We evidently hit a nerve with this week’s tailgate question. Almost 200 truck campers responded with remarkable passion, snarf-worthy humor, and unexpected tailgate insights and intrigue. Grab a cup of joe, have a seat and dig in.
This week’s Question of the Week was, “When unloaded, do you drive around with or without your tailgate?”
“I could not agree with you more about the procedure to remove the Ram tailgate. What a pain! It takes the two of us to do it almost comfortably! That connector gives us a problem every time we have to remove our tailgate. Like you said, “what were those Ram engineers thinking?”
But to answer your question, of course while we are on the road camping, the tailgate gets left behind because it’s a requirement to remove it in order to load our 2015 Eagle Cap 1165. When we are camping and stop at a destination for more than a day, we always unload so we can use our truck for touring – with no tailgate of course!” – Dan Daddieco, 2015 Ram 3500, 2015 Eagle Cap 1165
“After first purchasing our truck, we always re-installed the tailgate, but after a few times removing and re-installing, the procedure got old. As mentioned in the original article, the back-up camera harness is a pain to remove and the weight of the tailgate usually required two people to remove it. We have since removed the tailgate and installed a tailgate net with quick connects. The net easily folds down into the bed and the camper sits directly on it.” – Patrick Carroll, 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 3500, 2014 Lance 855
“Because we live in Canada we only use our camper from May to October, weather permitting. I take the tailgate off in the spring and put it back on in late fall. It stays that way all winter. Yes it’s a pain to take off and put on.” – Ken and Leona Atamaniuk, 2012 Ram 3500, 2016 Lance 855s
“With the tailgate. My rational is that I don’t have a good place to keep the tailgate except for on the truck. I also leave that damn connector disconnected. On my truck it only works the electric tailgate lock, which in my case is pretty pointless since it’s an open bed truck. I thought of some brand new curse words the first time I tried to take it off.” – Randy Smith, 2017 Ram 3500, 2017 Adventurer 910DB
“I leave my tailgate off all the time because my camper is on the truck more than its off. When I do need to haul something I use a Moto-Gate.
I like that it is adjustable if I have a load that sticks out of the bed a little. My truck actually has a recall right now for a tailgate latch and I think I will just bring the tailgate to them and drop it off instead of having to leave my truck all day while they fix it.” – Chris Tiefenbrunn, 2016 Ram 3500, 2016 Northstar Arrow U
“I put mine back on. My older truck doesn’t have the problem that those with built in back up cameras have. In my opinion, that is a design flaw. I installed a back up camera on the license plate bracket of my truck. I still have that capability with the tailgate off. New trucks weren’t engineered with campers in mind with the design of their backup cameras.” – Pat Eastes, 2005 Chevy, 2015 Lance 865
“With tailgate. I haul a lot of tools and supplies in my truck bed when the camper is off and I prefer they stay in the truck and not on the road!” – Wayne Petrie, 2012 Ford F-250, 2012 Northstar 850 SC
“As the only one to load and unload the camper, I also leave the tailgate off all year. My issue is the same as yours. I had the dealer remove it first time. It took him 20 minutes of cussing, so I decided then to leave it off.” – Bill Close, 2017 Ram 3500, 2012 Lance 850
“Since we are full-timers, we don’t bring the tailgate with us. So when the camper is off, the bed is bare.” – Paul Neumann, 2013 Ram 3500, 2019 Cirrus 920
“We do exactly as Gordon White. The tailgate is safely stored in our basement far away from accidental dings and dirt in the garage. That’s how permanent our decision is!
We use a rubberized and heavy duty strapped net so that things don’t slide out. It looks okay and one notch more polished than the blank look. Plus it’s easy and minimalist to store when camper goes back on.” – Barb Malden, 2014 Ram 3500, Northern Lite 10.2 EX CDSE
“I started out putting my tailgate back on after unloading my camper. Then when I had problems finding someone to help me, I quit. For the last many years my tailgate has been in the garage. Going tailgate-less causes me no shame and keeps it looking good, too.” – Ralph Goff (aka Ramblin’ Ralph), 2006 GMC 2500HD, 2001 Lance 845
“My truck is my everyday driver. When I bought the truck I had no plans for a camper. I bought the F350 to haul gooseneck trailers and for work in my business. I put a nice BedRub in it and a very nice and sturdy aluminum roll top bed cover. Now I have to take both of them off to put the camper on.
I do put the tailgate back on every time I unload the camper at home. The bed cover only goes back on when I know I won’t be using the camper for a few months. I hate not having the backup camera on the truck. I have even thought about adding the same camera to the back of the camper. That way I can use the screen even though I do have the remote backup camera on the Cirrus.
My wife says our camper is too small and wants a trailer. I like the camper except for dealing with the bed cover and tailgate.” – Dirk Keeler, 2017 Ford F350, 2018 Cirrus 820
“While we have left the tailgate off for short unloads, we generally keep it on. Not only do we want to be able to use the camera, I also occasionally use the steps built into the tailgate. Your point about the connector is spot on. It’s in an unfortunate location, it’s hard to connect and disconnect, and it doesn’t connect positively or reliably after years of use.
I added a Ford factory backup camera to the underside of the Fox Landing and created an extended wiring harness for the camper so either the camper or the tailgate is always plugged into that connector. I’ve been tempted to switch the connector out for some sort of screw tight mil-spec or marine connector, but it’s on a long list of projects (waiting for complete failure to force my hand).” – Brett Binns, 2014 Ford F350, Arctic Fox 1150
“I always put the tailgate back on after unloading the camper at home. I never know if I am going to need to put a load of whatever in the bed of the truck. Having the tailgate on is a good thing.
I do have the light in the tailgate but I do not have it hooked up. I actually need a new harness. It just has not been that important to me. I can see that messing with the harness could be a pain though.” – Rich Bain, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2010 Adventurer 810WS
“Since I’m always putting stuff in the bed of the truck, we put the tailgate back on. It weighs a lot and is very awkward to handle, but we do it. I sure wish there was a decent after market tailgate that integrated the camera and didn’t look like we tow a fifth wheel.” – Kathy Moore, 2016 Ford F350, 2005 Bigfoot 9.5
“I have made my own wooden tailgate that breaks down into three pieces. It fits nicely in the super cab part of my truck when my camper is in the box. There is no way I would get my factory supplied 50-pound tailgate into the super cab.
I have even added a backup camera to my wooden tailgate and regular tailgate. I used a backup camera tailgate handle provided by Rear View Camera Systems. I painted my tailgate with spray paint that matches the color of my truck.
I could not find any commercially available collapsible tailgates that would fit in my truck with the camper on and did not want to use any tailgate nets as the contents of my box would not be secure.” – Dave Gibson, Ford F250, Northern Lite
“I usually put the tailgate back on. I made an extender cable for the camera connection so I wouldn’t have to crawl under truck each time I remove the tailgate. The extension lets me easily hookup backup camera on camper. I put tailgate back on for the use of the camera and so stuff doesn’t fall out. If camper is off the truck, it is being used as a truck.” – Joseph Tamulevicius, 2017, Chevy 2500HD, 2016, Palomino SS-1240
“Without the tailgate is okay for me. If I need to used the pickup as a pickup, then I will reinstall the gate. It takes five minutes.
