View Full Version : OT: Camper advice needed.

02-04-2009, 10:35 PM
I'm looking into buying a camper and could use some advice or opinions from people that have and use them if possible.
I have a 1 ton dually long bed truck and pull a 24' inclosed trailer so a slide-in camper is what I'm looking onto. I travel drag racing a motorcycle so the trailer has a few race bikes and the support equipment in it and doesn't way too much. Maybe 5000-5500 pounds loaded. For security purposes and convience as well as a way to cut costs I would like to add an in bed camper. A used one would be fine as they're half the cost of new it seems but I don't know what to look for or look out for. I don't think I want one that requires an extended hitch box as it will not be on the truck all year long. The options or features I think would be useful are a heater, outside hot and cold water outlets and able to run off propane or ac. Other then those and the common stove, fridge, bathroom and bed what else is a must have? Brands you prefer?
Thanks for any input you guys and gals can give.

02-04-2009, 11:31 PM
I have owned quite a few Pickup Campers. I found all of them need to be tarped up good in the winter months or stored indoors and also Tarped up well. They all seem to slowly fall apart except the bigfoot fiberglass modelsm These also have wood rot away inside spots but since they are fiberglass it doesnt matter. This is my latest model a big foot camper, I also use it to go to the racetrack and race my homemade motorcycle. I think they are good. i love Mine .

02-05-2009, 07:54 AM
Other then those and the common stove, fridge, bathroom and bed what else is a must have?

After a couple of years we started calling ours the "cramper" and bought a 5th wheel instead. I don't think you will find one with a bathroom that doesn't overhang the hitch. They also make the truck handle like crap because of the high center of gravity. After a couple of thousand miles you get used to it.

As for must have a furnace is nice unless you will never be in a cold zone.

Your Old Dog
02-05-2009, 08:26 AM
You might try here:


02-05-2009, 08:32 AM
Why not consider a toy hauler fifth wheel? Bikes in the back, living quarters in the front (and nice ones at that). A used toy hauler can be had pretty reasonably in this economy, and you could sell your existing trailer to help defray the cost. 1 ton dually is more than enough vehicle to pull all but the biggest units.

Just a thought.

BTW- once you pull a fiver, you'll never go back. They are FUN to pull.

02-05-2009, 09:16 AM
Yep, a 5th wheel tracks along like it isn't even there.

02-05-2009, 10:00 AM
Sell the current trailer and buy one with an area in the rear for the motorcycles and an apartment in the front. 5th wheel type would be nice also. You'll have a lot more room but the trailer will be longer of course.

02-05-2009, 12:34 PM
Ask your bank (if it is still in business) if they are about to repossess anything suitable. Tell them to put the current owner in touch with you and you will be able to pick it up for the amount owing which may be a very good deal.

02-06-2009, 06:49 PM
A fifth wheel trailer would be ideal if I could leave the truck set up for pulling that trailer but I don't think I want to give up the trucks bed the rest of the time. The 24' trailer is pretty loaded so a fifth wheel trailer would have to be much larger I would think. I called on one camper yesterday and asked about towing with it and the guy said he uses an extension that slips in his reciever and just pins in. I'm not sure that would be the way to go with this trailer but maybe it's an option.
Evens idea of letting lenders know I'm looking is pretty good I think. Thank-you for that.
Madman, are there any options that are must haves?

02-06-2009, 08:02 PM
I haul my Bigfoot fiberglass camper around with a 1984 ford f250. I have air bags in the rear and to be honest i dont autocross while im towing it and hauling 3 4 wheelers and a boat behind it BUT i dont have any handling or braking issues. It is not too large but i have a lot of fun in it with my wife and a couple friends when camping out. I think the campers are the best. We get to our site wether in the bush or wherever and set up our fly tent and tables for sitting outside bug free, break out the electric fly swatters and start drinking beer, If you need a larger unit why are you camping?? Stay home and watch youre tv set. Leave the camping to real campers LOL Mike

02-06-2009, 08:10 PM
Well i built a slide in Balcony(we call it that) that plugs in the rear of my class 4 hitch. Then i built a formed aluminiumn checker plate step assembly that locks in place on top of this expanded metal assembly that plugs into 3 reese type hitch tubes welded into my class 4 hitch. I also have step\s i made that slide into tubes underneath my balcony. Then you can get in and out even when liquored up without falling. I think a must have is a good fridge, i also have a checkerplate walkway mounted on my homemade boat trailer and it will hold a 100 litre cooler (xtra space) with a few heavy duty bungee cords (3/4 inch dia about 6 i use to hold it on the walkway that has overturned edges for the bungees to hook into) I should post a picture but dont know how, I have had a few people comment on my inventions at national parks and say things like oh thats nice. yeah right i just dont wanna fall of the rear of my camper and get busted up LOL Camoing usuaklly involves beer drinking i have notuivced. Even my Wife likes my step balcony platform. (it also can carry a 300 litre propane tank , a barbeque and a 100 litre cooler I measured it all up before i spent like 400 bucks on material building it. ) Just another invention. I also extended the trailer tube plug in for the length of the balcony so i can plug my boat in behind it and still tow it safely. You have to see it maybe to understand.

