Grab your prep list. 149 readers reveal exactly what stays in their truck camping rigs ready to roll. Adventure or evacuation, truck campers are always set to go.
Almost every response points to the desire to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Some cite the convenience of spontaneous truck camping adventures while others take comfort that their rig doubles as a Family Emergency Vehicle; ready to escape at any time.
As a side note, we would like to hear from anyone who has actually used their truck camper rig in such an emergency situation. Have you actually had to use your camper to evacuate your home? If you have, click here and tell us your story.
This week’s Question of the Week was, “Do you completely dump your truck camper rig when you get home, or keep it fully or partially stocked?”
“I leave most everything inside except for bedding that needs cleaning. I store the camper on the side of the house on cement. I live in central California, so I don’t worry about winter weather.” – Bob Rosenhagen, 2003 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2014 Travel Lite 690FD
“We love truck camping! We have had four truck campers and several motorhomes. We learned the hard way not to empty our rig when got home when we lost our house to fire. We lost everything. Our RV was sitting safely away and wasn’t damaged. It was empty of all clothes and essentials. So now we take out only what we need (most of us have duplicates of most things) after a trip so, if we need to, we can leave on short notice.” – Frank Watson, 2016 Ford F250, 2016 CampLite 6.8
“When I get home I completely reload all non-perishables. The next time I use the camper, I only need to fill the refrigerator and fresh water. Having it mostly loaded aligns with the bug out vehicle concept. I can be ready to pull out in less than an hour.” – Leonard Pennock, 2006 Ram 3500, 2002 Eagle Cap 950
“We live in a townhouse complex and are fortunate enough to have free storage. Our camper and cargo trailer are only fifty feet from our unit. We leave the camper fully stocked and ready to go. The only thing we clean out after a trip is the refrigerator, if it will be more than a few days before we go again.
Clothes are put in/out depending on the nature of the trip and time of year. We usually take everything out of the camper towards the end of November, (end of hunting season), and restock at the end of March. We’re not into winter camping, yet.” – Rick Jones, 2005 Chevy 2500HD, 2013 Wolf Creek 850 SB
“I am lucky to have a large, tall metal carport behind my lake house. I installed a 30-amp service and keep my rig resting on the jacks or attached to my truck. It stays plugged in most of the time. I have a few items of clothing plus towels and toiletries that stay in the camper at all times. Condiments, dishes, dinnerware, coffee maker, etc. all live in the Cirrus. At go time, I add food, water and my travel bags containing things I use every day at home, but need to take traveling.” – Stephen Smith, 2015 Chevy 3500 HD, 2017 Cirrus 820
“We use our camper each week for a overnight trip to do daycare for our new grandson. Between these and other longer trips we leave our camper stocked except for the refrigerator, which we leave empty, wiped out, turned off, with the door propped open.
I drain and refill the fresh water tank, and empty the grey water tank onto our pavement which drains via the culvert into our orchard below (we wash dishes and shower with biodegradable soap). I replaced our flush toilet with a compostable toilet from Nature’s Head and we go five to six weeks between dumping. The resulting compost mixture of waste and coco-fibers gets buried at the forest edges of our orchard.
A two week supply of hard cider, wine, and canned and containerized food is left onboard. I keep clothes for a two week trip in the camper at all times. My partner packs a bag for each trip and the cabinets for her clothes remain empty. I don’t figure on being able to convert her to leaving camping clothes in the camper until our 6 week trip to Alaska next June.” – David Casterson, Ram 3500, 2016 Cirrus 800
“Yes we keep our camper stocked and ready to go. We take our camper out on its adventurers throughout the year. The only thing we have to take out to the camper prior to any trips are some fresh food and clothes. We keep things like ketchup items and so on in the camper at all times. The refrigerator stays on at all times. Since we can park it here at home with power, we are able to do that.
With the setup I have, I take the camper on and off the truck and it takes me about a half hour to be ready to drive away. I get the camper on the truck and get the turnbuckles set. While I do that, my wife gets the items I mentioned placed inside the camper. So it is pretty fast for us to be down the road.” – Rich Bain, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2010 Adventurer 810
“I keep the necessary items in the camper; pots, pans, portable generator, dish washing soap, spices and condiments that won’t freeze (we live in Michigan) as well as canned goods. Items like blankets and sheets get washed and put back after a trip.
The refrigerator gets emptied and the door stays ajar. I keep my camper inside all winter. It actually stays inside except when I use it. My main reason for buying a pop up truck camper, besides the lower center of gravity, was being able to put it in the garage. It stays on shore power in the garage. It’s a three car garage so the truck sleeps next to the camper in the winter.” – Daryl Davis, 1997 Ford F350, 2014 Palomino SS-1500
“We remove perishable items only. We empty all the tanks, sterilize the potable water tank, and sanitize the grey and black water tanks. For winter storage we do the same and we winterize the water lines, flush the hot water tank and treat all drains with RV antifreeze. In bug seasons (if we store our truck camper for any length of time) we treat all outside areas, especially those parts that touch the ground, with Ortho Insect Killer.” – Dan Daddieco, 2015 Ram 3500, 2015 Eagle Cap 1165
“We leave our camper loaded on our F450 at all times so it can be used as an emergency place to stay. It is also ready to take out for a trip on a moment’s notice.” – Bill Gahafer, 2008 Ford F450, 2013 Lance 1181
“Ours is mostly stocked. I restock non-perishable consumables like foil, paper towels, plates, and toilet paper. The refrigerator gets emptied and propped open. Clothing and bedding gets washed and restocked within a few days. All camping and fishing related stuff has its place and stays put. Bicycles may be taken off rack.
It depends on how soon our next trip is. We try to have everything ready for travel. We just traded up from a pop-up Northstar 650SC, so it is going to be fun setting up the Lance. It’s a good winter project.” – J. Tseka, 2004 Silverado 2500HD, 2012 Lance 850
“It’s loaded all the time except for clothing, medications, and fresh food. If there is an emergency in the area and we need to leave quickly, we are ready. We can be on the road in fifteen minutes. We are what you might call mini-preppers. The truck camper is so much easier than our fifth wheel was!” – Pat Mitchell, 2004 Ford F150, 2016 Capri Camper
“We have inside storage for our camper, and I use it primarily for going fishing. The clothes, gear and important things just stay right in the camper all the time. We do not keep food of any kind in it while it is being stored.” – R. Folkerts, 1999 Ford F250, 1997 Lance 165s
“The camper always has the essentials in case we need to leave fast or we need to go somewhere for a day or two. Pill bottles (re-labels) are great to keep a small ration/portion of everything; coffee, sugar, dry trinity, oil, flour, and panko.
We also always have some MRI, restaurant size condiments, and some canned milk. A set of fresh sheets is in a sealed ziplock bag with a dryer sheet. We also leave some undergarments, T-shirts, and bath bags ready and sealed. There you have it, we are ready to go!” – J&S Mathis, 1994 Ram 2500, 2003 Northern Lite 9QC
“We park our camper at home. So no, we don’t empty it out. The only things I take out are the towels/linens, and of course, I don’t leave any food or freezable things in it.
We don’t camp in the winter (however, that may be changing this year). Before the camping season, I take out the dishes, and run them through our house dishwasher, re-wash the linens/towels, and check things that were left over the winter. I love having it available at home, because as I come across things I want to put in it, I can. I also use the refrigerator over Thanksgiving for all the extra food!” – Jody Smith, 2013 Chevy 3500, 2013 Lance 1172
“Regardless of the time of year, up north in summer, or south in winter, we take a truck camper trip about every two weeks. Even though we store our truck camper in a local outside storage facility, we still find it most convenient to keep it half stocked at all times. This means we keep a full set of clothes in the camper, but empty all the food.
The only time the clothes move in/out of the camper is when we do laundry at home, and then it’s put back. When it’s time for another adventure, we put the camper in our driveway, start the refrigerator, and re-stock all the food – then we’re off!” – Charles Coushaine, 2001 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet DS116RB
“We clean and replenish the dry stores. We also keep it at a RV storage facility, so we always dump and clean black and grey tanks.” – Robert Rivera, 2004 Ram, Snowriver 9.6 DS
“We dump the perishables. My wife also takes out the stuff (liquid soaps, etc.) that may freeze and burst even though we park it in a heated shed. I do not winterize it since it is in the heated shed.” – Ben Hansen, 2006 F350, 2005 Lance 981 Max
“We always dump everything and partially restock. We have it stored in front of our garage and I try to keep our truck camper in position on our truck. In approximately thirty minutes we can be ready for an excursion.
