Truck Campers...trashy or treasure? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV
RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-14-2020, 12:05 PM   #21
Senior Member
Name: Ray
Trailer: scamp
Posts: 321
I love my scamp -- 16 foot. And prefire.

As for your light off road, what do you want to do. I have had mine in some "very interesting places". I have a jeep as a tow vehicle. Commander right now. Also a Cherokee. I have towed it down some pretty crappy roads. Slow and easy is the rule. ;-) I also have gone places that had no roads, but were fairly flat. Drive regularly through harvested farm fields to a camp site. One time our EMA organization needed it out in an area that had no real access because of a meth clean up for an office. A bulldozer prepped a kind of a route. Then the dozer actually towed my camper to the site. They also towed the trucks in and out. Not sure I am interested in much more than that. Are you wanting more than that.

As you can guess I also camp without services more than with services. And my 16 foot scamp does great. Now I have done one thing to make this work. I have a 12 volt potable water transfer pump to refill my tank.

Hope this helps some.
computerspook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 12:34 PM   #22
Name: Alex
Trailer: Bigfoot
Posts: 82
I think it comes down to this:

Originally Posted by Bonnie RB View Post
What are your camping expectations? Pull in, spend the night, pull out the next morning for the next one-night-stand, repeat as needed? A self contained unit may work well.
We're more apt to set up for a few days to a week and make day trips from a base, so being able to disconnect and leave the sleeping unit behind for the day trips is more convenient for us.
While some RV parks might not like truck campers, it's just a pickup truck, so in a pinch you can stay anywhere you can park a big pickup truck.

We bought a Northern Lite, but couldn't take delivery because it didn't fit the truck. We ended up with the BF 17.5 (lucky it was on the lot, and got a good deal). It turns out we're much happier being able to take day trips unloaded (and get to more remote places) without the tricky unloading of a truck camper.

For a fiberglass truck camper you really need the one ton pickup, and long bed for any but the smallest models from Bigfoot or northern lite. Good Luck!
SnowballCamper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 01:53 PM   #23
Junior Member
Name: David
Trailer: Bigfoot
Posts: 1
We've been truck campers for at least 8 years now, with a Bigfoot 9.6 originally. We boondock some, do some state park or national forest campgrounds, and occasionally end up at a private RV park. We have never been turned away for having a truck camper. If they had, though, I would chalk it up to just really bad business. The nightly rate is usually much higher than the weekly or monthly, so they are losing a cash cow by turning you away. But like I said, it's never happened for us. As for taking the camper off the truck - I've done it by myself many times - you just go very slow and check constantly. It is better with a spotter though. But we very rarely take it off when we are travelling. It's just not stable to live in off the truck. There's not too many places we can't get to with the camper on it.
Gaboury is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 02:17 PM   #24
Junior Member
Big Eddy's Avatar
Trailer: Previous: 2003 13-ft Scamp Deluxe / Volvo XC90, Current: 2014 Hallmark Guanella TC / Ram 2500 CTD
Posts: 19
We went from a Scamp 13 to a truck camper on a 2500. There are many small manufacturers of truck campers from low-end to premium. We went with a premium pop-up from Hallmark that uses composite panels, fully enclosed plumbing, insulation and a one-piece roof. It works well for our style of backcountry camping and for winter use. We sometimes use public campgrounds off-season or in restricted use areas. When traveling it stays on the truck. In fact we remove the jacks for all but once or twice a year at home because they weigh 170 pounds and reduce side clearance. The rig will go anywhere the truck can fit.

We did not want a hard-sided truck camper because their height degrades the center-of-gravity, vertical clearance and wind resistance. Plus a hard-side with bath and other creature comforts really needs a one-ton truck that can handle the tall load. You see large campers on smaller pickups but guaranteed they are overloaded and have modified suspension just to handle within the owner’s driving comfort level. Note that the weight quoted by manufacturers is a lowball estimate. Add up to 1000 pounds to figure your actual loaded weight, and verify on truck scales once you get it.

There are other choices from integrated camper-on-chassis units to Australian-style off-road trailers. The RV industry went crazy this year and so lead times for new builds are many months. The used market has many beat-up units so inspect carefully if you go that direction.
Big Eddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 04:09 PM   #25
Name: Michael
Trailer: Former Scamp 13, Former Airstream 16
Posts: 67

Some great advice for you in this thread. It really is "horses for courses".

Jon in AZ comes the closest to the advice I would give you.

