raft on top of pop-up camper - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-08-2011   #1
 
Evergreen, Colorado
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raft on top of pop-up camper

I was wondering if anybody out there had experience towing a raft or cat on top of a tow-behind pop-up camper? What your thoughts/tips might be on doing it?

thanks..

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Old 05-08-2011   #2
 
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Id suspect that the top of the trailer can handle the added weight, because it's widely distributed. The only concern I'd have is the wheel / axle weight rating. You might also experience more sway because of the added wind drag.

I'd double check on what the springs and tires on the pop-up can handle, then shop aftermarket parts for beefier springs and / or a higher rated tire to get at least 10%-15% more capacity over the maximum combined weight of the trailer and raft. Trailer brakes might be a good thing too.
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Old 05-08-2011   #3
 
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I've done it a lot with fishing pontoons but never my raft. I don't even think the weight would be an issue, although could be a factor depending on whether or not your pop-up top is metal or the plastic stuff (crack?). I've seen it done a couple times with smaller fishing rigs.

My issue would be more with getting it on and off. Paddle raft, no problem, but add a frame and possibly fishing seats on there and you are going to need six guys just to get it up and down. Not to mention the hassle of having to have the camper to move it around, which means setting up and tearing down the camper every night and morning. Pop ups are great but better for base camping than mobility imho.

I'm starting to lean much more toward setting up my pop up to triple tow with raft trailer or just tenting it those nights than dealing with the pop up and the raft at the same time. Every setup has pros and drawbacks with camping rigs, seems like a truck with a slide in would be better, I added my raft setup long after having a popup though.
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Old 05-08-2011   #4
 
Evergreen, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osprey View Post
I've done it a lot with fishing pontoons but never my raft. I don't even think the weight would be an issue, although could be a factor depending on whether or not your pop-up top is metal or the plastic stuff (crack?). I've seen it done a couple times with smaller fishing rigs.

My issue would be more with getting it on and off. Paddle raft, no problem, but add a frame and possibly fishing seats on there and you are going to need six guys just to get it up and down. Not to mention the hassle of having to have the camper to move it around, which means setting up and tearing down the camper every night and morning. Pop ups are great but better for base camping than mobility imho.

I'm starting to lean much more toward setting up my pop up to triple tow with raft trailer or just tenting it those nights than dealing with the pop up and the raft at the same time. Every setup has pros and drawbacks with camping rigs, seems like a truck with a slide in would be better, I added my raft setup long after having a popup though.
Yeah, I've wondered about how manageable a oar rig with frame would be when taking it on and off a camper. I might pull the frame off and just have the raft on the camper and the frame in the back of my truck or something.
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Old 05-08-2011   #5
 
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We put my cat on top of our camper, even though the mfgr says it is a no no. We're probably going to get the rack which is recommended, and it'll be fine. I think our roof is rated to 200lbs at least, 100lb per bar. We have an E3 FWIW. We then shuttle the cat either on the roof of the van, or with other people. I usually only bring the camper when I know there'll be other people with shuttle rigs, or enough people to get the cat on the roof of the van. Our van is really tall and so it takes 4 of us to do it. I've thought about getting a folding trailer to bring along and use as a shuttle trailer, but at some point more crap just means more to take care of, fail, maintain, etc.
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Old 05-08-2011   #6
 
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No Problems Except....

I have put anything from my rafts, kayaks, skis, gear, full coolers on top of our pop up camper. We have yakima bars mounted with a cargo box we use to mount everything on. We have had no problems with top of camper or the bars being able to handle the weight. We just make sure to take anything really heavy off previous to poping the camper.

All was good untill...

My wife and I were on 5 week road trip from Cleveland, OH over to CO, UT, NV, CA, OR, WA, ID, MN, ND, SD Then back to CLeveland. After visiting with My Wifes parents in Seattle we were on our way back to Cleveland hitting some ski resorts on the way. We had the my tahoe and camper loaded to the brim from camping skiing and climbing gear to growlers from breweries around the country. When I notices some rubbing on the right tire of the camper in the middle of North Dakota. It was the middle of Dec. to it was freakin cold being out in Walmart parking lot trying to jack the camper up and see what was going on. Everything looked okay so we popped the camper and slept for the night. We were leaving the walmart park the next morning when the right spring broke and gave loose. Well you can imagine how much energy was released when that spring broke pushing the camper about eight feet in the air. My wife was shocked and all I could do was laugh it was rediculus. Once a big ordeal with getting the camper back to my house in Cleveland I was able to upgrade the camper spings.

So I guess what Im saying is the camper can handle extra loads for a short time. If prolonged loads are expected you should try and replace the original springs with ones that are have a higher load capacity. I got mine from JC Whitney for 180.00 for the set and they bolted right in, took about 1 hour to jack the trailer up and replace the bushing. You can also add a set of airbags. These will need to have power to them. You will be able to turn them on when you have a heavy load. This does not help the overall strenth of the spring so the ends will not be stronger there will just be less flex in the spring. This also does not address the fact the axle is not built up.

This is all based on opinion and every camper would be different, but i can say it was a pain in the ass having to deal with that on long distance trip.
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Old 05-08-2011   #7
 
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go bigs story reminded me of a problem I had on a long trip. I didn't have anything on top but had the empty space on the inside loaded down pretty heavy. I was driving from Denver to Phoenix spending a couple weeks taking back roads through SW CO. At some point in the trip I had enough weight in there and probably rough roads one of the tires wore a hole in the plastic wheel well. Luckily nothing on the inside of that cabinet got damaged.

I've had a lift kit on it subsequently for so long I had forgotten that happened. Even if you don't get heavier springs right away might want to flip your axle to get a few more inches of clearance.
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Old 05-08-2011   #8
 
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Don't flip your axle if it is cambered. Otherwise top of wheels will toe in

Proper method is to reposition the mounting plate so the springs rest atop the axle. This usually involves grinding off welds and rewriting so consult with MFG first
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Old 05-08-2011   #9
 
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Rewelding not rewriting
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Old 05-09-2011   #10
 
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agreed about doing the axle swap(remounting the axle below the springs to gain clearence). I did this to my camper previous to the spring blowout. It did not cause the spring to malfuntion, but it also did not help..it gave more clearence for the tire to articulate up into the wheel well and with the constant extra weight that was on the trailer the spring could not handle it and finally broke right were the u-bolts connect to the axle. Thats why I could not see the stress cracks when I jack it up the first time.
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