Earlier this week we published, “A Tough Payload Decision”. The article featured Truck Camper Magazine reader, Gary Anderson, and his journey to assemble a properly payload matched truck and camper.
We pursued this article as a huge positive for both the truck camper industry and the truck camping community. After all, it showcased a fellow camper who wanted a properly payload matched rig and made it happen.
Gary had to make a tough decision to purchase a non-slide truck camper instead of a slide-out model to match his new truck’s payload capacity, but he made that decision, bought a brand new truck camper and assembled a properly payload matched rig. Happy manufacturer, happy dealer, happy customer. Everybody wins, right?
Well, that’s not how some folks read the article. As they saw it, the article implied that a one-ton short bed truck couldn’t handle a slide-out truck camper. Oh the irony…
Back in 2012, we worked directly with Lance Camper in Lancaster, California and General Motors in Detroit, Michigan to design and develop a perfectly payload matched 2013 Chevy Silverado 3500HD short bed and a 2013 Lance 855S. Note these are the exact same make and model of truck and camper featured in Gary’s story.
Want proof that a one-ton short bed can payload match a slide-out truck camper? Read, “Payload Match Challenge: Part 1”, and, “Part 2”. It’s all there, right down to the CAT Scale tickets.
Since day one of founding Truck Camper Magazine, I have maintained that we can promote truck campers and the truck camping lifestyle while simultaneously promoting safe truck and camper matching. Our 12-year publishing record on this is rock solid, and non-negotiable. It would irresponsible to do anything less.
To date, the, “Payload Match Challenge” series has been read tens of thousands of times. We have met dozens of fellow truck campers who literally bought identical set-ups based on those articles and heard from dozens more via email. Put another way, that series has sold a ton of truck campers. Sales and safety, hand in hand.
As as side note, there is a very important difference between our 2013 Chevy Silverado 3500HD, and Gary’s 2018 Chevy Silverado 3500HD. While both are short bed, crew cab, four-wheel drive trucks with the Z71 Off-Road Package and similar options, Gary’s truck has a Duramax diesel where ours featured the Vortex 6.0L gas.
Diesel engines and their heavier transmissions add hundreds of pounds of weight that comes directly out of a truck’s payload capacity. This is made even more dramatically clear when you consider that our 2013 Chevy 3500HD truck had a 10,800-pound GVWR and Gary’s has 11,500-pound GVWR. Even though his truck has 700-pounds more GVWR, his payload is 773-pounds less. Diesel engines are heavy.
Poll Results: Do You Care About Payload Matching?
All of this becomes even more relevant when you see the following poll results.
For years I have wondered what would happen if we openly asked our readership about their attitude towards proper truck and camper matching. When Gary sent us his story, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to ask.
Asking this question was a bit of a risk. What if the overwhelming consensus was that truck camper owners truly could give a cat’s tail about being properly payload matched? You may have a hard time believing this, but we would have reported that data, just as we are reporting what’s below.
The first important result to report is the remarkable high number of readers who participated. At this writing, 1,036 people had completed the poll. It might seem obvious, but this high participation level shows just how important this topic is to our readership.
Here are the poll results:
The poll results are loud and clear. Truck camper enthusiasts overwhelmingly care about properly matching trucks and campers. In fact, 71.6-percent state that proper payload matching is a top priority.
This is a very important message for the industry. Talk directly with your customers about proper payload matching, and you’ll be rewarded with more truck camper sales.
Truck campers actually care even more about center of gravity. Over 80-percent state having center of gravity forward of the rear axle is a top priority. This surprised me as we don’t hear much about center of gravity from fellow truck camper owners.
On balance, most of the readers who took this poll know where we stand on these topics. Between the wet weights in our Buyers Guide, Truck Recommendations in our reviews, and just about everything in the Discover Truck Camping section, there is no mistaking that we want truck campers to be within payload with a COG forward of the rear axle. Safety first.
Even if these results were influenced, the results are so heavily in favor of proper matching and forward center of gravity that it’s unlikely the results would have been much different if asked in a different context. Maybe instead of 70 and 80-percent it would have been 55-percent and 65-percent. That’s still more than half and enough to prove that proper payload and COG matching is a top priority for the majority of truck camper owners and consumers.