I have a little money in my pocket and I am desperately craving some adventure and a small adventure rig to go on the back of my truck.
F150 6.5 ft bed.
I really really want something like this
I cant afford to buy it new. So I was thinking of making it. Taking a craigslist 100 dollar truck shell and stripping the windows and back hatch off of it. Then making a frame out of steel and basically recreating a four wheel camper project M. I like the fact that while not using it as a camper its alot of space and can be used just like a truck topper. I like that its lighter because it attaches to the rails. I would create modular systems to go into it when its time to camp, so think like a paletized kitchen that can slide into it, a water system for outside shower hookup, a cot or bunk that converts to a couch. All stuff that can be removed and put in the garage when not in use. Id also line the bed with insulation and carpet.
Just when I was really close to committing to this build I saw an old (maybe mid to late 80s) four wheel camper grandby for sale that is very affordable. Supposedly its in ok shape, the heater doesnt work (not a big deal to replace), and supposedly the canvas is in good shape (this would be the big thing for me, I do not feel like trying to replace material). It would have some downfalls, I would have to modify it to fit my truck as its a bit wider than my wheel wells. I would probably basically fully gut it, use the aluminum frame, add new skin, redo entire interior ect. would be alot of work. Or... I use parts out of it
Option #1 buy old used grandby and renovate
-can be used now before even starting a major remodel of it (assuming theres an easy solution to narrow the tub width)
-Probably better insulated
-all appliances ect are in place
-a bit cheaper than creating from scratch
-aluminum frame (could be a pro or con, i dont have ways to weld aluminum so if its all good then im assuming pro, if broken welds then big con)
-The length is off and would mean leaving the tailgate down, this kind of sucks, no backup camera functionality ect.
-the modifications needed would be relatively significant (need to narrow bottom foot area by I think 4 inches).
-Transporting bikes (which we do a lot) would require a very long hitch mount so just more stuff flopping around behind the truck, or a roof mount which is not the easiest to pull them on and off of.
-while camper is on it cannot be used as a truck.
Option #2 buy a camper shell, use windows and back hatch to make a project M knockoff out of steel frame
-would fit truck exactly
-would be able to unload it when not used as a camper and use the truck as a ...truck
-can throw bikes in, even while using as a camper.
-would be lighter overall, especially when not being used as a camper, but as a shell
-more configurable space.
-Would be built beefy
-would need to figure out the lift and canvas walls (this is a huge con)
-would take longer to be ready to go adventure
-would cost a little more
-would need to buy appliances like heater, water heater, pump ect.
Option #3 buy the Four Wheel Camper and just yank parts off including appliances, roof, canvas, lift mechanism cushions ect
-Would not have to worry about recreating vinyl material (this ones huge)
-could use aluminum roof and lift mechanism, would be light weight and easier to install
-could reuse some appliances (would depend on whats all still good)
-recover cushions to reuse and save money
-Could use for a bit as is before ready to tear down (assuming theres an easy solution to narrow the tub width)
-All pros of option 2 apply
-alot of trash to deal with after gutting camper
-Seems a big waste of a four wheel camper (even though it wont fit in any modern truck), just kind of hurts to think of discarding so much of it
-would need to also buy an old truck topper for the rear hatch (this is not too bug a deal, ive seen them for about 100 bucks or less since fit wont matter)
Need to decide asap.