From Boler to Bigfoot - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-05-2016, 06:54 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Name: Rene
Trailer: Bigfoot 2500 truck camper
British Columbia
Posts: 233
From Boler to Bigfoot

Truck camper that is! A couple months ago we sold our beloved Boler 1700 and spent some time prepping our 1997 Dodge 2500 CTD for a camper with Happijac tye downs. It is a long box with air bags and a nice rubber bed mat ready to go.

We had at first planned to buy a larger trailer but then after reading a truck camper article in Trailer Life magazine, I had second thoughts. I thought about what features we wanted in our new RV , how we use our RV and how we wanted to use it in the future and realized a truck camper could meet our needs well. I was somewhat prejudiced against them for years actually but I have come to see that every RV has pros and cons and we just need to see what pro's suit our needs and desires and what con's we can tolerate in order to make a good choice.

So a week ago we finished the tye down installation and were involved in negotiations to buy a 2000 Bigfoot 2500 in Southern BC. I drove south a long days drive, and had a great time dealing with a private seller who w as a professional cabinet maker.

I had to drive back home right away because snow was moving in fast but I did spend my first night in it on the way. I decided to put my boondocking skills to the test. I wish to avoid trying to sleep beside busy highways and turned off in the desert onto the narrowest paved road with a yellow line down the middle I have ever seen, it was very dark, and road leaned right over what I imagined might be a massive Chasm. The truck camper swayed like I would topple over even though I was crawling along. It was too narrow to turn around so I kept going what seemed an eternity until by good fortune I came to a small river with a bridge and a reasonably sized pull out. There was little traffic, the sound of the river and me. I really was in Bigfoot country, that area has had many documented sightings so I felt I would be safe and secure there for the night.
__________________

__________________
Rene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2016, 07:40 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Name: Rene
Trailer: Bigfoot 2500 truck camper
British Columbia
Posts: 233
continued

One of the great things about this camper is no pilot lights. I just turned on the wall thermostat and whoosh all 25000 BTU 's of heat from the fan forced furnace began to fill the room, outside a cold rain began to fall, it was snowing up higher. I have two new golf cart batteries in this camper and the solar charge controller monitor showed I was fully charged.

The camper water systems were already antifreeze filled for the winter so I would use the outdoor facilities. Once things were warm I turned it down for the night and read for a while with the nicely placed reading lamps. All incandescents bulbs everywhere in the camper and big new batteries. On the list , Get LEDS item number1:-)

Had a pretty good nights sleep although I find sleeping bags to be less comfortable than bedding. Hit the road as it got light and found that the narrow road was less intimidating and the Cliffside of the road was not all that steep after all. I had not gone very far either!

The camper fit the truck well and I could definitely feel the weight. I began to get the hang of how fast to take the corners. I became more aware of the blind spot behind me, rear view cameras may be on the list! Performance was good with the truck, I could stay in overdrive more without dropping a gear compared to towing. I loved NOT TOWING anything but will have to keep a close eye on how much cargo I have. Later once I refueled, I found to my delight fuel consumption went from 16 l / 100 km when towing down to 12 l /100 km or 20 MPG with the camper. Just what I hoped to see!
__________________

__________________
Rene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2016, 08:38 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Name: Rene
Trailer: Bigfoot 2500 truck camper
British Columbia
Posts: 233
cont.

Those of you who want to see a few pics, just check out the bigfoot gallery. I posted there today.

The only thing that still freaks me out is the rocking from side to side I get. Driving is not required. Standing beside the camper if I touch it , it rocks! This is because the air bags lift the truck bed off of the overload springs leaving the camper in the air rocking back and forth just like a Jack out -of -the box! There's a relatively inexpensive fix for this...rubber shock absorbers that fit into the springs. Another item on my list.

Got home finally after 3 days, 2000 km and too many sandwiches and burgers later. After catching up on some sleep, I read the manuals and instructions and began adding items to the list.
The camper has most of the things I wanted, queen bed, larger bathroom, larger kitchen with oven, solar system, fantastic fan, awning and more. It has no microwave or AC and that suits me fine. The stereo was broken and gone but the wiring and antenna is still there.


There is a TV cabinet with all the wiring factory installed. I have a 12 volt TV that should fit nicely and I am going to install a 12 volt DVD stereo so we can watch movies and listen to music and news.

