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RE: How much weight could be eliminated?

Maybe I just wasn't clear in my original message. The question isn't what each individual weight savings could be but the aggregate whole if one did them all. Hence the title, "how much weight could be eliminated?". In the last post I made where I tried to guide this back on track to my original question, I estimated savings of 600lb that potentially could be saved if all of the items I listed were done. Expensive and impractical sure but impossible no. For those of us driving dually 1 ton trucks 600lbs probably doesn't mean a whole lot. But for folks in the 1/2 ton and 3/4 range the weight savings could mean a larger camper for them that ordinarily they wouldn't be able to consider. Those of you that are fortunate to own a 1 ton truck or can afford to "buy what I want" without giving it much consideration, congrats, maybe this thread doesn't make sense for you. There are a lot of people that want to get into truck camping and already have a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck that changing doesn't make sense or is unaffordable. Fully loaded dually trucks used are in the $20+k range and if you go new, you are looking at $50k to $90k. Maybe the list of upgrades I suggested might add up to $5k to $10k but that is significantly cheaper to take 600lbs off a camper and use the truck one owns then to buy a new truck that one has to make payments on or might not fit in the garage or driveway. Just saying, if this concept of trying to save weight doesn't make sense to you then obviously it doesn't make sense to you. Again, this thread was intended to be a hypothetical exercise for discussion sake but unfortunately it has gone off the rails.
adamis 01/12/21 05:23pm Truck Campers
RE: How much weight could be eliminated?

This isn't for my rig personally, it is a hypothetical exercise of how much could be saved if budget wasn't an issue. Yes, some compromise might be involved that wouldn't work for everyone. AC and Propane Stove being the two top issues but not everyone uses their AC while camping (I don't) and a propane cooktop could still be had with a small cooktop and smaller propane bottles versus 2 20lb bottles. By my very rough estimate, the items I listed (and I am just guessing on weight for things like jacks and stove) add up to nearly 600lbs that could in theory be shaved off a camper. That isn't something to sneeze at. Heck, if I could find the volume, and cost wasn't a problem I would do that just to store another 72 gallons of fresh water for boondocking.
adamis 01/11/21 03:23pm Truck Campers
RE: How much weight could be eliminated?

I won't spend $10,000 on my camper to change every thing out in a year to save 500lbs but if my water heater and furnace are going out and I am looking at options it would be nice to know there are better things to be had than the stock generic RV solutions at Camping World. I got the point, sorry if you're not in the mood for me poking fun today...but you hit the nail on the head, people won't spend an extra $10,000 on a camper because it's 500 lbs lighter. Heck, these TCs are already expensive! Most RVs of all types, including motorhomes and trailers, are built to a price point, and compromises are made in the design and construction to get the unit to market at the designated price point. I saw a new Class B camper van built on a Mercedes Benz Sprinted chassis, with diesel-powered combi heater drawing from the vehicle fuel tank, a lithium battery bank with 2000w inverter charged from a dedicated 200a alternator. This camper had the best of everything, but was priced at $175,000. I love tech, and looked at a combi heater for this Lance we just rebuilt, but sad to say it was a budget buster. I appreciate your response. It isn't that I'm bent out of shape by the replies so much, just saw this going in a non productive direction to the original post. I am all for some good ribbing. I just wanted this thread to be more about talking about ideas and options available to help save weight for those that need to or are interested. Not all options make sense for all people but some options might make sense for some people. Hoping this thread will get back on track or die out if there isn't enough interest in the topic to keep it alive.
adamis 01/11/21 02:28pm Truck Campers
RE: How much weight could be eliminated?

