Truck Camper Magazine Blog

Know Where You’re Going Before It’s Too Late

Frank Poole and Colin Kough reveal harrowing stories of not knowing what’s around the bend, and darn near going there.  It’s about having a clue about what’s before you – or else!

You Can’t Always Trust Ms. Garmin

Submitted by Frank Poole, 2016 Ram 5500, 2016 Arctic Fox 990

Following Garmin Instructions Down Dirt Road

I was on a Wyoming Reservoir with others camping around me.  I pulled off on the water side of the road so that I did not block traffic.  I got out to just walk to a site around the bend.

Stuck Camper And Trailer Mud

The surface looked good and hard.  Five minutes later I came back to being sunk to my rear axle in the crusty soft sand.  Always be on the lookout for soft sand.

Rear Tires Stuck In Mud Camper

Luckily another prepared truck camper pulled me out with a winch.  A winch and pull-pal is on the list along with the Max-Trax boards.  The person who came by to help saved my day, and now I try to pay it forward.

On a different trip, I was going to a campsite off a single-lane forest road.  I missed the entrance and thought there might be another just around the corner.  Well, that wasn’t the case.  I continued thinking there was a turn-around, but there wasn’t.  The trail was getting narrower and narrower.

Arch Nemesis ‘Ms. Garmin’ navigation dumps me several miles down the road where it was showing a loop.  I started getting worried, but I didn’t want to back up six miles.  So I found a semi-level spot and backed the trailer up one side.  There was a 100-foot cliff on the other side.  A series of about 15 back and forward 5-inch turns got me back around.

The Camper Memo

If it looks iffy, it probably is and not worth the extraction time.  My advice is to walk an iffy road before you drive it, if you can.  Additionally, always bring a hard copy map for reference.  I found out later that in another five miles there was a lake and loops to turn around.  Note to self; I need recovery equipment.

A Few Miles In Reverse With A Huge Drop-Off

Submitted by Colin Kough, 2012 GMC, Pastime Camper

We enjoy going to the Steen Mountains and camping in rural out-of-the-way spots.  On one particular truck camping adventure, we left Salem, Oregon and headed east on the Santiam Highway.  We decided to take a backroad to Detroit Lake that is quite remote.  It’s usually in pretty good shape for a dirt road.

After about 15-miles or so we entered a spot where the road is high on a huge drop off.  We went two or three miles winding our way around enjoying the scenery.  When we came around a bend there was a huge tree blocking the road and our way.  The tree was at least 6-feet in diameter and there was no way to remove it or to turn around.

The only thing we could do was carefully back up two or three miles to find a place wide enough to turn around.  We went back to the main road and proceeded on our way as planned.

We got a huge kick out of this adventure because, at that time, we knew we made the right choice in choosing a truck camper.  Backing a pull behind two or three miles with a steep cliff off to one side was just not what I wanted to tackle.

The Camper Memo

Scout out a backroad before you drive on it or you may need to use reverse, for a few miles, with a huge drop-off.

Submit Your Teachable Moment

If you have experienced a teachable moment while truck camping (aka, a Camper Memo), please click here to share your story.

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