When I am traveling, the camper stays on 95% of the time, so without tailgate for 5% is not a problem. The gate is at home anyway.” – Patrice Boucher, 2014 Ram 3500, 2008 Adventurer 910FBS
“You might consider using one of those net type tailgates. They can be folded up and stored in your backseat or storage compartment.” – Gary Swope
“I am in northern Michigan so I am fortunate enough to live where most of the world wants to go for vacation. That said, as an old retired guy, I naturally have more work to do than when I was working for a living. With working on projects for the kids and myself, often involving large sheets of lumber, I need to be able to secure the load when it’s in no camper mode. Then I drop the cap down on the back to keep tools and materials out of the weather.” – Gary Theunick, 1994 Chevy 3500, Looking for the next camper
“I usually put the tailgate back on. Why, you may ask? Because I can! Actually the reason is that if I need to haul lumber or sheet goods, the tailgate is down. If my wife and I go get groceries and we purchase more than expected, (back seat full) then it goes into the bed. Tailgate up! If we have no tailgate someone else gets our food or it gets run over. It’s happened before; apples and oranges rolling around the bed and canned goods, too!” – Thomas Redfern, 2008 Ford F-250, 1976 Idle Time
“We usually drive around with the tailgate on. In fact we have two tailgates; one at home in the north and another at our winter home in Texas. We have a tonneau cover and we like to keep the bed of the truck covered. Since we spend several months in Texas in a park model trailer during the winter we keep a second tailgate there. We will leave the tailgate off if we stop for a few days somewhere and take the camper off the truck. We do not carry a tailgate around with us and the camper is too long to leave the tailgate on when it is mounted.” – Bill Billyard, 2000 Dodge Ram 3500, 2008 Palomino Winter Creek 115RS
‘”Yes. I drive around with my tailgate on because it has my backup camera lens! More importantly, it’s a locking tailgate and keeps my cargo secured. I also have a bed cover and a tailgate step-up that I really find helpful!
I do remove it when I have my camper loaded. Even though it’s aluminum, it weighs a lot. I am mindful of my GVWR and my center of gravity as it would be hanging in the extreme rear.” – Tony Polvino, 2016 Ford F-150, 2016 Travel Lite 770
“I have the tailgate on year round. The gate acts like a porch for camping. When in transit the gate is closed, adding to the security of everything.” – Timothy Ubels, 2004 Dodge Ram 3500, 1982 Okanagan 8′
“Without a tailgate. There is no place to store it when we are on the road. Also lately, we rarely take the camper off the truck.” – Carl Goode, 2016 Ram 3500HD, 2008 Okanagan 117 DBL
“Most of time our truck camping events are weekends or the occasional longer trip. They seem to be further apart than we like at this time (we are still working). That being said, the camper is usually unloaded between trips. The tailgate is put back on so the truck can safely be used for other hauling. I also have a roll up tonneau cover and with the tailgate lock it makes it a little more secure.” – Doug Lamb, 2013 Silverado 2500HD, 2015 Travel Lite 950RX
“I put my tailgate on. It’s aluminum and light. I don’t like to hook up wiring harnesses.” – Randy Shetterly, 2016 Ford F150, 2017 Palomino SS-1251
“When unloaded, I always have the tailgate on. I also put a tonneau cover on. It’s not that difficult to do by myself. I don’t have an electrical harness to hook up. When loading groceries, it’s good to close the tailgate and have everything covered up.” – Howard Bisco, 2015 Ford F250, 2014 Palomino HS-6601
“The tailgate is on when we’re at home and the camper is unloaded. We frequently use the truck to carry small loads when we’re at home, which is much safer with tailgate on. I don’t have the factory backup camera which makes putting it on easier. I have an aftermarket backup camera.” – Ron Wilson, 2017 Dodge 1500, 2004 Northstar TC800
“When we get home we put the gate back on because I haul a lot of stuff and I don’t want my stuff laying on the road for others to pick up” – Phil McEachen, 2000 Ford F-350, 2008 Okanagan 116DBL
“My tailgate has stayed in the garage during the two years we’ve had our camper. Different loads are easily handled with the open utility trailer. It’s easier than dragging that tailgate out and wrestling with it. I’ve considered a net tailgate for the times the camper is unmounted. I’m curious if others use them in that way.” – Paul Dowell, 2004 GMC 2500HD, 1997 Lance Legend 500
“I put the tailgate back on. It has a camera near the latch mechanism and without the display in the cab reminds you every time you put the truck in reverse. I ordered a aftermarket camera to put the camera in the license plate. In place of 18 inches of wire it had 18 feet of wire with several adapters to be coiled under the truck. I didn’t want that!” – Jay Knight, 2018 Chevrolet 3500, Northstar Adventurer
“We generally re-install the tailgate. This allows the use of the backup camera as it is part of the tailgate and reduces the tailgate storage issues in the garage.” – Christopher Brown, 2019 GMC 3500HD, 2019 Arctic Fox 990
“If I am up north, where the tailgate is stored, I put in on the truck when unloaded. However, down south during the winter, I drive around without the tailgate! So, you could consider me a switch hitter. LOL.” – Charles Coushaine, 2001 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet DS116RB
“The tailgate goes on whenever we are home and the camper is off. Our truck is continually being used to haul things that do not want to stay contained without the tailgate. I also find the backup camera in the tailgate invaluable for backing, hitching trailers, snow plowing, etc. One thing of note is that Ford’s design allows for the electrical plug to be attached from underneath after the tailgate is mounted.” – Stan Smelser, 2013 Ford F-350, 2014 Lance 992
“Very seldom do I put the tailgate back on. I will usually be taking another trip within two months, and messing with the tailgate is as much work as loading the camper. So the tailgate sits wrapped and on a shelf in the garage. At one point I bought a fabric tailgate, but it is for show rather than for holding anything. I carry a bag of tie-downs and bungees to restrain anything I need to carry.” – Bill Peters, 2017 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2013 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“Being in the Province of Quebec in Canada we remove the camper for winter storage and replace the tailgate. I do replace it when the camper is off during the summer because we need the box for loading stuff. I do agree that FCA could have done a better job of designing the plug.” – Gerry Boucher, 2017 Ram 2500, 2013 Northern Lite 8-11
“Tailgate on! The hook up on my F-350 is very easy. You can do it from the top or underneath. That said, I put the tailgate back on because it’s a working truck. I am always picking up stuff; sheets of plywood, sheet rock and a plethora of things for projects and things I do around the ranch. In addition, the nearest large city is a 40-mile drive down I-10. My tailgate keeps stuff in the truck. I understand why you would not put it back on. If you don’t need to, it makes sense to me.” – Don Pryor, 2019 Ford F-350, 2008 Arctic Fox 1150
“Tailgate off.” – Matt Wiegand, 2014 Ford F150, 2017 Adventurer 80RB
“I reinstall the tailgate mostly for the backup camera. The Ford tailgate has this great slide out step with a handle you can deploy for a handhold will climbing up or down. It’s a little heavy and awkward to handle. but with the tonneau cover and gate locked on, its all secure.
I always lock the gate. I added a factory backup camera to the bumper on the camper so I can now drive 30 miles per hour backwards.” – Clive Ross, 20016 Ford F-350, Northern Lite 8.11 QSE
“I drive with the tailgate off only when I am going to load the camper up again in a short period of time. I do like having the tailgate on because the backup camera is in the tailgate. I find the hardest part of removal and install with the Chevrolet is the backup camera connector wiring release.” – Rick Jones, 2017 Chevrolet Silverado, 2018 Arctic Fox 1150
“I leave my tailgate off. I have a 2×4 frame that sits in the bed. The reason is that the camper is not as tall as the newer ones. I need that clearance to clear the truck’s top, so I just leave it off and the frame stays in the bed.” – Sam Tardo, 2002 Ford F-250, 1997 Shadow Cruiser
“The tailgate is on because we also tow a fifth wheel. I do not plug in the rear camera because it is extremely difficult.” – Kim and Lori Oliver, 2015 GMC 3500, 2013 Adventurer 86 SBS
“When unloaded I usually put the tailgate back on unless the camper is off for only a few days. Normally if I take it off it is to use the truck for fishing, hunting, or quadding. The the tailgate is needed to keep items from falling out. If it’s off for an extended period, like in the winter, I have the tailgate and my canopy on the truck. I keep it stored under my canopy when it is off, so it is easy to get to.” – Richard Jones, 2013 Wolf Creek SB
“If the camper is only going to be off the truck for a few weeks I leave the tailgate off. Otherwise I put it back on because I use my truck for lots of other tasks. Also, when the tailgate is off it takes up garage space. I think it may be more likely to get damaged accidentally.” – Roger Garner, 2014 Ram 1500, 2017 Northstar Vista
“Unloaded means no tailgate. There is really no need for it. The back up camera is mounted on the truck for when the camper is on. Also the camper seldom comes off.