The point of the post was to take a common issue that many in the community face and try to be creative to come up with viable solutions. How many times do we have people on here worried about weight issues for their truck? Not everyone is driving around in something that has a 6000lb payload capacity. Some people are barely at the edge or even over the edge and they are modifying their truck to make things work. Yes, there are viable solutions to modify a truck to carry more weight. I'm not personally concerned about a slightly overloaded truck and that isn't even the point of why I started this thread. The problem with Truck Campers is we get all of the left over parts and pieces from the RV industry. For a product that is already sensitive to weight, my list included 4 or 5 things that could easily be changed and result in 300lb to 500lb of savings. I look at my AC, Furnace, Water Heater, Batteries and Jacks and think, gee, for such a weight sensitive product, I can't believe there aren't better options available to us. Turns out there are, they just aren't widely known and cost a fortune. That being said, the fact that these products do exist is a good thing. I won't spend $10,000 on my camper to change every thing out in a year to save 500lbs but if my water heater and furnace are going out and I am looking at options it would be nice to know there are better things to be had than the stock generic RV solutions at Camping World. If you want to add something to my post that is in line with my first message, great, much appreciated. But if your comment is about how you don't want to compromise for your setup, great, that is your right, just don't feel the need to respond.
adamis 01/11/21 01:05pm Truck Campers
How much weight could be eliminated?

A bit of a hypothetical question here but I got to wondering how many items on a camper could be eliminated while still providing a camping experience with minimal compromise. To that end, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to list the items that could be eliminated or replaced with something else and to list what those weight savings might be. Note that this is an exercise only so cost isn't a factor and some of these suggestions are probably not suitable for all climates. The items I can think of (not exhaustive, feel free to add to it) that could be eliminated / replaced and the estimated weight (if it say's unknown and you think you have a good estimate feel free to add it in) are: 1. Jack stands Weight: Unknown Alternate: None Needed Alternate Weight: None Weight Savings: Unknown Alternate Notes: Can't remove from bed or reposition if needed 2. Lead Acid Batteries Weight: ~160lbs (6v AGM Lifelines x2) Alternate: LiFePo4 100AH Alternate Weight: ~30lbs Weight Savings: ~150lbs Alternate Notes: Requires upgrade in other electrical items 3. Genset Weight: Unknown Alternate: Possibly add 1 additional 100AH LifePo4 Alternate Weight: 30lbs (1 additional battery) Weight Savings: Unknown Alternate Notes: Not ideal in warmer climate areas 4. Furnace / Water Heater Weight: 30lb furnace, 24lb water heater Alternate: Combi D 6 Diesel Heater / Water Heater combination unit Alternate Weight: ~31lbs Weight Savings: ~23lbs Alternate Notes: 5. AC Removal Weight: ~80lbs Alternate: Fantastic Fan Alternate Weight: ~10lbs Weight Savings: ~70lbs Alternate Notes: Might not be suitable for all climates 6. Oven / Stove Removal Weight: Unknown Alternate: Countertop gas or electric burner Alternate Weight: Unknown Weight Savings: Unknown Alternate Notes: 7. Microwave Removal Weight: 27lbs Alternate: Alternate Weight: Weight Savings: 27lbs Alternate Notes: Some, not all users don't need a replacement for a microwave 8. Gas Fridge to Compressor Fridge Weight: Unknown Alternate: DC Compressor Fridge Alternate Weight: Unknown Weight Savings: (might be no weight savings but allows for removal of propane bottles) Alternate Notes: May not be actual weight savings 9. Eliminate Propane Bottles Weight: 37lbs each (Typical Camper has qty 2) Alternate: None Alternate Weight: Weight Savings: 74lbs Alternate Notes: Requires switching to DC Fridge, Diesel Heater / Water Heater and alternate stove top. That is about what I can think of right now. If you have some information (like Jack Stand weight) please post the information. If you have alternate suggestions or additional items that could be removed / swapped, please add it to the list using the same format.
adamis 01/10/21 09:46am Truck Campers
Any confessions? (Stuck in the mud)

So... Any of us have a confession to make? Stuck in the mud... I'm impressed they could even make a call from that far out. Have you ever been this stick before and what did you do to get out assuming you didn't call Matt?
adamis 01/08/21 08:51pm Truck Campers
RE: F350 tire airing down ranges w/ truck camper

A couple of you have questioned my conclusions on the tire separation due to low pressures. I don't have conclusive evidence, just anecdotal evidence. Went through three tires with separation when they only had 25%to 50% of their life used. In that time, about the only thing I did with the truck was take it to Pismo. Keep in mind that when I'm going to Pismo, I have the camper fully loaded plus a trailer full of toys I am hauling. On the rear tires that is between 4000lb to 5000lb of payload in addition to the weight of the truck. My unscientific conclusion is the low tire pressure in combination with the heavy payload and leaving it that way for four days was causing the tires to fail. Now, it could be the type of tire I have is prone to it, I'm not a tire geek and just go with whatever Les Schwab mid range tires are. In regards to Mat's towing (anyone watching the Covair recovery build videos?... Cool stuff) he's in a completely different situation. His tires are designed to be aired down for sand and rock crawling. My tires are designed to be at 70 to 80 psi. He is also on a pretty light weight jeep. You just can't compare the two situations because the tires are completely different.
adamis 01/05/21 03:03pm Truck Campers
RE: F350 tire airing down ranges w/ truck camper