If you can, see if someone will let you test drive a pickup with a slide-in camper on board. The handling characteristics are not to everybody's liking. The weight is being carried pretty high.

pedalmike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 04:42 PM   #26
Senior Member
Jay H's Avatar
Name: Jay
Trailer: Boler 1300
Posts: 282
There is a lot of great information and experience in this thread!
I have had my Boler since 2015 and we have towed it all across Canada but our most epic trip was to BC, the Yukon, and Alaska. While I have definitely taken my trailer on some roads that made me anxious about being on and even though I live on a gravel road, I try my best to avoid them if possible. We love to explore out of the way places and when we find something really off the beaten path we leave the Boler in the campground. We have always parked the trailer and gone on our planned adventurous drives (Dempster highway, James Bay Road in Quebec) in the tow vehicle, even if it was overnight.
Two years ago I bought a midsize 4x4 pick-up, which has left me longing to get more off-road while traveling. I looked at slide-ins, pop tops, and even DIY designs. We have had lots of discussions about campers and trailers, and all of the options, and as much as I have been the one who has pushed for driving the truck and having a slide-in camper that we could take off-road, I think that this thread has convinced me that we are better suited to the Boler.
We tow with either our Grand Caravan or my Colorado crew cab. The truck has less cabin room for the family so I have to ut a lot in the bed to make the trip more comfortable. If I have a camper in the bed, I don't know where I would put all the stuff that I usually have in there!
Dropping the trailer at the campsite and going on an adventure is a lot of fun, and the thought of having somewhere already set up and waiting for us at the end of a day (or two) of exploring is something I look forward to.
Funny, I thought I was going to lean the other way when I started reading this thread!
Jay H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 04:54 PM   #27
Senior Member
Civilguy's Avatar
Name: Mike
Trailer: Escape 21 & Jeep GC 5.7 (Previous 2012 Casita FD17 & 2010 Audi Q5)
Puget Sound, WA
Posts: 1,532
Originally Posted by Newfang View Post
We are going to check out a 2021 Northern Lite Sportsman Plus (8-11 EXSP) today.

there are a many fiberglass units too heavy for our 3/4 ton. We like some margin for “stuff” (including ourselves) so even some units advertised as 3/4 ton compatible (yet weigh dangerously close to 3000lbs) are a no go for us.
Everything works so much better when you have the capacity you need.

I see the 8-11 has a lower center of gravity and is lighter than the 10-2. I also see that air conditioning is optional on the 8-11, but is standard on the 10-2. I strongly suspect that if you add the optional AC to the 8-11 the center of gravity and dry weights would be closer to the 10-2's.

I am about obsessed with the idea of a telescoping hard-shell pop-top to lower the wind resistance and center of gravity while towing or driving, but I don't think it actually exists in molded fiberglass. I like the ones with canvas walls on the popups well enough and wish I had space for a Compact Jr. or something like that as a "second trailer" for lighter travel, but there's no room to store one. Fortunately, we are vested in a combination that is working well for us.

I have seen some motorhomes that really look like they hit the sweet spot, but I don't want to drive them while we are camped, and I don't want to pull a toad. So, I figure that I'm basically just impossible to please.

But, it's fun to shop along with people who are the ones actually laying down all the cash.
Attached Thumbnails
1955 Mercedes.jpg  
~ “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~
Civilguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 05:27 PM   #28
Junior Member
Name: Rob
Trailer: 2020 BigFoot 25RQ
Posts: 8
Hi NewFang,

There are always tradeoffs, aren't there? We started with a popup, bought a 30' travel trailer, then a 38' fifth wheel trailer. Then we downsized to a Leisure Travel class B plus built on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. That is probably the one we have owned most like the camper option you are contemplating. It was a handy rig. We loved the convenience, but the downside was that we didn't have much floor space. That was the rig we thought we would never sell, but we did. We have now purchased a Bigfoot 25RQ. We pull it with a 2020 F150. If we want to park the trailer and get up a dirt road, our pickup gets us there. The Bigfoot travel trailer is the best-built trailer we have owned, and the trailer / truck combination is the best for us. Bigfoot also makes some trailers smaller than 25' that are worth a look. Good luck!
Moots is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 05:43 PM   #29
Senior Member
Jon in AZ's Avatar
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 9,444
Originally Posted by Newfang View Post
...We do also enjoy the occasional trip to Disney's Fort Wilderness, and other resorts.
I think you'll find truck campers perfectly welcome at that kind of family-oriented resort. It's more the upscale retiree-type resorts catering to longer stays and bigger rigs that may not welcome a truck camper (or other small RV types).

A few private campgrounds limit the age of the RV and/or require the RVIA certification sticker to keep out older, broken-down RVs. Neither will be a problem in your case.

