We were delighted at the responses to this week’s Question of the Week, “Are truck campers kid friendly?” Make sure to also visit the TCM Facebook page where we had another thirteen responses to the kids and camping question. Link: www.facebook.com/TruckCamperMagazine
“I am able to pick the kids up from school on Friday in the truck camper and head out for the weekend in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park for some serious exploration. Truck Campers also make great base camps for kids when going backpacking. We use ours to get the kids to acclimate in the Sierras and have a comfortable place to go before and after a backpack trip.
Sleeping with kids in a truck camper is always tight, but it draws our family closer and our only other option for the camping we do is a tent. We also use our camper in the winter. Since I live in San Diego we seldom see snow, but when it comes, we head out to Laguna Campground which is open year round and camp in the snow. A truck camper is one of the only vehicles/campers that you can do this with.
Truck campers are the perfect vehicle for remote camping and road trips. Last winter we took a road trip to Death Valley National Park with the kids and braved Titus Canyon Road with our Eagle Cap 800 Lite. When visiting Death Valley National Park, we made it all the way to Teakettle Junction and the kids had a blast adding our own Teakettle. We were able to camp in the backcountry away from it all! We love our camper and have created family memories that will last for eternity!” – Nolan Sturgeon
“Are truck campers kid friendly? Oh yeah. We call ours the BSSV; Boy Scout Support Vehicle. The boys and I tent it, but the truck camper often goes along on scouting adventures for all the extras. It is always well stocked with food, tools, and, if there happen to be any Mom’s along, a bathroom! We have even been known to break out some fresh baked cookies on a dreary day. That always makes the boys happy. And a quick pot of coffee for the Leaders doesn’t hurt either.
The truck camper also does duty at the beach, country fairs, ski slopes, hiking trails, and kayak trips. As mentioned in your article, there are so many ways to use the truck camper. We are always finding more ways to enjoy our camper. There is nothing like having a home base when out for an adventure; a warm, dry place to change clothes, use the bathroom, have a coffee, ice cream. We could go on and on.” – Bill Tex
“Our children are grown now, but they were raised camping in a truck camper. We had an upper bunk over the dinette and Larry made a wooden side to keep our son from falling out. Back in the early 1980s they didn’t have the webbing they do now. Our daughter slept on the dinette bed. Both thought their beds were the best.
The convenience of having some place to go if a little one needed a nap or lunch while at an amusement park was wonderful. We were also lucky enough to spend a lot of weekends right on the beach at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. There were always a group of truck campers. Children of all ages played together, older ones leading the way. They would check out each camper to see who was having the best lunch. Dinner was usually a potluck dinner we all shared. All that fresh air made for an early bed time. But they were up to watch the sun rise over the ocean. Now we’re taking our grandchildren!” – Larry and Nancy Caldwell
“We took our first long truck camper vacation when our youngest of three children was just six weeks old. This was in 1972. The older two kids were seven and four. In fact, we left on a two week vacation from the doctor’s office when the six week check up was complete.
The five of us were in an eight foot Eldorado pick-up camper with a front dinette. The three kids slept in the overcab bunk. The youngest was in a parts box with an open end so that we could check on her. My wife and I slept in the front dinette. That way if the kids tried to get out of bed they would have to crawl on us.
Our family has many memories over the years going on vacations to forty-eight of the fifty states and all of the Canadian Providences bordering the United States. My wife and I still go out with our truck camper. We have always enjoyed truck camping.
All of the conveniences of having our own accommodations is great. We can go anywhere and visit anyone without causing any undue hardship to our hosts. We do not have the floor space of a forty foot motorhome, but we spend most of our time experiencing the world outside of our truck camper, not inside cooped up watching television. We love it and will continue to go truck camping as long as we are able.” – Bob and Barb Grueschow
“Our first RV was a Chevy pickup truck with a Four-Star camper we purchased new in 1971. It taught our children to love the outdoors and camping. We still camp today with them and the grandkids.” – Joan Berger
“I always look forward to reading every word of TCM! I loved the article about truck camping with kids. I have two granddaughters, ages seven and ten, and a grandson age three, who we take with us for two to three weeks in the summer.
I have looked all over the internet for a toy truck and slide-on camper. There are a few vintage ones out there, but no later model ones available. Have you seen the commercial with the little boy playing with the Silverado truck? Precious! Now, if it only had a model of a 10′ 9″ Lance to go in it, it would be perfect. Keep up the good work and God Bless you and Angela.” – Lloyd Thomure, California
“If I had one of those Chalet 116FB campers, maybe. Even that is a big maybe! Otherwise most campers are okay for a weekend, but I am not going to take along my grandson for a month or so. Maybe when he is eighteen years old. But, by then he will be to busy doing his own thing and won’t want to hang around us old folks!” – Al Cerf, Arizona
“My wife and I have just returned from a great trip to Montana with our grandsons age eleven and eight. We visited her brother and camped in our Eagle Cap 1160. Our truck is a Dodge 5500 cab and chassis with storage bed. The bicycles were on the front rack.” – Charles and Mary Phy
“A great story on kids and truck campers. I have had a couple people ask us how we do it. We have our son who is six years old who is always with us. It’s not a problem at all. In fact, the very few times my wife and I go camping alone it feels strange.
We have been truck camping for over ten years and our son has camped with us since he was born. He loves it. How can it get any better than being out with a truck camper and kids? To see the excitement in the faces of the kids and the adults as we’re making memories. Thanks for the write up on your experience.” – Rich Bain
“But, wasn’t it also about seeing if you and Gordon could handle camping with kids? You don’t mention how you all did. One reason we downsized from a trailer to truck camper is because the kids didn’t go with us anymore. It will be interesting to see how we do when grandkids finally arrive.” – Robin Scheffer
“I have three sons and a daughter. Two have graduated from college, and two are still in. We camped in our truck camper from the time the younger ones were still in diapers up until just a year or two before they headed off to college.
Well, at about age twelve, my daughter figured out that she is different from her brothers, so she politely declined most of the time in her teen years. We went everywhere and the thought that truck campers might not be kid-friendly never entered our minds because we were having too much fun.
We would usually go to the beach, but would go sometimes go to the mountains. Even once a year we would plug in at a New Jersey campground and drive around and tour in New York City – weekends only in the city of course.
One might think five people in a camper would make it crowded and it was, but we did not hang out inside the camper except when it rained. We were doing things outdoors and usually eating on picnic tables. My wife must have thought five was crowded since she only went with us a couple of times when she really wanted to go where we were going.
It was such a great part of their growing up years and we now discuss places and things that they would never have known about if we did not have that camper. We also built a fire and sometimes cooked over it, assisted by a microwave when necessary. That was always a big part of the fun.
Once we had to have fire guards since the sea gulls would dive down and take hot food off the grill. A hint on building a fire when the wood is wet; use as little or as much charcoal lighter as necessary for as long as necessary. You never ever have trouble getting a fire going.
By the way, since the kids visit but do not exactly live at home now, I find myself heading out for long weekends at the beach or mountains in the camper every few months including the Mid-Atlantic Truck Camper rally most years. My wife still goes out only when she really really wants to go where I am going. TCM is great.” – Fred Patterson
“I camp with my grandchildren. Our first trip was in 2006 going from Iowa to Delaware. One of our stops was in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Then, in 2008 we spent five weeks going from Delaware to Tennessee and down to New Orleans.” – Andy Spedden