5500 campers real life experience

tim87tr

Trails
I'm going to need a 5500 for a larger truck camper, flatbed/boxes and extra water in a quad cab chassis diesel. I have a modified Jeep I've been using on trips out West the last 8 years, so the camper rig would be only 10% trailhead and 90% road travel, mostly off-grid.

There are not any dealers nearby but we looked at a few, although previously more small class Cs, at a couple RV shows in St. Louis. On an upcoming trip to CO we will look at some truck campers in more detail.

I was looking to get some real life experience about the brands they have at a couple dealers we plan to stop by. Any brands I should avoid or recommendations? I've researched a lot but as I've learned with my Jeep, experience counts as I know when I can give advice and when I'd better listen when other Jeepers have more experience 🙂

They have Cirrus (but not the 920), Lance, Rugged Mountain, Adventurer and Northwood Articfox. I did see a manufacturing video on how the Artic fox was made, interesting. I can also live with a slide or two, preferably usable space with them closed too. Thanks for any insight which narrows down my search a bit.
 
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Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
I'd go with a Bundutec custom built hardside Bundutray.

A tray 550 big,............could likely fit an entire REAL shower. Depending on the wheelbase you pick, a slideout might not be necessary.

A little 3500 sized tray, pop up style though:

 
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Darwin

Explorer
Figure out what camper you want, then decide on the truck. A Ram 3500 dually chassis would be plenty for a non slide camper.

If you are looking at run of the mil campers non pop up, I would go with either Cirrus, Northernlite, or Bigfoot. I wouldn't even consider the others, personal opinion, based on how they are constructed, etc.
 

tim87tr

Trails
I'd go with a Bundutec custom built hardside Bundutray.

A tray 550 big,............could likely fit an entire REAL shower. Depending on the wheelbase you pick, a slideout might not be necessary.

A little 3500 sized tray, pop up style though:

I'll keep doing research on this but they're a fairly new company, not the owner. I like the concept of the flatbed as I'd decided it's a good idea on a new build chassis cab. I'm looking for a hard side.

Figure out what camper you want, then decide on the truck. A Ram 3500 dually chassis would be plenty for a non slide camper.

If you are looking at run of the mil campers non pop up, I would go with either Cirrus, Northernlite, or Bigfoot. I wouldn't even consider the others, personal opinion, based on how they are constructed, etc.
I do like the fiberglass shell constuction and the Cirrus had stood out to me also. I saw they used azdel not luan. I'll be looking at a Cirrus soon while traveling and will try and find a Northernlite.
 
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Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
Bundutec makes a hardside called a Bunduvry. I just couldn't find many pictures of them. I'm sure he can make a flatbed tray version of it.

Depends how hard you use it. Bundu's are aluminum skinned so that it can be peeled back for repairs. And replacing sections of skin doesn't look too bad. Damage fiberglass, and it's a nightmare. You'll have to paint or wrap the whole camper to make it nice again.
 

tim87tr

Trails
Bundutec makes a hardside called a Bunduvry. I just couldn't find many pictures of them. I'm sure he can make a flatbed tray version of it.

Depends how hard you use it. Bundu's are aluminum skinned so that it can be peeled back for repairs. And replacing sections of skin doesn't look too bad. Damage fiberglass, and it's a nightmare. You'll have to paint or wrap the whole camper to make it nice again.
Thanks, you're giving me a lot to think about going into this. I'm a technical thinker, so I like those details. Hadn't even thought of the difference in repairs.

Hopefully there'll be more of these to look at, and Bundutec is 6 hours north of me. I'll do some more research on the Bunduvery. It's good to know from the beginning the different manufacturer construction methods.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
You sure you need such a truck?

Us "little" 3/4 & 1-tons can get on with it pretty well, without the problems associated with larger trucks.

Wheel/tire combos, registration and insurance issues, etc...

Either way, good luck with your build. Lots of good folks here to draw input from.

 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
When I hear 550, I think of super single 40" military tires. Not sure if that's the route you're taking?

https://firematic.com/founders_mt.htm







Fire fighting brush trucks and big HD expo trucks aren't too far apart.


There's nothing wrong with the OEM wheels and tires, If you're not going too crazy off road. My work F550 that I had, went onto all kinds of wrecked construction sights on stock sized tires. Offroad cell tower sites as well. And nothing beats f rated duallys on the hwy.
 
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kmacafee

Adventurer
That camper pictured is mine. 70 nights and 30000 miles since October and I wouldn't change a thing. Rory at Bundutec has decades of experience building truck campers and is involved in every build. We've driven this hard on and off road and its solid.
 

tim87tr

Trails
You sure you need such a truck?

Us "little" 3/4 & 1-tons can get on with it pretty well, without the problems associated with larger trucks.

Wheel/tire combos, registration and insurance issues, etc...

Either way, good luck with your build. Lots of good folks here to draw input from.
My initial research and first thread on the forum looked into what payload I need. It seemed like I could get to the 6000 lb payload rating of the 3500 fairly easy. I looked at the new for 2019 Limited trim in quad chassis cabs, and the prices didn't seem too much more for the extra 5500 payload along with heavier axles and brakes. I have a one to two year timeframe to figure this out prior to retirement, got my work cut out for me😐
 
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tim87tr

Trails
When I hear 550, I think of super single 40" military tires. Not sure if that's the route you're taking?

https://firematic.com/founders_mt.htm

Fire fighting brush trucks and big HD expo trucks aren't too far apart.


There's nothing wrong with the OEM wheels and tires, If you're not going too crazy off road. My work F550 that I had, went onto all kinds of wrecked construction sights on stock sized tires. Offroad cell tower sites as well. And nothing beats f rated duallys on the hwy.
No I'd stay with stock size wheels and tires. It'd be trailhead or an easy dirt/gravel road on occasion as a Basecamp for my Jeep to use on trails. We like to move from place to place but on paved roads. Good to know you can get places with it a bit offroad too. I ruled out expedition type rigs since I've been so many places on Jeep trails.
 

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Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
Cool. More of a trailhead basecamp jeep tow vehicle. That's even easier to build for.

These guys make removable motorcoaches. Pops off just like a camper. They'll build whatever, just need your truck for a bit.

http://www.powerhousecoach.com/Pickup Truck Campers.html

Phoenix makes frame mount campers, slide in's, and flat beds as well. Also hardside, even though, once again, they're known for pop ups:
http://phoenixpopup.com/
 
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tim87tr

Trails
That camper pictured is mine. 70 nights and 30000 miles since October and I wouldn't change a thing. Rory at Bundutec has decades of experience building truck campers and is involved in every build. We've driven this hard on and off road and its solid.
If I didn't have my Jeep and trail experiences in it, I'd consider more of an off road set up. I'm going to need the additional payload of the duals also. I did research the SRW but have decided against it to look at heavier truck campers.
 
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