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RE: Any 1st time pickup TC out there to give their thoughts

We had a 35' FW with two daughters which we enjoyed. They went out of town one weekend for a robotics competition and I snuck out to buy a used 4 year old Lance 815. I purchased it for solo trips as I was tired in making them in the back of my Grand Cherokee. Plus I was 4 wheelin at the time and needed a place to sleep when I hauled the jeep to the trails. My wife didn't wheel with me so couldn't get her to go on a trip but the teenage girls did. They finally wanted to just take a trip in the TC for a weekend where they stayed in a tent. Just a local trip 50 miles up the road but they enjoyed it. Then the daughters wanted to go on another one taking the kayaks to a nearby lake. Wife realized the TC wasn't that bad despite being small. Plus the girls were interested in horse so we weren't using the FW so I sold it will my wife realizing her trips would now be in a TC. I traveled mainly solor for the next two years until my oldest went to college and the youngest went started working. So then the wife decided to track a trip or two with me. Each time she went, she realized what I had known from camping in a TC as a kid. It was a different type of traveling where the entire journey was the adventure. Now 10 years later, we wore out one truck and are about 2/3 through the second truck traveling around in the TC. Still on the same TC and it's worth more today than when I bought it. My wife loves it because of where we can go, always have everything with us. Last year to escape the heat, we headed north with no idea where we would end up. Turns out we made it all the way to Pictured Rocks National Seashore and then headed home when they called for snow. Getting ready to retire next year and plan on making multi-month trips around the country. Neither wife nor I are looking at any thing other than TC. So if you can afford it, go small and then try to convince your wife to take a trip of two with it. She may realize it isn't as bad as she thinks it would be.
kohldad 11/12/19 05:02pm Truck Campers
RE: What percent of the time do you leave your TC on your truck?

On the truck is only about 25% of the time. But if you want to say miles, over the last 5 years I have had the camper on the truck for 57% the 18k annual miles. Since July when my daughter gave me back the car I gave her 6 years ago, I've haven't been driving the truck as my daily driver so have been averaging about 98% of the miles with the camper on. While I've only used 4wd with the camper on board a dozen times, I use it almost every time I go camping on a long trip. There is no way I could get the front of the truck up on my 10" block with only a 16" long board if I didn't have 4wd to let the front wheels pull themselves up. At some campsites I've had to stack lego blocks on top of the boards sitting on top of the 10" blocks for a total gain of 16" which would be impossible without 4lo. Without 4wd the boards/blocks would just be pushed out from under the tires. When I bought my first truck 25 years ago, I knew the advantage of 4wd as I had grown up on a farm. However, I wasn't looking for a truck but came across when the suburban wouldn't tow my 7k trailer just happen to have 4wd. Convinced the wife it would do the job well and had the crew cab for the kids (not very common back in the early 90s). On our first long trip with the rig, we left about 5am in the pouring down rain so the kids would sleep, I missed the turn and found a nice paved parking lot to turn around in. Only problem was it was red clay and slick as get out. Almost made it in 2wd until the front dropped in a 6" ditch. Fortunately, 4wd allowed me to back out of the ditch, finish turning around and be on my way without even getting soaked by getting out. A few miles down the road after my nerves calmed down I looked at my wife and said the 4wd was already paid off to which she agreed. Since then, I've bought two new trucks. On the first one I was trying to get the price down so offered to drop the 4wd to which my wife responded that I shouldn't even worry about buying the truck if I don't get 4wd.
kohldad 10/31/19 08:38am Truck Campers
RE: Winter ALCAN Trip

Leave the heat on lowest setting while you drive. Do it all the time in temps down to 0* and have never experienced frozen tanks or waterlines. I do know none of my waterlines touch the outside walls. I only have 1 20# tank and can make it for at least 6 days before I need to refill with still about 1/4 tank. I have also found that it makes it much nicer to stop about 15 minutes before I stop to turn the heat up. That or at least make sure all of my covers are thrown back off the bed. But if I was traveling everyday and had a good charge circuit to the camper, would put an electric blanket on the bed to keep off the chill from the bed and not worry about turning up the heat at all.
kohldad 10/27/19 11:21am Truck Campers
RE: Planing on getting an Arctic Fox TC

If you often stay in one location for days before moving, than I would stay with the TT. When I had a TT, my hookup time was just as short as time it takes to load a TC, so if you unload each time you stop, you aren't going to save any time. If you like to explore during the day and then finding a place to stay for the night than a TC may be better choice. We have a TC because the journey is more of the adventure than our destination. In regards to the Artic Fox, they are well built but heavy. I have a Lance Lite 815 which weighs 2,400# wet and loaded. Originally carried it on a 2004 SRW Dodge 3500 diesel 4x4 and I was only a couple hundred pounds under GVWR. The lightest Artic Fox will push you over the GVWR by several hundred pounds. Even with my newer 2015 which has a 4,300# payload, I would still be right at my GVWR with an Artic Fox. Have to remember the payload rating is for carrying a heavy bulk like blocks or cement, not necessarily capable of carrying a high COG load such as a TC, especially a basement model.
kohldad 10/18/19 04:20pm Truck Campers
RE: Fit an 8 foot bed?

