Crew cab long bed (8ft) for overlanding??? Is this viable or realistic?

R22squatch

New member
Hi all, this is my first forum post and I’m looking into the idea of a crew cab long box pickup to replace my current 2012 crew cab short bed Ram 1500 4x4 V8 down the road. I wouldn’t exactly call myself an overlander but I do basic off grid offroad trips in my current pickup on the limited trails I have available to me. Other than that it’s typically used for work on the farm and leaves a lot to be desired in the bed storage department. Soon I will be moving for a new job and thankfully this new area will have a lot more trail access and overall offroading areas. I want to know from people who own crew cab long box pickups if they make suitable overland rigs or if they’re simply too large for most any trails. My new future location is nowhere near a desert so there will be wooded trails and forest service roads and the like. Reason for a longbox pickup is the nature of my job and I’m a bit of a handyman so I need the space for tools gear and equipment. I also have multiple large working dogs so the more space and utilitarianism the better. Am I in way over my head with this idea? I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of a crew cab truck with say a 6.5’ bed but the convenience of a crew cab 8’ bed cannot be overstated. Thanks!
 

Wose

New member
My friend has an crew-cab F250 long bed, we've nicked named "The Enterprise." It's been a mite difficult at times getting it turned around on narrow forest service roads and such because the turning radius is just so big. Up in the Gifford Pinchot, many of the secondary Forest Service roads are a cut bank on one side, and a steep drop on the other, so it's a real pain to travel in a vehicle that long.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
Possible but challenging.

A truck that long will have many of the problems of a big Earthroamer or similar rig. Partly it depends on where you spend your time. Deserts of the Southwest? Less of a problem. Tight FS roads like Wose mentioned? Small city centers? Problem.

The other issue that only affects a subset of folks is storage issues. My SoCal suburban driveway is 22' from garage door to sidewalk - that's the functional limit of how long my rig could be without me having to rent an offsite facility for significant money. As it happens, the really nice Tiger CX 4x4 I was looking at last summer, based on a Crew Cab longbed Silverado... was 23' long. Bummer.
 

ExpoMike

Well-known member
My previous rig was a club cab, long bed Ram, which for the desert southwest wasn't too bad overall. Had to be careful on tight switchbacks and be aware of break over angle but only had trouble a couple times. Luckily the Ram had a really good turning radius. Tight, narrow, wooded trails, yeah wasn't going to happen without much damage or struggle. A crew cab, long bed, I wouldn't even think of it. Some desert areas would be challenging with that long of a wheelbase. Without having a dedicated camp/trail rig, a combo daily/trail rig will always be a compromise to find size versus function. Good luck.
 

R22squatch

New member
Appreciate all the responses guys, looks like I’m going to have to start considering looking into crew cab short boxes in a 1 ton.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
Check out the Full Size Thread.

And then there are the truly massive rigs.
The forum is a great source for ideas.
3115920224_bbb28a1a9f.jpg

Depends on your expectations. I live in the forest and every logger equipment operator drive a long pickup with a 250 gallon tidy tank. Forestry roads are built to accommodate logging trucks. There might be places a 24' pickup will not get into, but I doubt an extra 18" of wheelbase will be the reason.


This ^^^ might clarify the need for a radio on a radio controlled ACTIVE logging road.
PS, these are PRIVATE ROADS..... built by a logging company to extract logs, technically you are trespassing on them.

If you meet one of these logging trucks expect to back up.
With a GCVWR of 100K# or much more ..... he is not moving off the road centerline.
He is not backing up..... coming downhill..... he might not even be able to stop. Listen to the Jake which is almost always on.

Me, I tow a Square Drop behind a TJ Rubicon because I like the compact agility.
With a family, we used a 1978 Crewcab.

PS logging logging trucks are often OFF ROAD loggers, wider and heavier than anything legal for highway travel.
Sorry if I am off topic but I love these trucks.

 
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phsycle

Adventurer
I’d agree with what others have posted.

HOWEVER, if an 8’ bed would work best for your job, that would be priority #1 for me. Usage rate for job vs camping is what, 95%/5%? Get the rig best suited for majority of your usage. Everything else, you can work out later.

ie - I would love the maneuverability of a midsize or compact rig. But with a family of 5, that ain’t happening. I need to go full-size which does limit me to some trails but not all trails. And there are plenty out there to be explored even with a full-size rig.
And of course, option B is if there are tight trails I must absolutely do, either take my ATV or rent a Rzr or Jeep.
Point is, it would suck to deal with the shortcomings 95% of the time to compensate for the 5% of scenarios.
 
I run a long bed crew cab GMC 3500. I certainly have to pay careful attention in many situations and be careful about my line, but I have gone everywhere I've wanted to go. Turning around is the only real issue I regularly run into. Sometimes, it's just not possible. If you will travel solo, that can be a major problem. If you will have a spotter, you will have to back up, or get really creative at times. If you are just using the truck for exploring and camping, and most of its use will be for work, I would definitely get a long bed.
 

R22squatch

New member
I run a long bed crew cab GMC 3500. I certainly have to pay careful attention in many situations and be careful about my line, but I have gone everywhere I've wanted to go. Turning around is the only real issue I regularly run into. Sometimes, it's just not possible. If you will travel solo, that can be a major problem. If you will have a spotter, you will have to back up, or get really creative at times. If you are just using the truck for exploring and camping, and most of its use will be for work, I would definitely get a long bed.
Got any pictures?
 

Wose

New member
I’d agree with what others have posted.

HOWEVER, if an 8’ bed would work best for your job, that would be priority #1 for me. Usage rate for job vs camping is what, 95%/5%? Get the rig best suited for majority of your usage. Everything else, you can work out later.

ie - I would love the maneuverability of a midsize or compact rig. But with a family of 5, that ain’t happening. I need to go full-size which does limit me to some trails but not all trails. And there are plenty out there to be explored even with a full-size rig.
And of course, option B is if there are tight trails I must absolutely do, either take my ATV or rent a Rzr or Jeep.
Point is, it would suck to deal with the shortcomings 95% of the time to compensate for the 5% of scenarios.

You're making good points, man. Ideally we'd all have different vehicles optimized to different activities, but for most of us, it ain't gonna happen.

I guess it depends on how your define the question. If it's "Is a one ton truck with an 8' bed the optimum overlanding vehicle?" The answer is "no."

If you ask "Can I take a one tone truck with an 8' bed out into the backcountry, go some cool places and have a family adventure my kids will always remember?" The answer is a resounding "yes."

I'd rather work 40 hours a week and run a vehicle that we can all go have fun in, than work 60 to afford the perfect vehicle we never take anywhere...
 

Jsweezy

Explorer
I would like to add a tiny amount of experience from my latest purchase. I just got a new 2021 F350 XL Crew Cab Long Bed and the turning radius of this truck is the tightest I have had on a truck this size. I know they had changed to larger Ujoints in the front axle at some point but wasn't sure when. I can turn this truck almost as tight as I could turn my crew cab long bed F150 or maybe the same. I was very surprised when I got it to find that.
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
It all depends on where you want to go. Out West is a lot easier because you don't have the issue of trails getting overgrown like the more lush Eastern US. We build our Nimbl Evolution on 1-ton longbed (8 foot) pickup trucks, our camper footprint is actually 8'9".

I would never consider something that size, weight, and cost an "offroad" trail vehicle, but it is definitely a very capable rough-road vehicle.
 
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