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Logistics of Truck Camper/Boat Combo
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PNW_Wesley



Joined: 28 Nov 2019
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:02 pm    Post subject: Logistics of Truck Camper/Boat Combo Reply with quote

Our new Lance 825 truck camper is due to arrive in November. We bought it in order to take trips to new-to-us boating locations.

I have towed boats and travel trailers for more than 40 years, including our current 35 foot, 12,000 pound travel trailer. But, a boat/camper combo is new to me, and I have some questions about the logistics of this setup.


1. Launching and Retrieving The Boat

My truck (GMC 2500HD 4wd Duramax) has the power to move heavy objects, but I am concerned about having a 3,000 lb camper in the bed while launching and retrieving the boat.

When shifting in and out of PARK on the ramp, the parking pawl in the Allison transmission has alot of force on it.

Also, with the truck being in a nose-up attitude on the ramp, I am concerned about the stress on the brackets where the TorkLift turnbuckles attach to the camper. It would ruin my day to have the camper slide off my truck.

Lastly, even with 4wd and Michelin M/S tires, there is the issue of traction with this large load on a slippery ramp.

In terms of overall weight, the camper and boat combo would be equivalent to launching a 7,000 lb boat, which many people do frequently.

Do you take the routinely camper off of the truck before backing down the ramp?


2. Camp Site Logistics

At most locations, we will be leaving the camper and boat in camp while we make side trips. I envision the following steps:

1. Unhitch the boat prior to arriving at the camp site. 2. Place the camper as far aft in the site as possible and remove it from the truck. 3. Hitch up the boat. 4. Back the boat into the site in front of the camper. 5. Unhitch the boat.

Iím sure there are lots of variations to this process, but how do you handle this scenario?

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Prior water toys:
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JamesTXSD



Joined: 01 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are different things to consider: mainly, how far off the back of the truck the camper will extend. As you back towards the water, is the lower extension of the camper going to go into the water? That would be a significant issue, especially with salt water. Assuming the camper does extend beyond the bed of the truck, you will need some sort of stinger-type hitch to get to the coupler on the boat trailer.

We had a GMC Sierra 3/4 ton with the Duramax, towing a 25 foot C-Dory. The weight allowance on that rear axle would allow us to put any sizeable camper in the bed of the truck. This was in 2007, so I'm guessing the weight allowances have improved since then.

If it were me, I would take the camper off the truck to launch and retrieve, at least the first few times, to get an idea of where you'd be with any kind of hitch extension.

Brent and Dixie (Discovery) launched with an F450 with a camper, towing a TomCatl... he had a trident-type hitch he put on the truck, just for hauling that load. Even with that, there was some squat on the rear of the truck.

Good luck with the process. Keep us posted.
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PNW_Wesley



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="JamesTXSD" Assuming the camper does extend beyond the bed of the truck, you will need some sort of stinger-type hitch to get to the coupler on the boat trailer.
[/quote]

Thank you for noting this point. I will have a hitch extension for the ball to be well aft of the camper.

There are many great posts in this group about weight capacity, springs, air bags, tire ratings, etc., and my truck is ready for this application.

What keeps me awake at night is "Now that I've got the setup, how does one handle the logistics of this combo?"
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ssobol



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Logistics of Truck Camper/Boat Combo Reply with quote

PNW_Wesley wrote:
... When shifting in and out of PARK on the ramp, the parking pawl in the Allison transmission has alot of force on it. ...


Truck has a parking brake, right?

Back down ramp.
Parking brake on.
Transmission in Park.

Reverse to pull out.
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PNW_Wesley



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Logistics of Truck Camper/Boat Combo Reply with quote

ssobol wrote:
PNW_Wesley wrote:
... When shifting in and out of PARK on the ramp, the parking pawl in the Allison transmission has alot of force on it. ...


Truck has a parking brake, right?

Back down ramp.
Parking brake on.
Transmission in Park.

Reverse to pull out.


Please don't insult me. I politely asked some specific and intelligent questions to those who tow with a truck camper.

Not only do I set the parking brake, I apply the truck's brake via a dowel between the seat and the brake pedal. That results in all 4 brakes being applied, with the parking brake mechanism as a supplement.
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Hunkydory



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have towed our CD22 with our 2006 Chevy, 3500, 4x4, duramax, crew cab truck & 950 Eagle cap camper weighing over 3000 lbs to Alaska & launched the boat there on a steep slick ramp at Skagway, along with very poor narrow steep ramp on Atlin Lake & at Yellowstone Lake, Lake Powell & Bellingham, Washington. Never a hint of problem involving the truck/camper other then having to be extra careful with the boat being less visible, when backing down narrow steep ramps. One does have to be more careful on the road too in tight areas such as some fuel stops & parking areas, but even on steep narrow non shoulder roads not a problem as it all handles very well. That said on our long trips to Alaska, I prefer just having a camper shell on the pickup to carry the extra stuff & consider the boat plenty for camping along the way with the big truck camper to be a unnecessary duplication of travel needs. Fuel milage is much better without it too.

We do have an extension on the hitch & torklift turnbuckles too & the slightly over 10 foot camper rides on a 8 foot bed. We have been on many miles of very poor steep rough mountain dirt roads here in Wyoming without problems with the camper & itís tie downs. The truck is a dually & that definitely helps on rough road side sway.

Iíve parked our truck/camper in many state & provincial parks & never had to unhitch to do so. Of course they need to be picked for size, but many rv combinations are longer than yours. If one needed to fit, they could do just as you suggested, but for launching the boat, I personally never have & donít think it would ever be necessary except on a most extreme narrow steep slick ramp & maybe even then the extra weight in the truck bed could become more help then hindrance.