The photo is when I was rear ended on a freeway metered ramp. Fortunately no camper was mounted.” – Russell Sherratt, 2016 Ford F-250, 2016 All Terrain Cougar
“My truck is with the tailgate unless I’m loading the camper again within a couple weeks. The tailgate keeps the sides supported. Without the tailgate on, over time, they get shaken loose and wobble. The more rough roads and highway speeds, the faster this happens. Even a tailgate net, lessens this, so at minimum, use the net. I put the net on, even when I remove the camper while camping.” – Robert Castle, 1996 Ford F-250, 1991 Lance 480
“If the camper is going to be off for an extended period of time, such as when we are at home, the tailgate is put back. If I’m on a trip and choose to unload the camper, which I seldom do, the tailgate stays off. As your article noted it is a pain the reconnect the wiring. In fact when we were on a cross Canada trip to the east coast a couple of years ago we would park the camper and rent a small car to go on day trips. This was in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.” – Alan Fraser, 2011 Dodge Ram 3500, 2005 Arctic Fox 1150
“I bought a truck camper because it allows me to pull my motorcycle trailer and sidecar. When I’m camping the camper and truck are one. We use the motorcycle for transportation. The tailgate is so light because it’s aluminum, so it’s easy to put on. The key is to know where and how to unplug the cables for the backup camera inside the tailgate. They are located under the truck on the driver’s side.” – Stephen Repko, 2019 Ford F-250, 2018 Lance 650
“The tailgate is on so that I can use our truck for our construction business.” – Paul H. Castillo Sr., 2007.5 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, Lance 825
“Once the camper goes on for the summer, it pretty much stays on. If, for some reason, the camper comes off, the tailgate always goes on. It takes two minutes to put on. Two people gently support it, while the side that needs to go in first is positioned, and then everything else falls into place. We don’t find it difficult or aggravating at all. The box is useless without it. There is no option for me.” – Brian Plourde, 2007.5 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 2015 Adventurer 80RB
“With the tailgate. We like the back up camera that is installed on the tailgate. Also apparently, but counter intuitively, the mileage is better with the tailgate up. Who knew?
It’s a little bit of a hassle, but my wife and I have done it so many times, about once per month, that it goes pretty quickly. If we were ridiculously rich, which we are not, we would have a truck specifically for the camper and just never unload and always be ready to go. Alas, our truck is an overworked ranch truck, camper, and horse trailer, so off with the tailgate and on with the tailgate. It’s a vicious cycle, but someone’s got to do it.” – Marc Wilde, 2017 Ford F250, 2017 Adventurer 89RBS
“I leave it off if I’m going to load the camper soon. Otherwise I do put the tailgate back on. It only takes me about three minutes to remove or install. The newer tailgates are a lot lighter than the older ones. I don’t know if I’d install/remove it as frequently with my older truck and heavier gate.” – Mike Pettitt, 2016 Ram 3500, 2018 Lance 1172
“Without the tailgate. With the tailgate I have a rear camera. As I often have a bike rack installed, I bought a license plate mounted rear camera that plugs into the factory camera’s plug.” – Rick Brundrige, 2015 Chevy Silverado 3500HD, 2000 Bigfoot C259.6
“I reinstall the tailgate because I think it looks better and I never know when I might want to haul something.” – Dave Anderson, 2011 Ram 2500, 2004 Northstar
“I have recently dusted off and returned the tailgate to the truck position having just sold my camper. During my many years of owning various truck campers, the tailgate predominantly stayed in the garage. There were a few times such as carting off tree branches to the county chipper that I might have used it. But for the most part it was never on the truck when I had a camper.” – Frank Kaye, 2005 Dodge Ram 3500, No camper
“Mine is simple. When the truck camper season is over around December 1st, the tailgate and tonneau cover get reinstalled. The outside wheels are taken off my dually. There will soon be compacted snow and ice where I live, so no duallies in winter. The box gets loaded with about 1000 pounds of stuff for traction.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050
“I typically leave my tailgate on when the camper is off. I just don’t reconnect the tailgate running light connector. So there is no need to mess with a delicate wiring harness. However, when traveling, if I drop the camper I just run around without the tailgate.” – Mark Joslin, 2006 Ram 3500, 2005 Lance 1181
“It is the only park of this truck that I dislike. The tailgate has a handrail, ladder and camera built in with not an inch of flat to sit on when it’s down. The fact it weighs as much as a motorcycle makes it a bear to reinstall.” – Richard Whitman, 2010 Ford F450, 2012 Arctic Fox 992
“I put the tailgate back on because it has the backup camera built in. It is a pain getting the wiring harness clip on and off. However, it can be done with the tailgate resting in the down position so it does not require holding the tailgate while the harness is inserted or removed.” – Ron Schwadron, 2017 Ford, 2017 Northstar 850SC
“Always on. I do not have a wiring harness to deal with! We use the truck to take fruit tree prunings to the dump and bikes if there are more than two of us.” – Orian Hartviksen, 2011 Ford F-350, 2010 Northern Lite Q8-11
“I reinstall the tailgate because the only place to store it is in my garage were it’s in the way. I also installed a handle in the middle of the tailgate to make it easier to carry.” – Mark McKenzie, 2016 Ram 3500, 2000 Lance 920
“I always had my tailgate on until last summer. Our trip took us to Newfoundland for six weeks. On our return I noticed that the pain surface of our tailgate was damaged. It was likely the road debris and sand. This next trip to Alaska I will have a net in lieu of the tailgate.” – Ben Boulet, 2006 Ram 2500, 2012 Lance 855S
“For whatever reasons – launching the boat, placing/removing the camper (non-electric jacks), removing the tailgate or reattaching the tailgate is always a one man show in my family.
The tailgate and harness are easy to remove and replace, except for the tremendous weight. I would have no qualms driving around without it, but the Mrs. misses the backup camera. I’m looking at a new solution that plugs into the existing wiring to provide a bumper mounted camera for the truck (without tailgate) or the camper (when loaded).” – Dan Lyle, 2015 Ford F-350, 1983 Lance 11.3
“Once the season starts I remove the tailgate for the summer. It is a pain to keep putting in back on, plus taking the chance of dropping and damaging it while doing so. The gate goes back on only during the winter.” – John Leslie, 2017 Ram 3500, 2016 Palomino
“The tailgate is on the truck. That could change. Currently, I also put on a folding hard tonneau cover, that with the tailgate, provides lockable security and is multi-use with the camper off. And, yes, the whole ordeal is a pain. But, my goal is to put a flatbed on the truck, pretty much ending all this nonsense. That retains multi-use, adds storage, even secure storage, and 86ing the tailgate. It sounds good to me. Let’s see if I can do it. It’s all about the journey.” – Pete Memmer, 2015 Ram 2500, Northstar 850SC
“I, too, found it a pain to remove the tailgate, although the tailgate on this truck is lighter than previous trucks I’ve had. But I agree. Removing the tailgate is really tricky for one person, due to the harness. It’s easier with two people, but still difficult.
So, why take it off in the first place? My camper had the outside plumbing pipe where the tailgate would normally reside. If the tailgate was on I’d crunch the plumbing. After a couple years of taking off the tailgate and having the hassle of storing it, or damaging it if I drop it, I simply cut off the exterior plumbing. Problem solved!
I now keep the tailgate on which helps support the back of the camper anyway. A flexible hose can be connected to assist draining where the pipe was. Tailgate on! Much happier!” – Don Closson, 2014 Ram 3500, 2013 Adventurer 950
“I always put the tailgate back on. It’s no big deal. When that becomes too difficult I’ll have to start working out. Ha ha! Not there yet.
