I am contemplating a hard-side for my DC Tacoma, a custom build like the one the guy built on a Tacoma not long ago, but how much does it limit where you can go? Would the Maze or the Alpine loop trash the camper, how about the White Rim?
To keep down the weight I am planning something simple like Goober built. The actual construction would be a skin of 1/4" birch plywood, 2" foam with 3/8 birch plywood stiffeners and 1/8" luan interior, a kind of torsion box construction. I am going to take off the bed of my truck(saves 200lbs) and mount the camper to the frame with some sort of flex compensation to the rear section. I hope to keep the weight of the camper under 850 lbs.
I don't think that the Alpine Loop is that difficult, just narrow in places and with a few fun, steep switchbacks for a good time. Passing other vehicles up there is always the challenge, especially if you have to reverse.
We've done all of those locales in a TC. There are lots of techniques for off-roading a TC that apply. Also, the set up of the TC makes a big difference. You want to think small.
Along the Alpine Loop:
This was the only clearance problem: a mine wagon road down from the heights of Imogene Pass.
This was the only clearance problem on the White Rim Trail:
This was the roughest part coming off the Alpine Loop:
i hang out mostly on RV.net (the Truck Camper section) as they have the best collection of hard-core, off-road truck camper people.
There are several trip reports outlining the trips you have in mind.
regards, as always, jefe4x4
It's a '98 Lance Lite 165-s xtra cab (which means N/S queen size bed cabover) that is one of the smallest footprints of the hardsides. The newest incarnation is designated as the Lance Lite 865 which is a very large step up in the finish department. Also larger tanks.
Floor 8'6" long, made for a 6'6" short bed truck. The box protrudes from the end of the truck bed about 20" but you can make very sharp hairpin turns easier than with a long bed truck.
86" wide. Most full-size TC's are 94" to 96" wide.
4-6" less tall inside than most of the other full size TC's. I'm 6' tall and it works for me as it's 6'5" inside.
According to the build sheet, mine weighs 1845 pounds, WET. Wet means full of water, propane and a battery. The sheet listed all the extras (as few as they were) that are included in the weigh in. This model was light enough to be originally offered as an alternative for the half-ton pickup. Or so the guy I bought it from said who had it on his half ton p.u.
We have XTC'd the whee out of this thing and I am totally amazed it's still in one piece, considering it's a wood frame/stapled together/tin sheathed/aluminum roofed old-timer. That may be the good part: We have nothing to loose.