Fifteen years ago, before the age of truck camper slide-outs had taken hold, it was common to have a window on the front wall of a truck camper that lined-up with a window on the camper rear door. These two windows were designed to allow the driver to see through the mounted truck camper to view vehicles behind the rig.
When we first saw this set up on our first camper, a 2004 Lance 1030, we believed it would have little benefit. How could these two small widows, with the interior length of the truck camper between them, possibly offer any real visibility?
Well, the windows worked beautifully. By looking at the rear view mirror, the driver could see through the camper to the rear door window and clearly see vehicles behind the camper.
On our 1030, Lance had added a Fresnel wide-angle acrylic lens to the rear window. This dramatically increased the field of view the small window offered. The two windows, with the Fresnel lens, made driving the rig more comfortable. You could easily see vehicles behind the rig during the day, and headlights behind the rig at night.
Fast forward to 2014 and the great majority of truck campers manufactured no longer have this window-to-window visibility. On some campers, slide-outs now completely block the center path through the unit. On other campers the manufacturers have decided that front windows are a potential leak source and have omitted front windows throughout their product line.
Whatever the case may be, most truck campers do not feature rear view visibility, unless you get a rear view camera system.
Once again, it was Lance that introduced us to rear view camera systems. Our 2013 Lance 855-S came with a built-in rear view camera system. It offered excellent visibility to the driver, but we found the screen be disorienting to have on while we were driving. Ultimately, we didn’t use the system very much, and didn’t think much about rear view cameras once the camper was returned.
Last week we caught up with some truck camping friends and they asked us for our recommendations for rear view cameras. During our conversation, I confessed that we had little experience with rear view cameras and suggested we bring up rear view cameras as a Question of the Week. What better way to find out which camera systems are working for truck campers than to ask our wonderful and vibrant truck camping community?
Without further adieu, this week’s Question of the Week is, “Do you use a rear view camera and – if you do – what make and model do you use, and do you like it?”