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Old 01-23-2013, 12:26 PM
Psyclops Psyclops is offline
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Default 3/4 ton - 4x4 truck with camper in box



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hey dudes!

so we've (my bro and me) figured out what direction we want to go for our backcountry rig, we'll be getting an older 3/4 ton 4x4 truck and drop a camper in the back, i think they might be called slide in campers in the US not sure, i think we just call them campers in Canada..

Setup will be something like this, hopefully a bit newer and nicer looking, we also want a camper that fits in the box with the gate closed.


We'll also be installing a hitch on the front and back so we can put a dirt bike carrier on each end, something like this:


This way we can haul our bikes into the backcountry without a trailer.

Actually as i thought about this i searched and couldnt find a single picture of a bike on the front, but i did find a double bike carrier on the back, we may have to do this instead:


We hunted last year from dirt bikes and got tons of grouse, we almost got a shot at a black bear but he was a bit too far off. We learned a lot about deer migration routes in the area from a local guide we ran into, so we're hoping for better luck this year. He told us there were 13 grizzly bears in that area, 2 of which he saw run up a mountain as he drove by only about 3 minutes up the logging road from where we were camping in a tent.. we also saw a linx and a bobcat that weekend its a cool area. There was a storm the first night and the wind was insane and blew our tent to pieces basically, we drove down the road the next day and found a cabin with a wood stove that we moved into for the rest of the trip and it was awesome. The guide later said its usually occupied by the local natives ("indians" for you politically incorrect folks) while they hunt but dozens of people had signed their names on the walls so others use it from time to time as well.

Anyways point was that we're going for this setup and if anyone had any input on how to customize the camper for lavish backcountry living (insert laugh here) that would be great. We want to install some electrical system to have lights and tv/music etc. We roughed it for many years and now its time to have a bit of comfort and heat! thanks guys.
Old 01-23-2013, 01:12 PM
strvger strvger is online now
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nice idea, but make function your highest priority, not good looks.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:22 PM
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try and get a solid axle front end. I cannot stress this enough. The ford front end is Junk. I have a 3/4 ton ford now and A 60 IS DROP IN. Or pre 88 chevy. Your dirtbike mount is a fantastic idea. I just put a receiver up front and you can mount your rack to that. I personally carry 1 in front and 1 in back as double in back when your rig is fully loaded sags and does touch the ground sometimes when in the hills and tight switchbacks. The main thing for me is the solid axle up front as when the ifs goes it is costly to fix. in the 2k range and a 60 is 1k. Also I have ridden my bike after hauling it on the front for 8 hours and all I can say is get a cover cuz bugs are terrible to get off.

Last edited by slightly disturbed; 01-23-2013 at 01:23 PM.. Reason: I spell like a 3 year old
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:34 PM
Psyclops Psyclops is offline
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yea we're not too crazy on looks, you should have seen the last truck we used, it was a bit rough around the edges for sure. We broke a leaf spring going thru a creek, the clutch was gone (we barely made it back from our last trip it was so bad), a few other things, we sadly we sent it off to pasture (the wreckers) end of the season last year.

it was like this (96 ford inline 6 standard) but more of a hoopty, it was a plain version and it had been beat to **** before we picked it up. It served us good for 2 seasons though, and we learned a lot about wheelin, we broke the leaf spring by drpping too fast into the creek in 4 high instead of crawling thru it in 4 low basically.. it did have big mean mudd tires though, which were awesome so we'll need to get some more. The cab was really small though and it was just not enough truck for us 2 big bastards lol.. we need a 3/4 ton so we can haul a trailer and bikes/gear etc.

But we dont want the ugliest ride on the road either, we do live in the city and its a bit embarrassing rolling with the ugliest rig on the streets.. it takes a good hour to get to red neck land where we fit in more, then we drive for hours north! "That's where the deers be!" lol

Any input on customizing the camper would be great! I've found some info on people who live in their vans etc. but i thought maybe some of you would have some useful insight as well.
Old 01-23-2013, 10:51 PM
Supermag Supermag is offline
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Personally, I'd try to find a camper with a pop up type top to reduce height for clearance and wind. Also, make sure that you either get a truck setup for a camper (special tie downs, heavier springs) or make these changes.
Old 01-23-2013, 11:05 PM
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Don't be locked in to the tailgate closing. You are sacrificing alot of interior room if you do. The main thing you should be concerned with is angle of inclination. The longer it sticks out, the less angle of approach you have. Think of going up a steep hill and your hitch ball digs into the dirt. Helper airbags are great for this issue, but they do wear out.
Like others have said, pay attention to weight and clearance issues. Even the popups make you top heavy, the solid ones are worse. It really affects off road ability.
Old 01-23-2013, 11:24 PM
Meat Guy Meat Guy is offline
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I have used a motorcycle carrier that clamps on the front bumper. It isn't very easy to load a bike.

i build a very heavy duty carrier for the rear of our 3/4 Suburban. I used sq. tubing that goes into the sides of the receiver in addition to the 2" tubing going into the back of the receiver. I have hauled a 4-wheeler on it.

I've used a water truck with a mororcycle carrier on the front. It was home made and worked very well.

