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Old 09-20-2011, 04:27 PM   #1
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Sunset Beach , California
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Newbie ordering a pickup - Which bed Length?

Hi All,

So after much consideration, I've decided to join the ranks of those using a pickup as their TV of choice. Still haven't decide on just which one, but probably a 3/4 ton diesel Silverado, Sierra, F-250, etc. I'm going this route for several reasons, 1) I don't want to carry the genset in the back of an SUV and smell gas / oil all day long (and I don't want to carry it in the AS either), 2) Want room for toys, and 3) mostly due to the excellent information that I've read here on the forums - Thanks Everyone! So I have two questions for everyone and would appreciate any recommendations that you have.

The AS in question is probably going to be a 2012 23'FB Flying Cloud or 25'FB Flying Cloud.

Question 1)
Which length bed would be best?

I plan on carrying the Genset (two Honda 2000 watt generators), bicycles, and other related toys / camping stuff.

Question 2)
How to decorate the bed?

Shell, Spray on liner, cover, etc.? I was contemplating heavy chains for the genset and maybe one of the heavy steel tool boxes to hold stuff that would like to walk away.

I'm sure that I'm probably missing some important aspect that the bed length contributes to, so please feel free to let me know about that as well. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers and Happy Airstreaming,
GinMame (Rion & Nobuko DuVall)
AIR# 58703
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:49 PM   #2
2006 25' Classic
Ft Worth , Texas
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Our 250

We had a spray in bed liner and a cover and a bed drawer installed in our new ford 250 diesel truck. You could get a step built into the tail gate but we opted out on that one because we chose instead to have a bed drawer so we could bring all the stuff into easy reach without having to climb up in the truck bed; It makes loading the truck so much easier as well.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:52 PM   #3
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First of all the longer wheel base of the full size bed provides for more stable towing, but I doubt the extra stability is needed. Part of the decision has to be based on how long the cab is. We have a Dodge Quad Cab with a short bed. It is enough to drive and park in a urban area. I would not want to have extra length to deal with.

I would recommend a spray in bed liner. We chose the Reflex brand.

We had a fiberglass tonneau cover, but recently changed to a Leer topper. It offers more options for dry storage and access. We carry two bikes plus everything else we want for camping. A generator would be no problem even in our short bed.

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Old 09-20-2011, 05:04 PM   #4
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First I think that a 3/4 ton diesel is a good choice.

I would get the spray on bed liner. The concern with plastic liners is that water gets underneath and rusts the bed.

I would get a good quality cap. It keeps your stuff out of the weather and the dark tinting protects against prying eyes- gen sets, tools, etc.
The only bad thing is that it hurts your visibility. I have a cap and I remove it to carry my motorcycle in the bed.

The bed decision is a bit tougher. I have an 08 Tundra and the decision was pretty easy for me. The double cab, as they call it, has a 145" wheel base which is kind of the standard large pickup truck wheel base. In the Tundra this gives a perfectly adequate back seat for adults along with a 6.5 ft bed. Now in the GM line this wheelbase can give you a 6.5 ft bed also, but I don't think the back seat is as large as the Tundra and I think the doors are rear opening (suicide). With the same wheel base you can also get a larger back seat with a small bed (5 ft.). I have gotten spoiled with the 6.5 ft bed and would not want to have anything smaller. I could not carry as much stuff and could not carry my motorcycle. So with GM, to get an adequate back seat to carry adults and a 6.5 ft bed, I believe you have to go to a longer wheelbase than 145". This makes the truck longer, less manuverable and harder to park. There is no free lunch. You have to look at what is most important for you and make your own decision. Good luck.

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Old 09-20-2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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8 ft only way to go or find that out later.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rock60 View Post
8 ft only way to go or find that out later.

I guess I'm a slow learner. We've had the short bed for eight years and I've yet to learn that I need or want a longer one.

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Old 09-20-2011, 05:36 PM   #7
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I tow a 25' Airstream with a short bed Dodge 2500 with auto and 4wd. It works very, very well. I had to get a drawbar with a 6" drop and holes for adjustment. We used one of the fiberglass, hinged, low covers on the back. Has a lock. Bed liner came in the truck.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by w7ts View Post
I guess I'm a slow learner. We've had the short bed for eight years and I've yet to learn that I need or want a longer one.

you said it.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:43 PM   #9
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Chelsea , Michigan
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I went with a BedRug liner on my last truck and never regretted it. Unless you're hauling mulch or mud you'll never wish you had anything else. I have had the spray in and hard plastic liners and they do a great job protecting the paint but they don't do much for your stuff. The BedRug keeps stuff where you put it and if you ever do swerve or brake hard enough to send stuff flying back there, it has a cushion to bounce off. Spend some time reading up on the BedRug - it's worth looking into. Many of my buddies have switched to it as well. I installed it by myself in a short afternoon.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:55 PM   #10
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Just to add my opinion. I have an F250 Crew Cab (4 doors). I got a 6 3/4' bed due to wheelbase length. U-turns are hard enough with this one!

Next truck I am leaning to the Club Cab (don't need to people space anymore) and then I will look for an 8' length.

A shell is appealing but then it looks like an Excursion. I have a fiberglass lid but I have seen these and they look very interesting... (plus they are silver!)
Roger & Roxie (rore62) Smith (Air#178 - WBCCI#1646)
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:07 PM   #11
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I prefer the long bed as I have extra fuel tank and tool boxes. My preference is also for a cab high cap as you can carry more that way. Lift up side windows are good as the everything is easy to get at.
A short bed is probably slightly more maneuverable but considerably reduces the amount of cargo space. Everything is a trade off. I have never bothered with a bed liner as when I buy a truck I expect to get all the good use out of it so a few paint scratches don't matter. (562K on my current TV)
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:21 PM   #12
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Equipping Tow Vehicle

So far (600 miles towing) I'm pleased with my 2011 Ford F-250 Diesel, crew cab, 6.75 bed. So far I haven't found I needed the extra length of an 8 foot bed. The crew cab with 6.75 bed is sometimes too long to navigate parking lots with agility.