If the truck is needed all I have to do is lift the camper about six inches and pull forward. Being at home we can keep it plugged in if need be to keep the refrigerator running. It is in storage in our driveway as we communicate, both covered,with the truck camper sitting over the bed of the truck.” – Eric Devolin, 2007 GMC 3500, 2006 Adventurer 106 DBS
“After most trips we clean it and scrub it down. We do a lot of beach camping, so we track in sand. I have a big shop vac. We also wash off the sea salt and spray off the outside.
All foods are removed. We live in Florida, so the camper’s temperature inside when it’s closed up goes over 100-plus when not plugged into power.” – Robert Wilson, 2016 Dodge 2500, 2016 Lance 650
“During our camping season we keep our camper loaded with what we call staples; canned goods, bedding, gin, fire start materials, and standard tools we just carry in case. We unload our fresh food if any is left and clear the icebox out and dry for the next trip. We unload clothes and towels for laundry. We do a small cleanup and I sanitize and wipe down before we take off again.
For the most part we have only to reload fresh food and our clothes, jackets, and personal items to hit the road again. Our camping season goes from March to November with a few trips in the summer when it’s crowded and hot.” – Jim Dailey, 2005 Dodge Ram 2500HD, 1997 Shadow Crusier 10
“The rig sits plugged in next to our garage, partially stocked. Our trips are often several weeks long. Bedding, linens, perishables, and beverages are removed as well as most clothing after each trip. Sandee cleans the camper completely before and after each trip as it can sit for a few months.
We live in a very moderate climate, so winterizing is unnecessary. We keep enough clothing on board for short four to five day trips. It takes a day to load. And maybe three days for three to four week trips.” – Joe Sesto, 2015 Silverado 3500 HD, 2015 Bigfoot 2500 10.6E
“We leave it partially equipped. Our camper is also stored off site, so we remove anything that vermin might even remotely consider edible; clothing, toiletries, and bedding. We leave the hardware like camp table, chairs, utensils, dinnerware, cookware, paper consumables, chemicals, and support equipment like hoses, cables, pads, turnbuckles, etc in the camper. All the tools stay in the truck.” – Stu Chapman, 2016 Ford F350, 2016 Arctic Fox 865
“The camper remains on the truck all year. It is my home away from home to attend various social clubs and it’s a safe haven during a storm. The camper is partially stocked with essential canned and dry goods. We only need to bring milk. Four 20-pound tanks of propane are always available. The propane refrigerator and freezer are only turned on if we’re out more than one day on the road or if an anticipated storm brings home power outages. The important frozen foods are moved from the home freezer to the camper’s freezer.” – Vic Smith, 2015 Ford F350, 2013 Adventurer 89RB
“We keep it partially stocked with everything except fresh food items and items specific to the trip we are taking. I keep a master spreadsheet of all items taken on past trips from the last 27 years of truck camping, so selecting items to take is quick and easy. The camper is kept indoors at a RV storage facility. Despite all the planning and organization, it seems every trip comes down to throwing things in the rig at the last minute to get on the road!” – Mike Paulucci, 2013 GMC 3500HD, 2015 Lance 1052
“Partially stocked. I empty and clean the refrigerator after each trip but all canned goods and staple items remain until winter. I wash the towels and sheets and return them to the camper. All the dishes and cookware remain permanently in the camper.” – Peggy Sego, 2005 Dodge 3500, 2011 Lance 992
“When we return from our adventures which can be anywhere from three to five weeks, we completely clean out the RV and the truck. Then, my wife, with very little assistance from me does a complete inside clean up. She washes clothes, linens, blankets, the cabinets, refrigerator, etc while I re-caulk any seams, and replace and repair any part that needs fixing.
We have had our rig for less than eight months and we have already have driven 13,000 miles. We are looking forward to our next adventure.” – RJ B, 2007 Dodge 2500, Palomino Maverick 1000
“Dish wear and dry goods stay in as well as some extreme winter gear that we don’t need at home in southern California. The camper is stored in our own driveway where we keep an eye on it.” – Ron Williams
“I keep my truck camper partially stocked. I only remove the items that may not safely survive the cold weather conditions. I am fortunate to store it in an unheated garage for a very small yearly fee. There are indoor, heated RV storage facilities in my area for a mere $200/month. I think I’ll keep winterizing and storing in the unheated garage.” – Rita Eshman, 2005 Ford F250, 2013 Adventurer 86FB
“I haul in laundry, and perishable foods. Books or magazines we are done with and the dog supplies also come in. I open all cupboards and set off a bug bomb in basement (I live in Florida). To reload, I air it out overnight, start the refrigerator so it’s cold, make the bed, load my clothes, and head to the grocery store on my way out of town.” – Candy Krewer, 2995 Dodge 3500, Lance 1181
“Despite having a climate controlled garage for storage, we empty the camper completely after each trip. This gives us the opportunity to restock for the next trip based on destination, weather and how much dry camping we will do. Is that the Bat Phone Alfred?” – Jon Hancock, 2015 Ram 3500, 2016 Northern Lite 10-2EX CDSE
“I always dump the black and grey water. Some water treatment facilities will let me dump for free. RV parks charge $15 to $25 to dump if I’m not staying on the property. I remove all perishables from the cabinets and refrigerator. I change the bedding with a fresh set of sheets, etc. I clean the bathroom, sweep the floor, and wipe the counters. I try to make a check list of items that I might need on my next trip and store the information on my iPhone.
When I’m ready to roll again, I bring fresh clothes and only enough food for two to three days. When I was a newbie I always brought too much food, and much was wasted.” – George Lake, 2012 GMC 2500 HD, 2014 Hallmark Ute
“We unload only the perishables during the summer. During the winter we unload everything before storing it.” – Clifford Bowling, 2015 Ford F-250, 2015 Palomino HS-6601
“We keep it about half full when we come back. Some stuff like clothes and bedding always come in. Drinks and bottled water stay until next time.” – Neal Perry, 2013 GMC, 2013 Palomino Maverick
“We completely dump the camper, take it off the truck, and cover it. – Richard Elmquist, 2008 Ford F450, 2008 Host Everest
“Although we use our camper about 50% of the time, we take everything out, including the whiskey, between trips. We remove the stuff in tubs, note shortages and renew those short supplies. Everything is stored in a closet, pulled out a couple days prior to our next trip, and then restocked in the camper.” – Thomas Scholtens, 2010 Chevy 2500HD, 2013 25c10.4 Bigfoot
“I use my truck for work. When we get back from a trip we empty the camper, and then we unload it from the truck.” – Matt Wiegand, 2014 Ford F150, 2015 Palomino SS-1251
“It depends. If I am going out again within a couple weeks, I will just get only the perishables out. If it is going to be more then a month, then I will take all but utensils, pots and pans out, which are clean. Then, I clean the camper before I leave again. If it is the end of the year, I take everything out, clean it all out, and put it away. But then I do sometimes go out in the winter and will redo it all over again.” – Joshua Magner, 2010 Toyota Tundra, 2016 Travel Lite 800x
“All the food is removed and all other items remain in camper.” – Charlie Young, 2013 Chevy 2500HD, 2004 Sunlite Apache
“My truck camper is in the pickup’s box from May to November. I own an older pickup for seasonal hauling duties (mostly for my gardening wife) and errand running when the car isn’t available.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050
“We have a good storage enclosed carport where we store the camper. After each trip, if another isn’t planned right away, we remove all of the food items that might be damaged with temperature extremes. All our clothing is also removed. All camping gear stays in the rig. It takes just a couple of hours to reload clothing and make a grocery stop for fresh food on our way out of town.” – James Thomas, 2013 Ford F350, 2013 Host Shasta 9.5
“We keep it partially stocked with cans of food in the pantry and enough clothes to do an easy four day trip. I have a plastic storage box that contains our power cords, battery chargers for camera, iPod, shavers, and digital memory card viewer along with spare flashlights. The many items that we carry in the camper we also use in the house.
