Go Back   iRV2 Forums > TRAVEL TRAILER, 5th WHEEL & TRUCK CAMPER FORUMS > Truck Camper Discussion
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-29-2015, 11:20 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 5
Lessons Learned Buying My First Truck Camper

Hey there, I thought I'd post some of my lessons learned buying my first truck camper. Maybe one day it'll help someone like me. I'd be interested to hear any thoughts or additions (or disagreements!).

  • Slide-outs are a must. They make everything so spacious.
  • Solar panels are worth it so that you don’t have to always worry about disconnecting the battery when leaving the camper for a while
  • Learn all the weight acronyms and try to take everything into account (solar panels, generators, etc). Most of the additional weight will be on the back axle (although cab+engine is still the majority of the weight in front), so each GAWR is just as important as GVWR.
    • Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) = Everything in Vehicle including passengers and cargo
    • Wet Weight/Curb Weight = GVW – (Passengers + Cargo)
    • Dry Weight = Wet Weight – Fluids
    • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) = Max GVW
    • Gross Combination Weight (GCW) = GVW + GTW
    • Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) = Max on one axle
  • List out all truck components (axles, wheels, rims, springs, etc.) to find your weakest weight rating link, as that’s all that really matters (unless you upgrade those). Manuals can be confusing: some calculate available cargo assuming a 150lb person in every seat. Manuals might also give the rating of something as its weakest link, so for example an axle might have a much higher rating but it may be listed at the rating of the springs (which can be upgraded).
  • Get weighed at a commercial truck scale before and after putting on the camper
  • Wheel airbags with remote control are really nice – 5 PSI without camper and 70 PSI with
  • Get a rechargeable tire inflater and a tire gauge that runs to the tires’ max PSI, which has an end that screws on so that there's a tight connection
  • Make sure the tires are at max PSI before putting the camper on and between trips (gauge when they haven't been used for at least 30 minutes)
  • Use checklists before putting on the camper, taking it off, going somewhere, etc. (e.g. retracting the slide out, moving license plate, etc.)
  • Make sure the center of gravity will go in the right place
  • Measure the total height of truck+camper and put it somewhere on the dash so that you always know if you’re good when an overpass is coming up.
  • When backing the truck under the camper, kneel down under the tailend to see if you’re lined up
  • If you’re financing, as always, get a few quotes before hand to find a good deal on the rate.
  • If you get bigger wheels, make sure the odometer is updated to track correctly.
__________________

__________________
kevg is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-29-2015, 11:34 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 514
I'd disagree just with your first point. Slide outs are nice for space when deployed but have their own set of downsides. It depends on your truck and your use as to whether they are the right choice.

The simplest point about truck campers is that the advertized weight of all truck campers is almost always WAY low. I'd want a camper weighed BEFORE I finalized the purchase.
__________________

__________________
cwsqbm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2015, 11:38 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
yorgor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 106
Good post.
__________________
Joe Myers (Retired) GOD Bless Our Troops.
2000 Dodge 3500 CTD DRW 4x4 6 Spd Man. 3.54
2003 Lance 1121 1999 Taco 4x4 Toad V6 5 Spd
yorgor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2015, 11:46 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Gordon Dewald's Avatar
 
Winnebago Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 10,164
GCVW is a number determined by the manufacturer. It is generally less than the sum of GVWR and the Towing Weight.
__________________
Gordon and Janet
Tour 42QD/inTech Stacker
Gordon Dewald is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 07:47 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Alan Wilson's Avatar
 
Holiday Rambler Owners Club
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 717
Lessons Learned Buying My First Truck Camper

Thanks for the information here. I am considering buying a truck camper but not sure how the change from Class A DP to truck camper. My wife is afraid to ride in our MH so I am thinking of a truck camper. I need a pickup and we have had a small class C in the past so I don't think a smaller space would be an issue. I am looking at Arctic Fox and Bigfoot truck campers and a one ton Ram. I would be interested to hear the pros and cons of each and truck campers in general.