We live out in the country and there’s always something that needs hauling; firewood, gravel, manure, etc. The truck was originally bought for working around our property. The camper came much later. But hey, as a compromise, I often leave the tailgate down when empty.” – James and June Morris, 1999 Ford F-250, 1999 Lance 1120
“Unless it’s only going to be a day or so, I always put my tailgate on after removing the camper since it includes the backup camera. I can do the install/removal myself but it’s much easier with my wife helping me.” – Greg Chambers, 2015 GMC 3500, 2015 Lance 855s
“We don’t use our truck much at home, but when I do I usually leave the tailgate off. When I do use the truck it’s mostly to haul a big load and it’s much easier to fork a pallet of pellets or something else into the bed. On the road with the camper I carry a mesh tailgate and put that on when we drop the camper. Having some kind of tailgate gives me peace of mind knowing a propane bottle or cooler won’t accidentally slip out the back.” – Wayne Brainerd, 2015 GMC 3500, 2015 Lance 975
“I take my tailgate off in the early spring when I get the camper out of the pole barn. It does not go back on until late fall when I winterize the camper and put it back in the pole barn. I do miss not having the backup camera while it is off, but other than that, I don’t miss it at all.” – Scott Gallinger, 2017 Ford F350, 2017 Northern Lite 8.11 QCSE
“After taking delivery of our new truck, the GM dealer was unable to figure out how to remove the heavy tailgate. So unfortunately, the tailgate remains permanently under our camper with a perfect backup view of our trailer hitch.” – Brian Humphrey, 2015 GMC 2500, 2013 Adventurer 80GS
“I use the truck box with a tonneau cover for security and to keep snow out. When the camper goes on, it is for a long period and visa-versa. Also the Ford is aluminum and even though it is thick for strength, it only weighs about 1/3 of regular tailgates. The system is such that I can do it all by myself easily, including the two plug-in wire harnesses, and I’m 65 years old. Just keep die-electric grease on the plugins and caps.” – Dwain Letourneau, 2017 Ford F-350, 2017 Northern Lite 8-11 QSE
“If we are on a trip we will drive without it. But when we get home, we put it back on. We drive to and from Boston and Florida twice a year and we have to carry the tailgate in the back seat. I wish someone would come up with a solution where we could leave the tailgate on. That’s the downside of owning a truck camper.“ – Rod Kreimeyer, 2017 Ford F-250, 2013 Lance 850
“I put it back on because it looks better. I have a tonneau cover to keep things dry and/or out of sight. There are no wires to hook up so it’s relatively easy, except I’m getting too old to wrestle that 55-pounds around.” – Thomas Becher, 2011 Chevy 2500HD, Travel Lite 840 SBRX
“I always put my tailgate back on because the backup camera is mounted on my tailgate, which I use all the time. The tailgate is a pain to remove due to having to disconnect the backup camera harness. However, I purchased an external backup camera that I mount to the back of my camper which plugs into the existing harness. This works really well as it shows the backup view through my existing Ford’s stock dash backup monitor.” – Terry Young, 2017 Ford F250, 2011 Lance 855
“I put the tailgate back on every time after I use the camper. The gate is so heavy that I use a one-ton crane from Harbor Freight to take it off and put it back on. I think I have done it so many times that the back up camera does not work anymore.” – Greg Gaser, 2014 Ford F-350, 2017 Lance 1172
“At home, always! Usually it’s not on when I’m traveling because I don’t bring it with me on the road. However, I’ve been considering a tailgate net for travel. It’s easy to carry, lightweight and no big honkin’ tailgate to fuss with.” – Bud Betz, 2011 Ram 3500, 2017 Lance 1172
“With this new truck it’s a pain with the harness and weight, plus I have to use a wrench to undo cables. I will be doing a maiden voyage with this truck soon. I’ve had the camper on to make sure it fit, and then found out about the back up camera and sensor harness. The tailgate seems heavier than my old 2006 Ford F350. I plan on putting it back on when I’m not using camper. You would think the manufacturer folks would design these tailgates for truck campers.” – Jim Furubotten, 2018 GMC 3500, 2014 Northern Lite 10-2CDSE
“I have been driving our truck without a tailgate since purchasing a custom made popup truck camper in late 2000. The reason is that our popup truck camper fits in our garage on our truck through the standard 7-foot door opening.
Our truck has been a daily driver until recently. Everyday I would have to back the truck into the garage underneath our camper already standing on its jacks in the garage. I have done this over 4000 times during the last 18 years without incident. I takes literally less than a few minutes. I didn’t want to have to waste time putting the tailgate on and off each time. We keep our tailgate in our garage for when it’s needed which has been less than five times in last 18 years.” – Tom Dipaolo, 2000 Toyota Tacoma, 2000 Custom truck camper
“I only unload my camper to use the truck for tasks when I need the bed or need less weight. If I need to haul, I’ll add the tailgate. If I’m towing a trailer I leave it off adding more trailer visibility.” – Travis Marshall, 2000 GMC Sierra, 1985 S&S
“So far I have left it off, though I really miss my backup camera. The bulk of the F-350 tailgate prevents me from putting it on and off frequently. I also leave my Brophy tie-downs on the truck.” – Gary Bramlett, 2016 Ford F350, 2004 Lance 845
“I generally leave it off because it’s not easy to install. It’s heavy and awkward, at least for an old guy. If I really need it, I reinstall it.” – Bruce Colby, 2004 Dodge 2500, 2004 Lance 835
“I always put it back on. It looks better and it is easy to do. There is no electrical to deal with; just two hooks on the sides.” – Chuck Kight, 2014 Ford F350, 2014 Adventurer
“I reinstall the tailgate. I also put the tonneau cover back on. The back-up camera is in the tailgate. Our truck is a primary vehicle, so we need a back up camera to navigate the small parking stalls in lots these days. I rearranged the tailgate’s wiring so that it can be disconnected with the tailgate open and without crawling under the truck. My tailgate is heavy since it has a counterbalance spring and a fold down step built into it.” – Dave Erickson, 2011 Ford F350, 2006 Arctic Fox 990
“Tailgate on. When I’m not hauling the camper I have a canopy that I put back on.” – Randy Hooker, 2005 Dodge Ram 3500, 2005 Eagle Cap 850
“Off. It’s too much of a hassle to put on, and then take off.” – Martin Thorne, 2012 Ram 2500, 2005 Lance 915
“I install the tailgate. The main reason is that I use the truck bed to haul things, like pallets for recycling. I want to keep the load secure. Mine is easy to remove and install.” – Kenneth Dunn, 1998 Dodge Ram 3500, 2010 Arctic Fox 811S
“It’s on my truck because I use the truck bed a lot moving stuff for friends, bringing home soil and gravel, etc. I just find it easier than tying things down without the tailgate. Besides I hike a lot with my dogs or stop in parks. When there is no garbage bin I throw their bagged waste in the back. I can only imagine some driver’s rage if a bag of poop flew out and hit their windshield on the highway! I admit my daughter removes and replaces it.” – Michele McLeod, Ford F-150, 2000 Travel Hawk 9.5
“My tailgate has no wiring, so it’s fairly easy to take on and off. If I plan on using the camper within a few weeks, I often drive around with no tailgate. That’s usually during the summer. During extended periods of time not using the camper, usually during the winter, I put the tailgate back on.” – Stephen Zuccaro, 2003 F150, 2012 Palomino Bronco
“We are pretty sure Texas requires a tailgate of some sort so we always put ours back on.” – Connie Westbrook, 2002 Chevy 3500, 1997 Lance Squire 5000
“I do both depending on how long it will be before I load the camper again. If I will be going out again within the following week I’ll leave the tailgate (and the Bakflip Cover) off the truck. If it will be a couple weeks before I go out again I reinstall the tailgate and Bakflip since it gives me lockable storage. If I know I’ll have a need to carry something in the bed I’ll also put the tailgate back on.” – Leonard Pennock, 2018 Ram 3500, 2002 Eagle Cap 950
“I do not remove the tailgate. My camper fits on my truck with the tailgate down in place. Being a short box truck I feel it gives additional support to the rear of the camper. The bottom of my camper is flush and the sewer outlets are above the camper’s bottom. I have had no problems in two years of use.” – William C. Steger, 2005 GMC 2500HD, 2016 Palomino HS 2902 Max
“I put mine back on when unloaded. I don’t have a rear camera harness so it’s pretty easy to put back on by myself. Also modern trucks are engineered to get better gas mileage with the tailgate on. The tailgate keeps the air bubble in the bed of the truck and makes it more aerodynamic, contrary to the myth of taking it off.” – Henry Nelsen, 2007 Toyota Tundra, 2012 Northstar Liberty
“When unloaded I put on the aftermarket fifth wheel type of tailgate which is much lighter than the OEM tailgate. The OEM tailgate seems to get heavier with every passing year so I put it into my storage unit where it will stay. The benefit of an older truck is that I have not had a wiring harness to work about.
