Camper style - pro/con

Chorky

Observer
Hey all, as the title suggests. I'm looking to hear weigh in's of different camper types. More specifically, standard slide-in vs. flatbed vs. custom's that will fit in a service/utility bed.

I have long considered a custom pop-up that will fit in a service bed as I frequently carry much equipment - 2/3 saws and equipment, several ax'es, recovery gear, spare parts, gas, work equipment. Thus I have been planning to get a service bed as much of this 'equipment' can be used for both work and play times. So, to maximize storage I considered a custom camper to go along with the service bed. But, sorting the floorplan seems to be a long standing issue in terms that obviously you have less floor space, so finding a location for a porta-potty, or even a small shower, water tank, etc... would be significantly more difficult than with a normal camper which has more floor space, and space over the wheel wells, unlike a service bed. Additionally, for my particular application the camper will likely be permanent; however, it might be removed here and there - which is why I did not also suggest a frame mounted custom as an option.

So...I'm curious to hear thoughts. And especially from anyone who might have a camper that fits a service bed.
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
I worked in a boatyard in the mid '70s and the lead machinist, Skip, lived in the back of his truck. it was a GMC single rear wheel, with a Reading utility body & cover. double swing rear doors. he just parked in the back of the yard and used the same showers & head the boat folks used.

utility bodies are heavy, and combined with cargo, certainly don't seem to be an ideal starting point.
 

kpredator

Adventurer
I am in the same boat as you.we currently have a slide in and it has served us well.but its got some age to it and after a few more trips we will replace it. we just purchased a f-350 6.7 8ft bed.
at first I was leaning towards a custom service body from aluma line,they are one hour from us..but as s.e. charles said to much weight and i would fill it up with gear. I try to keep our rigs as light as possible.Have been watching the flat bed builds on the forum and now are leaning that direction..we are reaching retirement and anticipate spending a lot more time in our popup.
the camper build would as light as possible.Bundu tec campers are also a hour away and will custom build.have visited the shop and liked what I saw.was leary of the wood frame.but after talking to Rory who previously owned north star.i am sure it will out last us.
good luck
kp
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
With a 6.7 diesel I wouldn't worry about weight. It's time to splurge. Bundutec seems like a good way to go although I'm not to keen on the monochromatic Euro look. You'll get a lot of camper with them and it'll be sturdy.
 

Chorky

Observer
utility bodies are heavy, and combined with cargo, certainly don't seem to be an ideal starting point.
I'm most likely going to be overweight anyway I am willing to bet. But aluminum service beds only weigh about 600-700 #'s. Seems reasonable to me. Now a steel one is out... but aluminum would work I think. The real ticket though is how much does this take away from camper ability, in multiple aspects, as the floor width would be restricted to about 4' as compared to a normal bed which is somewhere around 5.5' I think.
 

fatkins

New member
I'm most likely going to be overweight anyway I am willing to bet. But aluminum service beds only weigh about 600-700 #'s. Seems reasonable to me. Now a steel one is out... but aluminum would work I think. The real ticket though is how much does this take away from camper ability, in multiple aspects, as the floor width would be restricted to about 4' as compared to a normal bed which is somewhere around 5.5' I think.
I'm running a fully optioned Phoenix custom with an aluminum reading utility, on a f250 regular cab srw 4x4 diesel. Certainly possible to overload but my wet weight still below gross.
 

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Chorky

Observer
I'm running a fully optioned Phoenix custom with an aluminum reading utility, on a f250 regular cab srw 4x4 diesel. Certainly possible to overload but my wet weight still below gross.
Looking good fatkins!! I like what you have going on. Whats your GVWR? I max at 10K.
Also, I'm curious if you would elaborate on your Phoenix since I think thats who I might go with seeing as how they seem to be more in the 'custom' world for fitting a bed.
 

fatkins

New member
Looking good fatkins!! I like what you have going on. Whats your GVWR? I max at 10K.
Also, I'm curious if you would elaborate on your Phoenix since I think thats who I might go with seeing as how they seem to be more in the 'custom' world for fitting a bed.
10K max GVWR.
Custom built to fit the 8 ft. utility bed with dry weight listed at 1400lbs.
Build time varies, with this one taking about four months.
Be sure to do your home work re. layout. Building on a utility bed means a narrower footprint.
 
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Chorky

Observer
10K max GVWR.
Be sure to do your home work re. layout. Building on a utility bed means a narrower footprint.
Is there anything specific that you wish you would have done differently?? The bed I'm considering is still 4' wide, and I believe 6.75' total outside width.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
What about a flat bed with toolboxes built into it? Obviously the doors are a little small on this one but you get the idea. And hang boxes below the bed, plus have pullout drawer in the rear.

 

Profkanz

New member
I'm most likely going to be overweight anyway I am willing to bet. But aluminum service beds only weigh about 600-700 #'s. Seems reasonable to me. Now a steel one is out... but aluminum would work I think. The real ticket though is how much does this take away from camper ability, in multiple aspects, as the floor width would be restricted to about 4' as compared to a normal bed which is somewhere around 5.5' I think.
Most slide ins are near 4 feet floor width anyway. The distance between wheel wells is the controlling factor.
 

wild1

Adventurer
I have been running my Alaskan on a utility bed for the last 13 years and 120,000 miles. It's worked great from 700 mile highway days to grinding along in low range to hunting camp. The storage is a game changer with a slide in camper, it makes it organizing and accessing your gear so much easier and more efficient. the down side is they are heavy and if I was starting from scratch I would look at a flatbed with side boxes to see how much weight and cost savings might result.IMG_0906.JPGIMG_0906.JPG
 
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