Last week we celebrated our 10 year anniversary story by publishing, “Truck Camper Magazine: The Never Before Told Story”.
We shared the history of how we started the magazine, and the insane series of events that followed; the Great Recession, a major hack, and other triumphs and near disasters. It’s been quite the journey and an American Dream come true.
As part of our anniversary celebration, we asked readers to share their TCM stories. Our question was, “How has Truck Camper Magazine impacted your truck camping lifestyle over the years?”
Thank you for all the wonderful feedback. We could not have gotten here without you!
“Gordon and Angela – I just finished your story. Your path toward development of your most excellent publication is similar to all successful lemonade stories; surviving the pioneering effort.
Your ability to focus the problem into one task at a time, recognizing each other as a PB&J compliment, and keeping your marbles from scattering, demonstrates innate abilities you both have (probably transparent to you) that Rex Willett sensed at your first meeting.
Do you now know why successful entrepreneurs never say, “It can’t get any worse than this”? Because it can! I hope to meet you someday.” – Barth Zurbuchen, 2013 Northstar Arrow 8.5, 2007 Classic Silverado HD2500
“Without TCM, I would not be a truck camper owner. I work with a camping enthusiast and he encouraged me to attend some local RV shows. I was set on getting a fifth wheel toy hauler to use with my Harley in the back.
He found the perfect truck for me and I purchased the 3500HD. As I continued to look at fifth wheel trailers, I came across a piece in TCM describing the cool new Cirrus 800. That gorgeous camper caused me to subscribe to TCM and research the style in more depth.
As soon as the Cirrus 800 was released, I made plans to visit my nearest dealer, Pine Tree RV in Huntsville, Texas. The article on matching truck to camper and camper to truck were instrumental in helping me understand the variables. I am indebted to your dedication to the truck camper enthusiast. Thanks so much!” – Stephen Smith, 2015 Chevy 3500 HD, 2017 Cirrus 820
“A big thank you for doing all you do for the community. I enjoy your articles and photos. Your story on the history was fantastic and I loved it. Way to go you two, well, three including the cat.” – Frank Poole, 2016 Ram 5500 HD, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“My wife and I haven’t been truck camping long enough to call it a lifestyle change, but I can tell you that Truck Camper Magazine caught my eye the first time I found it.
I am a retired newspaper and wire service reporter, managing editor, and bureau manager (not necessarily in that order) and I was impressed to no end on both the style and content of your writings. So much so that I invited non-RVers to read it just for the pleasure of reading well-done articles.
And this, your 10th anniversary story, kept me glued to my computer screen until the end. Congratulations on your hard-earned success and your top-of-the-line magazine.” – Guy Goodine, 2007 GMC HD2500, 2005 Travel Lite
“Congratulations on your 10 years! All your efforts don’t go unnoticed. As with any job, even one you love, there are times of doubt, wondering if you should carry on. Thankfully for us, you stuck to it and your passion shows.
I have been working at a crazy pace (mostly seven days a week) for as long as I can remember with a farm and now a busy commercial cabinet shop. I sometimes forget to stop and take a breath. Your magazine inspires me to do just that.
As retirement for me is just around the corner, I started to search for the right home grown activity to enjoy with my family. My wife and our German Shorthaired Pointer love to explore. A truck camper and a four-wheel drive truck fit us perfectly allowing us to get out to most places without issue.
Again, thank you for the interesting content. That keeps us looking to improve our truck camper experience and remind us to take a breath.” – Wes Hargreaves, 2016 Ford F450, 2006 Snowbird 108DS
“Yes, everything! We were camping novices who wanted a small RV of some kind that we could park in our back yard at the time. I vaguely remembered seeing a pickup camper as a kid and thinking, “Do those still exist?” A little searching later, TCM launched us down the path of truck camperdom.
We learned about weights and specifications, the different manufacturers, and various dealers. We requested brochures, studied all of them, drew up a portrait of our ideal camper, and stoked our vacation escape dreams with stories about all the cool places people visited in their truck campers.
Then it was time to – gulp! – really make it happen! We found a used truck that met our paper camper specifications, determined using TCM’s guides.
Leaning on TCM advice and advertisements, we visited Bill Penney at Truck Camper Warehouse, fell in love with the Northstars, and bought a new 2015 Northstar Laredo SC.
We’ve driven it all over the country since then, even stopping for a small repair and a big tour at the Northstar factory. Rex was as true and genuine as he appears in this magazine.
It’s possible we could have found truck campers without TCM, but we wouldn’t have been nearly as confident about our RV choices without it. Thanks, Gordon and Angela!” – Eric N., 2004 Ford F350, 2015 Northstar Laredo SC
“When we retired, we wanted to travel by truck camper. I found Truck Camper Magazine online in early 2011. After a couple of weeks, we were hooked on your site. The writing was fresh, with great details in the articles, and a sense of humor.
We did a comparison of campers and, after about a year, we decided on our truck and pop-up camper. Your hard work, and dedication is appreciated. Thanks, and good luck on the next ten years! You guys still rock!” – Mike Kolinski, 2012 GMC 2500 HD, 2012 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“The Who Goes Camping with Jeff Dean story inspired me to get a pop-up truck camper for the beach. I have it bookmarked on my favorites list. I haven’t looked back since. Jeff lives the life I live now. I followed his trek last summer. What a great adventure. Thanks, Jeff, for an awesome share.” – Jack Walzack, 2000 Ford F350, 2003 Northstar Laredo SC
“Truck Camper Magazine, which I have subscribed to for a very long time, became much like a warm friend who stops by the house every week to say hello. I have always looked forward to the TCM visit to my house, not for any one specific thing but rather the myriad of things each visit brings.
TCM is like my Cabela’s catalog, everything from shoes to shotguns. Maybe I don’t need a new pair of shoes or a new shotgun, but it’s sure interesting to read about them and see if there is anything new, because I just might.