Alan Wilson

2001 HR Scepter 38 PBD
__________________
Counting down the days until our next great adventure!
Alan Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 07:49 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Hit_the_Rhod's Avatar


 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Salvisa, KY
Posts: 2,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Wilson View Post
Thanks for the information here. I am considering buying a truck camper but not sure how the change from Class A DP to truck camper. My wife is afraid to ride in our MH so I am thinking of a truck camper. I need a pickup and we have had a small class C in the past so I don't think a smaller space would be an issue. I am looking at Arctic Fox and Bigfoot truck campers and a one ton Ram. I would be interested to hear the pros and cons of each and truck campers in general.

Alan Wilson

2001 HR Scepter 38 PBD
Not trying to be funny here, but perhaps you should go into more detail of why your wife is afraid to drive in your MH so people can better understand your situation and make more helpful suggestions.
__________________
Scot & Laura Kellersberger
Newmar 4 wheel drive Dutch Star 3891, 2005 GMC Canyon. Demco Tow Bar & Baseplate U.S.Army (ret)
1985 - 2006
Hit_the_Rhod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 01:57 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Alan Wilson's Avatar
 
Holiday Rambler Owners Club
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 717
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit_the_Rhod View Post
Not trying to be funny here, but perhaps you should go into more detail of why your wife is afraid to drive in your MH so people can better understand your situation and make more helpful suggestions.

She just feels we are in such a large vehicle and that if we should have an accident that most likely the other people would not survive. I know it sounds crazy but she almost gets sick even talking of traveling in it. She compares it to a semi and she is in fear I can't control it. That's why our next vacation we are traveling by car and staying in motels. I have almost lived in motels from my job so it isn't what I am wanting to do. She loved our Phoenix Cruiser which was only 24' bumper to bumper but the seating and bed were not comfortable so we moved up to the one we have now. I have spent a lot of cash upgrading it to suit her and she finally said she just isn't comfortable in it.


Alan Wilson

2001 HR Scepter 38 PBD
__________________
Counting down the days until our next great adventure!
Alan Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2015, 07:22 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Hit_the_Rhod's Avatar


 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Salvisa, KY
Posts: 2,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Wilson View Post
She just feels we are in such a large vehicle and that if we should have an accident that most likely the other people would not survive. I know it sounds crazy but she almost gets sick even talking of traveling in it. She compares it to a semi and she is in fear I can't control it. That's why our next vacation we are traveling by car and staying in motels. I have almost lived in motels from my job so it isn't what I am wanting to do. She loved our Phoenix Cruiser which was only 24' bumper to bumper but the seating and bed were not comfortable so we moved up to the one we have now. I have spent a lot of cash upgrading it to suit her and she finally said she just isn't comfortable in it.


Alan Wilson

2001 HR Scepter 38 PBD
Not sure I can help you on that one, however a thought, Even though a truck camper is not as large as your current MH, sometimes they FEEL large, more like they feel TIPPY if not properly rigged. That might still give the "big rig" feel to you wife. I don't think you can rent a pickup camper anywhere to try it out first, but you may be able to " rent a used one from a dealer" if you are intending to buy it IF your wife likes it. Just make the dealer understand what you are trying to do and that you will return it if it doesn't work out, with a suitable "deposit" to be retained by the dealer, and with the understanding that you won't be transferring title until you KNOW you want it. A private party probably won't go for something like that, but a dealer might. Just a thought!
__________________
Scot & Laura Kellersberger
Newmar 4 wheel drive Dutch Star 3891, 2005 GMC Canyon. Demco Tow Bar & Baseplate U.S.Army (ret)
1985 - 2006
Hit_the_Rhod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2015, 09:29 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Alan Wilson's Avatar
 
Holiday Rambler Owners Club
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 717
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit_the_Rhod View Post
Not sure I can help you on that one, however a thought, Even though a truck camper is not as large as your current MH, sometimes they FEEL large, more like they feel TIPPY if not properly rigged. That might still give the "big rig" feel to you wife. I don't think you can rent a pickup camper anywhere to try it out first, but you may be able to " rent a used one from a dealer" if you are intending to buy it IF your wife likes it. Just make the dealer understand what you are trying to do and that you will return it if it doesn't work out, with a suitable "deposit" to be retained by the dealer, and with the understanding that you won't be transferring title until you KNOW you want it. A private party probably won't go for something like that, but a dealer might. Just a thought!

