The immediate reader response to, “The Go RVing Truck Camper Challenge” was truly unprecedented here at Truck Camper Magazine. At one point we were receiving a reader response every few seconds – each seemingly more passionate and fired-up than the last.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to share your perspectives on these important truck camper industry situations. We read every response, including many that aren’t featured due to the inordinately high volume. You’ve been heard, and we’re moving forward.
Here are the reader responses. Buckle up.
“Fantastic article. Spot on. Thank you so much for representing the under represented truck camper buyers, builders, and manufacturers of truck camper related products. Half-truths and reporting fake/untrue figures hurts the entire RV industry.
Why should I believe anything they say if long term dishonesty is their business credo? Listen up RVIA and GoRVing; please correct the information.
Honesty, respect and representing the entire RV community helps everyone and is better than you think for the bottom line. The most successful businesses throughout history learn and grow from their mistakes. This is a great opportunity for you. The choice is yours.” – John Moffett
“I approach any information source, such as the Go RVing website, in a careful analytical manner. I also found many of the illogical anomalies mentioned in your article. When I find such discrepancies, as those in the Go RVing website, the credibility of that information source is compromised to the point that I do not have any further use for it.
Thank you for your good efforts. TCM is a very good, credible, information source.” – Bill Jones
“Your article makes a lot of sense to me. If the data collection and reporting by these two entities is so inaccurate for truck campers, why should anyone believe their accounting of other RV types is accurate? Are industry leaders that gullible?
Sounds like the RVIA seal is about profits for the RVIA. It also sounds like we may be paying $63 for a “Bernie Madoff” sticker. If they can only keep the industry believing.
I think the unfortunate part is that they may believe their own statistics and feel the truck camper audience is so small that they don’t need to respond.” – Joseph Garrett, 2008, Chevrolet 2500, 2005 Northwood 990
“Until things change, I am glad that Northstar is not a RVIA member.” – Peter Huizenga, 2016 Toyota Tacoma, 2017 Northstar 600SS popup
“As a former publisher of a small-town newspaper for many years, I just wanted to commend Truck Camper Magazine for the effort expended in providing this article.
As one who fully understands (and appreciates) the effort and time involved to properly do the research to put this article together, I think you did a fabulous job.
While your passion for truck campers is quite evident, you were also able to put forth a defensible position for RVIA, Go RVing and SSI (though any defense of their actions as they relate to this piece is painfully weak, at best). Kudos and keep up the good work.” – Peter Scarnati
“Good job, Gordon! Is it legal for owners of truck campers to remove the RVIA stickers in protest. How can we help?” – Lewis E. Turner, 2014 Ford F350, 2008 Northern Lite 9.5 SLE Classic
“I understand your frustrations. However, the hidden beauty of the misrepresentation of truck camping is our beautiful secret getaways aren’t being inundated by crowds of campers!” – James Schaaf, 2014 Ford F150, 1999 Northstar
“This is the first I’d even heard of Go RVing. Has anyone ever asked them the reason for their bias? As far as insurance companies go, a good manufacturers’ association could submit accurate figures.” – Phil Cohen, 2015 Ram 3500, 2018 Northstar Laredo
“Any industry that knowingly makes false statements is, at its core, untrustworthy. An organization representing an industry that does nothing to correct its false statements is immoral.” – Tom Scholtens, 2010 Chevy 2500 HD, 2013 Bigfoot 25C10.4
“I totally agree with and support the editors of Truck Camper Magazine. I would like to see much better representation of truck campers in the RV Industry.” – Michael Roth, 2016 Ram 3500, 2016 Alaskan Cabover 8-foot
“As an organization that extracts a fee from manufacturers for an endorsement of their construction techniques, and purports to educate potential consumers in such a way as to enhance sales, RVIA is failing or abandoning their mission.
I’d say that truck camper manufacturers should either boycott RVIA and start their own organization and seal of approval, or initiate a class action suit against RVIA for failing to support the truck camper industry as promised when they accepted (demanded) a fee for their seal.
Thank you, TCM, for your thorough investigation and unveiling of this injustice to these fine manufacturers!” – John Wells, 2011 Chevy 3500, 2012 Chalet Ascent S100F
“The RVIA is so very biased. My husband and I have been researching RVs for retirement, and I didn’t even know that truck campers still existed. When I discovered Truck Camper Magazine, I was instantly amazed at the versatility, economy, logistics, and plain coolness of today’s truck campers. Now I am doing my best to convince my other half that that is the perfect way to see the country. I don’t want to retire as a bus driver.” – Debbie Freidell
“I would like to see truck campers featured more along with other types of RVs. I would like to see attitudes toward truck campers changed. After all, some truck campers are nicer and more expensive than many trailers and fifth wheels. I agree that truck campers are most like Class C campers.” – Jean Landau Vogt, Ford F350, Northstar 12STC
“I am surprised and irritated to read about the inaccurate reporting of the RVIA and the lack of information on Go RVing website. I wonder why these two organizations do not want to further the popularity of truck campers. Put the correct information out there and let the consumer decide what is popular and what is not!
