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8.5 ft vs longer truck campers


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#1 One Sock

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 11:06 PM

I'm looking to buy a pop-up truck camper for the first time. While looking around on the internet for used ones, I find that (1) they are few and far between and I'll likely have to go a long way to get one, and (2) the ones I see are in a rather bewildering range of sizes, making finding the one I really want that much harder.

 

I have a long bed F-350, so campers for a short bed truck are out. Of the ones I've seen for long beds, some are 8.5 feet and some are 9.5-10 feet. 8.5 would make the back end of the camper about even with the back edge of my bumper.

 

I like to go on some fairly gnarly little back roads, the kind where I'm going up and down rough rocky slopes in 4 Low. I also want to be able to live in the camper for several months at a time.

 

So I'm just looking for some opinions from those with experience. Is having a camper that sticks out a foot or two past the rear bumper disadvantageous in terms of maneuverability or vulnerability to damage on rough roads? (The latter is my main concern; I've gotten used to maneuvering a long bed, extended cab truck in some pretty tight places and I could probably adapt to a bit more length.) Is the extra length worthwhile in terms of extra living space?


Edited by One Sock, 08 May 2021 - 11:07 PM.

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#2 smlobx

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 12:26 AM

The answer really depends on you and your lifestyle while camping. A couple of questions to help you sort things out:

 

1. How many people are going with you? My wife and I enjoy our 8.5’ camper on our long bed F-350. We have taken trips up to 3 months long in it and are still happily married! If there are more than that or trips are longer then only you can decide.

 

2. How rough are the roads/trails you’ll be taking? We just got back from a month long trip to South Texas and did the Old Ore Rd. In Big Bend NP. That road required us to place rocks and do some spotting and is about as rough as I’d like to do. If you’re into rock crawling then any overhang could be an issue.

 

Here’s a picture of my crew cab lwb truck in Cottonwood Campground at BBNP to give you an idea of what we use.

 

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#3 Wango

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 04:52 PM

One Sock,

Hi and welcome to one of the best sites on the internet.

I have a 9 foot flatbed/camper on the back of my 2016 F350 CC LB. i too am pretty good at getting the bigger trucks where i want to be. In reality, only you can determine you vehicles ability. i would worry a bit personally about hanging any real amount of weight behind the tailgate. That being said, lot's of people do this on a regular basis. Sounds like you are doing your research and have an idea of what you are looking for. Used campers are a tough find, and right now things are crazy. Lot's of choices, even more opinions, try to narrow it down to which one you like and be ready to jump(FAST). Also, there are a few companies that do custom length, width etc. ATC, Phoenix come to mind. Good luck.


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... just average for a hill-billy...
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#4 ckent323

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 05:25 PM

We have a 1993 Dodge Diesel W250 Clubcab Longbed on which we carry a 2007 FWC Keystone popup whose floor is 9 feet long. We leave the tailgate down so that it protects the part of the camper bottom that extends beyond the end of the cargo bed and so that we can use the 6 inches or so of the tailgate that extends past the bottom of the camper as a ledge to step on or set things on.  I believe that the last year this model was made was either 2011 or 2012.  Also there were a few years in the late 90's into early 200's that they were not made so these are hard to find.  Next size down in the FWC line is the Grandby model which has an 8 foot floor length.

As examples we have traveled on Harry Wade road and Cottonwood Canyon road among others in Death Valley a few times, up and down Vinegar Hill in Oregon's Blue Mountains (probably the roughest road we have been on), the Bradshaw Trail and other dirt roads in the Chuck Wallla Mountains, the road to the toe of Salmon Glacer near Hyder, AK. as well as dirt roads of various kinds around Bishop and Mammoth Mountain with no problems.

We put child locks on the cabinet doors and the refrigerator door to keep them from swinging open.  We have D-ring lash pounts in the camper to secure the porta potti and a 5 gal jug of spare water.  We use small covered containers and fold up crates on the floor for dry goods and extra supplies on long trips.

Truck and Camper have held up fine.  We have plenty of clearance from the tailgate to the ground.  Our main limitation is the size of the truck and the mimimal articulation of the OEM springs on the truck (which I am remedying this year by replaceing the OEM front and rear leaf springs with custom Deaver Springs having 2 inches of lift).

I think you are limiting you search to pop-up and I recommend that you stick to pop-ups for lowest center of gravity and clearance if you will be travelling roads rougher than graded/washboard dirt .


Edited by ckent323, 09 May 2021 - 07:37 PM.

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1993 Dodge Cummins W-250 Club Cab long bed, 2007 FWC Keystone


#5 One Sock

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 06:23 PM

smlobx, that's a nice looking rig. The camper looks as if it fits the truck like a glove. I'm not familiar with the roads you guys mentioned, but about the roughest road I'd care to go on is Lime Kiln Canyon from Grand Canyon--Parashant National Monument to Mesquite, Nevada. I was the only truck among the ATVs going over the pass. I'm leaning more toward the 8.5 length, and I want an older one that might need some work. I haven't seen anything even close in Arizona where I am. Saw a couple ads in Colorado that tempted me, but I don't think they were quite what I want.
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#6 1stDeuce

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 06:53 PM

I run an 8.5' Hallmark popup on the back of my ccsb. I leave the tailgate on and down and I've never been even close to dragging anything... Camper overhangs the tailgate by a couple inches...

Two thoughts from me... First, rock crawling with a truck camper in the back is not fun at all. Second, 8 or 8.5 is the smallest camper I'd want anyway.

I'd not be afraid of a 10' or 10.5 camper in a long box, especially if the price was right...
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#7 michelle_east_county

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Posted 10 May 2021 - 06:35 AM

' still awaiting delivery of our 8 1/2' Hallmark Ute to go on an 8' SuperCab (extended cab) F350. I, too, am assuming that length will be a little short of truck bumper length, and ordered a version of the Ute without the usual full width rear skirting that would hang beyond bumper and have its own tail lamps but not add the storage areas one would get on the model built for a 6 1/2' bed truck. So, by getting a version without all that, and assuming camper jacks aren't mounted, the truck tailpipe or something would be the first thing to hit as part of the truck departure angle. Campers with a full width rear provide a little more bracing to rear jacks for less wobble if you drop off camper and drive truck alone, something likely only worth it if staying in place for a while. An 8 1/2' camper with full skirting but jacks not mounted probably wouldn't really be prone to hit before the truck, though. At 9 1/2', you might, but jacks will always be the primary limiting factor. Beyond 10' departure angles on some start looking like motorhomes.

Another consideration:. If you ever plan to tow anything, a camper extending beyond hitch receiver will need a longer shank or a hitch extension, both of which reduce tow ratings (more for former) and reduce departure angles.

Otherwise, up to about 9 1/2' leaving jacks at home should get you in most anywhere so I wouldn't walk away if right Cuchara appeared.
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#8 smlobx

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Posted 10 May 2021 - 11:19 AM

One Sock thanks for the compliment. We love our Hallmark. Another place to keep an eye out for a used camper is the Hallmark website where people occasionally trade in their units. There are non currently available but you may want to bookmark it and/or call the guys there so they can let you know if anything is expected to come in. Bill and his son’s run this small family business and are well worth talking to.

 

http://www.hallmarkr...llmark-campers/

 

BTW, welcome to the forum!


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Eddie
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