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Newbie Corner

The Truck Camper as a Family Emergency Vehicle

Turn on the nightly news and you’ll often see families who are faced with a sudden and unexpected emergency that requires their immediate evacuation. Here’s how a truck camper can help.

Family Emergency Vehicle

In the summer of 2007, I shared our experiences of using our truck camper to stay at my grandparent’s home for a week while my grandfather recovered from a medical scare.  For my grandparents, there was no stress or inconvenience normally associated with last minute houseguests.  We just drove up, parked, and started helping my grandfather.

Now imagine that same scenario during a major snowstorm or after a natural disaster.  With our four-wheel drive truck, we would be there no matter what.

Ever since that experience, I’ve been thinking about how we, as an industry and community, can better communicate and make use of this unique capability of truck campers.  The purpose of this article is to bring to the forefront the concept of the truck camper as a Family Emergency Vehicle (FEV) and highlight the practical and potentially life-saving qualities the truck camper as a FEV offers.

Who Needs a Family Emergency Vehicle?

Turn on the nightly news and you’ll often see families who are faced with a sudden and unexpected emergency that requires their immediate evacuation.  Forest fires spreading in Southern California.  Hurricanes approaching the Florida Coast or the Gulf of Mexico.  Floodwaters rising in the Mid West.

Emergencies happen, and we can’t always stay at home and ride them out.  Sometimes you and your family need to get out quickly.  With a Family Emergency Vehicle, you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice with the food, water, and shelter your family requires.

There are smaller, far less dramatic emergencies that also warrant FEV ownership.  Staying with an urgently sick family member who’s in the hospital or recovering at home.  Going to work under the threat of severe weather as a plan B if you get stuck overnight.  Sudden electrical and ice storms that take out the power at the peak heat of summer or the deep cold of winter.

Family Emergency Vehicles give their owners a tangible peace of mind.  Almost no matter what natural or man-made disaster is thrown at them, they can get their family out quickly with everything they need in a FEV.

The FEV is the ultimate family survival and family support tool.

Why Truck Campers are the Ultimate Family Emergency Vehicles

When an family emergency situation occurs, there’s no guarantee about the road conditions or the availability of goods and services.  As a result, a Family Emergency Vehicle has some basic requirements which are uniquely satisfied by a truck camper.

First, four-wheel drive capability.  If a levee breaks, a tree branch falls in the road, or there are blizzard conditions, you need the power, ground clearance, and go anywhere capability of a four-wheel drive truck.

Second, for each member of your family, you need storage for at least one week’s provisions including food, water, clothing, and other basic survival gear.  Truck campers offer plenty of storage in a compact space.

Third, self-contained living quarters for at least two adults and two children including beds, heat, a bathroom, and on-board, off-the-grid power generation.  Most truck campers produced today are self-contained and offer generators and solar panels.

Fourth, a FEV should be no larger than a standard parking space.  In an emergency situation, you may need to camp overnight on the side of the road, in a crowded parking lot, or in a friend’s small driveway.  The standard parking space size of a truck camper also allows families to keep their FEV at their home where they can access the FEV quickly when a family emergency situation occurs.

There are many other qualities that make a truck camper the ultimate FEV.  Essentially, the very same qualities that make the truck camper the most versatile RV and the most capable off-the-grid RV also make the truck camper the ultimate Family Emergency Vehicle.

You’re not going to get the above FEV features and capabilities from the family car, SUV, or minivan.  You’re also not going to get these FEV features and capabilities from a Class-A, Class-B, or towable RV product.

If you need a Family Emergency Vehicle, you need a truck camper.

From Emergency Vehicle to Entertainment Vehicle

If the fires never come, the waters never rise, the hurricanes never make landfall, and no one ever gets sick, the FEV owner is really in luck.

A Family Emergency Vehicle is also the ultimate Family Entertainment Vehicle.   Take your family camping, hunting, fishing, ATVing, boating, horseback riding, and exploring.  Visit friends and family and experience our wonderful State and National Parks.  You’ll do more and spend less with a Family Entertainment Vehicle.

For the FEV owner, you can’t lose.  You’ll be prepared for the worst, and ready for the best.


Truck camper manufacturers, dealers, and gear companies do not need to change their existing products to pursue the FEV opportunity.  As an industry, we already manufacture and sell fantastic FEVs.  This is a rare opportunity where marketing, not engineering or production, can open a new market and increase sales.

Marketing truck campers as FEVs helps to position the truck campers as a practical, if not necessary, family purchase.  The FEV should also be more recession proof, again due to its practical family-oriented application.  Anything that helps to position truck campers as more than a recreational vehicle in our economically challenging times should be welcome.

Marketing truck campers as FEVs also improves the value of a truck camper purchase over other competing RV types that do not meet the basic requirements of a FEV.  Buy a truck camper as a recreational vehicle and you get the peace of mind of owning a FEV in case you need it.  Or, buy a truck camper as a FEV and you get the recreational vehicle as a bonus.

The Family Emergency Vehicle capabilities of a truck camper are significant and sustainable competitive advantages that our industry has not capitalized on.  It’s an opportunity we’ve left on the table. I believe that most truck camper owners have, at one time or another, been glad that they own a truck camper in case of a family emergency.  Personally, I enjoy a certain peace of mind in knowing that I have a fully equipped camper and four-wheel drive truck ready to go at a moment’s notice.  It was a wonderful tool when my grandfather needed help.  And after my car accident in December of 2008, I’ve given up guessing what the future may hold.

Have you used your camper as a Family Emergency Vehicle?  If you have, please share your Family Emergency Vehicle story.


Truck Camper Information

Founded in 2007, Truck Camper Magazine is a free online magazine dedicated to the exciting go anywhere, camp anywhere, tow anything lifestyle of truck camping.

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