Access RV Blog

  • Published on Feb 14, 2017
    5 tips for buying a truck camper

    Make sure it fits!

    There are 6 major full size truck manufacturers with models that are capable of carrying campers,

    these models are:

    • Chevy Silverado
    • GMC Sierra
    • Dodge Ram
    • Ford F-Series
    • Toyota Tundra
    • Nissan Titan

    (I won’t recommend one truck brand over another; wars have been started over less. But will say they are not all created equally and suggest you do some homework and find one that works best for your needs).

    Truck Campers are designed with the six major brands specifications in mind. Determining a fit can generally be broken down into two classes, weight (1⁄2 ton, 3⁄4 ton, 1 ton/ 1 ton dually and larger) and bed size (short bed and long bed). So regardless of what comes first, the truck or the camper, you will need the make sure the end result is a perfect fit . A good sales associate and a little homework will help ensure success!

    Hard Side vs Pop-Up

    Both Hard Side and Pop-Up truck campers have their own unique advantages to owning. Pop-Up campers can be more aerodynamic, weigh hundreds of pounds less, have better clearance, and can typically be more affordable than traditional hard sided campers. Hard Side campers can offer more storage, better insulation and have a much more domestic feel.

    I recommend you consider how you intend to use the camper. If you’re going to be doing a lot of off-road trips in the back country, the light weight low clearance Pop-Up might be a good option. If you’re going to be doing more cold weather camping or just prefer the larger domestic feel, the Hard Side might just be what you’re looking for.

    What Features are important?

    Don’t just choose the first camper that looks pretty, make sure it has the features equipped to accommodate your needs.

    Consider features like the bathroom, there are multiple options to choose from:

    • No Bathroom - Some models that are designed for smaller trucks have eliminated the private bathroom. Most of these models do offer some form of port-a-potty storage.
    • Toilet Only - Private or semi private toilet
    • Toilet and Outside shower - Private or semi private toilet with and outside shower attachment.
    • Wet Bath – Typically larger, this style of bathroom will house the shower, sink and toilet all in the same waterproof area. Not the easiest thing to explain but the concept would be similar to taking your toilet and sink and put them inside your shower.
    • Dry Bath – Will separately house your sink, shower and toilet in the same location. Just like your bathroom at home.

    Make sure you think about how you’re using the camper and how much time you plan on spending in the bathroom when deciding it’s importance.

    Another thing you may want to consider is do you want a slide out? Slide out’s can offer huge amounts of living space and are certainly impressive to see in person but campers with larger slides are typically heavier and not as affordable as non slide models.

    Again, determine the purpose of the camper and how you intend to use it.

    Tie Downs

    You’ll need a tie down system to attach the camper to your truck, make sure you factor this into your budget. There are a few different tie down systems out there and they range in price from a few hundred dollars for the clamp on bed bracket style which can only be used on lighter campers to over a thousand dollars for system that attaches to the frame of your truck and is widely accepted as being the most secure and popular option.

    For me this is a no brainer and I will always pay to insure my investments are protected. I recommend you research the different options available and equip your camper with the tie down system you feel the safest with.

    Towing

    Many people like the option of truck campers so that they can tow their toys. You need to consider that although a camper might be designed for your truck it still could hang off the back well past your current receiver hitch, making towing impossible without an extension. There are multiple options to extend your receiver hitch ranging from less than $100 for shorter /lower capacity attachments to thousands of dollars for heavy duty hitch extensions. If you are going to tow and the camper you want is going to have an overhang make sure to factor an extension into your budget.

    I hope you find this information helpful and wish you the best of luck with your new camper!

    Andy Jones

    The Camper Guy

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