Truck camper build.

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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby RJ Howell » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:40 am

The guy was seanc.
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:08 pm

RJ Howell wrote:If my Sleeper Cap was my primary camper, I'd be thinking of some sort of Gull Wing sides to be able to expand once located. Whether a counter area or sleeping platform, it would open up the small area you have available.

Now that you're fairly set on an idea.. Let me throw you a twist.. LOL

You're thinking through this well!


Not sure how I would approach it, but yes, tip out sides have been a consideration. However I was thinking more of fold down tent-ish sides, like a Hyrbid camper. The engineering behind all that is more than I want to get into, so instead...

I should note that I am planning on doing some evldave from Expedition Portal style awnings, 1 on each side of the camper. I have the telescoping tent poles already, as well as the Bimini top hardware, and tarps. I simply need the conduit. I am using the Harbor Freight 7' 4" x 9' 6" silver tarps. They are cheap, nearly free with the coupons. I am going to add grommets to the front and rear edges of the tarp, and the will be riveted to the conduit.

Once set up, it is a trivial matter to enclose the awnning except for a tiny bit of gap on the front / rear edges. My plan is outdoor kitchen on one side, outdoor living room on the other. Of course to be used in bad, but not horrific weather. Probably put the privy tent up next to, or just barely under one of the corners of one of these... While I am designing in the ability to have a shower / bathroom I would prefer to have that outdoors most of the time...

In all but for lotdocking situations, or extreme weather, we will have plenty of covered comfortable space to move around in. And we are looking to live out of the camper, not in the camper while we travel.
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:53 pm

So I am making progress laying this out in Sketchup, and I think I am messing it up...

I am trying to figure out how to deal with the bed requirement. And ventilation.

None of the builds I am seeing seem to offer any sort of roof ventilation. With the Coleman Catalytic heater using oxygen, a flow through ventilation system is absolutely a MUST have, especially in such a small space. I'd really love to be able to stay alive. I am considering which fan / vent to use though. I am looking into the Fan-Tastic fan with the thermostatic control, as well as the Maxxair fan.

I am having fits with the idea of a futon, and am considering perhaps a queen size version of what @seanc did in his truck camper foamie build. I am having a LOT of trouble trying to figure out how to design the support structure especially considering it has to support mine, and my wifes combined weight. And while we are working on weight loss, we are both, and me particularly are very much overweight (obese), our combined weight comes close to 600lbs.

I know over the span of the width of the truck bed, a 2x4 on its side (1.5" thick) will not deflect with our weight applied. I am considering ripping 2x4s to get them down to 1.5" x 2.5" for cross members. Again I want to minimze the amount of wood, and / or steel used as it is a weight issue. Half ton truck limitations after all. The parts that don't have to support our weight, but only the weight of the foam, and resist wind shear / etc... will be handled by 3/4" plywood segments. Including like Seanc did, I will be reinforcing the Window mounts, likely with 1/2" ply.

There will be a rib on each side of at least 1/2" ply, probably 6 to 8" tall and full length to mount the awnings to.

As I understand the process, and I could be terribly wrong, the desired thickness foam board is 2". However that proves problematic for the door itself. I know I will have to somehow graft wood and XPS together to get a door with a knob, lock etc... And I believe a standard residential lock set is for a 1.5" thick door isn't it?

Plumbing requirements make me SERIOUSLY reconsider what I said above about the bed. The 4 AquaTainers are kind of a fixed must do thing. Dimensions are 11.3" x 11" x 15.25" per vessel. I figure a divider board under the bed, retaining the water jugs at the front of the truck bed, and under the bed.

What is a good way to run wiring so that it is serviceable when need be, secure, and tidy. I was considering something like the Wiremold Raceway. I have several surface mount boxes for that stuff already, and it works great on IT projects for sure.
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:44 am

Design work is coming along. Nothing quite to show yet, but I am narrowing down the requirements...

#1. Queen bed, futon style transverse accross the truck bed,
#2. Standing room inside the camper for me at 6' tall.
#3. Overcab for light item storage, Most likely retained with a simple bungee cargo net.
#4. Camper will utilize tailgate in down position as part of the floor.
#5. Back wall of camper will house a full height 6' door, and support the 5K BTU air conditioner.
#6. Wiring for the inside of the camper will be run in wiremold raceway to protect it, but also keep it accessible for service.
#7. Plumbing. Fresh water will be 4 @ 7 gallon aqua tainers. Working and testing a design right now to insure all 4 containers can be drawn from at the same time. Requires different pump than a submersible like a Zodi.
#8. Awnings on both sides of the camper to provide additional living space.
#9. No permanent kitchen, but a fold down cook / prep table inside the camper should the weather dictate cooking inside. The plan is for most cooking to be done outside of the camper.
#10. Generator clamp / lock rig to lock the Tailgator generator to the brush guard / winch mount on the front of the truck.
#11. Bottoms up ventilation. I.E. a port for ventilation will be made on the back of the camper, at the bottom, and the roof should have at least one Fantastic fan for ventilation.