We park our truck camper next to our garage under an aluminum canopy. I keep it plugged in to a 30-amp socket. If we are planning on going somewhere I’ll turn on the refrigerator the day before and load the cold items in the morning. If we plan on being home for more than two weeks I’ll drain the fresh water tank and the black and grey tanks.
The day before we leave I’ll refill with twelve gallons fresh water, 100-pounds, and check all propane appliances. I’ll also run the generator for twenty minutes. I also keep the diesel fuel tank full so that we don’t have to waste time filling on the day we leave. We’ve pretty much figured out that the items we need for a three night stay are the same for 30 night road trip (which we just returned from in late October).” – Roger Odahl, 2008 Dodge Ram 3500, 2004 Eagle Cap 950
“Because we are able to park our camper at home, we leave it mostly stocked. Dry goods remain in the camper during our entire camping season. We make a list of depleted items and have them ready for the next trip.
The refrigerator is emptied unless we plan a trip within two weeks. We just plug it in and all is well. Some unsoiled clothing remains as do extra linens.
We pack our gear each trip according to the activities that are planned. At the end of the season everything goes and camper gets a once over. It works for us.” – Bob and Jan Bromley, 2007 Chevy Silverado, 2010 Eagle Cap 850
“I keep it loaded until winter when I winterize it and take out anything that will freeze, except the refrigerator.” – Doug Potter, 1995 Dodge, 1997 S&S
“I park in my driveway and store it there, so I feel no rush to unpack. Perishable foods and dirty laundry come in immediately, but the rest I slowly carry-in or re-sort and leave in the camper. In fact, sometimes I hunt through my bedroom dresser or closet for a particular clothing item only to remember it’s still in the camper!
From April through early November I like to keep the bed freshly made, clean towels in the bathroom, and to have it fully stocked with non-perishable food, books, paper, and my spare hiking and wet weather gear. The camper bathroom has its own supply of toiletries and over the counter remedies so that I don’t forget anything.
With this strategy, an impulse to leave is easily accommodated. I just need a basket of clothes, another basket of fresh and home cooked frozen foods, plus the dog’s stuff. I can leave within an hour!
This was particularly helpful when my Dad’s health was declining. His vet hospital was a three hour drive away. I could get to his side quickly and stay as many days as needed. It’s such a comfort after hours of sitting beside a hospital bed to head out to the parking lot for a shower, a change of clothes, some healthy food, or to sleep in my own bed.
I have four collapsible laundry baskets which I slide behind the dog crate in the U of the dinette. The baskets cart everything in and out.
On holiday weekends, I often have a very full house, mainly young adults. I like to move out to the camper at night and give guests my bedroom. This way everyone can play games, chat, laugh, play music and not be worried about bothering me. With a mob descending, I will use the refrigerator in the camper to store pre-made meals.
I like having a getaway right on my property. I have always dreamed of having a retreat cabin on a large property. Instead I have truck camper on my very small property. I live within the church yard in an old rectory.
I also always keep some specific dog toys in the camper. This certainly makes Jack and Sophie keen to get in. They know that some favorites are only kept in there. Whenever we walk down the driveway they rush to sniff the camper door. I swear they are able to confirm their toys are still safe in there. Then they go around the side to sniff at the propane exterior door where they know I store their water toys.
All in all I would say that I consider my truck camper an extension of my living space and I keep it stocked and furnished as such.” – Michele McLeod, 2000 Travel Hawk 9.5
“The rig stays in the driveway fully loaded and ready to hit the road all year (even winter). The only thing I take out is food stuff. The camper is small, thus clothing duffle bags are in the truck (not camper). They are also removed.” – Chris Walton, 2008 Nissan Frontier, 2008 Four Wheel Camper Eagle
“I off-load my camper at home. I hook it up to shore power and run the air conditioner or heater as if it’s another bedroom. I clean up my camper after each trip and drain the fresh water system and grey water system. I restock it and make it ready for the next trip.
A lot of my camping trips are impulse camping trips. I want to be able load the camper and go when the opportunity presents. What is not in the camper when I leave can be bought on the road.” – Dan Griffin, 1998 Dodge, 1994 Scamper Pop Up
“We leave our rig loaded during the season and park it under our RV awning to keep the sun and weather off of it. We unload all perishables and clothing and only keep some dry goods, sugar, flour, etc. between trips. In late fall I unload the camper, winterize, remove the batteries and wash it completely.” – George Visconti, 2015 GMC Sierra 3500HD, 2106 Arctic Fox 990
“I keep my camper mostly stocked even when it’s off the truck at home. It can be used as an emergency shelter.” – Alex Blasingame, 2007 Ford F250, 2002 Lance 815
“I unload the camper in my backyard where I have a cement pad. Then, I unload all food items and anything needing to be cleaned, like clothes, sheets, blankets, towels, dishes, etc. I clean the inside and then restock the camper with clean items to make it ready to go for the next trip. When it’s time for the next trip all I need to do is add extra clothes, food, water and go.” – David Reese, 2006 GMC 2500HD, 2009 Northern Lite 8-11 Queen
“I like to keep the camper fully stocked. At a moment’s notice I can load the camper and be off within twenty minutes. There’s the checklist, and in and out for a couple of hours at least, plus I always forget something. The camper is parked 30 feet from my side door.” – Gregory Watson, 2007 Dodge Ram 2500, 2013 Travel Lite 840SBRX
“My camper stays stocked at all times, and ready to roll. I keep at least a weeks worth of clothing and food (including dog food) in the camper at all times.
In the winter I empty the fresh water system because I don’t feel like blowing out a water pump again. As a consolation, I keep some water containers in the garage that can be put in the camper at a moment’s notice. It’s really nice to be able to just grab your keys and head out the door anytime to the next adventure!” – Carlyle Isner, 2012 Dodge 5500, 2012 Alaskan custom
“We like to keep the camper basically ready for the next trip. The kitchen and clothing are kept stocked. We empty food and liquid items when winterizing.” – Barry Schoenwetter, 2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD, 2005 Lance 1030
“We store the Northern Lite on our F350 in a heated garage at our home so we can plug it in and don’t need to winterize it.
We clean it inside and out after every trip and only unload perishables, electronics, camera equipment and soiled clothes. The refrigerator stays plugged-in and drinks, ketchup, etc. stays in the camper.” – Fred Stanley, Ford F-350, 2015 Northern Lite 8-11 Q Classic Sportsman
“Fortunately, we have an outbuilding at our home with a concrete floor that our truck camper and our fifth wheel are stored in. We leave everything in both units that will not freeze, spoil, or attract rodents in the campers. We put lots of mouse poison in the units and the barn as well as ant traps. We have a large set of shelves where we store items that are common to both units. We drain and winterize the units, but we can be ready to go in a couple of hours!” – Don Stegemoller, 2011 Ford F350, 2017 Eagle Cap 960
“Our camper lives in our unheated storage building. In the unfrozen season it is stocked with everything except food, water and clothes. We add those items and off we go.
In the frozen season everything is the same except the water is drained. When we come back from a trip I like to restock as soon as possible so things are ready to go.
Every so often I dump the truck and camper, clean, and make sure that we aren’t loaded with a bunch of stuff we don’t need. I also make sure that the things we need are on board.
Years ago our area was evacuated due to a railroad toxic gas spill, so I like it when the camper is ready to go.” – Dave Miller, 2015 Ford F350, 2003 Bigfoot 10.6E
“For us, the ‘let’s use the camper’ process needs to be kept as easy and painless as possible. I have a truck dedicated to it, so I don’t load and unload the rig until the end of the season. All we do is clean things up and wash the bedding.
