After lots of research and walking through hundreds of different camper options, we’ve decided that a truck and slide-in camper is the best starter option for us. We have now officially switched our focus onto older 4 door trucks with heavy duty / commercial chassis and slide-in campers to put in the back of it. I have listed the pro’s and con’s below.
Here’s the Pro’s:
- 1. Less wind resistance than a larger rig or camping trailer = better gas mileage.
- 2. Less weight than a larger rig or camping trailer = better gas mileage
- 3. Lower center of gravity = easier handling and less chances of tip-overs.
- 4. Turning radius = Standard sized trucks have a much tighter turning radius than larger rigs.
- 5. Maneuverability = Backing up, u-turns, etc. are easier if you accidentally went down a narrow dead end road without having to worry about 35 ft. rig or a trailer behind you.
- 6. Parking = A standard sized truck can fit in any regular parking space, so you can park closer to a store or event.
- 7. Amenities / Comforts = You still have all the basic comforts of a house or larger RV, just in a smaller space. (Fridge, sink, a/c, heater, stove, toilet, bed, dinette, shower, etc.)
- 8. Mechanical = If the truck or the camper needs repairs, you can separate the 2 easily. A truck is generally cheaper / easier to repair, and can be taken to any mechanic shop, where a larger rig is more restricted to what shop bays it can fit in or who can work on it.
- 9. Upgrades = If you want a different truck or camper, you can separate the 2 easily.
- 10. Power Consumption = A smaller space means less energy needed to heat or cool it.
- 11. Family / Guests = Even though it’s a smaller area, you have a queen bed over cab & the dinette converts to a single bed.
- 12. Off-Road = If you have a 4×4 truck, you can literally take your small home with you anywhere your truck can go off the beaten path or up the side of a mountain.
- 13. Off-Grid = Even with a 2 wheel drive truck, the camper is self-contained and you can boondock without water or power hookups for extended amounts of time.
- 14. Tow Hitch = You still have the option to tow a trailer behind you if you want with your toys (Boat, 4 wheeler, extra supplies, etc.).
- 15. Winch = Being lighter weight, You can install or use a portable winch on a truck to easily pull yourself out of a ditch if needed.
- 16. Licensing Costs = You do have to title it, but there’s no mandated registration, inspection, or insurance costs (In most states). It’s still just registered as a truck even with a camper in the bed. (For more protection you can opt for Full-Coverage including camper rather than just the trucks min. required liability.)
- 17. Propane Tanks = 1 or 2 portable 20 to 30-pound tanks. Unlike large built-in tanks or 50 to 100-pound tanks of other rvs / trailers, the smaller tanks can be carried to and filled at any propane fill station. Many propane stations don’t cater to drive-up / built-in tanks. Also, carrying a 50 to 100-pound tank can be difficult for someone that can’t lift much weight or has medical conditions.
- 18. Initial investment cost = Slide-in campers are a fraction of the cost of a full size RV or trailer.
Here’s the Con’s:
1. Less Sq. Footage than a larger rig or camping trailer.
2. Less Storage space than a larger rig or camping trailer.
3. Less Weight limit than a larger rig.
4. I have to get out of the cab to get in the slide-in camper.