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Old 09-15-2010, 07:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Pickup truck sleepers

So just like lots of other people, I stay in a tent whenever I go to an offroad park or event. The tent is plenty big enough, and the air mattress is alright to sleep on. BUT, I can't stand waking up on the final day and having to tear down my little gypsy-hut and air down my air mattress so I can shove them back into their packaging, only to have to shove all of that back into a tote.

I have looked at truck campers/motorhomes/anything else that comes to mind with all the amenities, but am now wondering if I really need all that stuff. I think just a place to sleep would be good enough. Also, I have a 97 Dodge ext. cab, and would love to have a little more cab space.

I found these guys online (www.cowtownsleepers.com), and am fairly interested. However, I wanted to find out if anyone on here has any experience with them.

The only other person that camps with me is my wife, but we do often haul with 3-5 people in the truck to and from the event. I thought one of these sleepers would be neat because you could store your clothes/dry food and such under the bed area, and when on the way to an event, one of the passengers that is falling asleep could just crawl up there and take a nap while going down the road!

I think if I were to do this, I would like to get a slightly larger one, like a 36" or 42" Roadrunner model.

So, after that story, has anyone on here seen or owned one of these, or what do you think of them? It would be a very large downsizing in sleeping area for me, but I think gaining some cab space and a sleeping area that you set up once and leave alone would be very nice.

So, tell me what you think!

Any input is appreciated.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm going to call you in a few minutes anyway, but I figured I'd post my thoughts (as I'm running a similar scenario through my head now too).

Since you have a bumper-pull trailer, I think a truck bed topper would really be the easiest and most cost-effective. Add to that a bedrug carpet liner and you would have a pretty decent camping set up. It's not ideal, but it'd work. A single matress or even an air matress would still fit and allow room for cargo when you pack up camp. You wouldn't have to worry as much about tearing down the tent and sleeping quarters, nut load up the cooking and other campsite gear. You could make it really sweet and install an RV air conditioner to the roof too. I think that'd be your low-buck camper set up that is still removable for when you don't need it, or want to use the bed.

If I can come up with a decently long GN trailer, I still think I'll try to locate (or have King find me one) a regular truck sleeper and slap in on the very front of the trailer. If nothing else it'd be dry storage for bedding and tools. Then again, my quad cab is big enough that I could probably turn it into a sleeper for one easy enough... Dammit Adam, now I went and thought myself into a circle...
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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are you talking about sleeping across the width of a pickup bed?

I'd rather break camp on a sunday morning than try sleeping like that!
I'd put an air mattress in a truck bed, with a topper before I tried that. hell, a regular short box is perfect for a full sized air mattress.

Ive camped in a truck bed with a tarp, some bungee cords, and two dome tent collapsible poles tucked into the stake pockets before done corner to corner. took 3 minutes to setup/break down, and kept me dry for a 24 hour race at daytona in an absolute deluge.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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that's a cool idea and all, but why not just do a topper and blow up the air matress in the bed? Then you get dry lockable storage for the whole bed. I could see the sleeper being a pretty sweet setup if you towed a GN trailer though.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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What I use to use was a shell/topper and a cot that hooks to the bed rail. it would fold up when not inuse. I cannot find them now. Used it when I was hunting. Kept all my junk in the truck then when I stopped t o camp just pull eveything out that I used to cook with and threw my bag on the cot and slept.
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Old 09-15-2010, 08:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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A buddy has one of those sleeper things, he tows a goose, so the topper thing is out, BUT he has bed in the goose (2wd pulling truck hauler). He just keeps junk and clothes in the sleeper thing. He used to use it to sleep in when he towed on an open trailer, but he is a scrawny little shit. (5'6" and maybe 100 lbs.)
I agree with the topper guys since you are towing bumper pull.
If you were towing on a open bumper pull, I'd get a walk in sleeper from a semi and put entry towards the rear, and make a door, put on front of the bed, (assuming the trailer bed was long enough obviously).
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Definitely good points about using a truck topper. I thought about that before, but cancelled it out because I got too into the idea of really "compartmentalizing" it, which would make it hard to break down and remove when you need a truck bed.

However, if you keep it simple, it could really work out sweet, and be more comfortable for sleeping.

The topper thing wouldn't add any cab space, but I suppose I can live without it.

That is the one thing I don't like about the Cowtown sleepers. It seems like it would be extremely tough to sleep two people in one, even the 42" models.

Thanks for the input guys.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I had a topper on my long bed Dodge for the last 4 years. It was pretty nice to be able to store all my crap and lock it up and keep it semi safe and dry. BUT I think I slept in it once, maybe twice. The problem was without building some type of 'system' by the time I had all my gear pulled out, bed set up and ready to roll - I could have set up a tent and had more room and all my gear would still be dry in the truck.

Those little mini sleepers just look too small to me.

If you have the room to store it - I'd look at small, simple slide in truck campers, they can be had for $1000 all week long on Craigslist. Load it will all your gear you will need, have it ready to go all the time. Add food and clothes as the trips requires, load the camper and be off. Build something for your trailer to hold all your tools and spares and you'd be set. No need to load or unload anything, ever.
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Old 09-15-2010, 01:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've seen some guys use a high rise topper and put 2x4's in the half way notches on the bed and slide plywood in. They slide rubbermaid type under bed storage containers in under that, sleeping stuff on top. Can get toppers for free or next to it sometimes on Craigslist/Kijiji.

