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Truck camper demolished when hit with 85 mph winds

We write often about the importance of knowing the weather ahead of you, whether you’re staying in one place or traveling. It can, quite literally, make or break you. If you see heavy winds in the forecast or know you’ll be traveling through a gusty area, be prepared.

Reader Reed sent us these photos and wrote, “My son was caught in the high wind storm near Wheatland, Wyoming, on I-25 on December 30th. This was the same storm that spread wildfire through Boulder Colorado. He was not aware of the high wind warnings for high-profile vehicles. Unfortunately, an 85 mph wind gust literally tore the camper from his truck, sending it flipping into the adjacent field. With the camper destroyed, the wind proceeded to blow all of his possessions across the field. Thankfully, he was not injured and his truck remained drivable. But as a full-timer, this was a devastating loss.”

We’re so sorry to hear about your son, Reed. These photos are both terrifying and heartbreaking. We’re so glad he is okay.

This is also a reminder to not let your children, grandchildren, fellow passengers or pets ride in your truck camper or trailer while you are driving your tow vehicle or truck.

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Jeff Craig
6 months ago

Driving our 35ft Class A between our home in Seattle and family in Tulsa, I have nearly been a victim of these winds myself. The WYDOT has a really good app that includes weather station info (winds, temps, etc) along the road and plenty of signage about wind warnings and closures. After having my RV go up on two (well, maybe three) wheels when she caught a gust that turned over a semi a half mile behind us, I will never drive into a wind warning with a ‘they can’t blow this thing over’ attitude.

Like others have stated, I’m curious what type of attachment equipment was in use, because something like this should have taken the truck over with it.

Steve
6 months ago

Do any of you live in Colorado or Wyoming? I do and we have semi-trailers that end up in the same condition as this pickup camper. They weigh many tons more than this camper and have welded steel or aluminum frames, but they are lying on the side of I-25 and I-70 every time we have one of these hurricane-force windstorms. In some cases, the trailer body is blown right off the trailer chassis with the chassis still attached to the tractor. That’s why our DOTs normally close parts of those two Interstates whenever one of these storms begins. But no one, not CDOT, WDOT, Boulder County, or the local Boulder fire departments could respond quickly enough on Dec. 30. The maximum velocity recorded in Boulder County that day was 119 mph.

Traveler
6 months ago

I’m sorry for the loss, but I 25 in Wyoming is pretty well marked with wind warnings.

Resident
6 months ago
Reply to  Traveler

Wind warnings on !-25 are clearly indicated prior to ANY event…clearly this driver ignored those!

MrDisaster
6 months ago

There are some apps that will help. Wind Compass is a free app. It will give you wind direction and speed at your location. The NOAA weather radio app will give the wind forecast for an area. Yes “rogue” gusts of wind happen, but knowing what is predicted and where the worst (strongest) windy areas are will help. As well as making sure your rig is properly attached.

Thomas D
6 months ago

Regardless of how it was tied down, it literally fell apart. Was it stapled together or screwed and glued. Even if screwed together I bet no glue was used. My tc. Is got more {bleeped} staples in it. Even the trim which I would expect is stapled but the staples only protrude an eighth of an inch. Manufacturer probably saved a dollar by using inappropriate fastners. A piece of trim was loose and I could see behind it and the 1×3 ( 3/4 x2 5/8l had 6 staples in it and 3 had missed the board it was supposed to join. Good Job guys!

The Lazy Q
6 months ago

What’s the whole story? My first RV was a lance slide in camper that I bought in Alaska. Drove out in 96 to California. A lot of wind driving through Montana, Wyoming and Utah. I do believe the whole lot, truck and camper, would have ended up in that field if the camper was properly tied down or not at all if driving correctly for conditions. More details please.

Fred
6 months ago

There’s got to be more to this story than just the basics presented here. A solidly built truck camper, properly tied down, does not blow out of a truck in 85mph winds. That kind of cross wind could tip a truck over, but that would have destroyed the truck also. Any truck camper encounters at least 70-100mph head-on winds just driving down the road every day. Was this an older, dilapidated camper that was no longer structurally sound, & was it securely tied down to the truck frame with metal tie downs, not ropes or thin chains.
My point is, I doubt that 99.9% of truck campers on the road today, would have blown off the truck in that same wind incident.

Joe Sesto
6 months ago
Reply to  Fred

I agree that the sail area of a truck camper is a matter of concern in crosswinds, but not that all would come off the truck or come apart like that. Campers are designed for headwinds, but like an airplane landing…exceeding the crosswind component can be a serious hazard and you could be going 90-100 knots on final and things go south very fast. The Bigfoot and Northern Lite campers’ fiberglass clamshell construction might possibly be seriously damaged or totaled, but would have a better chance of staying intact. Though the added stability of a 1Ton Diesel DRW might not have suffered the same fate.

Bob p
6 months ago

Without proof my guesstimate would believe they didn’t have proper tie downs or maybe no tie downs. If it is properly tied down the weight of the truck will help keep it in the truck bed, also if tie downs were in place the truck should’ve been involved in the mess.

Barry T.
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

I agree with the above comments, but without actually being there, is it possible it was fastened correctly, and the unit came apart in the high winds before blowing off ? Coming apart while on the truck would decrease the structural integrity of the unit thus allowing it to be moved about as the wind wishes.

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