THere are some things I need to figure out that are holding up the design.

How can I make the bed / futon hinge where the base / bed doesn't dip below truck bed rail height when converting to a sofa?
How do I design the bed platform to support a max total combined weight of 600lbs?
Do I need to use Troppicool on the roof for even more thermal protection?
How do I insure the camper, truck and all, are level when we park to go to sleep? I don't want to have either, or both of us rolling toward the front of the truck by gravity when we sleep...
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby RJ Howell » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:10 am

dbhosttexas wrote:
THere are some things I need to figure out that are holding up the design.

How can I make the bed / futon hinge where the base / bed doesn't dip below truck bed rail height when converting to a sofa?
How do I design the bed platform to support a max total combined weight of 600lbs?
Do I need to use Troppicool on the roof for even more thermal protection?
How do I insure the camper, truck and all, are level when we park to go to sleep? I don't want to have either, or both of us rolling toward the front of the truck by gravity when we sleep...


A few thoughts:
<How can I make the bed / futon hinge where the base / bed doesn't dip below truck bed rail height when converting to a sofa?>
Doesn't go below the bedrail height? You're up there for your sleeping quarters. The futon would be below the rails.. I don't see it as a futon to say, yet just sections to moved up. Being I'd want at least 32" of width for each section.. Interesting design issue.

<How do I design the bed platform to support a max total combined weight of 600lbs?>
If sectional, 2 pieces, then your dealing with a max 300lb per. A 2x4 frame in wood wouldn't alone do that for the span, yet sistered with a angle may. Tat would only be on the support 'beams' and the balance could be easily done with 2x4's on the flat. Now, that's said without doing any math..

<Do I need to use Troppicool on the roof for even more thermal protection?>
Not familiar with this product..

<How do I insure the camper, truck and all, are level when we park to go to sleep?>
Easily done with blocks under the tires. Some use wood other plastic stackable. I use plastic stackable and Anderson levelers. https://www.amazon.com/Leveler-Andersen-Minutes-Levelers-Leveling/dp/B01LYQ1Z8S
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:18 pm

RJ Howell wrote:<How do I design the bed platform to support a max total combined weight of 600lbs?>
If sectional, 2 pieces, then your dealing with a max 300lb per. A 2x4 frame in wood wouldn't alone do that for the span, yet sistered with a angle may. Tat would only be on the support 'beams' and the balance could be easily done with 2x4's on the flat. Now, that's said without doing any math..


I was thinking more of a skid frame type design. 2x2s laterally accross 2 sections of 3/4" cabinet grade ply. So let's think about this. Queen bed dimensions are...

60" x 80". I could go with 2 30" x 80" sections of 3/4" ply, with 2x2 on each outer end, and 2x2 at the mid point length wise so the weight would be distributed over 3 2x2s over the 30" width, and further distrubted by the 3/4" ply decking. Kind of heavy, but it beats breaking the bed...

Yes, assuming 3/4" ply outrigging for the camper shell itself, the base where the bed would rest would be at 22.25" not counting the thickness of the bedrug, which I think is 3/4", so 21.5" from floor to resting point. I am thinking some sort of storage box / foot rest to use this as a sofa or my legs will end up dangling in the air...

A way to get the weight down would be to use 1x1 heavy guage square aluminum tubing for the spans and 1/2" ply with PMF coating. Not sure it's worth the cost or effort though...

I guess I could use a long piano hinge on the two halves to make the bed foldable... I already have a Queen memory foam futon in the living room that my lovely bride says must become the mattress for the camper.

The biggest issue is going to be the fact that the entire camper will end up truck bed + Tailgate length (not counting the overcab) at 8.5 feet, 6 inches longer than regular sheet goods. I will likely end up having to do a funny half lap joint to extend the side pieces where it joins to the truck bed, or use biscuits but those aren't very strong... yeah most likely half laps... Yuck.
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby RJ Howell » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:33 pm

You're going to have to sketch this out.. Your futon is less than the bedrails.. Yet you want to be on the bedrails.. Hinging the sections seems like quite a PITA to setup.

2x2's, without the math, will not span the distance without bowing down. 2x4's would bow/flex on that distance. On wood structure as basic rule-of-thumb is one inch of height per foot. 6ft would mean a 2x6, and again doubled up. Tubular steel of aluminum may be your best bet.

Shoot us a sketch for what your thinking..
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:20 pm

RJ Howell wrote:You're going to have to sketch this out.. Your futon is less than the bedrails.. Yet you want to be on the bedrails.. Hinging the sections seems like quite a PITA to setup.

