Mid-size vs Full-size truck setup

jaywo

Active member
First of all, thanks a lot all for your messages. Love this community.

1) the overwhelming advice is: full size. I get it. If somebody on this forum reads this and uses a mid-size with a similar setup (alucab, tune, OVRLND,...) with kid I would like to read about your experience. I will say that the majority of people I see on social media with that type of campers have a mid-size, and many of them kids. I recon I posted this topic in the "Full Size" forum section, but I would love to hear what the other camp has to say.
I am 80% convinced we need the full size at this point and suck it up when daily driving it, pulling into small parking lots..

2) a lot of people asked, why no trailers? Indeed, it seems perfect: I daily let's say a Toyota Sequoia, then just connect the trailer on weekends. Best of both words. Well, 2 reasons why it seems impossible to me:

A) I did a poor job of explaining our use case. When I said we remote camp, I mean it. I spend dozens of hours each year finding the most amazing spots. About 50% of the places we camped in the last 3 years, there is 0 chance you can bring any sort of trailer. The biggest vehicle you could bring is a Tundra or F-150 5.5ft bed with 35s. This is why we got a Bronco (with dual lockers, 35s, ...) in the first place. I will say about 20% of the camp we do, we have to turn around sometimes on a small dirt road where it would be strictly impossible with a trailer.

B) When we go for 7-10 days trips that's when we go to places like Washington etc. When going to those places, we like to visit a few cities, stop for coffee etc. Maneuvering a trailer in downtown Seattle sounds like a nightmare. It sounds like a nightmare anywhere actually. On the other hand, maneuvering a short bed F-150 with a light aluminum camper sounds doable even in large cities (I mean it better be, because it will be our daily driver as I said in my first message, which is one of the concern of going full size).

Am I missing something?

3) See some specific answers to your questions below.


The Ram is a decommissioned Oregon State Trooper truck that has a 2,700 lb payload. I opted to go the route of building something old and cheap because it's giving me more payload and budget to put on a camper in the back and focus more on things like power systems, water, cabinetry, etc.... I've been considering a Scout Kenai Camper, Total Composite Camper or Four Wheel Camper Hawk Shell.
I have considered a Scout etc. But I think they are too high. So I considered a Supertramp Flagship LT. This one sounds perfect because it's low and well equipped. But then it's a 170K setup with a nice truck. Too expensive for our use which is 90% weekends. Also too big as a daily with a 1T pickup so needs a 2nd car. A 5.5ft bed F150 with a light alu camper is still daily drivable. A 1T 6.75ft bed V8 with a 1500 lbs camper not so much. Higher, wider, longer, and much worst MPG. just too much. Your route is the one I would take if we were doing more longer trips.

Why not use a trailer?

See point 2)A)B above

A) Full-size
B) Not an Alu-Cab (assuming you mean something like their full shell...and not that you're going to be removing it like you are on the Bronco).
C) I'll second? third? considering a trailer; particularly as this will be your daily.

a) gotcha, b) you are right, I said AluCab because they are popular but I meant a full pop up like OVRLND or Tune. C) please see point 2)A)B above

Of the ones you listed, I'd go Tundra because of the price difference. Is a Tremor required or would a regular F150 w/ 4x4 work? You can run 35x11.5' on a regular F150 with a 2.5" level. Might save you some bucks. I'd lean toward full size as the interior of most midsizes will be tight with a rear facing baby seat.
It's crazy how much the prices of trucks has risen in the past couple years. If I were to buy my '22 F150 today it would be 15K more and I'd get less equipment as some of the packages aren't offered anymore.

Tremor is not required but I hate the F-150 look and the Tremor/Raptor is the only one I like. Also, Tremor gets me Torsen diff and a few neat features.
I try not to hate myself for not buying a brand new 2023 Tremor with high package for $64K instead of $74K MSRP (10K off) back in December. Best deal in the state by far, but they are gone now. As I said a 2024 one is $78K with high package, and I can get it for invoice at $73K. I found a used one yesterday (will check it out today) for 60K and it's a 2023 with high package (window sticker 74K) with only 5000 miles. Decent deal but only $4K less than the brand new one I missed in December. Also has no heated steering wheel (removed due to part constraint). Use this feature all winter long on my Bronco.
For the Tundra, it's a decent deal. The Limited with TRD off road premium has no chrome anymore in 2024 (black package included). Very equivalent to the Tremor High, for $64K, $59K after discount. My issue is I test drove both Tundra and the F-150, and the seats are much more comfy on the Ford (when you drive 1500 miles road trip it counts a lot). Also prefer the engine and overall interior feel. Also has 4A which I use all winter long on the Bronco. Also the rear flat floor seems incredible for overloading (easy to stack boxes, with 2/3 of the seat up). But yeah, if it's. 59K for the Tundra or 73K for a 2024 Tremor then I agree the Tundra makes more sense.
 

