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Truck bed campers.


Mattnan
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I am coming to the good and knowledgeable people of this forum for feedback.

We sold our 2019 Ollie Elite 2 twin in the spring of 2022.  We enjoyed the Ollie very much and it worked very well for us.  We went on 2 long trips and a couple of 3 to 5 day excursions.  We were new at camping.  Our longest trip was Maine to Florida to Lane Mead, Grand Canyon and back via Zion, Moab, route 66 and home.  The other long trip Maine to Florida.  We were out 45 days and needed to return early from that trip at the onset of Covid.  Our initial plan was to do these 2 big trips and sell the camper because we stay in Maine in the summer and go boating. 

Well turns out that we miss camping and are considering getting another camper.  Always wanting to try something different we are thinking of trying truck camping.  We don't anticipate the long 4 month trips again but some of a couple of weeks in the shoulder seasons and winter.

  I am looking for feedback from those who might have tried truck camping. Pros and Cons.  We wouldn't be doing extreme off road camping more likely roads you could take the Ollie on if prepared.  I will admit towing for me was not relaxing.  

We realize we would need a more capable truck than our half ton tundra.  Would look for a 1 ton 8ft bed.  We have done some preliminary shopping based on research and are leaning toward a Northern Lite 10-2 model.  It feels almost as large as our Ollie inside and it is a 2 piece fiberglass camper.  It is advertised as a 4 season camper.  We don't want slides.  When we told the different dealers we had an Ollie they all pointed us to Northern Lite.  (No Big Foot in our area)  We also looked at Lance and NuCamp Cirrus.  We saw Artic Fox and some others.  I think the Northern Lite 10-2  has as much or possibly more interior storage as our Ollie and has some exterior storage too.  The quality seemed as close to the Ollie as any of its competitors.  Some th I be we liked better than the Ollie other areas the Ollie clearly shined.  No need to carry a ladder!  We did like our Ollie for the brightness, construction, and reliability but the opportunity to try something different is intriguing.

You may commence the laughing and/or stoning!!!

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Just about the only thing that turned me away from truck campers is the fact that every time I would want to go anywhere I'd have to "break camp" and then "re-set camp" when I returned.

Of course, on the plus side is the fact that I'd have a place to take a nap or have lunch or take care of business or ....... with me at all times.

Good luck on finding what makes your heart sing!

Bill

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Be aware that any “affordable” truck camper with full amenities still has a screwed together interior and the same low end RV “quality” appliances. I like the Northern Lite units a lot, and they have no slides to fail.But I think I personally would pick the biggest Cirrus camper, for the wonderful silent Alde heating and water heating system, and I quite like the design inside and out.

This is a great resource, they do detailed reviews and publish the ACTUAL wet/ loaded weight. You definitely need a 3500 truck with adequate payload, preferably a duallie.

https://www.truckcampermagazine.com/truck-campers-buyers-guide/

There are more and more flatbed models coming out, but they require a big climb to enter, but most have a side entrance so they do not get all nasty on dusty dirt roads (like a rear door model). Plus that gives you room in back for bikes or a boat trailer. The flatbed models require a replacement bed, and you can add storage boxes underneath. The campers have a VAST interior storage volume.  Many people sensibly order a cab and chassis truck (no bed at all) and then have the flatbed installed.

With a slide in camper, storage is a huge problem because you can no longer carry all that “stuff” in the bed. You can remove the rear seats and install a cargo platform to compensate. But you get great mobility, can camp most anywhere, and you no longer have to deal with maintaining the trailer axles and brakes. 

My choice, money no object:

F842BC17-55F0-4C28-B014-0B8EBD268F17.thumb.jpeg.8ea7780a4f1d1166871d7197cbe917b5.jpeg

Doesn’t that look familiar? … https://earthcruiser.com/vehicles/terranova/

If I were suddenly single, I would sell the LE2 and get a different camper. Unless Oliver decides to bring out their rumored new model as a FLAT bed truck camper. Woohoo! Sign me up!

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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Watch out for low New England (and others) low bridges. High winds and passing semis are also a concern. Where do you store your chairs? Do you only cook inside? Would and where do you store firewood? See one equipped like you would want it. Put your hand on the back corner. Can you wiggle it enough that the tires flex? What would that flex be like on the highway? Can you unload it quick enough to go haul the boat, if that became necessary?

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Thanks for the responses so far.  Much appreciated. 

We are watching payload numbers carefully for any truck we might purchase and believe there would be enough storage in the Northern Light as it has outside storage that is comparable or greater than the Ollie.  The interior storage for the model we are considering seems to be equal or more than the Ollie.  This was a surprise.  We will not be going for long duration trips this time so we think we can easily fit what we need in the camper to cook inside or out, with any additional needed storage in the back seat of the truck.  We will be looking for a truck with a traditional 8 ft bed.  The earth cruiser is really nice and capable but probably beyond what we would prefer to spend, especially for occasional use. Maybe if powerball comes through for us!!!  