2x2's, without the math, will not span the distance without bowing down. 2x4's would bow/flex on that distance. On wood structure as basic rule-of-thumb is one inch of height per foot. 6ft would mean a 2x6, and again doubled up. Tubular steel of aluminum may be your best bet.

Shoot us a sketch for what your thinking..


Workign on it, but remember, bed rail to bed rail is something like 65". The length of the queen mattress is 80", I am planning on going transverse accross the bed rails, not longitudinally.

I scrubbed what I had as I didn't like it this is just a quick idea block place holder....Image
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby RJ Howell » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:53 pm

Now that's what I thought. The bed sections are larger than the futon. The futon/couch sits below the bedrails, so the sections will be short there of. Meaning the basic of the bed is permeant. The movable sections have to be placed between. Hinging those sections will be heavy and cumbersome to move around inside the camper. I'd think separate sections for ease there of.

You can't have sections larger than the bed width, couch, and think of moving upward to over the bedrails. Angle supports on the base upper section so the sections would fit in.

More sketches, more thought! Nice direction! :thumbsup:
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:30 am

RJ Howell wrote:Now that's what I thought. The bed sections are larger than the futon. The futon/couch sits below the bedrails, so the sections will be short there of. Meaning the basic of the bed is permeant. The movable sections have to be placed between. Hinging those sections will be heavy and cumbersome to move around inside the camper. I'd think separate sections for ease there of.

You can't have sections larger than the bed width, couch, and think of moving upward to over the bedrails. Angle supports on the base upper section so the sections would fit in.

More sketches, more thought! Nice direction! :thumbsup:


How do you get that? The queen futon mattress per my measurements is 60"x80" and is 8" thick. Each bed platform section as designed is 30" x 80" to come up with the needed 60x80 total width. I am going crosswise accross the truck bed, the inside of the bed rails per my measurements is 62-3/8". The difference is a 16-5/8" overlap of the bed platform and futon mattress.There is no way the futon would fit below the bed rails, not physically possible in this orientation. The idea with going transverse is to allow me more available and usable floor space.

Going over the top of the bed rails really isn't a big issue. A standard toilet seat height is 18", my port o potty is 17" overall. And like I said before, I plan on a floor storage box / foot rest It's not imaged here.
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby RJ Howell » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:50 pm

Guess I mis-understood the couch.. Sketches are awesome.. You have a floor layout yet?
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:31 am

RJ Howell wrote:Guess I mis-understood the couch.. Sketches are awesome.. You have a floor layout yet?


I just noticed the sketch disappeared. Hang on...

Okay I am not sure how to reduce pic sizes in Google photos, sorry about the huge pic...

Image

Obviously I am still working on it, but those are the must do items. Bed toward the front of the truck bed transverse accross the truck. Port O Potty on the tailgate by the back door. There will be a door on the passenger side, I will be working on the design more today. Like I said I scratched what I started with because, well I hated it... The AC is going to hang off the back wall directly over the toilet, and I am planning on a flip down table / counter to allow us to cook in the camper should we be forced to by weather although I see that as a rarity, or boondocking / lotdocking necessity which is more likely. Part of me wants to find a long skinny fresh water tank approx 30 gallons to fit under the front of the bed instead of the Aqua Tainers, that would allow me to rig a proper fresh water fill. Dish sink will go on the flip down counter and the water supply will be a single sprayer that will do double duty, sink / shower. Planning on using a tote as a shower pan to catch the gray water...

As I get more time to refine the design will post updates here.
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby Philip » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:15 am

Here is a link with water tank sizes and prices.

https://www.tank-mart.com/rv-marine-tan ... er=gallons

I would think about two smaller tanks that would fit into the area in front of the wheel wells. Leave the area in the middle for items you would need more access to.

If your truck doesn't have a rear mounted fuel tank. You could under mount the water tank into that position and free up space inside the bed.
Here is my build.

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=67073
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby dbhosttexas » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:14 am

Philip wrote:Here is a link with water tank sizes and prices.

https://www.tank-mart.com/rv-marine-tan ... er=gallons

I would think about two smaller tanks that would fit into the area in front of the wheel wells. Leave the area in the middle for items you would need more access to.

If your truck doesn't have a rear mounted fuel tank. You could under mount the water tank into that position and free up space inside the bed.



It's an '04 F150, the tank is in front of the wheel wells, if I recall right it's on the drivers side... I don't want to poke holes in the truck bed to route plumbing. My plan is to have the water tank at the front of the bed , against the bulkhead.
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Re: Truck camper build.

Postby GPW » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:33 am

DB, where’s that sketch ??? :o We usually reduce photo sizes on our photo software “ View” in tool bar , “ Tools” , “adjust size “ ( 600X 800 ) works well for this site … Good luck !!!  :thumbsup:
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