roughbeat

Member
@jaywo I think the only thing that's missing is really how it's very likely that the new family dynamic is going to change things such as your lifestyle and possibly perspective on the places you go. For us, doing trips now involves managing school and activity schedules as well as our work situations. Unless you guys are doing this full time, the number of trips and the number of days you can take off will likely change. I love getting to remote spots and doing more technical driving but when you got kids screaming in the back seat and your partner is stressed out cuz honestly they are the one that's going to be most of the management of the kids (feeding them, managing their boredom on the long drives and taking care of their needs), the distances and pace you're going will most likely change. These are all just things I recommend considering because nobody told me about this when I kept trying to push the boundary of what we were capable of. In the end, you'll be happy to just sit down and relax next to a campfire while the kids are sleeping in the tent cuz that's most likely the only time you'll be relaxing.. lol
 

Ozarker

Pontoon Admiral
Sorry @jaywo, had to snicker at those excuses about towing.

It's a skill, requires a bit of practice.

Tight spot (how often does that really happen).....disconnect the trailer, pivot it around by hand or use a winch, then hook up and off you go.

Anyplace you can turn that Bronco around I can turn my F-150 with a six foot bed around and no one really "NEEDS" 35's! Chances are the trails you are on were made back in the day by tires smaller than 35s.
 

roughbeat

Member
Agree with @Ozarker... towing a trailer isn't that bad and you'll be amazed at some of these smaller off road trailers are quiet maneuverable in really tight spaces. I actually enjoy towing a trailer and the challenges of maneuvering it around. Sort of unlocks another driving skill that most don't realize exists. Definitely it will be stressful at first but over time, it's really not that hard to do.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Tremor is not required but I hate the F-150 look and the Tremor/Raptor is the only one I like. Also, Tremor gets me Torsen diff and a few neat features.
I try not to hate myself for not buying a brand new 2023 Tremor with high package for $64K instead of $74K MSRP (10K off) back in December. Best deal in the state by far, but they are gone now. As I said a 2024 one is $78K with high package, and I can get it for invoice at $73K. I found a used one yesterday (will check it out today) for 60K and it's a 2023 with high package (window sticker 74K) with only 5000 miles. Decent deal but only $4K less than the brand new one I missed in December. Also has no heated steering wheel (removed due to part constraint). Use this feature all winter long on my Bronco.
For the Tundra, it's a decent deal. The Limited with TRD off road premium has no chrome anymore in 2024 (black package included). Very equivalent to the Tremor High, for $64K, $59K after discount. My issue is I test drove both Tundra and the F-150, and the seats are much more comfy on the Ford (when you drive 1500 miles road trip it counts a lot). Also prefer the engine and overall interior feel. Also has 4A which I use all winter long on the Bronco. Also the rear flat floor seems incredible for overloading (easy to stack boxes, with 2/3 of the seat up). But yeah, if it's. 59K for the Tundra or 73K for a 2024 Tremor then I agree the Tundra makes more sense.
Not sure if you are aware but, if it's appearance thing, you can get the Black Appearance Package on a regular F150 which adds the Tremor hood and grille.
I agree, it def looks much better than the regular F150's front end. (21-23 model year)

2023-lariat-502a-powerboost-fx4-with-black-appearance-v0-7zuze8fyv2xa1.jpg
 

TexasSixSeven

Observer
1) the overwhelming advice is: full size. I get it. If somebody on this forum reads this and uses a mid-size with a similar setup (alucab, tune, OVRLND,...) with kid I would like to read about your experience. I will say that the majority of people I see on social media with that type of campers have a mid-size, and many of them kids. I recon I posted this topic in the "Full Size" forum section, but I would love to hear what the other camp has to say.
If you watch all those IG families for any amount of time you notice almost all of them eventually end up in a full-size rig. If they haven’t yet they will be shortly.
 

jaywo

Active member
Again, thanks for the answers. At this point I am pretty much convinced for the Full Size (I still would love someone using a mid size with counter arguments chime in).