I do wish I could leave a tailgate on my truck when the camper is on, but the Arctic Fox configuration will not allow for it. My first camper was 8-feet long and ended right at the back of the truck bed. I was able to keep the tailgate attached. That was nice because it gave me a mini-porch. While I don’t have that mini-porch, the Fox Landing gives me something to stand on while the camper is loaded.” – Steven Cilenti, 1999 Ford F350, 2012 Arctic Fox 990
“Yup, most of the time we go sans tailgate. We put it on when someone wants to borrow the truck to haul something. I usually get them to help me put it back on the truck. Otherwise, what do you need a tailgate for?” – John M Tully, 2014 Ram 3500, 2015 Lance 855s
“When I unload while camping, I put a Pro Net on my tailgate. It clips on and off and gives me a sense of security for keeping items I may place in my truck bed from sliding out. If I am not camping, I keep the tailgate on.” – Todd Kidder, 2011 Chevy 3500 HD, 2015 Lance 1172
“Since it takes less than a minute to remove or replace the tailgate, I always put it back on. The hassle I put myself though every time is putting my canopy back on. My F-150 has 210,000 miles on it and the bed looks brand new and that’s after installing 5,000 satellite dish systems out of it. The tailgate is there to help you keep your stuff in place. I don’t think many people drive around with a canopy and no tailgate, although I have seen one that I can remember.” – John Kus
“I always put the tailgate back on. If I didn’t I would not have a back-up camera. It’s located in the tailgate.” – David Pracht, 2015 GMC, Sierra K3500, 1987 Lance LC900
“With it because the camera is in the tailgate. If I put things in the bed I feel more comfortable with the gate on. I find the plug in a little difficult, but modern tailgates are fairly light.” – Paul Totemeier, 2018 Ram 3500, 2019 Arctic Fox 992
“Tailgate on, mon. The truck looks hillbilly naked otherwise, come on!” – Mark Obert, 1999 Ford F250SD, 1999 Lance 920
“This is a new rig for us and didn’t have a tailgate when we bought it. Because the trucks from the old rigs were also work trucks, the tailgates went back on. But with no electrical wiring harness on either one it only took a few seconds to reinstall the tailgate.
Note: For an interim newer GMC Sierra that was going to be used to carry a camper until we found this “newer” complete rig. Wes developed a relatively easy way to reinstall the tailgate after unloading the camper. It involved a slight accidental modification to the electrical connector and using the tailgate dropdown cable as a temporary support.” – Bobbi Brubacher, 2011 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2014 Lance 992
“When we’re on the road and the camper comes off, we proudly drive tailgate free! Storing a tailgate seems like a complete waste of space. Besides, driving a dually without the tailgate tells the world, “I’m a goer, not a show-er!” – Hal Fish, 2015 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD, 2016 Lance 995
“I do a little of both. The tailgate is heavy and awkward for an old man, but I love the backup camera. I only put the tailgate on for the camera and briefly considered a camera to mount to the bumper to just plug in the camera and forget the tailgate. I added a camera to the back of the camper. A fellow could make that quickly detachable and move to the bumper area when the camper is off.” – Doak Walker, 2015 Ram 3500, 2017 Arctic Fox 865
“Due to the complexity and weight of the tailgate I leave it off if the camper is to remain off for more than a couple of weeks. I just put a tailgate net on and call it good.” – Ramon Milam, 2018 Ram 3500, 2016 Arctic Fox 811
“No tailgate for us! Since we got the truck strictly for the camper I had the guys doing the spray-on bed liner remove it and not reinstall it afterwards. The owner of the shop said he’d take it off our hands since we didn’t need it. Nice try, buddy! I’m sure with its built in camera and folding step it’s worth a pretty penny. I keep it wrapped in moving blankets in our storage unit in case we sell the truck or need it for some random unforeseen event in the future. I’m still trying to figure out a way to remove the back-up camera from it and mount it on the Arctic Fox. Looking for ideas on that (hint, hint).” – Jason Hardy, 2015 Ford F-350, 2012 Arctic Fox 990
“Yes. Because, it is about the only way to keep it from being stolen. Theft of pickup tailgates is a big problem in the south. We have looked at many commercial and DIY anti-theft devices and solutions, but they are mostly easy to defeat. This is a problem that the manufacturers need to address.” – Bill and Kira Jones, 2017 Ford F-350, 2018 Northern Lite 9-6Q SE
“We’re required to have a tailgate or cargo netting, when there’s anything in the back of the truck. Since we only take the camper off to haul stuff, we usually need the tailgate on anyways, but it’s also law. So we wrangle our bashed up, seriously dented, fugly tailgate back on. The good thing about a smashed tailgate is that we don’t have to worry about it being stolen. Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to remove yours, too?” – Melissa Malejko, 2002 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 1981 Okanagan
“Never without something in that position. Previously we had a 2004 Ford F-350. The tailgate was very easy to take on and off. However, I am of the opinion that in many states, including our New Mexico, it is not legal to drive with the tailgate off, particularly if anything at all is in the bed. It is probably sporadically enforced.
My solution for this problem when traveling with camper and unloading temporarily was a Bully brand webbing type gate. It’s easy to tie on for a temporary and legal solution. I haven’t installed the fasteners on my new truck yet since we seldom unload while traveling. They would likely interfere with the much narrower loading gaps. I did drive last fall ten miles, four times, in Colorado with no tailgate and nothing in the bed.” – Rick Johnson, 2019 Ford F350, 2007 Lance 1181
“Yes, like you we drive around without a tailgate and our Torklift extensions hang out. We tried putting the tailgate back on a couple of times but it’s heavy and extremely awkward. The only way I can plug in the camera is to crawl under the truck and struggle with short leads and an impossible plug.” – Bob MacAdams, 2010 Ford F-350, 2011 Lance 11
“I don’t dismount the camper that often, but when I do I put the tailgate back on. Several years ago I read a four-way fuel economy test; no tailgate, no tailgate with a net across the open back, tailgate open and flat, and tailgate up. The best mileage was with the tailgate up. The back up camera is also linked to my tailgate. It has a lock (ignition key) as replacements are expensive. The dealer said over $6000.” – Joe Sesto, 2015 Silverado 3500, 2015 Bigfoot C2500 10.6E
“I always put the tailgate back on. It only takes a couple of minutes. I’m 6’4″ and 240 pounds, so its weight is not a factor. I don’t have anything electrical to deal with. One motivator is that I park where my bed fills up with leaves, so if I don’t put it back on, the leaves fly out when I drive away and it’s equivalent to a smoke screen. However, I do leave the frame tie-downs installed even though they are (theoretically) easily removable. That, I have to get on the ground four times, so I don’t bother. Is that a faux pas?” – Steven Hericks, 2004 F350, 2000 Lance 1130
“With the camper mounted, the tailgate is part of the camper’s support structure, so there is no need to remove it. It’s still under construction.” – Randall Johnstun, 1965 GMC one ton, Home built expedition style
“I have my camper on the truck for 6+ months a year, but within a few days of unloading it I reinstall my tailgate and the bed cover. The tailgate is easy to reinstall, with a helping hand, but the bed cover is more challenging. I do it mainly because I appreciate being able to throw gear and large items in the bed and not have to worry about them getting wet or disappearing.” – Elver Robbins, 2016 Ram 1500, 2007 FWC Hawk
“On my truck to remove the tailgate you have to crawl under the truck to disconnect the camera and tailgate lock. The tailgate cables are bolted on. To fix the problem, I replaced cables with old style quick release cables, and then moved the camera onto the license plate frame. To do this, I had to install a new plug for the camera and tailgate lock. It’s crazy since I bought this truck as a prewired vehicle for a camper and/or a fifth wheel. So, what was the Chevy design crew thinking?” – Timothy O’Sullivan, 2017 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2008 Snowriver 9.6
“Our pickup truck is also our farm truck when the camper isn’t being used. When the camper is off the truck, the tailgate is always reinstalled because there will be a fuel tank in the bed (for fueling tractors), tools and sometimes hay or straw bales. This necessitates a tailgate to keep stuff in the bed where it belongs, and not on the highway.” – Daryl Davis, 1997 Ford F-350, 2015 Palomino SS-1500
“I like to put my tailgate back on if it’s going to be more than a week or so before putting the camper back on the truck, such as during winter. The main reason is for hauling things in the back of the bed. It’s more secure, plus it looks better and I have my back-up camera again!” – Michael Walker, 2016 GMC 3500, 2017 Northern Lite 10-2
“I have not had the tailgate on for two years because I have another Chevy 2500 for work tasks.” – Scott Kern, 2015 Chevy 3500, 2017 Bigfoot 25C10.4
“We drive without a tailgate all the time. On our first camping trip, the fifth wheel hitch came unfastened from the truck bed. The tailgate caught the camper and saved us from losing her down a hill into a creek.
