Camper for the bigger campers... With some off road ability?

Discussion in 'Camping for the Medically/Physically Challenged' started by dbhost, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. dbhost

    dbhost Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    Okay so I have been considering a truck camper because, well pop ups almost all seem to have very low ground clearance, and the places I want to camp just wouldn't work... And the bigger issue, the MUCH bigger issue is that I am very much overweight. The pop out beds on most pop ups and even hybrid campers, just seem to be supported with a couple of pieces of what look like EMT conduit. I seriously doubt they would support my weight safely.

    What campers on the market, preferrably used, offer good weight bearing capacity on the beds, and reasonable ground clearance?

    FWIW, I am not rock crawling, but I AM going to be camping on 4x4 mandatory beaches, and BLM / Forest Service primitive / logging roads.

    EDIT: After reading several of the replies so far, I need to elaborate. We are fully equipped tent campers at this point. Complete with propane distribution tree for a 20lb cylinder, lanterns, stove, heater, how shower system, privy tent, toilet etc... Even an AC rig. The idea here is to be able to have a box that we can take with us, either trailer, or in the bed of the truck, that encapsulates all that stuff. Goes where we are wanting to go. Not wild rock crawling or mudding, but forest roads and beaches. Setup once in camp should be minimal. Part of what we are trying to get away from is setting up a tent for sleeping, a screen house for the kitchen, a tent for the bathroom, blowing up beds etc...

    Imagine a Friday afternoon. We get out of work early, weather is good, we head home, grab the camper, load up the fridge and go. That is the idea...
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  2. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    California
    Many trailers can have their axles flipped to provide more clearance. But for serious off-roading, I would go for a truck camper. With that, you can also tow additional off-road gear like bikes, etc., without worrying about anti-double towing laws in some states.

    Many popout beds have a 300lb max weight for them.
     
  3. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Cant give much advice , other then the pop up beds are rated for 800 lbs i think. ( maybe more.) You could also add supports to them if you wanted to. Additionally the do make lift kits and bigger wheels etc.
     
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  4. Gayle

    Gayle New Member

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    Aug 29, 2017
    I do a lot of desert camping and have looked into axel flipping. I will do it as soon as I can. I have heard my bed has a 1000LB. Limit. ????I have supports from camping world as well. My sister and her husband are very much overweight and they sleep on the king side with no problem. (We only go for two nights & added a foam pad) I love my garage storable popper way more than storage fees in California. Also a true camper isn’t the same. It’s like being at home good luck with whatever you decide I looked into off road campers and there hard to find a used one but there out there. Forest river 207SE off road or Baja by Jayco
     
  5. dbhost

    dbhost Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    Okay so it looks like weight isn't the issue I thought it was then...

    I hadn't considered storage fees. Good thing I live in Texas!

    My wife and I have been tent campers forever, but age and weight is catching up to us. And we just don't get out enough... I figure if we had a camper pre loaded minus the perishables we could just hitch up and go on a Friday night grabbing groceries on the way out...

    The idea also is, a camper would take FAR less time to set up, can be had with AC if / when needed (in Texas that is a LOT...) and gets us up off the sand at the beach...
     
  6. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    California
    If you want AC, you'll need hookups or a generator. The AC will not run off the camper battery.
     
  7. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    I'll add in here that the DW and I are in our 40's & not small. I'm in the 300 club and we both sleep on the rear bunk it out issue. The Coleman Niagara I have is lifted with the Spring over axle setup. The only problem with doing the lift is now the Step is higher and the Tongue Jack & Stabs are to short. So I had to make a step & cut 6x6 lumber for the Stabs & Jack.

    Setting up any type of camper takes time. We have been camping together for so long that we both know or rolls. We take our time as it's part of the Fun.

    Lastly Setting up a Pup is much easier than our Ranch House tent by far.
     
  8. dbhost

    dbhost Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    Westinghouse 2.2K inverter generator already in our gear list... I can't camp without electricity, CPAP and all...
     
  9. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Perfect. Many folks don't realize the AC won't work off the battery, so I like to point it out. :)
     
  10. dbhost

    dbhost Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    No doubt.

