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which is better - fiberglass, wood or aluminum for truck camper construction


10 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   road-woods

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 08:19 AM

Hello all,

 

New to the forum.  Don't currently have a truck camper but planning to get one.  Which is better - fiberglass (bigfoot, northern lite) or Aluminum frame (Lance, Arctic Fox) or wood frame.  Also, how to stop roof leaks and how to stop mold.

 

Thanks



#2 OFFLINE   KnightEagle

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 09:38 AM

Most all TC now use some form of alum frames. And also use a fiberglass covering, Wood frames are a rare build today due to weight not saying they are not out there. Leaks not puncture the roof or put holes in it. Yet patching a roof not really all that hard. As for mold thats out of my zone I live in a dry area not alot of moisture here. Quess just keep it dry?


  :sign0007: I got it fixed!

 

2012 Ram 3500HD DRW. RideRite 5000 Air Bags. Hellwig sway Bar rear. Curt hitch 17000/2550. Engine: 6.7-Liter I6 Cummins® Turbo Diesel Engine Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic 68RFE. 2017 Adventure Alp 116DS 5153+ lb. Reg Cab. Torklift Frame mounts. Ranch Hand Front Bumber, Duel hitch and 4' extension . C.B channel 19 most times. Towing a 16 ft storage trailer with a jon boat inside.

 

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#3 OFFLINE   Electrojake

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 10:26 AM

Hello all,

 

New to the forum.  Don't currently have a truck camper but planning to get one.  Which is better - fiberglass (bigfoot, northern lite) or Aluminum frame (Lance, Arctic Fox) or wood frame.  Also, how to stop roof leaks and how to stop mold.

 

Thanks

Hi road-woods,

Welcome to the forum! :)

 

I'm kinda' curious...

Regardless of build material, what sort of camper are you looking for?

* Long-bed or short?

* Slides or no slides?

* How much weight are you looking to haul, 3000 Lb., 4000 Lb., 5000 Lb., etc...

 

Thanks!

-Jake-


2016 RAM 3500 Longhorn - Cummins/AISIN, 4x4, SRW, ShortBd.
2017 Northstar Arrow-U


#4 OFFLINE   road-woods

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 11:38 AM

Hi road-woods,

Welcome to the forum! :)

 

I'm kinda' curious...

Regardless of build material, what sort of camper are you looking for?

* Long-bed or short?

* Slides or no slides?

* How much weight are you looking to haul, 3000 Lb., 4000 Lb., 5000 Lb., etc...

 

Thanks!

-Jake-

 

Long Bed single-rear-wheel diesel 4wd for truck.  For camper 4-season, no slides, can go max 2800 lb.

 

Thanks



#5 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 03:30 PM

duallies are alway best for truck campers. Having had both. Slides can be an issue in any RV, if you go off road a lot, best not to have them. Aluminum framing is more common these days, but nothing wrong with wood as long as there has been no water intrusion, it is actually stronger. Issue with aluminum is if they have not used foam insulation up against the joists. If it is sloppy, water can condense down them and the floor is always wood. Inspect roofs regularly, especially caulk around vents and the roof edges and where the roof joins the front cap. If you get a tear, patch it with eternabond tape. Who cares what it looks like up there. Use a couple of vent covers like over bath fan,That way you can let it stay open without rain getting in. The key to no mold is good ventilation. If its plugged in when in storage maybe put  dehumidifier in there on a timer and drain it into the sink.


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#6 OFFLINE   Wanky

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 11:28 AM

I'm a fan of fiberglas from the strength angle.  We use our NL off the truck - alot.  And I just jack if up and put it within a few inches of the ground and we live it in that way.  I have no idea if the other types of construction let you get away with this.  Torklift used to have a picture of our truck/camper combination upside down in the ditch, and it was still in one piece, after rolling down an embankment.  It was to show how strong their tie downs are.



#7 OFFLINE   Electrojake

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 03:07 PM

While I'm pretty sure the 'OP' is long gone I'll throw my two cents in anyway...

