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Old 01-28-2012, 04:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Is this stupid? Popup on top of utility bed?

So I'm looking to "get out of the food chain" while camping and I've been looking at RTT's.

I can't stomach the $1600-2000 delivered price tags, FOR A TENT. Ya there "neat" but IT'S A DAMNED TENT.

Have also been thinking of a military trailer (m101) with a camping setup on it, then it donned on me, turn an 8' utility bed mounted on an old truck frame into a trailer with a small popup bolted to the top of it. Remove as much metal and weight from both of course, mount the popup so it opens towards the front and back so you could store stuff in the utility body boxes such as a grill/propane etc.

You'd still have the center of the body under the popup for storage as well.

Pro's:
-Utility beds and popups are pretty cheap
-Sleep 6-8 people in relative comfort (planning on a rtt on a sub, 2 up top, 3 in sub)
-Still mobile with the tow rig without messing with the camper.
-Can be used with multiple vehicles
-Tow rigs are on 34-35"tires so some lift blocks on the trailer would get the height needed to get you above most predators in AK. Will have a 450 AR for the rest.

Con's
-WEIGHT/balance/top heavy
-Ladder placement to get into camper.
-???????

Use would be alaska summers only, weekend trips, gold panning and exploring/fishing/camping. Not a hardcore offroad deal.

Anyone ever seen such a thing? I searched on here and the expedition forums with no joy. What are some reasons it won't work?
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Well this thought is definetly firming up in a hurry. I would order a complete 7' lb idler axle kit (mainly to match my trucks wheel pattern), i already found some utility service bed sides local on CL for $100! and a nice little pop up that the guy says make an offer on. So once the emails come back we'll see!

If this does happen it won't begin until sometime in Jul when I rotate back to the states from korea.

Let me know if this is a dumb idea before I spend any $$!!

I'm thinking a 2x4 1/8 wall rect tubing frame with the tool boxes designed as part of it, then the pop up mounted to the boxes with uprights from the "frame" down to trailer frame to spread the weight of the camper.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like a good idea. What kind of tow rig? How tall do you think it will be when finished? Total weight might be a problem unless you use a dually rear axle.
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A utility body shuld easily take the weight of a popup without extra framing. I have a crane bolted to the back corner of mine & used it to pull a 4BTA Cummins. No bracing at all.
You may want to use the regular pickup rear axle & run an alternator off it to charge a battery bank. That way, you won't have to worry about wiring up charging for different vehicles. One cavet, you may want a disconnect switch so that you don't have any drag in muddy areas.

You can go super high tech & install a scissor lift to raise it up to keep the wildlife away, too. Mount batteries down low for better COG.

I sure miss my prospectin' days... You should be able to fit a decent 4" dredge in the back along with finishing equipment.

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Old 01-28-2012, 03:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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sounds like a nice setup. as you said, getting all the extra weight off both the camper and the utility bed will be key. maybe if you can start with a nice, light weight aluminum bed, then an aluminum framed popup for the top that would help the weight issue lots.
good luck and post up lots of pics!
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Shouldn't need a dually axle, the bed sides of a service body wont be more than a few hundred pounds if that, I'm figuring 1500 for the pop up, another 500 for the trailer axle and frame.

Not sure if I should order an idler? Or spend the extra $ for the drum break axle. Camper won't be that heavy but I guess when it's loaded it "could" get to around 4K??

Tow rig is a 07 2500 ram with a cummins or an 80's 3/4 ton BBC suburban.

As far as the frame goes, I've never looked under a popup so I was assuming that closer to the edges would be only fiberglass with some steel main runners acting as a "frame" to attach the axle to. Hence why I was planning on lvn the frame on the popup intact and welding vertical supports to the lower frame. But all that will be decided when I actually start fabbing this thing up. Right now I'm in collection mode for parts and info.

Height wise, as tall as possible. I'm planning on relocating the spring pads to the top of the axle for the lift and then it will wear 34" tires, prob dura grapplers like my dodge on dodge ally wheels so i can share the spare and rotate them on to my towrig to make em last longer.

