This week’s Question of the Week was, “How did you get into truck camping?”
To read Part 2, click here.
“When I was very young my dad bought an 11’ Western Wilderness truck camper. During the summer breaks our family would go on trips. My siblings and I would ride on the bed looking the front window for hours. Even when the camper was parked in the backyard we would play in the camper. It was also the kids’ job to clean the camper before every trip.
I never thought about buying a camper as an adult, until I took a girlfriend tent camping. That night we had a cougar come through our camp. If I was going to encourage this girl (now my wife) to continue to camp, I had to buy an RV. I didn’t want a trailer and a truck canopy wasn’t going to cut it.
I remembered my youth and bought my first truck camper (1974 Western Wilderness). My wife and I used this old camper for five years before we upgraded to a 1997 Lance. We’re now expecting an addition to our family and have started looking at new truck campers. And so the truck camper cycle continues.” – Chuck Trinka, 2008 Dodge 2500, 1997 Lance 815
“In 1963 my dad bought a new half ton Chevrolet and Merced Camper. I fell in love with the activity and now fifty years and nine campers later at seventy-three, I am still enjoying the camper life.” – Monty R. Boyd, 2004 Chevrolet 3500, 2009 Arctic Fox 1060
“My husband and I had been tent campers until I got to the point that I felt it was too much work for something that was supposed to be fun and relaxing. Then there was the issue of dealing with bad weather and sleeping on the hard ground. We hadn’t camped for many years but Joe always talked about it and the possibility of getting a travel trailer or some kind of RV. I did not want any part of that either.
In February 2010, Joe wanted to go to the RV show in Springfield, Massachusetts to look at a pop-up trailer and I agreed to go with him. His intention was to find a small trailer that we could easily pull and we could start camping again. When we walked towards the Truck Camper Warehouse area, but we never passed it. We stayed, we looked, we liked, we played, we learned, and we were hooked!
We met Gordon and spoke at length about just about every truck camper on display. The truck campers made sense to us. On the ride home I told Joe I could see us truck camping. Needless to say, he was not only shocked but delighted. Four months of research, and driving everyone we spoke to crazy, we bought a Northstar! We purchased it in July 2010 and have loved every minute of it since.” – Joe and Nina Mac Donald, 2013 Chevy 3500HD Diesel, 2013 Northstar Igloo U
“My wife and I had enjoyed the RV lifestyle for many years and purchased a new high end fifth wheel in 2009 with the thought of possibly going full time. We retired in August of 2009 and hit the road for our first trip which lasted for three months. Unfortunately, when we got home we discovered that she had terminal cancer and passed away in March of 2011.
I still wanted to travel and knew that she would want me to go on with my life. However, I could not stand the thought of pulling that big fifth wheel all over the USA by myself. Since I already had the truck I looked at truck campers and liked what I saw.
I purchased my Lance from PJ at Princess Craft Campers in Pflugerville, Texas and have taken several extended trips in it since then. I have had just about every kind of RV made with the exception of a motorhome and I like the truck camper the best of any of them. There just seems to be so much more freedom with the truck camper than any other RV I have ever owned.” – Eldon Rhodes, 2008 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2011 Lance 1050
“Try backing a travel trailer into a campsite with two rabbits giving directions and you’ll know why I chose a truck camper.” – Richard Balling, 2008 Ford F250, 2007 Bigfoot 25C94
“We had a fifth wheel which we put into storage while we accepted a work position several states away. Our first weekend off resulted in a visit to a nearby beach and motel. We came home and decided that we did not want to stay in a motel, so, we found a truck camper for sale nearby and purchased it. We have since sold the fifth wheel, became homeowners and use the truck camper as much as possible.” – Carol Bowman, 2005 Dodge 3500, 2003 Lance 1130
“Okay, I may get in trouble for some of this! Years ago we had a pop up trailer and we were thinking of moving up to something more convenient. I took my wife to look at pop-up truck campers. She did not like the pop-up truck campers we looked at. I was also cautioned by the dealer that the half ton truck we had at that time was not adequate (good advice).