I suspect smooth sailing if you go that route.
Jon in AZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 06:53 PM   #30
Junior Member
Name: Kevin
Trailer: 1975 Boler 1300
Posts: 5
I love my truck camper

Hi Newfang
Truck camper trashy? I've met all kinds of trashy people in all kinds of RV's
I've had probably 7 truck campers in the last 30 years, they are my go to rig, they travel in the same footprint as the truck, they are easy to maneuver, and you can pull a small trailer or in my case my boat, a 16ft Starcraft bowrider.
I like to back road and I also go on logging roads, always wanted a 4x4 but never got one, I'm not sure I would off road with a camper either, they do tend to be top heavy. I've taken my camper into some really neat backwoods roads, and logging roads, you just have to use your head and use some care.

I've never had a really heavy truck, a 2500 GMC crewcab with an 11ft Marboro camper was my biggest rig, my last rig was a heavy half ton with an 8ft trek camper, no shower, no bathroom but it was plenty serviceable.

Spend some time to get experience with loading and unloading the camper and it no longer becomes a chore or difficult. I travel with the camper on the truck unless I am going to stay somewhere for more than a couple of days then I'll unload it and set it on stands and travel with the truck light, I can load and be ready to travel in 1/2 an hour.

One of the biggest concerns with a truck camper is your height, you have be careful of that, gas bars, coffee shop drive through's, tree branches and low bridges will certainly ruin your day. My neighbor heard stories of our travels with a camper and decided to join the fun, he bought a truck and then a camper, came home from the dealer driving down the road with a grin, waved at us, turned into his driveway, and I near fainted as the garage door began to lift, yep, drove the rig right into the garage just like he always did. Such a shame, such a mess.

Anyways, give it a try, you might just find you like it.
Kevin_Lemon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2020, 08:32 PM   #31
Senior Member
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 3,170
There is no perfect camper that meets all of our travels. Some trips, I would love to have a Class B. Other trips, a massive fifth wheel would be perfect. Everything is a compromise, which has gotten us to our Escape 19. Easy to tow with my F150, easy to store at our home. Nothing bigger would fit.

We tend to pound out the miles to our destination, stay there for several days, and then pound the miles to the next destination. Repeat until we are home. For doing the miles, I think a Class B would be perfect. But once we arrive, not so much. A Super C would also be interesting, can't store it at home, no interest in pulling a vehicle behind it so thats not a good option for us either.
thrifty bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2020, 10:23 AM   #32
Junior Member
Name: Neil
Trailer: Currently shopping
North Carolina
Posts: 8
We owned truck campers in the past and enjoyed them all.Keep in mind that they are heavy and pretty tall.We had one that had a “basement” under the floor that made it almost 12’ tall when loaded on the truck.A few things to keep in mind they are tall as I previously stated,the ones with the basement storage make them that way.You get more floor space because the floor of the camper is above the wheel wells.You loose the bed of the truck to carry your gear obviously so everything has to be stored in the camper.We found that they make the rig top heavy as well. most trucks will need suspension upgrades too.On the plus side you can tow a trailer for atv,s or a boat if you like.If you arent planning on staying anywhere too long they might be a good choice as you just leave the camper loaded on the truck.We used to live on Long Island and would camp out on the beaches for 3-4 nights at a time,they were great for that.I do agree with most that a fiberglass one is the way to go.
Stay safe
NandHwilliams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2020, 11:22 PM   #33
Junior Member
Name: Craig
Trailer: Bigfoot X 2
British Columbia
Posts: 4
Had a Bigfoot Camper, plan to acquire another

We had a 1500 series Bigfoot for a few years, we have traveled the West Coast south as far as San Diego and never been refused at an RV Park including some high end Urban sites.

Currently have a 25ft Bigfoot Travel Trailer but like one of the other writers we're looking to acquire a camper again to go places we can't easily take a trailer. Will buy a 2500 series Bigfoot next time as they have basement storage, tanks larger and in the basement allowing more storage in the main cabin.

Bigfoot 0995 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2020, 04:33 PM   #34
Name: Michael
Trailer: Escape 21
Posts: 73
I may be late to the thread and you have made decisions on the feed back you have received, I just wanted to add my 2˘.
I have camped with this couple and their dog at several fiberglass rallies and can vouch for their credibility. Take a look at their youtube page Runaway Roses,
They went from fiberglass pull behind to fiberglass truck camper like you are considering. On their channel you will find many videos of their journeys through their conversion to truck camping.
Best wishes for your future camper of choice.
lijMichael is offline   Reply With Quote

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
Treasure Valley RV Repair Recommends julmar Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 5 08-24-2015 02:28 PM
For Sale: Rare Glass-Fab treasure Kennerg Classified Archives 0 07-01-2015 11:32 AM
How about a Buried Treasure Hunt in New Mexico Greg A General Chat 5 02-28-2013 09:43 AM
found a hidden treasure in my uhaul frame andrew78 General Chat 4 12-04-2012 09:11 PM
Found Treasure DonInChatt General Chat 5 02-21-2007 11:41 AM

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

Reviews provided by

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:31 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.