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sparkyaber

Pick up box camper?

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My wife and I have been kicking the idea of getting a pickup camper sometime in the future, but having never owned any type of camper, I don't have any idea what I am getting into. I own a 3/4 ton crew cab long box diesel that I would put it in. I suppose lance must be good, judging by the price they demand, but I have seen others such as starcraft Northland etc. that look alright, but a much cheaper. Do you get what you pay for? What size can I get and still be able to haul my boat? While I am at it, what are my hitch options with a larger camper? How about a pop up, seems that they would have a better chance of leaking? Anything else I should consider? Thanks.

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If you are looking at the more expensive truck camper, I would give a few minutes of thought about a 5th wheel. The price difference may not be much at all. You already have an excellent tow vehicle and you can tow a boat with a 5th wheel and you aren't going to save much if anything in fuel

My neighbor was considering a truck camper and for about the same price got a much roomier 5th wheel.

Unless you get a deal for something like minor hail damage or something of that nature, you always get what you pay for.

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Truck campers are simple to use, maintain and so easy to hook up and go with the proper mounts to the truck. If you have running water (w/ fresh water tank, grey water tank) things get a little more complicated for the winterizing process. Other than that, they are easy.

If you get a toilet then it gets a more complicated with the black water tank and cleaning/draining after use.

With a diesel crew 8' box you have the perfect truck. There are lots of options and the campers vary in size.

I have a short box truck, but an 8' camper. The camper is not the drop down design in the back which is popular. I have to add an extension to the hitch (and trailer wires) to tow the boat. Very simple.

As far as manufacturers go, I have no real recommendations. I buy used and what I can afford. wink I have a '93 Elkhorn and given it's age, it's well built, no leaks and performs well.

There's been some talk in older posts in this forum, and here's one post in particular here

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so if I get a drop down style, what is the towing situation? where does the hitch go?

I don't want the fifth wheel attachment in the bed of my truck, since I use it to haul other things, and I really think I would be getting pretty long with the long truck, and the boat that ends up over 23' on the trailer. I also don't have the room to put the trailer when not in use. I first put this question in a different topic, never check the camping forum. I did find the above mentioned post.

Thanks

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Are you looking at the drop ins that are longer than truck box? If not it will not affect your towing of a boat at all. If you are looking for something longer than the box, you will need at the very least an extension for your receiver to get it past the camper. Not sure if any of them drop down past the receiver, if it does I have no idea what you could do then.

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Sparky, like it's been said an extension on the hitch is all you need to pull the boat with the typical PU campers. Before you buy, make sure everything works to your liking and the boat can still be in tow. Any camper dealer should be able to help in any way, and have everything you need to get you on the road.

Just make sure when the truck makes a turn that there is ample clearance between the boat and camper. I almost had an issue once, but the hitch extension fixed the problem. wink

Good luck.

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Up north, yeah, it looked like the drop down styles hung past the bumper, that was my concern, never thought about hitting the camper with the bow of the boat in sharp turns, good thing to know.

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I have been out looking at a few campers, and I now see how that works. I was under the assumtion that the camper hung down below the hitch, my mistake.

Now that I am looking at campers, I know I need to look for soft spots, but what else is there? Is it a pain to check if all of the water works? Remember, I have never been in one, so I really don't know what needs to be checked. How about flushing the toilet, is that a hassle? Fire up the water heater, that has to be a pain right? How else would you check these things?

3 way fridge, if it works on ac, how do I know it works on propane, 12v? I am sure I will have many more questions later.

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If you are looking at used, be sure to check those things you listed for sure.

You should be able to check the water heater pretty easy, if is an autolight you will be able to see if it lights if you have power and you turn it on. Toilet all you need is water to check that and 12 volt power. The fridge is kinda the same as the water heater, you will be able to tell if it is running on gas, and it should tell you if it is running on either DC or AC, it is a little harder to tell if is actually getting cold.

All the things you are looking is pretty easy to start up and test.

I would take a real close look at the seams and look at all the walls and ceiling closely to see if there has been any water stains, if it is stained I would have some serious doubts. Check the roof seams to be sure everything looks well caulked, don't just look at the caulk, look to be sure it is sealed and in good shape, if not it is a pain to scrape all the old stuff out and re-caulk. Check all the windows to see if they crank out and crank back in, look at the screen and make sure all the latches are in good order.

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Thanks upnorth, I wasn't quite sure on the ease of these things since I have no first hand experience with any camper. Now I looked at one camper that had water seep through a seam, and it looks to be repaired professionally. The wood seems to be in good shape, and the owner assured me it was fixed right after the leak occured. Should I be concerned.

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You can check to see if anything is stained or soft. If it is soft or severely stained I would be wary.

And someone who is trying to sell something is not going to say he let it leak for a few months before he fixed it.

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The insurance on our 5th wheel was pretty reasonable, under $200 per year. And we did need to license the 5th wheel. If you are still looking at a pickup camper I am not sure if you need a license on those though.

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If you intend to use the camper for more than 2 people, you better review the situation.

I had a Palomino last year, great layout, nice camper comfortable and spacious but...just for 2 people, if you have to add a friend or a kid, you will have to sacrifice living room for bedding. Mine was a full lengh 8ft (long box) unit and ended at the bumper leaving hitch completely open.

We loved it for 2 people but could not invite anybody or take any of the kids with us.

We opted for a short 5th wheel (26ft) trailer and I am much, much happier, I have a B&W gooseneck hitch, the addon 5th wheel hitch will remove completely leaving bed empty, not even the rails.

Towing my large boat is easy enough, we leave trailer at campground and use truck to move. With camper we had to pickup everything (electrical, water, awning, etc) just to go get groceries, since we couldn't tow a car behind, also putting boat in water on steep landings made me VERY uncomfortable (always afraid camper would slide off).

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If you are thinking rather seriously about an RV of any type, take an afternoon and go browse around the RV dealerships and see what tickles your fancy. We looked at more than just a few over the last couple months to see what we really wanted before we bought one.

Looking don't cost a whole, just a little gas. Gives you an idea of styles, layout and size. Also look at the fit and finish of different brands, they are not all created equal. And you can bet if things aren't finished too well, the structure will be poor too.

Just cuz you look at the dealerships doesn't mean you can't turn around and buy from private party.

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Excellent advise from Upnorth. I cannot take pics of my rig right now since I am fixing it to use it tomorrow (Algoma WI salmon fishing), but I'll post some next week when ready. I found a 1998 Sportsmaster Classic 26ft, we love it since it has standard queen size bed in front and 2 bunk beds in rear, plus couch sleeper. I sleeps 4 comfortably without disturbing the living/cooking area, even without slideouts.

5th wheel with rear bunks are tough to find (used). I've been looking for one for over a year and finally had to drive to.... Dallas, TX to get this one. I buy different than others, there are some issues with this one.

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Ok, here's my setup.

Triple1.jpg

Triple2.jpg

Triple3.jpg

To achieve this you need no more than 75ft max length ( I am 69ft), 1st trailer can be ONLY a 5th wheel or gooseneck type (no pull behind travel trailers), 2nd trailer has to have safety chains and brakes with breakaway switch or actuator.

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Just what I would like to see pull up to the boat ramp as I'm pulling into the ramp from the water after a long day of fishing.

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