AT Overland Habitat X James Baroud Pop up tent = Ultimate truck camper?

Hey guys! I've been researching all sorts of truck campers, from simple bed platforms underneath canopies all the way up to full blown apartments on wheels based off of military trucks. What got me started on all of this is wanting to get off of the ground for sleeping (girlfriend wants to stay away from the creepy crawlies.) But (to my eye) almost all of the options out there have compromises in one direction or another. Cost, living space in the tent, day to day livability, and functionality are all my major areas of concern. A lot of the options are either very costly for the space they provide, sacrifice space that could be better used otherwise, are a pain to use or get in the way for a daily driven rig.

So I started thinking about how to make my own and have a basic idea, but would love to get peoples opinions on it.

Basically, my idea is this: take an AT Overland habitat and instead of the tent portion folding out, have it pop up like a James' Baroud hardshell RTT over the cab/bed (amount of overhang relative to cab/bed depending on vehicle configuration) with the all hard outer panels being aluminum. Given that, the top of the pop up could have solar panels or load bars built into the panel to keep things tidy.

Fabric for the tent walls would likely be aluminized for better insulation in hot/cold environments with a built in ceiling fan for ventilation. The tent portion would run the full length of the vehicle with the sleeping area over top of the cab. If there was a couple inches of overhang above the windshield, that could be used as a mounting point for lights so you can avoid drilling holes in the body of your vehicle and keep the light a little bit lower profile. Where there's no mattress over the bed of the truck, extra vertical space to change while standing is created with the tent up.

The canopy portion would be business as usual with side windoors/cupboards for easy access to tools/recovery gear/whatever. Possibly using a barn door setup on the rear for access, but could be easily kept to the normal tailgate/rear hatch set up.

Feel free to nitpick and offer any critiques you may have!

Cheers
 

02rangeredge

Adventurer
I've had this thought so many times, I love the ones on TW but I think most people looking for lifting roofs like Habitat's way of approaching it, get standing room and sitting room rather than the tilting roof that I'd imagine would be easier to built
 

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Clutch

<---Pass
I inquired about having one built by Tradesman, they said anywhere between $5-8K depending on options.

Think I would do a flat bed too. Side access would be awfully handy. I see doing pull out kitchen and the hatch door doubles as an awning.

pop_top_ute_tray_camper_frame_20079671.jpg
 
I inquired about having one built by Tradesman, they said anywhere between $5-8K depending on options.

Think I would do a flat bed too. Side access would be awfully handy. I see doing pull out kitchen and the hatch door doubles as an awning.

View attachment 438237
I was also tossing around the idea of taking the bed off and building a Flatbed/topper/tent all in one that could be removed as needed, so this is good inspiration.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
Almost exactly like that, only difference being the top would completely pop up instead of being hinged at the front. That is super cool though.
Ahh... I see, like a Four Wheel Camper or All Terrain Camper. (I thought the JB hinged like a Columbus)




I was also tossing around the idea of taking the bed off and building a Flatbed/topper/tent all in one that could be removed as needed, so this is good inspiration.
Flatbeds add a lot of usable space that was otherwise wasted with a traditional pickup bed. We live in large agriculture area, they are quite popular here.
 
Ahh... I see, like a Four Wheel Camper or All Terrain Camper. (I thought the JB hinged like a Columbus)



Flatbeds add a lot of usable space that was otherwise wasted with a traditional pickup bed. We live in large agriculture area, they are quite popular here.
Yeah, something like that but a little slimmer (following body lines of the cab instead of going straight up) was what I was thinking. Also totally agree on flatbeds giving more space, lots of empty space in the fenders I could make better use of as I only have a 5' bed so every little bit helps.

I was also thinking that if I did a flatbed, I could make some storage boxes to keep things I'd want quick access to but not want to store in the cab (winching gear, recovery ropes, etc.)
 

Clutch

<---Pass
Yeah, something like that but a little slimmer (following body lines of the cab instead of going straight up) was what I was thinking. Also totally agree on flatbeds giving more space, lots of empty space in the fenders I could make better use of as I only have a 5' bed so every little bit helps.

I was also thinking that if I did a flatbed, I could make some storage boxes to keep things I'd want quick access to but not want to store in the cab (winching gear, recovery ropes, etc.)

Here you go. If you do a flat bed, you could make it 6'...bit of overhang but since it is up so high shouldn't be too bad, as long as you keep most of the weight in front of the axle.