We no longer own a camper. In fact, we just made our first trip in our new Cedar Creek fifth wheel. We almost cried when the buyer of our Arctic Fox 1150 drove off but, with five dogs and our business travel expanding, we need more room.
Would we ever buy a truck camper again? Bet on it and I look with envy when ever we see a truck camper on the road. See you on the road.” – Don Pryor, 2017 Ford F350
“Once the decision to purchase a truck camper was made (not without many objections and assumed practical reasons why this form of RV did not make sense for us on my part), I started researching to gain as much information as possible on truck campers and finding the right truck.
We visited several RV shows where truck campers were displayed and I stumbled upon this on-line magazine. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the typical marketing information from the various truck and camper manufacturers.
We faced a unique challenge in that we wanted to be able to store our rig in our driveway which limited our choices of both truck and camper sizes. TCM had recently purchased a new Chevy truck and were using a Lance 855S. That model was one of the campers we had decided would meet our needs.
I emailed Angela and she graciously measured the length of their rig helping us to determine that a similar setup would fit in our driveway. We ended up getting basically the same setup and have been enjoying the freedom of truck camping for 2.5 years now.
Each time we go out in our camper I thank my wife for insisting that we purchase a truck camper. TCM was a tremendous resource for us during the process of purchasing our truck and camper and continues to be something that we look forward to reading every week.” – Greg Chambers, 2015 GMC 3500, 2015 Lance 855S
“When I was to retire from my busy medical practice in November of 2016 I knew that I wanted to fulfill a lifelong dream to travel the back roads of our beautiful country. I wanted to keep it simple with one vehicle that fit into a normal parking spot and have nothing to tow. I looked at Class B and Class C motorhomes, but neither completely fulfilled my needs.
I had been reading Truck Camper Magazine for several years and was intrigued by the flexibility that truck campers allowed. I read current and back articles. I learned about payload matching, CAT scales, diesel versus gas, maintenance tips and much, much more. I read lifestyle stories and destination recommendations. I studied all of the truck camper manufacturers and even visited a factory.
Last fall we took the plunge and bought our Northstar Arrow U from Bill Penney at Truck Camper Warehouse in New Hampshire. We have been on the road for six weeks now and couldn’t be happier with our decision to become truck campers and our choice of campers.
We used tips learned from the magazine every step of the way from how to make a cabover bed to efficiently organizing our camper and packing a freezer. We have even planned potions of our first trip based on other readers recommendations. Happy 10th birthday and thanks TCM!” – Stephen Paushter, 2016 Ram 3500, 2016 Northstar Arrow 8.5 U
“TCM has been inspiring to me in so many ways. I have truly learned so much about what is possible with a truck camper.
Whether it is full-time living in a camper, great places to visit, fantastic photographs, off-road adventures, conquering extreme terrain, and getting to remote locations where others cannot go, I have learned so much about the lifestyle. This inspiration has pushed my travels farther and instilled in me a deeper appreciation for truck camping.
My Lance truck camper has been the most reliable and tough camper that anyone could imagine and we have loved owning it from day one. The people we have met and the places we have been have enriched our lives immensely.
We try our best to take at least one weekend trip per month to renew our spirits and clear our minds. I truly believe that reading a magazine dedicated to other truck camper enthusiasts has enhanced our experience beyond measure. Thank you for all you do!” – Hugh Redmon, 1997 Ford F-350, 1998 Lance Legend 990
“I was thrilled when I found TCM while researching truck campers in 2014. I bought my first truck camper in 1983. It was an early 1980’s Pilgrim made for small trucks. I put it on my first truck, a 1983 Toyota SR-5.
I had never heard of payload matching! It fit and the truck carried it. I put on a set of overload springs and happily traveled in it on and off till 1998, when I sold both. I had a new truck and was too busy remodeling a house to camp anymore. I know, bad decision, but I was also a Park Ranger at the time for my outdoor fix.
Fast forward to retirement and I was deciding to sell my house and hit the road full-time. What should I travel in? Finding the TCM website reminded me of how much fun I used to have in my Pilgrim (except for the manual jacks – nope!).
I had drooled over Lance in my younger years, but decided to look at everything out there I could. I read TCM day and night and discovered payload matching, (ohhhh, the truck kept getting bigger) and so much more.
After visiting every dealership I could and hitting two big RV shows I found listed on TCM, I knew it was still a Lance for me. I walked into a 2014 Lance 1050S and it clicked! Thank you for an inspiring (bucket list getting longer) and incredibly helpful magazine!” – Denise Gilmer, 2015 GMC 3500, 2014 Lance 1050S
“I accidentally found your magazine. Then Lance happened to be featured at my local Costco. I use the camper every month and have taken longer trips. I love reading about the adventures others have, and cooking. I dream of a very long trip, but my husband has health issues. I’ve read articles where others have also been able to still get out. I look forward to the reviews of new campers. Faithful reader!” – Candy Krewer, 1995 Dodge, 2006 Lance 1181
“I have been truck camping since 1966. When Camper Coachman magazine stopped publication, I was devastated. Many years later your magazine filled the void and I am extremely grateful for your efforts. When not truck camping it is enjoyable reading about it.
Long Wyoming winters allow for a lot of reading. As both my truck and camper are stored indoors, I am able to work on them to prepare for the spring. I am looking forward to this summer as a granddaughter and a friend are heading out from New Jersey. I plan to camp with them all over Wyoming. This is my high school graduation gift to her. I have done this many times for my other grandchildren.” – Bob Lick, 2003 Dodge 3500, 1993 Alpenlite 11’
“Gordon and Angela – I really loved reading your “Never Before Told Story”. I never knew all difficulties that were going on in the background. Glad you kept it going. TCM Rocks!” – Buzz and Sherri Merchlewitz, Crossville, Tennessee
“We are full-time RVers with a fifth wheel camper. During one summer’s travel with our big rig, my husband researched truck campers for a trip to Alaska. We didn’t want to take our house on such an arduous journey. During his research, he shared Truck Camper Magazine’s review of the Adventurer 116DS with me.