Bob, I am concerned about the height and truck stability. We know it will be about 12ft tall.  The height and stability are actually my biggest concern with the truck camper arrangement.  We will make sure the suspension and tires are appropriate.  We will look for a truck with factory camper package/options included and if needed go to a specialty shop for any additional suspension work needed. 

We liked the astetic and Aldi system of the Cirrus very much, however the interior assembly quality and materials seemed below par with the Northern Lite.  It also had less storage.  It did have some nice features.  We have toured a number of these camper brands.  The quality comparison between the Oliver and other brands is interesting.  The Oliver is so well made by comparison.   We looked at small class C too. Most we junk for huge prices!! 

The Northern Lite has a rear porch that could accommodate wood in a crate or tote.  Right now the harder part is finding the correct 1 ton truck.  I really don't want a dually as the truck will also be used for daily use.  Our Tundra is now 15 years old.  Still in great shape and reliable with 115k miles, it still has a lot of life but getting a newer more capable truck would be ok too!

I do like that we will not have any additional tires, brakes, bearings etc. to deal with. 

I am unsure about ease/time of setting up and packing up compared to the Ollie.  Our "plan" would be to remove the camper if we were going to be in a camp site for 2 or 3 days or more.  

Thanks for the feedback please keep it coming!

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Unhooking and driving away is fairly painless, but lots of owners have a really hard time getting the camper and the bed aligned properly when loading it. There are all kinds of home made guide blocks and rails. This looks promising, I have no personal opinion about it, except you must be very careful not to side load the jacks excessively. It’s NOT like loading a small boat onto a roller equipped trailer.

 4E6204BC-A1E8-4A3F-9980-AAC30EEA7BA1.thumb.webp.5450fb649e7b3297c0f3676fc8785ee0.webp

https://www.truckcamperadventure.com/new-camper-cradle-makes-truck-camper-loading-easy/

John Davies

Spokane 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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On 10/30/2022 at 8:55 AM, Mattnan said:

I am coming to the good and knowledgeable people of this forum for feedback.

We sold our 2019 Ollie Elite 2 twin in the spring of 2022.  We enjoyed the Ollie very much and it worked very well for us.  We went on 2 long trips and a couple of 3 to 5 day excursions.  We were new at camping.  Our longest trip was Maine to Florida to Lane Mead, Grand Canyon and back via Zion, Moab, route 66 and home.  The other long trip Maine to Florida.  We were out 45 days and needed to return early from that trip at the onset of Covid.  Our initial plan was to do these 2 big trips and sell the camper because we stay in Maine in the summer and go boating. 

Well turns out that we miss camping and are considering getting another camper.  Always wanting to try something different we are thinking of trying truck camping.  We don't anticipate the long 4 month trips again but some of a couple of weeks in the shoulder seasons and winter.

  I am looking for feedback from those who might have tried truck camping. Pros and Cons.  We wouldn't be doing extreme off road camping more likely roads you could take the Ollie on if prepared.  I will admit towing for me was not relaxing.  

We realize we would need a more capable truck than our half ton tundra.  Would look for a 1 ton 8ft bed.  We have done some preliminary shopping based on research and are leaning toward a Northern Lite 10-2 model.  It feels almost as large as our Ollie inside and it is a 2 piece fiberglass camper.  It is advertised as a 4 season camper.  We don't want slides.  When we told the different dealers we had an Ollie they all pointed us to Northern Lite.  (No Big Foot in our area)  We also looked at Lance and NuCamp Cirrus.  We saw Artic Fox and some others.  I think the Northern Lite 10-2  has as much or possibly more interior storage as our Ollie and has some exterior storage too.  The quality seemed as close to the Ollie as any of its competitors.  Some th I be we liked better than the Ollie other areas the Ollie clearly shined.  No need to carry a ladder!  We did like our Ollie for the brightness, construction, and reliability but the opportunity to try something different is intriguing.

You may commence the laughing and/or stoning!!!

I have experience in the popup truck camper world.  Both a soft side (Jayco) and hard side (Alaskan).  The PITA of this type is that it stays on the truck and comes with you when ever you drive the truck.  If I were in your shoes, I would look at something hardsided and fiberglass which you could unload at the campsite with electric jacks and stabilize for use while there and drive away in the truck when you wanted to day explore or sightsee.  Both Bigfoot and Northern Lite are well made campers (likely there are others which would have this capability of functioning standalone off the truck).  I recommend avoiding slideouts (I know I would).  Camped next to a couple last Winter in a really nice, late model Arctic Fox truck camper with two slides.  They loved their camper but hated the slides as they failed three times in two years.

If you don't mind keeping the camper on the trailer, both Hallmark and Outfitter make nice popup truck campers with composite roofs.  Nice thing about these campers is that they are lower profile while driving so you get better gas mileage and feel sidewinds less.

Re: Bigfoot, the dealer in Henderson, CO (Trailer World) does a lot of business with people from other states and are a very low pressure, Family run business.  I am in no way affiliated, just know of them and dealt with them when shopping for a trailer before settling on Oliver.  They might be an option.

 

Good luck

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2021 Elite II, Hull# 898

2018 Toyota Tundra, 2003 Dodge Ram 3500 5.9l SRW

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