Looks like a short bed truck camper. Note the length of the bed in front of the wheel is about the same as the length of the bed behind the wheel. However, any short bed truck camper will fit on a long bed truck but will leave a gap between the front of the camper and the front of the bed. A spacer will need to be made to keep the camper from sliding forward. The reason for this is the length difference between a short bed and long bed is all between the axle location and front of the bed. The bed design from the wheel wells rearward is the same between both models.
kohldad 10/18/19 10:02am Truck Campers
RE: Why aren't Truck Campers popular in W. Pa.?

But if its any help again about 7 hours from you there is a TC dealer near Raleigh NC that you may want to scope out. D&H Good luck in your hunt Agree withe D&H and the do carry the Cirrus. I've heard nothing but good things, owner is actually a truck camper user and has even put on a couple of rallies which were well received by the participants. Stopped at the dealer over in OH that I think you are talking about and they weren't that sharp despite the quantity of TCs they had on hand.
kohldad 10/18/19 09:55am Truck Campers
RE: Oil changes en-route with camper on truck?

The one time I had to have a change on the road, I carried the oil and special filter with me (to save the trouble of finding my particular brand on the road). Then I just found a small garage that was willing to do the change by hand with me watching. Since I had every thing he needed to do the job, he only charged $10, though this was back in 2005 but it was inside Yellostone NP.
kohldad 10/18/19 04:50am Truck Campers
RE: Seat belts in a camper?

I too rode in the cab-over as a kid with lots of fond memories. But I wouldn't let any of my children ride in the camper even as teenagers because there are to many other idiots on the road today. If I were in your shoes, would change the seat out for a bench seat. Then I coould put two car seats in the back and let one or both of the teenagers sit in the front seat. Since regardless of bench, buckets, etc, all the mounting holes are factory installed, the swap should be fairly easy.
kohldad 10/18/19 04:43am Truck Campers
RE: Adding built in USB ports

Do you have a part number for the usb outlet? Was wondering how thin it is because I would love to put one on the bottom side of a cabinet but only have 3/4" once I cut the hole.
kohldad 10/05/19 05:16am Truck Campers
RE: Talk me out of my new project.

With the visiting kids as the main goal, go with Option 1 but forget the slide and shower. Instead of cassette toilet, go with a porti-pot for the night time only calls of nature. I would also go with a DC compressor fridge so you don't have to worry about parking level during your travels. Or don't worry about what the outside of your camper looks like and continue to use it. As longs as it doesn't have any leaks, it still has another 10 - 20 years. If you are getting 12 mpg with the current rig and fuel is $3/gal, you can drive 80,000 miles just for the cost of the van, 150,000 miles if you only look at the mpg savings. Anyone who makes a big purchase just to save a few or even half the mpg really isn't saving money. To help reduce the cost for each trip, stay longer. Or stay a weekend, travel locally for a week or two, then go back and visit again. You could do this two, three, five times before going back home (if you are retired). Or get rid of the dogs and gain a whole bunch more freedom by not having to feed them, be home at a certain time to walk them, go where dogs aren't allowed, be able to stop on a whim without having to worry about them in the hot car, etc. (But don't worry, I know this isn't going to happen, but is an option.
kohldad 10/02/19 02:51pm Truck Campers
RE: The mother of all stupid truck camper questions....

Can't believe I'm the first east coaster to comment on this. Most of my camping is usually in NC, TN, KY, VA, and WV. Not only is there lots of places to legally camp, there are a lot of cheap small forest campground to stay at. A lot of these campground are under $10/night, 1/2 that if you have a discount pass. I've stayed in a number of forest service campgrounds with my discount at $2.50/night. Spent more money in fuel getting to the site than I saved but the isolation is worth it. For the forest service campground and other government operated along with allowed disperse camping, check out ultimatecampgrounds.com. After I looked a lot on line confirming the small places I knew, I paid the %5 to download the poi list so I can use it in my offline mapping program and load it into my GPS so I can find a nearby place to crash when I'm ready to stop for the night. In our area, there is dispersed camping off the blue ridge parkway just north or Mt Mitchel, a few more spots down near Brevard. Over in KY near Cumberland Gap is the Wilderness ORV area with some amazing views if you have 4wd and a smaller TC (see pic). Down in GA dispersed camping is allowed in Cherokee NF. VA gives you the George Washington NF and Monongahela NF. https://i.imgur.com/QXMi9NAl.jpg Then there are the stores which don't mind you staying overnight if you ask first. Some of the more common ones are Walmart and Cracker Barrel. Just remember at this you aren't camping but are just spending the night so no awning, breaking out the grill, or relaxing in your chairs. Regardless of where you spend the night, try to always leave it cleaner than you found it. This will help ensure it stays available for the next generation. I will usually stay a couple nights boondocking and then find a government facility with showers so I can get cleaned up, dump my tanks, refill my water if necessary and get rid of the trash I've made or picked up along the way.
kohldad 09/26/19 09:23pm Truck Campers
RE: Hinged refrigerator vent grill?

