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The Waterproof Truck Camper: Possible or Fantasy?

At the Gettysburg Truck Camping Jamboree in September I had several conversations with experienced RV servicemen about the possibility of using spray-on coatings and tapes to waterproof the exterior of a truck camper.  After using a variety of traditional caulks and sealants, I am interested in exploring longer lasting alternatives.  The fellas suggested that a waterproof camper is possible, but no one had ever nailed it down properly.

The concept of using long-lasting spray-on coatings and tapes to waterproof RVs isn’t exactly new.  Palomino has been applying Line-X spray-on bed liner to the underside of their Max Elite truck campers for four years.  Liquid RV roof systems have offered decade-long leak warranties for at least as long.  EternaBond guarantees against leaks with their micro-sealant tapes.  3M has some very interesting products in their Scotchkote line that could fit this quest.  Heck, I’ll consider Rust-Oleum Leakseal if folks report that it works.

In short, I believe the elements for “bullet-proofing” a truck camper against water intrusion exist.  What’s needed is a focused effort to bring the best-of-breed elements together as a whole camper solution.

Let’s get specific:

After talking with Palomino RV, and seeing their Line-X treated truck campers, Line-X looks like an excellent solution for the underside of a truck camper.  Specifically, Line-X could coat the underbelly, wing walls, front wall, and rear underside skirt area of the camper.  The Line-X coating would be continuous and cover all seams and screws to prevent water intrusion.

There are at least a dozen do-it-yourself liquid roof coatings on the market including AWL Grip, Liquid Roof, KST Coating, Elixir Rubber Roof Coating, and Kool Seal.  These liquid roof coating systems get very favorable reviews online and are reasonably priced.

For a potentially more robust liquid roof solution, professional RV roof sealant service providers offer warranties that sometimes stretch a decade.  These professional services are not cheap ($100 per foot length, or more) but the peace of mind of having a warrantied roof is certainly enticing, plus they handle the work.

The side seals including windows, compartments, and seams, present the biggest challenge.  I am in the process of contacting industrial sealant companies (including EternaBond and 3M) about their various coatings and tapes.  If any of this research results in a successful alternative to traditional RV caulks and seals, I will publish our findings.

Share Your Coating Experience and Knowledge

This week’s Question of the Week is, “Do you have any experience with external RV coatings or information about RV coatings that could benefit this research?”

If you have a truck camper with a RV roof, please tell us.  If you have a truck camper treated with truck bed liner, please tell us.  If you have researched some of these products, materials, or concepts and have some feedback, please send it in.

What I’m after, quite simply, is a waterproof truck camper.  I’m not expecting miracles, but something better than the toothpaste-like caulk-gun goop we all use now.  It’s 2015 for goodness sake.  We don’t need to caulk and seal our trucks.  Why should we need to caulk and seal our campers?  There has to be a better way.

Click here to see what readers had to say about to this Question of the Week on waterproofing a truck camper.

Caution: Although I have essentially ranted against common RV sealants, they are essential to preventing your camper from being destroyed by water intrusion.  We check our seals and caulk our camper frequently because we want it to last.  Please maintain your truck camper’s seals.  This research is just that, research.  Traditional RV caulk and seals will prevent water intrusion, as long as you monitor their quality, and maintain them often.

TCM Articles on Caulking and Sealing A Truck Camper

How To Inspect and Repair Camper Seals
Truck Camper Magazine removes decals, deoxidizes filon, caulks, seals, and SealTech tests our eleven year old truck camper.

Maintaining Camper Seals
Truck Camper Magazine asks Mike Kernagis, Service Manager at Palomino RV, about how to properly maintain truck camper seals.  Get your caulk guns ready.

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