From reading your review and seeing all the photographs you took, I appreciated that the article was written by people who actually knew about truck campers from the user point of view, rather than a sales promotion piece. Truck Camper Magazine’s review definitely highlighted the good, but it also made a few observations about features you did not like.
Based on that review, we visited one of your sponsor dealerships that had that model in stock, Truck Camper Warehouse. I was able to use your review as a memory refresher after our visit and before we finally decided to purchase the 116DS.
Now a days, we both look forward to the twice a week e-zine and to see what is new in the truck camper world. We enjoy reading about the different mods people have made.
As a hobby photographer, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to share images of our rig with your annual calendar photo contest. We’re enjoying the truck camper so much that, besides the six month journeys we take with it in warm weather months, we’re taking two to seven night trips with it while snowbirding in Florida in our fifth wheel.
Thank you for all you’ve done for the truck camper community. We appreciate it!” – C&J Ramsey, 2012 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2014 Adventurer 116DS
“My wife and I are new to truck camping, buying our first truck camper (Northern Lite 8-11 SE) this summer in Whitehorse, Yukon at Fraserway RV.
We jumped in with both feet. We drove our new truck up to Whitehorse, loaded the camper, and toured around the Yukon for three weeks this summer and loved it!
On December 20th we boarded the ferry in Juneau, Alaska (our home) and headed for Bellingham, Washington. We have followed the coast, Washington, Oregon, California and are now in Arizona. We are planning on staying in Arizona until mid-April and then head back to Alaska.
We have used endless amounts ideas from Truck Camper Magazine to help us on our truck camping adventure. We have met lots of nice people and have stayed in every type of park around. We haven’t slept in a Walmart parking lot yet. State parks and boondocking are our favorite. Thanks for all help! I look forward to your emails.” – Tracy Rivera, 2016 Ford F350, 2016 Northern Lite 8-11 SE
“I just read your whole Never Before Told Story. Wow! So glad you persevered.
We are new to truck campers after many years in a tent, pop-up, and short time in a 25-foot RV. We travel long and fast and decided we wanted a smaller RV. My husband wanted a truck camper but they were expensive and so small. No way I would ever stay in one I told him!
Well, a friend had a neighbor with an older truck camper for sale for $500 and it was in great shape! So I took a look and was amazed. It had all my RV wishes. But truck campers were a whole new ballgame for us. So, I did a Google search and there you were. What a huge help your magazine has been as we learned this new way of RVing.
I don’t know how many times I have said to my husband, “Here’s what Truck Camper Magazine had to say about that”, or, “Look at this great modification in TCM.” Traveling in a truck camper was not a sure bet for us but I would have to say it has been a big success and we owe a lot of that to TCM.” – Connie Westbrook, 2003 Chevy 3500, 1997 Lance Squire 5000
“Wow! From laughing out loud to crying, thank you for everything. We met in early 2010 and our life as Truck Camper Magazine subscribers was never to be the same. You two are the best in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your journey behind this great fun and perfect source of information. Love you both! Until we meet again; be good and be safe.” – Jake and Sylvie Mathis, 1994 Dodge Ram Diesel 2500, 2005 Northern Lite 9Q C
“Until June of 2013, I had never owned a truck camper or a truck big enough to put one on. I did a fair amount of tent camping in my younger days (I’m 64 years old), so I’m no stranger to the outdoors.
Then I saw an advertisement on Craigslist that said, “Truck camper free to good home”. Really? So I want to take a look.
It was a 1972 Boswell Tiltin Hiltin. The interior was in need of full restoration. I headed back home to search the web and get educated about truck campers (and trucks to put them on). There was no information about the camper make and model, but one link did keep showing up in my searches – Truck Camper Magazine. So I started reading, and haven’t stopped since.
Your magazine told me all I needed to know; how to match a truck and camper, how not to think restoring an old truck camper is an easy job, more mods than I could ever get done, and just plain good reading in every issue!
Gordon and Angela, thank you for all the hard work you have put into TCM to make it the success it is!” – Bill Cramer, 2006 GMC 2500HD, 1972 Boswell Tiltin Hiltin
“We knew we wanted to eventually have a truck camper after my parent’s experiences with theirs 20+ years ago. We started looking for the right truck and the right camper in 2013 and discovered Truck Camper Magazine during our research. That summer, while at Topsail Beach, North Carolina for a week, I (Paula) buried my nose in my computer and read every truck camping article I could on TCM.
I especially enjoyed (and still do!) the lifestyle stories that recounted others’ adventures and gave us pointers on every aspect of the truck camping lifestyle. Since then, Mike and I both read TCM “cover-to-cover” and often look up specific subjects.
Lately, with Alaska on our radar for this summer, I re-read all the articles about Alaska and traveling on a budget as well as some other favorite lifestyle stories. Each time I’ve gotten something new from them. The articles are so well-written, witty, and fun.
After being inspired by a TCM article, I always think, “Let’s load the camper and go somewhere!” Thanks, Gordon and Angela, for inspiring thousands of us and making us all feel like part of the family! Keep up the good work!” – Paula and Mike Bostic, 1999 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet S95R Ascent
“Hey Gordon and Angela – Just wanted to say great story. I was always curious on how you got the idea and started the magazine.
I’m a 29 year old petroleum engineer currently living in San Antonio, Texas with my wife and one year old son. I’ve been reading your magazine for about four years and I’ve had the itch to buy a camper for about that long. I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado and went camping/boating often with my parents and brother.
When I was in high school my parents bought a Northstar TC700 pop-up and that was my first introduction to truck campers. We currently have a truck tent and have been saving and planning for a real camper. I can’t quite get my wife on-board with a truck camper, even after a visit to Princess Craft in Round Rock and showing her how large they can feel once you get inside them.