    Our typical at this point is thus...

    Pull into camp. Unload, and stage tents first.

    Coleman Sundome 10x12 where sleeping tent goes.
    9x12 screen house next to picnic table.
    Privy tent location dependent upon terrain, but typically toward the back of the campsite away from the other tents and other campers...

    We unroll the coleman and the screen room together.

    Sleeping tent first.
    I assemble poles, she assists with feeding through the crossovers. She secures the first foot side, and holds the thing until I tension it and place the opposing foot. Repeat other pole, stake tent body down. I throw rainfly over, she pulls it other side, opposing corners we clip on rain fly. I feed fly pole through, she pockets it opposing side, I tension and pocket it. As a pair we guy out, and stake the body and fly.

    Repeat similar process with screen room.

    Toss air mattresses and pump into sleeping tent, she goes to work inflating. I move on to setting up privy. I can do our old Cabelas Deluxe Shower Shelter / Privy solo in about 3 minutes. Snap the poles together, clip the body to the poles, throw the fly over, clip it on, guy it out and stake it down, done.

    Oh I should mention, all tents are within 20' of a central hub. Especially in winter when I run a Portable Buddy heater when it snows... I have 20' propane hoses to run my stuff....

    She starts moving the lighter kitchen stuff into place, whilst I place the toilet (currently a Luggable Loo bucket toilet) and Zodi hot shower into the privy tent.

    I set up the propane cylinder, distribution tree, and place the lantern on top of the tree. Run hose to Zodi, and other hose to coleman stove. IF winter using heater, Add splitter and run hose to Portable Buddy heater as well.

    By this time I am hauling things like the cookware, cooler etc... to the kitchen area.

    Set up electrical in main tent, bring in clothing totes / night stands, and hook up CPAP.
    And if in summer, drag out AC unit and set it up. Yes I have an AC port in my tent. I live and camp along the gulf of Mexico after all...

    If in park, hook up to power / water posts, if boondocking / beaching, set up generator and water supplies in relevant locations...

    So you see, there is a good bit of work to the simplified description of our roles and setup. And I want to simplify that

    Perhaps I am wrong but with a pop up, it would be simply Raise the roof, fold up and latch the door parts, slide out and set up the end beds with their supports, turn on the propane, hook up water and electric, connect my CPAP, and make the bed...
     
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  11. dbhost

    dbhost Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    Well you COULD rig up a solar / battery system to run AC, but, well your pop up would be all solar cells and batteries.
     
  12. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    Yup that sounds alot like how we used to do it. If it's just you and the DW than I would suggest that you don't need a Pup with a slide. I have the Niagara that has a slide. I have found that it takes up to much interior space we in tow mode. This means I will be spending the winter rebuilding our Coleman Mesa which is the Niagara without the slide and show/toilet.
     
  13. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Nj
    Typical pop up set up, os a bit eaisier. And with only 2 people should be a lot eaisier. Level, pop it up, pop down the stablizers, slide out the beds , and put in the supoert polls. Then , hook up to the utillities, turn on the gas. A bit or rearanging stuff. Its eaisier and more room. Im 6'6" and have plenty of room.
     
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  14. Shaman1

    Shaman1 Well-Known Member

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    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    My hybrid has higher ground clearance than my pup and sets up faster than the pup. That being said, I take both boondocking. The pup seems to handle the beach better (it's light & Spartan).
     
  15. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    No they don't. [LOL][LOL]

    I can only hope this was a typo. I've been a pop-up fan for over 15 years, and make it my business to know everything I can about them. The lowest weight capacity I've ever heard for any bunk is 700 lbs, and those are few and far between. Most are well over 1,000 lbs.
     
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  16. dbhost

    dbhost Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    I sure hope so. A limit like 700 would work, but I like having a nice safe higher number you know?
     
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  17. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Coleman campers have the highest bunk weight ratings. They also have the widest doors.

    You can make an off road camper from just about any pop up, but does sound like a truck camper may serve you better. They are just pricey these days!

