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Truck topper or slide in camper?
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By 303scott
Jan 22, 2011

So I am looking to outfit my Tundra for long weekends and weeklong adventures. I'm struggling with whether to go with an older slide in camper or just buy a truck topper and build out the back. Clearly cost is an issue, but I don't want to be penny wise.

The primary reason I am considering a slide in is that from November to March the long nights and cold temps make a camper more attractive. I'd like to climb in IC, Shelf etc. when overnight temps are in the low teens and daytime temps are 30+. Also, with 12+ hourws of darkness hanging out in a tent for a week kinda sucks. Having a relatively comfortable retreat would be sweet.

During the other months of the year I would prefer to just throw a sleeping bag on a tarp and call it good. Of course, if weather kicks up then I could retreat to the built-out topper or throw up a tent.

The primary drawbacks I see to the camper are initial cost, gas, storage and having to slide it in and out at the campground to free up the truck to get to the climbs. Half the year it would likely just sit.

Anyone out there struggled with this dilemma? Any adivce?

I suppose a third option is to go with the flip pac, which is a cross between the two.

Any insight is much appreciated.

Scott


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By Greg D
From Here
Jan 22, 2011
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />

We have preferred this one. Very comfy. Great to cook, sleep, sort gear, play cards, get out of the wind. When the weather went to shit, our friends jumped in with us. We have had up to 4 adults and three dogs comfortably. Sets up in 5 minutes. Its spent many days in the creek. We are not using it anymore, so time to sell. $1000.

If you are by yourself you don't need this. Go with the flipac.

h..
h..


King bed.
King bed.


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By Tom Rangitsch
From Lander, WY
Jan 22, 2011
Finishing Rimfire, 13b, at the Sanctuary in Sinks

I bought a Four Wheel Camper slide in for my tacoma last year and I really like it. You can go anywhere that you can normally drive your truck. It pops up, so when it's down you get less wind resistance. It has a heater and it states really toasty. Plus there is a fridge, stove, and a fold out queen size bed and another twin bed. Cons are that it was spendy, and you aren't supposed to get in it when it's not on the truck (I think all slide ins are that way). I keep mine on all the time when on a trip.

I have a two year old and it has really made car camping better for my particular situation.


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By taylorpur
From vancouver, bc
Jan 22, 2011

ive done all three, tent, slide in TC and camp under the canopy. i just sold my slide in TC because i did not have storage. fuel mileage with the TC was terrible, head winds only make it worse. but having said that the comfort was nice. we were on the road for 2 months and doing it under the canopy would not have been as much fun. we are going back to sleeping under the canopy for weekends and short 3-4 night trips. if you can buy one id go for the pop up type truck camper.


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By Brent Butcher
Jan 23, 2011
route photo


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By adampeters
From Golden, Colorado
Jan 23, 2011
<a href='http://lucasmarshall.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >lucasmarshall.com</a> <br /> <br />snakewrangler

I have used both the topper and a slide in pop-up camper...here's my two cents. The pop-up slide is pretty clutch when you're going to be gone for a considerable amount of time. It's comfortable (i.e., comfortable bed, stove, sink, table/bench area and room to stand up) and better than sleeping on the ground. However, I wouldn't want to slide it in and out of my truck every weekend or for every week long trip, plus you need a parking spot to store it when not in use. The topper can be comfortable as long as you get one that allows you to sit up while in bed.

I bought a Viking pop up camper for $1000 on craigslist and it's been worth it for us. Although we've often thought that a pull behind popup camper and a topper on our truck would be the best scenario, in that it provides us with the most options and we wouldn't have to pop the camper up and down every time we drive to the crag (i.e., Indian Creek, Red River, Tensleep, Red Rocks).

If you can wait a few more months, I'll sell ya the Viking!


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By Mark Roth
From Boulder
Jan 23, 2011
not climbing

Just get a cap... You'll be able to lock up your stuff in the back, and you won't have to take it off. You will save gas money by not hauling some giant contraption that you don't really need for weekend trips.

I have an extra futon that'll fit if you want.


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By Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Jan 23, 2011
Wall Street, Moab, UT

I've camped in several pickup toppers (cap, shell, canopy), and usually had trouble with clearance for my head (painful) as well as some difficulty accessing stuff stored under the bed. I know one person with a Tacoma who built a pretty nice cap for it himself out of plywood, and made it a bit higher than cab level to address the headroom issue. He got the windows+screens from an RV supply place, and wired in some lights, etc. I built a rather large plywood topper myself about 20 years ago and lived in it full time, but it wasn't very practical to drive around on a daily basis. I've known other folks who installed slider-shelf contraptions under the bed area to make getting the gear under there much easier. If you go with a topper, Weathergaurd, Adrian Steel and others make those slider things for trucks and vans. One thing to keep in mind with a heavier or taller setup (like a slide-in) is roll stability- adding some extra springs to the rear wouldn't hurt.


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By 303scott
Jan 23, 2011

Thanks everyone! It sounds like the camper option is probably the best way to go. However, this thread got me thinking that maybe the pull behind is the best option. When I think of the places I would most likely go it is clear that I can access them with a pull behind. They are cheaper, and you can dump them at the campground and take the truck up to the climbs. Maybe a pull behind and a topper....damn it, too many options...


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By 303scott
Oct 20, 2011

Just an update for those who care. I bought the slide in, but found it to be too much of a pain. First, it's a pain to get in and out of the bed of the truck. Second, once in, you can't drop it at the campsite, which means you have to put everything away every day and take it back out every night. Third, driving offroad with it in the back is a bit terrifying. Finally, there really isn't much room. So, based on all that, I sold it and bought a tow behind pop up. It seems to solve most of my complaints, with the one problem being that it might be more difficult to get it back in to some of the spots. I'm test driving it next week in the desert, and will post back.


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