Thinking about my next project, or stages. The truck camper build.

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  • Thinking about my next project, or stages. The truck camper build.

    With everything else going on, and the shop remodel happening, the truck camper build got put on the back burner. A lot of that is me wanting to insure the shop was ready to go, so here we go as it were.

    As a reminder, I am building a "foamie" truck camper utilizing XPS foam with Poor Mans Fiberglass, A.K.A. PMF, This is canvas that is coated with a dillution of Titebond 2. If you have ever splotched TB2 on a work shirt and not washed it out in time, you know that stuff sets up firmer than fiberglass resin.

    There will be wood reinforcements in stress critical / load bearing areas such as along the upper side where the awning will attach, as well as a spot on the other side to receive a french cleat. The french cleat is as a mount point to support the subject of this post.

    A stowage mount box for my instant hot water heater / shower. Specifically a Camplux 5L. Lowes is the cheapest place to get them, mine is the white model which is currently out of stock, black works fine too...

    I have fitted mine with, well directionally correct quick couplers for the hoses. My Ensutie (shower tent) has the plumbing kit that stays in place, so I just click the hose to the output of the heater, and click the supply line to the inlet, screw on the gas hose the tank, turn the water on, turn the gas on, and then push the button on the shower head and hot water comes out. Pretty sweet setup actually. I can shower like at home but, well in a tent in the middle of nowhere...

    Anyway, It is best since these are made of easily bendable sheet metal, to keep in a protective case. All the blow molded plastic gear cases are simply too short once the quick connects are included in the equation.

    So I am planning on building a box to keep the thing in, with a heat shroud to keep the exhaust from burning / melting the box when in use.

    I am thinking a box joined cedar box, and then coated with epoxy resin for lightweight and waterproofness...

    My big concern is finding affordable Cedar that I can work with in the Houston Metro area.

    My first thoughts leap to cedar fence pickets, IF I can find the allegedly 1x6 6ft pickets, straight enough, I should be able to face joint and plane them to 1/2", edge joint, and end up with a sufficient width glue up to get the job done.

    So the big question is, where can I get nice thick fence pickets in cedar?

    Anyone have recommendations?

    I'm going to end up needing a LOT, and probably end up having the shop smelling like a giant hampster cage by the time I am done...
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  • #2
    Cedar fence pickets have been shrinking over time from 5/8 to 9/16 to 1/2" thick now.

    Good luck. Some days you can find nice straight ones, you have to watch when new batches come in to the box stores and then pick and choose.

    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ -


    • #3
      Lowes lists 1x6x96 western red cedar boards, but it's pricey at $21.98 each. They also list rough sawn 1x4x96 boards at $12.07 each.
      Jim Frye
      The Nut in the Cellar.
      ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”


      • #4
        Peach State Lumber Products in Kennesaw Ga. has this pallet load, plus a rack full of long slabs and other sizes, I photographed it Tuesday. I can’t remember the price but everything I saw there was top quality and seemed reasonable.

        Click image for larger version

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        • LCHIEN
          LCHIEN commented
          Editing a comment
          must have come from horizontally growing trees. :-)

        • capncarl
          capncarl commented
          Editing a comment
          Yea, probably growing out of the walls of a canyon or mountain!
          I can’t figure how they stay on the pallet!

      • #5
        I think I'm going to check M&g sawmill for Cedar...
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        • #6
          I hope you are not modeling your camper after this beauty?

          Click image for larger version

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          • #7
            It's hard to explain.
            My requirements are funny. I can't really afford a new truck as a nice 3/4 or 1 ton cost nearly what I paid for my house. So I am either stuck with my old 1/2 ton F150, or I buy an older Super Duty and psend a fortune fixing it up. I know the problems my F150 has... And my wife loves it. So we have to work within the capacity of a half ton truck. Good thing we have the payload package...

            But picture a commercial truck topper. Now make it tall enough to stand up in, extend the back so that it has a full door down to the floor, extend it rearward so it covers the tailgate folded down and uses that as a floor. Then extend the sides out so that a folding bed frame will support a pair of tridold twin mattresses which will effectively make up a shortened king size bed. The part where the bed folds into a couch will remain in place, and will have 2 compartments. One holds 4 separate Reliance 7 gallon Aqua Tainers and has a pickup that can be moved between, plumbed to a 12v pump, and a quick disconnect on the outisde wall of the camper / access panel.