I think you should be fine with your present set up. If you were towing a CD25, perhaps not so.

This is a photo of ours by Atlin lake on our return from Alaska in 2010.



Jay

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robhwa



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...in regard to traction on slimy ramps or no ramps at all...depending on the center of gravity of the camper relative to the bed of the truck (and the steepness of the ramp), removing the camper should help shift traction to the front wheels which are more likely to be on drier, cleaner pavement.

However, I am lazy, and don't want to go to this trouble. I also drive on some soft roads...carrying a traction device (folding plates or solid plate) like off-road 4-wheelers do could get you out of a mess. A shovel to throw some sand or gravel into the path of your wheels can also. I carry tire chains year-round, and they can give you phenomenal traction, but unless you carry scuba gear, you'd need to put them on before you back the trailer down. I did this for years with my rear-wheel vehicles, and I believe it worked better than my current 4-WD.
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thataway



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An option not mentioned is putting a trailer hitch receiver on the front of the truck. Many who have large RV's or pickups which are light in the bed, and don't get as much traction, use the front receiver and that gives you a very clear picture of how the boat is going into the water and sides of the ramp.
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Peter & Judy



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also tow my C22 with my truck and camper and have never had a problem. My truck a 2012 F350 4x4 quad cab and an 8 foot bed. The camper is an 8 foot model so it does not hang over the back of the truck. My previous truck an F250 had a 6.5 foot bed so the camper hung over the end. When I bought my boat I needed to look for a hitch extension and in the end I bought a newer truck with a 8 foot bed. One of the most useful things that I have added was a backup camera from Amazon that I mounted on the camper. This aids in backing up the boat and trailer on the ramp. I often switch to 4x4 when pulling the boat out of the ramp. I do have a front mount hitch, but I have never used it with the boat. I personally would be too lazy to remove the camper to launch the boat. I think you are working too much about launching with a truck camper. I just watched some people launching a big Bayliner with about a 30 foot motor home on Vancouver Island and this was no problem for them.
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T.R. Bauer



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hauled a camper and towed my CD 22 for about 100k miles without issue. The parking brake was enough to hold the truck on the steepest ramps and the combo worked great. The camper never moved or shifted ever. Traction was never an issue either with the heavy camper back there sitting over the drive wheels. However, since then, we bought an small 24 foot E450 class C that tows big heavy things wonderfully.
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pcg



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter & Judy wrote:
... One of the most useful things that I have added was a backup camera from Amazon that I mounted on the camper. This aids in backing up the boat and trailer on the ramp...

Would love to hear some details - What model camera? Were did you mount it?
Thanks!

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pcg



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter & Judy wrote:
... One of the most useful things that I have added was a backup camera from Amazon that I mounted on the camper. This aids in backing up the boat and trailer on the ramp...

Would love to hear some details - What model camera? Were did you mount it?
Thanks!
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Standas



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We actually just got home this evening from 5 days of fishing in Astoria oregon and launched are 22í cruiser with a dodge 3500 and Arctic fox 990 ever day we were there.I have Torklift fastguns to secure the camper with a rubber bed mat and I do have a block of wood to put behind the tire when I get out to release the boat. The camper didnít move at all. I have never even gotten close to getting the back end of the camper in the water.
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kaelc



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an F350 with a lance 830. Use a 24 inch extension and weight distribution hitch with the non-chains for easy backing up. Launch the 25 no problem camper on.

Last trip in Tofino, took it off for camping. Parked truck on the road/entrance to the campsite with multiple trailer locks. Launched and retrieved without camper on.

Truck has torklift tie downs, fast guns, stable loads. I donít worry about it coming off on any grade of ramp. Lots of grip with that kind of weight!
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bobjarrard



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:44 pm    Post subject: Front Hitch Reply with quote

The only thing I do worse than play golf is back down trailers. I use a front hitch on my 2006 smaller frame Tundra and can park my 24 huge cargo trailer like it was a 8' utility trailer. I strongly suggest that over taking the camper off but also, a good tow strap for the first launch from the front of your rig to a big truck up hill is great insurance. Also, you did not mention the kind of brakes on the trailer and for sure some kinds work better than others when submerged. You could also put a big as in real tire on the trailer tongue and use a 12K winch on the then open 2" hitch with a double back pulley, put the truck on good holding ramp surface. I use Ez-Lift weight distributing hitches, one of which has an extension built into it (that one has 2 anti-sway devices mounted). I also like a tongue extension that slides over, into, or along side the main rail/center line of the boat trailer, a 12-16 footer will keep you out of the water for sure at most locations. If you have seen Cap's older Wild Blue posts, he favored spending a few $$$ and having the boat crane or carrier launched which is made easier if you do the Doctor Bob trailer bunk cut outs. I have owned a few boats with lifting points built in, you use your harness and then then can either beam or single point lift you off a trailer. You did not mention how you will mount your Lance but I like Happy Jacks at four corners plus an inside the bed/bed wall mounted attachment panel under the rear window, an additional set of turn buckles as back up to the bed hooks and beware that the bed will move in ways the camper and chassis do not (they can even twist!). Looking forward to seeing the whole rig. Bob in Nevada
PS: If I put in a typo or two, normal for me and if I did not get the facts strait on Dr. Bob and Cap (Jim) forgive me, my IQ is moving in the other direction from my age!!! Bob
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