I have first hand experience in this area as I go to Pismo Beach and drive out on the dunes all the time. First, my truck is two wheel drive but it is a dually. I've driven quite a lot on the sand and really only got stuck just once. For deflating, I would do between 15 and 20 psi. 15 is substantially better for traction by the way but you start risk compromising the tires. I found this out the hard way after going through three tire separations and replacement over a period of two years. Although I'm sure the low PSI was a factor to the tire failure, I think the real cause was leaving it low for the four days we were camped on the beach. I put this together after the third tire failure which caused me to consider what could be causing it. So, for necessity, 15 to 20 psi is probably fine but here is the trick... Don't leave the tires deflated any longer than necessary. Certainly don't park it for four days and keep those low pressures like I did. Inflate it back up to 40 or 50 psi once in location then deflate when you are ready to move.
adamis 01/04/21 07:40am Truck Campers
Wet bath in Dry bath sized camper ideas

I have been thinking lately that some of the newer campers with wet baths have really nice functional wet baths in them to the point where I think they are nearly as nice as a dry bath. Generally it seems that camper manufacturers save their largest campers for the dry bath format but I was wondering what it would be like to keep the large format, do a wet bath and then use the extra space inside for something else. One idea so far is some additional counter space with top and bottom cabinets. A coffee bar type nook where you can leave some appliances out without being on the surface of the main counter top. What would you do with extra space if you had it?
adamis 12/30/20 08:48am Truck Campers
RE: Moving LiFePo4, Rewire or run Long Extensions?

Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I think I need to clarify a few things as a few of the suggestions seemed to focus on the wrong issue in my opinion. What is unique about this camping experience is our twin baby girls that required us to heat their bottles multiple times a day and to keep the furnace running at night because at their age you can't cover them in blankets. The bottle warmer pulls ~300w for 10 minutes 4 times a day. The wife's coffee was ~700w for about 4 minutes each morning. Finally, we have running the furnace in the evening which was ~100w for about 5 minutes but cycling probably one to two times an hour from midnight till 6am. The 200w of solar is usually fine for our "pre-baby" camping needs during the summer but with these new needs and less sunlight in the winter months, just was not enough to get the battery topped off each day. Next year we won't be doing bottles or need to run the furnace as aggressively so those factors will go away. The coffee pot we can run the genset for if really necessary though I think without the other two factors, the coffee pot isn't going to be an issue. The point of my post however is that what I did discover is that the LiFiPo4 battery when it gets cold will limit it's charge rate. This was a bit of a head scratcher the one morning when we ended up with a dead battery so I started the truck around 6am (~20 degrees outside) in order to be able to run the furnace and put some charge back into the battery. I found the battery was only charging around 3 amps when I have a 20amp DC to DC charger. It took me a while to realize it was the BMS on the battery limiting the charge because of the temperature. Moving the battery inside is just a project I am considering because I have a pretty optimal location for it that would eliminate the cold factor. In normal use I don't think I really need to add more battery capacity but will eventually add another 200w (for 400w) total of solar power. I might also replace the furnace with a more efficient two speed unit as well.
adamis 12/27/20 08:58am Truck Campers
RE: Moving LiFePo4, Rewire or run Long Extensions?

Going to a higher voltage like 24 would make the long cabling less of a problem, but I assume your inverter is 12v. Is your inverter due for replacing? No, inverter is good. I currently have it very close to the current battery compartment but on the inside so cable length is fairly short, maybe 18". I probably could move the inverter closer to the new location for the battery but haven't really decided if it is worth the effort. Currently we use the inverter for baby warmers and the wife's coffee maker which pulls ~700 watts. I don't think we would have any higher wattage use other than these items. Not going to run the AC or microwave off of it.
adamis 12/19/20 08:46pm Truck Campers
Moving LiFePo4, Rewire or run Long Extensions?

