Reader Surveys

2013 TCM Reader Survey: Things You Would Like Changed

With 949 responses, we were unable to post every comment (totaling well over fifty pages for like and change), but we have read every comment and have made detailed notes on what you want changed.

Here are some of the stand out, “Things You Would Like Changed” comments from the 2013 TCM Reader Survey:

I watch your web site every day even though you publish new articles on Tuesday and Friday.  I could take more articles.  Thanks for what you do.

Part of me would like to post comments/questions about articles in TCM, so it shows up under the article.  The other part of me does not want to read the dumb things that others might write.  Not sure if there is middle ground.  Also, I would like to learn about other truck camper gear, even if it is not a sponsor of TCM.  It feels like there is a TCM bias toward sponsored campers/equipment.  I would like to see more How To articles, best practices (loading your camper, packing, storing, items to bring), tips and tricks, repairs, etc.  It would be helpful to know things that others do that I may not know about.

I really enjoy receiving your emails and read most of them.  I would like more articles about travels that people have made.  That would appeal to us.

Find a few more people to interview like Mr. McCoy in Colorado.  I am planning a trip to Nevada this spring to follow, the best I can, the route of a desert prospector that wrote a book about his time in the desert.  Perhaps you might be interested in that when I complete it.

My comment last year was more content about truck manufacturers (Ford, Chevy, Dodge) and you have done a great job of that the past twelve months.  Thanks for listening!  For the next twelve months I would like more stories on truck camping extended trips that readers have taken in Mexico, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

More photos of setups and add ons and retirement stories since I am close to that scenario.  Please keep up the good work.  By the way, how is the 855S going?

An article on how to repair truck campers.  Mine has severe rot on both wings, below the propane tanks, and under fridge area.

I hesitate to make any suggestions because there is a reason you are doing this and I am not.  If I were so smart as to be telling you how to run your business, I could do it myself.  Thanks for your work.

I would enjoy seeing information about general camping gear and weekly stories by readers of travel ideas.

More articles and more lifestyle stories.  Just more good stuff!

More truck camper testing.

More ‘best mods’ and articles like the flat bed truck camper.

I would be interested in more articles about upgrades to the trucks, performance upgrades, solar, wind, and boondocking.

Now that we have a camper, we’d like to hear about what people have experienced in adding televisions, DVD players, etc.  What brands they purchased and installation steps.

More newbie stuff.

Have a quarterly or monthly published magazine.

Have it in print form and mailed to my house.  Then I would actually read it.

More user articles on ideas about how to make the camper more useable (storage solutions, menu planning that minimizes the amount of storage space needed and weight added to load, etc.), things they like and don’t like about their rigs and so on.

Cover more maintenance topics.  Maybe develop a web link to camper blueprints to aid owners in maintaining and modifying their truck camper.  Provide more information about how owners adapt their truck camper to meet their personal likes.

Suggest adding features on electronic tech and function.  How do we keep informed on the road?  How do we communicate with others?  How do we get TV reception?

I would like more reader stories on functionality and usage of truck campers and their components.  Is an oven needed and if so how is is used?  What is the user experience with different awnings side and rear?   For example, generator pros and cons and rear awnings pros and cons, a truck camper user ratings article (have us rate a component on the basis of its user friendliness, its functionality, its worth?

More info on various models.

Real life factual discussion about all the dealers who don’t indicate the importance of following the truck manufactures GVWR limits.  All dealers that I have spoken with refer to these as guidelines and not something which must be adhered to.  This includes dealers who are listed on your homepage and who you regularly refer to and write about.  If you look at their websites, and they have a photo gallery of customers rigs, you will see many that they have many set-ups that are obviously in excess of the GVWR of the vehicle.

Provide more west coast coverage.

More news on rallies in the west.

The ability to save separate stories instead of the whole magazine to be used for future reference.  Add truck and camper maintenance ideas, add ‘tips from the field’ ideas.  Any possibility of listing the articles so new members can retrieve past issues?

Articles about home built units.

