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#1 Yama-Bro

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 02:47 PM

Hi Guys! New member here. I’ve been wanting a pop up truck camper for years. I started shopping around for one recently and came across this site. It is a great wealth of information. I have a few questions that I could use your guidance on. I would love to buy a new FWC or ATC, but those just aren’t in my price range at the moment so I thought I would look at buying a used camper that will allow me and my family to try it out. If we get a lot of use out of it, we can look at buying a nicer one in the future.

 

I have a family of four. My wife and two boys. The boys are ages 9 and 15. We love taking a big vacation every summer. In the past we have ventured off to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, The Rocky Mountains, and the Black Hills. For every trip so far, we’ve stayed in hotels or cabins, but I’d like to get the outdoors feel of it a little more, hence the camper. Has anyone else made this work with four people? I know we will be cramped. I was thinking if both boys don’t fit in the camper for sleeping, one could sleep in the back of the truck or we could bring a little tent for them. Is my thinking way off on this? There will be other trips, where it is just me and the boys (or one boy), or my wife and I. So, not all trips would be with four people. I suspect my oldest son will drop out of the vacations within the next few years, since he’s getting to that age, so we could be down to 3 real soon.

 

I own a 2010 Toyota Tundra CrewMax. When I bought the truck I had an inclination of hauling a camper in it, but never delved into the details concerning payloads. I just assumed since it is a big truck (compared to my previous Tacoma) that it would be able to haul anything. I was a little surprised to find the payload is on the low side when you start figuring in the camper, the family and all our gear & supplies. So, for that reason, I decided I need to keep the weight of the camper down low, in order to get all that other stuff in my truck as well. I have been looking at used campers that are designed for smaller trucks and are lighter weight like 1200lbs or less, such as the Sun lite Skyhawk SB. I just ordered a pair of firestone airbags, which I will install, and I already have E rated tires. Is there anything else you would suggest to help the truck handle the load? I’ve also been considering a sway bar or some new Bilstein shocks, but thought I’d wait and see how the truck does with the camper before spending more.

 

Next up, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to attach the camper to my truck. I’d like to have it ready for when I go to pick the camper up (whenever I find the one I like). I’d like to have the tie downs in the bed of the truck. Are all campers setup to be tied down in the bed, or are some externally tied down only? Maybe it would be best to wait and see which camper I end up with? What do you guys suggest doing here? If doing an in bed tie down, what is the best practice or way to do this or what products suggest for this? Are there any tutorials online on how to set this up? I prefer not to pay a dealer to do this.

 

This is more general camper question...Once you get to your destination can you remove the camper from the truck and continue to use it, or does it need to stay on the truck? Does the floor support the weight of people in the camper when not sitting in the truck?

 

I’ll mention in closing that we probably won’t do a lot of serious offroading with the camper on the truck. It'll mostly be stopping in a campground or small jaunt off the beaten path.

 

Thanks for bearing with me.


Edited by Yama-Bro, 30 June 2020 - 02:53 PM.

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#2 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 03:36 PM

Hi Guys! New member here. I’ve been wanting a pop up truck camper for years. I started shopping around for one recently and came across this site. It is a great wealth of information. I have a few questions that I could use your guidance on. I would love to buy a new FWC or ATC, but those just aren’t in my price range at the moment so I thought I would look at buying a used camper that will allow me and my family to try it out. If we get a lot of use out of it, we can look at buying a nicer one in the future.

 

I have a family of four. My wife and two boys. The boys are ages 9 and 15. We love taking a big vacation every summer. In the past we have ventured off to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, The Rocky Mountains, and the Black Hills. For every trip so far, we’ve stayed in hotels or cabins, but I’d like to get the outdoors feel of it a little more, hence the camper. Has anyone else made this work with four people? I know we will be cramped. I was thinking if both boys don’t fit in the camper for sleeping, one could sleep in the back of the truck or we could bring a little tent for them. Is my thinking way off on this? There will be other trips, where it is just me and the boys (or one boy), or my wife and I. So, not all trips would be with four people. I suspect my oldest son will drop out of the vacations within the next few years, since he’s getting to that age, so we could be down to 3 real soon.

 

I own a 2010 Toyota Tundra CrewMax. When I bought the truck I had an inclination of hauling a camper in it, but never delved into the details concerning payloads. I just assumed since it is a big truck (compared to my previous Tacoma) that it would be able to haul anything. I was a little surprised to find the payload is on the low side when you start figuring in the camper, the family and all our gear & supplies. So, for that reason, I decided I need to keep the weight of the camper down low, in order to get all that other stuff in my truck as well. I have been looking at used campers that are designed for smaller trucks and are lighter weight like 1200lbs or less, such as the Sun lite Skyhawk SB. I just ordered a pair of firestone airbags, which I will install, and I already have E rated tires. Is there anything else you would suggest to help the truck handle the load? I’ve also been considering a sway bar or some new Bilstein shocks, but thought I’d wait and see how the truck does with the camper before spending more.  <Looks like you did the right things>

 

