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Old 08-07-2012, 06:56 PM
syoungs syoungs is offline
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Default critique my bug out camper idea.



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Hello all,
been thinking of purchasing another truck bed camper, mostly to use while camping/hunting, will not be anything fancy, have looked at a few that were under 1,000$

there are some limitations to what I can put in my truck, as it is a shortbed f250, Ive been looking at campers from 7'-9', and think I may pull the trigger on either a nice 8.5' unit, or a not as nice, 8' unit.

Cog is the biggest issue with doing this, so I am going to relocate batteries and water storage to the front of camper, under the step going up into the cabover section. neither of the campers have bathrooms or showers.

my overall goal with this is to have a warm place to sleep/cook in, while hunting and camping, it needs to sleep me, the girl, and the kid (8 years old), but would like to be able to sleep 2 in the overhead, and 2 on the dinete, luckily the one I want has drop down bunk as well (for the kids).

the second goal of this, is to have a rv, capable of bugging out for at least 7 days, at the drop of a hat, not for teotwawki, but for localized disasters, house fires, civil unrest etc.
to accomplish this, I will be replacing/adding freshwater storage capacity, running rough figures of weights etc, I am thinking 2 25 gallon tanks, ( in case one leaks etc), 2 6 volt golf cart batteries, possibly with a small solar trickle charger, I will add an outside shower, not a fancy one that comes with new rvs, but more of a circular shower rod, to hold a curtain, with a lower flow, on demand rv type water heater, backed up with solar bags.
Heating will be accomplished via propane heaters, luckily both campers im looking at do not use a forced air system.
Sleeping bags, blankets etc, will be with the rv at all times as it is.

Figure that takes care of sleeping, bathing, and water needs, used sparingly I think 50 gallons should be adequate for a 7-10 day jaunt, plus I will have my backpacking filter, and other means to purify water on board.

as far as food is concerned, I live in the desert, where 90+ days are the norm through the summer, and 20 degree days are common in the winter, not the best food storage weather, my plan is to eventually have 7 days worth of mountain house type meals, for 3 of us, stored in the camper at all times, and to rotate stock out, when I need them for backpacking etc. to keep them a bit fresher, i figure in a bug out situation, I could also grab a tote, that has other shelf stable foods in it, that is already prepared, and in a closet as we speak, as well as any fresh foods that I may have on hand.

My bug out bag will be in the camper or truck at all times, so I will have access to that, its pretty typical, dont think the contents need to be listed, and medications/paperwork are set with a grab and go kit right now.

I guess im just looking for feedback from anyone that has a bug out rv, or that has put thought into making one, to how you would go about doing it, is the mountain house idea solid? I know im missing areas of planning, just been kicking the idea around the past few days now.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:03 PM
hayes31 hayes31 is offline
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Jeez, a bug out camper sounds a heckuva lot more convenient than my bug out bag.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:20 PM
Watercanlady Watercanlady is offline
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We have a pickup camper. Our water storage is under the step to the cab over. We do have a bathroom but no shower. We installed a new kitchen faucet the pull out type. So we could wash our hair and sponge bathe in the sink. Works great. We took out the fold down bunk because there are only 2 of us. We installed overhead cabinets in its place. We had a new mattress made for the over cab bed, and recovered all cushions, I even re wallpapered, and put in AC. It works great for a lot of small trips. We have dry camped in it for 2- weeks at a time and done fine. We do carry a Honda 2000 generator. I think you can fix this up very nice to use as RV and BOV. I would go for the one most sound you can recover cushions and such. Let us know how thing go.... Good luck...
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:34 PM
falconbrother falconbrother is offline
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I had a slide in cabover camper. My wife and I camped in it a whole lot. It is pretty terrible for food storage. The heat and the cold just really shorten the life of food and then you also have bugs to think about.

We have a motorhome now and the only things we keep in the RV are like, ramien noodles, sweetner, coffee, water flavoring to mix with water, popcorn, etc.. Canned goods don't do well. So, if we have to bug out with the RV that means I go get it, gas tank already full, bring it to my house and stock it, fill the fresh water tank and drive. The food stuffs are here.

I have been camping in vans, trucks, travel trailers and the motorhome for darn near 30 years. I don't see a good long term food storage option except the freeze dried, foods that are packaged properly. Cans might be a bad idea because the humidity level in a stored camper varies wildly depending on temps and rain, etc.. Sure, freeze dried food in cans will last longer than chunky soup which wont do well at all. In my experience it's foods that contain water or moisture that go bad fast. The extreme heat and freezing temps just kinda rot the food, even the canned goods.

White four pasta does OK for a couple of months. Wheat based wont do well as they seem to either contain larva or attract bugs. I really think they contain larva. Dried beans will do OK for a much longer period as will white rice.

I really think that a better plan might be to keep your food and water stock in a more environmentally controlled location. I keep mine in one of two places at home so, I can load up the RV pretty quick and get on the road.