Is someone or some entity paying out money or favors to stifle the truck camper market? Should we as truck camper enthusiasts email and/or bother the RVIA and GoRVing organizations? Thank you for allowing me to respond to your article.” – Scott Spradley, 2015 Silverado 2500HD, 1998 Lance E186SL
“I’ve had to describe my truck camper as a 25-foot Class C motorhome to campground owners when asking for a reservation. This hasn’t been only for Minnesota state parks, but even in Alaska, the Yukon, and British Columbia where truck campers are very common.
As for the industry’s website, money talks. I’ll bet there’s more money in promoting $200,000 to $1,000,000+ motorhomes than truck campers. I know that I see a lot more motorhome and travel trailer dealerships than truck camper dealers.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050
“I tried the Go RVing Canada’s, “What’s Your RV Persona” quiz and they recommended a Class A motorhome for me. Nothing could be farther from my needs! However, I felt their comparison between a Class C motorhome and a truck camper was legitimate.” – Tony Duke, 2013 Chevy 3500, 2015 Adventurer 910DB
“Your article was point on. You should submit it to Sherman Goldberg at RV Business to see if they would cover it.” – Roger Bassett
Editors Note: We are happy to report that RV Pro and RV Daily Report did cover our article on Tuesday. RV Business did not.
“The under reporting of statistics does harm to all. It harms the truck camper industry, the potential purchases, manufacturers, and secondary markets. To misrepresent the actual function/abilities of the truck campers is misleading at best, suspect at worst.
Correct the data. Give equal representation. And be responsible to the RV community overall. While truck campers may not be the most popular contender at the beauty pageant, they are still a player and demand proper representation.
Do the right thing. And you should actually try out a truck camper. Come on industry reporting organizations, wake up.” – Frank Poole, 2016 Ram 5500 HD, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“Thank you, TCM, for addressing the situation of truck campers being overlooked. There is a huge potential market out there of pickup truck owners, mostly half-tons but also some three-quarter and one tons for truck camper sales.
A truck camper is a great way to introduce a family to RVing and a great way for older RVers to downsize. Maybe the industry doesn’t want to encourage that, but it beats having older RVers abandon the lifestyle for lack of a suitable downsizing option.
Maybe the truck camper industry needs to form its own trade group and start making some noise. The internet makes it possible for the truck camper industry to reach out directly to consumers. Truck camper manufacturers and dealers may not have the resources to launch glitzy video and print campaigns, but there are still ways to reach truck camper enthusiasts.
TCM is doing that already. Keep up the good work!” – Cindy McCaleb, 2012 Toyota Tacoma, Still looking
“RVIA must be run on autopilot by a high school student to repeatedly understate the attributes and capabilities of truck campers.
Industry owners should be embarrassed for charging consumers $63 for an RVIA seal when we – the truck camper customers and manufacturers – are ignored by the organization (aka pirates) taking the plunder.
Every day I’m on the road traveling with my wife (more than 200 days in two years) confirms my decision to purchase a truck camper.” – Tony Coyne, 2015 Chevrolet 3500, Arctic Fox 1140
“Every complaint about this article was spot on. I’ve had problems with insurance companies and financial institutions not understanding what a truck camper even is. That’s assuming you can even find a new truck camper on a dealer lot to insure or finance. On my last camping trip I had two different people (current fifth wheel owners) come up to me and state that they’ve owned truck campers before but “didn’t know anyone still made them”. If a former truck camper owner/current fifth wheel owner doesn’t know this, how will someone just getting into the market ever know?” – Ryan Graves, 2015 Silverado 2500, 2015 Palomino HS-6601
“This is an extremely well-written article. I hope it brings about the necessary changes at Go RVing as well as the industry data problems.” – Anita Slater, Charlotte RV Center
“Gordon, thank you for your article. I think that we, as truck camper owners, are up against a deeply ingrained stigma. Like the Hollywood promoted view that all motorcycle riders are drug running, Hell’s Angel thugs, we see the American view of truck campers is that musty old rat trap that your dad or uncle had in the 60s or 70s.
To add to your article’s examples, try getting insurance on a Class 4 or 5 truck. My insurance company (USAA) is unable to comprehend that a private owner may wish to own a truck rated to carry the larger size truck campers available today.
I think what we’re really seeing is that Americans have a very narrow and rigid view of truck campers and truck camper owners. Yet anytime I’ve taken my truck camper remote places, lakes, or even developed campgrounds I seem to always end up in a conversation with someone who is surprised how versatile and well appointed modern truck campers are. And yet there are those who look down their long noses at me because I have a truck camper.
I think your interviews with multiple truck camper builders confirms what we know, but what the RV industry is ignoring. Truck camper sales are booming, as are all RV sales.
All of the points your article discusses are very valid. I believe that we are a very untapped market and it’s likely we would grow significantly if the RV industry was able to put away long out dated views and see the market for what it is instead of seeing it for what they want to see.” – Mark Joslin, 2006 Ram 3500, looking for my next truck camper
“Great article! I was unaware of RVIA’s bias against truck campers. Who can I contact at RVIA to make my concerns known?” – Arn Chamberlain, 2000 Ford F-250, 2004 Palomino Maverick 8801
“I am not a truck camper owner, but I do work for an RV lighting supplier so I follow the issues. I am interested in the future growth of the industry and I see that truck campers are a good option for younger buyers who want to upgrade from tent camping but don’t have a ton of money to sink into a large RV, or the space to store it. Keep at it. Truck campers are a great option!