We did end up selling the tent camper and bought a hard side travel trailer. I never lost the truck camper bug. Fast forward several years. We had an Airstream and an HD truck, but I was still intrigued by truck campers. I had a few bucks burning a hole in my pocket so I started looking around in my spare time.
I found a very lightly used Adventurer. I mean it was used maybe once! I made an offer and the seller called me back a couple of weeks later and said that if I was still interested that I could pick it up that weekend. So I had some tie-downs overnighted, installed them the next night (in the dark of my backyard) and picked up the truck camper the next day. Let’s say I have a history of impulse buying toys (boats, motorcycles, etc).
So I pulled in the drive way with this truck camper. Well, my wife was not very appreciative, at all. She called me the next day at the office and said, “Well you bought it. Load it up and let’s go camping this weekend”. So we did and had a ball.
Now she loves the truck camper and she will even take it for girls weekends. So the first truck camper got off to a rocky start, and created many great memories; a cross country National Park tour, ski camping, etc. Now we are on our second truck camper and still find so many new ways to enjoy the truck camper lifestyle. Truck campers rock!” – Bill Tex, 2006 Chevy 2500HD, 2013 Eagle Cap 850
“My story is quite boring. I was tired of towing all types of RVs and motorhomes were too expensive. So I started searching on Pennswoods.net, which is a regional website like Craigslist but much smaller. I called a seller in the Hagerstown, Maryland area who had large heavy truck camper for sale. I asked why he was selling and he said that he was buying a lighter truck camper. I asked what brand. He was sold on the Travel Lite products because of the quality for off-road sport hunting and fishing.
I arranged a tour of the Travel Lite factory in New Paris, Indiana (which is over 500 miles away). We were sold on the quality and he was so right. Then we started shopping for a dealer and the rest is history and happiness. We added a 2400 Watt Yamaha on a front carrier and now anywhere we park is another adventure. We will never go back to towables.” – Bob and Linda Robinson, 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, 2010 Travel Lite 960 RX
“I found Truck Camper Magazine to tide me over until I can get my five daughters through college and have a few dollars left over to purchase one.” – Ed Senger
“Early spring in 2001 we decided that we might like truck camping. We had already taken the tent, popup, and Class A route and decided a truck camper might be a nice compromise to blend all the others together. We started a search on eBay and found our camper in South Dakota. We drove out to get it sight unseen except for pictures. We drove back to Kentucky in four days without any problems enjoying the camping along the way. Since then many trips have been made to many interesting places and we hope for many more in the future.” – Paul and Jenell Berry, 1968 D-200 Dodge, 1968 Red Dale
“I started with backpacking. As I got older, it evolved into car camping. Tents leak. I got tired of always having to set up a tent and when it rains, a tent always leaks somewhere. I had an old pick-up and bought a topper. I could sleep in the pickup bed with the topper and stay dry. I then got a slide in camper to replace the pickup topper. I have been at this since 1965. ” – Dennis Cudd, 1978 Chevy Silverado 2500, 1977 Idletime
“When I decided to become a full time RVer I hounded the RV shows. I had never pulled anything. I decided on a fifth wheel which I pulled for one year and one week. I was heading north on the I-65 about twenty miles south of Louisville when I was hit on the highway. It totaled my trailer and put me under a doctor’s care and physical therapy for a couple of months.