We do empty the refrigerator but, other than that, an hour of prep, and we are ready to go on another adventure. With our busy lifestyle it’s important to remove as much of the hassle factor out of using our rig.” – Wes Hargreaves, 2016 Ford F-450, 2006 Snowbird 108DS
“We have a climate controlled garage where we park our camper. When we get home from a trip, we completely clean everything and then take inventory of what we have left. Then, we replenish the every day things. This makes it easy for us to leave on another trip fast.” – Mike Monteith, 2015 Ford F350, Arctic Fox
“The camper gets loaded at the beginning of the season and stays loaded until it’s winterized.” – Dave Riddle, 2017 Host Mammoth
“If you saw us when we get home, you might think we were emptying our camper. But really we empty, clean, and restock. We like to be ready to load and go when the mood strikes us.” – Tom Elliott, 2007 Ram 2500, 1999 Lance 835 Lite
“I empty the refrigerator and remove all other perishables, like fruit and veggies. Dry goods stay in the camper. Towels and bedding go in the laundry before being returned to the camper. The computer is returned to the house. Everything else stays in the camper during the camping season.
I clear everything out for winter. I store the camper at home, either up at the house if it’s for short term, or down in the hay shed if I don’t use it for a week or two.” – Maaja Sutak, 2012 GMC, 2015 Wolf Creek 840
“It’s always loaded and ready to go with the exception of food and clothes. My camper is parked next to my house. I can be ready to go in a couple of hours.” – John Evans, 2008 Ford F250, 2016 Lance 825
“We completely unload everything and clean. It is one of the areas of my life I can keep in total control. We start fresh on each new trip. It just works for us. We always know everything is fresh and not out of date.” – Rochelle Berg, 2013 GMC, 2013 Arctic Fox 992
“If my camper was not stored at my home, I would probably clear everything out as you do. But, it is, and I don’t. I remove perishable food, dirty laundry, and my laptop. In fact, sometimes I run out of clean shirts in the house and have to go into the camper to get one. The flip side to this is I can load up in very few minutes and go out for a weekend on short notice.” – Fred Patterson, 2013 Ford F350, 2002 Lance 1161
“We keep food staples, toiletries, and even several changes of clothing in the camper at all times. It’s ready at a moment’s notice!” – Nancy Meiners, 2014 Lance 1050S
“We keep it stocked during the summer months since we are able to keep it close to our house. The camper sits on the truck ready to go.
In the winter we go to Texas and we do empty it out there. We take the water out and all of the other stuff as well as spray Home Defense in cabinets, the bathroom, around the support legs, and anywhere else we can think of.
The unit is off the truck and it does occasionally get below freezing at night. Also there are a lot of bugs in South Texas and we do not want to encourage them to come in and make use of our truck camper.” – Bill Billyard, 2000 Dodge Ram 3500, 2008 Palomino Winter Creek 115RS
“The first packing of the year includes a lot of just-in-case stuff such as cans of stew, soup and veggies, extra towels, blankets, pillows, etc. These items stay in until they are used and replaced or removed after our last trip of the season. This includes laundry, dish soap, tea towels, etc. Dirty clothes and the refrigerator gets unloaded.” – John Desjardins, 2007.5 Sierra 2500HD, 2002 Globetrotter
“We take out food but, once the bedding and towels are washed, the camper is partially stocked during camping season (February through November). I have a detailed camper list that we use to make sure that we have everything with us once we pull out of the driveway. The list includes reminders to call the post office to hold the mail and the credit card company to let them know that we are traveling.
At the end of camping season, we unload everything that mice can destroy including all bedding and paper supplies as well as food. We haven’t had a mouse problem in the sixteen years we have owned campers, but there is always a first time.” – Laurel Wilson, 2013 Ford F350, 2016 Four Wheel Granby Shell
“I guess you could say we keep our rig partially stocked. Pots and pans always stay in the camper, along with sleeping bags, pillows, and some basic food items. The water tank generally stays full or partially full at all times. We give the camper a cleanup on the inside and park it under an aluminum carport cover. During winter months it gets cold and occasionally snows here in the southern California mountains. I ensure that all water tanks are empty to prevent damage from freezing if it’s gonna get really cold.
Our truck has a utility bed with the camper permanently mounted. The utility bed always has our camp chairs, complete medical bag, charcoal, tools, and extra water containers on board in case of emergencies, either at home or on the road. When we’re ready to head out it takes only a few minutes to park the rig in front of the door, load clothes and food. Then, we’re off on our next adventure.” – Cliff Kellogg, 2006 Chevy 2500HD, 1999 Apache popup
“We clean it out, do laundry and so forth, and re-provision the camper. It is not necessarily for the next trip, but to have it available should we need to grab and go without time to prep.” – Jim McIrvin, 2015 Ford F350, 2012 Lance 1191
“We keep it more than partially stocked. We have it ready to go on a moment’s notice.” – Paul King, 2000 Ford F350, 2016 Lance 1062
“I leave the camper on the truck full time. I have also removed the jacks. The truck is on a pad beside the house, under a RV cover. It is cleaned lightly, but kept ready to leave, stocked with dried/canned food and bottled water, clothes, bedding. There is very little house to camper transfer. This makes it much easier to leave.” – Bill Close, 2014 Ram 3500, 2012 Lance 850
“Laundry and trash, if any, are removed. The floor, counter tops, and the bathroom are cleaned, and sometimes the exterior is de-bugged. Food is removed, but bottled water usually remains in place. It’s always ready for the next trip except for refilling the pantry.
My camper is kept in my driveway, often on the truck. Sometimes when I get home I cram extra items in it, it’s my closet on wheels. The longer the layover, the more guano the cave collects… to continue the bat cave metaphor – eecch!” – Mark Obert, 1999 Ford F250SD, 1999 Lance 920
“We keep everything in the camper except food and things that can freeze. Linens, dishes, utensils and some clothes stay in the camper.” – Gary Goyette, 2016 3500HD, 2012 Northern Lite 8-11
“All systems are drained. All perishable foods are removed to the house. Dirty linens and clothes come in to be washed and are then taken back to the camper. The bed is made and camper clothes are put away. When it is time to go out again, all I need to do is add water, check all the systems, start the refrigerator, load the perishables, and some moonshine.” – George Randall, 2012 Ford F350, 2016 Arctic Fox 865
“During the season we leave ours stocked, only adding those items needed for the trip. Isn’t that the purpose of having your own RV, so that you don’t have to go through the hassle of packing each time?” – Clarice Nelson, 1993 Ford, 1994 Cascade
“Nearly all of the camping gear stays in the camper ready to go except for clothes, the contents of the refrigerator, and other perishable food which is removed and replaced before the next trip. No more, “Did you remember to pack the meat thermometer?” We know everything we will need, other than food and clothing, will be there if and when we need it.” – Tom Strock, 2003 Chevy 2500 HD, 2000 Bigfoot 9.6
“Ours is fully stocked except for perishables, and ready to go when we need it. Our camper is at our house. We can load up our weekend clothes and we are off.” – M. Engel, 2007 Dodge 3500, 2010 Capri
“We stock our camper before the long weekend in May. We add and subtract as the need arises, but always retain the basics. After a long weekend in October, depending on weather, we unstock and generally give to our church and others as appropriate. We are lucky to have onsite parking at home, so things like the barbecue stays in year around. We are generally winterized by November 1st and planning our schedules for next year.” – Lewis E. Turner, 2003 GMC Sierra, 2008 Northern Lite 9.6 SE
“We stock at the beginning of the season, switch to summer clothes mid-way, and clean out totally at the end of the season. Perishable foods and refrigerator items are removed and the refrigerator is propped open. We like having the camper ready to go at a moment’s notice. We just add fresh food and water and go. We pretty much keep the camper on the truck from April to November, unless we aren’t using it for a several weeks.” – Esther Fiddes, 2001 Chevy 2500 HD, 2010 Lance 915
“Mostly full. All we have to pack are clothes and some food.” – Ross Vlieger, 2015 GMC, 2015 Lance 992
“I keep it loaded year round. The water is emptied and the tanks are cleaned out at the end of the summer/fall season, but I keep towels, pots, pans, spices, and canned foods loaded and ready to roll. Since our weather is really 3.5 seasons, I can go at almost any time.
Two years ago my water system had a problem, so I used a six gallon water container to support us for the two weeks we were out camping. This worked very well. Showers, not so much, but a small pan of hot water and wash cloths worked (reminds me of Army field assignments). This creates our emergency get away/go to funeral travel rig.