Also, I tried the Go RVing Canada quiz trying to get truck camper and got travel trailer. I thought you would like to know!” – Nancy Eaton
Editor’s Note: Nobody has yet been able to get the Canada’s Go RVing website to recommend a truck camper. Thanks for accepting the challenge!
“I did not realize this was going on. It is good of you to report this information to your readers. It seems to me like pickup truck manufacturers might want to support this correction.
I’m going to call my insurance man. When I wanted my Alaskan covered, he said that he did not see where they had a truck camper category and that my truck insurance would have to cover it. It sounds like truck campers are being discriminated against by the rest of the industry. It’s a shame.
I love this magazine and check it regularly for information such as this. Keep up the good work.” – Stephen Dew, 2006 Ford F350, 2002 Alaskan
“Outstanding and very timely article. We live in the Denver, Colorado area and are shopping for what will be our second truck camper. Compared to mainstream RV products, truck campers are barely represented in this huge metro area.
Two of the larger truck camper dealers in Colorado are a three to five hour drive from Denver. The models we’re most interested in are seldom in stock within the state.
One dealer in West Pueblo told us this is the best year ever for his truck camper sales and he doesn’t expect to have the model we’re interested in until the end of 2017. We scour the Internet and see many more truck camper choices in other states, especially Washington, Oregon, and California.
All of this, in a convoluted sort of way, confirms the basic premise of your article. Truck campers are pretty popular, especially here in The West. I expect some of the East Coast marketing bias that we see in so many ways is part of the snub.
And for us, there’s another financial consideration that makes a truck camper attractive. Here in Colorado, truck campers do not require registration, which is a significant annual savings. By comparison, our relatively small fifth wheel’s annual renewal runs about $700.
We really enjoy your magazine. Keep up the great work!” – Rick and Connie, Castle Rock, Colorado
“Well stated, Gordon! Don’t go soft on them. There isn’t a dealer within 180 miles of me that will even touch a truck camper because of this problem. No service and no special orders. That hurts us all.” – Gary Usher, 2015 Ford F350, 2015 Lance 1172
“It seems many RV campgrounds don’t have truck campers listed on “type of vehicle” when reserving a site. I have to list it as Class C. I always show our camper to people who stare at it and want to see it.” – Chip Collin
“I understand the points made in your article and don’t disagree with them, but am curious about the benefits of truck campers remaining a sort of secret.
I don’t see myself as an RV kind of person and like being a part of a small community of adventurers who do things off the beaten path. I feel hesitant to spread the word about how great truck campers are for the same reasons I am hesitant to tell folks where my favorite campsites are located (even though I am guilty of doing both regularly).” – Darcy Hubbard, 2014 Ram 3500, 1998 Lance Legend
“In my life so far I have owned four new truck campers and one motorhome. Now matter how bad the misrepresentation of truck campers is, I would have nothing else other than a truck camper.” – Charles Duncan, 2008 Ford F350, 2017 Arctic Fox 865
“The Go RVing marketing campaign certainly left out an important group of consumers and possible consumers who don’t need to have two full baths to have a good time. They also forgot about consumers who want to get to places that are not accessible to most Class As, Bs, Cs, or camp trailers. Great critique job!” – Laurel Wilson, 2013 Ford F-350, 2016 Four Wheel Camper Shell
“Good article. Good job. I will be curious if the industry responds.” – Bruce Ostermann
“It would seem that the combined pressure of truck camper owners and the truck camper manufacturers has to be focused on the RVIA. The reluctance to change may in part be a reluctance to admit error.” – Ed Amato, 2000 Ford F350, 2015 Northern Lite 10-2 EX-RR
“Maybe it’s time to get truck manufacturers to design a truck strictly for the truck camper industry to build a camper for; full floor, lower height, extended bed size with two more feet of length.” – William Cowgar, 2012 Ford F350, 2009 Lance 995
Editor’s Note: If the RVIA and SSI reported accurate numbers, that might actually be possible. At this time, I don’t think it will happen.
“If the RVIA requires that their inspection stickers appear on every truck camper built shouldn’t that also mean the industry association should have a very accurate reading of every unit built?
Also, if each unit manufactured is required by the state’s to have an RVIA sticker at $63 a piece, why doesn’t a portion of that money paid to RVIA not go to promote the truck camper in the industry’s marketing campaign?” – Dave Nutter, 2003 GMC 1500 Sierra, 2004 Northstar TC650
Editor’s Note: RV manufacturers are not required to be members of the RVIA. The RVIA is a private organization that is not affiliated with the government. RVIA seals are representations of a manufacturer’s compliance of federal safety codes, but are not required by the state or federal government. The reason why RVIA does not have an accurate count of truck campers built is (a) because only 7 of 22 truck camper companies are RVIA members and report sales data and (b) because only 8 states require and report truck camper registrations.