John removed the bent, “happily over-engineered” (thanks, Ford!) tailgate and we realized it was so much faster and easier to load the truck camper without having to deal with a tailgate. It’s a no-brainer since we camp at least every other weekend in the truck camper during the spring, summer, and fall. I was just telling him recently that we should find some trim pieces for the sides where the tailgate attaches – so she feels pretty in her state of undress!” – Leigh and John Bennett, 2003 Ford F-550, 2016 Eagle Cap 1160
“Once it’s camping season the tailgate comes off and stays off until the fall! I sometimes will put it back on if I have to haul some sand, gravel or debris that requires a tailgate in place. I will also do a lot of day trips in the summer towing my fishing boat (do a bit of guiding). It is way easier to see hooking up the boat with the tailgate off! I have airbags so the back end rides a bit high making visibility more difficult. It is a bit awkward but I can remove and install the tailgate myself. In the fall my tailgate goes back on, I hook up my 5th wheel, and I head to Arizona for the winter!” – Roger Geisinger, 2013, Chevy 3500, 2013 Northern Lite 10-2 CD
“I always re-install the tailgate because it contains a backup camera that comes in handy. I’ve been looking for a camera to take its place when the camper is loaded. I have a rope and pulley system in the car port to lift this heavy tailgate off and onto the truck. The wiring harness disconnect is very accessible from under the truck.” – Ean McClane, 2017 Ford F-350, 2011 Lance 1191
“The only reason I unload my camper is to haul something or to pull my fifth wheel. So, if I unload the camper I put on the fifth wheel tailgate. I haven’t put my stock full tailgate on my truck for at least seven years.” – Eric Beatty, 1996 Ford F350, 2005 Lance 1181
“We drive around without the tailgate. I used to take it off and put on. It’s not really very hard, but one day I just said, “why do we do this”? Also, we don’t remove the tie-down extensions. I did hook one on a neighbor’s fence post and pulled it out of the ground. By the time they arrived it was replaced and they never new the difference. Stealth truck camping! We use heavy duty bungees across the tailgate’s opening. I haven’t lost a load yet.” – Frank and Polly Foley, 2016 Ford F-350, 2016 Northstar 8.5 Arrow U
“While I’m camping it’s off but, as soon as I get back home, one of the first things I do is put the tailgate back on. With the back of my truck sitting as high as it does I like the camera to let me know what’s back there. I’ve had some small cars back there that I couldn’t see through my rear mirror, but I did with the camera. It’s just an added level of security for me.” – Brian Mackison, 2015 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2015 Lance 1172
“When the camper is off, the tailgate is on. The tailgate keeps anything we put in the bed stay in the bed. We haul fire wood, horse hay, Jeep parts and building supplies in the bed. I did not have any good pictures of the pickup, so I took some today. It’s 19-degrees and snowing.” – Tom Ralls, 2009 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, 1994 Shadow Cruiser 800
“Depends. Since my 1191 hangs over the bed, the tailgate has to come off to load the camper. Whether I put it back on after unloading depends on how long I plan to be unloaded. If I know it will be several weeks or more before I load up my camper again, I will put the tailgate back on. I like being able to use my backup camera so that helps fuel that decision. The tailgate is stored in the garage where I park the truck, so it also clears the floorspace. If you think reinstalling the tailgate is a pain, try reinstalling a rigid, undercover bed cover! But I like having secure bed storage enough to do it.” – Craig Brueckman, 2015 Ford F350, 2014 Lance 1191
“When at home I always have tailgate on. When camping, I put a Pro Net vinyl tailgate on. For those who are going to purchase a new GMC or Chevy with the fold down step tailgate, if they have a camper like mine, you have to remove it when camping. It’s going to take two men and a boy. It’s got to be heavier.” – James Davis, 2009 Toyota Tundra, 2016 Lance 650
“If unloaded for service or unloaded while camping, I drive without the tailgate. If unloaded for more than a week, the tailgate goes back on. For short unloads it’s too much of a hassle to attach the tailgate. For longer periods I attach the tailgate and the tonneau cover for better cargo protection.” – Dietrich Kanzler, 2015 Ram 1500, 2000 Northstar TC800
“Without, unless I’m hauling something that requires the tailgate.” – Robert Mayton, 2014 Ford F-450, 2015 Lance 1172
“I haven’t put the tailgate on since 2013. I off load the camper in November and look forward to putting it back on by March. I see no point in doing it. It weighs close to fifty pounds and l would not be able to install it alone. I used to, but not now. I do leave the rubber mat in the bed and have had no issues driving down the freeway at 70. There’s much better airflow over the cab and I think I’ve gained .3 miles per gallon with the tailgate off. Also, it’s easier to load yard debris, garbage cans, or even carry a load of snow once in awhile!” – Roger Odahl, 2008 Dodge Ram 3500, 2004 Eagle Cap 950
“The tailgate stays off. It is too heavy to mess with, so it stays in the barn behind the hay rolls. When we travel around naked (without the truck camper) we use a net tailgate that goes on in a snap. The three straps on each side hold it in place, and it only weighs about a pound.” – Jerry Bonneau, 1995 Ford F-350, 2002 Lance 1061
“If we’re at home, the tailgate goes back on. It’s easy without any wires to deal with.” – Keith Rivers, 2004 Ford F250, 2012 Northern Lite 9’6” SE
“With the tailgate on the wiring harness does not have a connector.” – Robert Cabral, 2014 Toyota Tacoma, 2016 CampLite 5.7
“I drive with the tailgate off. My camper is on for the entire camping season. After the season is over, I still do not put the tailgate back on since it is a cumbersome process. The downside is not having the availability of the back-up camera. I also own a second vehicle that is my everyday truck, so I don’t worry too much about the tailgate being off.” – Susan Surateaux, 2017 GMC 3500, 2018 Arctic Fox 811
“At home I put it on. If unloaded during a trip, I don’t have the tailgate with me. My truck is a 1997 and has no harness. It is very simple to R&R.” – Ron Williams, 1997 F250 7.3, 2003 Lance 1010
“It depends what I will be doing. If carrying something, I put it on. The new Ford tailgates don’t weigh that much and I can put it on it off in a couple of minutes.” – Randy Bunce, 2017 Ford F350, 2016 Wolf Creek 840
“Most of the time we also use it with our 2015 Voltage 3895 toy hauler and carry stuff in the bed of the truck. That’s when we place the tailgate back on.” – Richard Alves, 2013 Chevy 3500HD, 2006 Lance 1181
“Yes, but I don’t hook up the wires. It’s only the back up camera which seems to be an odd place to put it. Either on the cab or by the license plate would be better.” – David Treece, 2011 GMC Sierra 3500, 2014 Arctic Fox 990
“We always put our tailgate on. We live on a farm and it is our farm truck, so we haul things all the time. On our truck the only function the wiring serves is to lock and unlock the tailgate. On gravel roads it gets clogged and jams it up. We leave the wiring undone.” – Stacie Link, 2016 Ram 2500, 2001 Four Wheel Grandby
“As soon as the camper comes off, the tailgate goes on. The backup camera is in the tailgate.” – Pat Bullock, 2016 Ford F350, 2001 Lance 1030
“If I’ll be camping again within two to four weeks, I’ll leave the tailgate off the truck. I also have a fifth wheel camper, so the tailgate goes back on (after removing the deck that covers my rails) so that items stay in the bed of the truck. The tailgate and tonneau cover will also go back on if I need to securely carry cargo. I have a few sets of folding sawhorses to hold the tailgate and tonneau cover while off the truck.” – Steve Williams, 2010 Ram 2500, 2016 Lance 650
“I do tend to leave the tailgate off for some period of time after taking the camper off the truck. When I bought the 2017 Ford with the aluminum body, I thought that the tailgate would be lighter than the steel tailgates on the GM trucks that I previously owned. Wrong! The Ford tailgate has the integrated step and it weighs a ton! The first time I took it off, I was doing it by myself as I have always done and I was not prepared for how heavy it was. I ended up dropping it and bent the the corner of it and the truck was only two weeks old. $500 and one week later it was repaired.