More DIY articles on customizing truck campers, and accessories for truck campers.

I’d like some interviews with truck manufactures with the focus on limits there may be in carrying truck campers.  I know Ford offers a certification for some trucks to carry truck campers.  If Ford were interviewed the other manufacturers might offer this certifications if they don’t already.

More how to videos.

More modifications to the truck and camper.

Expand knowledge by adding more articles.

More modifications to the truck and camper.

Some of the articles on the site are a little stale.  They’ve been there a while and could use some new content, like the Newbie Corner.

I’d like to see you rate campers as Consumer Reports rates products; i.e. living space, cabinet quality, standard features, etc.

The ability to comment on articles like a blog.

I want it easier to make comments about articles without going to Facebook.

Add forums.  I know forums exist in other places but the truck camper sections seem to be fairly quiet.  I think your readership would be far more engaged.

Make it better organized or structured.

Classified section offering used campers and parts.

A follow-up of the folks in Peru and how they’re doing and potential ways to assist.

Good question.  Perhaps it would be nice to have articles on adventure sports, like mountaineering, that truck campers serve well for, but overall, I pretty well enjoy it.

Honest evaluating of gear instead of just reviews, by the editor, or others (such as readers).

It is great as is.  I do like when readers share experiences and the changes they came up with.

As a consumer, I want to know more about the building of a truck camper, the type of insulation, the R values, what climate extremes the camper can be safely used in, what type of windows are used, the manufacturers of the equipment inside the camper, how do they seal the units to keep moisture out, what about adhesives, the type of welding, type of frame structure, what is the layout of the frame system.  The pretty stuff is nice but we need to know how these things are built so we can determine if the unit is suitable for the type of usage we will subject the camper to.

Too much emphasis on huge campers!  I would like to see more information on smaller campers that can fit smaller trucks like my Tacoma.

Less pop-top campers.  They are just fancy tent trailers.

Pay more attention to campers using half ton vehicles.

Even more updates.  I want more stuff about pop-up truck campers, and a used camper listings section.

I’m sure the material along the right hand side is your bread and butter, but it interferes with the article reading experience.  I read TCM most regularly on an iPad and would prefer a layout that better suited the device.

Get Chalet to update their media so that they have their models displayed with you and on there own website.  I think they are one of the best built and nicest truck campers today.  You have to struggle to get information about them.  Put more unique ideas and helpful tips and new products on your site.  I want more info on the wind generator.  How is the noise level at night in your camper?

I’m a fuel mileage nut.  I would like more articles on saving fuel, and applying pressure to both truck and camper builders to be serious about improving mileage.

More use and impressions updates on your donated camper and recently purchased truck.  More reviews on camper and related equipment and more DIY stories.

Get some stories about Montana and the Dakotas.

Have only been reading TCM for a short time (under two years) and just starting to use a truck camper (May 2012) therefore, I have not formed any strong opinion against any of the articles presented so far.

Provide more information about regional gatherings and/or forums that are region-specific for various parts of the country, not just the most populated regions.

More stories about boondocking from truck campers and their neat inventions, gadgets and ideas that make things easier.

Add a travel story every week, preferably on a Saturday, regardless of what other topics are available.  I don’t mind more than one email a week, as long as it’s useful or interesting.

Include a smart phone app.

Questions and feedback on problems users are having.

This year some how-to’s.  We make changes to our campers to accommodate our lifestyle, so why not share our Ideas and changes we made.

More stories about renovating vintage truck campers.

I would like to see more coverage on Alaska, albeit you do have some good Alaska coverage.

More info on readers rigs, with pictures and specs of the truck and camper.

Maybe an archive link.  I deleted the article about the Wind Turbines and need the link/

It’s time to start charging for subscriptions.  If the fee is reasonable I believe that most readers will subscribe.  Even though I feel you are honest on your evaluations, I think you could be even more independent if you were not entirely dependent on advertising.  I’m only a former truck camper owner and I would gladly pay a yearly subscription for your online magazine.

