Unnecessary Engineering

I’ve been working on a solution to a problem I don’t yet have.  Why?  I don’t know, I guess I like to figure out solutions to things that could possibly bother me in the future.

This camper I’m looking at getting in Vegas has one flaw in the design that I think needs a solution.  Although I don’t have exact specs on the unit, I’m estimating the fresh tank is around 20 gallons, grey is around 10 and black is around 10.  That sounds pretty good, but the issue is that the shower drains into the black tank.  This effectively means the only thing draining into the actual grey tank is the sink, and there’s no way the black tank is going to keep up with the toilet and shower filling it for very long.

Larger truck campers solve this problem in one of two ways.  One is by having an overhang where the shower’s grey tank can live past the end of the truck.  The other is the entire camper is essentially raised a few inches giving room for a “basement” where the tanks can be kept.  I’ve essentially designed an external basement retrofit for my not-yet-purchased camper.

The truck pictured above isn’t actually my truck, but a white dually was close enough for this design exercise.

Essentially, use 6×6 pressure-treated lumber to create a frame that fits the bed of the truck.  Within that frame, add a cross member in the middle for support and to separate the tanks.  In the front, add a fresh water tank and the rear will have a grey water tank.  These tanks will be the same height as the lumber pieces, 6″, so there won’t be any significant weight being placed on them from the camper.

The fresh tank is purposefully placed towards the front of the truck to help with weight balance.  Since it is more likely to be full more of the time, and particularly when traveling, it’s best to not have that 300 pounds near the rear.  The grey tank is strategically placed for easier access to where the shower drain is as well as the back of the truck for easier eventual dumping.  The grey tank will be transported in the “full” state for up to a couple miles at time before it’s emptied.

Since I’ll basically never have both tanks full at the same time, (fresh water is converted to grey water via the shower), the total water weight that I’m adding is less than 300 pounds, which is quite reasonable.  And adding tanks of these sizes to a truck camper that’s serving one person converts it from a couple-days type of outing to a couple-weeks type of outing.  And that’s what I’d prefer.

I’ll probably throw a heavy-duty piece of plywood over the whole thing, and then a rubber mat on top of that to help keep the camper from sliding at all.  When I don’t have the camper in the bed of the pickup, I’d still have a “pickup” with a fully-functional bed that I could use for hauling whatever needs hauling.

If I find that extra black-tank capacity is needed, a simple waste tote can be added to essentially double my black tank capacity, which should be sufficient.  This would all be in the event I’m not towing the giant trailer, and as such, I could add a cargo rack to either the rear of the truck (which would then double as a step to get into the camper as well) or to the front if I added a front hitch to my truck.

This modification doesn’t need to be done right away of course, but I rather like having a solution to the only issue that was really bothering me about my potential upcoming camper.  Now I can purchase it without that particular reservation lingering in my mind.

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