I might give that a try. My problem is not an easy solution for sure. I may just give up camping. Truck camper was a thought.


Thanks,

Alan

2001 HR Scepter 38PBD 330 Cummins
__________________
Counting down the days until our next great adventure!
Alan Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2015, 06:58 PM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 35
You can rent them... in the great white North. Specifically, Alaska and parts of Canada.

I actually like the way my TC feels, for me, it drives just like my Pickup. I actually feel better in it than I did pulling a fully loaded TT
__________________
TangoFox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2015, 10:02 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 1,148
I don't know where you are in life, or how much of this beautiful country you and your wife have seen, but for us at 76 and 70 after returning this Summer from a nearly 8k mile trip with our truck/camper my wife said we should get a---------motorhome. We have travelled with our current combo since '93 and it's predecessor from '79 a total of between 400k and 500k miles. Her reasoning at this point in our lives is that she fears a fall while getting into or out of the bed, would like easier access to the RV facilities while travelling, and a smoother ride. There is also the the superb view from the front of a MH that neither of our CTs had. Also, larger fuel, fresh water, and holding tanks. If possible, I would suggest that you somehow keep the motorhome, because you will be giving up at least all the above.


Our primary reason for having TCs rather than MHs previously was to get to areas for hunting, fishing and exploring that would be inaccessible to a larger MH. Both trucks were diesel and 4WD. Hopefully our 26' MH will still allow some of that.


I never cared for slide-outs, but to each his/her own.


Best of luck.


Steve
__________________
dix39 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2015, 10:09 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 173
We just purchased a new old camper, a '98 Adventurer 810WS, it was only used half a dozen times by an older couple, so it's like new inside. It's mostly for hunting.

However, it's not just the purchase price, there is
- camper tie downs
- it was used on a '07 1/2 Dodge 3500 SRW long box quad cab and went on a '08 Dodge 3500 SRW long box quad cab. I thought no problem, but my wife didn't like the sway. So I bought Stable Loads, deep bump stops to engage the overloads. I may have to get a sway-bar as well.
-bed mat
-stinky slinky, his was pathetic.
-saw horses for landing
-second battery with it's wiring and box
-battery switch
-LED lights
-charger
-genny for the charger
-kitchenware
-truck to camper extension cord
-water hose

Some things I had, like the second battery, genny and charger. I did have to purchase the steel for the back tie downs and wood for the saw horses.
__________________
adventure before dementia
Downwindtrac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2015, 10:33 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 1,148
Both our campers were 11.5, or thereabouts. We used our experiences with the first to decide if we wanted a MH or TC. We finally decided on a TC, but it had to have a built in gen, AC, and the largest fresh water and holding capacities we could find. We finally found what we wanted in a Caribou and W-250 Dodge Cummins, but that was in '93. They were not without their problems over the years, but both served us well.

Steve
__________________
dix39 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2015, 12:19 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 1,148
I thought I'd add an alternative to using saw horses to store the camper on. I always worried about wind because we get a good dose of that in the Spring, and both our campers were heavy, the Caribou weights in at about 4300 lb. when ready to go.


I've always used jack stands on each side of the camper in the front and back with a piece of plywood under each of them and a 4X4 going across the jack stands from side to side. IMHO, it is stronger, lower, and adjustable for leveling.


Good lists.


Steve
__________________

__________________
dix39 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Thoughts on a Truck Camper DaveTN Truck Camper Discussion 3 04-11-2014 06:00 PM
Suggestions for buying 1st camper Seadreams42 iRV2.com General Discussion 10 04-08-2014 10:36 AM
New Truck Camper Pdapete New Member Check-In 11 09-20-2013 12:43 AM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:22 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.