Another 2020 Ram 5500 Flatbed Camper Build

Brad_UT

Well-known member
I learned from my old camper setup that you can't have too much water, power or truck.

The auxiliary water tank finally came in. It's a 36 gallon heavy-duty 3/8" wall poly tank that will have a little Whale submersible transfer pump inside. When the camper tank is empty, I can refill it from this tank. Or at least that's the idea.

Insulated on all sides with 1" thick 2lb. cross-linked polyethylene foam. It doesn't absorb water, is resistant to most oils/chemicals and is a pretty good insulator. (similar to what they make those knee board cushions out of) Most importantly it doesn't squeak like that pink foam insulation board at the hardware store.

Freeze protection heating pad will be installed on the bottom. Spare tire will be mounted on the right of it. I'll start fabricating that soon.

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Ninelitetrip

Active member
Pretty much. I went looking for small automatic extinguishers and there are some out there, but dang, they're expensive. Finally settled on this thing called BlazeCut T200E. It's a tube filled with a modern version of Halon. A fire will punch a hole in the tube, releasing the gas. Pretty slick and not terribly expensive. I can snake it around inside the cabinet.
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Very handy. I've seen these also.

 

Ninelitetrip

Active member
Definitely a pop-up to keep the overall height down. I trimmed plenty of trees with my old camper setup. Mostly low hanging branches that I didn't see until it was too late.

Been talking to Drew at Bison Overland. Many have seen his aluminum frame camper shells. He's now working to develop a composite panel version.

Aft of your water and tire storage you still have about 9 feet of tray left? Will be interesting to see what they come up with. If you have that much room it would fit an Overland Ex BASE CAMP soft wall. I wonder if TC will ever offer the kits wit a soft wall after the kit business is up and running.
 

Brad_UT

Well-known member
Aft of your water and tire storage you still have about 9 feet of tray left? Will be interesting to see what they come up with. If you have that much room it would fit an Overland Ex BASE CAMP soft wall. I wonder if TC will ever offer the kits wit a soft wall after the kit business is up and running.
Hey man. Sorry for the late reply. I've been busy with the build and haven't checked the thread in a bit. Seems that if you don't pop in regularly, EP stops sending you notifications...

The bed area behind the tunnel box and spare is about 111" front to back and 90" side to side. It's not huge, but it's not small either. The OEV campers are top of the line for sure but out of my price range unfortunately. Their local dealer also said they "only use their flatbeds" and "don't offer any kind of shell option". All deal breakers for me.

I also considered Phoenix and Hallmark, but either the high pricing or the lead times killed those options. FWC was on the table too, but quality and lead times pushed them down the list. I've been talking to Drew at Bison Overland which has been very responsive. So far I like what I see. I'm traveling down to Oklahoma next week to see his place first hand and talk details. More to come on that.

If Total Composites offered a flatbed pop-up kit, I'd go that route in a heartbeat.
 

Brad_UT

Well-known member
The camper power supply is finally done and working great! It turned out just awesome.

After getting everything installed, programmed and load tested (1500W with my little heater) I can say I'm very impressed with this Victron stuff. Most all of the devices have a bluetooth connection to a phone app that allows you to configure and monitor what they are doing. Super easy.

The Orion-Tr Smart DC/DC chargers allow the truck to charge the lithium camper bank. I have two 30A units in parallel. When the temps are cool, they easily draw 85A (at 13.1V) from the truck which was more than I was expecting.

The engraved labels finished it off nicely. Check out Carolina Laser on the web. Easy web interface and fast shipping. Paid full price like I do with all this stuff. Just a happy repeat customer.

All those wires hanging out the back of the tunnel box will go through a short flexible conduit to the camper box.

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Brad_UT

Well-known member
Started laying out the camper and thinking about what goes inside.

Went with a nice little 6-gallon commercial water heater and changed the element to 12V 300W. Should heat up 6-gal 20F per hour. Thinking is that you turn it on while driving when you have plenty of juice from the truck. Once up to temp, the solar charging will easily maintain it.

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Looking really nice man! We're doing the same things at the moment, though you're a bit ahead of me. I just got my whole solar/battery bank/electrical setup purchased. Have about half of it sitting here. When the batteries and panels arrive I'm going to set it up temporarily in the garage on some plywood and give it a thorough testing until the box is ready for it to be installed. I just purchased my water heater too, kinda similar to what you have there. Your rig is turning out great.
 

smurfsky101

Member
I'm doing a very similar thing but not as gorgeous, just hacking apart a bigfoot. You and @RAM5500 CAMPERTHING have been big inspirations for my build. Just wanted to say thanks for detailing everything, particularly the Kelderman setup / bracket.

