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Question Of The Week

Truck Campers Answer the Loaded Question

This week’s Question of the Week was, “Under what circumstances do truck camper owners unload their truck camper in the field?”  This question was suggested by Truck Camper Magazine reader, Skip Matties.

Skip’s question triggered a huge reader response with a wide range of answers.  Many folks explain that they unload when they know they’ll be at a formal campsite for more than a few days.  Others reveal that they never, ever unload.

And the revelations don’t stop there.  One guy actually says he once unloaded for meatloaf.  Another says he only unloads when it’s time to upgrade campers.  You can’t make this stuff up folks.  This is the real deal.

“The only time we take the camper off the truck is when we need to take the truck in for maintenance or if there is an area we want to visit that the camper won’t fit like Custer State Park in South Dakota and Baxter State Park in Maine.  We are so used to having everything with us at all times that we feel deprived when we don’t have the camper.” – Larry Routt, 2005 Ford F-350, 2004 Lance 820

“If we stay someplace for more than two days we take the camper off.  It only takes ten minutes to unload.” – Jeffrey Baker, 2004 Ford F250, 2000 Lance 820

“We had a two week stay in South Carolina; one hour south of Charleston, and two hours north of Savannah, Georgia.  For local errands of three to four miles, which included the grocery store, we used bicycles.  We took the camper off to make trips to Charleston and Savannah.” – Patrick Brolley, 2015 Ram 3500, 2016 Cirrus 800

“Anytime we stay multiple nights we take the camper off.  The few things that would make us keep the camper on the truck are weather, security of the camper, gear left behind, and the chance we might find a better place to stay while out exploring.” – Eddie Hayden, 2005 Dodge, 2013 Palomino SS-1251

“I have never unloaded in the field.  I do not even have the jacks on the camper to save weight, improve visibility, and reduce risk of damage to the jacks.  We do a lot of National Forest unimproved roads.  There have been a few times I would have liked to have removed the camper, like when I stayed at a relative’s house for several weeks.  I am looking forward to others responses to see if I want to change my pattern.” – Bill Peters, 2013 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2013 Four Wheel Camper Hawk

“Great question.  We have owned a truck camper for several years and I can say, without exception, that we have never unloaded while in the field.  After some thought, the only thing that would change that for us would be a major repair that required unobstructed access to the truck.  We even remove the jacks for long trips for weight, wind drag, clearance, obstructions, etc.” – Tom Elliott, 2007 Ram 2500, 1999 Lance 835 Lite

“If we are sightseeing we like to keep the camper with us because it has everything; our clothing, camera, hiking stuff, food, and the bathroom.  If we are staying one place for a week or more, and when we are pulling my fishing boat, which is often, then it is nice that I can launch without disturbing my wife in the mornings.  We have had to take it off to go some places like across Glacier National Park and on some underdeveloped roads.” – Charles Book, 1999 Ford F350, 2001 Lance 1121

“We unload our camper anytime we go camping to have use of the truck.  We carry kayaks on top of the camper, and it is much easier to get them off and on with the camper on the ground.  Then we can haul them in the back of the truck to the lake or river.

If we don’t have the boats, we can use the truck to go explore backroads, without the size and weight of the camper.  If we are road trippin’ and only stopping at a place for overnight, then we don’t unload it.  It only takes ten to fifteen minutes with the electric jacks, which is less time than it takes people with a camp trailer to unhitch and level theirs!” – Philip Davidson, 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500, 2001 Lance 1010

“We have always wanted to drop the camper and explore the local areas.  However, with our old camper and manual jacks we have found it to be very impractical.  So, in short, we have never dropped the camper in a campsite, but that’s about to change.

During the Texas Truck Camper Rally we looked at a new Lance 1172 and toured a new friend’s 1172.  We couldn’t believe how roomy and stable it felt off the truck.  Now we have many plans formulating about where to go exploring after we figure out how to pay for all these new expensive toys.” – Scott Vallie, 2008 Dodge 2500, 2003 Sun Lite 1055

“When my dad passed away out of state, I was doing a lot of state-to-state travels between Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio.  The camper was a blessing.  I was able to drop it there with a 10’ x 7’ x 6’ box trailer I towed.  I saved on gas traveling every few weeks to take care of business, and stayed in our camper instead of an empty house.  The box trailer served as a portable, dry, lockable garage for collecting various furniture and garage tools, etc., that I was relocating.

The truck handled everything well and I had shore power available as it was winter in Ohio’s snow belt.  I learned a lot about cold weather camping, but it was always comfortable.  When I was done with these executor duties, the camper and box trailer made the mountainous return trip without a hiccup.

Otherwise, I like to leave the camper on truck.  I have a four-foot Torklift SuperHitch extension that I use for trailer towing, and plan to get a receiver mounted bike carrier to use my dual-sport MC for the running/exploring purposes.” – Travis Shull, 2006 Dodge 3500, 2015 CampLite 9.6S

“I unload every time that we go camping.  This frees up the truck to launch the boat and run errands.  However, when traveling, we do not unload unless we are stopping for more than a couple of nights.” – Tom Wilson, 2015 Chevy 3500, 2015 Adventurer 89RB

“We never unloaded our camper in the field.  Our camper is difficult to load and unload as there is very little room for error between the wheel wells.  Normally we load the camper in April and it will remain on the truck until the first week in November.

We often attend weekend events, or take short trips without bringing or towing one of our two Jeeps.  We provision the camper with necessities so we do not have to move from the campsite on these brief trips.  For our annual extend trip to Colorado, we tow our Jeep Wrangler so we may enjoy the many off-road adventures.

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