Friday, July 29, 2011

Introducing The Camper Sled

I've decided that it's time to hit the road again, on what I expect will be a very long-distance road trip. I'll post some details about that soon, but for now just want to show you yet another modification I've done to my "Road Rig."

Let's start with a brief review: I absolutely love my truck camper. It's such a great set-up for me in terms of size, space, facilities, etc. Because my camper can go practically anywhere my truck can go -- which is just about anywhere -- I have the ability to go places that travel trailers can't.

Also, because there's nothing easier than a truck camper for getting in and out of camping spaces, it's about as simple and efficient as it gets! This is especially great for moving fast, when you're pretty much driving all day and only camping for a night at each stop. You pick up your supplies, etc., along the way and you're ready for your in-and-out camping.

The only times when the truck camper isn't so great is when you want to dawdle on your road trip. Then, what was an advantage of having the truck and camper attached is a bit of a compromise. If you want to stay some place for a couple of days to explore, you have to choose between packing up your stuff every morning and hauling your camper around, or dismounting the camper. The dismounting isn't really a problem, but it does take a little time and effort. It's not nearly as easy as just unhooking a trailer, and that's where travel trailers have the edge.

I was thinking about this in terms of my upcoming long-distance, long-term road trip. I considered for a moment getting a travel trailer, but I really like my camper and don't want to own two of them. Plus, I don't want to lose the option of putting the camper on my truck for times when I want to go into difficult terrain. What to do?

As I was pondering this, I had an idea: What if I put my truck camper on a trailer? The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I could use it as a travel trailer for the ease of unhooking when I want to stay a few days in each place, but could also put the camper back on my truck whenever I want and just leave the trailer portion behind for a while.

Thus was born what I am calling the "camper sled":

My good friend Rob helped me with the design and fabrication. We started with a simple flat-bed trailer and built onto it what is, in effect, a pick-up truck bed. We replaced what would be the side fenders of the truck with hinged top storage boxes. Then Rob went to work fabricating the storage shed that goes on the front, under the canopy of the camper that usually rides over the passenger compartment of the truck.

So far it has worked out great! I gain the ease of a travel trailer, while retaining the capability of a truck camper whenever I want. Plus, I've now got plenty of storage for things like lawn furniture, a full size grill, some extra boxes of gear and even my bike! I'm pretty confident it's going to be a hit on the camping circuit... I'll keep you posted!


Anonymous said...

I have a Lance 1040 that I would like to make a trailer for. Do you have any plans or details that you would share? I would appreciate any advice you have on this project pls.


Allen said...

HI, I have a Lance 1040 TC that I would like to build a Camper Sled for. I am hopeful that you might have some insight into this since you built one already. Do you have any plans, maybe the model of the trailer that you started with? Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.


Anonymous said...

I have been inspired by the "trailer sled". I started with a aluminum boat trailer. My front Shed is a "v" nose box under the cabover. Im not shure how to post my pictures on the internet for all to see. My camper of choice is a 2000 sunlite poptop, for a lower profile behind my Toyota v6 truck. Camper 1100 lbs. trailer 400 lbs, front "v" box 90 lbs.

Unknown said...

That is one NEAT IDEA

Unknown said...

Good decision. Glad to hear that you have decided to hit the road again with having the camper sled. box trailer kits

johni maclen said...

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Unknown said...

What model artic fox do you have on that flat bed trailer? What are the dimensions of your flatbed trailer and how much weight can the trailer hold? What is the weight of your trailer?

Anonymous said...

I was thinking of the same thing. Your rig looks great . I have a tube frame trailer and I want to slide a camper on and off . What type of a foundation is strong enough to hold up .? I am a builder so I have some skill.