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Old 02-17-2010, 01:24 PM   #1
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Towing with a slide-in camper in the pickup

Slow day at work so I keep thinking thoughts.

Anyone carry a pickup camper while also towing a 'stream? I know there are plenty of people who pitch a kiddie tent so the adults can sleep, and am thinking of this as a variation. Besides, if I see a Cayo C-11 for sale the aluminitis might be too strong to resist.

Slide-ins generally get a bad rap because the perfect balance between weight and usability usually results in a trailer that is too heavy for the truck while still being too small to use. The smaller slide-ins, it seems, might be workable as extra space as long as they are an adjunct living area rather than an actual home away from home.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:02 PM   #2
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Pickup campers & trailers have been done before. You can find pickups that have the capacity to do both. But it's the rear overhang of a pickup camper that will significantly impact your options.

What's the overhang there -- 20" or so? There are a variety of Air-Ride or Shocker brand hitch bar extensions and I've read a few reports about those allowing a lot of flexing when weight distribution is engaged. But 18-20" or more extensions? Uncharted territory -- maybe with or maybe without dragons? I dunno. Archimedes said, "...with a lever I will move the whole world." Guess we'll just need your feedback when you do this.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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I am presently operating under the happy fiction that with enough drop the ppppp will clear the bottom of the Avion and I won't have to take off the hitch jack or propane bottles unless I have to turn.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:14 PM   #4
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Jammer, if your looking for something a little more durable than a cheap tent, you might just go with a camper shell and an air mattress.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:25 PM   #5
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I've never found one that was mosquito proof or rain tight.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
... I won't have to take off the hitch jack or propane bottles unless I have to turn.
Got that right! Scenario 1: Campground complaint box... "I asked for a pull-through site but the one you gave me had a turn at the entrance!"

A tow vehicle and Airstream usually can be maneuvered so they won't 'pinch' at the corners. But that is with the corner of a truck being just forward of the hitch ball.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:47 PM   #7
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Jammer, we are set up with a TC and, of course, our AS. We do not however use both at the same time, although it can be done. I don’t believe Cayo/Avion made TC’s that do NOT over hang the bed, but there are many other models that do….but do not let that stop you; this can be compensated by using a hitch extension…but your 30’er may be too much for an extension…don’t know what your hitch weight is. You would need a Tow-Beast or similar heavy duty extension.
We use the TC and tow our Classic Whaler at the same time, but this is much lighter than your 30’er.
So the short answer is; yes you can this, it would require;
  • At least a 1 ton. Preferably a 450/550 or Kodiak chassis.
  • Hitch extension.
  • Or stay with a TC that is the same length as your bed (don’t know if you have LB or SB?) so you would have no over hang.
  • Stay with a lighter TC and you may be able to use your current truck (don’t know if you have a ¾ ton or 1 ton?).

Perhaps ticki2 will chime in soon…Bob can offer some advice as well.

Bill
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:59 PM   #8
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I presently have a 3/4 ton long bed and plan to replace it with something similar but newer.

Aluminitis aside, the smaller campers that do not overhang the rear of the trailer would indeed be the most reasonable choice. I've looked at a couple on the 'net. Northstar is nearby and make a line of lighter weight campers, many of which don't overhang the bed.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:32 PM   #9
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I presently have a 3/4 ton long bed and plan to replace it with something similar but newer.

Aluminitus aside, the smaller campers that do not overhang the rear of the trailer would indeed be the most reasonable choice. I've looked at a couple on the 'net. North star is nearby and make a line of lighter weight campers, many of which don't overhang the bed.
They even make some that don't over hang a short bed to speak of. When we Had a 21ft SOB, I wanted one of those and was going to have it in place when towing. Unfortunately, the household management vetoed it in no uncertain terms. I can't remember if I was able to bargain for anything in exchange, but I doubt it.

regards,
Ken
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:39 PM   #10
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Towing with a slide-in camper in the pickup

I have a '99 Ford F250 SD LB 4x4 and when I first purchased my '71 23' Safari 5 years ago I had a Four Wheel Grandby pop-up camper in the back of the truck. It was 8' long and did not overhang. This camper is marketed toward rough/back road traveling and is very rugged with an all aluminum frame and siding. Amenities are pretty basic, but total weight was about 1,000 lbs. The company has been around since the late 1970's with several owners. The current owners took possession in 2002 or so and have made some nice up grades. They also produce the Six-Pac hard side camper.

I sold the original camper not long after purchasing the Safari but have missed it over the past few years. It is great for going down the gnarly roads in the Northwest that I avoid taking my Safari down, out of fear of beating the hell out of it. So, I just now am in the process of putting a deposit down on a new Four Wheel Camper Grandby Shell. The shell is basically the camper unit with a bed but no amenities (heat, cooking, water, etc). This basic model is targeted toward those who want to "custom convert" the interiors on their own or, like myself, who are wanting a very basic, very lightweight, unit for sleeping and hauling gear when in the back country. My wife and I will primarily cook outside or bring it inside on some basic modular/removable fixtures that I plan on installing. They offer some basic upgrade options for the shell but draw the line at making a custom camper for you. The shell I am purchasing will weigh in around 600 lbs or slightly under. The intent is to keep it on the light side, since I don't plan on taking it on and off when I tow the Safari. My Ford has the "camper package" so the weight of the unit and the tongue weight of the trailer are within limits.

You can google Four Wheel Camper and find the link to the company as well as discussions about them on Wander The West or Expedition Portals forums. You will also see reference to a very similar look alike called All Terrain Campers which, I believe, is run by the previous owners of Four Wheel Campers. Their unit looks a bit like the an older version of the Four Wheel unit but I hear is also well made. I hear they are more flexible about "custom" options.

I will reiterate that these are more compact basic campers without all of the amenities and space that one finds in the 2 - 3,000+ lb behemoths on the big rigs. Then again, if you have a trailer, you don't necessarily need a palace on the back of the truck.
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Old 02-18-2010, 06:18 AM   #11
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Truck camper owners regularly pull trailers. Its one of the main reasons they go the TC route. Horse trailers, boats, car haulers, toy haulers; they are all common. My own SOB is a 11.5 ft TC. I have air bags to even the stance when loaded and a "Super Hitch" from Tork Lift that gives me a 48 inch extention that is rated for 6000# towing and 600# tongue weight at that length. Double those numbers with a weight distributing setup. I haven't had a need to approach those numbers as I've only pulled U-Hauls and my utility trailer. My Airstream is fairly large in size, but its not that heavy. I'm sure the rig could pull it, but I wouldn't want to have to back down a narrow country lane.
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