“I have just purchased my new truck in preparation for getting a truck camper this fall or next spring. I have been a loyal reader of Truck Camper Magazine and all other forums I can find on the internet.
Living in Pennsylvania, I have found that when I talk about truck campers with friends and associates they do not have a clue what I am talking about. Even some who have a travel trailer or fifth wheel camper are unclear what they are.
My thought would be for the truck camper manufactures to advertise on their own educating the general public by whatever means they can afford. Hopefully that would spark public interest that would influence future sales.
Harley Davidson dealers get involved in rallies and benefits. Involving truck camper dealers in such ventures which would put their product out there for the general public to see. Think outside the box!” – Mark Unger, 2017 Chevy 3500
“I totally agree having visited the Canada Go RVing website. I would also like to see the truck manufacturers cater more to the payload needs of the truck camper marketplace. Truck dealers don’t know the abilities of the equipment they’re selling.
I am also a good Sam Member and have the option of getting Trailer Life or Motorhome Magazine. I have only seen truck campers mentioned a couple of times in Trailer Life and ads/articles cater only to trailers and their parts/equipment.
Thank God for Truck Camper Magazine and Facebook truck camper groups. They are my go-to source for information. I would be lost without you!” – Linda Haley, 2007 Dodge 3500, 2016 Wolf Creek 850
“If RVIA reported the information correctly, I think truck camper sales would increase, which may possibly bring truck camper prices down a little.
Maybe more southeast dealers would start carrying truck campers. RV Connections in Panama City, Florida does not have truck campers in their search. Dixie RV in Definuak Springs, Florida – no results found. Carpenter Campers in Pensacola, Florida has nothing. Camping World has only two used truck campers. That’s all in 70 miles of Gulf Breeze, Florida.” – Larry Preston, 2013 Ford F350, 2002 Apache Sun Valley 8.65se
“First of all, I stand up and salute you for taking this stand. I want to bring out yet another element to the issue. The reason we went for a truck camper was constant weather problems and my wife’s sore back. Backpacking was becoming difficult.
I did a study of actual RV use. I did not do a strictly scientific count but, by and large, what I saw in Montana (where we were living full-time back in the seventies), was truck campers traveling down the highways and backroads nearly twelve months of the year. In the spring and late fall, small travel trailers could be seen, but the bigger rigs were almost only found in a four month period centered over the summer. RVers today are a bit more robust, but the general idea still holds true. On the whole, those who use a truck camper seem to be more dedicated to RVing year round.
The only reason we also bought a fifth wheel trailer was to retire-in and travel. After a few years of spending the winters in the fifth wheel and traveling back and forth with it, we have largely lost our desire to do much traveling in it.
Now we are back to the unrivaled convenience of truck camping for traveling and exploring. No longer are we heading up into the forest looking for that meadow we learned about while driving past all sorts of places the truck camper would fit nicely. No longer are we getting ourselves into tight fixes when trying to stop in cities and small towns.
The most honest thing the RV industry can do to educate the public is to inform that public about the truck camper option. None of us claim that truck campers are for everyone. They are not. They are principally for physically active people who wish to go where all the other RVers go, but also go where no one else can go.
It is not just us and our industry who is suffering here, it is the entire general public. All our manufacturing businesses may be operating at or near capacity right now, but we are not taking away from any other RV builder. We are adding to the total RV sales! The RVIA needs to let the general public be aware of an option that may make RVing more attractive.” – Michael Turner, 2007 Ram 3500, 1988 Lance
“I have formerly owned Winnebago, Coachmen, and Lance (1980-1993) truck campers. We had to drive to Tulsa to pick up our Lance and enjoyed it immensely. When we made reservations, some campgrounds frowned on truck campers. I am still convinced on the concept and flexibility. Hopefully the RVIA will recognize and reinvest some of the truck camper $63 fee.” – Bryant King, Odessa, Florida
“I grew up in a truck camper. My parents switched to a motorhome when I was 12, but I didn’t like it as much. I did tent camping for a few years and rented a fifth wheel (which was all kinds of a pain in the butt to drive and park). Now I have come full circle back to a truck camper.
As a Canadian, I’m often forgotten, and the RVIA is no exception since they don’t even bother to consider Canadian sales. However, between May and September, I literally can’t go for a drive in the city without seeing at least one truck camper. I often see a truck camper and no other RV, except at Walmart. Even 3,200 sales/year seems low, given how many campers I see just in my small part of North America.
There are at least three truck camper manufacturers in British Columbia, Canada (you would probably know how many for sure) and there’s no justification for leaving Canada out of this discussion.
That being said, it makes me furious that truck campers are classed as towables on the Go RVing website. Then they suggest you get into a trailer when you want to bring a boat. There are only a few places in North America where it’s legal to have a double trailer (vehicle towing RV towing boat) so it’s either motorhome + boat, or truck + RV trailer if truck campers are eliminated. This is absolutely ridiculous!
I could go on for a long time about this, but it might have more impact if you could share contact info to GoRVing, RVIA, and and other big organizations so that we, the truck campers, could bombard them with messages to let them know that not only do we exist, but that they’re missing a huge opportunity by ignoring us.