That being said, our first will probably be a bumper pull trailer; a used Lance if I can find one for the right price. For now, I will have to settle and wait until I can convince her that a truck camper is the way to go.
After reading many of your articles and reviews, my dream set-up would be a single rear wheel F-350 Lariat long bed with a new Hallmark Cuchara wet bath. I would also be tempted with a dually and a massive Eagle Cap or Lance multi-slide. They just amaze me with the size and luxury.
I just wanted to say thanks and I thoroughly enjoy reading your magazine. Keep up the great work.” – Brock Reesberg, 2014 Ford F150 Lariat, N/A
“My wife, Donna, and I have been campers from the time we married in 1982, starting with an old pop-up camper. As we had children, we progressed to a newer pop-up, a travel trailer, and finally a bunkhouse fifth wheel.
We live in northern Michigan and would often vacation in the Upper Peninsula. We always noticed that many of the most primitive and beautiful campsites on Lake Superior could not accommodate the size of our camper.
As the girls got older, and it was often difficult for them to take several week vacations with us, we were still lugging around a 30-foot fifth wheel and unable to fit into many of the primitive campsites we wanted to stay. That’s when Donna said, “We should look into those campers that fit on a truck.” My first thought was, “Those campers are way too small”, but the search began.
Most of RV dealerships in northern Michigan are limited in what they have to offer. If they happen to have a truck camper on the lot, they were all too small and basic for our liking.
So we did what anyone would do in our quandary, we “Googled” and stumbled across “Truck Camper Magazine”. It was like hitting the jackpot of truck camper information, all the major brands, possibilities, options and floor plans in one location.
But that was only the beginning. There was in-depth information about what kind of truck you’ll need, what modifications to consider, tech information from experienced truck camping enthusiasts, and then inspirational stories from seasoned travelers. We found the Truck Camper Holy Grail! You get the idea; TCM was a good find.
I won’t go into the process of selecting our rig, but it was TCM that opened our eyes to explore the many various truck campers available and led us to the camper and truck we have today. Without exaggeration, TCM was the resource responsible and it led us to this exciting new life of travel we enjoy.
For that, we are grateful to Gordon and Angela for their persistent hard work of making this magazine available. Thank you and congratulations on your 10 year anniversary!” – Ken and Donna Pastorius, 2015 GMC 3500, 2012 Arctic Fox 1150
“Congratulations Gordon and Angela on the 10th anniversary of your great magazine. I got my first truck and camper in 2007; a 1997 Dodge 3500 dually with Cummins (just like the one you had) with a 2005 Bigfoot. I have been reading your magazine regularly since then and appreciate all the stories, tips, and tricks. Thank you and best wishes to you in the coming years.” – Grant Smith
“I found the right camper for me through your magazine. Also, I bought many items which you reviewed like the Torklift spring kit and Hellwig sway bar. Also, many camping trips like Moab, Utah, and Arizona. I also enjoy reading about the modifications people make to their campers. Your magazine is essential for any truck camping.” – John Evans, 2010 Ford F250, 2016 Lance 825
“I am always amazed at the contacts and opportunity life affords us. We have been RVing for over 30 years and full timing for 12 years, but only started truck camping about five years ago.
When our search for a truck camper started, TCM was one of the first search results to pop up. That led us to the used camper section where we located our current Lance on Princess Craft’s website. The rest is history.
Through the years we have had every kind of purchase experience. Princess Craft was the most enjoyable and surprising we have ever had. We purchased our truck camper sight unseen and the service department walked me through every little repair it would need cosmetically.
To our surprise, we had to wait a few days to pick it up because, during their inspection problems were found. A holding tank had to be replaced, a new battery installed, along with a new inverter and water pump. Every repair was made a no additional cost to us. Wow! I want to give accolades for partnering with such great businesses.
Thanks for sharing the birth of TCM. Those of us who have toiled to make a dream come true and taken the leap of leaving a steady pay check understand your joy, fear, frustration, and now watchful care over your baby. Well done.” – Tom Elliott, 2007 Ram 2500, 1999 Lance 835 Lite
“I plan to travel extensively when I retire and TCM is my main source of information on truck campers and where to go.” – Pete Haidinyak, 2016 RAM 5500, N/A
“Big mistake – I sold my truck and camper two years ago and bought a fifth wheel. We thought it would be nice to have a little (lots) more room!
Well, what we got is lots more work with the fifth wheel. I have to rent a storage space and every month sending that check gets harder. It’s harder to set up, harder to back into camping spaces, and I always have to plan for fuel stops. Even rest areas require planning.
Every time I see a truck camper I kick myself again. For many years we have enjoyed the ease of travel and convenience of having the camper in the back yard ready to go! We used the truck camper a lot more than the fifth Wheel.
I am looking at a new Cirrus and hope to make the move soon. I read each issue of TCM with a little tear in my eye. Best wishes and keep up the good work.” – Jim Holyfield, 2003 Dodge 3500, Looking at this time!
“Happy Anniversary Gordon, Angela, and Harley. What an awesome and touching article. Keep up the great work.” – Randy Hunter, Lance Campers
“What a terrific, fun tell-all article! Keep up the mighty fine work!” – John and Marylou Wells
“When we purchased our Chalet truck camper back in 2012, I had no idea what a mod was. However, after reading several mods in TCM, I guess you can say I got the bug!
I love doing mods on my camper, making a video of how I accomplished it, and then publish it through TCM’s monthly contests. I just love reading all the clever ways others have changed their campers to better suit their lifestyles – it keeps me inspired!” – Charles Coushaine, 2001 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet DS116RB
“When I bought my truck it had an older Sunlite pop-up camper on it. I wanted a hard side camper for the colder weather we have in Minnesota. I used your website to decide on several models of campers to look at.
