Question Of The Week

TCM Reader Rental Confidential

Over 100 readers responded with passionate opinions and feedback on renting truck campers.  This should be required reading for the entire truck camper industry.


If there was any doubt that the entire United States needs a professional truck camper rental program, the following responses should finish the debate.  The feedback also illustrates why the Canadian rental programs, like the one from Fraserway RV, have been so successful.

And that’s not the only critical point to be found in the 100+ responses from Truck Camper Magazine readers.  Listen up truck camper manufacturers and dealers.  There’s at least one significant market growth opportunity here (note how many don’t yet have a truck camper).

This week’s Question of the Week was, “Would you rent a truck camper rig?”

“Let me give a resounding yes!  Why?  Because I could save precious vacation time getting cross-country, save mileage on my own rig, and because I’m familiar with a truck camper making the experience more enjoyable.  I’m practically dancing around at this news.  I’m ready to book a flight, book a truck camper, and book a formerly out-of-reach camping destination!  Did I mention I’m excited?” – Tim Holman, 2013 Ford F350, 2014 Wolf Creek 850

“I am considering getting a truck camper and would really like to try one out to see how it handles.  I also want to see how it operates and learn if I would like that style of camping before buying.” – Steve Addonizio, No truck yet, No camper yet

“Yes, I would definitely rent a truck camper rig.  I’m not yet retired and live on the East Coast of the USA.  I love wilderness camping in the Northwest United States and Western Canada.  I’d love to rent a rig close to my destination area so that I don’t need to take the time and effort to drive all the way out there from the East Coast.

I have seriously considered renting from the good folks at Fraserway RV for a trip to northern Northwest Canada.  Mostly it is about staying in a winterized truck camper (rather than a less rugged and non-winterized class C) and saving driving time.  How else can you easily get to and above the Arctic Circle?” – Bruce Tinkler, 2013 Ford F350, 2013 Lance 1181

“I would definitely be interested in renting a truck camper rig, either from Cruise America or Fraserway RV.  The wife and I are wanting to go to Alaska someday and this would be the perfect way to see Alaska without having to take our truck camper rig with us, thus saving the truck from wear, tear, and mileage.” – John Patterson, 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 2012 Travel Lite 960RX

“Yes, I want to rent a truck camper rig.  I just wish that there were more models of Lance campers to choose from to rent.  I prefer and really need a bigger camper for my family to really give this a try.  Preferably, a Lance camper with a large slide-out.” – John Tlapa, 2016 Toyota Tundra, No camper yet

“Yes.  We actually had interest in a Lance Camper before we bought our Airstream.  The Airstream is nice for destination camping, but is limited when exploring.  Some areas are just not conducive to dragging a 25-foot rig behind.  I went cross-country last year and pined for the ability to explore and camp off the main roads.  I believe the truck camper might fill that bill.” – Jack Blandford, 2013 Ram 1500, Airstream 25-foot Flying Cloud

“Yes!  I would love to be able to rent a truck camper rig!  It would give me a chance to see how it handles, how easy and/or difficult it is to put on and off the truck, see if it’s big enough for us to enjoy for a week of camping, and basically see if it’s a good fit for us before we spend the money on a truck camper.

I live in Florida and, for some reason, there aren’t very many choices when it comes to finding a truck camper.  Only a few dealers have them and most are used.  Hopefully Cruise America will expand their truck camper fleet to the southern states, where truck campers are a rarity.” – Tom Fielding, 2013 GMC 2500HD, No camper yet

“I would love to rent a truck camper so that I could try it out before I purchased one.  I have motorcycles that I like to take with me so I make due with cots in my enclosed trailer that I use to haul my bikes around.

I’d like to upgrade to a camper, but I have no idea which direction to go.  Do I get a truck camper so that I can continue to use my enclosed trailer, or do I get a toy hauler (combo camper with garage)?  I would never go away without at least one motorcycle and often take two (one road bike and one off-road bike) so I need to make sure that I can continue to do this.  In my enclosed trailer I have a full work bench complete with air compressor and generator.  I’d rather not rebuild that into a new toy hauler, but I just do not know which would be better.” – Kevin Boutelle, 2014 Toyota Tundra, No camper yet

“Yes, but I’m located a stone’s throw from Cruise America’s Carson facility and would be more interested in a fly-and-rent out of your neck of the woods (East Coast).  Visiting Canada’s Maritime provinces is on my bucket list but, frankly, driving cross-country isn’t.

Now for a history lesson (not directly related to the QOTW), in 1999 I already had my truck and was shopping around for a second hand camper.  I visited Cruise America’s Carson rental facility as I heard they retired their equipment after a season or two for a substantial savings from new.

I don’t recall the brand camper they had, but they were set up in a simple fashion as you would expect of a rental unit.  They did offer them for sale separated from the truck (also for sale).  In the end, I found I couldn’t pass up new.  I never did try before I bought, but I know what I like and have been happy with my Lance 920 ever since.  Oh, and I’d much prefer a rental submarine over an aircraft carrier, so if you have any leads…” – Mark Obert, 1999 Ford F250SD, 1999 Lance 920

“Yes!  I’m in the process of trying to figure out which truck camper to purchase.  Our nearest dealer is 300 miles away and walking around in the models on display does not do the truck camper justice.  It would be nice to test ride one that I was interested in, just like an automobile.