The many people who already own trucks have no desire to get into a second mortgage for an RV trailer and so they choose not to go camping.
Thank you for your continued dedication to truck campers and for bringing this to our attention!” – Melissa Malejko, 2002 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 1981 Okanagan
“I thought it was strange as well that truck campers aren’t featured more. It’s a shame because I think that more people would get involved if they understood the comfort and portability of a truck camper.” – Deborah Bunker
“Excellent article! It is sad that truck campers are so misunderstood by other RV owners and the RV industry in general. In British Columbia they are extremely common, and wonderfully suited to traveling in the mountains. But when we head south or east, people ask us what we have on our truck! Thank you for the great article.” – Orian Hartviksen, 2011 Ford F350, 2010 Northern Lite 8’11’Q
“I recently drove from Washington state to Phoenix, Arizona and back, seeing hundreds of RVs on the road. Of those, easily 25-30% were truck campers – both hard side and pop-ups.” – Larry Power, 2014 Ford F350, 2009 Northland (now Rugged Mountain) Polar 860
“I would like to stand up and be counted.” – Ben Hansen, 2006 Ford F350, 2005 Lance 981 Max
“Count us as a victim of the truck manufacturers’ disregard of truck campers. We bought a new 2017 truck and were so frustrated once we started loading our camper onto it. GMC in their infinite wisdom made the removal of the tailgate more complex. It used to be a simple quick release cables – a design used for eons, but for 2017, they decided to change and use bolt-on cables, plus added a lock and a backup camera.
Now it requires a tool and getting under the undercarriage to disconnect lock cable and camera. I’m getting older and for me to get under the truck to remove the tailgate is a real chore. I switch several times a year because I use my truck not just for camping.
Once you remove the tailgate in order to load your camper it renders the camera totally useless. We contacted GMC asking for their logic in these design flaws (in our opinion) and got nowhere. They would not allow us to talk to any of the engineers. They cited that they used statistics and market analysis to aid them in their design.
Obviously truck campers were not as popular hence the design did not factor them in. I am speculating because their response stopped short after they claimed their engineers did lots of study and analysis to arrive at their designs. My suspicions are that their analysis was based on the faulty data from SSI and RVIA.
I am luckily a DIYer and have made all the needed changes to accommodate my camper and still have the use of the backup camera – but gosh darn, we had to jump through hoops and put out more cash. Come to think of it, my new truck (if unaltered) would been ideal for towing a travel trailer.” – Tim O’Sullivan, 2017 Silverado 3500, 2008 SnowRiver 9’6″
“In your article, “RVIA slaps truck campers in the face” (Okay, slight paraphrase of the actual title), you mentioned the odd motorhome “type” designation. This is from the Family Motor Coach Association, a group of elderly baby boomers that host lots of potluck dinners at Olde Person Rallies nationwide.” – Michael Butts
“Excellent article, Gordon and Angela. You hit the nail on the head as far as equipment manufacturers not pursuing truck camper specific equipment as they don’t see it worthwhile numbers wise.
Could the manufacturers do a better job of notifying RVIA with their sales numbers? I know Lance and Northwood make travel trailers as well. Do they report their sales broken down by type?
Maybe truck camper manufactures are happy with current sales and don’t want anymore exposure that would backlog them more. I’d be interested in the manufacturers’ responses to your article. Keep up the good work!” – Jim Hunter, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2005 Arctic Fox 1150
“The article was very disturbing how a group that should help inform the public about the truck camper is so misinformed about a truck camper. I think when the average person looking for an RV hears the word truck camper they think of Gypsy’s or carnival roustabouts.
It seems like truck camper gets snubbed or misunderstood no matter where you go. We have called campgrounds for an overnight stay and have been told there was no sites available when I tell them we have a truck camper. We usually call back later and when we are asked what type of RV we tell them a modified class C. We get the site, but we do not put down our jacks.” – Jerry Bonneau, 1995 Ford F350, 2002 Lance 1061
“I discovered this about GoRVing a long time ago and that is why I don’t watch or read their any of their program/articles.“ – Alex Blasingame, 2007 Ford F250, 2002 Lance 815
“Very informative. Thank you for such an important article. However, the why wasn’t addressed which seems critical to resolving the issue. Certainly this isn’t merely an oversight given the scope of the snub.” – Keith Quinton, 2016 Ford F350, 2016 Northern Lite 10-2 EX RR Dry Bath
Editor’s Note: Good point. See today’s RVIA “response” by Gordon.
“Thanks for an excellent article that is spot on. I live in the triad area of North Carolina and finding a dealer that handles, services a truck camper requires a minimum of a two hour drive. Local dealers have no knowledge of truck campers and most think it’s something that went out of style in the 70s.” – Thomas Wilson, 2015 Chevy 3500, 2015 Adventurer 89RB
“My husband and I are in the process of selecting a truck camper which meets our camping needs. It has been very difficult to locate RV dealerships nearby that carry truck campers in stock. We often have to drive hours away to be able to see them in person.
When we initially decided to pursue the purchase of an RV, we had no idea truck campers existed. We watch the show “Going RV” every week on GAC and they never feature truck campers (the show is sponsored by the RVIA, by the way).