Do you think an extended front bag is necessary? Right now I've got it the full buckstop kit (axle forward, lift); and seems alright but I haven't put it through anything intense off-road yet.

I'm nowhere near your level of build quality though. Feel like i'm starting to rush things a bit because I really want to get on the road. So far really digging the quality of the Victron components, too
 

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Brad_UT

Well-known member
I'm doing a very similar thing but not as gorgeous, just hacking apart a bigfoot. You and @RAM5500 CAMPERTHING have been big inspirations for my build. Just wanted to say thanks for detailing everything, particularly the Kelderman setup / bracket.

Do you think an extended front bag is necessary? Right now I've got it the full buckstop kit (axle forward, lift); and seems alright but I haven't put it through anything intense off-road yet.

I'm nowhere near your level of build quality though. Feel like i'm starting to rush things a bit because I really want to get on the road. So far really digging the quality of the Victron components, too
Wow, that's a good looking rig! With all the trouble I'm having finding a camper, I probably should have kept my Arctic Fox 865 and gone the same route as you. It would have been a hell of alot cheaper an easier that's for sure. The only real drawback is height.

I think having a taller front bag is a good idea. The Kelderman kit is made for stock height and we know you need a small lift to clear the tires. The 2" taller bags give you more than you need. Are you planning on modifying the Buckstop kit to accept airbags instead of coil springs? How does the Buckstop design provide lift? A bag conversion would definitely be interesting -- and a first as far as I know.

This whole build has kept me busy during Covid. That wasn't the idea in the beginning, of course, but that's how it worked out. I've had waay too much time to plan and obsess over small details that I'd otherwise plow right through. I have been working on this thing non stop it seems since early September and I too am ready to stop building and start taking it on trips. The camper portion will be done in time, but for now, I'm getting the f out and seeing what the beast can do. Alaska will have to wait for next year, but the bright side is that I have another year now to build out the inside of the camper and work out any bugs in the rig.

Holler if you're ever out this way. I'd love to see your setup.
 

smurfsky101

Member
Where in UT are you?

Exactly - I hit that '******* it' moment, let's finish up and hit the road this week. I've been obsessing over solar configurations, batteries, wiring, you name it.

re: modifying buckstop kit - yes - made a bracket thing to accept the airbags, I'll get some more photos up; might end up creating a thread detailing everything that was done in a week or two. I think the buckstop site does an OK job explaining the lift https://www.buckstopinc.com/single-wheel-conversion-839.html.

I'm nervous about height, but luckily the bigfoot TC w/o AC unit sits low, relative to other campers. I think I will be at 12'9 - which is taller than I wanted, but is doable.


Wow, that's a good looking rig! With all the trouble I'm having finding a camper, I probably should have kept my Arctic Fox 865 and gone the same route as you. It would have been a hell of alot cheaper an easier that's for sure. The only real drawback is height.

I think having a taller front bag is a good idea. The Kelderman kit is made for stock height and we know you need a small lift to clear the tires. The 2" taller bags give you more than you need. Are you planning on modifying the Buckstop kit to accept airbags instead of coil springs? How does the Buckstop design provide lift? A bag conversion would definitely be interesting -- and a first as far as I know.

This whole build has kept me busy during Covid. That wasn't the idea in the beginning, of course, but that's how it worked out. I've had waay too much time to plan and obsess over small details that I'd otherwise plow right through. I have been working on this thing non stop it seems since early September and I too am ready to stop building and start taking it on trips. The camper portion will be done in time, but for now, I'm getting the f out and seeing what the beast can do. Alaska will have to wait for next year, but the bright side is that I have another year now to build out the inside of the camper and work out any bugs in the rig.

Holler if you're ever out this way. I'd love to see your setup.
 

Brad_UT

Well-known member
Where in UT are you?

Exactly - I hit that '******* it' moment, let's finish up and hit the road this week. I've been obsessing over solar configurations, batteries, wiring, you name it.
LOL. Yep I know exactly what you mean. All this detail work just pours jet fuel on my OCD.

I'm about 40 min north of downtown SLC near Ogden, UT. Some of the other builders on this list aren't too far either. We should start an annual "Drinks in the Desert" get together. :) That is assuming we have any money left over when we're done.
 

180out

Active member
ill bring mine, just say when and where. no place with low bridges as i am also in the 13' CLUB
 
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