When I was ready to go back to RVing, I decided that no one would ever sneak up on me again and purchased my first truck camper. I have lived full-time and solo in a truck camper for nine years. When it was totally used up I donated that camper and purchased a smaller one. But you can read my Kiss This Florida, I’m Outta Here on joeicarlton.com and it’ll tell you the whole story.” – Joei Carlton Hossack, Ford 250, 2004 Adventurer 10 ft
“I had a forty foot diesel pusher. It had four slides, was often too big, had problems, got 6.3 miles per gallon, plus insurance and licensing. I could go to a limited number of camp grounds and roads. I needed a four wheel drive RV. Truck camper insurance was covered no extra cost through USAA insurance, and there was no extra license plates, etc.” – Frank Turner, 2013 Ford F350, 2013 Arctic Fox 996
“We’ve always been campers, having raised our children enjoying the camping lifestyle. We evolved from a used 1959 Shasta travel trailer (with wings no less), to a newer pull behind, and then a motorhome. In 1985, we purchased a home on a lake and sold our motorhome as we felt that, having our own lake, we would no longer be interested in camping. It wasn’t long before that we felt land-locked and started looking for a truck camper that we could use for short trips just to get away.
We soon found that we loved the mobility of the truck camper and purchased a newer one, which was a little bigger. We planned to keep it forever. In 1997, we purchased a new truck, which the salesman assured us would handle the truck camper with no problem. When we loaded our truck camper onto the new truck, the rear of the truck sunk eleven inches. We were disappointed, and decided it was time to give up the truck camper and go back to a pull behind.
Later, when we retired, we purchased a new twenty-seven foot fifth wheel and thought that was our dream set-up. It wasn’t long before we were again gravitating toward a truck camper and started looking. We didn’t like maneuvering through busy highways with the twenty-seven foot fifth wheel behind us and missed the mobility and ease of parking with a truck camper.
Since that time, we have had two more truck campers. For several years, we had the fifth wheel and a truck camper. The plan was to use the fifth wheel for longer stays. We sold the fifth wheel this past summer, finally admitting that we were rarely using it and preferred the truck camper. Our truck camper has all the amenities we need and we enjoy traveling. We do not worry about changing lanes in heavy traffic and enjoy the mobility of back roads and wilderness camping.” – Ron and Joyce Weinf, 2011 Ford F-150, 2005 Travel Lite 800
“My family had been tent camping in Seward, Alaska in late August a few years back. We all had been enjoying fishing and boating in Resurrection Bay. The weather was nice and sunny. My mother was heading back to Anchorage and asked if I wanted her motorhome for the next couple of days. I told her that we would be fine in the tent since the weather was nice. She asked several times and I insisted that we would be fine. She and the motorhome left for Anchorage.
The rest of that day there was great weather; warm, clear skies and it was around sixty-eight degrees. We took out the boat and fished for several hours. The weather in Alaska can be unpredictable and this day was no different. The weather started to turn, clouds rolled in, the waves started to rise and the sea chop picked up. Time to head for the harbor.
By the time we got in it was raining sideways. By the time we got back to camp (camp was near the beach with no cover or wind break), we were wet, cold, and hungry. We tried to light our camp stove in the driving rain and finally got it lit to heat up some soup. We decided to call it a day and turn in for the evening. At least inside the tent was dry. We crawled into our cots.
I woke up the next morning and there was a river running through our tent. All of our clothes were wet and it was raining even harder. Long story short, we rolled up all our wet things and pulled up camp. I was as disgusted as I had ever been.
We live in the Mat Su valley near Wasilla. I saw a park and sell by the road. There in the lot was a one ton GMC with a 1121 Lance. It was what I had been searching for but was to cheap to buy. The wet and rain had changed my mind. We haven’t slept in a tent since!” – Matthew Gjertson, 2006 GMC Sierra 3500, 2003 Lance 1121
“We owned a twenty-eight foot fifth wheel that I got tired of dragging around, and decided to sell it. After a couple of months of people wanting us to give it away, I was frustrated. My son asked, “Dad, have you considered a truck camper?” I replied, “What’s that?”
He knew of a dealer about forty miles from our home who had several in stock, and suggested we go to see what he had. My first response was that with one of these I would not need fifty feet of parking space to pull in to see something while on the road. There would be no wrestling with backing into tight spaces, and no big set-up time. Long story short, we traded the fifth wheel for the Snowriver that was being traded in.