Your thorough coverage of weight and payload was an eyeopener. I had a three-quarter ton truck that should handle any camper, right? Wrong! Finally, on Craigslist, the right camper popped up. It was a 2006 Adventurer 810WS in great shape. I bought it at the asking price before it got away.
Then I used your site again for advice on updating my truck with Torklift StableLoads and Torklift tie-downs. After a few maiden runs to sort things out, I am on a three month trip.
Right now I’m in South Padre, Texas. In a few weeks I’m going to Big Bend National Park, then Apache Junction, Arizona. After that up it’s the coast of California to Washington state to visit my brother in Ilwaco, Washington.
Congratulations on ten years. I look forward to reading your magazine.” – Ron Wolfgram, 2000 Ford F250, 2006 Adventurer 810WS
“You helped me chose my pickup and camper. It’s kind of similar to your first one. Actually it’s the only dry bath non-slide truck camper we could get in a state bordering our then home, North Dakota.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050
“Congratulations to both of you for your 10th anniversary. Continue your excellent work.” – Sylvain and Sylvie Robin
“I met TCM in the spring of 2013. My wife and I had truck camped for years with mid-size then full-size Wildernest pop-over campers. We even bought a truck to fit a Wildernest camper we bought used.
After a serious health scare and being told by doctors it was time to retire, we decided we wanted a little more comfort in our camping. After a Google search, we found TCM, began exploring what we wanted, and settled on a Four Wheel Camper Hawk. We ended up buying new as we could not find a used one.
I have since been an avid follower of TCM, learning a lot and hopefully able to share some of our experiences that may be useful to others.
I really appreciated the article on the history of TCM. As a clinical social worker, the “back story” is usually more meaningful than the public presentation and adds so much to our understanding. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to continuing the relationship.” – Bill Peters, 2013 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2013 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“Over the last 55 years, this is our thirteenth RV. Our 12th was a 36-foot diesel pusher, so we’ve downsized. Now, small is better. We spent 165 nights nights camping in it the first year and a half,140 of them boondocking.
Thanks to TCM, we found this Lance 1030 at a dealership in Phoenix, Arizona. The downside was that we live in Red Deer, Alberta, but we bought it anyway!” – Ralph Pilkington, 1997 Ford F250, 2001 Lance 1030
“First, I would like to thank you both for your passion and dedication to this project. Speaking only as a consumer, your work through the magazine has been my eyes to places yet to see, new things in the marketplace, and a connection to others with this lifestyle. Your commitment to the truck camper industry and its growth is also to be appreciated.
Your opening question to submit this story reveals I’m not currently in a truck camper. However, my current mode of travel doesn’t tell the whole story. As a boy in the 1960’s we traveled in my families bare bones homemade cabover truck camper. Later the family purchased a West Coast truck camper. As I started my own family I have owned two truck campers over the years.
Precious memories made over the past 50 years were viewed through the front window of a truck; Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, the Gulf Coast, and many many more. The one constant in all these years of travel in hot, cold, and rainy weather is that, at the end of a day, a warm and dry comfortable bed was only a few foot steps to the rear.
So keep it up, even though our mode of travel is not the same I will always be a truck camper guy at heart and a faithful follower of your work.” – Bill Dalton, 2016 GMC 3500, Sorry!!! 2007 Keystone 5th Wheel
“I really enjoyed your story. Thank you.” – Bill Barnett
“Angela – Behind every great man is a greater woman. I liked how Gordon gave you credit. You guys are great! Best of luck for the next 10 years.” – Carlos Armas
“Actually, my wife got me going with truck campers. It was then that I found TCM. You and all the truck camper families fuel our adventures. The cool thing is that everyone has ideas for inspiration. We are doing Plan A and B this year and can’t wait. Keep it going guys. You know the old saying, “No guts, no glory.” – Douglas Caruolo, 2001 Ford F350, 2016 Eagle Cap 1160
“I just finished reading your story on how you started TCM. It is funny that we both chose a truck camper as our first RV because we didn’t want to tow and, if the RV thing didn’t work out, it was a lot easier to get rid of a truck camper and truck versus a motorhome. We went through the travel trailer thing and are now back in a truck camper and can’t be happier.
We enjoy reading TCM, about the various truck campers, factory tours, and the people who love their truck campers and the lifestyle.” – George Visconti, 2015 GMC Sierra 3500HD, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“I just wanted to thank you two for a great magazine and this recent article on how you got started. Great story!
We are retired and travel two to three months (all over the United States) each year with two dogs and a cat. We’ve owned four pickup campers, beginning with our very first used unit, a late 60s eight-foot cabover Tiltin Hiltin we bought for $800 around 1975 (along with a used Ford F250 Camper Special). That camper didn’t even have a head, electric water pump or a refrigerator, just an ice box.
Over the years we’ve also owned a camper van I built (all we could afford) and around ten motorhomes from a 24-foot to a 43-foot Tiffin Allegro bus that we bought new in 2008. Since 2006 we’ve had two diesel businesses but, during that period, we’ve always kept a pickup and a pickup camper. Probably odd, but I like both.
We sold our last motorhome in 2013. My wife preferred our Alpenlite truck camper, and we still have it. We’ve been readers of yours for years and my wife, who usually does not read this sort of content, doesn’t miss an issue. Keep up the good work!” – Casey Myers, 2010 Ram 3500, 2007 Alpenlite Cheyenne 950, our fourth pick-up camper
“I’m an 84 year old camper, and bought my first truck camper in early 2000 to go on a mission trip to Arizona. I have been on disaster relief trips, and Alaska twice. Bigger is not always better.