If I was sleeping crosswise, I'd just sleep on the truck bench seat (assuming you have a bench?)
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i've spent several nights in my truck. i sleep across the bench seat but being 6' 2" it's not very comfortable. my buddy did hot shotting for awhile and took out everything but the driver seat and made some sort of l shape bed i guess but i want to be able to carry passengers. another idea was a 36" sleeper off a rig and stretch the frame but since this is also my off road rig i didnt want to do that. for camping i used one of those truck bedz air mattresses but i carry too much in my bed day to day. i'm thinking one of those tent cots might be a good option. they come in single and double. the plywood false floor might work for you if you and your wife arent claustrophobic. i like the security of being inside the vehicle personally but i cant use a topper with my toolboxes on the bedrails. one think i'd like to do is make my front bench recline and slide forward to combine with the rear seat.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have a camper top on my truck...Plan on making a false floor covered with carpet with a slide out "drawer" made of 2x4's and plywood that is about the size of the bed floor...This only sits about 6-8inches up off the bed floor, so it leaves plenty of room to sleep on top of it...Ive seen the "drawer" method used before for tools and chains, and such and it will hold a good amount of camping equipment...Ill just make a thick pallet with blankets and rack the fawk out like the old cowboy days...One thing Ive learned, is if your tired enough you'll fall asleep anywhere...Its only for 1 or 2 nights at most, so I just rough it, and its cheap...

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Old 09-16-2010, 06:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RGRHASH View Post
One thing Ive learned, is if your tired enough you'll fall asleep anywhere...Its only for 1 or 2 nights at most, so I just rough it, and its cheap...
I was reading this and thinking "This guy is right, that sounds like a good idea." Until I read this last statement. This is the part where I thought to myself "It's only a couple of nights at a time, and only a few nights each year, the tent is already bought and paid for. I'll just stick to that."

It's arguably a never-ending argument, but if you do it enough to become proficient, it really cuts down on the amount of gear to take with, setup and tear down times and overall streamlinedness of the whole process.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by JohnnyU View Post
This is the part where I thought to myself...
To each, his own.

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Old 09-16-2010, 02:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Truck camper is by far the baddest setup going for the cheapest price...period.

I can tow my buddys 30ft enclosed or my 34ft bumper pull or my 16ft single place.

The roof is a popup on the camper so it cuts wind resistance down. I had the roof a/c installed and it also has a heat element in it. I swapped out the nonworking 3 way fridge for a dorm fridge and use only electricity, no propane for anything. Were we go we either have electricity hookup or bring a generator. I have about $2500 in the camper ($700 was a/c, camper was $1500, rest was my small upgrades including fridge). I bought it in June and have used it 8 times for a total of 14 nights. I have plans to use it at least three or four more times before the end of the year.

Set up takes less than 10 minutes (roof pops up in less than a minute), the other 9 minutes are me unwrapping the electrical cord so it could be done in less time

Tear down is very fast and makes me sooooooo glad for it when I see other still tearing their tent cities down and mines ready to go.

camper weighs about 1k

i have a set of clothes that i keep in it along with my camping gear that i never have to take in and out of the back of my truck every trip again.

sleeps 2 to 4...2 couples...or two dudes...

plus if you dont have a dually (takes a little longer with dually) you can get it out of the bed of your truck in very little time.

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Old 09-16-2010, 06:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Cheap/Simple Solution:

Get a used/new camper shell and slap it on your truck bed. Build a sleeping platform and shove all your gear under neath it. For better access you can get drawers like this in the bed for gear:


New/Used Camper shell on top of the bed with a platform over the drawers. Put carpet on it, air mattress, electric blanket whatever. You dont really have to break camp, camper shell, platform and/or drawers can easily be removed if you want to reconfigure the truck for another use.
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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at one point i was gonna build a "sleep on top-able" storage box in my suburban. most of my wheelin junk used to stay packed up in it all the time anyway. kind of along the same lines as yall with the pickup shells.

now im building an enclosed trailer so i have nothing to unpack from my truck and my rig doesnt sit outside between trips

i do kinda like the sleepers but i dont have room for that and my toolbox.

saw a guy with a small big rig sleeper mounted behind his crewcab on the highway earlier today and thot of this thread. he was prolly a hot shotter and had no bed behind it,but one could cut down a pickup bed or build a small flatbed so his truck wasnt a tractor. it was cool but would prolly be a PITA most of the time... unless you wheel every weekend and have other trucks to use as trucks.
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Old 09-17-2010, 11:19 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I picked up a flat top sleeper a month or so ago for my tow rig build. I paid $202.50 for a 36" sleeper.

if I don't use it on my rig, i will mount it to the front of my trailer. (I saw someone on here who has a 36" sleeper on their trailer and it looks like it belongs)
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by EarthResin View Post

Any input is appreciated.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
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This is my solution for a sleeper with pickup.

Its a 05 F350 CC C&C. I had a custom bed on the back (bought that way), but the city considered it to be a flat bed. The city has parking regulations, I wouldn't pass with a camper in the back as well. My house situation wouldn't permit me to use one with taking it out. My driveway is 23* steep and I only have 10' of usable side. The home ac is on that side as well. My solution is a long bed (C&C is 4" longer wheelbase and different frame setup) with a utility top slide-in. Its a slide in, but I'd rather have a topper just couldn't find one. The slide-in takes a lot of usable room out. Anyways, plans are to add a pop-up top similar to the VW camper vans for a stand-up space and a loft bed (for my teen girl). There will be a bed on the floor (after removal of floor and roll-out shelf). The driver's side will have a drop-down bed for my teen boy. The passenger side will be the kitchen. It will roll out of the side access door to gain space inside. There will be canvas attachments and side walls if necessary to the topper.

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