After reading a number of truck blogs I chose the BedRug bedliner, instead of a spray on, and I'm very pleased. It is easy on the knees when moving around in the bed, items do not slide around, and it looks great. I perceive it will be durable over time and protect the paint in the bed. It is easy to clean with a vacuum cleaner.

I debated long and hard over a cap versus fiberglass tonneau versus retractable cover. Ultimately I chose the BakFlip F!. The biggest problem with the BackFlip is very slight leaks in the corners in driving rain which I think can be correct through adjustment and the addition of weatherstripping. I just haven't had time to lay under the cover with a light while someone is spraying the cover with water to determine the exact location of the leak. The other problem with the cover is its black color which absorbs heat and becomes extremely hot to touch under the summer sun.

I like the versatility of the Bak Flip. It has the ability to open fully so the entire bed is accessible. Versus a tonneau cover or cap it allows me to walk around in the bed standing. I can also open the tailgate without opening the Bak Flip to reach items at the rear. It is also possible to leave the generator secured in the truck at the rear, leave the liftgate locked and open only the first segment so the generator can run while the rest of the bed is covered.

Good luck with your selection. Isn't it great to have so many choices?
Airstream - 2008 Safari 27FB SE (Sweet Pea)
TV - 2011 Ford F250 Lariat, 6.7 Diesel, 4X4 (Brutus)
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:51 PM   #13
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I have a "bed mat"

Dee Zee Truck Bed Mat, DeeZee Truck Bed Liner - Videos, Installations & Reviews

and really like it. I have a SnugTop over the bed so it is dry and with the bed mat, although not slippery, I can slide things in and out of the bed. I have the standard bed (6.5) size and it has worked fine for me.

Good luck making your decision.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:56 PM   #14
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new to towing but in general the longer the wheel base the smoother the ride I have put almost 400,000 miles on chevy silverado's - I'm on the third one now and I have never been stranded on the highway so my vote would be a 2500 chevy long bed

Remember its not the destination, but rather the journey.... its what's in the middle that matters the most!
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:16 PM   #15
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1991 35' Airstream 350
Jay , Oklahoma
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We have been looking at new tow vehicles, and I have about decided to install a service body on my next TV. The new fiberglass units are much more streamlined than the old ones.

I added a shell to my current short bed. The shell has a toolbox on the driver's side. It has convinced me that a full-on service body would be great. Cabinets down both sides for generators, fuel and all the rest. Still with some open cargo area. Everything locked up and dry.

Jeff & Cindy
'09 27FB Flying Cloud
'91 350 LE MH
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:39 PM   #16
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Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Crew-Cab, Short Bed, No Shell

We are presently on our fourth Chevy Suburban and our third pickup. So, we have tried every combination known to man.
The first pick-up was a regular cab F-150, long-bed, with a shell.

I will never own a long-bed tow vehicle again, unless I intend to spend the rest of my towing days on the interstate, or in truck stops, or Walmart parking lots, or pull-through RV parks.

My second pickup was a beautiful 2500HD Chevy Duramax with the 6'6" bed. The best tow vehicle ever. I had a sprayed in bed liner, a rubber bed mat, and a shell installed.

I cursed the shell until I sold the truck. It turned the versatile pickup into a pseudo Suburban. It was no longer a pickup, but it wasn't a Suburban either. Loading heavy stuff in and out of the bed was back breaking, especially if hooked up to an Airstream.

My third pickup and the one I tow with now, is a 2500HD Duramax diesel with a sprayed in bed liner, and a 6'6" open bed. I love it. At our White Sands Rally this weekend, I was in and out of that bed 6 or 7 times a day, and not crawling around on my hands and knees.

The Suburban is for more light duty towing out to the pistol range and back with the range trailer.

Hope this adds perspective.

P.S. I too would like a service bed, but my wife thinks they are too... well too service looking.
Ken L
2019 Flying Cloud 27FB
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab 6.2L Max Tow
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:44 PM   #17
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I have the 6.5 foot bed and a nice topper with back and side opening swing up windows. The side ones are a must.

Though am thinking of, for the next truck, as you originally mentioned, a utility body, one of the mil spec type with an enclosed and lockable interior space. All steel. No need for the Knack locker.

Plenty of easy to get to bins and drawers for everything. Probably with a telescopic roof like a Knap.
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:29 AM   #18
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We have the 8 foot bed, but could use a 10 foot, or maybe I just have toomany toys. Sal.
Sal & Nora
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Old 09-21-2011, 07:57 AM   #19
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My current TV is a Ford F250 crew cab short bed. So far no issues with short bed. Between the back seat and bed plenty of room for stuff. I went with the bed rug and am very happy with it. Since I want to use my TV as a pickup when not towing, I went with the Pace Edwards retractable cover. It provides good security, but does allow a little water in. Since I also want to take bikes when camping, I got the optional Pace Edwards rails that accept Yakima mounts. So I have the Yakima bike carriers over the bed.
2011 30' Classic
2015 Ford F250 4X4 Platinum
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:12 AM   #20
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2005 28' Safari
saline , Michigan
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Silverado, extended cab with 6.5 bed. Totally agree about turning radius especially if you want an extended cab or crew cab. Also, overall weight is reduced with shorter bed. As I haul a 28' AS, I am weight sensitive and don't carry anything I don't think I am going to need. I built a lightweight rack to hold my Kayak and carry my two bikes in the back.
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