Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

You should consider buying a truck camper. Here’s why

We happened to be in a Florida RV park during a big fishing tournament. Anglers from all over the United States seemed to have one thing in common: Each competitor had a slide-in truck camper. Many of these folks travel and fish for a living, so they live in their RVs much of the year. That made me wonder, with all the nice, big fifth-wheel RVs and some equally large travel trailers available, “Why would a person choose a slide-in camper over a roomier travel trailer or fifth wheel?”

So, I asked. Here are some of the responses I got, and the owners’ reasoning makes good sense! See if you agree.

  • So many fishermen (and women) I spoke with said they prefer a slide-in camper because they can tow their boat more easily with it. (No wonder we saw so many, huh?) Not into fishing? A truck camper allows you to tow a variety of things: horse trailers, equipment trailers, trailered off-road vehicles, and more.
  • A slide-in camper is usually less expensive than other RVs on the market today. A well-equipped, new slide-in camper unit retails for about $40,000. That’s much less than you’d pay for a new and larger fifth-wheel RV or diesel pusher. Pre-owned slide-in campers can be much less.
  • Many folks I talked to said they like how much easier it is for them to drive with a camper instead of dragging a long trailer behind them. There’s no extensive learning curve, like learning to safely corner or back up a bigger rig. You just drive your truck!
  • Along those same lines, it’s easier to park a camper on your truck. Your rig will fit into any campsite, unlike the RV’s bigger cousins.
  • Maintenance issues are less with a slide-in camper. There are no wheels or engine issues to worry about. (Wouldn’t that be a relief?)
  • A truck camper is easier to store when you’re not traveling. Many people said they put their camper in the backyard during off season.
  • Off-road enthusiasts love that they can take their camper anywhere the truck can go. That means more adventures without sacrificing the comforts of home.
  • Many states consider slide-in truck camper units as “cargo” on the truck. That means you need not register this RV. (Check your local regulations.)

Over the years, much has changed with slide-in truck camper designs. Did you know that some 2021 models feature dry bathrooms, multiple slide outs, extra storage space, and sleeping accommodations for more than three adults? It’s true! The newer, bigger, slide-in models are heavy, however, so you’ll need a beefier truck to pull the extra weight. But with all the other positives going for it, maybe a slide-in camper is the right RV for you!

Would you ever consider purchasing a slide-in truck camper? Tell us in the poll below, then leave a comment saying why or why not. Thanks!

Check out some of these recent truck camper reviews:

Scout Olympic Truck Camper

Alaska Campers Truck Camper

2021 Kimbo Truck Camper: The “spaceship”

2021 Host Campers Mammoth Truck Camper

##RVT1007

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Al H.
22 days ago

We tow a 24’ Jayco for multiple night stays within a couple hundred miles. That’s fine, but if we are going any serious distance, I want to take a TC. It’s just so easy to drive, park, maneuver, and do things spontaneously without having to analyze the whole scene in advance and file an environmental impact statement before I can make a quick side trip into a restaurant or a local attraction. Give me 11’ of vertical clearance and I’m a happy camper! Current TC is a new-to-us 1990 Skamper hard side. Needs some tlc, not too pretty, but it’s got everything we need in it, and, while my old 2500HD Silverado must know it’s there, it really isn’t willing to admit it! To me, that’s the way to travel. To each his own!

Scott R. Ellis
24 days ago

We own one and love it. However . . . you’re only going to get the “full off-road” performance of the truck with the very smallest and lightest of campers. And those all-the-comforts-of-home monsters you’re talking about? You need at LEAST a one-ton dually–no off-road ace empty, and certainly not with 6000 lbs of weight high on the back.

Carson Axtell
30 days ago

I was hoping to read a comparison with RVs more similar to truck campers, like Class Bs and Class Cs, rather than with classes of RVs on a completely different scale. This comparison just boils down to bigger-vs-smaller, in which the same arguments apply to other RVs of similar size to truck campers versus mega-land yachts and mega-land barges…

KellyR
1 month ago

Camped in my father-in-laws. It was great. Love our class B – but truck camper would be my next choice.

rvgrandma
1 month ago

We had one years ago. Too hard for this old lady now to climb up in that bed.