A few weeks later, we made our maiden voyage from Nashville, Tennessee to Glacier, Montana and back. We were gone twenty days and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. We are sold on truck campers. Over the years we have owned a motorhome, two pop-ups, a bumper hitch trailer, and a fifth wheel. We finally have just what we want.
Well, not really for me. I want a new truck camper, but have not completed the sales job with my wife yet. We are already planning our next extended trip for next spring. We are planning to spend several weeks in the Texas hill country seeing the wild flowers and visiting historic places.” – Dewey Lackey, 2003 Silverado 2500, 2007 Snowriver 9.6
“We were avid tent campers until my husband turned fifty. That’s when he said, “We need to get a camper so we can tow the Jeep”. So we started going to the Denver RV shows every January. We knew it would be a big investment, so we started by getting the truck first.
Much to our surprise five years later, my in-laws surprised us with a 2011 Lance 950S as a gift. We loved that camper and have only tent camped once since getting it. We got spoiled right away! In May of 2013 a drunk driver hit our truck and camper (parked in front of our house). It was on Memorial Day only a few hours before we were heading out for the long weekend. Six weeks later, after all the hassles, we purchased a new 2013 Arctic Fox 990.” – Denise Patton, 2007 Dodge Ram 3500, 2013 Arctic Fox 990
“I purchased my family’s old truck and camper that we had when I grew up.” – Bruce Allison, 2000 Ford F350, 2012 Adventurer 910FBS
“In 1983 my neighbor bought a Viking slide in pop-up camper for his Nissan pickup. I liked it so much I bought a brand new Skamper 070S for my truck and I never looked back. We’re on our fourth popup camper.” – Cliff and Susie Kellogg, 2006 Chevy 2500, 1999 Apache popup
“We got into truck camping nearly thirty-five years ago, but we only really count our current unit. We bought our first cabover in 1980 (an early 1970s Mitchell). Unfortunately, we only had a half ton truck, which was too light to carry the camper, so it wasn’t used very much. We sold it and bought a shell for the truck and spent several years sleeping (and freezing) in the bed of the truck.
Then we upgraded to an 8′ by 8′ tent and spent several years taking our daughter camping in it. Yes, we realize that most people go from a tent to a shell to a camper, but we took the reverse path. After a break of several years and a larger truck, we bought a twenty-three foot trailer that we enjoyed a lot.
About this time, we got into Jeeping, and had to choose between taking the trailer or the Jeep. So we sold the trailer and truck to buy a new dually and truck camper. We’re now able to tow the Jeep and enjoy the best of both worlds – truck camping and Jeeping. ” – Phil Rodacy, 2012 GMC Dually 4×4, 2006 Okanagan 90W
“One answer, yard sales. My wife and I are die hard yard salers and love to drive through sub divisions in the towns near where we are camping and look for yard sales. We previously had a Class C and 5th wheel and neither was suitable for this type of activity. The truck camper is ideal, not to mention the occasional fast food stop.” – Dan Vandivor, 2000 Chevrolet 2500, 1998 Elkhorn 11 ft.
“We had always been tent campers and backpackers. We saw the pop-over Wildernest when it was first released but could not afford one. Then, on a trip to visit our daughter, we found a used Wildernest in a car lot for a very good price that would fit our truck. We bought it, drove 500 miles back to get our truck, and mounted it.
Many miles and years later, we sold it with the truck and immediately regretted it. So, we purchased a second Wildernest through eBay, drove 1,000 miles to pick it up, and then bought a truck to fit it.
