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Does anyone here FT in a truck camper?


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Is this a possibility at all? Can a couple live fulltime in a truck camper? If so, how does that look? What special considerations must be made? What type of people does this work for? If this is you, do you have any regrets?

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There was a couple who fulltimed in a truck camper for a number of years. As I recall he used to be on the Datastorm forums. I can't recall his name, but I bet someone here knows and can give you to the URL of his blog. I don't believe they're still fulltiming, but assuming his blog is still up, it was a wealth of information on fulltiming in a truck camper.

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We full time in a 5th wheel but spent 5 months in our truck camper last summer.

Biggest issue was no place comfy to lounge. Other than that we only missed the ease of making more complicated meals.

 

sue

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Kinsa....you're not, right? :) With six boys?

Hahaha... my goodness, no!

 

But the fact remains that we have jettisoned two kids, with a third to go next summer, then another in two short years after that... in short, our nest is quickly emptying.

 

Soooo... we are thinking ahead. In less than ten years, we ought to be empty nesters. We really like the idea of a truck camper for the two of us, but don't know how feasible the idea really is. We would like to go where big MHs and 5ers can't go. RV resort type of life isn't really our thing (nothing wrong with it, it just isn't for us), as we prefer a more outdoorsy existence.

 

We just spent ten glorious days tent camping in Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier. It really got us thinking about the type of future we'd like to have once the kids are gone. We love hiking and being in the woods, and we like relative aloneness.

 

Sooo, we are investigating truck campers. We have the truck. Just need the camper. (Haha)

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I think it would be doable with some of the truck campers out on the market today. I'm not terribly familiar with them, but it wasn't too many months ago I ran across a couple that had an Eagle Cap that was quite an eye opener. At least in my head, when I think of a truck camper I conjur up images of having to lean just to pass each other in the middle and it never takes more than 3 steps to get to any part of the rig, but the one they had was equipped with 3 slides and was VERY roomy. They had a little kitchen island, a couple of lounge chairs, dinette...

 

When I went back outside I STILL kept lookin at the thing and couldn't imagine what magic was at play to fit "all that" into that tiny thing. :P

 

As far as roominess goes, I could see it, but to be fair, it wouldn't be for me. The resource capabilities (water, fuels, etc) and storage space would be too limited. When I hunker into a nice spot I like to stay put with minimal runs into civilization for re-supply.

 

I started in a class A, then resized to a 5'r, and now have a 25' trailer. What's nice about that is I was able to sink a little into it to flip the axles, beef up the rims, tires and suspension to the point where I can get into just about anywhere a truck camper could get into. The advantage though is that I still have my truck bed available to pack in additional water, genny's, fuels, etc for extended stays that I just couldn't do with a truck camper. Not to mention that a truck camper wouldn't have enough real estate, for me anyway, to have a self sufficent solar system in place.

 

Even at that, full timing, I still keep a couple storage rooms here and there for seasonal or regional activities that I enjoy. Ie., when I plan on spending time around the West coast I have a unit over there that keeps my scuba gear, deep sea poles and tackle and such for Pacific ocean play. Heading North I have a storage unit where I keep my sidewall tent, wood burning stove, and hunting gear.

 

So with a little creativity, just about anything is possible. I certainly wouldn't discount the idea if it suits you, but I would keep an open mind to other alternatives that might produce the same end result.

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There are 3-slide truck campers:

 

Host: http://www.hostcampers.com/

Eagle Cap: http://www.amlrv.com/eagle-cap-truck-campers/

 

Here are some 2-slide campers:

 

Adventurer: http://www.amlrv.com/truck-campers/ (Same company that makes Eagle Cap)

Arctic Fox: http://northwoodmfg.com/?page=makeindex&make=camper

 

There may be other manufacturers, too, but these are the ones I'm familiar with.

 

None of these are light and, particularly the 3-slide models, will strain even the capacity of your F-350.

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If one wanted to expand their boondocking capacity they could pull an off road cargo trailer with extra batteries, solar on roof, ATVs motorcycles, extra supplies, etc. behind a truck with a moderate sized slide-out truck camper.

 

Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4MuwpulDJs or this: http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/yago108.html

 

Visit CheapRVliving forum and see quite a few people living FT I practically anything from Prius cars, vans, home made truck campers, converted cargo trailers to high end expedition vehicles. http://www.cheaprvliving.com/

 

I've met Chris Hanson from Chalet RV and toured their triple slide truck camper, and it is impressive as heck - very high quality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZH3hS_xUvA However, it weighs about 4,700 lbs (they have 3 floorplans) dry!

 

For comparison, the Host Mammoth (an even more voluminous camper) is under 3,500 lbs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDUEp5C8sEI&feature=youtu.be

 

Chip

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If one wanted to expand their boondocking capacity they could pull an off road cargo trailer with extra batteries, solar on roof, ATVs motorcycles, extra supplies, etc. behind a truck with a moderate sized slide-out truck camper.

 

That's always an option, but it might defeat the purpose of going into a truck camper in order to be able to trek into those hard to reach places. Most little cargo trailers are ill equipped to handle anything other than hard street pulls. The ground clearance is often very limited and suspension is, typically, non existant. Not to say there are not options out there, but something to keep in the back of your mind.

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We would like to go where big MHs and 5ers can't go. RV resort type of life isn't really our thing (nothing wrong with it, it just isn't for us), as we prefer a more outdoorsy existence.

 

We just spent ten glorious days tent camping in Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier. It really got us thinking about the type of future we'd like to have once the kids are gone. We love hiking and being in the woods, and we like relative aloneness.