We just happened to visit an RV dealer one day that had truck campers on the lot. Out of curiosity, we took a look and immediately fell in love with the idea of a truck camper. It perfectly meets our needs: just the two of us, no towing required, still able to use the truck as a vehicle, and features a kitchen, bathroom, etc.
We were surprised at how little attention truck campers receive. When discussing RV options with friends and family, they view truck campers as, “those little enclosures with a bed in it”. When I show them the floor plans of the larger campers complete with kitchen, bath, dinette and bed, they are incredulous. It really illustrates how little exposure truck campers receive.
We would be very pleased, indeed, if truck campers received more exposure. For our needs, a truck camper is an incredible value. We get the amenities of a Class C, yet don’t have to purchase an RV that is not driveable as a second vehicle. We can still use the truck as a daily vehicle when we’re not camping. We can camp in places a Class C or trailer would not be able to. It provides greater flexibility for our travel plans.
It is disheartening to see that inaccurate data and purposeful under-exposure is preventing potential new purchasers from even being aware of the truck camper segment in the RV industry. We would have certainly looked at campers first, instead of travel trailers, had we even known about the wonderful features they have.
We’re looking forward to making our first truck camper purchase next year.” – Kristin Coble
“After reading the RVIA/Go RVing article, it is obvious they are really out of touch with how great truck campers are. I have owned almost every kind of RV and we prefer the truck camper for many reasons, including boondocking off-grid.
I read every issue of Truck Camper Magazine, which is a great resource for sure. When we are truck camping we also enjoy fishing, hiking, ham radio, cooking, rock collecting, and anything outdoors. Truck camping is our passion for sure!” – John Quail, 2012 Ford F250, 2001 Lance 845
“It’s obvious from your reporting that there is a bias in the reporting of the RVIA and Go RVing campaign. Perhaps rather than trying to convince them to become honest reporters we should form another “Industry Association” that reports honest numbers, at least for truck campers.
Surely you have connections with most if not all truck camper manufacturers. How many truck campers do they manufacture each year? If all of these are not being sold, then where do they go? If you published these numbers and publicized a comparison of these numbers with the RVIA and other numbers, it would expose the bias.
I’ve been very disappointed in my search for a used truck camper because so many dealers don’t sell them. They either refuse to either take them in on trade, or don’t publish the used truck campers that exist in their inventory. I say that we target those dealers with a news release publication that contains the results of your truck manufacturer surveys.” – Ean McClane, 2017 Ford F350, Looking for a late model (aluminum frame) Lance 1191
“Thanks for clearing the air on this topic. My wife and are simply average consumers without any industry experience or contacts. Our camping experiences are personal and come from over 50 years of camping and, like a lot of people, we went from tenting through two pop-up trailers and now our first truck camper.
While researching our purchase of a truck camper in August of 2015, we relied almost solely on the information supplied by TCM to make our decision – not because we didn’t want to see other points of view or opinions, but because there was nothing else remotely of interest for someone considering the purchase of a truck camper.
I referred to Go RVing a number of times and always came away disappointed, even when straying and looking at other types of RVs. The information contained a lot of fluff and not much substance. They are not in the business of helping consumers make an informed decision.
You were also dead-on when you talked about the impact their poor data reporting on other industries and the additional costs incurred by truck campers compared to other types of RVs.
There is only one insurance provider in the province of Quebec (population of over 8,000,000) that would cover truck campers. Actually, they were also the only ones who had any idea about truck campers.
Truck Camper Magazine plays an invaluable role for existing and potential truck camper owners. We now travel four to six months a year and we love our camper and the truck camper lifestyle. Thank you so very much.” – Pierre Mongeau, 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD, 2014 Lance 855
“The article could end with contact information for RVIA so that we can email them and voice our support for your opinions.” – Kevin Grigorenko
“Outstanding article. We just came home from an eight week, 10,987 mile trip to Alaska and northwest Canada. Our Ford truck and Lance Camper were great.
We live in the southeast and there are not very many truck campers in our area. It was nice to see so many truck campers on our trip. We even saw many rentals.
However, every single rental unit we saw was rented by couples and/or families from countries outside the USA or Canada. The ones we talked to said truck campers are popular in their countries and they had not considered any other type of camper when renting.
We traveled with friends who have a 31-foot fifth wheel. About half way through our trip they said they were going home and getting a truck camper.” – Pat Bullock, 2016 Ford F350, 2001 Lance 1030
“I had a similar experience with the Go RVing website when researching campers before I purchased my Northstar. I was surprised at the small amount of information provided about truck campers. It did give me the impression that the market for truck campers is extremely small. Is there not an association of truck camper manufacturers? If there is, do they not put out their own production numbers?
Freedom of choice is greatly diminished when you don’t understand what all your choices are. On a side note, I find it somewhat ironic that Camping World sponsors the NASCAR truck series, but does little or nothing to promote truck campers.” – Roger Garner, 2014 Ram 1500, 2016 Northstar Vista
Editor’s Note: Camping World’s marketing team uses the RVIA and SSI data, and makes their advertising and sponsorship decisions accordingly.
