Cabover campers- Questions

Judoka

Learning To Live
I am thinking about puting a full size cabover camper into the bed of my 94 K3500 Diesel Duely. This truck was set up to pull a big heavy 5th wheel so I have airbag assist too. I am kind of wondering about how it would handle offroad if I di go this rout. I imagine I will lose a lot of capability offroad because it would raise my center of gravity. I also think that it would be pretty violent up in the camper as it sways from side to side. I want to know if anyone uses a big old heavy full size camper to get into the back country on trails that are like 2.5-3.0 with any success and what preparation it takes to secure the camper and the gear. Any insight is appreciated. Thanks!
 

OTR

Adventurer
I think on 2.5-3.0 trails you will have great difficulty due to width (dually) and height (full sized truck camper). If you went with a pop-up truck camper you would solve the height issue and high COG. You would have to lose the dual rear wheels and fenders to cover the width issue.

Then your left with a length issue if you have a crewcab truck with an 8ft bed on those trails. If you have a regular cab, you might be ok then.
 

Judoka

Learning To Live
Thanks for the input. :victory: I am not so worried about height or width or even length. I just use a trail rating reference because it describes the type of terrain I want to be able to traverse. I actually dont intend to go through anything too tight. I have seen some washes in the desert as wide as a football field that are technical as can be and require serious articulation. I am much more concerned about securing the camper and gear, and about the center of gravity.
Oh, the rig in question is located here (without camper yet of course): http://judoka.smugmug.com/Travel/Overland-Adventure-Begins/15649637_MWnWi#1172740232_2YNoQ-A-LB
 
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Desert Drifter

Observer
I did some mild off roading with my 05 CTD dually and 9' camper with slide out. 12 feet tall and 12000 lbs. I did the MaGruder Corridor with it but off camber stuff was really scary!!!!

I now have a short box SRW and a pop up!!!! :smiley_drive:
 

Judoka

Learning To Live
I was thinking a bit more agressive than the Magruder Corridor actually. I would be happy with being able to run that route with a big camper though I think. I really would need it to be able to handle a trip into Mike's Sky Ranch in Baja though. Anything less capable than that would seriously limit me. I know that most of the capability of a hehicle is dependant upon suspension characteristics, but I figured I could see what others have done. I appreciate your insight! Thank you!
 

FishPOET

Adventurer
Each of us has a different threshold.

I have a very low threshold for off camber with a full size cabover camper. The center of gravity is very high and the rig does a lot of swaying with even a few inches of difference under the tires.



 

Judoka

Learning To Live
See, thats what I am worried about right there. I am thinking about just customizing my truck bed with the camper I have already instead. I just dont want to be too limited. I like the room and the convienience, but I think I am willing to just eat the comfort and convenience for the drivability. Again, I thank everyone for chiming in. I love to hear the opinions of those in the know!
 

liftedlimo

Adventurer
Not and expo/off-road story but:
I just installed a cab-over camper/canopy on my lifted 93 Dodge right before the snowstorm last week. It bolts to my truck bed and is basically a plywood box. One early rainy morning after 12" of fresh snow the previous night while driving to the coffee shop I dipped to far right and my entire truck slide sideways into the ditch at about 10mph dropping my right front tire into the semi-frozen soupy mud under the snow. With the camper raising the trucks COG, my left rear tire was in the air while my front right tire sank into the mud the more we winched on the truck. Our 12.5k Warn winch couldn't pull it out, forwards or backwards!

Long story (and 6 hours of winching and digging later), if I didn't have the camper on therefore raising my COG, I wouldn't of slid into the ditch in the snow, and I could of backed right out when I first went into the ditch. Ether a pop-up camper or an off-road trailer is in my future if I plan to venture very far off the beaten path.

3 hours in, still not stuck that bad yet:
 
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chilliwak

Expedition Leader
Sorry to see your truck in the ditch like that Lift. Some of the campers out there are really top heavy. Although my camper is high,

It is light on top and heavy at the bottom making it ideal for off road use.
Judo, why not make your own camper that is suited for 4by4ing?:safari-rig:
 

lstzephyr

wanderer
I was thinking a bit more agressive than the Magruder Corridor actually. I would be happy with being able to run that route with a big camper though I think. I really would need it to be able to handle a trip into Mike's Sky Ranch in Baja though. Anything less capable than that would seriously limit me. I know that most of the capability of a hehicle is dependant upon suspension characteristics, but I figured I could see what others have done. I appreciate your insight! Thank you!
Do you remember that service truck we passed on the bikes headed up to mike's sky? That thing was a 2WD(!) dual wheel, F450-550 ford and it made it just fine. It bounced along at a slow speed and they didn't stop for anything but I bet you could do just fine with a camper and 4wd if you went slow enough.

That said, I would buy an alaskan or a 4 wheel camper popup. They are on craigslist sometimes, and there is a memeber on here selling an Alaskan(Rot box)
 

Dave Kay

Adventurer
After my youthful Army experiences I never wanted to sleep in a tent ever again. So I'm kinda' partial to those big trail rigs and ran one for a few years. A full size Chevy C-20 w/D-locker and a fairly large slide-out. Though it wasn't a full cab-over it was roomy, comfy, w/lots of 12-volt goodies and it rode like a Caddy on-highway.

Not exactly ideal for off roading but we went most places with our 4-wheeler friends and it of course had it's limits. But whenever one of our friends kidded me about how they were going to be pulling me out of sand traps I'd just air it down, and because of that Locker and the camper's weight, and we'd plow through the soft stuff like a run-away freight train. Never got stuck and it was kinda funny sometimes--- because we'd blow away some people's misconceptions with what a full-size could or couldn't do--- on trail!

Anyway, for that long-tall truck of yours I would seriously look into fabbing some kind of skid-plates for it--- that was my old rig's Achillies Heal--- grounding the on the high-center. And maybe you didn't mention, but a locker might be a good addition to further your trail-legs.

Good luck!
 

J Rod

New member
I did some mild off roading with my 05 CTD dually and 9' camper with slide out. 12 feet tall and 12000 lbs. I did the MaGruder Corridor with it but off camber stuff was really scary!!!!

I now have a short box SRW and a pop up!!!! :smiley_drive:

Newbie here...I just purchased a NS 650 that will be going on my GMC 1/2 ton. I need to purchase new tires and dont know how much tire I need. I am being told that a C rated tire should be enough but read that E rated are teh way to go. I have had two tire dealers tell me that I dont need E rated tires on a 1/2 ton, even though my truck will be Maxed out, rating wise. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

bob91yj

Resident **************
I'd go with E's if they are available in the size/style you are looking for. I'd rather have a comfortable safety margin than be near the limits of a lower rated tire.

The trade off is the side wall is a bit stiffer, firmer ride, but that can be adjusted with air pressure.
 

Code Monkey

Observer
Our 12.5k Warn winch couldn't pull it out, forwards or backwards!
Did it not have the power?

Or was the problem that your passenger side just stayed in the ditch?

I figure my rig, when I put my 'camper' on it, and loaded with other gear, will weight at least 10K#, maybe as much as 12K#. I am going to try to keep the weight down, and keep the mass down low, but I don't plan on using the rig for serious off-roading. I just want it to get me to the trailhead so I can ride my dirt bike or snow bike around. So I pretty much plan to stay on some kind of road.

That said, I do plan on getting the biggest winch I can get. I know Warn has a 16.5K winch, but I also learned they have an 'extreme duty' line and an 18K winch. I am hoping I never have to use it, but I think with a rig that large it would be better to have enough or even too much winch than not enough. Many people don't think about the amount of drag being in a ditch or hole or going up an incline will present.
 

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