I try to unload the unnecessary stuff, but it still seems to stay in the camper. Besides, I can find it!” – Harry Palmer, 2008 Dodge Ram 2500, 2008 Lance 915
“We load the camper at the start of the season. After each trip, we unload the perishable food, including everything from the refrigerator, but leave everything else in the camper so it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. Of course we clean the camper throughout the season, but we don’t empty it until the season is over.” – Anne Marie Lewis, 2013 GMC Sierra 3500, 2013 Eagle Cap 850
“We keep it stocked. We have a nice landing area on our property. The camper has its own dedicated cookware, dinnerware, small appliances, etc. We keep the pantry stocked except for perishables. I have a large pantry and keep an inventory list on the inside of the pantry door. We also keep our chairs, mats, kayaks paddles, seats and life vests on the camper.
The bedding and towels we remove, wash and immediately put back on. That way we are always ready to go except for clothes, fresh food, and water. We do take the kayak and bikes off and store them beside the house.” – Jim and Cindi Goodrich, 2006 Chevy 3500, 2008 Lance 1191
“Luckily, I have just enough room on the side of house where I keep the camper and boat. Right next to the garage works out well.
I do a partial stock, so my camper is maybe 80-percent ready. I unload, clean, and restock after each use. We then load all camping items. Some items I also use while fishing so they are easily accessible when I’m not bringing the camper.
For each new trip I load the 20-percent and we are off. The 20-percent is usually perishable foods, clothes, and sodas. Off we go.” – Kenny Beal, 2008 Chevy 2500 HD, 2000 Lance 815
“I keep it fully stocked except for the fresh water tank.” – John Macdonald, 2011 Ford, 2008 Okanagan 96WB
“We keep our camper partially loaded year round with kitchen utensils, towels, bedding, paper products, and anything non-perishable like a coffee pot, power strip, sound machine, grill, and electric heater.
In the spring we stock the camper with canned food, condiments in the refrigerator, cleaning supplies, and medicine cabinet items. We also put lawn chairs on the ladder outside, the generator in the box in front of the truck, and them leave them there until winter. Everything else we need is already in the camper. When we take off we add fresh food and clothes.” – Janet and Jim Manis, 2014 Dodge Ram 2500 HD, 2016 Travel Lite 960 R Illusion
“The camper stays on the truck continuously and it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. The air bags are jacked up to around 80 pounds (35 pounds when traveling) to take the load off the springs. The tires, however, continue to bear all the weight, but will be worn out from road mileage before anything else can happen to them.
I do come home with less than a quarter tank of gas just to lighten the load that much more. Four to five gallons is a lot less weight than twenty-six gallons. At four gallons, I can still go more than forty-five miles before I need to refuel. All the grey and black tanks are emptied and about one gallon of fresh with conditioner is added back in each tank. The generator oil is changed if needed and the spark plug is checked/changed.
We empty out everything, including clothes, kitchen cabinets, etc. and do a thorough cleaning top to bottom, inside and out. We check all the caulking joints and repair as necessary. Most food is eaten up the last few days of the trip home. The rest is rotated out and fresh items are packed back in except for meat, fruits, and fresh vegetables which are picked up along the way.
Fresh clothes, linens, and supplies are replenished within a week, so it is ready to go. All that is left to do is fill up with fuel and fresh water tanks. We never winterize because we head for warmer weather in the winter, either to the south and or southwest.
The camper rarely sits more than two weeks before it is used again. The whole purpose for having this truck camper is so we can go at any time and have our house with us, whether it be for one night, one weekend, one week, one month, or three to four months at a time. Yes, retirement is wonderful.
If we are only going for one night or weekend, we only take a half tank of fuel and half water or less, depending on where we are going. This greatly increases our gas mileage from 12 miles per gallon to 15-16 miles per gallon depending on whether we go across the mountain or just down the valley. The truck gets solid 22 miles per gallon when it is empty, as long as I keep my foot out of it. It is good to be flexible and have a variety in planning.” – Dennis Stitt, 2005 Dodge Ram 1500, 2013 Travel Lite 840 SBRX
“I keep in all food and seasonal clothes! I wash the linens, towels, bath cloths, etc.” – Harvey Stallings, 2010 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 2005 Travel Lite 890 SBRX
“We keep our camper fully stocked with any non-perishable items and fresh linens. The only thing we do is turn it on, fill up our refrigerator, and put clothes in. Then, we are ready to get away. Don’t forget that bottle of wine.” – Kelly Beck, 2016 Ford 350, 2016 Cirrus 800
“We leave everything which is not perishable in the camper. We are ready to roll after we add the refrigerated stuff and restock. After laundry is done, we put everything back in the camper immediately.” – Carol Bowman, 2005 Dodge 3500, 2014 Lance 1191
“I keep it mostly stocked. I add food (some stays), seasonal clothes and a few items that live in both the RV and house. That’s one of the things I love most about having an RV instead of the tent or pop up we used for years.” – Connie Westbrook, 2003 Chevy 3500, 1997 Lance Squire 5000
“I unload the camper off the truck, dump all water, clean out the refrigerator, and that’s it.” – Bill Richcreek, 2013 Ford F350, 2014 Lance 865
“We leave our camper stocked with basic clothes and food year round so we can run away on a getaway on a moment’s notice. In the spring we stock with supplies for camping in our home province of British Columbia and in the fall after hunting season, we restock for wintering in the southern United States.” – Ken and Jenn Burton, 2012 GMC 3500, 2012 Arctic Fox 992
“We only unload our clothing bags from that trip, food stuff that has been opened and will go bad if not used soon, and refrigerator foods. Lots of canned and boxed foods, bottled water, adult beverages, jackets, and extra clothes all stay on board for our next trip.
It only takes us about ten minutes to reload. We are lucky enough to live on over an acre of property where our camper can stay loaded on the truck, plugged in, and ready for next weekend.” – Allen Jedlicki, 2012 GMC 2500HD, 2014 Wolf Creek 850SB
“We are very spur of the moment campers so the camper is always loaded and only needs fresh water and food. As soon as the refrigerator is cooled down we are on our way.” – Burt Strong, 1997 GMC C3500, 1997 Lance Legend 900
“The camper stays stocked for a long weekend getaway all season. This includes canned goods, coffee items, clothes, shower gear, soaps, bug sprays, shoes, tools, paper goods, silverware, towels, bedding, etc.
If we are going on a long trip (a week or more) I will add food, more clothes, refrigerated food, and canned drinks. In the winter, I take in everything that will freeze because it is moist. I also take in clothes and shoes, but leave paper goods, towels, bedding, silverware, and other miscellaneous items in the camper year round.” – Shelley Pike, 2009 Ford F350, 2006 Lance SC950
“The camper is our emergency bug out vehicle so we keep it loaded and stocked in the summer, but take all the perishables and bedding out during the winter. I may have to set a new record for loading the camper back on the truck if we ever had a fire during the winter. We can always buy supplies!” – Simon Carlton, 2004 Ford F350, 2009 SnowRiver 9.6
“We keep it fully stocked because we have plenty room in our driveway. But we don’t overload it because, after 45 years of camping, we realize we don’t need a lot to be happy and free. We are happy retired.” – Michel Martin, 2007 Ford 250, 2005 Mountain Star
“We purchased everything we felt was needed for the camper and leave it all inside all the time. These things include dishes, silverware, cooking pots/equipment, towels, bed sheets/blankets, and even personal hygiene supplies. Clothes and perishable food items come in after a trip, but the camper has its own stock of coffee, salt, pepper, Tabasco and bathroom stuff that’s ready in a moment’s notice.
Our house was flooded just over a year ago, requiring digging up yard drainage and plumbing. We took the opportunity of this disaster to install a sewer receptacle and fresh water line where the camper sits on a gravel drive in our backyard. We already had a 30-amp electric service box mounted on the side of the house. So, when needed, we can (and did during the house rebuild) live in our Lance for an extended period.
When plugged in, it’s just like being in a commercial campground, including satellite television reception. One of my favorite conveniences is when we come back from a trip with tanks full, I can hookup and drain them at home.