Doesn't sound like a bad idea. I think if I was to do it I would put the hinge at the bottom so I could just lay it down when opening. This means you wouldn't have to reach high above the vent for the latch to keep it open. Converting to not keyed cargo latches could then probably use the slots the tabs went into or put them on the side so it's easier to reach.
kohldad 09/26/19 09:04pm Truck Campers
RE: Fuel mileage 2017 gas trucks

Here are my stats for my 2015 Ram 6.4 w/3.73 gears carrying a 2,400# Lance 815 (7" narrower than most TCs). All data is hand calc and recorded in an excel spreadsheet. Always fill up at the start and end of a trip so the mileage is actual for the trip though does include the 20 minutes to run the camper to the storage yard and unload. Interstate is usually 64mph, backroads about 55mph with the mix being about 70% backroads. Empty mileage is almost exclusive the 15 miles one way to work through about 10 traffic lights in rural city setting. Gals Miles MPG Camper Miles: 50,046 Camper MPG: 12.40 w/trl miles: 4,256 w/trl MPG: 11.68 Mix miles: 9,208 Mix MPG: 13.55 Empty miles: 24,202 Empty MPG: 14.30 Total Miles: 87,713 Total MPG: 12.95 I usually do not use Tow/Haul mode because it raises the shift points and locks out 6th gear (double overdrive). The time or two I've used T/H for entire tank because of headwinds and slowing down to 55mph, I only lost 1mpg. When doing my purchase analysis which inncluded decision on diesel vs gas, trip cost, overall operating cost etc, I only used 10mpg so I'm well pleased with the mpgs.
kohldad 09/26/19 12:22pm Truck Campers
RE: 2020 SE TC Gathering - planning stage

Cloudland Canyon State Park in GA. The east rim campground does have a picnic shelter in the middle. Not enclosed but a few tarps or shrink wrap could take care of that if needed. Lots of sites still open for mid April.
kohldad 09/24/19 06:15pm Truck Campers
RE: new ?’s: options on custom order 2020 Ford F-350 6.2L gas

For the wheel well liners, not sure about the ford, but have them on my Ram. On it, while it does hide areas, it also prevents the debris from coming off the tires and hitting the inside of the bed cavities. I still feel that I could get up and around them to remove any salt residue easy enough.
kohldad 09/20/19 08:12pm Truck Campers
RE: Short box dually?

The difference between a 6-6 bed and the 6-4 bed of the Ram is only 2". Compared this to the 148.9" wheel base means you will only loose about 50# more off the front axle by moving the camper back 2" (assuming a 4000# camper). If that is going to through off the handling, you have more things to worry about. If you are worried about it, go long bed and mad extra storage in front of the camper. FWIW, I have heard of some handling problems associated with the 2014+ 2500 Megacab with the rear coil suspension (coils are located too inboard aggravating sway). Heard of no issues with the 3500 megacab SRW or DRW. Both use leaf-springs on the rear axle. This is true and caused by two main factors. One is the coils provide no resistance to movement so tends to lean and bounce a bit more. Other is leaf springs are located outside the frame while the coils are located inboard of the frame meaning the leaf springs have a wide stance for improved stability. On a side note, the 2014 and newer SRW trucks only have a main spring pack. The DRW trucks have the a main spring back and a helper spring pack.
kohldad 09/18/19 06:29pm Truck Campers
RE: Big Brother- Tag on your TC?

Purposely hiding the plate is a big no-no but having a typical piece of cargo on an out of state vehicle isn't going to raise any flags unless they notice a pattern. Another nice thing is they don't have a way of immediately telling if they could read the tag or not, so a cop can't just sit there waiting on a non-paying. I wouldn't worry or lose any sleep over it.
kohldad 09/17/19 09:21am Truck Campers
RE: Anyone haul camper with Ram SRW 3500 2wd factory air bag ?

I moved from a 2004 to 2015 srw ram worth the same 2,400# tc. The ride is about the same except there is slightly more lean in the corners. The big difference I think is that the 2015 doesn't have helper springs as they expect the main set to do all the work. This means no upper bump stops which I did have on the older truck. The leaning still isn't bad bit is noticeable.
kohldad 09/14/19 06:08am Truck Campers
RE: Question about tire pressure

Think you will find the 55 psi for the front a bit too low as you will be really scuffing the tires on the corners. 65 psi will probably work out abut right and give you better feel when cornering. I only need 55 psi but feel the steering is soft and mushy, especially on back country and mountain roads. For mainly interstate driving, 65 feels good, but if I know I'm going to be doing a lot of twisty mountain roads, I bump it up to 70 or 75. Good choice on the rear psi.
kohldad 09/11/19 06:36am Truck Campers
RE: Trip Report -- WA to Northern BC and Back

Thanks for the link to the fantastic trip report. I'll make sure I get it added to the sticky. 1,000 miles / week is what I plan for my trips while I'm still working so know it was quick but very enjoyable.
kohldad 08/28/19 07:15pm Truck Campers
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