Carl
1 month ago

Gail, where was this Fishing Tournament? We saw a similar one a few years ago at Lake Okeechobee, while staying an RV Park near there. Were you near there, or elsewhere?

We are on our third Truck Camper. We have had two Lances and one Okanagan!
Can’t beat the quality, features and maneuverability!

Gail
28 days ago
Reply to  Carl

Lake Okeechobee! We enjoyed our stay near Clewiston, FL.

Mary Hazel
1 month ago

I love, love, love my little Toyota Dolphin RV. Worse case scenario where it can’t be repaired I would look at smaller truck campers for sure. Always been my second choice!

Bob R.
1 month ago

RV’ing since 12/77 owned many.Took a factory tour fall of 2010 and special ordered our TC with sleeper sofa dinette post w/extended overhang N-S sleeping installed cloth awnings all windows incl.rear door & patio side= the best RV overall..all 10 reasons are fact,removed tailgate 18″ overhang for bathroom & closet lightweight on truck..Outside shower: I made a quick PVC pipe that attaches to camper fast drying cloth shower curtain and use it constantly but wife uses the inside unless at beach all windows tinted and dual Maxair fans also AC.Front receiver w/ 60″x24″carrier installed(bolted down, custom made alum. box with lockable openings for filling & panel plus fresh air & exhaust ports) 2400W Yamaha gen. snug black Naugahyde cover with snaps to aluminum cover.Adapted to fuel pressure line under hood w/8 ft. rubber gas line w/ball valve.start the engine and fill NO cans…Big + park most anywhere!

Bill
1 month ago

A slide in camper may cost $40000 or so but the truck to slide it into could be well beyond $40k by itself. I have a 4 year old truck/camper combo that cost new a total of $85k. It consists of a Chevy Silverado 1 ton dually club cab 4×4 6.0 gasser and an almost 12′ Lance camper. One can get a lot of nice smaller RVs for that money but won’t be able to go where I go when boondocking.
Only drawback is I can’t tow much safely with that long overhang.
We’ve had toy haulers, Class A motorhomes and other campers. The 22′ Sunflyer RV was the closest thing to perfect and if I still had it I would spend the nonrecoverable $30k it would take to make the shower smaller, the bed bigger and install a modern fuel injected engine/tranny set.

Bob p
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

If you have to buy a new truck(which according to GM today costs less than a used truck) for a one ton dually in a crew cab you’re looking at $80K

Leona Dunn
1 month ago

We have had a couple, a small 6 pack, and a big Lance with slide outs. Had fun with both. We’ve also have had big 5th wheels, small 5th wheels, travel trailers and Motor homes. They all fit our lives at that time. We now have none which fit this time our lives.

Nanci
1 month ago

Our friends are planning on parking their 5th wheel as a home base and have ordered a truck camper to travel in.

Fred
1 month ago

We’ve been researching truck campers for the last 6 months & plan to buy one soon. We’re looking at a triple slide with 760 watts of solar, 720 ah of lithium battery, theater seating, 32″ tv, dry bath, microwave/convection, etc.. All the comforts of home, but on a little smaller scale than our 12 year old fulltiming 34ft 5th wheel. We’re parking the 5th wheel near the Gulf coast as a home base & will use the truck camper for extended 1-3 month adventures. As we age into our late 70’s, this is the perfect way to still wander the country in a more compact rv without the stress of towing a long 5th wheel, which is just beginning to show it’s age & would not handle continued long term miles, but will still serve us very well as a home base for years to come.

Jeff
1 month ago

I have owned a truck camper since 2018 and love it. I go to car shows and swap meets towing an enclosed trailer with my classic car or a trailer full of car parts and dry camp right on site. Its perfect for my needs.

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