Next time I am at a dealer, I am going to ask if I could spend the night in one of the used truck campers to get a feel for it (absent using the bath).  At least that way I have a basis for making a decision.” – Chris Ray, 2015 Ford F350, No camper yet

“I plan to rent a truck camper for a couple of weeks to try out the lifestyle before buying one.” – Christopher Stone, No truck yet, No camper yet

“Yes, for two reasons.  One, to fly out west and rent because it takes too long to drive cross-country.  And two, to try different sized rigs for a replacement for our current one.” – Robert Bergen, 2003 Chevy 2500, 1987 Real Lite

“Yes!  We read your article and have already started looking ahead for vacation time.  It’s a damn long drive from Massachusetts to the West Coast, and pretty much impossible with limited vacation time.  But, flying out and renting for a week or two.  Where do I sign up?” – Michael Voldahl-Corliss, 2012 Chevy 1500, 2012 Northstar 650TC

“Yes.  To experience a week to ten days traveling in a truck camper in anticipation of a purchase.” – Kent Coen, 2015 GM or Ford HD 3/4 ton, 2015 Lance double-slide

“I would definitely rent a truck camper!  I’m very new to the truck camper lifestyle and am interested in trying one out before I buy.  For me, buying a truck camper is a long term goal, maybe for retirement, or as a vacation option.

At this stage however, it’s just a dream.  Reality has a way of being very harsh sometimes, so I’d like to try out the truck camper to get a dose of reality and see if it’s a realistic goal to eventually own one.  I’m so glad you took the time to ask this question because I thought I had a better chance of renting a flying carpet than a truck camper!” – Tony Ledford, No truck yet, No camper yet

“This would have been an excellent way to try-before-you-buy into the truck camper lifestyle.  Luck for us, our first camper (a Lance 1030) fit our new retired lifestyle perfectly.  I will recommend this new opportunity to try before you buy to all interested newbies we encounter in our travels.” – Carl Goode, 2016 Ram 3500, 2008 Okanagan 117 DBL

“Yes, I’d like to try it out first.  When I retire I would like to travel the USA and Canada for extended periods of time.” – Roger Surman, No truck yet, No camper yet

“I would have jumped at the chance to rent a truck camper and try before you buy.  Being able to rent a hybrid travel trailer was what cinched the deal for me when I was looking for a travel trailer.  If I’d been able to rent a truck camper, especially a pop-up truck camper, I would have pulled the trigger on a truck camper much sooner.” – Mike Wiles, 2009 GMC 3500HD, 2016 Northstar 850SC

“Absolutely!  The wife and I have decided that a truck camper would be ideal for our camping needs and wants.  We like the idea of the spontaneous trip as well as spontaneous stops for the night without having to find a campground/hotel.  Find the closest rest area or Walmart and just grab a few hours of sleep.  No real set-up required.

Our 1985 Coachman pop-up (it’s been in the family for at least twenty years) is on its last rotting legs and we know it’s time to look at something else.  We initially wanted to move into the world of small RVs but the money for them is just insane.  Plus, since it’s another vehicle, you have to worry about the maintenance involved, as well as taxes, tags, insurance etc.  Storing it in my already overcrowded yard/driveway, or paying to store it elsewhere just adds even expense to an already expensive endeavor.

Truck campers cut out about 75% of those ownership expenses and are a much more attractive option to us.  However, living on the East Coast, truck campers just aren’t as popular as they are on the West Coast.  Simply finding them to look at is already a challenge, much less determining if they fit our needs.

Being able to rent a truck camper already mounted on a truck of similar size to the one I already own would be a perfect way to find out just how they would work for our scenario.  Is there enough storage space?  How do we like the shower?  Do I want a north-south bed configuration as much as I think I do?  These are the types of things that it’s hard to judge until you experience them first hand in an active camping scenario.  So, renting a truck camper would be ideal.

Unfortunately it appears that, at least for the time being, we would still have to travel to the West Coast or to Canada just to rent one.  But, we have family in San Francisco.  Maybe the next time we go out there to visit, we can rent a camper instead of staying with annoying family.” – Mark Peterson, 2011 Ford F150, No camper yet

“Yes, to see if we would like it.” – Kimothy Dixon, 2010 Ford F250, No camper yet

“I have been in love with the idea of a truck camper for years now.  Unfortunately, I live in Virginia.  Recently an RV dealer in Montrose added some truck campers, but I still want, very, very much, to take one for a ride.  I have never spent the night, much less several days in a truck camper, and that’s what I want to do.

When someone asks me what I’m looking for in a truck camper I get all googly-eyed because it’s all perception and guess-work.  Do I need a slide-out?  How much fresh, grey, black tank capacity do I really need?  How much will I use battery power, and how do I survive off-grid?  I’m such a newbie.

I have never camped in a camper, only tents, and I’m ready for a change.  The comfort, safety and convenience of a truck camper is so alluring along with access to places I can’t drag a trailer.