Next up, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to attach the camper to my truck. I’d like to have it ready for when I go to pick the camper up (whenever I find the one I like). I’d like to have the tie downs in the bed of the truck. Are all campers setup to be tied down in the bed, or are some externally tied down only? Maybe it would be best to wait and see which camper I end up with? What do you guys suggest doing here? If doing an in bed tie down, what is the best practice or way to do this or what products suggest for this? Are there any tutorials online on how to set this up? I prefer not to pay a dealer to do this. <I’d wait until you see what you choose.  A call to the builder will give you the best info on their preferred mounting method>

 

This is more general camper question...Once you get to your destination can you remove the camper from the truck and continue to use it, or does it need to stay on the truck? Does the floor support the weight of people in the camper when not sitting in the truck? <Highly dependent on which camper you choose.  Most popular pop ups are not usually used off truck without support from the bottom.>

 

I’ll mention in closing that we probably won’t do a lot of serious offroading with the camper on the truck. It'll mostly be stopping in a campground or small jaunt off the beaten path.

<Storage might be an issue given your family size.  A shell with most activities outside is one way to solve that.  A small trailer for gear is another.  Best is only taking what you need, a lesson/skill I’ve never mastered>

 

Thanks for bearing with me.

Welcome to WTW, it’s a great place to hang out on the interwebs.  Keep us posted on what you do camper wise.  Have fun Campering...


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#3 Yama-Bro

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 05:23 PM

If I was to drive some where to pick up the camper, let's say 5 hours away, would it be ok to strap the camper with tie straps, if I was just going to drive down the highway/interstate to get home?  No rough offloading involved.


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#4 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 07:06 PM

If I was to drive some where to pick up the camper, let's say 5 hours away, would it be ok to strap the camper with tie straps, if I was just going to drive down the highway/interstate to get home?  No rough offloading involved.

It’s been done many times.  That said, I personally would not do it


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#5 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 07:29 PM

Welcome to the cult. IMO the main issue with any pop up is as Steve said is storage and room for the family.

There are ways to solve the "sleeping" room like a tent for the boys. Most of the time this can be done and

then in some extreme weather all could hunker down in the camper for a while.

I would check out physically first, campers.Check around your area for someone who could show their camper.

Ask here on site ,there are more and more campers around nowadays.

 

IMO pop ups are great but they are basic almost like backpacking with home amenities

 

Good luck and always ask questions from this site.There is a lot of knowledge here.

Frank


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#6 craig333

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 09:30 PM

At that age the boys would probably prefer sleeping in a tent. Not only does the camper need support but most of us recommend not carrying the camper jacks. Snagging a jack on something will result in major damage to the camper. As for strapping it down, if it seems iffy don't do it. 


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#7 JaSAn

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 10:29 PM

 

I have a family of four. My wife and two boys. The boys are ages 9 and 15 . . . 

 . . .

This is more general camper question...Once you get to your destination can you remove the camper from the truck and continue to use it, or does it need to stay on the truck? Does the floor support the weight of people in the camper when not sitting in the truck?

 

When I was a boy my parents took 3 kids all over the country in a 12 ft travel trailer.  From the time I was 8 or 9 I preferred to sleep in a tent; your boys probably would too.  Biggest problem is when weather is lousy.  The camper will get very crowded.

 

Besides having to drag the camper jacks along (and you are going to be weight challenged without them), loading the camper is stressful for me.  I just leave a small tent in my campsite and leave the camper on the truck.

 

If I was to drive some where to pick up the camper, let's say 5 hours away, would it be ok to strap the camper with tie straps, if I was just going to drive down the highway/interstate to get home?  No rough offloading involved.

 

That is what I did.  Rachet straps from frame over the camper roof and one wrapped around the back to keep the camper from sliding out.  Probably better to use 4 from camper tie down points or jack brackets to frame.


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#8 Vic Harder

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 04:07 AM

Sounds like you are a good candidate for a trailer.  More room, less payload concerns, and cheaper.


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#9 rando

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 04:49 AM

I would second what Vic is saying - sounds like either a trailer or some tents would be a better option.   I really can't imagine 4 close to adult size people in a truck camper, it would be unbearably cramped, even 3 would be pretty tough to manage.   The other big issues are storage and weight.   If you read through the threads here, storage and creative ways of addressing the lack there of, is a common issue with just 2 people in the truck and camper.  With 4 people (and therefore no in cab storage) it would be pretty unworkable and would involve packing the camper to the gills, then unpacking every night and repacking every morning.  

 

Small travel trailers or a pop-up trailer seem like a much more workable solution, are far more plentiful on the new and used market and are much more bang/$.   The other option is of course tents, particularly if you envision these trips in the summer.  You can always fall back on a hotel or cabin if the weather is forecast to be bad, and it gets you much closer to nature. 


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#10 Yama-Bro

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 05:42 PM

Thanks for the replies guys. You definitely have me thinking twice about getting a truck camper. It's been a dream of mine since before I had kids. The kids do make it more complicated LOL. I've never really liked pulling trailers, so I've always ruled out the trailer camper option, but it does seem more doable. I guess if I did buy an older used truck camper at least I wouldn't be out much if it didn't work. I would consider myself a master at packing things in for trips and organizing stuff...so that helps a little. We'd definitely have to only take what we need to get by. If you saw what we get in our Camry on road trips you'd be surprised. haha. Thanks for the advice! Luckily I haven't bought anything yet besides airbags, so I can still ponder on it for awhile.


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