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Ultimate camping and towing rig


OP
toximus

toximus

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20211006_151013.jpg
 

steelhd

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Eastern WA
Retrofit a 3/4 ton tall cargo van with 10,000 lb towing capacity and pull a car trailer with the Jeep or an enclosed trailer with gear for other adventures.
 

AMS417

"The Ayatollah of rock and rolla"
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Springfield MO
View attachment 282086
(Not me in pic)

Nearly perfect.

34' on the floor. 14' living quarters, 20' garage.

What I wanted but couldn't justify the price so I made my own. 36ft" overall, box is 12 foot on the flat wall plus the V. Works pretty good for two people.

Guy we wheel with has a 40" Sundowner open deck with 20ft living quarters. About $100k new, be pulls it with a Freightliner crew cab hauler. Bad ass rig, way more than I would spend.

IMG_6114.JPG
 
OP
toximus

toximus

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We realized a few things on the trip.

We enjoy doing 2 types of trips:​


Type 1) Jeeping adventures which typically involve a particular destination, driving directly there, sleeping at rest stops and gas stations, and sometimes random food stops on the way.

Type 2) Hiking/exploring adventures which has a destination or area in mind, has spur of the moment roadside stops, sleeping at rest stops and campgrounds and just random places. The Jeeps and a tent work great for this during warm weather but not so much in the cold months.


We can not find a perfect one size fits all camper solution.

Various observations:​


1) A lot of travel trailers under 20ft are made cheaply and wouldn't hold up to where we'd go. The NuCamp Teardrops and Logan Basecamp might be an exception.

2) Airstream wasn't the quality we were expecting. Lots of fitment issues with craftsmanship, cheap particle board construction, and frustrating to use cabinets and features. They also require full hookups to use basically everything.

3) If we want to unhook from the trailer to explore an area or town we'd need to pay for a campsite to "store" the trailer at. These can be pricey depending on the area and it'd take time away from our day. Plus when we're ready to move on to the next area we might have to backtrack on our route to go get our camper.

4) On the Type 2 trips when we're not sleeping we're outside. Even if it's raining we're likely to be outside doing some adventure or would rather just pack up and move on.

5) Sleep is important and sets up the entire day and sleeping in the front seats is uncomfortable and leads to bad sleep.

6) You can't pitch a tent at a rest area or gas station (at least in a socially accepted way).

7) Some campgrounds are designed for RVs only and tenting on top of sharp gravel sucks.

What we decided on:​


Solution 1) We really like the idea of an enclosed gooseneck with living quarters for Jeep trips (type 1). The quality is excellent and will be something we can enjoy for possibly a lifetime. We'd sleep comfortably parked next to big rigs at gas stations and arrive well rested to our destination. Having the rear garage enclosed will also keep salt off the Jeep. More on this in another post.

Solution 2) Adventure Truck! Since we're looking at a truck for hauling a Jeep trailer anyway adding a simple topper and a mattress in the bed would likely meet our camping needs and wants perfectly. We already have a camping stove and cooler so we'd be set! Bathroom and shower at truck stops and campgrounds. We'll refine this idea as we start actually using it I'm sure.
 
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OP
toximus

toximus

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Mrs Tox and I test drove a 2019 F350 and liked the interior. So it's likely we're going to go the Ford Super Duty route. Maybe Tremor, maybe standard, maybe dually (not 19.5" wheels and tires)... Once we finalize the trailer we'll finalize the truck.
 

Apparition

LS delayed
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Twin Cities, MN
We realized a few things on the trip.

We enjoy doing 2 types of trips:​


Type 1) Jeeping adventures which typically involve a particular destination, driving directly there, sleeping at rest stops and gas stations, and sometimes random food stops on the way.

Type 2) Hiking/exploring adventures which has a destination or area in mind, has spur of the moment roadside stops, sleeping at rest stops and campgrounds and just random places. The Jeeps and a tent work great for this during warm weather but not so much in the cold months.


We can not find a perfect one size fits all camper solution.

Various observations:​


1) A lot of travel trailers under 20ft are made cheaply and wouldn't hold up to where we'd go. The NuCamp Teardrops and Logan Basecamp might be an exception.

2) Airstream wasn't the quality we were expecting. Lots of fitment issues with craftsmanship, cheap particle board construction, and frustrating to use cabinets and features. They also require full hookups to use basically everything.

3) If we want to unhook from the trailer to explore an area or town we'd need to pay for a campsite to "store" the trailer at. These can be pricey depending on the area and it'd take time away from our day. Plus when we're ready to move on to the next area we might have to backtrack on our route to go get our camper.

4) On the Type 2 trips when we're not sleeping we're outside. Even if it's raining we're likely to be outside doing some adventure or would rather just pack up and move on.

5) Sleep is important and sets up the entire day and sleeping in the front seats is uncomfortable and leads to bad sleep.

6) You can't pitch a tent at a rest area or gas station (at least in a socially accepted way).

7) Some campgrounds are designed for RVs only and tenting on top of sharp gravel sucks.