Next, I hope to build a metal carport-type structure to keep the sun off of the camper when it is stored.” – Gary Possert, 1998 GMC K3500, 2014 Lance 1050S
“I keep it fully stocked and in the garage on a dolly I made next to the truck. I like having it in the garage, keeping it clean, and having the batteries charged. Plus, I am always tinkering around making modifications to it.” – Chris VanBuskirk, 2014 GMC Sierra, 2016 Four Wheel Camper Raven
“We try to park it in front of our shop and keep it plugged in to power. The refrigerator runs and the batteries stay charged. Sometimes we even leave the air conditioner on. We unload the dirty laundry and bedding, and some things will stay in the refrigerator. We reload food and drinks as needed the day before we leave. All cooking utensils, paper plates, cups, paper products, jackets, rain coats, soap, and toiletries stay put.
My wife usually gives everything a good cleaning the day after we get home. I do the LP gas, black/grey tanks, fresh water, (we dump and refill every time). Keeping it close to our house is a big plus, and keeping it plugged in also makes it quick and easy to reload. We run the air conditioner, heat, or the roof vent while getting ready to go.
Living in Wisconsin, we have to winterize by the end of October or so. Then all food, bedding, clothes, and the batteries out of all the remotes get removed. Happy truck camping!” – Lawrence Ginnow, 2007 Chevy 3500, 2014 Palomino HS-2910
“My camper stays fully stocked with the exception of refrigerated foods and a small carry on bag that contains our medications and other essentials. It stays in front of our apartment building on the street fully loaded and ready to go for two reasons.
First, there has been quite a bit of chatter on the news recently about the big one (earthquake) happening in the very near future (magnitude 6.0 or greater) because of shifting along some of the fault lines here in southern California. The camper could be our home for awhile if it doesn’t get swallowed when the ground shakes. Like they say on television, it’s not if we will have an big quake, but when.
Second, living in mid-city Los Angeles, a secure storage lot is quite expensive and several miles away. I could almost buy a new camper for the monthly fee most lots charge here!” – Bill Cramer, 2006 GMC 2500HD, 1972 Boswell Tilten Hilton
“We have a climate controlled garage to store our camper so we only take out food and dirty clothes. We clean things up, but leave as much as possible for the next trip.” – Robert Mayton, 2014 Ford F450, 2015 Lance 1172
“I leave it mostly stocked and ready to go. I try to get things cleaned and restocked in order to have it ready as soon as possible when I get home. I do occasionally empty everything out and do a re-pack and re-organization. I feel if it’s a big chore to get it ready, I won’t use it as much. When it’s ready to go all the time, I end up taking off a lot more often.” – Dave MacArthur, 2008 Ford F350, 2010 Lance 992
“As with my other RVs, I keep most necessities in the camper all the time, with the exception being clothing other than a sweatshirt (it’s easy to pack and throw in a duffle bag each trip), and perishable food items. I like to stop and stock up on perishable food near my first destination – and that allows the refrigerator to cool down before filling it if it’s been in storage for awhile. Plus, I like the excuse to take a break from driving.
I like to be prepared, and my thinking is that the more necessities I don’t keep all the time in the RV, leaves more room to forget something I will likely need at my destination. I do take the bedding out to wash it dependent on usage (this is camping after all) with the pillow cases and towels at a minimum being washed after each trip.
My goal after a trip is to only keep the RV in the driveway for a day or two before taking it to storage. That gives me time to wash the linens I need to, remove any unused perishables, and wash the exterior.
By keeping most things in the camper or any RV, it allows me to decide pretty much at the last minute to decide to take off on a journey. Hopefully that translates into taking more trips if they’re easier to initiate.” – Brian H., 2016 Ram 3500, 2016 Lance 1062
“I have an 12x12x26 RV port next to the garage that will accommodate the truck and camper. The camper is never completely unloaded, although I don’t keep food items in it over the winter. After a trip the linens are washed and placed back in the camper. The camper is stored clean and mostly ready for the next trip. The camper is winterized every fall to save the costs of heating the unit all winter.
Year-round, once a week, I start the propane generator and let it run for thirty minutes. The RV port has water, electric, and a feed from the home satellite dish. The dump station is located at the other end of the garage, because we did not plan things very well.
We sometimes use the camper for extra sleeping space when the grandchildren visit. The three year old twins call it the, “Tree House”. Since we live in a rural area, grey water can be dumped on the gravel driveway, and the black water tank is kept closed until the unit can be moved to the dump station. Or I use the portable dump tank to transfer the contents of the black tank to the dump station.
Usually in the spring the camper is loaded onto the truck, and it stays on the truck until fall. When the camper is off-loaded, I have a matching ARE Tonneau cover that goes on the truck. I built a winch system that uses a manual boat winch mounted to the wall with a pulley system in the garage so that the cover can be loaded and unloaded by one person. When the camper is off of the truck, the truck has a place in the garage.
The truck has a Bed-Rug installed in the bed. That makes a finished area for when the tonneau cover is on the truck and a slip proof mat for the camper to sit on when loaded on the truck. The Bed-Rug does not get wet when driving in the rain since water does not blow back that far. The Bed-Rug has done a wonderful job protecting the bed; the 15 year old truck bed still looks brand new.
Our current camper is truck camper number eight. We have been camping in these things for many years, and have worked out some methods to our madness.” – Charles Spray, 2002 Ford F350, 2016 Travel Lite Illusion 1100
“Clothes, refrigerator food, and other personal items are removed. Holding tanks are emptied and rinsed, and the water tank is filled. It takes about an hour to reload stuff for the next trip before we leave on our next trip. The camper is kept in our driveway.” – Ronald Ramos, 2003 Ram 3500, 2001 Adventurer 90RDS
“We keep our camper completely stocked minus everyday clothes and refrigerator items. Other than that it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. The camper is kept in an enclosed garage on out property. The truck is too big to fit and it is used five to six days per week.” – Bob Hunt, 2016 Dodge 4500, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“I keep all packaged food in and everything else stocked up, except for our clothes and fresh food. That way when we decide to leave we are ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice. Well kind of because it usually still takes me two days to get ready! Oh well, I just can’t help it. I’m all about lists.” – Mark Daigle, 2016 GMC 3500, 2002 Lance 992
“Our camper, The Turtle, sits mostly ready to go in our backyard. When we return home from a trip, we always drain the water, including the water heater, remove the perishable food, most of the clothes, and clean it.
To use it the next time, we only have to fill it with water, fresh food, and some clean clothing. We can have on the truck, and ready to go in an hour. Sometimes we make a quick decision to go somewhere for a weekend.
We live in a cold place (Gunnison, Colorado) so we re-winterize between trips when the temperature is below freezing. It takes about five minutes and a half bottle of RV antifreeze. Sometimes when we are going to use it the next weekend, we just turn on a small electric heater on low. We always refill propane bottles whenever we empty one.
At the end of the camping season, October, we remove all of the food, all of the clothes, but leave the dishes, chairs, television, and other camp supplies in it. We clean it, and winterize it. It makes for a quick return to service in the spring, usually March or so.” – Kevin Davidson, 2015 Chevy 3500HD, 2001 Lance 1010
“Since our camper stays on our property all year round I stock the basics in the spring (ie: flour, sugar, spices, clothing, cleaning supplies, etc) and purchase food for the trip as we drive out of town. I like the ability to get up and go in an hour’s notice. After our last trip in the very late fall, everything gets emptied and we winterize the camper and it’s good to go next spring.” – Rickey and Bill Werner, 2012 Ram 3500, 2005 Lance 981
“When we get home from a trip we off-load the camper, unpack everything but the items that always stay there such as our cooking tools, and drain the tanks.” – Al Stebbins, 2016 GMC 2500 HD, Northern Lite 2005 8-11 Queen Classic
“We’re fortunate. We have a 3500 square foot Bat Cave. We live on a forested 13.45 acre parcel overlooking a lake and had the space to build what we wanted.
We keep our camper loaded on our truck (unless it’s time for a service to be done) or the truck is needed for something else. We make a list of what we use while traveling and restock when we get back home.