I just read your story of the ten years of ups and downs and wanted to tell you that you do a fine job. I enjoy all your articles. We just need recliners in truck campers. Keep up the good work.” – Kenneth Wright, 2006 Dodge 2500D, 2011 Travel Lite 890
“My wife and I decided we wanted to try truck camping. We have a Class A. We stumbled across Truck Camper Magazine and used the links to check out possible campers. That’s how we settled on Lance. We saw a Truck Camper Magazine announced RV show in Nashville and that’s where we purchased our Lance.” – Steve Wright, 2015 Ram 3500, 2015 Lance 1172
“We used to have a truck camper, but switched back to a van in 2014 and I still read Truck Camper Magazine. The main reason is that you have great feature travel articles written by real campers rather than travel writers. The mods and how-to articles are also good.
Camper vans and truck campers have a lot in common. They are small campers so we tend to be a resourceful lot. Our gear often needs to serve double duty. We are the tiny homes of campers.
Through TCM we have learned about destinations, wintering schemes, and taking longer duration trips. As we approach retirement these things are more interesting to us. Next time you get out here to Oregon stop by and we’ll give you a tour of our custom built van.” – Vincent Kurpan, 2014 Promaster 2500 van, custom built
“Damn Gordon and the beautiful Mrs. White, congratulations on 10 years! I still remember the phone conversation we had back in early 2007 when we talked about Truck Camper Magazine. I remember the call specifically as my wife and I were at my mother-in-law’s apartment, cleaning it out.
I look forward to ending up at the same rally you and Angela are attending. I think our paths only crossed once in Rhode Island a handful of years ago. You had a CampLite truck camper at the time on a borrowed Ford F150, but you had to leave early due to a family emergency. Now that our son is graduating high school we have no more fall sports events, so perhaps we’ll see you again soon.
Again, congratulations on 10 years!” – Nik Rende, Lance 1121
“Thanks for all your hard work! Your magazine inspires me every time I log on. We have been camping for decades and truck camping for fifteen years. We are almost always off-grid and get out as much as we can. We live in central California on a cattle ranch with a huge barn that is home to our camper. Come see us sometime on your way to the parks in this area. I loved your startup story!” – Jeff Popnoe, 2003 Chevy Silverado 2500, 2004 Lance 815 lite
“I have been reading and saving TCM since January of 2012 and will continue as long as I own a truck camper. I love your articles and especially the used for sale list each week. We are looking to upgrade our truck camper to go along with our new truck.
We also travel with a cat that thinks it’s a dog (he walks on a leash and has visited over 30 states with us). Thanks again for a great magazine keep up the good work.” – Mike and Nancy Pohl, 2015 Ford F250, 1985 American Pilgrim 8.5 hard side
“Congratulations! Great article. You two deserve all the wonderful things that come to you because you work hard, you’re great people, and you truly enjoy what you are doing. It shows. Hope to see you soon.” – Ed Amato, 2016 Northern Lite 10-2 RR
“As I approached retirement after many years as an educator, I knew that I wanted to travel. I didn’t want to tow a camper and I wanted the freedom to camp where others couldn’t go. Thus, the truck camper.
I purchased a used Fleetwood Caribou that would serve as a practice camper until my retirement. Less than a year before I retired, my wife passed away unexpectedly. This event put everything on hold until spring of 2016 when I finally decided that life is too short and I needed to retire and enjoy my life while I was still healthy and able to make some long road trips.
After reading several articles in TCM on Alaska travels, I decided that this would be the trip I needed to heal and do some soul searching.
I sold the Fleetwood and left Arkansas on June 7, 2016. I picked up the CampLite in Iowa on my way up to Alaska and made my way through Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon.
I was in no hurry to get across Canada. Words can’t describe the beauty of this country. I returned home in mid-August with a different perspective on life and I was ready for the my next adventure. My Alaska journey was a God send.
I am very grateful for the inspiration I received from TCM and the folks that contribute the great articles. Currently, I’m camped on the Padre Islands for a winter escape until mid-February. Thank you, TCM, for the inspiration to get out there and enjoy life, and see the beauty that we are so blessed to have here in America, all while traveling in a truck camper!” – Mark Sanders, 2014 Ford F250, 2016 Camplite CLTC10
“I especially enjoy your articles on people who go traveling off the beaten path with a sense of adventure. I never tire of reading their stories.
The mods can also be inspiring. Any manufacturer innovation beyond color and fabric choices does get my attention. For now I mostly camp within a few hours from home but I hope to explore more in the future. Congratulations and I intend to follow TCM for the next 10 years.” – Mario P., 2006 Toyota Tacoma, Homemade Camper
“We did extensive research prior to purchasing our camper. Much of that was done on TCM and with TCM sponsors. Some of our biggest questions revolved around hold down systems and air bags. We have made many mods to our camper (but have not submitted them) and TCM inspires us to hit the road on a regular basis. Thank you for great information and inspiration.” – Scott Goodrich, 2014 Ford F350, 2011 Arctic Fox 811
“Congratulations Gordon and Angela for publishing Truck Camper Magazine for the past ten years! I so much enjoy the articles, camper reviews, photos, lifestyle feature stories, mod contest, calendar contest, and QOTW. All of the content is so relevant to a lifestyle that we have come to appreciate and enjoy in our travels over the past six years in this beautiful country.
We bought our truck camper in July of 2010 and I was not aware of Truck Camper Magazine until sometime in 2011. But, from that point on it has been a tremendous source of information in all aspects of the truck camper lifestyle.
I was absolutely impressed when Angela contacted us to do a lifestyle feature article for the June 26, 2014 issue. It was so much fun to be interviewed on the phone and to submit photos from our various travels.
Both of you are a true inspiration to the truck camper lifestyle. Someday, somewhere, roaming around the country, I know we will meet you in person – and Harley, too!” – Roger and Elaine Odahl, 2008 Dodge Ram 3500, 2004 Eagle Cap 950
“My wife and I are newbies to truck camping but have been RVing for almost forty years. We recently purchased a 1999 Lance Lite 815. We also have a 35-foot fifth wheel trailer. The trailer works well as our winter cottage that we drag down to the southern US to escape the worst of the Canadian winter.