When the tailgate is off there is no rear-view camera so I always end up putting it back on. Now, I have my wife help me take it on and off.” – Mike Stanbro, 2017 Ford F-350, 2017 Eagle Cap 1200
“We use our tailgate when the camper is unloaded because we don’t want the loads to fall out of the truck.” – Laurel Wilson, 2018 Ford F-350, 2016 Four Wheel Grandby
“When we camp, we remove the tailgate. When we return from camping we replace the tailgate. If it was up to me I would leave it off all the time during camping season because it is so awkward taking off and replacing, not to mention the weight of the tailgate and finding a safe place to store it. But my husband prefers to put it back on between camping trips, so that’s what we do. So unloaded when camping and loaded between trips.” – Pem Richardson, 2016 Ram 3500, 2017 Adventurer 86FB
“I put it back on. It’s a two minute affair. I also put my tonneau cover back on, another two minute job. I don’t like the farm truck look of running around with a partially built truck. I take very good care my investments and I take pride in them.” – Bill Haynes, 2006 GMC Sierra, 2018 Wolf Creek 850
“I never put the tailgate back on! If I need to haul gravel or rock I have a cut-to-length 4×4 that I drop in the back to keep the bits from rolling out.” – Jim McIrvin, 2015 Ford F350, 2012 Lance 1191
“I use the tailgate as it has the backup camera. I mount one on the camper when that is mounted.” – Martin Laplant, 2015 Silverado HD, 2007 Lance 891
“I always put the tailgate back on. I do it because it just looks better and if I have to carry something back there I don’t have to worry about it falling out. The above comment about the Ram 3500 wiring harness. Why is the tailgate not in place on the truck when connecting and disconnecting the wiring harness? I disconnect the wiring harness before I remove the tailgate and I replace the tailgate before reconnecting the harness. There is no need to struggle trying to hold the tailgate while disconnecting and re-connecting. I have a 2016 Ram 3500 dually and that is the way I do it.” – Jim Hignite, 2016 Ram 3500, 2007 Lance 1055
“I haven’t re-installed the tailgate since I took it off to load the camper onto the truck when we bought both units three seasons ago. While the Ford F350’s tailgate appears to lack the complicated wiring harness you describe, it’s just too heavy to install and remove. Since the camper lives on the truck except when the truck goes in for service, there’s no reason to re-install the tailgate. Maybe living on the left coast has something to do with our casual, drive with no tailgate attitude!” – Jim Owens, 2016 Ford F-350, 2017 Arctic Fox 811
“I always put my tailgate back on. I use my truck for work and it’s nice to use the built in camera for trailer hook up. The wiring connector for the camera has been replaced once. The removal of the tailgate almost every weekend for six months takes it toll on the connector.” – Nick Bonen, 2012 Ford F-350, 2008 Adventurer 950b
“We put the tailgate on if it’s more than a couple of days. It doesn’t take much time to take on and off. It’s probably why so many get stolen. I don’t like leaving it open in the back. That’s just me.” – Bob Klope, 2019 GMC 3500HD, 2018 Arctic Fox 811
“Tailgate on. I want the backup camera, always. I installed one on the camper as well. When the camper is off for six months out of the year I have a camper shell on board to securely haul and keep dry anything in the 8′ bed. I made a steel frame with wheels to set the shell on when off so I can move it around. The shell is stored inside the garage when off. That keeps the bees, mud daubers, ground squirrels, etc. from making it home.” – Mike Wenrich, 2014 Ram 3500, 2015 Northstar popup
“In the summer months we leave the tailgate off as it is a pain to disconnect the wiring while trying to hold the tailgate.” – Larry Stevens, 2013 Ram 2500hd, 1996 Shadow Cruiser
“Without. If the camper is off the truck it would only be for a short while and then the camper goes right back on. The tailgate has a comfortable home in the shed!” – Ron Ross, 2017 Dodge, 2918 Northstar 850SC
“I took the tailgate off two and a half years ago to mount the camper for the first time. It has been collecting dust inside the garage ever since. Even though it’s relatively easy to take off and install because there is no electric connection, I just don’t bother to.” – Mark Harrison, 2005 Dodge 2500, 2017 Northern Lite 10.2 CDEX
“Both. If I’m taking the camper off to service the truck I leave it off. If I took the camper off to haul something I put the tailgate on. My tailgate is very easy to remove and replace with no wiring harness to deal with.” – Erwin Greven, 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD, 2002 Lance 921
“I reinstall my tailgate. I chose to purchase a truck camper primarily for four reasons. First, I have four wheel drive for the snow and backcountry boondocking. Second, I do not have to back up a trailer when confronted with an impassable obstacle or have driven myself into tight quarters. Third, I can park in a single parking place. And fourth, my truck works for a living. Don’t ask me why, but I just returned to Minnesota from Florida. Yesterday the camper was on the truck and today it will be loaded with a pallet of steel parts. The tailgate is nice for keeping things in the back of the truck.
Note: If I chose not to reinstall the tailgate I would purchase one of those cargo webs tailgate substitutes.” – Wayne Hoffert, 2018 GMC Sierra 3500HD, 2016 Northstar Laredo SC
“I leave the tailgate off unless I won’t be using camper for at least three to four weeks. It’s heavy for my wife and I to handle and I have to crawl under truck to plug in the camera. Also, I leave the tonneau off. However if we are using the truck there is no security for whatever is in the bed. It’s a dilemma for sure and a pain in the butt. It would also would be nice if Chevy made a seven-pin and four-pin that could be used at the same time without an adaptor when you have the camper and are towing!” – Gordon Townsend, 2015 Silverado 2500, 2018 Cirrus 920
“Both. I take the camper off the truck when I want to wash and wax the truck or camper. There is no reason to put the tailgate on for that. Then there are times I need to haul things. I will leave the tailgate off unless I need it on to contain what is being hauled. So I only put it on when it is a necessity.” – John Bull, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2015 Arctic Fox 990
“The tailgate only goes back on if the camper is going to be off for an extended period of time or if the tailgate is needed to keep cargo in the bed. Otherwise Ford’s better idea of a heavy two-person-to-install tailgate is not amusing to install or remove.” – James Thomas, 2013 Ford F350, 2013 Host Shasta
“When I’m on a trip I leave the tailgate home so I have no choice. When I’m home I always put it back on. When I need to carry something that might fall out it’s there. If it’s in the way of what I want to carry, I can just lower it. The same can’t be said if I’ve left it at home.” – Max Jones, 2008 GMC Sierra 2500 HD, 2008 Lance 825
“After unloading, the tailgate goes back on. I like my backup camera that is in tailgate. Plus I carry things in back of truck that need a tailgate to keep things locked in.” – Tim Chapell, 2013 Ford 150, 2013 Palomino SS-1251
“When I have the camper off (which is most of the time) I put the tailgate back on. It is a bit of a pain, but I have a factory rear camera integrated into the tailgate. I also have a nice bed cover which also comes off when I load the camper. I am considering leaving the bed cover. It rolls up and takes up about 10″ of space. I am planning on leaving the tailgate on and removing the camper’s factory step bumper to allow for the tailgate to be left on.