“We were purchasing our camper from a private party. When trying to get financing from our credit union, the credit union didn’t know how to classify it. RVs were considered either travel trailers and motorhomes. Very frustrating.” – Rhonda Saul, 2004 Ford F350, 2008 Arctic Fox 990
“Great article. I too have noticed the neglect and bias. How many RV shows like the Annual San Antonio RV show at AT&T Center and Fairgrounds even have a truck camper there? None in the past five years that I have attended.
Ford does offer a truck camper option. It’s the Camper Package (Option Code 471) required with F-250/F-350/F-450 Super Duty and devotes a full page with a picture of a truck camper and load specs. I had the Camper Package on my 2011 and 2015 Ford F350 trucks.
In my opinion, many see a truck camper as a very down market, low budget, and living in the back of a truck with little or no conveniences, porta potty, and a sleeping bag thing. I have been asked many times, “What does that camper cost? Three or four thousand?” and “What is inside? Do you lay on the floor of the truck?” So, I show them. To say their jaw drops would be an understatement.
Even more fun is at RV camps when I tell some guy in a $200,000+ Class A that my truck camper has everything he has. Then we go to show him. Of course, some like to talk dollars and I point and say, “Yeah, that’s about $130,000 for the truck and truck camper”. All of a sudden you are some migrant worker sleeping in the back of a truck between picking strawberries.
Yes, we have an image challenge and it’s not helped by the RVIA and RV shows that do not have truck campers displayed. Line up a few high-end models and multi-slides like the Eagle Cap, Arctic Fox, and others and we will begin to get the acceptance we deserve.
We travel about thirty weekends a year and hear this often when calling ahead for space at an RV park, “What’s a truck camper”? It sits in the back of a truck. “No, we don’t allow you to sleep in your truck. We are an RV park!” We have always been able to overcome, but sometimes it’s taken a description of, “Yes, we have a walk-in shower and a kitchen and a slide-out”.
Thank you for fighting the good fight for us and the truck camper world.” – Don Pryor, 2017 Ford F350, 2008 Arctic Fox 1150
“During our first year of owning a truck camper, we have had many people ask if they are still made. They are very surprised when we say yes. Airstreams have been made since 1932. I had never seen an ad for Airstream until about three years ago when Airstream started to be more aggressive about their advertising.” – Mark McVicker, 2005 Ford F250, 2014 CampLite 11s
“Truck campers are more versatile and less expensive than traditional RVs since one can replace the truck and not the camper when the truck wears out and vice versa. Yet the enjoyment and comfort of a truck camper is similar to the more expensive options.
Therefore this snub could be as simple as the RV associations doing their jobs and supporting those who provide the majority of their funding by encouraging people to spend more money on bigger and more expensive RV alternatives. Similarly, it is often pointed out the NEA represents teachers and not the students.
A brief mention of truck campers may be considered a moral obligation – but not too often.” – Fred Patterson, 2013 Ford F350, 2002 Lance 1161
“Excellent article! I can’t wait to hear responses from those at fault.” – Loretta Worsham, 2010 Chevy Silverado, 2014 Travel Lite
“Gordon and Angela – Thanks for highlighting this important information.
Truck campers are sold based on volume as well as features. Inaccurate data for sales may result in increased costs to purchase new and used units.
It appears the RVIA organization is using the money from the manufacturers to finance other programs, which means the truck camper industry and purchasers are paying but not receiving what they have paid their money to receive. Is this not deceptive? To me it is.
If someone were to determine how much money was provided to the RVIA organization, then they might be required to refund the money due to operating a deceptive business.
If the RVIA doesn’t change its practices, then I think the truck camper industry should create their own program and videos. I’m sure many owners would be willing to volunteer videos of their camping lifestyle and how they use their campers to aid in getting the program on the road.
The use of media such as Facebook and YouTube, for example, could be used to provide better ideas so everyone who is interested could get a better idea about the truck camper industry.
RV shows, which are usually hosted in a state by the respective state tourist organization, should be contacted so they have current information regarding both the new truck camper manufacturers and the used market. The auxiliary support manufacturers like Torklift, Hellwig, SuperSprings, and boat manufacturers could also become part of this new alliance for support of the truck camper industry.
I thank you both for bringing this issue to our attention. For any organization like the RVIA to continue their deceptive practices may be considered a criminal activity. Since I’m not a lawyer, I can’t speak for the law, but as a consumer I can say my respect for the RVIA has diminished significantly. I will send your article to my Congressional officials so they can add this to their list of issues to address in Congress.” – Harry Palmer, 2008 Dodge Ram 2550, 2008 Lance 915
“Great read. Keep up the great reporting.” – Jim Mitchell, 2010 Ford F150, 2016 Palomino SS-550
“I will agree that most people don’t know what a truck camper is. It is sad to be underrepresented by those who are supposed to know the RV industry the best. Perhaps if truck campers were fairly represented more people outside of truck camper owners would know what a truck camper is.” – Mike Cash, 2014 Ram 2500, 2015 Hallmark K2
“Although I agree with you regarding the issue with the RV Persona, I can’t go along with your point that truck campers belong in the same category as Class As, Bs and Cs.
