Drop and Roll: Readers Respond to our Question of the Week


In the words of Dave and Wendy Riddle, “Just having the option to drop the camper is great and is one of the reasons we like our truck camper".  Isn’t it great that with a truck camper you can actually choose whether or not you want to unload your camper?  It’s another advantage of owning a truck camper.  Go where you want to go, do what you want to do, and unload if you choose.


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“Hi Angela, We rarely remove our camper from our truck as we are usually boondocking somewhere where we will be four-wheeling, snowmobiling, or hiking and don't need the the truck for transportation.  On our annual fourth of July trip this summer this changed.  We visited the town of Cordova, Alaska as we had never been there.  Part of the trip was spent at a campground http://www.alaskarafters.com/alaska_camping.html twelve miles from town.  Since one of the main points of the trip was to see Cordova, we unloaded and used our trucks as our tour buses.  It worked out very well.  As you can see from the picture, we lowered the camper all the way down with the jacks and the camper was very stable.” - Chuck

“Hi Guys.  We don’t drop and roll.  It’s not that I find loading and unloading difficult; it’s not.  A friend who has been truck camping longer than us suggested that if you ever have a jack failure on the road it would be expensive and time consuming to fix.  This made a lot of sense, and we really don’t have a need to unload.  We are usually out during the day doing something; hiking, mountain biking, or kayaking, and have found that having the truck camper waiting for us at the trailhead is much nicer than waiting to get back to camp. For us, always having the truck camper handy works great because we have our bathroom, our fridge, etc.” - Bill Tex

“Yes we drop our camper, but only about twenty percent of the time. We try to get errands done before getting to campsite.” - Bob Conery

“Angela - It all depends.  If we are traveling cross-country, we will not drop it unless we plan to be there longer than one day and there are interesting things to see.  When we stay longer, like we did this summer at one of our son’s houses, we dropped for five days and used the truck for other things.  We have gotten better at re-loading.  It usually does not take more than two tries.  We also have new aluminum folding saw horses rated at 1200 pounds each which steadies the camper when it’s off the truck.  Over Labor Day we dropped it for two days and visited relatives.” - John, Marylin, Maggie, and Trouble

“Hi Angela and Gordon - We will drop when we stay somehere for at least three days, but only if we're in an area that we wish to explore the back roads.  Our 1996 StarCraft has manual jacks, which is a pain to take off and on.  I also carry a soft toneau top to use when the camper is off.  When we travel in the winter months we're gone about six months and the camper comes off often.  I'm actually looking for new jacks as I write you.  Thanks for your great magazine.” - Wayne and Mary
 
“Hey Angela - This is our first year of owning a truck camper.  On this year’s trip to Alaska and back to Savannah, Georgia, we never unhooked the truck camper from the truck, except for repairs on our gas tank.  While at the garage I discovered a dead bird in between the truck camper and the side of the truck bed.  It must have been there for a long time as the maggots where still living in the bird.  In the future we will unload the camper once in a while so we can clean the truck bed from debris like gravel and dust and maybe a dead animal again.” - Robert Landman

“We will drop the camper if we plan on staying at a location over two days and will be doing some traveling.  This past summer we traveled across the country and down south.  With our poodle, having the camper on the truck is a benefit.  Recently we went camping along Skyline Parkway and there are trails that the dogs can not go on.  So we would put out the slide and she would relax in comfort until we returned.  With all the scenic pull-offs, we just found the right spot and enjoyed lunch with a view.” - DoreenT

“Actually, my one big fear is a jack failure when the camper is off the truck and being unable to reload it, especially when in a remote area.  I have just purchased a small two person motor scooter to get around on so I do not need to unload the camper.” - Paul Beddows

“I drop and roll at the drop of a hat.  If I'm going to be in a campground longer than a couple of days I drop the camper and go cruising, shopping, sightseeing and anyplace else I choose.  I try to do everything, especially reattaching, while no one is around because they always insist on helping.  It is easy and I do it regularly.” -Joei  at www.joeicarlton.com  

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“Sometimes we drop the camper off at a campground and sometimes we don’t.  Each trip is a little different.  If we go as a family, having the camper off the truck in a camp spot is nice because my wife and kids can stay in the camper and sleep in, while I head out early in the AM to go fishing.  If we are traveling and exploring different areas and different campgrounds each day, we usually leave the camper on the truck.” - Stan the Bagel Man

“I drop my 11.5’ Host Everest whenever I can, particularly when I want the freedom to explore the area.  I can keep all hook-ups intact.  The lift system on my camper is fast and easy.  Also, the camper is solid and stable when I lower the jacks.  Dropping is one of the main reasons why we purchased a truck camper.” - Wayne Nishimura, Beaverton, Oregon

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“My wife Anna and I love the freedom of dropping and rolling.  It’s what it’s all about.  We have our four year old and ten year old with us every trip.  Our ten year old picks an educational place for us to journey to the morning after we arrive at our site.  The family agrees that, as long as we’re going be at the place more then one night, we will separate the truck and camper.  When we do separate, we are also able to utilize a special accessory for truck campers called, "The cover up".  It turns the front of our camper into a garage.  It covers up all your "stuff".  Take a look at the picture, Angela.  It’s really cool.” - Vince

“I bought a 2003 Chevy Diesel dually to tow my larger fifth wheel.  It worked great, but when my wife and I decided something smaller would work better for just the two of us, and be a lot handier, we sold the fifth wheel and bought a new camper that fit the dually.  We love it, but still ended up with an overly large truck to run around with day to day.  We bought a used 2004 4x4 Chevy short box half-ton and leave the camper on the dually full time.  We have many choices this way: we can tow our boat, tow a trailer, tow the jeep, or just use it alone like a small motorhome.  We get great mileage.  If you keep it under sixty-five, you can get fifteen to seventeen miles per gallon, even towing.” - Deepwoods