The idea of renting is compelling because, not only do I get the test drive, I might decide renting is the way to go.  But, as usual, it appears if I want any practical truck camper experience I will have to move to the West Coast.” – Carol Andrews, 2003 Ford F350, No camper yet

“As a newbie to the truck camper way of life, I don’t yet own one and would definitely rent a rig from Cruise America.  I attended this year’s Pleasanton RV show and was impressed by the smaller Lance truck camper models.  This is exciting news!” – Frank Jerolimov, 1999 Ford F350, No camper yet

“I would definitely rent a truck camper rig.  I love driving, and taking my time.  A camper is like a home on wheels, and I would like traveling with that comfort.  I live in Florida.  To try to save on miles, I’d like to rent one in the east Ohio/western Pennsylvania area.  This is what I’d prefer because of cost.  Then I’d travel west.” – Doreen Lam, No truck yet, No camper yet

“I wouldn’t rent a small truck camper, I have one.  I might rent a large truck camper with slides, dual rear wheels, and a diesel engine.  I would like to check it out for a few days to see what driving a big rig is all about.” – Chuck Pearson, 2008 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2013 Hallmark K2

“My wife and I rented an F350 single rear wheel and Northern Lite camper in British Columbia before we bought our camper.  It was easier than driving across the country from Ontario and a great way to see if we liked truck camping.

Now that we own a truck camper, we’ve gotten used to having our own gear, knowing where everything goes, how to use everything, etc.  So I can’t see us renting again.

The only possible time would be if we want to travel to another country or continent and rent one.  For example, you can rent Four Wheel Campers in South America.  Until we retire, we can’t take the time to drive there and back.” – Darrin Pickett, 2011 Ram 1500, 2014 Four Wheel Hawk

“The pros to renting a truck camper for me are the opportunity to try out truck camping, and to try out a different truck and camper combinations.  I also don’t have to worry about setting up a truck and camper in order to try out the lifestyle.

The cons to me are that it’s really expensive given that the whole point behind truck camping is to take lengthy holidays without breaking the bank.  Renting may be more expensive than a regular getaway, or even a one or two week resort getaway.  And we would be limited to experiencing only one truck and camper combination, style, and layout.

If you know you want to go truck camping, and know what you want, renting may not be interesting.  If you are undecided about truck camping, than renting might be interesting, even with the limited truck and camper options, and provide some indication of the level of ease, routine, and enjoyment of truck camping.” – B.B., No truck yet, No camper yet

“It would be nice if one could be rented in the civilized part of the United States.  You do know that there is an East Coast right?  I love going to my ancestral home in the Canadian Maritimes and thought a truck camper would be great but, as you say in your story, I’ve never used one and I am hesitant to just buy one.  As a widower, I’d be traveling alone – which I’m not sure of either – but a truck camper would seem to fit better than some big beast!” – Lornie Bullerwell, No truck yet, No camper yet

“No.  Rental companies don’t operate in the rural/remote places we usually camp.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050

“Yes, having the means and opportunity of renting a truck camper is a great idea.  If I would of had the opportunity to try one out prior to purchase, I would have defiantly tried one out.

My concern is that there is only one model being offered; an entry level short bed model with a wet bath.  For comparison, there should be a long bed model with a dry bath.  Many owners have found the wet bath versions are a burden after usage to dry off the surfaces, mirror, and potty.  A dry shower model does not require these extra steps.

We presently are the owners of our second Lance.  We justified the purchase based on the additional conveniences of the larger model, and the slide-out.  We are very pleased with the newer unit which offers the comfort and convenience lacking with our first Lance.  We agree fully with, “Try it before you buy it.” – Warne Todd, 2000 Ford F250, 2005 Lance 981

“I would be very interested in renting a truck camper rig.  Living in the Chicago area, truck campers are not around here.  Campers are either pull-behinds, fifth wheels, or motorhomes.  My problem is wanting to do the camping but also bring my 16-foot fishing boat.  I can’t tow the boat if I’m towing a trailer.  And I’m getting too old for tents.

Renting a motorhome is an option, but having to pull up stakes every time I’m wanting to launch the boat would be a hassle every day on a week’s vacation.  I like the idea of dropping the camper on site and having the truck to launch the boat or go sight seeing. But, with any toys, there are lots of questions that need to be answered before purchasing.” – Pat Trunda, No truck yet, No camper yet

“I would love to rent before buying to determine what we really want and need.  Height might be important because my husband is 6’4″.  How close is too close for extended travel?  It’s a big investment on a retirement income!” – Kathy Steinheimer, No truck yet, No camper yet

“We are expecting to upgrade to either the Lance 1181, Arctic Fox 1140, or Arctic Fox 1150.  We would like to rent to try each out in real life situations.” – Paul Roberson, 2014 Ford F450, 1988 Lance 930

“I am currently an owner of a 22-foot Born Free motorhome.  I am the previous owner of a Toyota Tundra and Outfitter Apex truck camper.  I would rent a truck camper in Alaska in a heartbeat.  It would save all the time, money, and miles of driving from New England to Alaska.  Great idea!” – Cheryl Lane, 22-foot Born Free motorhome

“Yes.  Before I bought a truck camper, I might have rented one.  But, back many years ago, I camped in a truck camper so I was familiar with them.  Renting one on the East Coast is not a option!” – Jeff Hagberg, 2002 Ford F250, 2006 Travel Lite 800SBX

“Yes, in order to decide to upgrade or replace.” – Pat Smith, 2005 F250, 2007 Lance 845

“I would like to rent a truck camper set-up similar to what I’m looking to purchase.  Cruise America used to rent truck camper rigs back in the 90s.  I don’t know why they stopped.” – Bob Chan, 1989 Ford F250, 1988 Lance 780

“As was mentioned in the pre-amble, renting a truck and camper combination here in Canada is not hard.  The hardest part is opening up your wallet.  We have considered renting an RV in the past when I thought putting a lot of miles on my older truck would be problematic.  But, when I did the math of renting, it turned me off.