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/overlanerds-home-away-from-home.487366/




 
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Here you go. If you do a flat bed, you could make it 6'...bit of overhang but since it is up so high shouldn't be too bad, as long as you keep most of the weight in front of the axle.

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/overlanerds-home-away-from-home.487366/




...I think you found almost exactly what I was picturing in my mind. Only changes I'd make to that (the camper in the first picture) are hatches to storage cupboards in the walls, full pop up tent vs being hinged at the front, and no angle on the rear (although it does look hella cool and probably helps a lot with departure angle.)
 

Clutch

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...I think you found almost exactly what I was picturing in my mind. Only changes I'd make to that (the camper in the first picture) are hatches to storage cupboards in the walls, full pop up tent vs being hinged at the front, and no angle on the rear (although it does look hella cool and probably helps a lot with departure angle.)
Awesome!

I have a couple few folders on the computer full of camper ideas.
 
I've been collecting pictures from all over on all sorts of things for inspiration, haha. I'd have no issues with starting to figure out how to fabricate stuff (there's pretty much no aftermarket for my Dakota) if I had the space for a workshop, but I do not while living in a condo. Although, I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it to keep my truck or if I should look into getting something better suited off the hop. Given that I've tossed around the idea of swapping in a 4BT, doing a SAS w/ matching rear axle, custom fuel cell, flatbed + camper, I don't know if I should save those for my next truck or not. Thoughts?

Reasoning behind each mod:
4BT Swap- main goal would be much better mpg as the stock V8 is absolutely terrible on gas (I'm lucky to get 400 miles to the tank on the highway currently with 31" tires.)

SAS- Because of how tall the 4BT's are, making extra room in the engine bay might be needed; a body lift could help a little but but doing a SAS could let me optimize where everything sits. I would want to throw a matching rear axle in so that track width is matched front to rear without needing spacers. Truck would be used for wheeling and remote camping, so durability would be a high concern as I don't want to be fixing things trailside if I can avoid it.

Custom Fuel Cell- get more range; would be mounted between frame rails using space from OEM spare tire location.
 
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Clutch

<---Pass
I've been collecting pictures from all over on all sorts of things for inspiration, haha. I'd have no issues with starting to figure out how to fabricate stuff (there's pretty much no aftermarket for my Dakota) if I had the space for a workshop, but I do not while living in a condo. Although, I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it to keep my truck or if I should look into getting something better suited off the hop. Given that I've tossed around the idea of swapping in a 4BT, doing a SAS w/ matching rear axle, custom fuel cell, flatbed + camper, I don't know if I should save those for my next truck or not. Thoughts?

Reasoning behind each mod:
4BT Swap- main goal would be much better mpg as the stock V8 is absolutely terrible on gas (I'm lucky to get 400 miles to the tank on the highway currently with 31" tires.)

SAS- Because of how tall the 4BT's are, making extra room in the engine bay might be needed; a body lift could help a little but but doing a SAS could let me optimize where everything sits. I would want to throw a matching rear axle in so that track width is matched front to rear without needing spacers. Truck would be used for wheeling and remote camping, so durability would be a high concern as I don't want to be fixing things trailside if I can avoid it.

Custom Fuel Cell- get more range; would be mounted between frame rails using space from OEM spare tire location.
All depends on how much time, money and effort you want to throw at.

http://slicknessindustries.com/tag/dodge-dakota-solid-axle-swap-kit/


I would love to get 400 miles out of tank.... can barely squeak 265 out of my Tacoma, my year only had a 15 gallon tank...so I carry jerry cans. Do most of my back country exploring on a motorcycle so no need to heavily mod my truck.
 
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Ideally, I think I'd want to do the engine and solid axle swap at the same time but I haven't the foggiest on how to actually build them up. Especially when there's not exactly a guidebook for completely redesigning a vehicle (and least not that I can find, haha.) I could probably figure out a parts list for everything and get it all pulled together, but I'd be lost on how to bolt it up.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
Ideally, I think I'd want to do the engine and solid axle swap at the same time but I haven't the foggiest on how to actually build them up. Especially when there's not exactly a guidebook for completely redesigning a vehicle (and least not that I can find, haha.) I could probably figure out a parts list for everything and get it all pulled together, but I'd be lost on how to bolt it up.
Plenty of forums out there to do the research, Pirate is probably the best for vehicle mods like that.

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/
 
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