On my Bigfoot Camper my battery compartment is on the outside compartment of the camper. The door is just a lightweight metal door with vents in it (no insulation). There are no heater vents to the compartment either. On a recent camping trip in early Fall we were up near Lake Tahoe at high elevation. The temps at night got into the low 30s / high 20s. We had to run the heat all night to keep our twin babies warm (can't smother then in blankets) and my 100ah Battle Born LiFePo4 couldn't make it through the night running the furnace (another upgrade project). We had to run the truck in the early morning to start charging the battery and I noticed that it was charging really slowly at about 3 amps (I have a 20 amp DC to DC Renogy charger installed). It took me a while to realize the slow charging was because the BMS was likely limiting the current while the battery was so cold. Later it charged around 15 amps. Although we don't camp in the off season often, it is something I would like to be prepared for. Moving the battery to keep the temperature maintained better seems like a worthwhile endeavor. I'm considering moving the battery inside the camper, under the dinette seat right next to the onboard charger / inverter. The conundrum I face is, I currently have appropriately sized wire for a 2000w inverter, my 20 amp charge controller, 200w (soon to be 400w) of solar plus my genset all wired to the current battery compartment. I can rerun all of these to the new compartment at extensive time and effort. It would shorten the run for the solar but lengthen the run for the inverter / genset. The alternative is to just run some heavy gauge wire to bridge between the old compartment and the new compartment. Less work overall but running thicker cable (thing 4awg or suggestions...) can be more difficult in the tight spaces. I will do the work if it really is necessary but I'm thinking about taking the easy route on this one. Thoughts?
adamis 12/19/20 11:22am Truck Campers
RE: Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

You previously mentioned the Little Giant's and seeing them. Don't know if this was the guy, but thought I'd post the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4hd8lxjPZA You could hang these on your sliding rail. Maybe for storing while traveling they could move over and swing up and be secured to your roof ladder or with a lashing point on the jack mount, or something. Would be even better if you could adjust the treads to level as well.... Yup, that was the one that I saw and had considered. I do like it because it is a solid piece all the way down and considered exactly what you are thinking. Heck, even bought the ladder to do it and ironically, just sold it to someone else today. I may circle back to it at some point in the future.
adamis 12/14/20 11:09pm Truck Campers
RE: Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

What I don't understand about the current scissor steps, either Glow Steps or Brophy is how expensive they are and what you get for the price. I guess there hasn't been a lot of competition in this niche area as I think both steps should be about half of what they cost.
adamis 12/14/20 03:16pm Truck Campers
RE: Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

I had considered different step options (even bought a Little Giant step ladder to try someone else's solution). It is still an option I will consider but for now I'm looking at modifying the current Brophy steps by adding additional support bracing to the scissors like how the Glow Steps are. HMS Beagle's solution is what I'm emulating to the extent possible and I would like to just get something working and then evolve from there.
adamis 12/14/20 09:48am Truck Campers
RE: Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

I like it!. There would need to be some way to lock it in the middle, or it will migrate to the side while you drive. I would not depend on the square tube bumper for much strength, it is not attached to the shell with that in mind. Thanks! Though I can't take the credit for this iteration of your design. I have a guy that does CAD work for my business and I asked him to look at your design and go from there. I agree that sliding side to side needs to be addressed in some way. We are also not relying on the box tubing because of it's lack of strength.
adamis 11/24/20 04:34pm Truck Campers
RE: Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

A quick update on this project. Thanks to HMS Beagle's permission, I am looking at adapting his idea but with a slight change. The idea is a modular "accessory" bar that is mounted to the jacks. On this a solid platform for the steps can be added. It will have the ability to slide side to side on the bracket so access to the compartment underneath by just sliding the steps to the side. The goal is not to require changing out the sewer house tubing to simpliy installation. Additionally, in addition to the stairs, there might be the option to add some accessory brackets for attaching bikes, chairs or other items. I am working with my CAD guy to refine these ideas before we build a unit at the factory. If you like the idea of accessory brackets, let me know what type of brackets or items you think would be nice to have the ability to mount to such a bar. If you are interested in this, let me know. Once the design is finalized and first unit is made for my truck, if I'm satisified with it I am willing to offer it to others that might have an interest. https://i.imgur.com/d6EGKaXl.jpg https://i.imgur.com/Ifd1AMSl.jpg
adamis 11/23/20 11:25am Truck Campers
RE: Solar + DC to DC Chargers

