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 > Truck Camper - Newbie Needs Advice

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Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 01/23/21 10:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello all--

Long time camper in pull trailers, 5th wheel, Class C and Class A. I did own a small overhead camper 30 years ago when I traveled Baja twice to Cabo and back. Used for those two trips and then sold. I traveled solo both times.

Now near retirement in the next 5-6 months (58yo), I am considering an overhead truck camper. We currently have the truck and toy hauler in my sig. Wife wants me to keep our TH, as it is great for trips near our home (within 100-300 miles), is very roomy, and she loves camping in it. It is also very nice for longer trips when we are not moving often from place to place.

Who will be in truck camper? Me, 16yo son with Autism, and hopefully wife, but she may not go on too many trips in camper (she's not a big fan due to its smaller interior compared to out TH).....time will tell if she goes often. I may even travel solo if others do not want to go.

Why do I want a truck camper? Less hassle of towing, easier to park, easier to travel in general, explore and visit areas with ability to park and sleep when necessary, easier to travel solo if required, etc. I love to fish and tow my boat when I want, visit rivers for fly fishing (new hobby), etc. These pursuits are much easier IMO with a TC. Jump in truck and GO!!!...at least I assume it's that easy!

The above are the positives, I am assuming.

The negatives I am assuming...top heavy in winds can be dangerous, limited storage, ?????.

My truck has a Max. Cargo Weight of 2980# (per Ford Spec sheet).

Would a camper at 2000# dry be appropriate?
My truck is a Ford Super Duty Standard size bed (6'-9"). It has the camper package.

I will purchase a used model
I don't think I want a canvas pop up.
Alaskan TC are great, but expensive and hard to find used.

Desires: AC/Heat, Refer, Micro, stove, wet restroom

Based on above info:

What should I be looking for, models, sizes, weights, etc.

What to avoid...models, sizes, ???

I need a complete Overhead Camper education!!!

Thanks!!!

* This post was edited 01/23/21 01:53pm by Baja Man *


2003 Ford F-350 XLT Super Duty, Crew Cab, V10 (6.8L); 4X2; Standard Bed; SRW; 4R100 trans
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Lwiddis

Near DVNP, California

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Posted: 01/23/21 01:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“The negatives I am assuming...top heavy in winds can be dangerous,.. ?????.”

Less than other RV types. I prefer a TC strapped to a truck in wind vs. my current truck and TT.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AMP Lithium battery. TALL flag pole. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 01/23/21 01:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With 2000 lb camper limit you are not going to have many choices.
Look for 8 foot campers, or max 9 foot.
Start with reading your rear axle capacity and weighting it empty, so you know exact capacity for your rear.
Unlike car brands, there is not much difference in campers quality.
When Host seems to be leader - it only in big campers and bottom line is that all campers share the same appliances and there are only 2 manufacturers of camper jacks to my knowledge.
I used to own Lance and Fleetwood.
Fleetwood was having much more fancier controls and with aluminum frame beat Lance who had poor engineering.
Than I liked Lance finishes better.





joerg68

St. Ingbert, Germany

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Posted: 01/23/21 02:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With your truck, you are limited to 8-9 ft campers without slideout. Most of these should work fine w.r.t. payload / rear axle weight.

The tongue weight of your boat trailer needs to be subtracted from the available payload / axle weight. This may limit your options.

A well matched truck/camper rig is neither difficult to handle or dangerous.

Where / at what time of the year do you plan to travel? Most campers in that segment do OK in cold weather, but I would not call them true four-season units.

There is a thread right near this one titled "Helping a very new TC owner with a truck decision". Might be worth a read.

You might have a look at a used Northstar camper. Their Arrow and Adventurer lines offer a twin bed in the cabover and the dinette bench converts into a third bed fairly easily. The Arrow is no longer offered; only its cousin Arrow U which has a different dinette (but may still work for you).

Mfg. homepage: http://www.northstarcampers.com/

* This post was last edited 01/23/21 02:32pm by joerg68 *   View edit history


2014 Ford F350 XLT 6.2 SCLB + 2017 Northstar Arrow


Geo*Boy

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Posted: 01/23/21 03:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Take a look at a Northstar Arrow 8.5’.

FireGuard

Frazier Park

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Posted: 01/23/21 03:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First, I think you’re on track with what you want to do and what camper is best.
I’ve had many hard side TCs and the pop ups always appealed to me for their smaller size etc.
I recently bought a Northstar 850 SC for a trip to the Midwest and back and unfortunately had a lot of bad weather with wind, snow and ice. Most nights for just sleeping at a rest stop I didn’t even raise the roof for fear of having the canvas covered in ice in the morning. I was able to sleep in the dinette with the top down but it was tight.
I was also disappointed in my mileage. Even though it is 1-2’ lower than a hard side, I maybe got 1-2 mpg better in my 04 Dodge Cummins.
If you’re going off-road a lot and the size matters, a pop up may be better.
As far as Northstar, it was a quality camper and built well with many nice features.
I ended up going back to a small hard side, Lance 815 but will probably upgrade later to an 850 or similar.
Unfortunately, as you have probably seen it’s a sellers market and trying to find any decent RV is hard.
I think things will improve soon as Covid will seem to fade away now that Biden will fix everything. LOL
For your truck I would look at the Lance 855 or 855s (slideout) you will probably be over GVW but with a 2x4 gas F350 I wouldn’t worry. I’m probably right at max on my 3500 with a Lance 815.
I’ve seen a few 855 in So Cal recently but they come and go.
Unless you really need the room when you’re set up, I like the non slide for traveling and simplicity. You can also get a built in generator in either.
Happy shopping.


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Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 01/23/21 06:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Found this CAT weight form from a few years ago when I was weighing for a pull trailer.....

Door sticker specs states:
FT GAWR: 4250#
RR GAWR: 6830#
GVWR: 9700#
GCVWR: 17000#



[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.

* This post was edited 01/23/21 06:44pm by Baja Man *

Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 01/23/21 06:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm fine with no slide and expected no slide for my weight limitations.
I prefer hard sided.

autorot8

OR

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Posted: 01/23/21 07:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Baja Man wrote:

I'm fine with no slide and expected no slide for my weight limitations.
I prefer hard sided.

Maybe look at Northstar Liberty or Lance 650. Those would be in your weight range.


2015 Ram 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 6.4l Hemi
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"Overstating the Obvious rarely helps the Oblivious!"

FireGuard

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Posted: 01/23/21 07:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

He has a 2wd gas F350.
A Lance 650 is made for a 150.

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