Clothes are washed and replaced, propane refilled, battery disconnected and put on a trickle charger. Both the truck and camper are cleaned from top to bottom. The truck fluids are topped off, lights are checked and before we leave the tires are aired and the water is refilled.
Living in a forested location, fires are always a concern. Our truck camper is our evacuation vehicle, so we keep it ready to roll almost all the time.” – David Pracht, 2015 GMC HD K3500, 1987 Lance LC900
“Just the holding tanks and clothing gets dumped. The rest stays for the next trip.” – James Davis, 2009 Toyota Tundra, 2016 Lance 650
“We stock it with a standard packing list of staples in the spring and these items are replaced as they are used. Then, they are taken out in the fall. Examples might be canned goods, baking supplies, cooking oil, olive oil, and so on (we cook a lot).
We also normally keep the standard camping supplies in the rig (grill, axe, extension cords, truck camper tools, camp chairs, cleaning supplies, etc) all the time unless we are doing some specific maintenance with these. So we have a long day in the spring and fall and a pretty quick time of it for a weekend outing (clothes and refrigerator stuff). We also use a checklist before we leave on every trip.” – Steve Merrill, 2009 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2007 Lance 992
“Ideally in the summer, it’s off the truck, but fully stocked for one of those last minute getaways or unexpected visitors (I usually move into the camper). In the winter I keep it mostly packed, but dump all the water out. I don’t want busted pipes.” – Robert Williams, 2012 GMC Sierra 3500 HD, 1994 Fleetwood Caribou
“We clear out the perishables but leave most everything in the camper. We store it in a shed near our house and sometimes need to run out and get something from the camper. Only when we are done camping for the season do we clear out all food stuff. I leave clothes in the camper at all times.” – Dan Forry, 1996 Ford F250 XLT, 2006 Palomino Bronco 1251
“The camper is right outside the garage door fully loaded and ready to play. You never know if it’s going to be one of those mornings when it’s just too nice to go to work. ‘Hey Boss, I’m having eye troubles. I can’t see coming to work today’.” – Gary Usher, 2015 F350 Lariat, 2015 Lance 1172
“Once I stock the camper in the spring it stays loaded until it is winterized in the fall (and sometimes after as we occasionally camp into winter with a winterized camper). After each trip dirty laundry is washed and put back and perishable food removed. We like to keep our camper ready to go for a weekend at a moment’s notice during the camping season. For longer trips I will go through the camper and add extra provisions.” – Tricia Mason, 2009 Ford F350, 2008 Montana Ponderosa
“It stays stocked. I use it at least one night a week at work and then many trips throughout the rest of the year. That would be a royal pain to empty. I need nothing for the camper from my house and vice versa. It is at home in my garage.” – Kevin Jenckes, 1996 Ford F250, 2006 Northstar 850SC
“We usually do about a 80/20 empty. The camper is stored about twenty miles away from home. So, it makes sense to empty most of it. I do not empty all the outside compartments. Only the inside gets emptied.” – Woody Flickinger, 2003 Dodge 3500, 2012 Arctic Fox 1140
“We do not unload. We use this truck camper about every weekend. We dump the clean water tank when it is hot out, but that is about it. We have a 30-amp plug by the garage and we keep it plugged in most of the time.” – Leslie H Bowyer, 2005 Ford F350, 2013 Maverick
“We keep our rig partially stocked. We empty and clean the refrigerator and the tanks, but keep any non-perishable food we may need for the next trip in the rig. We are fortunate to be able to keep the camper off our truck in our garage. We like to think that we are that much closer to our next adventure, but work keeps getting in the way!” – Eddie Fort, 2016 Ford F350, 2016 Hallmark Everest
“I always keep it stocked and ready for our next outing, even if it’s only for one night at the beach. We love getting out during all seasons, and it’s always ready in case of an emergency!” – Mike Nunez, 2001 Ford F250, 2011 Lance 865
“We keep ours partially stocked. Everything but perishables, clothes, and personal items stay in the camper. I take everything in to wash and there is no food left in over the winter because it freezes here. We have a barn on our property where the camper lives when it isn’t on the truck.” – Stacie Link, 2016 Ram 2500, 2001 Four Wheel Grandby
“I leave it partially stocked while replacing used up non-perishable supplies. The entire truck and camper combo fits in garage (even with top popped up) where it is plugged in. Perishable supplies are moved in the day before we move out, guided by destination and duration.” – R. Shaffer, 2016 Ram 3500, 2016 FWC Hawk
“We are able to park it in our driveway for several days which makes it easier to pack and unpack. We unload all of our food by carrying it into the house in a laundry basket.
We also bring in all our clothes, bedding, and towels. I wash the bedding and towels and put them back in the camper. I leave dishes, silverware, utensils, and pots in the camper.” – Ken and Sue Laufer, 2015 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2016 Northstar 12STC
“We live on Toledo Bend Lake in East Texas. We have a lot with a covered pad and electricity. We unload each time after we use our camper. We first stop in front of our home and unload all the food, clothing, laundry, and anything else that needs to come out before backing it into its house. We leave some items in the refrigerator so we plug it up to electric. We open the roof vents and the window over the kitchen area for ventilation.” – Juanita Robinson, 2007 Dodge Ram, 2011 Lance
“We keep it partially stocked and ready to go. We are fortunate to have a dedicated vehicle for the camper, plus a dedicated parking shed attached to the house with power, water and sewer. We also live in a climate where we don’t have to winterize.
The camper stays plugged in, packed with clean linens, and has some food in the cabinets and refrigerator, 24/7/365. The rig is often used just to go to the grocery store or take a ride to the lake at sunset. We just unplug the power cord and drive off.” – Douglas Tatman, 2005 Dodge 3500, 2004 Lance 1130
“Unless we are preparing to store the camper for the season we tend to keep it 75% ready to roll. We empty the refrigerator and turn it off. We leave most everything on board.” – Steve Fisher, 2014 GMC 3500, 2014 Chalet DS116FB
“We unload the clothes, what needs to be washed, and as the season changes to winter, the extra warm clothes go in. We rotate the canned goods, clean it up inside, and air it out. We restock, winterize the fresh water tank, and set a dry-el tub to keep out condensation.
Like I’ve said in the past, we are pretty much set if we decide to take off on a jaunt. That’s why a truck camper can’t be beat. Keep up the great work, you two. We are still super addicted to this website. YOWSA!” – Mike Kolinski, 2012 GMC 2500, 2012 FWC Hawk
“On arriving home, holding tanks are emptied (can do this at home), any perishables and dirty clothing are removed, the camper is cleaned inside and out, the fresh water tank is filled, non-perishables and some (non-trip dependent) clothing is also replaced.
Then the rig is parked beside the house (thankfully we have plenty of room for this and no HOA). The camper stays on unless the truck needs to become a truck. If the truck is not needed for something else, the camper just sits there.
Part of the reasoning associated with having the camper close to ready to go is that here in southern California we have the potential for wildfires. If we need to bug out we can do so quickly.” – Bruce Colby, 2004 Dodge 2500, 2004 Lance 835
“We leave our camper partially stocked. All we need to do is load fresh clothes and stock up the refrigerator. Then, we are ready to go.” – Jim Holland, 1995 Chevy Silverado, 2008 Hallmark Milner
“During our camping season we keep it partially stocked with canned food, frozen food, some canned or bottled drinks and bottled water. Clothes are added to the basics depending on the weather forecast when we go camping. At the end of the season the camper gets winterized, everything else is removed, and it’s stored for the winter months. Lastly we mouse proof (hopefully it works) and then the cover goes on the camper.” – Jay Brower, 2013 Chalet TS116
“We keep towels, pots, pans, dishes, and silverware in the camper, but no food, stuff, or clothing.” – Dee Gheen, 1999 Dodge Ram 3500, 2007 Host Yellowstone
“We keep our camper about 80% stocked (81.378% to be precise). We keep the bed made up with clean sheets, blankets, etc. We have towels, bath items, and toiletries in the medicine cabinet. Some clothing items (truck camping and N-SSA tee shirts, rain gear, sweatshirts, etc also reside permanently in the camper.
