Been using a suburban as my hunting vehicle but am trying to shuffle things around a bit and have fewer cars. Prior to that I was using a truck with no type of cover on it and moved to the suburban for being able to leave junk in it.
Have been thinking about taking my current daily driver truck and converting it to my hunting truck and as part of that process putting a camper shell on it and a bed slide. Hard for me to imagine frequently climbing into the bed of the truck and crawling around to get to different things. Even if the side windows opened. The bed slide would certainly reduce the volume available in the truck by a few inches throughout. But would make it more accessible to use the full capacity of the bed.
My question is - have any of you tried a shell with a bed slide and not liked it? If so, what was the problem? I have an older truck that I use for planting and work and other things that I need a truck for....
Had one was using it for a hunt on the North Kiabab. Snowed over night. Took me 45 min to get the tailgate and window open the next morning. Also my breath had condensed on the roof and when I used a propane stove to unfreeze the tailgate it started raining inside.
Other than that hunt I slept many times in the back of the truck under the shell camper.
I made my own bed slide system and typically put large coolers on one side and small items (bow, binos, pack, etc) in the drawer or right on top where I can grab it. That being said, if I could choose between this and a suburban I’d pick the suburban if I wasn’t going to haul tall items in the bed. Being able to access and organize the entire vehicle without getting out and crawling in a bed would be super nice… not to mention being able to climb up and start it up at 2am when you’re freezing back there
I have much the same as Boggs’ setup, only mine goes all the way across. I had it made by a cabinet maker and it’s on its third truck, well worth the $1200 it cost. It has held enough gear for three of us to go antelope hunting in Wyoming with the addition of a hitch haul to carry coolers. It takes up 10” in the bottom of the bed but it’s not missed much. Each rear corner holds an ammo box that’s used to store small odds and ends.
I’ve got a shell and always keep a long handled four tine garden cultivator in the back to pull out and push in gear. The only time I have to crawl into the bed is when loading for a trip but I’m able to pull all that gear out with the cultivator. Works okay, is inexpensive and you don’t loose space that drawers and slides can take up plus you’ve got full use of your bed for dump runs and hauling other stuff.
Are you planning on sleeping in back or just have your gear in it. The slide would probably be great if not sleeping back there. Either way I think you'd like the deck system similar to this picture. Seems you could have stuff organized and locked in drawers and big stuff up top. Wouldn't be surprised if you could find hybrid of the two where you have slide out drawers and also a top that slides out.
Groundhunter - no joke;one of the coolest hunting vehicles I have seen is like the Ford E350 4wd van with a lift on it.
John - I looked hard at that Decked system but it is too thick/high. Not enough space left after it is installed. One of my buds had one and I didn't like it and he sold it after his first season with it.
I have a cap that is cab height and a Cargo Glide bed slide in my truck. This is the second truck I have set up like this. It works well for what I want of it. Be advised though that you not only loose 4 or 5 inches of bed height due to the rollers the slide is mounted on but, you also loose bed width because the slide is only as wide as the area between the wheel wells. Also I sometimes have issues with duffels or packs falling off the slide landing along side of it and causing it to jam.
I bought an over height aluminum canopy for my eight foot box. Just over five feet inside for three quarters of its length. Which means I can walk in and out instead of crawling. I can also sit up straight on the fold-up bunk to eat or get dressed. Also enough headroom for a folding camp chair that I sit in to cook and eat if the weather sucks.
Ambush - that is an extremely functional design. Good thought.
BullElk and ThreeFingers - glad to hear you liked the setup without major hangup. BullElk - don't think I am going the decked route but can certainly see the benefit of it for some applications. RCG - that is a good idea. And a fraction of the cost.
LB, I like to have a sheet of 1/2" ply around all the time anyway and this way it's useful, easily stored and I know where it is. It's also good insulation from the cold. I put a cheap patio carpet over it which I can shake out on occasion and change out when dirty. When the plywood gets too dirty or bloody, I just flip it over. By the time the second side is dirty I usually need some plywood for something so it gets exchanged for a new one. I've found it handy to have an eight foot ramp a few times too. :)
I used to use a Basspro folding cot, but then built the fold up bunk, which is way better for sleeping and handy to fold up out of the way. It will fold up with a pillow, sleeping bag and four inch memory foam.
The longest trip I made was just over three weeks, from northern BC to the southern Arizona border, in January, just before covid screwed us over. Could have stayed longer but had to be back in Edmonton for a graduation ceremony. I've done a lot of overnighters and short trips. It's so much easier to do a quick trip if you know it won't be much work and no camp to set up for the night(s).
I also had an old Ford van I converted to 4X4 and put a camper top on. That was great but hard on fuel. Next was a Chevy Astro AWD van that I put a lift and bigger tires on. That thing was awesome and made a couple longer trips in to. Two to Wyoming for antelope. Sure is nice to have your space all warmed up when you stop for the night. Just spin the seat around and your home, warm, dry and all your gear within reach.