EOG and Bowen Collaborate on Amazing Ram 5500-Host Truck Camper Build

A TCA Exclusive

In spite of the economic slowdown, the good folks at Elevation Off-Grid (EOG) and Bowen Customs have been busy filling orders. One such build, which recently caught our eye, consists of an EOG Black Edition Ram 5500 with a Bowen Customs truck bed. This inspirational build features a silky-smooth LiquidSpring Suspension with campsite leveling, huge 41-inch tires, a custom front bumper with winch, and an 18-inch garage for the spare tire. The proud owners of this EOG-Bowen Customs masterpiece, built this truck to haul a Host Mammoth 11.6 triple-slide truck camper, which to our knowledge, has never been done before with this combination. To learn more about this highly capable, eye-popping, state-of-the-art build, we spoke with Jerime Monroe, co-owner of Elevation Off-Grid and Brent Bowen, CEO of Bowen Customs.

Thanks, Jerime, for talking with us about this amazing new build. Can you tell us more about the truck?

Jerime Monroe: Thanks, Mike, for asking. The truck is a 2023 Ram 5500 Elevation Off-Grid Black Edition. It’s built on a 60-inch CA chassis, Limited trim level, so it has all of the creature comforts, all of the amenities you can find basically in a Mercedes-Benz. The truck has a 19,500-pound GVWR, which means it can accommodate the largest truck campers with payload to spare.

Which options are on this truck?

Jerime Monroe: This Ram 5500 has a lot of really cool Elevation Off-Grid options. One of the really cool things it has, which is the first we’ve done, is a 94-gallon fuel capacity. So you have a 60-inch short wheel-based truck that’s very maneuverable with almost 100 gallons of fuel capacity. That hasn’t been done before with a LiquidSpring Suspension kit. So, basically, we had to manufacture a new wiring harness, a bunch of custom bracketry, power modules, all that stuff just because of the mounting locations. You don’t have a lot of real estate left. So we were able to run a proprietary, 40 gallon tank amidships in the truck, as well as the aft axle, so that’s really cool.

Can you tell us about the Hutchinson wheels? They look amazing.

Jerime Monroe: They are one-piece, forged-aluminum wheels each rated for 8,250 pounds. It’s the only wheel in the industry that allows a Ram to maintain a perfect track width so that makes it unique. So what most builders in the industry do is they run the same 10 x 225 wheel between Ram and Ford because the bolt pattern is the same. But the axle width on a Ram 5500 and a Ford F-550 is different. So when you run the same wheel, you end up with a “close-ish” track width on the Ford, but the Ram ends up being way off. So the front axle is much wider than the rear, so this is a really, really special wheel. It’s manufactured by Hutchinson, and it’s super badass.

Did you need to make any other changes to the truck for this build?

Jerime Monroe: Obviously, with the LiquidSpring Suspension, we did do some steering upgrades. This truck has a full rock lighting set up, which is very helpful for navigating in the dark. If you have someone spotting you, if you’re off-road or something like that, and you have someone spotting you in the dark, it’s very helpful to either have a red or a white light to kind of illuminate the terrain underneath. It has full onboard air with one coupler in each wheel well. So you’re able to basically connect one of four, two of four, three of four, four of four 3-foot hose whips. It’s all controlled using the phone application that we install for you. The app allows you to increase or decrease air pressure based on either your load or where you’re driving. And it will automatically inflate or deflate to that PSI. So it’s not like a fully automatic CTIS, where it’s always connected to the valve stems, but it’s as close as you will get without replacing axles basically.

Rig including Host Mammoth with FastGuns removed.

What did you do to fully integrate the Bowen Customs truck bed with the EOG truck?

Jerime Monroe: The truck bed is obviously full-blown custom. It’s the first of the Gen II style. Basically, we color matched the entire bed—base coat, clear coat with a PPG and fire based paint. It’s an automotive paint. After that, the entire bed had PPF or paint protection film applied to it, as well as the complete front flare, so you won’t get scratches from tree branches and stuff like that can push up against it and damage the clear coat. We did integrate a DC-DC charger within the bed, as well as the 7-pin connection, so you can charge your camper and plug in a 7-pin without having to run some ginormous extension.

Hi, Brent. We love this truck bed. What was different about this particular bed?

Brent Bowen: So this is a pretty special build for Bowen Customs because we did a complete re-engineer on our chassis cab build this last year. This was done to accommodate market demand for large truck campers like the Host Mammoth, the Lance 1172, Eagle Caps, etc. A lot of customers are looking for 5500/F-550 builds to haul these. So we re-engineered the product line to not only support the heavier campers like that, but to fit them in a way that you still maintain all the exterior access to storage. Yet none of the tie-downs block the doors, which is a problem with a lot of the other systems you see out there.  So you’ll notice that all of the tie-downs are pretty meticulously designed to fit the camper. So it’s really kind of a one-off design.

We also re engineered our pivoting system. We have more steel components for tie-downs, while still primarily an aluminum bed. So that was really the focus on that specific build. And that’s the first one on the new line. So that’s why we’re so excited to get this one out there. And then you throw on top of that, our partnership with Elevation Off-Grid which is also located in Colorado.

Is this the first bed that you’ve built to accommodate a triple-slide truck camper like a Host Mammoth?

Brent Bowen: We’ve done some chassis cabs in the last year that would have accommodated a Host, but they weren’t what I would consider Host specific or Lance 1172 specific, whereas this bed is. So those previous beds we did, we would have required some custom mounting and tie-down points and things like that for the Host, whereas this bed is specifically designed for the Host Mammoth.

So which size trucks are you building these beds for?

Brent Bowen: So the majority of the trucks that we’re building right now, they’re all chassis cabs. We have them for the 60-inch and the 84-inch CA models. We’re doing both currently, both with EOG and with some other clients. So this one is a 60-inch CA, and it has an 18-inch garage up front and then a little over 8 feet of bed space. We built it to fit the Host Mammoth specifically, so it’s like 8 feet, 6 inches.

We love the reinforced tie-down points you guys did with steel. Can you tell us a little bit more about them?

Brent Bowen: When we went back to the drawing board to really dial this bed in for the larger campers, one of the biggest issues with those are the tie-downs. When you put aftermarket boxes on flatbeds, like people have done in the past, typically they block them. There’s a lot of complications that have been in that space for a while now. So we wanted to provide not only a storage solution that was always accessible, but that was strong enough to hold a camper of that size. So, as you see in the video below, we have a steel bulkhead that runs all the way across the front, right behind the garage. And that tied it directly into steel sub-frame, which ties directly into the frame of the truck. So when you tie-down the front of that camper, you might as well be strapping it directly to the frame. And so it was important to get that all out of steel while the rest of the boxes are aluminum while at the same time keeping the esthetics up.

So we at Bowen Customs didn’t want to add anything clunky or large back there. So we came up with these removable mounts. I think most of the time, people are not going to be removing them. But the rear mounts are removable. Each has four bolts. When the mounts are removed, it just looks like a normal bed in the rear. But when you’re in camper mode, you have a reinforced steel tie-down that, again, goes straight to the steel subframe and then down to our frame. And that’s what the rear of the camper is tied down to. So, it’s very strong, very easy to use. You can still pop all four Torklift FastGuns off in a matter of seconds.

About Mello Mike 900 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. A communications expert and licensed ham radio operator (KK7TCA), he retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, holds a BS degree, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side. He currently rolls in a 4WD Ram 3500 outfitted with a SherpTek truck bed with a Bundutec Roadrunner mounted on top.

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