Sunday, December 5, 2021


Truck campers, do you “dismount” your camper while camping?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

tc-at-bryce-718924Call it the truck camper dilemma: Do you, or do you not, dismount the camper from the truck when you’re out camping? In the main, the answer is a vague: “That depends!” And the depends? The answer there ranges from, “If I have some other form of transportation (ATV, towed car, buddy’s vehicle) I’ll leave it on the truck,” to “If I’m going to be in one spot for more than 2 or 3 days, then I’ll take it off,” to the “If I’m towing my boat with me, I take it off, because it’s so much easier to launch the boat with the camper off the truck.”

There are some who’d much rather leave the camper right where it is, and it sometimes seems to have something to do with the loading and unloading process. Newbies to the TC world often seem to have “separation anxiety,” as does the distaff side in our family. Admittedly, it does take some amount of effort to off-board and re-board that big old camper. Seems like the older we get, the less inclined we are to go through the motions of driving out from under our big camper.

tc-at-coast-783532We did hear one that caused us a bit of a smile: One couple, presumably new to truck camping, was not open to the thought of staying in their truck camper when off the truck: They were afraid that somehow their weight in the “cabover” bed would cause the whole works to topple over on its nose.

We have fifth-wheeling friends who are the same way — won’t “live” in the trailer unless a tripod is set up under the kingpin. Well, let’s put your mind at rest: It would take a very big amount of weight to ever “tip over” a truck camper. My unproven theory is that the amount of weight required to tip over a truck camper would probably “go through the floor” of the cabover section before the rig ever tipped.

What about us? We’ll, I guess we fall into the, “That depends,” category. The photos are out of our archives. At Bryce Canyon we camped next door in the national forest, but since we weren’t too sure about our research plans, we simply left the rig on the truck. Worked out well for us, we had our “home” with us when we needed to rest from the rigors of high elevations. The lower photo finds us unloaded along the Oregon Coast. We could beat around the countryside to our heart’s content.

To round out the picture, we have encountered situations where even if we’d wanted (and were so inclined) to de-camper the truck, “house rules” would have precluded it. How so? Some RV parks (don’t laugh) prohibit truck camper users from taking their camper off the truck while staying on. Why such a rule? Maybe it goes back to a ‘trailer trash’ mentality, or perhaps they fear some sort of liability issue if someone goofs up the job while unloading and drops the unit on the ground.


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Hazel Owens
2 years ago

That’s good to know that you can take a camper off if you are towing a boat or you can leave it on so you don’t have to reload it later. My son is looking for an RV cargo carrier he can take camping, so I’m looking into different options for him. I’ll have to show him this so he can look for something similar since he does have jet skis he wants to take camping as well and this would make it easier to load them in the water if he can detach the carrier.