In this article, we will explore our initial build of the StableCamper Truck Camper Bed Kit for CM Truck Beds. We decided for this initial build to create a view of what our bed systems could look like completed with Line-X, polish, and a high-end paint match scheme for our 2020 Ram 5500 truck. This bed build illustrates a highly functioning and finished system that shows just how nice these solutions can look.
For the truck deck, we chose to build on CM's AL SK standard 9'4" X 94" bed sized for our 60CA truck. This complete bed comes as shown in the image below and includes many great standard features:
18,500 lb. B&W Receiver Hitch with 7Pin/4 way plug
30,000 lb. B&W Gooseneck Hitch with 7 pin plug
Aluminum Tube Headache Rack
Aluminum skirting with 4 integrated storage boxes
Clear LED lighting throughout
Single or dual fuel fill locations
3/8" X 2" Aluminum Extrusion Side Rails with Stake Pockets
For more detailed information on this bed please see CM's AL SK Aluminum Skirted Body page.
CM 9'4" x 94" AL SK Aluminum Skirted Body
With the bed in hand, we started planning our truck camper needs, design considerations, and what finish we wanted for the final result. As a quick note, we did build an interim bed for our truck to help us better understand some of the design requirements that would be needed to haul a truck camper. We will discuss the details of this preliminary build in another article.
There are three components of the bed kit we started focusing on:
Camper tie-down system
Top storage boxes
The camper's backstop is mounted directly to the top of the deck, which allows a stop for the camper's face to rest against. This stop can be mounted anywhere on the deck depending on where a specific camper will sit on the deck. The backstop is made of a 1/8" Aluminum plate to make it durable and lightweight and measures 48x4x6 inches. This makes a perfect and easy-to-install backstop for the camper to rest against.
We reviewed several different tie-down solutions and came to quickly realize that we could easily make a tie-down that integrates right into the existing stake pockets on the bed. This dramatically simplified the design and eliminated the need to create a complex and expensive mounting system. These mounts are made of steel and will be powder coated for a strong and long-lasting tie-down system. The mounts slide up into the stake pockets and are bolted in place with the supplied hardware and cap.
As for the top boxes, we plan to create two different box designs: long boxes, and split double boxes. For this first build, we started with the long boxes. The next question is to what dimensions do we make them? If you've read our bed kit introduction article, you may recall that one of our goals for this bed was to be generic enough to accommodate the camper we have as well as whatever new camper we may get down the road. To accomplish this goal, we reviewed truck bed sizes to make our system have dimensions very similar to a standard truck bed.
Cad illustration of a Ram 3500 DRW bed integrated with our box kit
To establish our top box sizes we went to our CAD system (Fusion 360) and started modeling out the geometric aspects of the design. The driving dimensions we designed were the meeting of a Ram 3500 truck bed and the flatbed deck. The inner wheel well dimension (51") of the truck bed was used to establish the inner distance between the two boxes. The height of the boxes (about 20") was the same as the height of the 3500-bed floor to the rear of the bed rail height. The length of the boxes was established by the length of the truck bed also.
Integrated Bed Kit and Ram 3500 Bed Size View
To achieve one of our goals of a generic solution to fit many different campers, fitting our design to the truck bed and not a particular camper helps us keep to a generic solution. Adding the camper to the design allows us to verify fit and determine how large the doors can be.
Integrated side view including EC 1165 detail
Our box design came in approximately 20x20x101 inches of 0.125 (1/8") sheet aluminum, with a very nice fit to both the camper and the headache rack.
StableCamper Long Box Finished Design
For the first build, this whole kit came together very well. As with all design projects, now we take what we've learned and integrated it to improve all aspects of the product. Here's of few images of the initial box build.
Initial box build and fitting
There are other considerations for the design that are known, but not accommodated in our initial build. Several camper brands utilize space beyond the wheel wells of a truck bed. Cirrus, Arctic Fox, Lance, Northern Lite are just a few and design considerations will have to be implemented for these types of campers. We'll likely provide stepped and non-stepped boxes to make allowances for these types of campers, or to maximize space depending on the owner's needs and wants.
Cirrus and Arctic Fox CAD models showing the stepped inner camper walls.
For finishing, we added Line-X, trim polishing, and high-end automotive grade paint match to showcase how this system could look. The final build turned out just amazing!
Final build images
In addition the boxes shown here in our initial build, we are planning to also offer split top boxes. With the long and split boxes, this will provide added modularity to meet many different needs. Also, we will likely offer both aluminum and steel boxes. There are advantages for both, so we will likely make them both available.