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Tacoma or Tundra for pop up camper

Tacoma Tundra pop up camper

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#11 klahanie


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Posted 29 September 2017 - 06:22 PM

4.  Add ons.  I plan to add a carrier on the back (like the large Stowaway2 box) to haul gear etc.  On rare occasion I will haul a kayak or other goodies on the top.  This will not be common so is not a major concern but thought I would mention it.  Not sure it either of these is worth noting for additional weight other than the camper.  The camper will have the standard comforts like propane system, water storage, extra battery(s), etc.  So consider the medium to heavy loaded pop up scenario.


If I have missed a major point I should be considering, feel free to mention that too.  I am new to this and would like to feel I made the appropriate decision.


Thanks for your time and let the comments fly!


Hello, Note carrying weight behind the axle increases the actual load placed on the axle by a factor of distance from the axle center line / wheelbase. So, say a 140# box+carrier+contents and the center of that wt is 52" aft of axle of a 127 WB vehicle. The effective wt is close to 200#s. Does that matter IDK... I would also compare the tow hitches avail with each model, one might be better for the carrier you mentioned.


One point not mentioned is the interior comfort, seating, legroom as well as driver sight lines, perspective etc. It's for you, it should fit you.


On Edit: reread, sorry, ottorogers had already covered my last point.


As to OP point #1. I believe it's safe to say a smaller camper on a bigger truck will have more "stability" than the reverse. The key is to keep the mass low and centered and to try to keep within the design specs of the vehicle. As to a larger vehicle needing to be driven more slowly, narrow trails excepted, I think you might be surprised ...

Edited by klahanie, 29 September 2017 - 07:06 PM.

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#12 jimjxsn


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Posted 29 September 2017 - 08:34 PM

I've had two Tundras.  A 2000 with a FWC Ranger which I had for 10 years.  I now have a 2017 with an ATC Panther which I just got this summer.  They were both fantastic!






I added a rear sway bar and air bags on the new Tundra and realize now that I may not have needed the air bags.  Although, with the camper and towing that big trailer, I did end up pumping up the bags.   :D



Edited by jimjxsn, 29 September 2017 - 08:37 PM.

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2000 Tundra AC- 2000 FWC Ranger

2017 Tundra DC - 2017 ATC Panther

#13 moveinon


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Posted 29 September 2017 - 11:23 PM


With my last Tacoma I hauled some pretty heavy loads down steep mountain roads.  Was worried about brakes so changed to slotted discs in front (don’t like drilled) and changed the calipers to Tundra ones with quality pads.  It substantially improved braking.  The only modification to do that is the dust shield so simple DIY process.  I have already gotten a couple of Tundra calipers from a local junk yard to clean, paint and put in new pads to replace brakes on my current truck when it needs.  I could upgrade the rear to discs but that would be overkill for me so will leave them as is.

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#14 Gnome



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Posted 05 October 2017 - 01:00 AM

I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what I want.  I am getting close but still not fully settled.  One thing I have decided on is going with the Tundra. 
As Mickey B. said "Pretty much any Pop up you put on a Tacoma, ranger, frontier etc. will be at gvw with just the camper, no gear, no people." 
As I looked into it, I found this to be correct.  Sure there are a small few campers that come in below the GVWR of a Tacoma but not by very much and by the time you add options and gear and passengers you are over GVWR by a significant amount.
So I decided to bump up to the Tundra. 
However I found something interesting.  It seems the Tundra is in the same boat in a way.  The issue is When you get a larger truck, you start looking for a camper for that truck.  Looking at the manufactures web sites you find they build specific models for the truck and those are a little heavier.  Essentially you are close or over on GVWR on the Tundra as well.
There seems to be a disconnect in the concept that you should try to stay at or below the GVWR and what the manufactures build for the trucks.  I understand you can make suspension mods etc to beef things up.  But there is more to the GVWR thing than suspension and tires.  Brakes, frame, transmission etc are all part of that equation.  Truck manufacturers do not tell you what the weak link is in the GVWR rating.  You can upgrade things and feel you are making the truck able to handle more weight.  But you simply don't really know for sure if you addressed the correct weak link.
Rather I choose the Tacoma or Tundra, the camper dealers will have camper models that most times are too heavy for the truck.  Lots of people do it and are fine.  In the end I will probably have a camper that is technically too heavy for the truck as well.  This does not fill me with joy.
I had considered using a camper made for the Tacoma and place it on a Tundra.  Two problems with that, they aren't made to fit the truck and, well, who wants to put less camper on a truck than a camper dealer says they can?  lol we all want more and if the dealer says its good, then we kind of turn a blind eye to the GVWR thing.  Its like a bank saying you can afford a very large mortgage.  We want the big thing so we buy into the hype.
I did not want to bump up to the 3/4 ton trucks (although I contemplated doing so).  I am a little bit of a Toyota Fan after my last vehicle.  So Tundra it is.  After hearing the MPG is not too different between a loaded Tacoma and a loaded Tundra I feel the Tundra is better for my needs so I know I have a little more payload wiggle room.
Klahanie thanks for mentioning the increased payload added by placing weight out from the rear axle.  Makes sense but I never thought of it.  I would also prefer to keep my gear in the truck somewhere if I can (not in my living space and not on the roof though).  The rack on the back may make the front end light, add the extra payload by leverage and mess with the departure angle.
Hear is my new question and I may start a new thread on this.  Unless you guys have quick solid answers based on experience.
I understand that keeping the center of gravity lower helps with stability.  Does anyone have experience with elevating a camper on a platform?  I am considering placing a platform with drawers under the camper.  With the same camper mounted to the bed compared to the same camper mounted 12 inches higher on a platform, can anyone comment on how big of a change in drivability this would have.  Minor or extreme?
I know by doing this I would have the sleeping area significantly over the cab of the truck with a blank space.  I will deal with that with storage mods and a wind flare.  I know it will create more drag.  But my main concern is how will raising the camper up 12 inches effect the drivability on winding roads?  if it minor I am ok with that.  If it is a major impact I may reconsider.
I am more concerned with highway and paved winding roads.  My off road use will be on the mellower side with the occasional moderate obstacle.  I am not a hard core off road guy.  If its crazy hard I go play elsewhere.
And thanks to everyone for chiming in!  it gave me a lot of research time.  lol  I have been up late many nights working out various options.