The amount needed to rent a unit, especially if you want to cover some miles and keep it for a while, starts to approach the amount for a sizable chunk of cash towards purchase of a used camper.  My opinion is that used is the way to go.  RVs really plummet in regards to value from new to used.

I have seen many rental rigs on the highway in our travels and, upon meeting some of those involved, most are from out of the country.  For them, doing the rental thing makes more sense.

We have a 42-foot trawler that we use on the West Coast. Doing some charters was our first thought before purchasing our own boat.  But then we read the qualifications; no pets, extra insurance, areas where you will be allowed to cruise, and the staggering cost of $4,000 to $5,000 per week.  We are not renters in any part of our lives.” – Wes Hargreaves, 2016 Ford F450, 2006 Snowbird 108DS

“I’d love to give it a try to see if my wife and I would enjoy it as much as we think we might.” – Michael Wokasch, 2007 Chevy 2500HD, No camper yet

“Having traveled many miles with truck campers, we would be lost without one.  We toured Alaska with our 1997 Chevy and 1998 Sunlite 9.6 and would love to repeat the same trip and take more time.

If you look at the cost of an air flight to Whitehorse from Nova Scotia, and then the cost of two week rental, it is expensive.  At least two weeks is recommended (our opinion) for the Yukon and Alaska.  There is a lot to do, so perhaps we may look at adding an extra two weeks and take our own rig and see Canada again.  That would be more miles on our truck, but perhaps that’s a reason to upgrade.

It’s good to see that Cruise America is getting into truck camper rentals, but their units are far too small for us.” – Lewis Turner, 2003 GMC Sierra, 2008 Northern Lite Classic SE

“I would have rented first if it had been an option when I was considering truck campers. Not only would you experience truck camping as we all know it, you would be able to decide how your new camper would be configured and optioned.

Purchasing a truck and camper is a considerable expense, and renting would be one way of mitigating the risk of purchase.  As truck campers, we know how much fun it is and the opportunities it affords us, but I think we can all agree that it is not for everyone.  Renting is a great way to find out!” – Tom Waters, 2003 Dodge 2500, Four Wheel Camper Grandby

“No, I prefer my own personalized rig, equipped the way I need it to be.  We boondock whenever possible and I’d hate to have to worry about damaging, and paying for, a Cruise America rig.” – Rex N., 2015 Ram 5500, 2000 Alpenlite 11.5

“I think that trying out a camper before I bought it would be great.  There are so many different features and brands of truck campers out there.  Each manufacturer has a different way of putting it all together.  By using the bathroom, shower, kitchen, and the bed, we would see which brand works best for us.  How it rides on the truck as we bounce down some back road, is also important to know.” – Russell Berquam, 2014 Ford F350, 2015 Arctic Fox 1140

“Yes, I like truck campers for certain trips, but it is hardly worth the cost of owning one.” – Michael Dunaway, 2015 F350, 2015 Airstream Flying Cloud 20

“I would be interested, but on the East Coast.  I live in Ohio and and travel to the Carolinas regularly.  Try before you buy would be nice.  I have a 31-foot trailer that I keep in Canada.” – Richard Sachs, Dodge 2500, No camper yet

“Absolutely.  I would rent a truck camper if I did not already own one, or if they start renting them in Hawaii.  Like you, I think it would have been good to have had the experience prior to buying, if for no other reason than to find out what it is like to drive a truck with a camper on it.” – John Tully, 2014 Ram 3500, 2015 Lance 855S

“Yes, I would rent a truck camper, but not the truck, provided the rental cost is reasonable (to me).  Renting saves the issue of storage when not in use, and I would always be using a later model unit.  It would be cheaper annually than all the costs of owning a $20K to $50K camper.” – Tom Adams, 2001 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 1998 Northwood 10-foot

“No because I already own a truck.  But I would rent just the camper in anticipation of long-term purchase satisfaction, and final selection.” – R. Shaffer, 2006 Ram 3500, No camper yet

“Yes, I would like to see how much difference having a slide-out would be.  But a truck would need to be rented too as our truck can’t haul anything bigger!” – Carol Sudweeks, 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2006 Lance 815

“I would like to buy a truck camper rig in about eight years when my wife and I retire and travel around North America.  However, she’s not convinced.  She constantly says we should rent one first.  So there you have it.  I’ll be renting one ASAP.  I just hope it seals the deal!” – Byron Hay, No truck yet, No camper yet