02-06-2009, 10:56 PM
Lots of great info here. I had an "in bed camper" for a couple of years. PITA for the most part, though I really did like it. I determined my best bet was a small pull camper for my use, which is quick fishing trips. I guess my point is buy something you can pull behind and set-up easily. Though mine is a pop-up, my former RV was pretty nice, 24 foot, kept it all packed and could hitch it up in five minutes, set it up in 10 and it was self contained all said and done. I could take ten more minutes and hook up the power, water and sewer if I liked.

The advantage of a trailer is that if you need to run to the store quick, you have this sitting. You are not hauling the camper. Putting a camper up on the legs is about the same difficulty (if not a bit more) than the pull behind (or 5th wheel).

Dave P.
02-06-2009, 11:39 PM
Don't know if the "toy haulers" are avail. this way, but our horse trailer
is a "gooseneck" style. The hitch assm is under the truck bed, small
hole in the center of the bed that pops out and the ball assm. drops in.
When you're done with the trailer pop the ball out and install the plug
in the hole.
Dave P.

02-07-2009, 03:45 AM
Dave P., That's interesting. I have never seen anything like that that I know of. Then again I wasn't looking either but I will look into it. The idea of something like a Toy Hauler would work but I just have too much to take with all the support equipment I think. One Pro Mod V-twin and the rest really takes up 24' of trailer.

02-07-2009, 04:42 AM
You aren't giving up your truck bed to haul a 5th wheel. The hitch for ours (we sold it to the kids) is a slide out hitch. It fits in rails in the bed that stick up about 1/2" and by pulling 4 spring loaded pins the hitch slides out in a couple of seconds. You can even unhitch the 5th wheel by leaving it hitched and sliding out the hitch instead. With the hitch locked to the trailer it makes it a lot harder to steal.

BTW, a must have for either a 5th wheel or a camper is electric jacks. On a camper it makes it feasible to unload the camper if you are setting up for a few days. You run it up and drive off and then let it all the way down.

As for the length of a 5th wheel you don't need as long a unit as with a regular hitch since the 5th wheel overhangs the hitch area of a regular trailer. A 5th wheel of the same nominal interior dimensions as a regular trailer is about 5 or 6 feet shorter in overall unit length when hitched.

Just to give you some ideas this is the floor plan of our 18.5 ft 5th wheel. The tailgate ends up about under the words "Queen size bed".


02-07-2009, 06:16 AM
I've got a 5th wheel toy hauler that we use quite a bit but there are a few places that we like to go with our ATVs that I can't get into with the toy hauler. To get to some of the more remote places that we like to go we also have a slide in truck camper and tow an 18' flat bed trailer with the ATVs on it.

I have a short box 3/4 ton truck and a truck camper that overhangs the back of the truck and use a hitch extension to tow the trailer. I put a Superhitch on the truck and use their torque lift tie downs http://www.torklift.com/p.php?w_page=superhitch
on the camper and have no problems on the road.

Slide in truck campers come in all levels of quality and price range. This is one thing that the "you get what you pay for" adage really applies. The lower price campers ($6K) are really not going to last and it's hard to immagine spending over $30K on a truck camper but they are very well built and will last for years of hard use. Lance and Arctic Fox are the most expensive and just about every other RV builder makes a line of truck campers at different levels of quality. After researching for over a year, I realized that there was no way I was going to afford a Lance or Arctic Fox and I didn't want a total POS so I wound up buying a Sun Lite, and have been happy with the quality vs price compromise. I bought mine new from an on-line dealer and had to drive 500 miles to get it but saved over $5K by doing it that way.

If you decide to go the truck camper route the only must have add on that I could not live without is electric jacks. I can load or unload my camper by myself in 5 minutes and that includes tieing it down and plugging it in. Filon or fiberglass exterior is also another option that I think is worth the money.

If you decide on a toy hauler, than a 5th wheel is the only way to go.

02-07-2009, 07:23 AM
Don't know if the "toy haulers" are avail. this way, but our horse trailer
is a "gooseneck" style. The hitch assm is under the truck bed, small
hole in the center of the bed that pops out and the ball assm. drops in.
When you're done with the trailer pop the ball out and install the plug
in the hole.
Dave P.

I'm not sure if the RV's ever used that style?????? Too simple not enough resale $$$'s to be made.

02-07-2009, 07:30 AM
The gooseneck hitch is good for very rough roads since it allows the truck and trailer to assume very different angles to each other. They are pretty common here on stock trailers.

That reminds me. There is another little two bit accessory that is really nice to have with a 5th wheel. Get a teflon hitch plate pad. It fits on the trailer side of the hitch and eliminates the need for grease on the hitch plate. Everything stays clean and the wife stays happy.