We are excited to announce our latest StableCamper product line of Truck Camper Bed Kits for CM Truck Beds! While we work to bring this new product line to life, we plan to keep people up to date on our progress through a series of articles we will publish regularly. We will post updates to our social media channels on Facebook and Instagram, however, you can also subscribe to our newsletter to get notified of our progress.
With this introduction, let's begin with some back story on how this project came to be. As many of you are well aware, we have been avid truck camper folks for over 20 years. In that time we have several different truck camper setups. Over the last few years with the StableCamper business, our travel all around the country has increased to a point that we wanted a bit more room and comfort in our truck camper. In 2019 we upgraded to a large triple slide Eagle Cap 1165 camper. We love the room and comfort this camper provides for us in all our travels, however, with size, weight follows along with it. We put the Eagle Cap onto our Ram 3500 dual rear wheel truck and did all the common upgrades to handle the weight of this large camper.
StableCamper Ram 3500 at Assateague Island National Seashore
With the 1165 married to our 3500 Ram, we traveled across the US several times, and never had any problems, all while pulling a heavy cargo trailer. The upgrades made to the truck are pretty common in the truck camper world: Firestone Airbags, Torklift Upper Stable Loads, Roadmaster large rear sway bar, Bilstein shocks, American Force 8 lug 19.5 wheels, and Toyo M920 19.5 tires. For towing, we used the Torklift 20K Super Hitch and Torklift 60" Super Truss with a Ez-Lift weight distribution hitch. To mount the camper to the truck we used Torklift's frame tiedown mounts and FastGuns. In all, the Ram truck never complained and took us to so many great places without any problems. However, even with all these quality upgrades, we were driving this setup grossly overweight. You could feel it driving down the road and it was overly tiring to drive long distances.
Coming into 2020 our business and personal travel had us looking into a larger cargo trailer to accommodate our needs. As we started looking at bigger trailers our concerns for our already overworked truck were becoming an even bigger worry. So, we started looking at alternatives. We started looking at different setups, from a Trailer Toad to relieve tongue weight on the truck to a living quarters horse trailer to have our living quarters and cargo all in one trailer. What we knew all along was that we just needed the right truck, however, we kept fighting that solution. The fight came from one main issue, a bigger truck would mean a class 5 cab chassis. That's no problem, just go out and replace our 3500 with a 5500..., easy right? Nope, now we have the bed to think about. As you may know, a cab chassis truck is sold just like it's titled, just the chassis and the cab (no bed). We already knew there were some great bed options on the market for truck campers, however, none of them met all our goals.
2020 Ram 5500 Cab Chassis
Once we decided to upgrade our truck, we took the plunge by finding and purchasing a Ram 5500. We'll save the details on our purchasing process for another day, as there's a lot to discuss on this topic. "Get the truck and we'll figure the bed out as we move forward", and that's how we jumped in with both feet!
For bed options that were already on the market, we looked at some very incredible solutions from companies like SherpTek, Douglas Truck Bodies, and Highway Products just to name a few. There was also the option of just fabricating our bed or finding a custom fabricator to make one for us. What we found is that none of these options met all our needs and goals for this truck. What we also found out in talking to other truck camper owners was that our needs and goals were not all that unique.
Our initial goals for our new truck camper bed:
Affordable - While there are some really neat truck camper bed solutions on the market, the price point of these was hard for us to swallow. Don't get me wrong, many of these are truly exceptionally built products with lots of really cool features. The price point for what you get wasn't our problem, it was just that our needs didn't warrant the costs and features these beds provide.
Generic - Through the years we've had 5 different truck campers, and who knows what camper we may have in the future. So, we wanted a system that was generic enough to fit our needs and the truck camper we have today as well as the one we may have in the future.
Truck Resale - Moving to a new 5500 has a pretty hefty price tag as with purchasing any new truck. We wanted a system that would be desirable to any large truck buyer. Having a truck camper specialty box on it would both increase the overall cost of the vehicle, but would narrow the resell opportunity to just other truck camper owners. If we did decide to change directions in our camper and truck, we wanted our truck to be something that would have a strong resell opportunity to a larger market than just truck camper owners.
Aesthetics - We wanted it to look great! One of our worries in building a truck box was that it wouldn't look great on the truck. We wanted something that didn't look pieced together, that the whole system looked like it was purposely made to go together.
Functional - With the cab/chassis we, like all truck camper owners were very excited to have more storage space provided by the truck bed system. In addition to the added storage space, the system would have to allow us to unload and load the camper just like a regular truck bed would. The ability to detach the camper is one of the big benefits of a truck camper and we didn't want to sacrifice our ability to use our camper in this way.
A Platform - Our thinking was twofold in thinking of our new truck bed as a platform. We wanted a setup that we could add more stuff (air compressors, lighting, storage ideas, etc.) over time as well as not wanting to lose any of the functionality that a large truck would offer us. We wanted to be able to easily remove top boxes and camper-specific items to allow the truck to operate as a standard flatbed. We wanted to be able to have both bumper pull and gooseneck/fifth-wheel capabilities. In short, we wanted to still be able to use our big truck for purposes outside of just our truck camper.
As we continued to review options and goals for truck camper bed solutions, we naturally started looking at standard truck decks as a foundation for our needs. After reviewing many different manufactures and designs, we found that CM Truck Beds offered great products at a great price that would help fill our goals for our build. It was also obvious to us that we are not the only truck camper owners who would have similar needs and requirements and that we should make our solution available to other truck camper owners.
So, here we are, introducing our new line of StableCamper Truck Camper Bed Kits for CM Truck Beds!
2020 Ram Limited 5500, StableCamper/CM Truck bed system, and Eagle Cap 1165 Camper
We have completed our first build of this system and introduced it at the 2021 Truck Camper Adventurer Rally in Quartzite Arizona. We have to say, this truck and bed system turned out amazing! The response from the rally attendees and our initial social postings have been even higher than we could have expected!
Now the work begins! Stay tuned as we continue to release more information about our new Truck Camper Bed Kits as we work to bring these to the market.