For the trailer, I went from 0% to 20%. First of all, what trailer are we talking about? A Tune camper, with full interior built out done by me (with heating, good power and water etc) will be 20K. A Off Grid Trailer Pandora is $35K and it does not let me stand up in it.
For me, part of moving to a pop up camper is be able to stand inside and cook inside in bad weather on the longer trips.
I don't think a trailer that is fully off-road capable + you can stand in it + you can cook inside and does not cost a fortune exists. Am I mistaken? It looks like the closest to what a built out Tune can offer me is a Boreas EOS 12. This costs $85K, which is more than a fully loaded Supertramp Flagship LT and is an absolute nogo and you still can't cook inside. The smaller trailesr such as a Smittybuilt with a RTT are a no go. We want to be able to stand inside and if I want a RTT I will stay with the Bronco or get a Sequoia. The whole point of moving to a Truck with a pop up is having a place to stand and cook and sit. On A Tune, the space is gigantic (78in width) which is pretty much the same width as a Supertramp Flagshipp (google it, you can easily sit multiple people and cook) not to mention the space on the bed for kids to hang out.

So with the inside cooking and standing it looks like I am looking at a Kimberley Karavan (120K) = too expensive.
Am I missing other products?

@jaywo I think the only thing that's missing is really how it's very likely that the new family dynamic is going to change things such as your lifestyle and possibly perspective on the places you go. For us, doing trips now involves managing school and activity schedules as well as our work situations. Unless you guys are doing this full time, the number of trips and the number of days you can take off will likely change. I love getting to remote spots and doing more technical driving but when you got kids screaming in the back seat and your partner is stressed out cuz honestly they are the one that's going to be most of the management of the kids (feeding them, managing their boredom on the long drives and taking care of their needs), the distances and pace you're going will most likely change. These are all just things I recommend considering because nobody told me about this when I kept trying to push the boundary of what we were capable of. In the end, you'll be happy to just sit down and relax next to a campfire while the kids are sleeping in the tent cuz that's most likely the only time you'll be relaxing.. lol

I like to dream about the fact that my family will be different.
To start, my wife is built different, she does over 50% of the driving, she off-road the Bronco no pbm anywhere, and she pushes me more than I do in the extreme sports we do (climbing, ice climbing, flying...).
She will drive 8H straight and say I don't need to drive, then wake up the next day in CO at 6am and be ice climbing with 0F temps, get back to the airbnb and start cooking while I can't even move my arms anymore.
I can almost guarantee you she won't be the one stressed out because kid's crying and we are off-roading. If anything I will be the first one to give up and say we sleep in a hotel.

Additionally, I have seen many people who live on the road full time, for years, with new borns, in small setup and going to very hard to reach places.. Is there life miserable? could be, but some of them keep doing it.

Lastly, I grew up all over the world and my parents took us backpacking when I was a child all over including in the middle of Africa. And let me tell you there was no magical "Garmin InReach GPS" and other stuff like that back then. If they did it, so can I

But, maybe it's just a dream. Maybe my perspective changes like yours (and arguably it's the case for many new parents). But maybe it does not. Give me 2Y and I will tell you :).
Until then I would like to try. I would like to keep doing what we are doing (baring a few dangerous things such as ice climbing which would be a stretch), with kids, and make it work. So we will try. And if we fail, well, a rig will be fore sale on EP.. not the end of the world. Camping is the hobby we have that is the most "doable" with kids, so if I can't even keep doing that properly, then I need to rethink life.

Sorry @jaywo,

Anyplace you can turn that Bronco around I can turn my F-150 with a six foot bed around and no one really "NEEDS" 35's! Chances are the trails you are on were made back in the day by tires smaller than 35s.

Allow me to disagree on both. Even though it's rare I can guarantee I have been on trails you can't turn around a 6.5ft bed F150. Cliff one side, wall on the other side. In fact even in the Bronco one day it became too spicy, had to turn around but couldn't and it took us 1 extra hour of rock crawling before we could safely turn around.
2nd point, for the 35s, the reason I don't agree is this: I don't want high clearance to do extreme rock crawling, I want it to be stress free. We used to have a SUV (Subaru) that would take us a lot of places but scrapping the bottom, being blocked twice, and being always full of stress having to focus so much on wheel placement etc was a nightmare.
I don't care about wheel placement, technic, and becoming a good offroader. The point is I am a bad to average off-roader and so having a more capable vehicle allows me to do medium trails with more speed (less time driving), less stress and focus, which is exactly what I want.

Also, the Bronco on 35s allows me to drive 65 mph on long bad washboard trails, with great comfort, passing Subarus going 15 mph. On a 50 miles dirt road, it makes a world of difference.

