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Question Of The Week

Truck Campers Use It, Or Lose It

This week we asked TCM readers if the experience of truck camping changed their perspective on their house, home, and belongings.  Specifically, we asked, “Has truck camping made your house too big, and your stuff seem unnecessary?”  It most certainly has for us, and we’re evidently not alone.

“We now look at the house the same way we do the camper.  If we don’t use it, we sell it or donate it.  Either way, we get rid of it.  Not only have we radically reduced the amount of stuff we take in the camper (we are camp hosts, so we have extended stays), the house has a lot trimmer and neater appearance.” – Robert Allyn, 2013 Ford F-350, 2013 Arctic Fox 1150

“From a house on a cul-de-sac street with full basement and two kids, we went to a two story house with half a basement on a smaller lot, with two teenagers by then.  The kids having left the nest, we sold that house and bought a town home row house with a garage below, so no basement, on a lot as large as the house – twenty feet!  And we still find this house too big!  So we bought a 560 square foot condo with a small four by ten terrace.  Now the only thing I have to figure out is, what to do with all my stuff!” – Denise Hupé, 2010 Ford F-250, 2004 Adventurer

“My wife and I have brought this subject up the last couple of years.  Yes, we have too much stuff.  When we return from camping trips, this becomes painfully obvious.  Retirement sort of woke us up.  We want to go more, not over pack, and get rid of junk we don’t need!  It’s called “yard sales”!  It’s taken a few years, but traveling lighter has been the way to go.” – Mike Kolinski, 2012 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 2012 FWC Hawk

“I have been RVing in some form or another for most of my adult life and have always had the urge to downsize.  In fact, at one time I thought seriously about selling everything and going full-time.  Due to personal circumstances, that didn’t happen.

I would still like to have a smaller place with less yard work and less home maintenance.  And I don’t want to give up my woodworking shop.  So for now I’ll look forward to every opportunity I have to live small in my truck camper and deal with the rest when I get home.” – Eldon Rhodes, 2008 Chevy 3500HD, 2011 Lance 1050

“Yes, every time we are away for a few days with our camper, coming back into our home seems huge and not very important.  We actually are looking to sell the house for a smaller house with a bit of land to relax on.

I really enjoy Truck Camper Magazine, and I am anxiously waiting for updates on your camper.” – Brent Portschy, 2005 Dodge Ram 3500, 2006 Host Tahoe 10.5

“I’m trying to sell my home with all belongings, including cats, to downsize to a larger truck and live-in camper.  Anybody interested?  I’ll partial trade for a used truck and camper.” – Bill Enos, 1997 Toyota Tacoma. To be upgraded, 2000 Shell

“We have been in the truck camper for long periods of time, as much as three months.  We loved it but, when we pull up to our 1,600 square foot ranch house and step inside, the feeling is great!  Variety and change is good.” – Dave Weinstein, 1999 Ram 3500, 2005 Arctic Fox 1150

“Camping had much less effect than moving to a different house a year and a half ago.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050

“It’s sort of a yes and no answer.  We love our camper and enjoy life in it.  We have an almost month long trip coming up.  Us and five dogs live very happily in our camper.  I think what makes it all easy and okay is that we know we have our ranch to come back to.

Several years ago we sold our company and decided to retire.  We bought a 45′ motor coach, attached a 28′ trailer to carry my Jeep and tools, and went full-time. One year later, we decided it was the biggest mistake of our lives.  We sold it and bought a home.

But we did not give up our dream of time out on the road and with five dogs, motels do not open their arms to you.  We went to show after show, looking at travel trailers, fifth wheels, you name it.  But every one had the same feel and drawbacks as the monster motorcoach. Then one day we met someone who had a truck camper and they talked about how great it was.  We never saw their setup, but we began to investigate and, a couple of years later, we bought one.

A while back I was talking to another camper who had a nice fifth wheel and a F-250 truck.  I told him about our camper.  Then he asked about costs and he guessed the camper was about $10,000 to $15,000 and did we just sleep on a mattress in the back?

I said, “Come on over, you can see my setup”.  To say he was drop jawed would have been an understatement.  And, of course, he loved my F-350 dually.  When we parted, he looked at me and said we clearly had a better idea.  Yes, we do!” – Don Pryor, 2015 Ford F-350, 2009 Arctic Fox 1150

“My retirement goals were multiple and centered around five carefully researched major purchases; a Victorian or Edwardian home in a small river based community, a truck and truck camper, a recumbent trike, and a perfect travel and river dog.

The lovely old rectory in a Thousand Islands community and my Irish Water Spaniel were first in 2011. Loved them!  It’s a big nine room house with tons of room for weekend guests, lovely trails, and beaches – perfect dog!  The trike came next in 2012, a Lightfoot Greenway, and I was utterly captivated, as was Jack.  He clearly felt born to run beside it ears streaming back, along the river banks.  In 2013, I bought my truck and used camper.  In 2014 I drove more than 13,500 kilometers over six months.  I knew I had made all the right decisions!

Then I came home in the late Fall and was appalled by my massive house, containing so many family antiques and mementos and rooms to clean.  Wow, I felt I could rent out two-thirds of the place and still have room.  Small spaces are so efficient, so easy to keep tidy, and even a deep clean only takes a very small amount of time.  You carry less clothes and you buy nothing unnecessarily.  It’s a simpler life; an easy, comfortable, yet full of adventure way of living.

A house with yard, snow removal, rugs to vacuum, massive laundry, etc. is so much more work.  For the first few weeks back home I felt like I had made a mistake in buying this lovely house.  However, Christmas arrived and I loved decorating it, filling the cupboards with many freshly baked goods, entertaining, and filling every bed in the house with guests.  Right now I am planning the menu and events for Easter, including an Easter egg hunt.  Of course I am also planning with excitement my travel agenda for this year.

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