For many years we have been looking forward to making the trek north to the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Now that we are both retired, we are getting ready to take this trip in the summer of 2018.
All our research has suggested that taking the fifth wheel on the Dempster Highway’s 700 kilometers of gravel would be a bad idea. So, a year ago, we started looking at other options. Buying a truck camper for our 2008 F250 seemed like a good idea. It would be easy to drive and offer far more boondocking options.
I quickly found that TCM is the only comprehensive option on the internet for truck camper research. I have learned a great deal and found answers to my many questions related to a variety of issues specific to truck campers.
I was not impressed with the only two RV dealers within a two hour drive of our home that sell truck campers. They both tried to push toward units that were well beyond the weight capacity of our truck.
After months of looking, we found and purchased our Lance that met all of our minimum requirements for less than $3,000. Our Lance needed a really good clean and a bunch of improvements, but we have done this before with an older Class C motorhome.
We will finish the renovations along with the installation of a 75-watt solar panel on the roof as soon as it warms up in April. When we are done, we will have a cozy place to spend the night. In May, we will head to our little house in Newfoundland for the summer in our new to us Lance truck camper. We’ll take the northern route for the first time on the Trans-Labrador Highway – another trip on our bucket list.
Thank you TCM for all your help on this journey that will eventually take us to the shores of the Arctic ocean two summers from now.” – Stephen Leonard, 2008 Ford F250, 1999 Lance Lite 815
“Thank you for the great story of the founding of TCM and congratulations on a well done job. It would appear that you both have truly been blessed! Keep up the good work.” – Lew Wilcox
“In 2010 we planned a trip to Alaska from Texas, were gonna take the Double Tree fifth wheel, but found out rock chip and undercarriage damage was inevitable. We were working at the Purgatory Ski Resort in Durango, Colorado at the time. On eBay we found a 1988 Lance truck camper in Burbank, California. We bid, won, drove there, loaded the camper and returned to Texas April of 2010.
On June 28, 2010 we left for southern California, then Yosemite into Oregon, and Osoyoos, British Columbia. We took the the Alcan up to Fairbanks. We were gone a little over two months and discovered the truck camper was the ideal way for us to travel, stopping for each night in a different place.
The only problem we encountered was after touring Denali / Mr. McKinley. The high pressure oil diverter valve failed and we had to be towed to Wasilla, Alaska. I was concerned the camper might slide out, or the Happijac tie-downs might fail, but we made the trip behind the wrecker without incident. The service manager at Kendall Ford could not have been nicer. He allowed us to park on premises while repairs were done, all under warranty. The truck camper is our favored way to travel.
I read each TCM email, and get excited each time about planning our next adventure. The “plan your own camper” site is fun to play with, and I enjoy the stories about places others have visited. Keep up the good work, Truck Camper Magazine.” – Paul and Vicki Roberson, 2014 Ford F350, 1988 Lance 930
“About six years ago I started researching truck campers and we downsized from a 37-foot fifth wheel. We purchased a 2009 Travel Lite Mountain Star, and I spent over 200 hundred hours repairing water damage that was unseen, by me, during inspection. Lesson learned. After the repairs, we camped in it for nearly a month.
We were passing Truck Camper Warehouse and dropped in to look at some of Bill’s stock. We worked a deal on our present camper and have been using it for three years. Our experience with rebuilding our first camper and the modifications were good.
We are out of Ontario, Canada and have traveled through the east coast provinces and states. Modifications to our truck camper are very numerous as I have changed all lighting to LEDs, reworked our battery system, entrance stairs, water system, solar system, our on board generator, repaired all lifting jacks, made up stands for use when camper is unloaded, and have a schedule for resealing all exterior seams. Thank you for an informative up-to-date magazine.” – Eric Devolin, 2007 GMC 3500, 2006 Adventurer 106 DBS
“At one point in my life I owned a 33-foot motorhome that I lived in for ten years. I got tired of apartment living and thought this was the way to live. In 2009 the great recession cost me everything I worked for and I found myself living in a tent for about four years trying to rebuild my life.
As the VA stepped in and helped me out, I discovered I needed to get myself better living quarters. A friend of mine gave me the truck I have and I started looking at truck camper dealers and camper companies.
During that time an advertisement popped on Truck Camper Magazine, so I decided to subscribe and was amazed at what it had to offer. I have enjoyed many of the stories that were in it. So I stopped in at the local dealer just to see what there was for me in my price range.
Luckily, I found this older camper for only $2,500. I looked it over and thought it would make a good home (since I’m single) and offered them $2000. It was sorta rough around the edges. The dealer said that I may not have enough truck but it would do the job. I beefed up the rear end with products I found advertised in TCM, and it worked fine! Then I did a little camping locally to get an idea what this new adventure was all about.
I read the Newbie Corner, which was extremely helpful, and discovered I needed to upgrade in more ways than one. I carried the camper in the truck for a few months until one of my friends let me set it in her driveway to live in it. After all, it was a tad too much for my truck, which my U-joint later let me know.
I really enjoyed the TCM articles on boondocking and they gave me a better idea as to what I need; a one ton dually, and a better equipped camper with generator, solar power and most of all, more storage!
I understand now that there are campers strictly for camping (my situation) and those that can be used for residential purposes. Some day I’ll be able to get my dream turned into reality and go boondocking with my horse. Truck Camper Magazine is a wealth of knowledge and so glad I found it. I’m sure it’ll help for years to come.” – DuWayne Hermann, 1996 Ford F150, 1993 Fleetwood Elkhorn
“I spent two years researching truck campers. It was late in our search that Truck Camper Magazine entered our weekly search. We decided on a pop-up camper and chose a Four Wheel Camper.
We had spent our early years of marriage camping in the shell on our pick-up truck. When our children were born, camping took a back seat for 35 years.