“We leave the camper on for a number of reasons.  I guess mostly because I am not that great at getting lined up to load it.  Another excuse is the camper has manual jacks so that makes it more difficult.  Also we have a rear cargo carrier for boards, spare gas, etc. and that would have to come off too.  In other words, it's just not worth it.” - Jack Provencher

“I never do.  The hassle of unloading and reloading is simply not worth the trouble.  I have watched with envy the people with a Stable-Lift device do that, but on a one ton dually it just sticks out too much.  We unload only when we need the truck for a different type mission.” - Don Schwanke

“Hi Angela, No, my wife and I don't drop and roll.  We have a Aluma Model 6810 aluminum trailer we tow behind us with our Honda Goldwing on it.  When we get to the place we want to camp, we leave the truck, camper, and trailer there and we take off on the Goldwing to go explore.  Using a motorcycle helps us save gas when we're out sight seeing and my wife would rather sight see on the motorcycle because there is nothing to block her view (for example, the truck roof and blind spots from the truck door frames and window frames, etc.).  It really seems to work out well for us.  We get up in the morning, have breakfast in the truck camper, and then take off on the bike for the day.  My wife takes a camera and take pictures off the back of the bike.” - John and Jo-Ann Tardif, Sheridan, Wyoming

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“We drop our camper because we use the truck to transport our kayaks to and from our launch sites.  We also do a lot of sightseeing whenever we are camping and don't care for the extra weight of the camper.  Our 1998 Shadow Cruiser is the perfect size for me and my husband, plus our two pugs.” - Mary Sue Miller, Lockhart, Texas

“Yes, we drop and roll our 2000 990 Northland off our 2000 Ford F250 SD V-10 4x4 when the spot we are at is safe and level.  It is really easy to drop and roll once the owner is comfortable with the loading and unloading process.  I even have a pigtail for connecting the wiring to the truck if I want to when the truck is parked off the camper.  I don’t use it as much now that we have upgraded to a Honda 2000 watt generator.  We really enjoy pick-up camper camping and have been doing it regularly since 1994. We must say that we are looking to upgrade to a 2010 Eagle Cap Camper sometime soon.  We are really impressed with their campers.  Extraordinary quality and great people at the La Grande, Oregon factory.” - Gary and Laurii, Stanley, Idaho

“If we are traveling to Maine, we leave the camper on. But if we are camping and staying more than two days, we usually unload it as we also tow a boat.  This makes it easy since you don't have to pack up the campsite to go launch the boat.  It only takes us about twenty minutes to load or unload the camper.” - Bud & JoAnn Waner, upstate New York

“We actually do both.  Typically it depends on how long we are going to be in one area, what we are doing, and where we are at.  If we are staying in one area for say a week or more, then we drop the camper because we’re typically using the camper for a base camp.  If we go to the ocean in the winter, we’ll keep the camper on the truck as it’s handy to have when coming back from a cold, and sometimes wet, walk on the beach.  If we’re using the boat, I’ll sometimes drop the camper and sometimes not, depending on ramp conditions, time in one place, and the number of times I plan to unload and reload the boat.  In any case, just having the option to drop the camper is great and is one of the reasons we like our truck camper.” - Dave and Wendy Riddle, Burbank, Washington

“We leave our camper on the truck all the time.  That way we can be ready for a trip at anytime.  We take it when we go on short trips, see the fall colors, go shopping, or out to eat.  When we had a thirty-eight foot motorhome we couldn’t do that.  No matter where we go, we have our little space with us.  We can decide to stay a night and enjoy where we are or we can come home.  I love my camper.  I have a nine and a half foot Host with a side pop-out.” - Nina Giles

“No I don't drop the camper.  I rarely stay in one place more than one or two days.  Too many places to go and things to see.  If the truck stays in one place with the camper on it's because I'm on the pontoon boat, which has the same Four Wheel Camper on it as the truck does for camping out on a lake or river.  Since August 14, 2009, I have boat and land-camped in Southwest Colorado, Northern California, Central Oregon, Northeast Washington and West-central North Dakota before getting back to Wisconsin at the end of September.  It's exhausting!  Lots of lakes and rivers to go yet.  And I'm seventy-four years old so I need to hurry.  Are you feeling sorry for me yet?” - El

“Hi, Angela - Thanks for the great question. We always drop and roll.  With the camper on the ground, sightseeing, trips to the grocery store or a restaurant are much easier than packing up and securing the entire campsite.  We also travel with our dogs so having a secure and comfortable place for them while we are out and about gives us piece of mind.” - Jeff and Meren Gadman, Lacey, Washington

“Yes, I drop the camper.  It's easier to visit places without the camper.  You also save on gas and it's easier to drive the truck without the camper in the town and in the state parks.” - Robert Lupien

“Hi Angela - Yes, we frequently drop and roll.  The electric jacks and controller make it very easy to do.  My wife often prefers hanging out in the camper rather than driving to fishing holes or trailheads.  And not everyone is willing to get up at 0-dark thirty to catch a good tide.  Being able to leave the camper with part of the crew sleeping while the rest jump into the truck and go makes everyone happy.  As you said, it's one of the key advantages of a truck camper.” - Doug and Linda Smith

“This is a really timely question for my family.  In the olden days, 1973, when I had my first cabover camper we were instructed that we couldn't just keep it on jacks when camping.  Back then, the camper had to be on the truck because the hydraulic jacks weren't rated for stabilizing a camper full of people and all their stuff.  The purpose of the jacks was to allow you to load the camper onto the truck, take it off the truck, and minimally go in and out of the camper while loading and unloading.  Is that still the case?  My family has a Lance cabover with bathroom and no slide-out.  Thanks.” - Millicent Phillips