If you use a receiver carrier, make sure the receiver is heavy enough to handle a carrier.
Old 01-26-2013, 07:09 PM
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The Heretic The Heretic is offline
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A couple of thoughts:

1) Conventional campers are okay, but not very robust or durable. It is easy to damage them and they can be prone to leaks after they have aged. They are also relatively heavy.

What I am doing is going with a surplus military comm shelter. These are durable, light and relatively cheap (compared to a good quality camper). The difference is that most of them will only really work on a flatbed truck (which is what I have).

2) The bikes off the front carrier - BTDT. They typically interfere with your headlights and turn signals and in some locales may be an issue with local traffic cops.

The rear carrier can have the same issue but are more easily worked around.

Problem with the ones on the rear is that they interfere with your access to a camper or bed with rear access. Then there is the interference with a winch (I plan to have front hitches added to both of my trucks, and use a winch on a hitch).

Also, both front or rear put more weight out on a lever, especially two bikes. You need to check out how much weight a given frame and hitch can support.

I have a twelve foot flatbed, so what I am going to do is build a partition between the living quarters and the front of the comm shelter. The front will be the "garage" for the one or two dirt bikes and there will be a ramp to load them - probably with a winch.

The problem with flatbeds is that they are typically much higher than a conventional pickup bed. Mine is a good 4 feet high and will get higher when I add taller tires. Conventional ramps won't work (unless they are at least 12' long and good luck finding those) and you just are not going to muscle a dirt bike up that high, not even a light one.

The solutions are some kind of ramp/winch combination (there are a number of these, but they are not cheap) or some kind of hoist (thought about it, but it isn't an easy solution either).

Another reason for not having dirt bikes hanging outside of the truck is that they are visible. My plan for when I retire is to do some light dirt bike exploring up and down the west coast. Some of the time I will be camping by myself and I don't want to come back to camp to find the other bike stolen. Some of the time I will be camping in an RV park and again, there is the temptation. FInally, some of the time I may spend in a hotel/motel and leave the rig in the parking lot, and again, don't want the bikes visible.

In a SHTF situation, the temptation factor may be even more severe.

I don't want my $10K dirt bike visible to some punk who thinks he wants to go joy riding on my dollar. Out of sight, out of mind - remove the temptation. Beyond that, the bikes will also be out of the weather.

I had to look long and hard to find a regular cab truck in 4x4 with a diesel and manual transmission, and I lucked across one that had the 12' flatbed cab chassis configuration. It will take a bit of work, but given the stock configurations out there I think mine is about ideal.
Old 01-27-2013, 01:34 AM
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What you are looking for is an 8 ft cab over camper, they are the size that fits into a truck bed with the tailgate closed, I have found the 9 1/2 foot camper to be the best size though, not to big and not to small, 9 1/2 foot is where the bathrooms get a little larger and are more comfortable, plus they have good storage in them, problem with the 8 footer is you run out of storage space real fast! Good luck and I hope you find what you are looking for.
Old 01-27-2013, 01:42 AM
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My rec would be an older F350 and an Alaskan camper. Old habits die hard...
Old 01-27-2013, 01:52 AM
haha49 haha49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psyclops View Post
yea we're not too crazy on looks, you should have seen the last truck we used, it was a bit rough around the edges for sure. We broke a leaf spring going thru a creek, the clutch was gone (we barely made it back from our last trip it was so bad), a few other things, we sadly we sent it off to pasture (the wreckers) end of the season last year.

it was like this (96 ford inline 6 standard) but more of a hoopty, it was a plain version and it had been beat to **** before we picked it up. It served us good for 2 seasons though, and we learned a lot about wheelin, we broke the leaf spring by drpping too fast into the creek in 4 high instead of crawling thru it in 4 low basically.. it did have big mean mudd tires though, which were awesome so we'll need to get some more. The cab was really small though and it was just not enough truck for us 2 big bastards lol.. we need a 3/4 ton so we can haul a trailer and bikes/gear etc.

But we dont want the ugliest ride on the road either, we do live in the city and its a bit embarrassing rolling with the ugliest rig on the streets.. it takes a good hour to get to red neck land where we fit in more, then we drive for hours north! "That's where the deers be!" lol

Any input on customizing the camper would be great! I've found some info on people who live in their vans etc. but i thought maybe some of you would have some useful insight as well.
Go with a Ford F350 if you want a bigger tougher truck. They're not bad on the back roads just a pain when it gets thick. Avoid going through creeks it can be illegal in some areas as it effects the local fish population. They like the chug gas so.


I just drive a beater car through the same stuff have I got stuck not yet have I ruined stuff no you have to go slow thats the key take your time take things at angles ie 1 wheel in a hole at a time and you should be able to go though most things no problem. 6 inch ditchs with 3-4 inchs of ground clearance no problems. Its about how you take on a hill or hole in the road.


For the type of roads you will be driving on go with an automatic transmison yes manual has advantages but up and down and stalling is a pain in the rear. I have no problems with a manual I've driven one for many many years still do I find automatic for me to be diffren't (I forget that I can't gear down as easy to go down hills)

Some areas were I've been you stall a truck you go off the side of a mountain because they're very unforgiving.
Old 01-30-2013, 04:43 PM
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a standard cab f350 has the same room as a standard cab f150. F350 does come with a solid axle front end and if you get a crew cab (4 door) you could haul stuff. My 91 has a international non turbo 7.3 with a 5 speed and I average 16mpg
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