I ended up putting a switch on the DC to DC charger inside the camper. That way I can activate it if need to but turn it off (assuming I remember) if I don't. The way things are setup now, the 200w of solar hits the charge controller that tops off of the camper battery first and then will switch to the truck battery second. The DC to DC is only used as a secondary backup if the solar can't keep up in shady areas and we are on the move. Ordinarilly, our setup with a 100AH Battle Born LiFePo4 battery would be more than suficient. However, we did run into some low power issues during our California Foothill Booze Cruise trip two weeks ago. What caused it was a combination of high use items to include a bottle warmer for the twins (pulls ~23 amps for ~8 minutes through our 2000w inverter). The coffee maker (pulls ~50 amps for ~4 minutes). Then at night we needed to run the furnance to keep the babies warm and that pulled ~10amps for ~3 minutes every 30 minutes. After about the 3rd day of doing this and with the sun lower in the horizon, getting the battery topped off was getting difficult. Up till this point I wasn't really using the DC to DC charger because I didn't have the switch quite figured out but once the battery got low, I decided to run it while driving. Intially it didn't seem to be charging right as the amount of amps it was pushing to the battery was ~3 amps. Turns out, it was just a really cold morning and the BMS system was limiting the charge. Once things warmed up, it started putting 13 amps consistently into the battery. We also started using the generator more often for the coffee put and bottle warmers just to make sure we had power for the furnance at night. So a couple of thoughts on the lessons learned. 1. The need to keep babies warm required the furnance use at night where as the wife and I would normally just put more blankets on. 2. 200w of Solar is probably the minimum of effective capacity to maintain the 100AH LiFePo4 battery in the winter. Looking to add another 200w for 400w total when time and money allow. 3. Temperature of battery is a factor if high amperage use is needed at night when it is coldest. I am considering pulling the battery inside the camper completely. I have a compartment that would work well for it I think but I'm not really excited about rewiring all of my power cables at the moment. 4. DC to DC charger comes in handy when solar can't keep up. Just need to be careful because it can draw down truck battery if you don't turn it off when the truck is off. 5. Solar charge controller that I have requires voltage from the battery to work. If the BMS on a LiFePo4 battery cuts the battery off when it is drained, then the solar won't start charging it even if the sun is shining. By activating the DC to DC charger for a few miutes, it put enough charge back into the LiFePo4 battery for the solar to see it and start charging it again. 6. I will look into a more power efficient furnace for the future as a possible upgrade.
adamis 11/08/20 12:37pm Truck Campers
RE: Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

This is what I did on my BF10.4: http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/26930920.cfm One difficulty with the BF basement campers is the basement door must remain accessible, but placing the first step below it is a very large first step down from the door. I've used this since 2013 and it has worked very well. On my prior BF9.6, I built something slightly similar, but it was mounted on a hitch extension instead of the camper. The scissors steps are much more stable and safe feeling, if they are rigidly attached. If you are up this way you are welcome to have a look and a try. There is a simple video demonstrating. HMS Beagle, sent you a private message. Please take a look when you get a chance. Thanks!
adamis 11/08/20 09:54am Truck Campers
RE: Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

Hay Rob, guess you did not look at my BF to realize my porch is what you need. Mine is 18" but you could do it less. Simple bracing from the rear jack brackets. Here is the build thread showing what Reddog1 and I did years ago. I did get the Glow Steps from Torquelift. A big difference in rigidity. https://i.imgur.com/EYD9CM5l.jpg https://i.imgur.com/9sJERovl.jpg https://www.rv.net/forum/Index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/25135064.cfm Jim Hi Jim, Yes, I have thought of your rear platform as I have considered my options. I do like having the larger landing however one of my goals is to not add any additional length to the truck and camper. Part of that is because I tow a lot and although I have a super truss system, I don't want to add more length to my truss than necessary. At most I think I wold add maybe 8" past the door for any platform.
adamis 11/05/20 11:02pm Truck Campers
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