    I just don't know about towing anything on a 4WD only beach. If it can be done, then a pup would work. I know lots of people do axle flips and other alterations to make their pups 4WD accessible.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
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  18. dbhost

    dbhost Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    The trick is to get the axle UP, and the footprint of the tires considerably wider than stock. I spent some time looking. Those Coleman Campers seem to be a pretty good bet, along with older Starcraft. Looks like the wheel wells can be opend up a bit without compromising the body structure.

    One I saw yesterday, and I think it was when I googled it and it came back here, looks to be like the one I am looking at, a Mid 90s Coleman, Axle flipped, wheel houses opened up (careful trimming of the plastic / fiberglass) upgraded shocks and some bigger wheels / tires. Mostly wider.

    Not looking at wild Moab Utah type stuff, if you Youtube say Padre Island National Seashore Camping, you'll see what I am talking about. I need to cross drifts of sand that are plenty soft and pretty deep. At the weight of one of these trailers, I would want to put a 10.5" wide tire on it. Meaning new / wider rims. I think the hardest part of the whole thing is to find a small enough diameter wide tire. I have help with that from a friend in the tire business though..

    On the truck camper vs pop up thing. I am looking pretty closely.

    Payload is an issue. I have a half ton truck (misnomer actually as the payload really is over 3/4 of a ton), a 2004 Ford F150 4x4. Curb Weight is per published specs 5875lbs, a GVWR of 7900lbs which puts me at a 2025lb payload. with a tow rating of 9200lbs.

    The lightest truck camper I can find, that offers the minimum I am willing to accept (Queen bed, AC, fridge, onboard water etc...) is the Eureka SlideInn with the 4ft overcab sleeper (bed slides out over the dinette). With manual lift jacks it weighs in at 1,100lbs, add to that the added water, food, fuel, propane, camp stove, hot shower heater, privy tent etc... and of course my wife and I, and we are getting dangerously close to the limits.

    Knowing what I know about the truck, and the engineering of it, the limits are based on the OE tires, which I don't have, and the lighter duty spring packs, which I upgraded years ago, and the braking system, which has likewise been upgraded for towing / hauling years ago. Only thing left for me to do is a Firestone Ride Rite air bag setup on the rear springs. I know my truck CAN easily carry it all, but the legalities can be iffy, especially if there is an accident involved.

    A Pop up, assuming I can keep it from dragging the axle in the sand, would be a better bet, also assuming another issue. Heat. How on earth do you air condition a big tent? I do with a 10x12 dome tent, but pop ups have a LOT more tent fabric surface. I have seen some pop up truck campers and trailers where the owners had custom made canvas done that was insulated, and the tops of the bunk covers were using some sort of radiant barrier material.

    So anyway, with the issue of payload, that got me thinking about pop up trailers. They are easier to handle hauling wise, offer a good deal more interior volume which would be priceless to my wife. (The reason I use a 10x12 tent now is her, I like my little 5x7, easier to keep warm and cool!), and are FAR less expensive and easier to find on the used market near me.

    I actually have a friend / former colleague that has a 1998 Coleman Niagra that will sell to me for $2K, which is about 6K less than I can get the cheapest truck camper... At that cost, I am willing to figure out the canvas heat issue... and add an awning. Dry weight spec is 2425 lbs, figure loaded add another 600 for food, water, fuel, clothes, and other misc gear. So 3K in weight. Less than the weight of a Jeep. Easily dragged across the sand in theory...
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
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  19. Overland

    Overland Member

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    May 1, 2013
    Bristol, Pa
    Have family in Corpus Christi.. spent summers on Padre Island as a kid.

    I think a truck bed camper would be tight for larger folk, but it would put the weight over powered wheels and not drug behind. A light camper might be a good choice for your usage, an all aluminum constructed Quicksilver for example. Others here are more familiar with quality pups than I.

    I'm building my first pup, it's being built for the type of usage you described but I don't need AC or much room inside.. it's just a tent on wheels to get me deeper into the backcountry than most campers go.

    Best of luck on your search..
     
  20. dbhost

    dbhost Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    The lightest camper I have been able to find truck camper wise, is the Eureka...
     

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