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Thread: Wife says I need to buy a cab-over camper. Recommendations??

  1. #1
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default Wife says I need to buy a cab-over camper. Recommendations??

    I have a 2017 F-350 Ford diesel 8 foot bed with a crew cab. ( four doors.)

    My wife now has it in her head that we need a cab over camper to go visit kids and grand kids. And hauling our two 90 dog dogs along.
    Some of this will be out of state travel...( barf)

    So what should I avoid, brand or feature wise.??

    My truck is not a dually.. Will that be a problem with some cab-overs..??

    Any suggestions?
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    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    I have an Artic Fox. Love it but it is high end on campers. It is a 865, no pull-outs and pipes are insulated for winter use. I am at about 2,400 pounds wet with it. The one thing I would never do without is Firestone Air Bags on the rear. I have had a Cache Camper too and loved that but had a girl friend so went for one with a shower and a toilet. But now..... that camper serves just me alone very well.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Yes I will need Pooper and a shower. Could be some two to three week trips. what do the airbags do....?.
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    Air bags allow you to adjust for weight in bed. Add 2-3 grand of camper in the back the the headlight are pointed to the sky. Ford usually adds block under the rear springs so on my 99 I pulled the blocks and added air bags on top of the springs (I have air bags on all my trucks). This lowered the tailgate 5 inches (great for old guys) and I can adjust hight for load so my headlight are always correct. Arctic Fox is not cheap but is a top of the line unit. Slide outs are nice and even a 2017 SRW should handle the load just slow down on curves. Buy used if you can.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    what do the airbags do....?.
    They help your truck to better handle the overload, maintain proper CG, and handling characteristics (pitch and roll). But you'll still want to be really careful in the curves, corners, and crosswinds.
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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I know nothing about campers or trailers so this is all good info. What it the opinion on the campers with the telescoping tops? I see some every summer in the store parking lot. It seems like it would lower the CG and have less wind resistance. Probably stinks for heat retention.
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    We did this some time back. We found that the pickup camper was easier to get around with but you’re afoot if you plan on setting up in a place for a couple of days. So we went to a trailer we can unhook from. That’s also a PIA because so many fuel stations, stores, etc are very trailer unfriendly when it comes to parking. Everything is setup for Subaru’s these days except for truck stops.

    Also, time of year is a big factor. We end up not having time during money season so we go during starvation season which means cold weather and winter driving. That adds a whole other set of issues with RV’s. The salesman says 4 season, maybe 4 seasons in southern Arizona. Hahahaha. After towing from WA to S. TX we left that SOB in CO where it sits today and drove back empty to WA and got on the ferry.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    So it sounds like I can't just go buy one and shove it into my truck. I need to think about these airbag things as well.
    My truck has the extra power outlets and at least it is a one ton, with the towing gear package and something like a Jake Brake.

    Do the dealerships sometimes have used ones they have spruced up? The only ones I find around Homer smell like pee and pot smoke.
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    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    A few things to think about: 1. Camper Ties downs. A 2017 Ford, the front of the bed has a return on it. Only one manufacture now has a kit for that, that goes to the frame. Torklift. This will do for the front. The rear, I bought 2" square tubing, shoved it inside the factory hitch holes and cut them off even with the side of the bed. Then I drilled and tapped the hitch, into the tubing and put a bolt in to make them stay. They are way stronger than the Torklift rear mounting kit. 2. Do you have a camper connection on the truck for the electrical. Some come from the factory like that. My connection is on the left rear of the bed. I had to make a lead, to the front of the camper to connect. I actually made it 20' so that I can park along side and plug in if I want. 3. Air bags. I believe are a must. 4. You also want a pad in the truck. I use those interlocking rubber 2'x2' floor mats. That way you have a little cushion and don't scratch up the bed. 5. I installed bubble levels so that when taking it off I can easily level it up. Put them on the same corner so you can see both at the same time. Just easier.

    I drop mine all the time when camping. The Artic Fox has elec. jacks, tied into a hand held remote that makes taking it off pretty easy. Pouring rain out. If I can get some pics latter I will.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    My experience with a cab-over is from my younger days when I had a 1/2-ton truck with an 8' popup camper. No shower or loo, just water for cooking. It was a SunLite model, and made a great 3-season hunting rig.

    A truck-bed camper is going to be small, even the behemoth 11' units. If we were to consider such a purchase today, I would probably opt for towing a trailer. The walkable floor space is going to be much greater, and the ability to park the trailer allows you to be mobile when camping in one spot.

    Maybe try out both options? Do a couple trips with rentals and see what works for you.

  11. #11
    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Attachment 9836620191009_143538.jpg
    This is what I mean with the rear tiedown. 2" square tubing pounded in about 8" I had to grind the weld of the seam. Cost, under $40 for tubing and bolts. The airbags. In the upper left I put both air valves. Easier that walking around every time.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    Bigfoot campers are the closest you will get to a four season camper. They are expensive when new and used, (if you can find a used one). Folks that have them don't often part with them so not that many used on the market. They retain their value more than just about any other brand.

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  13. #13

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    If this is going to be a out of state travel camper then do not buy up here. Get airbags and tie down stuff installed here then find one in lower 48. They should be quite a bit cheaper for a used one in great shape. That can be you first big road trip!! Don't skimp on good electric jacks. You want to load and unload without a lot of hassle.
    DENNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Attachment 9836620191009_143538.jpg
    This is what I mean with the rear tiedown. 2" square tubing pounded in about 8" I had to grind the weld of the seam. Cost, under $40 for tubing and bolts. The airbags. In the upper left I put both air valves. Easier that walking around every time.
    Thats a great solution..!
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    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akgramps View Post
    Thats a great solution..!
    This is the third truck/camper I have done this way with no issues. You could even attach mud flaps to them to protect a trailer.
    Attachment 98385
    Here is a gas can/generator shelf I added. If it looks like an old tree stand, it is. I have 10 ladder stands and 12 chain on stands. So I took an old smallish one I don't use anymore and cut it to fit. Works great.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Weird, it will not let me see your last photo...
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  17. #17
    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    I can't see it either.Attachment 98398 Hope this works.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    Member kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    I can't see it either.Attachment 98398 Hope this works.
    Yep, that’s good.👍
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    Member orion94us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    I can't see it either.Attachment 98398 Hope this works.
    Can’t see the attached photo. Ugghhh. Following this post as a slide in camper is in my future as well.


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  20. #20
    Member markopolo50's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Float Pilot;1672231]I know nothing about campers or trailers so this is all good info. What it the opinion on the campers with the telescoping tops?

    A buddy had a pop up truck camper. We took it out to Wyoming on a deer hunt. It snowed while we were there and then rained. That thing was a little bit better than a tent, but not much. They don't have any upper storage cabinets to speak of as they are too heavy for the top. Canvas sides that are a pain to fold in when lowering. And of course when they are wet, they have to be dried out or get moldy if that's not possible soon. The only advantage is less wind resistance. Useless unless parked and the top raised. I guess you get my point, I would never buy one. I had a regular 8' camper on a 1/2 ton truck with overload springs. Made another trip to Wyoming and really enjoyed that one. I too had a longer pigtail with an extra battery in the truck for nighttime hookup.

    Two 90# dogs??? They will take up most of the floor space if sleeping inside with you in a truck camper. Just a thought

    Good luck

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