We keep the RV stocked with all the rest of the camping gear, including tools, fluids for the RV, clean linens, some clothes, and stuff for the dogs (except food). Dog food doesn't store well in the RV. My RV has a chassis battery and a house battery. Both can be interconnected as a backup to each. I also have a 4k generator on board and 80 gallons of gas.

Mine is a 1990 model on a Chevrolet P30 Chassis. The parts for GM are pretty cheap and common. I do a major service every fall to make sure she's road ready and the tires are less than a year old. I say this to say that older RV's are pretty cheap and great to get the family and animals out of town in a hurry. Plus, most of them are low miles.

We camped in the cabover camper a whole lot. It was very fun. It was a bit crowded but, we really had some good times. It was a bit top heavy feeling but, I just drive reasonable.
Old 08-07-2012, 07:36 PM
Meat Guy Meat Guy is offline
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Sounds good. I think the focus should be water storage since you are in the desert.
Small ventless LP heater.
You could have a ventless LP water heater also.
Got a pota potty?
12V LED lighting.
At the current price of PV panels, you could put several on the roof. A DC exhaust fan would come in real handy in the summer.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:04 PM
syoungs syoungs is offline
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I forgot, I have a small porta pottie that Ive never used, that will be part of the outside shower, I agree that water is priority, and the dog food thing I was actually thinking about after I made the OP, I think I will take a couple action packers, and use that to store the foodstuffs, just keeping a 3 day supply of freeze dried stuff in the camper.

I had a 9.5 ft camper before, loved it, had plenty of storage, (nothing compared to a motorhome or tt) but I sold it off after I sold my last truck.

I like the ideas, im already thinking, 50 gallons onboard water storage (already have 2 tanks) plus my 5 gallon water carriers filled and ready to go, (already keep em full and rotated) should give me 70 gallons of water, my bug out location's, depending on when and why I bug out, all are close to water, and all vary in distance from 10 miles, to 300 miles away, all within a single tank of fuel out of my powerstroke, I plan on building storage into the front bumper design, to haul a small generator and other odds and ends, maybe Ill build in 10 gallons of fuel storage up front, and an additional 10 between camper and bed....

Lots of ideas running through my head, I am pretty excited lol.
Old 08-07-2012, 08:28 PM
strvger strvger is offline
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ever consider mounting it on a trailer? will give you added storage space where the wheel wells would have been and under the overhead part. probably better fuel economy pulling it on a trailer. much easier on your bov suspension pulling it behind you.
there are other reasons but it's just another option worth consideration, imho.
Old 08-07-2012, 08:29 PM
Watercanlady Watercanlady is offline
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Our truck camper also has a propane light. It works great for dry camping. We also added air ride on the pickup so we will not be to heavy...
Old 08-07-2012, 09:15 PM
syoungs syoungs is offline
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no trailers, the beauty of a truck camper is I can still pull my boat, quads and toyota behind me

which is another thing, pack the flatbed atv trailer with atvs and gear, fill the back of the 4runner full of gear, or load the boat full of gear, bugout anywhere I need lol!
The only problem is, I dont store anything but the camper at my house, the rest is at my moms, in my stepdads shop, so it can all be locked up. but thats one of my bugout locations..... no perfect situation I guess.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:18 PM
Eugene Eugene is offline
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Putting a truck camper looses all the advantages of the truck camper, you can buy a trailer cheaper andit has a lower COG.
The advantages of a truck camper (in the truck bed instead of behind on a trailer) are many such as maneuverability, ability to fit in a tighter space, etc.
Mine in 'driving mode' doesn't significantly affect the handling or mileage


But lifts up for more room


And to help keep the supplies in good shape stays in my garage
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:48 PM
syoungs syoungs is offline
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I like those pop ups, but my understanding is you cannot use off the truck, which wont work for me, plus the overhead bunk is lost, (childs bunk), and they are more expensive to purchase in the same shape as what I am looking at, Im sure they are alot easier to deal with once on the truck, and being able to store it inside would be a huge plus! (even though I dont have facilities to do such a thing)
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:15 PM
Eugene Eugene is offline
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You can use them off the truck.
The upper bunk is a queen size, I divided it in half though so make the kids beds and we sleep down on the full that the couch converts from.

the only issue with off the truck is the older style jacks are not as stable as the newer but thats the same for the non popup too. If I ever find someone parting out a newer model I'll buy the jacks.

Mine just fits inside the garage and once its in we can actually pop it up, this isn't any special storage place its a normal (small) home garage.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:49 PM
syoungs syoungs is offline
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Thanks for the heads up on using them off the truck! there are a couple within washington that are close to my price range, might try and wait a month, been hitting 70 hours a week every week this summer, so another month will net me a nicer camper for the money. I was thinking that I am going to have to build a "basement" for any camper I can afford anyways, (superduty cab height), if I attached the basement, and set it up right, I could place the whole camper on the ground, using the jacks to stabilize.