Non perishable food items, canned goods, spices, kitchen items and a few small appliances and electronics all live in the camper. We remove laundry, perishable refrigerator/freezer food, and clothing packed specially for that trip. Tanks are also dumped, treated, and the fresh water is refilled at the end of each trip. This allows us to go camping with only an hour or two preparation at most, as we only repack fresh/frozen foods and specific clothing for “X” number of days on the road. Plus, with lots of useful items already in the camper, we get to enjoy our cozy little home close to home whenever we wish we were camping, but don’t have the time for a getaway!” – John and Marylou Wells, 2011 Chevy 3500, 2012 Chalet Ascent S100F
“I use it almost every month going bass fishing, staying from two to eight days. I take out all refrigerator food, perishable dry food, dirty laundry, sheets, tackle, computer, reading material, prescriptions, contacts kit, and electronics like iPods. Everything else stays in so I’m ready. I keep my camper at the house and start packing at least a week before every trip.” – Morgan Swisher, 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 2015 Wolf Creek 850
“We dump all the tanks, take all the food out and most all the clothes. Other things that need cleaning we take out, clean and put it back. I leave my tools, grill, leveling blocks, camp chairs, other small items in either the truck or camper where they are stored.
I usually take the camper off the truck if we have no plans on using it soon because the truck is also used for hauling other things. The truck and camper are stored on a pad with hookups beside the house.” – John Bull, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2015 Arctic Fox 990
“I keep my camper 50% loaded, due to the fact that I keep it on the truck 90% of the time, and I work only three miles from home. Totes, gear, the potty, table, and seats stay inside. Food, cookware, bedding, clothes, water, etc gets removed.
I don’t have a HOA at my house, but city code enforcement is strict. No toy haulers or motorhomes are allowed in the front yard, but a camper on a daily driver is allowed, which is one of the main reasons I went with a camper.” – Winston Gotte, 2003 GMC Sierra 1500HD, 2016 FWC Hawk
“Like the author, we do a complete clean-out getting back from a trip, but then do a full restock except for water. That way, the only thing we need to do is load fresh food, water, our clothes, and the dogs. Luckily we can park our camper at our house. Depending on how long before we anticipate the next trip, I may or may not take it off the truck.” – Bill Peters, 2013 Chevy Silverado, 2013 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“Partially stocked so we can hit the road.” – Robert Gray, 2004 Dodge 2500, 1996 Alpenlite Silerton 11
“We keep our truck camper partially stocked. We have underwear, jackets and rain gear for each of us that always stays in the camper. Also, we keep toiletry items loaded. When we come home I wash and reload the clothing. We keep some food items that don’t spoil in the cabinets.
When we go on a trip I just load our clothing and food and we’re ready. We keep our camper in a storage unit so I load it bit by bit before a trip. When we come home we stop by the house and can unload very quickly then go put the camper up.” – Cindy Reed, 1999 Chevy Silverado 2500, 2012 Lance 825
“We keep it partially stocked during our normal travel season. There is a complete selection of dry-goods that live on-board. We inventory and replace what was used on the latest outing. We completely empty and shut down the refrigerator upon return from every trip. Everything is emptied when we call it a year and winterize.” – Tom and Mary Bailey, 2015 Ford 250, 2103 Arctic Fox 811
“When we get in from a trip the camper gets cleaned and any food that might spoil before we go out again is removed. All of our clothing goes into the house with the exception of items that we leave in there all the time anyway. Our camper lives beside the house, so even after winterizing we know that if we want or need anything from the camper, all we really have to do is go out and get it.
We always keep the idea about using the rig as an emergency shelter in the back of our minds, but to be truthful when it’s off the truck we try to minimize the number of times we go into it without good reason.” – Terry Teeft, 2015 Chevrolet 3500, 2013 Wolf Creek 850
“We are snowbirds and live in Florida in the winter at a HOA that has camper storage spaces available. We completely empty it and take it off the truck since we use the truck for other purposes. We will use the camper in the winter for short trips. So, we can easily restock for that.
In May we will load it up and head to the Poconos for the summer and live in our fifth wheel there. Then, we use truck camper for mini vacations.” – George Williams, 1999 Dodge Ram, 2007 Travel Lite
“We do not dump our camper. We have an extended concrete driveway down the side of our home as well as a 30-amp RV box for hookups. This allows us to maintain an appropriate temperature/humidity in our unit 24/7 365 days a year. We do empty all food if we are not going to use the camper for two to three months.
For emergencies we purchased several items specifically for the camper and keep these items in the camper at all times.
We got a NOCO Genius GB150 Boost Jump Starter that provides additional electrical charging of all batteries other than the camper batteries; cell phones and computers. This battery recharges while driving in about two hours and will jump start up to a 1 L diesel engine. It is small enough to fit under the backseat of our truck.
We have a dedicated eight foot collapsible ladder, even though the camper comes with a ladder to get to the roof. This allows us to clean the camper while traveling. We have two tools bags; one for electrical gear and the other for any other emergency (Duck Tape, etc.). We maintain various tools, flares/collapsible shovel, hand saws, levels, extra extension cords (50 feet), two extra water hoses, etc.
In the bathroom we maintain special backpacking towels so that we don’t need to take things from the home. They reduce condensation in the camper as well as take up less space. We maintain eight black tank replacement chemicals as well as various cleaning chemicals for the camper including being able to wash and wax the camper at any carwash (extension wand and scrub brush). We do have beach towels under our couch, but don’t use them in the bathroom as they hold too much moisture once used.
The kitchen is always fully equipped. If anything is not clean upon our arrival home we clean it and restock within twenty-four hours. We store paper plates in the microwave and this helps keep the glass turning plate from moving around while traveling. We do clean out the refrigerator at the end of every trip and turn it off until one to three days of a trip. We have dedicated cooking/eating utensils and pots/pans. My brother and sister-in-law introduced us to a wonderful eight cup pot that will be our go to cooking item from now own.
We keep the bedroom fully stocked and have additional blankets/sheets, etc. ready in our home specifically for the camper. If we have more than two campers we have a closet in our home for camping gear and get items from there. We do not have to take things from a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen, to be ready.
Other Items we keep in the camper are a portable fan and/or portable ceramic heater. If we are connected to landline electricity I use electric heat rather than LP. These two items are seasonal.
I have a list and I update it as we go. These are items that we need to pack, that are not in the camper. Some of these items are used around the house so I have to share them.
Maps for the area we intend to travel are taken from the house as needed.
Examples are; Portable Viair Air Compressor, Bryman Electric Multimeter, Infrared Temperature Tester, Impact Wrench (remove tire from truck), Whistler WIC-960S Inspection Camera (has 3 foot flexible tube to see places you can see on your own and it records what you see), Passport, Senior Pass, Good Sam’s Card, AAA Card, Cash, Checkbook, Weapon (Retired Police can travel with a gun in all 50 states – Legally), Laptop, Laser Loading System, Additional Rear Camera for backing. Most important is to have digital copy of all manuals for all truck and camper equipment as well as documents that help determine where to go and what to see (placed on laptop).
I have very few additional items that I would like to carry but one would be a WiFi extender that would allow better reception when near a free WiFi system such as a coffee/donut store allowing access while inside the camper or truck rather than using the WiFi in public/inside the building. That would be a dedicated item for the camper.
I have RV Technical Data stored digitally. This file was started by my brother, Dave, and I have continued to update it and share it with others. It has subdirectories such as Driving an RV, Frame/Underside, Towing, Fulltime RVing, Boondocking, Staying in Touch, Cost of RVing, RV Etiquette, RV Gatherings, RV Maintenance, Safe living in RV, Boondocking Safety, Electrical issues, Everything else, Truck Camper Magazine articles, Pass/Zoo Savings list, Check Sheets (Departure/Arrival/Grocery Lists), Rv State Laws, RV Android Apps (TCM), Truck Campers, Motorhome Magazine Articles, 5th Wheels, Camper Info, National and State Part Info, Alaska State Info, Crossing into Canada, etc.
We try to digitize as much information as possible so that we can be prepared to read up on problems that we might encounter. They are less space and available. We download numerous Truck Camper Magazine articles to make certain that if we are not in a WiFi area we can still read up on a problem already discussed by TCM.” – Donald Fox, 2015 Ford F450, 2016 Lance 1172