The first thing to do though is build a platform for the camper so I can take it off the truck when I need to haul some other cargo! Well thats all for now folks, I am excited to have a truck camper I can use in winterish temperatures to extend my RV season a bit. It is often -20 to-40 C here but I think thats a bit too cold for even a winter camper. Lows of -10 to -15 are probably doable with some precautions. Caution! CAUTION! Because I don't want to have to thaw and fix anything! :-) There is winter camping with hookups and winter camping without hookups, two different animals. I think one has more water than the other
:-)
__________________
Rene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2016, 10:11 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 2,748
Sounds like you found a good fit for your camping style Rene. I started out with a cabover too and still miss it at times for quick overnighters.
__________________
Borrego Dave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2016, 08:15 AM   #5
Junior Member
 
Trailer: Casita Freedom Deluxe
Posts: 11
I agree with Dave. Different strokes for different folks. We went from a cabover to our
Casita and have really enjoyed the egg. It is stored Nov - April although we do use it for overflow guests that visit during the winter.
__________________
Walt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2016, 09:23 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: interested in HC1.
Colorado
Posts: 110
Rene, I too landed on a truck camper for my needs, though I still love the FG campers and learn a lot here about all of the systems common to both. I have a rear sway bar on order. I have very little sway and I already have the Timbren rubber springs between axle and frame, but I want to see if a sway bar will help with that sway feel I get when I tow my jeep with the camper on. You might also find a rear sway bar is worth looking into. They aren't too expensive for my Tacoma, can't say about the cost for the Dodge.
__________________
TomandCallie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2016, 05:46 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
Arkansas
Posts: 325
Since the 1960s I've owned nearly a dozen truck campers (& various pickups to haul 'em around on). We've owned/used from our first, a very basic 8' 'box' with cabover bed, icebox, range & oven, dinette (bed for our kids), & a 10gal fresh water tank with hand pump, to a 1987 RealLite with 12' box. queen size cabover bed, water heater (gas & elect), dry bath, (separate shower), large fridge, almost every amenity, with a side entry door. We did the Alaska Hiway with that rig in 1993. My last four (including our current rig) have been pop-up type campers. Couple of years ago while bringing my truck/camper home from deer camp in SW AR, an older gentleman (probably my age) made a left turn across my lane of traffic directly in my path. No way I could avoid a near head-on collision. Totaled my truck & camper (& his car) but fortunately no serious injuries). Took me 'til early this past spring to find a replacement truck that I was willing to pay for. Shortly after acquiring my 'new' '99 F250 super duty, supercab, long bed with 7.3L turbo diesel, I found a 2003 SunLite Eagle, 8.5' with toilet, pop-up type camper. Owned by a former engineering teacher who'd added a roof a/c, then designed a modified roof lift system to accommodate the extra weight of the a/c. Camper fits my truck great & at 1650# or so dry weight, no extra suspension components needed on the truck. We'll use it for our base camp at local lakes for a few weeks of spring crappie fishing, & it'll be my 'home' at deer camp each fall. We love our TD (& the Casita 17SD, & the Scamp 13) but I'm sure glad to get back into a 'handy dandy' truck camper. Here's what she looks like when I finally got her back on the truck last week -

__________________
Harvey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2016, 10:45 AM   #8
Junior Member
 
Name: Evan
Trailer: Bigfoot
Oregon
Posts: 5
We love our Bigfoot truck camper. What is the payload on your truck? If it is really swaying that much then perhaps it is because you have exceeded the payload. I would never use airbags. I pop my tie-downs off and level the camper with the jacks when I stay the night. It stops the sway for the night.
I don't understand the platform statement. I take mine off and leave it on the jacks on a regular basis. Bigfoot campers are built well and they are lighter than most others. They are fine to use on the jacks without a platform. I did upgrade my jacks to happijack 4800s for multiple reasons.
__________________
evanb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2016, 03:32 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: Bob Ruggles
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19 2012 Chevy Silverado
Michigan
Posts: 1,296
We had several truck campers including an 11 1/2 ft that we carried on a 3500 dually. We considered it the ideal way to travel but gave up the truck Camper because my wife had too much trouble getting into the over cab bed so we switched to trailers. Love the Escape 19 and wish my wife were alive to enjoy it with me.


Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
__________________
rgrugg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2016, 04:20 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Rene
Trailer: Bigfoot 2500 truck camper
British Columbia
Posts: 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by evanb View Post
We love our Bigfoot truck camper. What is the payload on your truck? If it is really swaying that much then perhaps it is because you have exceeded the payload. I would never use airbags. I pop my tie-downs off and level the camper with the jacks when I stay the night. It stops the sway for the night.
I don't understand the platform statement. I take mine off and leave it on the jacks on a regular basis. Bigfoot campers are built well and they are lighter than most others. They are fine to use on the jacks without a platform. I did upgrade my jacks to happijack 4800s for multiple reasons.
It was swaying because I had 60 pounds of air in the bags, lifting the frame bumper pads off of the top overload springs by a couple inches. The camper was rolling from side to side as it was only supported by the rubber air bags. I let out about half the air in the bags and it settled down gently onto the top overload leaves and was still level. It seems much more stable now but I have yet to road test it.

The previous owner advised me not to rest the camper on the happijacs. He used heavy sawhorses and a sheet of plywood on top for support at truck bed height. The owners manual echoed his advice.
__________________
Rene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 11:22 AM   #11
Junior Member
 
Name: Evan
Trailer: Bigfoot
Oregon
Posts: 5
We have a 97 camper and there is no mention of a support stand in the manual. Our 2002 manual does not mention one either. I do see that the new manuals state that cinder blocks with a sheet of plywood should be used when storing long term. I will agree that it is a good idea but I still will not do it.
I did a lot of research and shopping before we settled on Bigfoot. They are amazing campers with a great layout.
One of my favorite types of trips is to drive up the mountain into the snow until it gets too deep to continue and then just find a spot to park for the night. We use our Bigfoot in the winter much more than the summer.
Rgrugg. I know what you mean about getting in and out of the camper while it is on the truck. We have 2 little dogs that like to go out 2-3 times per night (mostly to bark at the wind). It is a pain. I keep intending to build a drop down back porch but I haven't got to it yet. Sorry about your wife. I would be lost without mine.
__________________
evanb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2016, 08:25 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Name: Rene
Trailer: Bigfoot 2500 truck camper
British Columbia
Posts: 233
Yes plywood on railroad ties and a deep bed of gravel will be what I use.

After my research the only other camper that interests me is the northern lite but Bigfeet are more numerous!

I think the layout is just about perfect and the front to back queenbed makes it even better.

In between periods of icy arctic air we get warm southwesterly chinook winds for a few days to a few weeks throughout the winter so I plan to use it then.
__________________
Rene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2017, 05:23 PM   #13
Junior Member
 
Name: Turtle
Trailer: Lance
Florida
Posts: 5
New to this forum but have owned a lance 845 since 2003. My truck, 2004 f250 crew 4x4,is the same way. I put 75 to 80 lbs in the air bags. Look into a set of adjustable rancho shocks, I run mine on 2 when empty and 9 with the camper. Really helps with the swaying. Same with the steering damper shock, really helps with driving fatigue. Lastly, look into air tabs, you'll see them on semi trucks /trailer. I put them on the underside of the cabover , cut out 90% of the buffeting and now we can have a normal conversation . Good luck with the new camper
__________________
Turtlemando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2017, 05:33 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: interested in HC1.
Colorado
Posts: 110
Turtle, what are "air tabs"? Any pictures or a link? Thank you!
__________________

__________________
TomandCallie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bigfoot, boler


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2001 BIGFOOT in Colorado 2001 Bigfoot 21' Travel Trailer Camper 25B21RB Wacenturion Referrals: Molded Fiberglass Trailers 1 09-14-2016 06:41 AM
Looking for a Bigfoot 25. We have a Bigfoot 21 but ready to move up Neilvan Wanted: Molded Fiberglass Travel Trailers 3 08-30-2016 09:50 PM
There's a hole in my Boler my Boler my Boler FRED SMAILES Modifications, Alterations and Updates 185 03-26-2015 09:03 AM
Bigfoot 17 vs Bigfoot 19 DwayneR General Chat 6 04-09-2010 07:22 AM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:09 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.