How long does it take to go from your truck, to setup and camping with it? I know my old pup trailer took about 20 minutes start to finish, cant see why it would be to hard doing the setup and takedown of a pop top camper.
How does it do in weather extremes compared to a hard side camper or trailer?
Old 08-09-2012, 01:10 AM
Warrior_22 Warrior_22 is offline
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I like it, I am building a bug out trailer as well, only b/c buying a camper is out of my financial range. My "donor" trailer is a 6x10 cargo trailer just big enough to get a little bit of everything necessity in it. It will have power, water, food, heating/cooling, storage 2 cots when I am done, and probably 3x in weight empty lol.... towed behind my Astro should work nicely though, with backups in the Astro. That's the plan for mobilization family teowtaki(sp).
Keep us posted on supply list.
Old 08-09-2012, 03:17 AM
syoungs syoungs is offline
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There's actually whole forums devoted to cargo trailer conversions out there, worth checking out, as some of those guys have great ideas!

Eventually I'd like to get an enclosed trailer for the quads, but that's a ways down the road, a 8x16 has been staring me down for about a year now, would love to have a spot to store my tools and parts while being able to lock them up.
Old 08-09-2012, 07:01 AM
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Sue Doh Myn Sue Doh Myn is offline
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RV's make excellent BOV's. Personally, I like the truck campers as you can tow another vehicle or trailer if need be, or with 4x4 still be small enough to get farther into the boonies and off the beaten path.

An 8' or 10' camper on the back of an M35A2, towing an M105 trailer or Jeep would be pretty close to ideal for me.
Old 08-09-2012, 04:33 PM
Eugene Eugene is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syoungs View Post
Thanks for the heads up on using them off the truck! there are a couple within washington that are close to my price range, might try and wait a month, been hitting 70 hours a week every week this summer, so another month will net me a nicer camper for the money. I was thinking that I am going to have to build a "basement" for any camper I can afford anyways, (superduty cab height), if I attached the basement, and set it up right, I could place the whole camper on the ground, using the jacks to stabilize.

How long does it take to go from your truck, to setup and camping with it? I know my old pup trailer took about 20 minutes start to finish, cant see why it would be to hard doing the setup and takedown of a pop top camper.
How does it do in weather extremes compared to a hard side camper or trailer?
To load on the truck I'm at just under an hour, thats moving all the junk from in front of, under and on top of it, dragging it out of the garage, manually jacking up all the way then backing the truck under and lowering and attaching the tie downs.

To go from truck setup to camping, you just unlatch the corners, open the door, crank the top and latch the back wall. We've pulled into parking lots, popped up, ate lunch, popped down and went on. Its faster then a popup trailer because you don't have to do the sliding out of the beds and supports.

If you take it off the truck the jacks don't go all the way down. A lot of people take two sheets of plywood and cut a notch halfway in the center to assemble them into an x so they can set them down for extra stability. A quick search found these http://www.jaysnest.net/x-braces.htm as an example. angin not necessary but provides extra stability

As someone said I can still pull a trailer behind, fishing boat or whatever. But I do like not having a trailer, I can fit in normal parking spaces, no need to park in the rv parking.

I paid $600 for mine, someone bought it used and tried to put it on a toyota so he ended up having to sell it.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:37 PM
Eugene Eugene is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warrior_22 View Post
I like it, I am building a bug out trailer as well, only b/c buying a camper is out of my financial range. My "donor" trailer is a 6x10 cargo trailer just big enough to get a little bit of everything necessity in it. It will have power, water, food, heating/cooling, storage 2 cots when I am done, and probably 3x in weight empty lol.... towed behind my Astro should work nicely though, with backups in the Astro. That's the plan for mobilization family teowtaki(sp).
Keep us posted on supply list.
My cousin built one like that, you can see it in the center of the picture here


He lined the inside with plywood then used more plywood hinged on the side so it would fold down to make the sleeping platform after he took his 4 wheeler out.
His is aluminum framed so it won't have long term rotting issues like a wood frame trailer but the frame transfers the cold in winter. It is also low to the ground, I had to spot him a couple times getting up there.
Old 08-09-2012, 05:28 PM
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I have been kicking around the idea of a tear drop trailer. They can be very light and have a galley, water supply. Can be wired with battery and pack a small solar set up, or small portable generator.

Up side is relative small expense, if you build it yourself, lightweight.
Downside is limited sleep room, no head. I would plan to address the downs by having an addtional tent(one that hooks into back of our SUV), and portable head.

Has anyone looked at this? THoughts?
Old 08-09-2012, 05:49 PM
Eugene Eugene is offline
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Still a trailer though. So you have the ground clearance disadvantage (can be compensated), the length and maneuverability disadvantage, more tires, license and registrations, etc.
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