            A fold down counter on the interior will provide "kitchen" should foul weather sock us inside, but for the most part, The side of the truck with the gas fill, which my brain is fuzzy right now but I beleive drivers side, will more or less be unused, passenger side will house the outlet for both gas and water for the stove, and hot water heater.

            My initial design may change due to losing my brother in law.

            The initial design was to have the hot water heater removeable so I could move it to a bunk house shower at his hunting property. With him gone, that obviously is no longer a concern. But should campsite not be condusive to having the privy next to the camper it would be nice to be able to hang it where I need it...

            Think Privy sort of off at the corner of the truck.

            An awning will extend a bit under 10' and cover the kitchen area. I am thinking a table that can hook to the tire since I run 35s it should be plenty high enough. Deployable sides via velcro are planned to enclose the awning should weather require it

            The camper body itsef is planned with a cabover, but not a cabover sleeper, more of a cabover storage.

            It should be noted, I was working on ordering a camper from Eureka Campers a few years ago, when the salesman stopped responding. Good thing I hadn't put my deposit down, they went out of business as the owner had died and had no heirs... A loaded out Eureka is only 900lbs with AC and a fridge... I would RADICALLY prefer the Eureka camper, but since they are few and far between, and camper MFGs that make "half ton compatible" campers these days are aiming for pop ups, not what I want...
            Last edited by dbhost; 02-27-2022, 10:26 AM.
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            • #8
              So as you know by now. I no longer need the camper to be built for 2. This project is being shelved in favor of a simpler approach...

              #1. Trying to find a hi top fiberglass topper. Specifically a Leer 122 to fit my truck. If it is cheap enough don't care what color it is, I will paint it...
              #2. Using a Tri Fold memory foam mattress for the bed / seat.
              #3. Storage cabinet / bed frame along one side of the truck bed. Storage cabinet on other side.
              #4. 12V fridge in back of the cab. Seat will be folded up so effectively it will ride on the floor.
              #5. Divider panel in place of tailgate which will be locked in the down position to allow for 5K BTU AC to be used.
              #6. I can use a regular EZ Up as an awning, secure at least half of it to the truck.

              I have places that we wanted to see, things that we wanted to do, that now that she is gone I kind of, well feel like I now MUST do them for her if that makes any sense...

              I have the TriFold mattress, have had that for a few years as a guest flop bed, so repurpose there. Probably do a plywood bed frame / cabinet. I need to enclose where the power center will be as well.

              Water storage will be 4x 7 gallon Reliance Aquatainers. So that should actually keep me going a good while...

              I will need a lockable box for the hitch hauler to carry fuel, the port o potty, and the generator.
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              • #9
                Okay status so far.

                #1. Remanufactured / bulletproofed engine on order. 3 weeks ago with a delivery time of 6 weeks so....
                #2. Sourced up a hi top fiberglass cap. Hi toppers for the 6.5ft box 2004-2008 F150 on the used market are as rare as unicorn farts so I found a cheap one from a similar vintage Chevy. It is not a perfect fit but it is good enough for what I am doing... It overhangs the tailgate a bit but can be sealed up with a spacer and a generous roam rubber seal. Not a worry.
                #3.On the Tri fold mattress, discovered the squish factor made the tri fold irrelevant. cabinet / bed frame will take up too much space on one side to have both an aisle and the other side cabinet. Going with an L design instead to house the water / power etc.... Using old square cat litter tubs for housing my other stuff as need be. Mostly kitchen stuff. Some is too long such as the pie iron which will simply ride in the rear door pocket.
                #4. 300w suitcase solar rig set up with as per solar MFG 20amp charge controller and DC to DC charger. This allows me to charge from alternator on the road, or solar while parked.
                #5. Solar and 110V pass throughs cut through the topper and installed.
                #6. The AC divider panel will be Fomaie and 2x4 construction. For those unfamiliar foamie meaning rigid foam board insulation, wrapped in fabric, in this case thrift store sheets, and coated with a mess of Titebond II, then cured, and painted with copious amounts of exterior house paint. It is also known as Poor Mans Fiberglass... I am using this approach to minimize weight as my truck is only a half ton pickup and I like camping on the beach a lot...
                #7. I have opted away from the EZ Up and instead went with an Ozark Trail 12x12 camping tarp rig. Basically set up the tarp over the shell, and extend it out of the back, set up the poles and guy lines, pull it taut...

                Looking a different route to haul fuel and generator. Most notably, roof rack / basket. Need to redo the passenger side roof joint cap anyway, might as well add a set of cross bars up there, and a lockable cargo box... Hard shell boxes are tough these days though, most of them seem to want to sell you bags...
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