After putting over ten years and 130,000 miles on it, we decided to upgrade to a regular truck camper. We wanted something that would continue to allow us to wander Forest Service roads and set up camp most anywhere. That is how we ended up with our current rig.” – Bill and Francine Peters, 2013 Chevy Silverado, 2013 Four Wheel Campers Hawk
“When I was about ten years old, I helped my dad build a camper for his 1949 Chevy pickup. It was a simple design square plywood box that had a rear door with two side windows. Dad built it to go hunting and took me along for my first hunting trip. Prior to this camper, hunting trips were spent in canvas tents and this camper was a big improvement over them.
Between the two of us over the years, we must have built and/or modified a dozen campers since the first one. And the best part of it all is that we had lots of fun and memory filled times with all these campers.” – David Martin, 2010 Ford F250, 2010 Four Wheel Campers Hawk
“We enjoyed local camping in a friend’s popup, as a two family group. But we wanted to travel to our National Parks in 1974 and have a lot of flexibility to go on back roads. We needed two vehicles for our lifestyle (a car plus a truck for me). So the truck and truck camper was a fit. The first truck camper was a new 1974 Coachman 11.5 foot, which was a bit heavy for a 1974 Ford F250. I do not remember looking at other truck campers.
We loved it and we traveled the west every other year on saved vacation time. Now we have two campers, a 2009 Sun Valley 8.65 for my fishing trips up north and a Laredo 250RL for us to travel the USA and Canada.” – Thomas Bender, 2011 Ford F250, 2009 Sun Valley Apache Chief 8.65
“Most importantly, my truck camper is a home-away-from-home. In 1981 I was a bus driver with various shifts and split shift work. It was a blessing to have a camper so that I didn’t need to constantly commute back home. It was convenient to have a snooze to recover from very early morning shifts. The camper allowed me to attend university courses during the split shifts, do all the necessary errands, go to the local beaches, and in the evenings, allowed me to join sports and cultural groups.
The camper made time more efficient. It also gave me great capacity to move a lot of stuff for family and friends, keeping everything dry and secure. Though I did have some major holidays and toured various places, its main purpose was still a base camp.
Since 1981 I have had three campers. They have allowed me to expand my personal world and do so much more. They are a great investment in life’s pursuits.” – Vic Smith, 1981 Ford F250, 1981 Adventurer 810WS
“We had a motorhome for fifteen years and wanted to downsize to get into more interesting and private camp spots. It wasn’t too much of a shock to go into a smaller RV because the Lance has so much room when the slide is out. The only adjustment was storage space limitations. But now we are only driving with 13,800 pounds instead of 28,000 pounds so we have less stress and more performance. Plus we’re getting thirteen miles per gallon instead of nine, so it’s cheaper on fuel and less in maintenance costs.” – Jim Cornwell, 2011 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2012 Lance 1191
“My father had a home-built truck camper in 1972. I have been in love with truck campers ever since.” – Bill and Renee Dalton, 2001 Dodge 2500, 1999 Lance 845
“I went on a trip to Yosemite with my dad and brother. We saw a number of truck campers with kids riding in the cabovers looking out the window. I thought that was kind of cool and started to think when I grow up, I would buy a camper. In high school I went on a camping trip with my friend, brother, and sister in their truck camper. That one trip hooked me on camping forever.” – Bob Chan, 1989 Ford F250, 1988 Lance 780
“The combination of a shrinking family and a tow-necessary hobby drove us to truck camping. Reenacting Civil War Union Artillery and competition shooting with the same cannon used to be a family adventure. When we traveled with the cannon (in its own enclosed Haulmark trailer), taking our four kids along usually involved a second tow vehicle to pull a large Jayco pop-up trailer to house the troops.
