Rando, yes the flatbed models look great but they are simply out of my budget. I have seen flat beds on the interwebs for $3-5k but they do not have large storage boxes etc. So my need for storing larger gear doesnt get handled well. Trust my I kinda drool over the large flat beds with the large boxes and a flatbed model on top. Looks slick.
kmcintyre, I have been thinking about that same thing and do the platform under the bed idea. The Fleet (designed for a Tacoma) is alos about 5 inches lower than the Hawk (designed for the Tundra). With the lower overall height of the Fleet being 5 inches lower, I can place the camper on a 12 inch platform and essentially have a raised camper with a height similar to raising a Hawk only 7 inches. And the Fleet is 100 pounds lighter.
lol It still kinds feels like ripping one self off to place a smaller shell in the truck than the manufacturer says is possible. It is too easy to stick with the sales hype and go for the bigger camper. Putting this all together it seems the logical choice.
To go a step farther for storage I am heavily considering doing something I have not seen anywhere. If anyone knows this has been done, please point me at links so I can see it.
I plan to put a Fleet in a long bed Tundra. The wheel wells of the Tundra would get in the way but with the 12" platform this becomes a non-issue. By placing the camper all the way to the front on a platform there will be about 14-ish inches of space left between the back of the camper and the tailgate. I plan to have custom boxes made to fit that space but extend up higher than the tailgate. As the boxes extend over the tailgate they will be built to extend out over the tailgate by an additional 6 or 7 inches. This large area at the top of the box helps with large backpacks etc.
The pros to this set up are a smaller lighter camper to help with GVWR, a 12 inch drawer storage area as a basement, storage for gear in the rear boxes (not in my living space!), more narrow camper making for better visibility in mirrors and get to keep the stock tailgate.
Keeping the tailgate helps with a few things. I still get the convenience of a truck where you can lower the tailgate and sit on it, use it as a table, etc. I get to keep the stock camera built into the truck. I like how the stock cameras are all dialed in to tell you where your truck will be with the colored lines as you back up. The camper essentially gets a small porch area. Not that this is really needed but I kind of like the idea. The tailgate also acts as a secondary security lock for the rear boxes since it will close over the box doors.
The cons are more wasted space between camper and sides of bed and the feeling you could have had a larger camper (lol).
I will need to have custom boxes made which may be the complex portion of the project.
Anyone have thoughts on this idea?