Andy Elliott’s grandfather shared his passion for truck camping adventure until finally Andy couldn’t take it anymore. Now Andy’s family is hooked on truck camping.
This incredibly meaningful and heartfelt story showed up in our email box a few weeks ago. We were deeply inspired by Andy’s words and he reminded us how important it is to listen to our elders and share our passion for truck camping with the next generation.
Although Andy’s family has only had their CampLite truck camper for a short time, they have already forged life long truck camping memories and have even used the truck camper as a Family Emergency Vehicle. Andy may have waited a long time before finally taking the truck camper plunge, but he and his family are making up for it quickly.
Thank you Andy for sharing your family story. We can’t help but believe your grandfather would be very proud.
Inheriting the Truck Camper Itch
by Andy Elliott
I have been a follower of Truck Camper Magazine for about two years and just recently broke down and purchased my first camper, a 2012 Camplite 8.5.
Above: Clyde Elliott with the truck camper that started it all
My love of truck camping began as I watched my grandparents travel extensively in a Sunlite pop-up camper in the early 1980s. As a youngster, I was intrigued by their truck camper’s features and I remember playing in the camper in their driveway.
Although I was too young to go with them or to understand the freedom that they enjoyed with their camper, I remember the excitement in the air as they planned their trips across the country and to Nova Scotia with another couple that they enjoyed traveling with. I specifically remember the exciting stories they told upon their return.
I guess my love for my grandparents and the excitement in my grandfather’s voice as he told of their adventures predisposed me for an interest in truck campers. As an adult, like many who are caught in the rat race, I found myself too busy to do anything about the camper itch that had started when I was a young.
While watching my children mature over the last few years, I realized that time is fleeting and that generating shared experiences with my family has a value that can’t be measured. As this change occurred, my grandfather (who had become frail and unable to even travel to the local store) spent hours talking to me about campers and camping.
He was even more enthusiastic about me buying a truck camper purchase than I was. He really wanted me to spend time camping with my kids, his great-grandchildren, before they were too old to have an interest in camping with their mother and father.
Above: Camping at Outer Banks National Seashore
Even after embracing the idea of truck camping, I still found the concept to be extremely complex and was really confused about the camper and truck features that were right for us. This was where Truck Camper Magazine became a valuable asset. I spent hours scouring the Truck Camper Magazine archives and eagerly awaited each new issue. In the summer of 2011, my grandfather passed away and left a hole in my life that will never be filled. His passing made me realize that life is indeed short and special moments are to be held onto as long as possible. I will always value the time he and I spent throughout the years talking about camping. During those conversations he was young and free again. His vivid description of the parks they visited in the western United States made me feel as though I had been there with them.
Above: Andy’s 2012 CampLite 8.5 and 2012 Dodge 2500 truck camper rig
While thinking of him, I continued to read Truck Camper Magazine articles until I couldn’t take it any more. In early 2012, based largely on the research I did while reading Truck Camper Magazine, I purchased a 2012 Camplite 8.5 truck camper and a 2012 Dodge 2500, 4×4, diesel truck. Since the purchase, we have had much to learn because neither me, my wife, nor our two teenage children had ever been camping before. We were newbies in every sense of the word.
We made up for our lack of experience with enthusiasm. I purchased the camper this past February and my children spent the next two nights camped in our driveway. In early March, the entire family spent spring break camping off-the-grid on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. We had never been there prior to taking the truck camper.
Above: Taking the camper on the Ocracoke ferry in North Carolina
Even though my kids were both stunned that the ocean is cold in March (they had only been to the beach in the summer prior to this trip), we had a great time exploring the beaches and the nearby small beach-front towns. I clearly remember a comment that my daughter made to herself as the family ate dinner on our first night. As she looked out the window at the sand dunes and listened to the wind blowing across the camper she quietly said, “I always hoped it’d be like this”. I couldn’t help but think the same thing.
Since that first trip, we have spent additional weeks on the North Carolina Outer Banks, taken several trips to the Appalachian Mountains, and made assorted shorter trips to beaches in North and South Carolina.
The camper has also been extremely convenient for sporting events my children have participated in. Having cooked food and access to a toilet and shower at a wrestling tournament or cross country meet is priceless. Now we can also avoid inconveniencing the relatives we visit.
Above: Taking in the view at Wolf Laurel, North Carolina
As I sit and think of all the uses for my camper and what the truck camper means to me, I repeatedly think back to a trip I took last summer. At the time, my son was enrolled in a sports camp at a university located hours from our home. For some reason I felt particularly uncomfortable about this camp.
Unlike many parents who are forced to bite the bullet and hope for the best when sending a youngster off to a distant camp, I could do something about it. I took the week off and went truck camping with my daughter in the mountains near the university. There we camped, hiked, and enjoyed each other’s company in the truck camper.
Late at night on the third day of camp, I got a call from an ambulance driver who told me that my son was being transported to a local hospital because he had collapsed in the dorm. I immediately got out of bed and was able to arrive at the hospital within minutes of my son’s arrival in the ambulance. Although he looked small and scared as I approached, the relief in his eyes when he saw me there will always be etched in my memory. Being by his side to comfort him and to make his medical decisions instead of having them made by a coach that he barely knew was very important to me.
Above: The truck and camper enjoy covered storage at Andy’s house
I have many stories and experiences that I would not have had if it were not for the urging of my Grandfather and the insight provided by Truck Camper Magazine. My only truck camper regret is that I didn’t start truck camping sooner so that I could have camped with my grandfather.
|ANDY ELLIOTT’S TRUCK CAMPER RIG|
|Truck: 2012 Dodge Ram 2500, quad cab, single rear wheel, short bed, 4×4, diesel|
|Camper: 2012 Livin Lite 8.5|
|Tie-downs and Turnbuckles: Happijac|
|Suspension Enhancements: Hellwig Big Wig sway bar, Firestone Airbags, Torklift StableLoads|
|Gear: 9200 Coleman Mach Air Conditioner was installed to accommodate a Honda 2000 Generator which is used for power, all interior lighting has been changed to LED to conserve power|