Definitely add a “Members For Sale section” for those of us who want to replace our truck camper with a new one but do not want to deal with dealers who only give us wholesale pricing when indeed a buyer would like to deal with the original owner and would save money.  However, no prices would be published only email addresses.  That way it wouldn’t upset the dealers and we could sell privately and then deal with the dealers of our choice without taking a beating on our units.  It would also give us the advantage of getting a sharper price because the dealer would not have an investment in addition inventory and sell more new units.

Add Wolf Creek to the truck camper’s buyer guide.

I watch your website every day even though you publish new articles on Tuesday and Friday.  I could take more articles.  Thanks for what you do.

I don’t think you can do this, but I would like to see some shows in Ontario.

Maybe introduce more travel destination articles.

Add more on truck camper modifications and repairs as seen on University.

I would like three emails a week, and more camping-campground destination articles.

Publish reviews of slightly older truck campers, like ten to fifteen years old with what people have liked or disliked about them.

Less negative bias about the multi-slide campers.

More articles on care and maintenance.

You need more stories on adventures or places that only a good truck camper can go.  Get folks to start submitting those special places just for us.

More camper stories about cost and maintenance.

Maybe more information on heavy duty trucks to carry large campers, except that such a truck does not currently exist and the manufacturers don’t seem to have any interest in making such a vehicle.

Add something with free campsites on it for boon docking that is tailored to truck campers.

Dealer Ads.  Don’t like them.  More tips and how to articles.

I think it is pretty good just the way it is. I would like to see more articles for the weekend camper.  I am 44 years old and purchased my first truck camper 20 years ago.  Since my wife and I both work, it is hard to take time off for a period of time.  We take three to four day or even two day weekend trips throughout the midwest.  I live in northwest central Indiana and there are many things to see within a short distance.  Low budget short trips are not your Alaska, Ireland, or even Colorado trips for that matter.  They are trips that you can go to the kitchen cabinets pull out a couple meals, take a change of clothes, and hit the road.  These spur-of-moment trips are some of the best for my family and I think it is important to show this to your readers.

More information with pics of places to go truck camping.  More in the east if possible.

More lifestyle and outing stories.  If you ask you readers will supply.

Include four wheel camper vans.

More about less expensive campers like Capri, etc. Maybe more about restoring campers.  Love the stories about the smaller lighter truck campers.  I own a F350 and a F150.  I currently have a travel trailer and a fifth wheel.  I would like a light weight truck camper for the F150, and probably a popup.  I would start out with a used one to see how I like a truck camper.  The ease of setup seems terrific.  Even with the trailer and fifth wheel there is lots of set up.  I really enjoy Truck Camper Magazine.

Don’t change.  Maybe more stories.  Right now the frequency and the focus is great!  Keep up the good work.

Some type of review of campgrounds (private, state, federal) by subscribers.

More do it yourself and camper add ons like wind power.

More stories about the truck part of truck camper.  I purchased a new truck and your truck purchase story was invaluable.  I thought I had to get a dually even though I did not especially want one, but wound up getting a great high-payload SRW.

Make it bigger!  Make the search engine on the website better.

More technical articles about improving truck payloads and camper refinements

Nothing!  If possible, some Canadian content.  Here in central Ontario it’s difficult to find anything about truck camping.

More quality and long term reliability.  Resale values?

I would like to see an article on how to or where to boondock.  Maybe it could be organized by state.  I would like to get into that aspect of truck camping but scared I’ll end up on someone’s personal property or some place that I could get in trouble for being there.

I also would like to see what other people bring with them camping, like portable grills or stoves, chairs, sun shades, canopies, or external shower systems; stuff that isn’t attached to the truck or camper.  Or how people deal with making sure they have all the necessities for a trip and how they pack it all into a truck camper, especially people who use pop-up campers.

I really can’t say.  Maybe I would have a section every month on comparisons of one type of camper with another.  I mean real comparisons for example, Arctic Fox with Lance.

I think the industry needs a technology up grade.  We visited the Northstar factory. Their product, though innovative could be made better.  We have also been to the Alaskan factory.  They need to upgrade their product.