The fact is I maybe use only half of the Bronco capability. But I would rather use half and have the comfort, speed and stress free advantage, than use 95% of the rig capability and be slow and full of stress.
I already accepted the fact that moving to something like a F-150 + Tune, even with proper 2.5in coilers and 35s won't allow me to move as efficiently over terrain as the Bronco. But I am trying to strike a balance.

Not sure if you are aware but, if it's appearance thing, you can get the Black Appearance Package on a regular F150 which adds the Tremor hood and grille.
I agree, it def looks much better than the regular F150's front end. (21-23 model year)
Thanks for saying. I am aware (there is also the sport package that removes chrome). If I find a great deal on a Lariat this can be an option indeed.

If you watch all those IG families for any amount of time you notice almost all of them eventually end up in a full-size rig. If they haven’t yet they will be shortly.
Good point, you are most likely right which is why you guys almost 100% convinced me on the full size aspect.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
If you know anyone that has a rear facing kids seat, see if you can borrow it and test fit it into some midsize trucks.
Then you and your wife can take turns jumping in the front and see what the room is like.

Another option, if it's possible... rent a midsize truck for a weekend. Load it up like you would for a trip. (Or as close to as you can)
Pack up your kiddo with all their stuff then put in the babyseat and add in all the stuff a new born - 2 yr old would need and see where your at room wise.
That may give you an idea if a smaller truck is feasible.
For what it's worth, I wanted a midsize when I was truck shopping. Just couldn't make it work so ended up with another F150.

Now I'm gonna through a wrench in your gears.... What about an older 4x4 camper van and have a smaller vehicle for a DD?
A Pop top Econoline 4x4 or Express AWD / 4x4 should give you everything you're after, no?
Fit 35's, stand up room for camping, should be able to turn it around... I think?

Could you buy both for the same 78K for the Tremor + camper set up?
 

driller

old soul wanderer
Can stand up. Cook, watch a movie, read a book, trailer only weighs 900 lbs.
 

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jaywo

Active member
If you know anyone that has a rear facing kids seat, see if you can borrow it and test fit it into some midsize trucks.
Then you and your wife can take turns jumping in the front and see what the room is like.

Another option, if it's possible... rent a midsize truck for a weekend. Load it up like you would for a trip. (Or as close to as you can)
Pack up your kiddo with all their stuff then put in the babyseat and add in all the stuff a new born - 2 yr old would need and see where your at room wise.
That may give you an idea if a smaller truck is feasible.
For what it's worth, I wanted a midsize when I was truck shopping. Just couldn't make it work so ended up with another F150.

Now I'm gonna through a wrench in your gears.... What about an older 4x4 camper van and have a smaller vehicle for a DD?
A Pop top Econoline 4x4 or Express AWD / 4x4 should give you everything you're after, no?
Fit 35's, stand up room for camping, should be able to turn it around... I think?

Could you buy both for the same 78K for the Tremor + camper set up?
All good ideas. Already test fitted a back facing car seat and I am tall so it works either in the middle seat or behind my wife. I have talked to people on some Tacoma forum who have 2 kids and make it work no pbm. It works for sure. Is it comfortable enough to live with for me? I don’t know. That’s where you renting idea makes sense.

We did rent a van to try (Storyteller Overland) with the same idea of trying first hand to decide, and it was fantastic except the off-roading part, but the living systems in that van are so good (12kwh battery that’s like 1000 Ah 12v equivalent, battery recharge at 9000w when driving, a world first, only possible thanks to the 58V system, hydronic heating…) it makes up for the lack of off-road in some way (meaning you don’t camp the same spots but the camping experience is so good in a different way). But then for 170K it doesn’t make sense for weekends. Maybe in the future if works allow for longer remote trips..

I will look at the Ecoline but it might not work for 2 reasons: tech and safety.

Tech because while most of you will laugh at me for thinking those are must have, the truth is as far as we are concerned having adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and other features are a life saver on long trips. Safety because I want a safe vehicle for the family and a 2023 F-150 offers more safety (both active and passive) than an old vehicle.


Interestingly, on another thread, someone is moving from a mid-size with family of 4 to another setup because they are getting a 3rd kid. Their feedback is living full time in the Tacoma + pop up with 2 kids was perfect for them. See below:
The Taco was great with a family of 4! We even fit a dog, but that was pushing it. Our boys were in car seats as well, so that was additional space being taken up. We debated the full-size truck, but in the end, I'm happy that we chose the Tacoma. I wouldn't change it looking back. We lived in it for nearly 6 months and it worked just fine. Our next vehicle is a 4x4 ambulance that we're currently converting. It definitely won't be able to go all the places that Tacoma did, but it will still allow us to get to some pretty sweet spots :)
 
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