ton SRW would be Northern Lite and Bigfoot.


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Old Days

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Posted: 03/28/19 12:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I will second Northern Lite and Bigfoot.

Bedlam

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Posted: 03/28/19 12:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Weight will be about the same between two like campers since one requires equipment to lift the roof and the other has hard walls holding the roof up.

Center of gravity will be a little higher on a hard wall camper. If you pack heavy items up high, that CG difference will be more pronounced.

Since this rig be will dedicated to carrying a camper, consider getting a DRW truck. It will be as wide the camper, so overall width will be the same but the rear track will be wider even though the wheels sit under the camper wings. Typically you need to up fit any truck to handle a truck camper - Starting with a DRW, will require less additions and modifications.

Overall height will be a the biggest determining factor where you can go off road or in some cases rural roads. A hard side camper will typically be over 10' tall when loaded on the truck, so low branches and bridges need to be observed as well tight areas where the truck may lean to one side contacting a rock wall or tree at the highest point.

Cirrus uses the heating system you desire in their hard side camper. I am not aware of others, but someone else may chime in.

With upper cabinets and possibly basement storage, you will find there is more space to pack things in a hard side. If you choose a hard side with slide, some of that storage is sacrificed for ability to have more living space.


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SoonDockin

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Posted: 03/28/19 12:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I second the idea of DRW for a truck that will always have the camper on. Stability in wind will be almost a non issue.


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sbryan@vtbryans.com

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Posted: 03/28/19 12:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Old Days wrote:

I will second Northern Lite and Bigfoot.


And I will add Northstar as another great hardwall camper (also great pop-ups too).


Shawn
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joerg68

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Posted: 03/28/19 01:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do. not. worry.

With a DRW truck, all of the campers you are looking at will not pose handling challenges.

Take this from someone who has had both:
A popup camper makes for a very nimble ride.
In a warm night, nothing beats the airy openness.
You can never stealth-camp in one (same goes with a hardside with mandatory slideout)
Storage is much less than in a hardside.
They are great for all seasons, heat and all, but not the same as a hardside. You will find out if you need to spend some cold and rainy days inside one.
A popup insulates much less against noise. It makes a bigger difference than I expected.

Yes, a hardside is higher, and probably wider.
It has more space, is more comfortable, and more like a "normal" RV.

Spend some time in either, and imagine how you will travel.

If I were to usually travel in a 'moderately warm and dry environment, I would be all for the popup.
But I am in central europe with lots of cloudy, cool, rainy days even during camping season. I went back to a hardside, and I am happy with my choice. But only you can know what is right for you.


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mkirsch

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Posted: 03/28/19 02:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You're overthinking this. Get the hardside.

If I had to do it over again, I would get a hardside. I still might. All it takes is money.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 03/28/19 02:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Depends on what you’re comfortable with.
If you’re buying camper only rig that won’t go in the garage then I’d just get a dually. But the big AF camper and srw truck seem fine in X winds. I usually slow down depending on how wrong but have definitely driven through major winds and haven’t tipped over yet!


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