Not sure the inventory reports are worthwhile.  Replace them.

I think the biggest problem truck camper owners have is the challenge of rigging our trucks to handle the extra weight of the camper.  Just keep helping us anyway you can on what actually works.

Add a by-year truck and model maximum payload table, along with the option codes that give the maximum payload stated.

Keep its east coast roots as it expands nationally.

Nothing really as I like the format as it is.  I read what is of interest to me personally and gloss over or ignore items that do not interest me.

Perhaps a bit more information about the truck side of the equation.  I am unclear regarding the difference between an eight and ten and other numbers used by vendors in regards to size.  I keep reading that we should not overload a truck, yet no one wants to say whether any given truck will work with their product.  It seems that there is an emphasis on a one ton dual wheel truck, which drives like a tank.  I do not consider it to be an off road vehicle.  If I am going to drive a tank, then a 24′ class C is back on the table and round I go.

Possibly put together a Buyers Guide, a top 50 places to see, and the top 50 campgrounds in the US.

An easy way to search for past articles and reviews.

Provide more objective reviews of products.  I understand that these are sponsors and applaud that you have found a way to support your passion.  The result is a product I enjoy reading, with the understanding that the products presented will always be in a cheerleading fashion.  There are other sources for the pro and cons and I will seek that information elsewhere.

You need a share area for fast meals, food to bring, storage, etc.

If I think of anything, I’ll email you.  And, an unusual TCM aspect is that if I actually come up with anything, I can email you and you would consider doing it, or reframe the suggestion to make it better, such as addressing a larger TCM reader question.  Keep up the excellent work.

I don’t know if I call this a change, but I haven’t seen a video or read a TCM article story from Gordon and Angela traveling in smaller truck campers and posting your experiences in them (Wolf Creek 816, Lance 825, Northstar’s Liberty, Adventurer and Offroada).  The American Hero flat bed truck camper pod would be a great experience for you both also.  You both are amazing.  Blessings.

Bring the Archives back.

More humor!

More articles about particular local camping places in my geographical region and more articles on repairs and modifications.

We have trouble opening up the page sometimes.

Edit for misspellings.

More education on the logistics of truck camper ownership.  For example, a video on loading and unloading a truck camper (this would include loading on unlevel/slanted surfaces/ground), and setup times at campgrounds.  I would like to know the truth about three-quarter ton versus full ton trucks (these trucks are identical except for shocks & springs) how manufactures come up with payload ratings, again three-quarter and full ton trucks share the exact brakes, axles, frames, tires etc.

Pretty much what people would have to consider in buying a truck camper and some basic education behind those considerations.  The biggest reason most truck camper owners are over the payload ratings by 1000 to1500 pounds is because when they do their analysis they realize that trading to full ton offers no benefits except for a possible legality and the sticker on the door.

I would be willing to pay for a annual subscription if it meant that you could hire a few more journalists to help cover the industry more deeply.  It’s starting to feel like you two are being spread a little thin.

When you do a review on a product there must be something that you do not like about a product.

Have a modification section as an ongoing data base.  Have people send in when they modify their campers.

Maybe a more formal and consistent format fellow truck camper interaction.  The modification contest was interesting and fun.  It wouldn’t have to be a contest all the time.  It could just be a regular place in the magazine that engenders an interaction.  When you have contest, develop a Truck Camper Magazine decal as a prize, that can be displayed on a person’s truck camper.  I don’t think big prizes are necessarily needed, except periodically.  A thought.

I would like to see the Archive function brought back.  When you can see a list of all the titles, it makes information mining much easier (even though there were over 900 articles).  For instance, I tried to find an article that posed the question ‘What would your next ideal truck camper be?’ or something of that nature.  It allowed readers to see what became important after the truck/camper purchase as opposed to what was perceived to be important before.

2013-2014 is a time for a fresher appearance of your website.

Add more lifestyle stories, interviews and first person opinions.