As the kids matured, moved out, and dropped out of the hobby, we realized that we could fulfill housing and hauling duties with our existing F250 pickup truck and a Lance 835 truck camper. Mule duties combined so well with camping needs that here we are, two trucks, and two campers later still enjoying the same benefits. Add in the pleasure of getting to know the folks at TCM and attending a few truck camper rallies a year, and I can say it’s been totally a win-win-win experience! We look forward to many more years of truck camping hopefully!” – John and Marylou Wells, 2011 Chevy 3500, 2012 Chalet Ascent S100F
“While working during college at a service station, a fellow with a truck camper gassed up and parked on the side of the platform. He asked me if I wanted to look inside his truck camper. Needless I was impressed with all the luxury, compared to tent camping and that was in 1966. I got married and sold a 1968 Chevy Chevelle 396SS to buy a truck so I could buy a truck camper and discover America. It was a Little Caboose 10 foot.” – Gary Gade, 2011 Ford 3500, 2014 Lance 1181
“As our children were growing up we always had some sort of travel trailer. One day we found a very used old Lance at an estate auction. Since the kids were already on their own we decided to give the old Lance a new home. Whenever we could get away from the farm we would put the old girl on our 1986 F150 farm truck.
We bounced and swayed up and down the east coast. We decided to move our farm from the north to a warmer southern state. A new farmhouse had to be built and we had no place to live, so the poor old Lance was sold and we went back to a travel trailer. Ten years and two travel trailers later we still thought about the fun we used to have with that beat up old Lance.
Then one day we were on our way to a goat livestock auction when we spotted a used Lance sitting on a boat trailer in the back row of a RV dealership. We were quite a sight when we pulled into the fancy dealership with a stock trailer and bunch of noisy goats. It took less that a half hour for the paper work and we were on the way again as happy as could be. Two days later the RV dealership had our almost new Coachman travel trailer and we had our Lance.” – Jerry and Janice Bonneau, 2002 Ford F250, 2000 Lance 1130
“It started in 1971 when I pulled a twenty-one foot trailer to Alaska. We lived in that for a year. We then moved to a small pickup camper, then to an eleven foot Caveman camper on a 2500 Dodge. Through the years we kept on upgrading to different rigs. From Class Cs, to diesel pushers, to large fifth wheels.
We then downsized to the camper that we have now, and we love it. The Chalet camper that we have lets us do what we want to do without worrying about if we can get the rig into a certain spot. This is our 12th RV, and it is our last one. We took a two month trip to Florida last winter and had one of the best times we have had in an RV. ” – David Donovan, 2007 Chevy 3500, 2011 Chalet TS116
“I have always been wanting some kind of camper, trailer, or motorhome for a while. I was getting very burned out on the whole tent scene. As a kid my dad would take me and my three brothers and sisters camping. We always had tents. I remember going to RV shows with my dad but we never got anything. I’ve been in a four wheel drive club for the last ten years, still sleeping in a tent. This last January I turned fifty-one and was going to have hip surgery in February. I was done with tents.
So I started looking on Craigslist. I found all types of campers, trailers, and motorhomes, all out of my budget. The ones that were in my budget were very much used up, to put it nicely. Then one day I found an advertisement for a 1987 Vacationeer 9’10”. I had never heard of that company before. I did a little digging and found that they had gone out of business in the early 1990s. I called the gentleman up who had placed the ad and set a time to meet him.
Luckily he was only twenty-five miles away and came up the next day. He showed me the camper and it seemed to be in good shape. He showed me how everything worked, from the stove to the sink, the shower and toilet, the propane, water heater, air conditioner and refrigerator. It was exactly how he said it was. So I handed him $1,700 and I became the new owner of my first camper.
I have used the camper about three times this year. I’m getting ready to go out again to Lucerne Valley for Thanksgiving. So far it is working perfectly. Yes I would like to have a lighter, newer one, but so far I’m very happy with this one. I really enjoy TCM!” – Tim May, 1993 Dodge W250, 1987 Vacationeer 9′ 10″
“About twenty years ago my bride came to me and said let’s get a camper and truck. She wanted to go with me on some of my cross country bicycle rides. She was tired of sleeping in a small, and I mean small, tent and sometimes getting wet when it would rain.