“Not the camper on the F150.  It’s too small.  The small camper might turn a lot of folks off.  It needs to be bigger.  I would rent a Class C first if I wanted two-wheel drive.” – Frank Paglianite, 2013 Ford F350, Lance 992

“Yes, we definitely would!  Before we bought our Northstar, I would have rented to see if the truck camper was a option for us.  We took a leap of faith to purchase with the hope that we would enjoy and use the truck camper.  So far, so good!” – Jay Knight, 2009 Chevy 2500, 2015 Northstar Adventurer 8.5

“Since I already have one, I fail to see the need to rent one.  If circumstances required that I rent something, I would rent a small motorhome for a try.” – Thomas Fallon, 2009 Ford F250, 2015 Lance 850

“I would rent a truck camper to decrease the number of travel days to get to the West Coast from Kansas.  Thus, having more time on scene.” – Cliff Hill, 1998 Ram 2500, 2002 Northstar

“Yes.  During trips to California for family visits, it would be nice to be able to get away for a weekend and visit sites in the state.  It is a long way from Virginia for a weekend trip, so having the option of a rental would be very convenient.” – James Hamre, 1993 Ford F250, 1988 Sunlite Eagle

“Before we bought our truck camper, my husband and I would like to have rented one just to see how they drove and make sure it was something we could work with.

However, the camper that is paired with the truck for rental is definitely not a fair representation of what we were looking to purchase, or what most of the campers are that are available for purchase.  If we had rented the now available rental as a test, we probably would not have bought a truck camper.  They should have paired a nicer camper with a slightly bigger truck (F250) for a fair representation of what is actually out there.” – Pam Conner, 2015 Ford F350, 2015 Arctic Fox 1150

“Yes.  If I could fly to a new destination and explore with a truck camper rig at a reasonable price, I would.” – Pat Walsh, 2001 Ford F350, 2001 Bigfoot

“Yes, where it would be easier to fly and use it more locally.  I did not have my camper on a trip to Alaska through Canada and saw a lot of both truck campers and class C rigs on the road to and from Whitehorse.  I would like to go to New England and pick one up there to travel those states.” – Mickey Rabuka, 2004 Silverado, 2007 Sunlite pop-up

“Like you, I spent spent time wanting to rent a truck camper prior to buying.  No, let’s correct that.  My family all wanted me to rent one because they felt I was not well enough to own one and would find it overwhelming.  They insisted that if I rented one I would not lose my money as I would discover I either didn’t like it or couldn’t do it.

Living in Canada, I did research my options.  I found that even if I only took it out for a relatively short time, and didn’t travel far, the price would be well over $2,500; rental, mileage, rental of kitchen stuff, return airfare to rental location, extra baggage fees, taxis, and two nights in a motel at the beginning and end.

Instead I bought a 2003 Northstar TC800 in fabulous shape, drove it more than 15,000 miles the first year, and loved it.  It was money very well spent and I have been offered almost exactly what I paid for it.

Traveling in the camper, I realized that I don’t have the knees for a porta-potti, nor the fingers for the exterior latches of a pop-up.  Otherwise, I was enthralled.  Armed with more research, I decided on a new Northstar Laredo (hard side).  But when the Canadian dollar tanked, I decided to go to a used camper instead and I now have everything I need.  Some new cushions, curtains, a new mattress, replacement of safety and propane equipment, and I am totally happy.

I met people in Western Canada from Europe in rented truck campers and others in Central Ontario.  I think it’s great for tourists flying in.  Also, if someone owns a truck camper in one location and has always wanted to see the other coast and aren’t up to the lengthy cross-country drive, it would be a good solution.

Your financial figures look good, but other expenses must be considered including airfare, hotels, and meals.  It’s fairly easy to find a decent used camper for a newbie who wants to do a test run.  No mileage allowance, your own belongings, no drop off arrangements, etc.  But the rentals are very popular for tourists and wonderful for those with just two weeks vacation.  It eliminates the drive to and from the area to be seen.” – Michele McLeod, 2013 F150, 2000 Travel Hawk 9.5

“I’m looking to go to Alaska for several weeks and do not want to take our fifth wheel.  The thought of renting a truck camper is a good option.” – R.E. Mason, 2013 Ford F250, fifth wheel

“No, I wouldn’t.  I never saw a reason to.  Buying was for us.  That said, we have extended family in Denmark and they have come to the United States a few times.  They have rented RVs to vacation in The West.  I think it is fairly popular with foreigners.” – John Bull, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2015 Arctic Fox 990

“Yep.  Just what I’d want to haul around, a huge billboard for the rental company.  What were they thinking with that loud garish paint job?  Imagine you’re in a campground; you wouldn’t be able to sit and relax for five minutes without one more lookie loo coming over thinking they can interrupt your privacy to ask you about the camper.” – Russ Rodderback

“Our family wouldn’t rent a truck camper rig.  I just don’t think the rental agreement would allow us to take the rig to the remote places we camp.” – Rick Guffey, 2012 Ram 2500, 2013 Hallmark Everest

“I think most truck camper owners like to customize their rig around their needs.  For us, it would be out of the question.” – Tom Elliott, 2007 Ram 2500, 1999 Lance 835 Lite

“Yes.  We have rented a Class B twice when out west and, if the price was right, the truck camper option would be a choice.  The rental would depend on location and would be appealing, as vacation time is limited.  While we are still working, we can’t take the time to drive cross-country.” – Kevin Presson, 1997 Dodge Ram 2500, Outfitter Apex 9.5

“Yes, I live in the Midwest and renting in San Francisco would put me closer to the Sierras for camping and West Coast travel without having to cross the entire country with my rig.” – Tom Burnett, 1997 Ram 2500, 2009 Lance 835

“I rented several times from Cruise America over the years.  It was a step up from tent camping, a nice change, and I didn’t own it, so it was good for the occasional camp trip.