Only thing that scares me is the weight being up that high, 8-10' long, 8' wide, and all the weight 6' in the air, not sure how well it's going to tow is all. Also planning for a 2 5/16 ball hitch as this isn't going to be twisted up to badly offroad, and 4 corner stabilizer jacks to keep her stable when unhooked from the tow rig.
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You may want to use the regular pickup rear axle & run an alternator off it to charge a battery bank. That way, you won't have to worry about wiring up charging for different vehicles. One cavet, you may want a disconnect switch so that you don't have any drag in muddy areas.
I see people mention this frequently but have never seen it implemented. Sounds like a pretty out-there idea that wouldn't work as well as it sounds, but I like being proven wrong. Any experience?
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Are you going to be towing offroad? That would make a difference in ride height.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd like to do the altenator deal but it sounds like more of a headache then it's worth. I'm thinking a blue top that is charged when the truck is running. This will only be designed for 1-3 day adventures at first.

Yes it will be towed offroad, basically anywhere a ram on 34" treet tires can go (not to many places lol) or a lifted suburban on mud tires. Mainly just trying to get off the beaten path away from the "townies" and there minivans full of screaming kids. Nothing extreme as far as offroad goes.

The height will be fine, the limiting factor will be the 2 5/16 ball hitch.
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I went the RTT on top of a utility bed trailer route. You can read my build thread on Ih8Mud: http://forum.ih8mud.com/trailer-tech...amp-build.html

I went a little more intense with fully independent trailing arm air suspension, but it turned out pretty decent and works really well.
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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That looks really nice man! Anything you'd change?
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I had a friend in MA that put an Isuzu TD in his F350 in the 80's. Red & white, it was in a few magazines. He put the alternator on the rear pumpkin with a few homebrew brackets & an pulley in an afternoon. The trailer matched the truck well & had a hydraulic dump. I know he had the same alternator (35A that was origionally on the Isuzu TD) for at least 10 years. This was a "show truck.trailer", but gt driven in the salt & snow quite a bit.

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Old 01-29-2012, 06:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponyracer1 View Post
That looks really nice man! Anything you'd change?
Honestly I just need to finish it It lacks paint and a few of the systems need some finishing touches. For example, it has running water(hot and cold), but at the moment it only comes out of a hose. I have a sink fabbed up and a faucet, just need to mount them. Things like that.

In terms of what's there, I don't think I'd change any of it. We use the long box on the passenger side as our kitchen/pantry and the fridge slides out of the front box on the right side(I had to cut the back out). The left side has a storage box, a tool box, and a mechanical box(where all of the electrical, plumbing, compressed air, etc live). There is a 21 gallon tank of freshwater underneath and a 5 gallon air tank fed by two VIAIR compressors. We camped for 11 days straight on its maiden voyage to Colorado and back this past summer, and it was pretty comfortable. That tent is the large camping labs one and it was very comfortable for me, the GF and our two 55lbs dogs.

If you've got any questions, feel free. I'm happy to share.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Honestly I just need to finish it It lacks paint and a few of the systems need some finishing touches. For example, it has running water(hot and cold), but at the moment it only comes out of a hose. I have a sink fabbed up and a faucet, just need to mount them. Things like that.

In terms of what's there, I don't think I'd change any of it. We use the long box on the passenger side as our kitchen/pantry and the fridge slides out of the front box on the right side(I had to cut the back out). The left side has a storage box, a tool box, and a mechanical box(where all of the electrical, plumbing, compressed air, etc live). There is a 21 gallon tank of freshwater underneath and a 5 gallon air tank fed by two VIAIR compressors. We camped for 11 days straight on its maiden voyage to Colorado and back this past summer, and it was pretty comfortable. That tent is the large camping labs one and it was very comfortable for me, the GF and our two 55lbs dogs.

If you've got any questions, feel free. I'm happy to share.

Looks like a nice setup man.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Utility Beds for camping are the new rage!

Just kidding, here is a link to my Modification thread, just set up your truck with a bed and a slide in pop-up camper.





http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...-Modifications
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:09 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Utility Beds for camping are the new rage!

Just kidding, here is a link to my Modification thread, just set up your truck with a bed and a slide in pop-up camper.





http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...-Modifications


LOL I was just drooling over your truck on the expidition portal. SWEET setup.

I since started looking at the slide in popups and found one local that we may have a look at. I'd like to have that exact setup and I may build it except in a 10' version on a 6' truck.......where's my swasall....


Do you have any interior pics? How many people does that swb version sleep?
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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LOL I was just drooling over your truck on the expidition portal. SWEET setup.

I since started looking at the slide in popups and found one local that we may have a look at. I'd like to have that exact setup and I may build it except in a 10' version on a 6' truck.......where's my swasall....


Do you have any interior pics? How many people does that swb version sleep?




I thought your screen name was familiar. haha.

It sleeps 4. Me, wife, and two smallish kids.
I will update you more over on expo.
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