 

I have a Northstar hard-side, wood TC, and love it, however... My needs were pretty odd, thus I would say a NorthernLite would be your best choice. https://northern-lite.com/ They are beautiful inside. NorthernLite was my one of my top choices when I was shopping for a new TC a couple years back. One reason I went with a Northstar over a NorthernLite was that the Northstar was smaller and fit my little truck better. 

 

NOTE: The only issue I see is finding a true 4 season, long-bed, camper that wouldn't go well beyond the 2800 pound mark.

For instance my rather narrow, short-bed, Northstar hits the scales at 3800 pounds wet.

 

Happy shopping!

-Jake-


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#8 OFFLINE   devoclub

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:08 PM

I am new to truck camping. I have a 2003 Ford f250 crew cab 8' bed v10 SRW  The GVWR is listed as 8800 lbs. I weighed the truck. It came in empty at 6600 lbs. My question is, how big of a camper can I safely handle? Would air bags allow me to go bigger. Based on the numbers it seems I am limited to a fairly small camper. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also are bolt on DRW conversions available.



#9 OFFLINE   Electrojake

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 10:02 PM


I have a 2003 Ford f250 crew cab 8' bed v10 SRW  The GVWR is listed as 8800 lbs. I weighed the truck. It came in empty at 6600 lbs. My question is, how big of a camper can I safely handle?

Would air bags allow me to go bigger. Based on the numbers it seems I am limited to a fairly small camper.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also are bolt on DRW conversions available.

Greetings devoclub,

Yes there are dual rear wheel conversion kits for Fords.

There are also Rickson conversion kits that give you a greater tire/rim payload but keep your truck SRW.

 

And as for your payload question. . .

 

Dont tell anybody here I said this whisper.gif but... I would say you could load your truck with 3000 pounds (absolute maximum) before putting yourself in danger.

Truck camper people are notorious for brutally overloading their vehicle with seldom an issue.

 

I'd say your truck is big enough for a truck camper but you would have to look for a long-bed camper that is unusually light.

A 2100 pound 'dry weight' would be about the heaviest I would go with your current truck.

For example: A Capri Retreat camper for a long bed truck has a dry weight of only about 1700 pounds! Here's a link >>> https://capricamper....models/retreat/

There are other 'light' choices too but you'll have to search the web. 

 

Happy shopping!

-Jake-


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2017 Northstar Arrow-U


#10 OFFLINE   KnightEagle

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 06:15 AM

devoclub

 

Years back I had a Weekender it was a wood construction TC and it was 2300 lbs and I had it on a 3/4 ton reg cab. For some reason it seemed heaver. What I will say is wood is always heaver than alum filled with wood paste injected. look for TC that has no slides that fall with in 8' to no more than 9' lengths thats bed lengths cab wall to back door not nose cap to back door. Some thing like camp light maybe wolf creek or even all pop up TC. Having a crew cab or a club cap truck cuts into what you can carrier if it was a 1 ton. that be defferent


  :sign0007: I got it fixed!

 

2012 Ram 3500HD DRW. RideRite 5000 Air Bags. Hellwig sway Bar rear. Curt hitch 17000/2550. Engine: 6.7-Liter I6 Cummins® Turbo Diesel Engine Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic 68RFE. 2017 Adventure Alp 116DS 5153+ lb. Reg Cab. Torklift Frame mounts. Ranch Hand Front Bumber, Duel hitch and 4' extension . C.B channel 19 most times. Towing a 16 ft storage trailer with a jon boat inside.

 

ALP116DS2017
ALP116DS10.JPG

 


#11 OFFLINE   Norske

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 09:46 AM

For weight, aluminum-framed Lance TC's are lighter.  AF have stronger framing, but weigh at least 500# more/size.  As for aerodynamics, the clamshell TC's are less wind resistant because not only is the front sloped, but all edges are rounded.  Also heavier than a Lance, who uses the wall laminate as part of the strength supplied by framing in AF, and fiberglass in the clam shell designs.  Spend some time in www.truckcampermagazine.com and read their comments about TC layouts, weight, and pickups needed to carry the camper.  As for roofing, I like the hard plastic roof on my Lance 1050 except it's very slippery when even damp.  I've dragged too many branches across TC roofs t consider any membrane roof material.






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