I’ve been shopping, and shopping, and shopping. Scouring the internet, looking for a truck camper that’s *just right*. And I found one. It’s in Las Vegas. So, I guess I’m goin’ to Vegas!
So, where to start… I wanted to get a truck camper for multiple reasons, but I also didn’t want something so huge it would completely eat my truck. The idea is to get something self-contained that is as small and light-weight as possible while still being livable. To that end, I was looking for a camper that had as little overhang (off the back of the truck) as I could manage. I wanted to be able to tow my trailer at the same time this camper was on my truck, and not deal with long and complicated hitch extensions (which I’m sure wouldn’t have helped sway issues).
I eventually found the Fleetwood 8-series models. The Elkhorn 8s models fit my needs quite well. I’d prefer a single sink instead of a double sink, but that’s a pretty minor detail. The important factor here is that the floor is about 9′ long, which means it’ll extend to about the end of my current bumper. It also doesn’t cover my taillights, so I won’t have to hook up the trailer lights to it and the trailer if I’m towing the trailer. It weighs in at somewhere around 2,200 pounds dry, in theory, so it’ll actually be closer to 3,000 pounds wet and loaded. My truck has a 4,600 pound (or so) payload capacity, so I’ll be in good shape there. I might even be able to get away without making suspension modifications, but I’ll probably do some upgrades to the suspension at some point down the road as well.
Speaking of the truck, the Great White Knight got a bunch of new fluids today as part of the 30,000 / 100,000 mile maintenance schedule. New brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, transfer case oil, front & rear differential oils. Yep, that was a pretty $1,000 in maintenance. Big truck, big bills.
To keep the camper in the truck, there needs to be some kind of mount points. The two major manufacturers of the most popular mounting hardware are Happijac and Torklift. The Happijac system requires cutting into the bed, and although the front mounts do connect to the frame (somehow or another), the rear mounts are simply drilled into the bumper. Torklift on the other hand has big metal pieces (aluminum in my case) that are bolted on to frame instead of the truck bed. I really liked that idea, so I ordered front and rear Torklift mounts today and they’ll be here in “1-5 business days”.
On to scheduling and travel plans. This gets rather interesting, I had to actually lay it all out on my calendar to keep it straight. The only date in the list below that’s actually fixed is March 25th, I need to be in Tyler, TX. Everything else is flexible.
- March 9th, head to Breckenridge and get the Torklift mounts installed
- March 12th, start traveling to Vegas
- March 15th, arrive in Vegas late in the day
- March 16th, inspect and take delivery of camper
- March 17th, travel to Quartzsite
- March 18th, pickup trailer from storage in Quartzsite, and stay in or around Quartzsite for a couple days
- March 21st, leave for Texas
- March 25th, arrive in Tyler, TX
- April 1st, wrap up house shopping and start heading back to MN?
So when I leave on approximately March 9th, it might be a month or so before I’m back in MN. I’m really glad I have a townhouse that is so easy to leave unattended!