I can have a friend make me a more suitable back porch for the camper. Before the center of gravity gurus start having angina, I have checked and moving back the camper a foot still puts the center of gravity arrow well forward of the rear axle. My only real concern at this point is possible rocks bouncing up off the road and dinging the tailgate.” – David Litteral, 2017 Ford F250, 2016 Wolf Creek 850
“The tailgate has been parked in our barn since we bought the truck and camper in 2014. The only time the camper is off the truck is when we are camping. We have an older GMC for farm chores requiring a truck with a tailgate.” – Jamie Rea, 2012 Ford F-350, 2012 Lance 855S
“We have not reinstalled our tailgate since the day we brought our truck home new from the dealership. We owned a 2012 Dodge back then and towed a fifth wheel. We kept the fifth wheel’s tailgate. Because it only weighs a few pounds, it works great on our present truck.” – Joe and Debbie Siler, 2015 Dodge 3500, 2018 Lance 1172
“I always put the tailgate back on. I frequently carry stuff in the back, plus the truck looks better.” – Mike Chesnutt, 2010 Toyota Tundra, 1995 Hide Away 855
“Most times I reinstall the tailgate because I probably have a haul job, such as a load of firewood. Yes, the wire connection is a real pain, and probably the worst part of the job. Now I have to use zip ties to hold connection together. When I load or unload the gate I set up two saw horses with adjustable legs covered with old towels. I open the gate, unhook cables and lay the gate down on the horses. I unhook the wires and lift the gate off, laying it back down on the horses. I store the gate in a cover made from old bed spread. I roll it into storage with small dolly because it is too heavy for one person!” – Bill Hansen, 2013 Ram 3500, 2007 Arctic Fox 990
“I do not normally drive around without the tailgate when the camper is not loaded, which is most of the time. The tailgate has the back-up camera. It also locks, so with my trip-fold bed cover the bed is relatively secure.
Prior to loading the camper, I can disconnect the wiring harness prior to hefting the tailgate off. My wife usually spots me on this to avoid getting the wiring harness and safety cables from getting caught anywhere. I have a second Ram back-up camera that I have rigged to install in my hitch receiver and connects to the truck wiring harness. This conversion process is very manageable for me and allows constant use of the dashboard back-up camera display.” – Dave Thalman, 2013 Ram 2500, 2013 Northstar 850SC
“When traveling we remove the camper. Then, yes, I drive around without the tailgate. Otherwise I’ll leave the tailgate on all the time.” – Bill Richcreek, 2013 Ford F-350, 2017 Lance 855S
“When the camper is off I use as a truckto haul dirt for the yard or other things that require a tailgate.” – Alex Beloff, 2011 Ford F-450, 2015 Eagle Cap 1165
“I only put the tailgate on if I am putting the canopy on and then I can lock up the box. The plug for the tailgate light is absolute bull shit. I have not hooked it up since 2005. I have never been bothered by the police force about it.” – Gary Burgess, 2005 Dodge 3500, 1998 Kodiak 9 ft
“No, because I like my truck closed in. I also put a camper shell on so I won’t get fined. My truck is registered non commercial and that requires a camper on at all times in California. If the wiring was a problem then I would modify it to my liking. Mine doesn’t have wires.” – John Powell, 2004 Dodge, 2009 Eagle Cap 950
“I do not install the tailgate. It’s too big and heavy and awkward. I have a piece of 1/2-inch plywood cut to size and shape that fits in the back of the box. It is light and easy to put in and out and allows me to use the back of the truck to haul anything I want.” – John W Hallett, 2011 Dodge 3500, 2014 Bigfoot 9.6LB
“I always put it back on. I don’t want the rubber bed mat coming out of the bed.” – John Dorrer, 2013 Ford F-250, 2014 Four Wheel Camper Grandby
“I find the harness situation on my Super Duty a real pain to deal with, too. I ordered the camper package as well and it would be even more reasonable that they might take the harness thing into account. I knew it didn’t.
However, I do prefer to put my tailgate back on when I know that I’ll be using the truck for other purposes before the next camping adventure. What I especially appreciate when the tailgate is installed (and the wiring returned to normal) is having the tailgate camera working as well as the full 360° view (an optional feature) available which provides me with additional confidence while navigating around town and parking lots. This might change with increased use of the camper now that full retirement has arrived. Woo-hoo!” – Zeke Sechrest, 2018 Ford F-250, 2018 Hallmark Everest
“I put the tailgate back on, even though it is a major pain for one person! I use the truck for lots of things and the tailgate is often needed and I don’t like the look without it, even though it would give better gas mileage without it. My advice is to always have a second person to steady the tailgate on the bumper while lifting the left side into place. Always, always be sure the wiring connector is free and on the bed side of the truck before installing the tailgate! There is room and it is much easier to install the wiring after the tailgate is in place if you have the wiring connector on the inside/bed side of the tailgate when you put it on!” – Danny Crain, 2016 Ram 2500, 2015 CampLite 9.6S
“I always reinstall the tailgate. I, too, had a problem with the wiring for the tailgate to the truck. I have two wires. One is from the factory that includes the back up camera. One I installed to connect to tailgate lock. I had to extend the factory wiring some to be able to pull it out from the truck. I also built a special harness to connect both wires, keeping them together when they are on the outside.
We use the factory wiring to connect a backup camera we installed on the camper.
We have a bed cover that we remove when we use the camper, and reinstall. When it is locked and the tailgate is locked (connected to the door locks), the bad guys would have a more difficult time getting into the truck bed.” – Alan Crawford, 2015 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2014 Arctic Fox 990
“It is never off for more than a week. When I was in the work force, we had many vehicles in our fleet that had the tailgates destroyed from many different ways. Over time, the tailgate’s openings eventually would spread apart to the point a tailgate wouldn’t properly fit anymore. This didn’t happen overnight, but I saw it enough to not leave mine off for extended periods of time. The biggest reason was that these trucks were driven by multiple drivers who did not own them.” – J.Kevin McCarron, 2013 Ford F-350, 2013 Northern Lite 10-2 CDSE
“In season, I leave the tailgate off and put on a Bully vinyl tailgate when the camper is not in the bed. It keeps lighter items in place and gives the truck a finished look. When the trailer is put up for the winter, the factory tailgate is put back on.” – Joe O’Neill, 2017 Ram 2500, 2009 Rooster Cruiser
“I always put the tailgate back on since I also use the truck to haul stuff. However, I don’t have any camera wiring. As for the tonneau cover I’ll put it back on in the winter months to make it easier to remove the snow off the truck. Once the camper is off the truck I need 20 minutes to install the tailgate and tonneau cover.” – Mario P, 2006 Tacoma, homemade
“I leave it off. I load the camper almost once a week. It’s a royal PITA to attach the tailgate. I do miss being able to haul small things in back, so I attach a cargo net to it. The quick kit allows me to unclip it quickly, roll it up to load the camper, and make sure groceries don’t fall out at highway speeds.” – Kevin Jenckes, 1996 Ford F250, 2006 Lance 820
“The answer is yes and no. It depends. We use the truck as a vacation vehicle either with or without the camper, and for hauling large items. When hauling large items no tailgate is needed. When we go on a vacation without the camper, a small shell and the tailgate is put on. Vacations that we only use the truck include ski trips, where we need the storage of the truck and four wheel drive for snow.” – Ron Richardson, 2014 Ram 3500, 2012 Wolf Creek 850