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#15 CougarCouple


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Posted 05 October 2017 - 01:26 AM

I have no experience with this Gnome, but there was conversation about the flat bed models and the elevation the deck put the camper vs the ones you slide into oem bed. There is a f250 or 350 with a slide in camper on a flat bed using the space on either side for storage. I'll look for them.

Here's one

And another

Edited by CougarCouple, 05 October 2017 - 01:43 AM.

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F250 extended cab, Cougar from ATC. You guys rock thank you!

#16 Gnome



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Posted 05 October 2017 - 01:56 AM

That first one would fill my needs well.  At one point I was considering a flat bed and a flat bed model.  A FWC dealer quoted me like $13K for a flat bed alone!  That sticker shock sent me running to the hills.  I sometimes feel they were high ballin me.  I like the look and function of the link you shared it has me wanting to look at the flat bed prices more.


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#17 Gnome



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Posted 05 October 2017 - 02:49 AM

Looking closer I see the same issue arises with this as with a platform.  Note the distance between the sleeping area / cab over and the top of the truck cab.  That is the type of distance I would have with the platform concept.  The flat bed sits high (above the wheel well zone) just as the platform would sit high (above the wheel well zone).

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#18 rando


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Posted 05 October 2017 - 03:14 AM

Firstly, flatbeds can be had for much less than $13K, mine was more like $3K.  While I like the drawer idea, I think 12" would be a LOT of extra height.   With my flatbed, I am mounted ~4" above the original bed, and feel that the extra space between the cab over and cab of the truck is a bit excessive (it is ~5").     With 12" drawers you would be looking at about 15" clearance between the cab and cabover. I would also be starting to get a little concerned about COG with a 1500lb weight raised an extra 12".   The slide in models already have the weight a little higher than the flat bed models to clear the bed rails.   If you are worried about storage space I would strongly consider the flatbed models.   They have way more interior storage to start with, and the option for under-bed drawers and tool boxes giving even more storage.  The side door layout is also far superior (IMHO anyway).  If your budget can't extend to the flatbed model, a slide in on a flatbed with tool boxes maybe a decent alternative with extra storage. 

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2016 Fleet Flatbed

2016 Toyota Tacoma

#19 kmcintyre


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Posted 05 October 2017 - 11:44 AM

What I did and I found out I like a lot is to get a full size truck (aka Tundra size) with a camper that was made for the mid-size trucks.  Yes, you lose some of the extra interior space but you get a camper that is a bit more sleek behind the cab and it's a bit lighter.  Yes, the full size trucks are still 1/2 ton but the combo seems to work better (for me).  

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#20 Mickey Bitsko

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 04:43 PM

Gnome, well done research.
I have an FWC Eagle, had it on a 00' Ranger, upgraded to 456 gears and Ride rites, but still a little truck.
Went to a 99'150 Added Ride rites, turned into a great rig. camper, factory optioned is about 1k lbs leaving approximately 500lbs people and gear, at that, at or above gvw.
I don't do hard core off-road but am not intimidated by a little side hill or tight FSR.

Very little change in MPG
Good luck.
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