So we went and bought a F350 and a pop-up and off we went on some bike rides. Having such a great time with camper on bike rides we started doing trips of adventure and discovery and have not stopped. Now we use our camper for fishing trips, discovery around the USA and to assist with volunteering for disasters.” – Ed Krech, 2006 Dodge 3500, 2011 Northern Lite 8-11
“We have always loved camping, and we have always loved boating. We were a young family raising four children. Many of our vacations were camping, outdoors and boating. Even though we both love tent camping, after a week of our vacation; cooking and boiling dish water over the campfire, keeping all our gear dry (we live in the rainy Pacific Northwest), and keeping ice chests all iced up, it becomes a lot of work. It was taking away from our precious time outdoors and spending time with our children. It was time. Time to work smarter, not harder. It was time for an RV.
Nothing seemed to fit our needs, since we love to boat as well, except for a camper. And here is where the love began. We love our camper! It is a perfect fit for us and our family. We can tow our boat and camp. Not only camp, but camp in style with a clean area to cook and clean up. We have a real refrigerator and freezer, no more late night ice runs. There is a great, comfy bed, and a dry place to get away from the occasional rainy days. I could go on and on. It is big enough to do what we need, with all the creature comforts of home, so we are spending more time doing what we love.
Since our first camper, a 1996 Lance Legend, that we loved, we have owed one trailer, one fifth wheel, and four truck campers. We are always going back to a truck camper. We are truck camper people by choice! We currently have a 2006 Host Truck Camper. We love it! There are many great memories made with our family and truck camping.” – Brent and Patti Portschy, 2005 Dodge Ram 3500, 2006 Host Tahoe 10.5
“TCM educated me on the benefits of truck camping over the last five years. I didn’t want a big camper. I’m a first time RV owner. I wanted to get around easily. I had the three-quarter ton truck so I was half way there. I bought it April 1, 2013 (April fools day) wondering if that was a good day to buy, but I love it. I am starting to travel. I went south twice and I am looking forward to going out west.” – Scott Ridgway, 2003 Dodge 2500, 2012 Lance 1050S
“It all started back in 1965 when my parents bought a 10.5 Grizzly camper on a 1965 Ford three-quarter ton camper special. All seven of us camped and traveled all over the US.
After I got married, my wife and I got tired of getting wet sleeping in tents, so we bought a used 1971 Ford F250 camper special and a used 10.5 little Caboose camper until 1985. Kids, work, and lifestyles all changed. So we did our camper in a boat for many years.
Then, in 2002, I bought a used 8.5 American Pilgrim hard side camper and put it on our 1999 Ford F150. I sold the boat because we where traveling around the country in the camper so much that we only put eleven hours on it in four years. We still have the truck and camper and will soon be updating to something newer in the next couple of years. So, I guess my parents got us into truck camping.” – Mike and Nancy Pohl, 1999 Ford F150, 1985 American Pilgrim 8.5
“I started out with a 1980s vintage travel trailer progressing to a 1990s vintage fifth wheel. After many repairs and much studying about likes and dislikes, we bought a new fifth wheel. We love it and have pulled it 50,000 miles or so in the past twelve years. There have been almost no repairs, so this one is a keeper.
But, after a couple of years and many campgrounds, I decided there had to be a better way. The traveling we usually do is sightseeing. That usually means only a few days at a location.
After researching the ins and outs of truck campers on TCM and RV.net for about three years, I found one for sale on Craigslist only a couple of hours away. Upon inspection, it was decent looking, bright inside, and clean with only one flaw that I saw which was that water was pouring in at the bath skylight. No big deal, I could fix it. The price was very reasonable.
The wife, vowing she wouldn’t give up her fifth wheel, humored me and authorized me to buy it. After replacing the roof, rebuilding the wooden parts of the cabover (it had an aluminum frame), and repairing the de-lamination on both sides, we used it two years with my wife disliking almost every minute she was in it. She’s short and it didn’t have a basement. The step up to the bath was about fifteen inches not to mention the first step to the bed was about twenty inches. I think short people are just whiners. Gordon probably can see it my way. Anyway, I had to keep peace.