 

 

 

Just a thought....we, too, feel RV parks are not us. We love any public park. We've stayed IN Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Bryce, etc. and many, many forest service campgrounds. We also like boondocking on forest service land and BLM land.

 

We were able to fit our 40' motorhome in those types of places. Therefore, I really don't think you have to have a truck camper to do so. Granted, there are some places we couldn't fit but where we could was fine with us. Even if you consider the next step up from a truck camper in size, you'll do just fine.

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I used to have a truck camper (Artic Fox) with a slide. It was an 8.5 foot model, so was one of their smaller ones. It was surprisingly roomy on the inside and was fine for one, maybe two people. My biggest complaint however, was the complete lack of storage space. There were cupboards for pots/pans/dishes/food and the like, but there was no storage space at all for chairs/bbq/cooler/basically anything you would want to use outside the camper. I found this using it as a weekend unit and ultimately solved the problem by buying a small cargo trailer to pull behind the truck. I couldn't imagine trying to pack all the gear needed for full time use without having a cargo trailer or something like that to go with the camper. The newer larger multi-slide units may be different, but it is something you really need to consider. What stuff do you want to take with you and then where will that stuff go.

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Our first year of retirement we hauled our 38' Mobile Suite out west and to Alaska and back to Fla. Great trip but we found that because of our size we were unable to get to the really great off the beaten path places we like to go. We purchased a Lance 1181 TC and absolutely loved it. Traveled to some of the most beautiful places for two summers then bought a place on a lake in upstate NY. Sold the TC. We now have sold the lake house and will be selling our MS soon and buying a house in Fla. BUT, we also will be buying a TC again because we just loved traveling with it. I am 6'3' and never felt cramped in it. The wife loved the camper also. Look at the Lances, they have a lot to offer especially the new model with the side and rear slides.

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We have neighbors who are not fulltimers but they do go out for 4 to 6 months at a time in their truck camper. It is on a 1 ton, crew cab, 4 door truck. They happen to be members of SOWERS and so they also travel with the tools that they need to perform the work on the missions that they do while out on the road. When they travel they pick clothing very carefully to take only that which they will need while on the road and having a home-base they don't have to carry all of their belongings. While on the road the back seat is mostly filled with extra clothing, tools and supplies.

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We go for 5 to 7 months at a time. The camper is basically just for sleeping and food prep. We spend most of our time outside.

The few times that we've encounter 4-days of rain, we had a large side awning which allowed us to sit outside under shelter.

We carry folding chairs that recline enough to nap in and straighten up for regular seating.

The kind of person one has to be is an "outdoor" person. Bundle up in cooler weather and enjoy campfires.

 

If you get a three-slide truck camper, then you will most certainly be over the GVWR for a 350/3500 class truck.

With truck campers, it is best to shop for the camper first, then find the truck to support it.

Truck campers are deceptively very heavy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In the late 70's I ran across a couple in the Austin area that had a really big TC on a chevy dually. He was in the air force and had only two years to go. They lived for two years in ther camper with: 6 kids, five dogs, and "ma and pa". They were waiting to purchase a farm through the Farmer's Home Admin., and ran into more bureaucracy than they figured. They made the best of it, but they were sure glad to get into a house!

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I know that pickup/camper fulltiming is possible because I knew couple who did so, beginning in the mid 60's. They moved up to a class C in 1976, then to a class A in the mid 80's. Husband died in early 90's. They full-timed for almost 30 years!

Ron

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As far as I have been able to determine, there is no type of RV which is not used successfully as a full-time home by someone. Required space is a very relative thing depending upon the people involved and the lifestyle that they prefer. It is really no different than with a stick house as possibilities are just as varied. It is also somewhat dependent upon the size of the people who wish to live in the RV. Larger people usually require more space than physically small ones. We lived in a 36' class A with no slides and no storage other than the RV for nearly 12 years, even though it is often said on RV forums that you must have more space than we had. In spite of that we soon discovered that there were couples who lived in RVs smaller than ours and who managed to enjoy life. My advice is that opinions about what you must have from any of us should be considered only as fodder to think about but should not be allowed to cause you to change course if you really want to live in a truck camper. It isn't as though you have no RV experience to base your opinions on. Would not a larger truck camper provide nearly as much actual living space per person as your family had in the fifth wheel?

 

For us, the truck camper is not what we consider to be our first choice, but what we now travel in for as much as 5 continuous months at a time has very little more space than a truck camper. We might have considered one of them had not Pam had physical limitations on climbing up to the bedroom of one of those. I do believe that you will likely need to have somewhere to store things with one because the small units have very limited storage for the things that we need only seasonally.

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Once in Biloxi we were next to a couple in their 80s that had full timed in a small slide in truck camper for several years.

They had it down to an art. When she cleaned she had a place outside to put everything - on the hood fenders,etc. He spent a fair amount of time in the cab reading while she was inside doing her thing. They claimed to love it but it sure isn't something I could be happy with.

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We lived for 18 months in a 24-foot Class C without towing a car. I doubt your truck camper would be much more restrictive than that. We didn't even have a separate cab where Dave could retreat to read if I got to bustling. :)

 

Linda Sand

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"As far as I have been able to determine, there is no type of RV which is not used successfully as a full-time home by someone. Required space is a very relative thing depending upon the people involved and the lifestyle that they prefer. It is really no different than with a stick house as possibilities are just as varied."

 

Usually once or twice a year we run across people full-timing in a Casita or Scamp. We ran across one guy in the winter time that took a piece of Black Poly, lined the edges with rocks, put a hair dryer in one edge, propped it up in the middle and apparently made it through the winter without a problem. Of course it was in the Austin area, so it wasn't that cold, but I wouldn't have wanted to join him.

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