What we decided on:​


Solution 1) We really like the idea of an enclosed gooseneck with living quarters for Jeep trips (type 1). The quality is excellent and will be something we can enjoy for possibly a lifetime. We'd sleep comfortably parked next to big rigs at gas stations and arrive well rested to our destination. Having the rear garage enclosed will also keep salt off the Jeep. More on this in another post.

Solution 2) Adventure Truck! Since we're looking at a truck for hauling a Jeep trailer anyway adding a simple topper and a mattress in the bed would likely meet our camping needs and wants perfectly. We already have a camping stove and cooler so we'd be set! Bathroom and shower at truck stops and campgrounds. We'll refine this idea as we start actually using it I'm sure.
Here’s your simple topper with a nice mattress. Make sure you can open the tailgate if you have a trailer hooked on.

Add a cassette toilet and a nice portable grill.

 
OP
toximus

toximus

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We looked at Shadow, Sundowner, and Logan trailers for the Jeep. They're all excellent imho. Surprisingly the pricing is cheaper than many of the RV travel trailers we looked at. Logan's interior is definitely the nicest with solid wood cabinets throughout. Shadow has plywood cabinets with solid wood doors that have character and knots in the wood — which we love!

The salesman explained that a custom order would take 12-14 months to get in and would cost more than buying off the lot today. Besides he couldn't lock in the price until the actual trailer would be delivered. There was one on the lot with a 14ft living quarters and 20ft garage that we seriously considered buying even though it was 4ft longer than we wanted.

On the way home driving through the night, we decided that 4ft wasn't a deal breaker and calculated our cargo weight and subtracted it from the trailer's GVWR. Fully wet and loaded we'd be right at the edge with maybe 50lbs to spare if we packed light with minimal tools and spare parts. Cutting weight with a custom build is going to be needed.
 
OP
toximus

toximus

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I called our sales rep at the trailer company and explained the overloaded situation and suggested that we start on a custom order. His response was to not worry about 1000-2000lbs over GVWR, and if I was still worried about it to just throw higher ply tires under it and move more weight onto the gooseneck (off the tires). Yeah... no....

Since he was 100% unwilling to place a custom order I called another seller of these trailers. He has none in stock, but will custom order and he's willing to go between me and his rep to figure out what I need to build the trailer light enough to carry our cargo. He also said the lead-time is very high but he can lock in the pricing as soon as it's ordered with a down payment. He had me email him rough details of what I'm looking for and we'll continue the conversation on Monday.

Since this is a lifestyle thing for us we don't mind waiting for the perfect trailer.

If we need to cut more weight than we can with a gooseneck and enclosed living quarters we might have to go with a 20ft enclosed bumper pull behind the "adventure truck" topper. But then we will want a toilet and shower in the adventure truck (because peeing at KOH is awkward.)
 
OP
toximus

toximus

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It’s really cheaper to get a hotel with legit WiFi, vs a camper and truck. I can buy a lot of Jeep gas for the 160k you are really going to spend.

Your cost estimate is considerably higher than what I'm expecting. Making my own redneck crawler hauler is actually pricier (unless I could get a good deal on a used trailer and camper but I've only found used junk that's cheap, smells moldy, and falling apart). However, like Jeeping, it's not a purely financial decision, rather a desired lifestyle decision. Being able to set up camp for a few days near where we want to wheel and not have to drive back to a hotel after is important to us. We have unlimited 4G hotspot tethering off our phones, so I'm able to post lots of photos of me modeling to the Instagram ( :ROFLMAO: ).

Used trucks are also on the table. I'd honestly prefer that if I could save money and get something reliable that meets our requirements.
 
Last edited:

astjp2

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Aug 22, 2018
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Utah and Alaska
Well 2 years ago I would say yeah to finding good toy haulers, problem is covid made the used market prices skyrocket, and most people want a new heavy duty diesel to pull it with which adds to the cost. I would consider a used diesel pusher bus and convert it. Then you get you want. It’s not hard to lift the ceiling and a 3-400 hp cat moves a lot nicer towing than a Ford or dodge truck pulling a loaded camper/Jeep. I spent a lot of time researching this. I would also avoid gas anything for towing. Had a friend try an ecoboost, turbo lasted 2 mountain passes.
 

AMS417

"The Ayatollah of rock and rolla"
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Springfield MO
Exactly why I didn’t buy a new, or used sundowner.

My trailer was $15.5k and I’ve got about $2.5k in the build out. It weighs about 6300# and has a 14k GVWR on the sticker but has 3x 5200# axles.
 

Rick Flair

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Ozarks
Well 2 years ago I would say yeah to finding good toy haulers, problem is covid made the used market prices skyrocket, and most people want a new heavy duty diesel to pull it with which adds to the cost. I would consider a used diesel pusher bus and convert it. Then you get you want. It’s not hard to lift the ceiling and a 3-400 hp cat moves a lot nicer towing than a Ford or dodge truck pulling a loaded camper/Jeep. I spent a lot of time researching this. I would also avoid gas anything for towing. Had a friend try an ecoboost, turbo lasted 2 mountain passes.


Just went 2200 miles towing with the little ecoboost, the 2.7….she’s running fine.


But I do agree, diesel is the only way to pull heavy.


And I’d go super C over a class A pusher. But that’s preference in your theory.