The only drawback, and I hope they fix this for the truck camper rig, is the check in-check and check-out times.  You had to bust hump to get the camper on time, load it, get where you’re going, then try to relax knowing you have to drive back, unload, clean it, gas it, and hit the little return window.  I finally decided to just get my own camper, go when I want, how long I want, with no potential late charge.” – Rick McCormack, 2003 Dodge Dakota, 2015 Palomino 800

“Yes, absolutely!  We are 61 months away from retirement (whose counting, right) and would love to rent a truck camper rig.  We have been avid backpackers our whole lives but it’s getting harder and harder to put up with the sandy, wet, buggy ground (we live in Florida).

I need to get my wife, Ginger, into various options to see what she would like and what would fit our needs.  My two dream rigs include either a Ram Power Wagon with a Hallmark pop-up, or a Ram 3500 single rear wheel with a Northern Lite.  Keep up the excellent work and we’ll see you in 61 months!” – Karl Sault, No truck yet, No camper yet

“I might rent a rig if I was considering moving to a hard-sided camper and wanted to check it out.” – Dave Thalman, 2013 Ram 2500, Northstar 850SC

“Yes, but only for a few of our overseas bucket list trips where the expense of shipping is too high.  These special trips are to circumnavigate the ring road in Iceland, Chile down to Patagonia, and Peru through the Corderilla Blanca and Huaywash, and then transgressing the Andes’ spine down to the Cusco area.” – Dave Kiel, 2007 Toyota Tundra, 2012 Phoenix

“Like you, I looked around for a truck camper rental before I bought my truck camper. The fanciest RV that I had owned at that time was a tent camper!  But, of course, no rentals were available.  So I did as much research as I could, talked, at length, to Bill Penney at Truck Camper Warehouse (great guy and great business!) and sent out a million questions to various RV manufacturers.

Then we just bit the bullet and bought a truck and camper at the same time.  And we love it, too.  If the Cruise America truck camper had been available at the time, I still don’t know if we would have rented it.  That price is pretty steep and mileage charges too.” – Anne Marie Lewis, 2013 GMC Sierra, 2013 Eagle Cap 850

“Only if I had a choice of size, model, and numerous options.  Renting the wrong size would discourage me.  If only one model was offered, it would be a gamble.  There are so many factors to consider.  Being a veteran camper, we knew what the correct unit for us would be.  Would you buy a car if only one was offered – take it or leave it?  Variety and price sells.” – Bob Robinson, 2002 Chevy 2500, 2010 Travel Lite 960RX

“Check out Go North in Alaska.  They list three model-levels of truck campers. I found them when doing research for upcoming vacation.  I’m going by train this time.  I have 2016 dually F350 truck, but no camper yet.” – John Sherwood, 2016 Ford F350, No camper yet

“I would rent a camper, but not the Lance set-up in the article.  I prefer the overlanding capability and driveability of a lightweight pop-up truck camper.  If I wanted something the size of those Lance models, I would probably rent an RV, but not likely.

I would rent a camper if I wanted to trek a large wilderness area like Yellowstone, but not the drive from southern California.  I would fly up there and rent a camper, and then fly home.   Another case is if I wanted to camp in another country, or Hawaii.” – Bob Meigs, 2011 Ram 1500, 2012 Four Wheel Camper Raven

“Yes, I plan to visit Alaska this summer, and it would be nice to fly-in, and rent a truck camper for a couple weeks to tour Alaska.” – Paul Currier, 2011 Chevy 2500 HD, 2003 Lance 811

“I would like to try it before I buy it.” – Rory Romero, No camper yet

“We would rent one for the ease of parking in any campsite spots in Yosemite National Park.  The spots are already tough to get, and this eases up the restrictions.” – Glenn Johannessen, 1979 Ford F250, 1993 Lance 880

“I could see if I can live in it for extended periods of time.” – Neil Taylor, 2003 Ford F350, Lance 1161

“Yes, to explore various areas in the United States and Canada and try a more luxurious camper.  We have owned ours for 35 years and have enjoyed many memories with our family.  We would like to try the Lance 650.  I really enjoy Truck Camper Magazine and the variety of articles.  Keep it up.” – Vern Mills, 1986 Ford F250, 1975 Trek 8-Foot

“I would have jumped at the chance to rent a truck camper if had they been available.  At $200 plus a day though (peak season, with extras), it’s not really a bargain.

