Camper suggestions for a baby and a DC Taco

Double_Eh

Member
This past winter my wife and I acquired a 1st gen flatbed double cab Tacoma and more importantly a super rad baby boy, now 7 months old.

I’m trying to figure out our best options for family camping and would love some advice. Summers are super busy for us so ease of use, low hassle, and the ability to set up camp quickly and potentially after dark is important. A warm-ish space to duck inside for shoulder season camping up in the Colorado mountains where we live is also important.

We have a 97 4Runner and a 2002 Tacoma, both of which serve as daily drivers. The Tacoma has a 5 1/2 x 6 foot flatbed courtesy of the previous owner, but I do also have the stock shortbed. Thinking the taco would be the primary camping vehicle.

What do you guys suggest...?
-Put a bed rack and RTT on the Taco (or 4Runner)
-Pick up a cheap pop-up (or possibly a-frame/aliner camper)
-Traditional camper trailer or small Burro/Casita
-Flippac or AT Habitat either with some sort of custom mount on the flatbed or reinstall the short bed
-Search for a used FWC or other pop up, again either modify the flatbed or reinstall the shortbed
-Suck it up and just use a ground tent (We are both very used to sleeping on the ground and backpacking, but seems more challenging with the little guy)

Our budget is certainly limited, but we haven’t really decided what that means just
yet.

For reference, here’s the Taco...

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Mass_Mopar

Keep it simple stupid
This is what we did - pack n play with white noise machine inside a cargo trailer + RTT. Park, put baby to sleep, lock trailer. Monitor baby with wireless camera w/temp readout (same as home). Then parents can enjoy a couple hours at camp after baby’s sleeping. Parents sleep in RTT w/dog, baby sleeps safely down below.

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grizzlyj

Tea pot tester
We've used a Tentipi 9 ground tent since our little man was about one, now five. First tipi I've had after mostly geodesics.
To pitch you first use 9 pegs and the measuring tape to get pegs in, then the tent hooked on, one centre pole up, tension straps to pegs, all up in a few minutes.
Floor and inner if you want it (not really needed on canvas versions apart from another line of defence against bugs) can be attached already.
One or two sets of eight additional pegs can go down if it's super windy.
Lotsa clean floor space in super quick time. The door zip is double ended so from the top leaving it 2' off the ground gives access for you but not egress for him when he crawls. Not cheap for "just" a tent but it's awesome.
We had the chance to visit a dealer who had a size 7, 9 and 12 up. The 12 would be fab but is a bit big, the 7 looks fine from the dimensions but for three of us and a 100lb dog the 9 is fine, too tight even if we used metal framed Disc-o-beds so now Exped air beds.
The non cotton-y ones can have a stove in, the cotton-y ones can have an open fire in or a stove. New years day we had the tipi up on a Scottish sandy beach, log fire, friends alternating between the sea wind and rain and the fire and a wee dram :)

Tentipi 3min erection video;

Or Four dog stove similar video, because of course you will want their titanium stove too (I can dream :))

 

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Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
Castia all day long. Large bed, bathroom with shower, heat and AC, and it won't leak.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Yes, set up base camp and have the 4runner to explore and not have to break camp
every time you want to see something nearby.
Yep
My kids are 11 and 8 now. We are on 8 yrs with the Original Life Time Tent Trailer. In our case its worked well despite its big setup/tear down time negative. I don’t have a pickup if I did we woukd have gone more enclosed RV style. My trailer doubles as my pickup hauling stuff when not camping. My neighbor has a 13ft Scamp 10 month old boy. The Scamp was used to spend a yr traveling the US before Kid. They just came back from 3 weeks social distancing via SCAMP in remote Utah and AZ lots of dirt. Worked great. Though his old V6 Rav4 used for their yr long trip was feeling the added weight of the kid crap😆.

Right now is a bad time to find a RV / trailer given even mothballed stuff has been dragged out and sold at 5x $. Everyone is buying and or renting stuff right now.

Back to the Trailer thing.
We base camp and do day hikes and bike trips lots of vehicle use after setting up camp. Having to tear down camp to move the vehicle especially with kids “sucks”. Find a trailer.

We just did 4 days hiking and biking Yosemite with base camp on family property. No way in heck could I have done a truck camper we would have ground tented if thats what we had.
 

Double_Eh

Member
Thanks for all the feedback so far! The majority of our trips are likely to be one or two night campouts close to home. We have seemingly endless public land right from the edge of our neighborhood. Low hassle and the ability to get up some of the rougher forest service roads that surround us seem important to me right now. There’s a 6’ FlipPac for sale locally and I’m tempted to build a small box for my 6’ flatbed and mount the flippac to it for a simple and easily mobile option. But I definitely hear the advice of being able to drive away from a base camp. There’s also an old Scamp 16’ that’s an easy day trip away. Plus, it has a tiny wood stove that seems super cozy for the shoulder seasons, or possibly even some winter trips. The Scamp looks like it sits real low though. As-is it definitely wouldn’t make it up the roads near us.
The tipi sounds interesting. I really envisioned being off the ground with our kiddo, and having a minimal set-up time, but I’m still intrigued.
 

Double_Eh

Member
Went down a rabbit hole on a truck camper search...


Which lead me to this hybrid, an ‘84 FWC Grandby mounted on a trailer...


$7200, Any thoughts?
 

gatorgrizz27

Active member
I’m in a similar spot, we have a 2.5 year old and a 9 month old. For longer trips or where the weather has the potential to be bad (heat, cold, rain), I’ve set up my 6x12 enclosed trailer for my carpentry business to quickly convert to a camper.

The downsides are limitations off-road, fuel mileage on longer trips, and it still takes time to pack and load everything. With kids I’m sure you’re aware how it takes ~ 2.5 hours to get ready to spend a single night away, something I’d like to speed up.

I recently bought a work truck with a service body on it which I’m planning to replace with a flatbed. My current thought is I’ll narrow the service body to the width of my Land Rover and build it into a trailer. The appeal to it is leaving all the camping gear packed inside it, so heading out means stopping by the grocery store and hooking it up. I’d still be able to fit mountain bikes, a dirt bike, or kayaks in the bed as well.

I’m leaning towards a ground tent or a platform on top that I can put our 4-man dome tent on. RTT’s have a lot of “cool factor”, but I don’t really think they are worth it for the majority of people.
 
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