I don’t care for some of the crass commercial articles, but I know they pay the bills.  Keep up the good work.

I enjoy the natural progression you and your wife take.  I feel that it will keep growing, so I am very happy with what you are doing.

I would love to see more articles about traveling with pets; especially dogs.  I would also love to see a section covering the best places to travel, organized by state or area.

Less bias to the northeast where you obviously live and the northwest, where the greatest concentration of truck campers and their manufacturers live.  I think your reviews of products reads like the company advertising, devoid of any criticism, and forgive me for saying this, but sucking up to your advertisers is the obvious case, so I usually don’t bother reading your reviews.  I just note the product and go to the vendors website.  From my perspective, a review should not just cover just positives, but any negatives as well, otherwise you haven’t provide me any value for my time spent reading the article.   Also, even when I was shopping for a truck camper, I did not find your listing of who has what useful.  But if they are paying you to list it, then I understand.

There seems to be a circle of friends that you feel it necessary to get updates on.  Your previous update article was a total disappointment because most of them didn’t go anywhere and I don’t really remember being inspired by any of the others.

I know the market is huge in the US.  Nevertheless I would like TCM to take a closer look at some European producers of campers, which are quite a few.  It is always a question of where to by the next one, and in many cases it is far more expensive to import from the US than from Europe.  I understand the difficulty for you living in the US to make voyages over here to make articles here, but it is a wish.

Less advertising?  Probably not possible, therefore, nothing!  Thank you for an excellent Truck Camper Magazine!

Format and articles are fine.  Ask me what I’d like to see in TCM: Cheaper Calendars, articles on sources/purchasing of LED lighting, have an on-line blue book link for RV’s (similar to the dealer links), an article on mail forwarding capabilities.

More info and testimony for beginners.  Maybe an ‘advice for beginners’ section from veterans.

I would like to see a review of your Chevy truck to see how it is doing with the new Lance camper.  Please include suspension upgrades if any, fuel economy and general performance.   A comparison to your former Dodge as far as short bed versus long bed, gas versus diesel, dual rear wheel versus single rear wheel.  You are in an excellent position for this type of article.

Add more articles on how people use computers in their travels.

The tech section is pretty important to me and my friends.  It seems limited and I often end up going to other websites, such as the Northern Lite Owners Club, Good Sams, or similar.  If you can’t support much content here, perhaps you could expand web links.  For instance, in order to maintain powered Happijac camper jacks, I had to research a process that worked on other websites since Happijac doesn’t provide an adequate maintenance process.

I would like to be able to print out the articles to read at my leisure.

I would like to see more articles on how people use their truck camper in adverse weather like how their truck and campers do in heavy rain, wind or  snowy conditions.   How they set their rig up for extended boondocking like solar, on board generator verses portable generators, water collection, etc.  I also would like to see more videos on truck campers and your adventures like you used to post.  My favorite video you made was your trip to Florida.  I can relate to it because I am from upstate New York where we get a lot of snow also.

Ideally I would love to see a map that showed all the places that have been written about.  It’s okay to search for articles by state or province, but when planning a trip it means a lot of reading and searches!  Many articles refer to places I have never heard of, or don’t have any idea where they are located.  It would be wonderful at the start or end of an article to have a simple map of where people have traveled, whether a single trip, or waypoints scattered in an area that they frequent.  It would make it much easier to put a trip in context for time and distance, as well as the possibility for doing it ourselves.  I watch your website every day even though you publish new articles on Tuesday and Friday.  I could take more articles.  Thanks for what you do.

We had many comments similar to the ones below:

I like it as it is.
You’re doing fine.
Doing a great job.
Thank you.
I wouldn’t change much.
It’s really nice as it is.
No current suggestions.
Keep up the good work.
Don’t change.
I love your set up and very informative.  You guys rock!
Don’t think I would change anything.
Keep up the great work!
Nothing right now. It covers all I need.
Thanks for asking.
Hmmmmm.  Let’s see. Nothing that I can think of.
Not one thing.
Not a damn thing.


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