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Old 04-27-2021, 01:11 PM   #1
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Camper Van Vs Camper Truck

Hi Everyone!

I am a noob on this forum. Sold my Sprinter because it got stuck everywhere. It was a dually and I live in MN. Had it completely converted to a nice home on wheels. Well I sold it and bought a 2008 Ram 4x4 with a 90s camper on it. Put a lift, some Timbrens and K02s along with a Hellwig sway bar. Now she goes anywhere, (almost lol). Well, I'm just not happy about how heavy it is, and am looking for a Ford diesel E350 van to convert. About to pull the trigger on one. My question is, with all I will have to invest to convert it to a 4x4, then the camper conversion, Am I really going to love it more than my camper truck? Your opinions would really help.
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Old 04-27-2021, 04:54 PM   #2
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Would probably be cheaper for you to get a newer (2007 and up slide-in camper. The newer ones are much lighter then the older wood framed ones.
Weigh your truck & unloaded camper. Then weigh just the truck. That will tell you your camper weight, then look at other, newer camper weights. See if you get a reduction that might work for you.
A loaded camper van can weigh 10,000 fully loaded, but carries the weight much lower.
A camper van is more of a RV. With a slide-in you can always drop the camper and still have a truck.
We have both and they have different strengths.
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Old 04-27-2021, 08:43 PM   #3
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I think you’ll get a lot of skewed opinions here, since most of us are, or at least were, van owners at one time or another. It really all depends on what you’re looking for in a travel rig.
I personally don’t think I’d be able to give up our E350 for a truck camper for our needs and uses-too big, unwieldy and there’s no way to really use it for any off-roading, not to mention them having a lack of any usable floor space.
You’ve owned both, although not an E350, but you might be in a better position to answer your own question. I’d say get it, convert it and use it, if you don’t like it you can always sell it for 2X what you put into it. Good luck and welcome to the rabbit hole
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Old 04-28-2021, 04:14 AM   #4
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Welcome. Plus 1 on REF’s comments.

The benefit of a van is a pass through, more useable space within the total length (swivels on front seats for seating), shorter front end with associated visibility.

As mentioned, a fully built van will likely be heavy depending on build.
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Old 04-28-2021, 10:30 AM   #5
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Plus 2 on what Ref says. I have both an E350 4x4 and a Dodge/Cummins with a Bigfoot camper on it.

I can take the E350 darn near anywhere I can drive my Jeep. The Dodge with camper is restricted to good roads. Try 30 miles of rough washboard and see what it does to your camper - and everything in it. Not to mention things like brush and tree limbs that I can just push through with the van that would destroy the camper.
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Old 04-28-2021, 10:36 AM   #6
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Ditto to what everyone else has said. In addition, during nasty weather it is so nice in a van to just get up out of your front seat, turn around, and be in your cozy space. No need to run around outside to get to the rear door on the camper. if you have a dog, kids, etc, even more so.
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Old 04-28-2021, 12:54 PM   #7
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Here's my answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by chartneck View Post
Hi Everyone!

I am a noob on this forum. Sold my Sprinter because it got stuck everywhere. It was a dually and I live in MN. Had it completely converted to a nice home on wheels. Well I sold it and bought a 2008 Ram 4x4 with a 90s camper on it. Put a lift, some Timbrens and K02s along with a Hellwig sway bar. Now she goes anywhere, (almost lol). Well, I'm just not happy about how heavy it is, and am looking for a Ford diesel E350 van to convert. About to pull the trigger on one. My question is, with all I will have to invest to convert it to a 4x4, then the camper conversion, Am I really going to love it more than my camper truck? Your opinions would really help.
More versatile. Weighs less than my van did. Goes anywhere my van did. V10 NO 6.0 B.S.
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Old 04-28-2021, 01:43 PM   #8
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Pass through is it for me.
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Old 04-29-2021, 05:54 AM   #9
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The pass-thru is the biggest issue for me along with secure storage for my very expensive bicycles.

Back in my 20's and 30's, I could probably deal with crawling through a small window opening between the truck cab and the camper. In my 50's, notsomuch...
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Old 04-29-2021, 08:24 AM   #10
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My .02:

I've used a Ramcharger with a bed in the back, a 24' camp trailer, a shell on the back of a F250, and my current van. For me, it's the van hands down.

The bed is always there, and I don't have to move things off it when I get to my spot. We set the kitchen up outside, so it doesn't get hot or have leftover grease smells in the van. Easy walk through to get to things in the back. Lots more room. Our van is a high top, so I can stand up to get dressed in the morning.

Down side? Expense (5 grand for the high top, 20 grand for the 4X4), and it's pretty high to get in and out of the side doors. I made a budget to cover the expense, and I have a step to get in and out.

I'm getting a little long in the tooth, and many years of playing rough for Uncle Sam is catching up with me, so I'll take the convenience of the van over any other combo I've tried over the years.

Build it yourself and you can tailor it to your exact taste and application.
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