If time is an issue, renting one in Alaska would be a good option.  Personally, I like the journey of getting there on the slow roads and taking it all in.” – Kevin McCarron, 2013 Ford F350, 2013 Northern Lite 10-2 CDSE

“Yes, I would rent a rig knowing what I know now about the truck camper lifestyle. Thank goodness I have a camper of my own!” – Kevin Lowenberg, 2005 Chevy 2500 HD, 2012 Travel Lite 890 SBRX

“My wife thinks the rental campers are too small.” – Dave Macomber, 2015 Ford F250, No camper yet

“Yes, we would rent a truck camper.  We wanted to rent one prior to our purchase several years ago and even considered making a trip from North Carolina to Toronto to rent from Fraserway (they rent only in Canada as far as we could tell).  Before that could happen, we found our 1999 Ford F350 dually and 2012 Chalet Ascent camper.

If we did not already have a truck camper, or had a short vacation time frame, the idea of flying to California and picking up a truck camper to explore Sequoia, Yosemite, Tahoe, wine country, etc. would be very appealing.  The costs you listed sounded reasonable, especially with the higher MPG on the lightweight Ford F150.  Renting a truck camper would give us freedom to be out in nature that a car and hotels could never give us. Plus, we could camp in or near the parks instead of wasting time driving back to a hotel each day.

Renting a truck camper would allow us to eat less expensively and healthier than having to eat in restaurants for every meal.  We’d also save lots of time and frustration because we wouldn’t have to constantly find somewhere to eat.  It’s so nice to not have to figure out where to eat.  You just pull the truck over, open the back, make a sandwich or grab a snack and enjoy!

We think that people will respond well to the Lance rentals.  We’d love to see a follow-up article next year on how well the rentals did in 2016.” – Mike and Paula Bostic, 1999 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet R95S Ascent

“Absolutely!  I would rent one.  I could not find a manufacturer who made a unit I wanted, so I made my own.  You should do a segment on homemade truck campers.  I think you will be amazed at what you will find.” – Fred Lewis, 2013 Silverado, Homemade truck camper

“Yes.  I’m contemplating the purchase of a truck camper.  I’m considering Alaska while visiting my son’s family.  These articles gave me more options.” – Jim Haddox, No camper yet

“Yes, it’s easier to fly to a pick up point and have less time on the road to my primary destination.  It would spare our truck and camper miles.” – John Hessong

“I have been reading your magazine for several years dreaming of retirement and plotting choices.  I assumed I would have to rent in Alaska or Canada before buying to make sure I like it.  This is much more feasible.  It would be nice to see how they modified the F150 for the camper.  I hope this works.  I will rent before retirement if it does.” – Karen Huntzinger, No truck yet, No camper yet

“Yes.  I have often thought of driving through all of the states, but time off is the problem.  Flying to the West Coast and renting a truck camper may be the way to maximize vacation time.  It’s not just racing down an interstate to get to new territory.” – Denise Barber, 2011 Chevy 2500, 2006 Lance 815

“Only if it was a 4×4 truck, and the camper had jacks.  I may rent if I was on limited time frame, flew to a destination, and then camped.” – Bruce Norring, 2004 Chevy 2500 HD, 2003 Hallmark Guanella

“I would like to rent just the camper (for a long bed), not the truck.  But, only because mine needs to be repaired after being blown off its stands.  It’s sustained some damage that I need to have fixed.” – Tim May, 1993 W250, 1987 Vacationeer 9’10”

“If this option had been available to us before we bought our rig, we would definitely have taken advantage of the opportunity.  Instead, we experienced the same thing you did, “I hope we like this”.  $40k is a lot to gamble on.  Fortunately for us, we did like it.  Well, one of us anyway.  My wife calls it “Tom’s Doghouse.” – Tom Miner, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2005 Host Yukon 11.5 SS

“Probably.  I can’t confidently say yes because I doubt the combination I was expecting to buy in the United States would ever be offered as a rental.  We didn’t really create a quick hook-up, un-hook, meal prep, bed cover, utensil, cookware, tableware routine and setup until we had several lengthy trips behind us.  A short term rental might discourage a newbie with no prior RV experience.  It is not necessarily intuitive.” – Joe Sesto, 2015 Silverado 3500, 2015 Bigfoot C2500 10.6 E

“I would like to move up to a better truck camper; one that has a north-south bed.  Renting one would be a way to try it out.” – Terry Romanchuk, 2007 Chevy 2500, 1996 Scamper

“At first no.  I would consider flying to another state like Alaska and then renting a camper and going on excursion from there.  Being able to do that might make a vacation happen that otherwise may not happen.  Thank you.” – Glenn McDowell, 2005 Dodge 2500, 2005 Adventurer

“Try before I buy!  Especially with a wet bath model.  I really don’t want a slide-out.  I had two in my motorhome and they were a pain.  I bought the motorhome right off the lot.  I will never do that again.  I also bought a trailer right off the lot.  The hassle with the hitch and anti-sway equipment that weighed more than I did turned me to the motorhome.  The best RV I had was a 1965 Dodge Van with a pop-top we converted ourselves, complete with porta-potti, fresh water system, ice box, Coleman two burner stove, and and small sink.  It had a fold out bed and hammock in the pop top.