I don’t drive my camper, I drive the truck. When I look at RVs I want something separate from my motor. Granted you don’t tow it, but you don’t drive it either.
To me, truck campers have more in common with something that is towed. That may not be how others would look at it, but for me you are being a bit to literal with the term tow.” – Shannon OBrien, GMC Sierra 3500, 2005 Lance 1121
“Adding greater exposure for truck campers would likely develop more unique camping items as well as make insurance companies know how to classify them for insurance purposes.” – Rodney Boyd, 2007 Dodge 2500, 2006 Lance 845
“Great article. Most truck campers are the free spirit type. I know several motor coach owners who like sitting inside watching movies rather than enjoying the outdoors. One time I said to someone that he had a nice camper. His response was, ‘You have a camper. I have a motorhome.’ I rest my case.” – Sam Tardo, 2002 Ford F250, Shadow Cruiser 1100
“My next camper will definitely be another truck camper. The ease of getting around and superior mobility over all the other types of campers I have owned is unsurpassed.” – Harvey Gaither, 2000 Ford F250, 2004 Northstar Laredo
“Very good article. And I whole heartily agree. I hope it wakes up the RVIA and the rest of the RV industry.” – Buzz and Sherri Merchlewitz, 2017 Dodge Ram 3500, 2015 Hallmark Ute
“This is disappointing because, to me, a truck camper is the closest thing to real camping.” – Gaetan St-Hilaire, 2004 Silverado 2500HD, 2004 Northern Lite 10-2
“In my truck camper, I have been to more places and seen more of this country than most folks could think of. It has surprised a lot of people when I’ve told them the many benefits of a truck camper.” – John Macdonald, 2011 Ford F150, 2008 Okanagan 96wb
“I live in Mexico. I recently went to the United States to buy a used Lance. When I told my friends what I was going to buy, I had to delay my trip a day to explain what a truck camper was to everyone.
I think the word “camper” is partly to blame for the confusion surrounding truck campers. Look up camper in Wikipedia and you won’t find a truck camper, but rather a camper as a person who camps.
Who notarized the word camper as a type of RV? It is confusing and the RVIA and the other companies don’t have time to educate people about truck campers. They have mouths to feed and it would take too long.” – John Pratt, 1994 Dodge 2500, 1997 Lance Squire 3000
“Your article on Go RVing is bang on. I’ve been RVing for many years. I’ve read articles and seen ads by Go RVing. I have since stopped reading the articles and I ignore the ads.
The articles are too vague, incomplete, or inaccurate and often misleading. No one in the RV industry or the general public should rely on Go RVing for information related to RVing.” – Léo LaRochelle, 2013, Chevy Silverado 3500HD, 2016, Northern Lite 8-11 SE
“One unique feature of a truck and camper is the immediate availability of four-wheel drive. This obviously allows access into the backcountry and beaches.” – Robert Lick, 2003 Dodge 3500, 1993 Alpenlite 11-foot SK
“We pull our Ranger bass boat behind our truck camper to every bass tournament we fish. Our truck camper is the way to go. We can unload the camper in a RV camp site and unload our boat in the lake and go fishing. It’s like taking your home with you. And your boat trailer stays hooked up to our truck ready to go fishing. It’s the best way to go camping.” – Juanita Robinson, 2008 Dodge, 2012 Lance
“It is a worn out, but very concerning problem in media, but inaccuracy in reporting is “fake news” and completely unacceptable. The general public knows nothing about truck campers. When we tell someone that we have such a big truck to accommodate our anxiously awaited truck camper, we get, “Oh, a fifth wheel?” – Tom Lowe, 2016 GMC 3500, 2017 Host Mammoth delivery imminent
“It seems my RVIA sticker must not have the value they wish to imply if they can’t see the forest for all the trees. Drive down the interstate and tell me there aren’t truck campers on the road in numbers. Yes in Virginia, Go RVing campaign, truck campers really do exist!” – Dean Rognrud, 2012 Ram 3500, 2017 Adventurer 86SBS
“I am appalled that the RV industry is ignoring, overlooking, and/or misrepresenting the truck camper industry and campers! After 25 years of pop up trailer camping with children, we spent three years researching the various types of campers that would fit our full-timing RVing needs following retirement. After renting and trying out several types of campers (Class B and C, and considering Class As) we discovered a moderate sized, hard sided, truck camper fit the bill to a T!
We began full timing December 1, 2016, and could not be happier! Traveling out west since April, we have seen many more slide-in truck campers than we ever saw in the southeast. They fit into so many more places and sites than their larger Class A and C cousins. And while the class Bs are usually smaller, they have the similar disadvantage to their larger cousins requiring one to either tow another vehicle, or use the camper to tour and sightsee as a primary vehicle, which is problem that we do not experience with our truck camper.
The inaccurate data that the RVIA/Go RVing disseminates would explain the responses that we have received from insurance companies, accessory manufacturers, and even multiple truck dealerships when shopping.
Shame on you RVIA/Go RVing! And thank you Truck Camper Magazine for advocating for us truck camper owners (and future owners). Keep up the good work!” – Randy Bundschu, 2013 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2010 Lance 855