More research and looking and I found another truck camper with a basement, large bath, large refrigerator, large tanks, and a full wall slide. It was only five hours away. We looked and bought, at a very reasonable price. We’ve gone on several trips now and she still approves. And I love it. Pull in, a little leveling, and five minutes later I can sit down and relax. I don’t have to worry about backing out of a tight spot and I don’t spend thirty to forty minutes setting up, hooking up, and unhooking every other day.” – Joe Garrett, 2008 Chevy 2500, 2005 Arctic Fox 990
“We had camped and backpacked most of our lives. In planning for retirement, we knew we wanted to travel. When traveling we have a tendency to randomly get off the road. When we started to look at various camper classes we quickly felt that the truck camper suited our style of traveling and camping. The decision was a correct one! During the past two years we have been on the road 250 days.” – Woody Flickinger, 2003 Dodge 3500, 2012 Arctic Fox 1140
“I am about to retire from the military. I got started in a little transportation business moving stuff to keep me busy. I needed to have my hitch open so I could tow boats, trailers and bumper pull RVs. I was starting to hate hotels for both the expense and the hassle. Then doing tent research I came across truck campers.
I had never heard of them or seen one. It was a match made in heaven. My own portable kitchen, bed and shower for $300 a month instead of hotels for 50 to 100 a day. I was living the dream.
When I did my shopping, durability was my main concern. I never wanted to deal with rot that I could breath from wood or anything similar. LivinLite’s all aluminum construction sold me. There is no wood or foam to rot. It is built like an old Airstream and you see tons of those around. So far so good.
One year in and my LivinLite is used almost every weekend and soon to be full time (when I retire from the military in February). It’s a little cold in the winter and a little hot in the summer during the day, since there’s no insulation in the walls. But the heater keeps it toasty and the air conditioner cools it down nicely at night. In the end, it works out great! So far so good. I will definitely be a durability tester for this camper.” – Roy Del Pozo, Dodge Ram, 2013 CampLite 8.6
“We started years ago with a small pop up pull trailer. Later I purchased a small pickup camper to camp in as I hunt and fish. My parents who have been camping for the last forty years wanted us to start going with them and their camping club.
Then I purchased a thirty-three foot fifth wheel and had it for three years. I thought that having a big motorhome would be the way to really enjoy traveling. It was a forty foot diesel pusher with three slides and one and a half baths. By the time I hooked up my car I was over sixty feet long.
The drawback was that most of the time I had to refuel at truck stops. We couldn’t just stop and see everything we wanted with a rig that big. If we made a wrong turn it would take quite a detour to get back to where we needed to be. We had it for four years and sold it in December of 2012.
I told my wife I wanted something that we could refuel anywhere that we needed to, pull over anytime we wanted, and turn around if we made a wrong turn. I didn’t want to pull a trailer as sometimes the length also has the same problems as the motorhome. I told her the best solution would be a pickup camper. I got the stare of disbelief.
Since I live outside of Oklahoma City, and there are no truck camper dealers in Oklahoma, I got online and found Truck Camper Magazine. I wanted to find the closest dealer that carried several lines of campers so that I could choose brand and style rather than just style. Princess Craft Campers in Austin was a six hour drive for us and we headed that way.
We looked at several and, since we were downsizing from a large motorhome, we bought the biggest one they had, an Eagle Cap 1165 with three slides. I pulled out the rear love seat and replaced it with two Lazyboy recliners. My wife went from a skeptic to, this is the only way to travel. Since purchasing it March 2013, we’ve traveled over 9,000 miles around the country and made a lot of u-turns that we couldn’t have done before.” – Gene Miller, 2008 Ford F-350, 2012 Eagle Cap 1165