Everybody needs to experience the everyday routine with an RV to learn to love it or hate it.” – Mary H Middendorf, Ford 150 to match the Cruise America, Cruise America T-17

“Having spent twelve days in a rented Cruise America Class C touring the Grand Canyon area last fall, we would definitely prefer a truck camper rental.  Our unit, which came out of Tucson, performed flawlessly, was larger than we really needed it to be at 25-feet.  While it was very comfortable traveling, we likened the noise level to riding in a guitar body.  We have been spoiled by the maneuverability and the quiet of our truck camper.” – Alan Hubbard, 2004 Silverado 2500HD, 1993 Sunlite

“I sure would.  I have gone from a tent to a travel trailer to a fifth wheel and now a truck camper.  I did a lot of looking, talking to other campers, salesmen (which was a big mistake) and finally have found what I wanted all along.  If I had the chance to try before I buy, I would.” – Charlie Young, 2005 GMC HD, 2012 Whitewater 865

“I most definitely would have rented a truck camper 24 years ago when I purchased our 1992 Lance.  Yes, when driving home, I was also questioning if I had made the correct decision.  What a great idea for everyone who owns a pickup truck, to experience how versatile their vehicle can be.

With pickup trucks being the most popular brand of vehicle sold in the United States, why wouldn’t the manufactures get on board and help market the camper industry?  Way to go Lance and Cruise America!  Seeing that I still own my 1992 Lance, I most definitely made the right decision.” – Mike Tully, 2002 Ford F250, 1992 Lance 880

“I’d rent the whole rig.  I’d like to rent before I buy.” – Carl Matyac, 2009 Toyota Tundra, No camper yet

“Yes, to decide if I could spend a great deal of time traveling in one.” – Steve Jenks, 2008 Ford F150, No camper yet

“Absolutely.  There are several reasons why I might want to rent a camper.  I like to fish some rivers that are roughly ten to twelve hours from home.  It takes roughly a day of travel each way just to get there.  If there were rentals available within a couple hours of the destination, I could fly in to those places and be on the river within three to four hours.  It would be an interesting exercise to figure out what to take and what to leave home.

Test drives would be a reason.  I’d be interested in trying out different floor plans, camper sizes and types, and truck and camper brands.” – Paul Riley, 2008 Ford F350, 2008 Northern Lite 10-2000RR

“Yes.  I’m getting close to retirement (3-5 years) and would like to rent before buy.  There is nothing in the south that I can find.  Like you, I’m hoping its a successful partnership and is expanded to all Cruise America locations.” – Jack Jones, No truck yet, No camper yet

“Yes, I would rent a truck camper rig.  I have owned used truck campers before (could never afford new) and for the first time in my life I will purchase a new truck camper.  I would love to rent a Lance 650 truck camper, because the Lance 650 is one of three that I am considering.” – Parker Clemmons, 2014 F-150, No camper yet

“Yes!  I’d love to rent a truck camper!  We used to have a truck camper, but sold it to buy a larger camper when we added more kids to the family.  I really just wanted to upgrade to a larger truck and camper, but we wound up buying a motorhome for less than the cost of a truck.

Now we’re looking to get back into RVing, and are considering truck campers.  The kids loved the truck camper when we had it, even though it was really cramped.  I’d love to rent one and see how it goes.  Not to mention, sometimes it’s just fun to be in a truck camper.

I hope the East Coast wakes up someday to realize how cool truck campers are so that we can rent them out here, too!” – Don Downs, N/A, N/A

“We would love to rent a truck camper, rather sooner than later, in order to buy the right model for us later.  I specially bought a new 2014 Ford F150 crew cab , but with the 5.5 ft box.  I did not know that there are hardly any truck camper choices available for that short bed truck.  We live in Virginia and dealers seem to be rare.” – Thomas Werdnik, 2014 Ford F150, Sadly not yet

“My answer would be a resounding, yes!  I had no idea such a nice camper could go on the new Ford F-150.  Now I can try one out before buying a Lance 650 for my truck.  This is awesome.” – Dave Shephard, 2016 Ford, F-150, None yet

“Yes, but I would want to rent the camper only and try it out with my truck.  This would give me a idea of what to purchase after use, and what layout and options I like.” – Randy Winslow, 2014 Dodge 3500, None yet

“Yes.  I have considered buying a set-up, but this would allow me to experience some of the aspects of owning one.” – Dale Livingston, None yet

“Yes I would rent a truck camper rig, and I know others that would also. I do not want to have to travel from Georgia to California or Canada to be able to do it.  I can understand that they may be wanting to start out and try this type of business in one or two areas to determine that it is a viable business.

It would be nice if they had opened one on west coast and one on east coast.  Then it might be worth the effort to actually rent one and try it out.

Instead we will hunt for RV shows that include truck campers that we can view and enter at one location to try to make a decision on which one we want to purchase.” – Bob Landrum, Not purchased yet, Not purchased yet

“I would as a prelude to buying one unseen and untested.  I currently own a travel trailer, but dislike towing anything.” – John Maci, N/A, Gulfstream travel trailer

“Yes. I would like to try one out before making the commitment to buy one.” – Jon Close, 2012 Dodge Ram 1500, 2009 Jumping Jack

“Yes, because I am thinking of buying one and this would help me find out if its the right fit for me.” – Robert Sorensen, 2015 Ford F350, None


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