We love the ability to load up and go. With retirement fast approaching we plan to take extended trips. I enjoy reading each publication of TCM. Between Wander the West and TCM there are plenty of great ideas.” – John Dorrer, 2013 Ford F-250, 2014 Four Wheel Camper Grandby
“How did TCM inspire you? Many of you might have been inspired to take a certain trip across the vast lands of this continent, or to get your first rig or to modify your closet into shelves. For us it helped my wife and I to create the MidWest Truck Campers and Friends.
Our first rally in 2013 was held in Iowa. We had created that rally in three days, well, “If you build it they will come”. It’s unheard of if you’ve ever truly done an entertaining vacation event such as we do. We had 21 rigs show up from all across the country. Wow! TCM contacted us right away and asked to do an article on us. http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/camper-lifestyle/get-a-camper-start-a-rally-and-go
Before the rally we were not sure if we were going to do another. But after the rally we could see people were hungry for truck camper rallies. They were asking for more. At that point we could see that truck campers were wanting rallies to go to just like all the other RVers get to go to.
There wasn’t anything happening in the middle region of the United States, and so the wife and I wondering how we were going to make this work just decided to go through the open door. With no blueprint to follow we made our own road and continued to provide events for truck campers to come too.
After that initial article TCM did on us, we had plans to travel every county in our state and then broaden our travels across this beautiful country of ours. Well, sometimes God closes one door and opens another, and we just have to walk through it. We did travel most of Iowa, and made one big trip out west, but since 2013 we have been concentrating our camping time and finances to putting on events for the truck camper community.
Through the truck camping community, we have meet some of the greatest, most interesting, genuine, and caring people from all walks of life and different backgrounds. Examples including people who had worked at NASA, NOAA weather service, as a prosthetic nurse and go on foreign mission trips, airline pilots, ham radio operators, a chiropractor, massage therapists, female helicopter pilots – the list is endless. I’ve always said truck campers are a different breed. They tend to be entrepreneurs, leaders, go getters, thinkers, creators, sensibly smart, down to earth, genuine, and caring people.
We never would have met these types of people if it had not been for TCM helping to get us started. It’s amazing. We are so thankful in this great adventure to have met all of you wonderful people and we thank you for friendships.
We will continue to keep doing the things the way we are – as long as the door stays open. It’s the MWTCF’s fifth Anniversary and we now have 135 couples and a few singles in our group from all across the United States and a few out of Canada. Our blog page even gets hits from foreign countries. We have had since 2013 through December of 2016, have put on twelve events for truck campers, and friends. So, thank you, Gordon and Angela for that.” – Doug Baughman, 2011 Ford F-350, 1994 Lance 990
“I learn about boondocking and truck camping lifestyle in TCM!” – Robert Wilson, 2016 Dodge Ram 3500, 2016 Lance 650
“I can definitely thank my Dad for introducing me to the truck camper lifestyle. My parents bought a brand new bright yellow Ford F250 in 1977 equipped with a metal shell, with the intent to travel and take camping.
As a kid in the early 80s, we had several adventures in the truck going camping and trips to Disneyland. I will never forget on one occasion as a kid stealing every sleeping bag and pillow I could to make a barrier between me and the cold metal bed.
Years later, while in high school, I was given the truck under the promise I would keep it it in good running condition. I ended up taking auto shop classes, and did everything possible to restore and keep the truck in excellent shape.
Fast forward again to 2005 and I was excited to go to a vocational collage in California, but was completely against paying for the dorm room. Getting an apartment was out of the question due to having a six foot pet iguana. I was talking with my Dad and the truck camper idea came up after a few jokes about the metal shell of the past.
I searched and hunted for a camper and ended up finding a used 2002 Lance 920. The old yellow truck was still running, so I upgraded the springs, overload helpers, and put one ton shocks and a camper. It was a great setup, old and new, and worked well for the four months I was in school. Everyone in my class was impressed with the setup; even my iguana loved it with all of the windows in the overhead bed to look out.
Fast forward again to 2013. I had sold the Lance a while back and used the funds to help buy a house. The yellow truck now parked in the garage was still running but in retirement mode it served as a trophy to all of the amazing memories.
The full circle begins.
I was very lucky and met an amazing girl. She told me that she wanted to travel but never had the chance to due to school and life in general. I explained how you can travel on a budget, and then it happened. I traded in my car for a used four-wheel drive Silverado 1500 and soon after picked up a best top camper shell. This time I put down a sheet of plywood and outdoor carpet in the bed so we wouldn’t freeze. Then we went camping, and then Disneyland, and enjoyed the heck out of the setup.
Then in 2014 my girlfriend was in a serious accident, her new car was totaled and she was hurt so the trips stopped. After she recovered we both realized how bad we missed traveling. So, we put our funds together and traded in the older Silverado for a new four-wheel drive 2015 Silverado 1500 with a standard bed.
We celebrated by taking a trip to Disneyland. On the way there while napping in a rest stop while trying to stay warm in the bed of the truck, it happened again. I brought up how much I loved the Lance and the memories I had traveling with it. She said she had never been inside a truck camper and after the trip wanted to check them out.
After out trip I began the task of figuring out the capacity of our new truck, what campers would fit and reading every review I could find.
On one random stop to an RV dealer after work, I found a camper I really liked, the Adventurer 80Gs. I went home and found Truck Camper Magazine’s review of the unit. I showed it to my now soon to be wife, and she really liked the layout, too. She said, “If you like it, go get it” and the rest is history.
This set up has been a blast. We have gone dry camping several times (taking the iguana of course). I got to enjoy a snow storm while staying warm, and even went to Disneyland.
This year we have another California trip planned as well as few camping trips to northern Arizona and – fingers crossed – a trip to Roswell, New Mexico this summer to check out the Alien Museum.
It’s great to have such a nice setup, and to go full circle from the past, but with a new twist, and have a great community for support and ideas.” – Shawn and Kathy Mernagh, 2015 Silverado 1500, 2015 Adventurer 80Gs