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Truck Camper Base Camp

This week’s Question of the Week was, “Is a truck camper appropriate for camping in one location full-time for a period of weeks or months at a time?”

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“Yes!  One of the main reasons I got my Northstar Igloo was to use it as a base camp.  So far I use it to be a winter Texan.  I plan on using it as a base camp when traveling, like going someplace, setting the camper off the truck, and exploring the area for several days to weeks.” – Marc Swanson

“It is possible to live in the truck camper for weeks on end, but the real niche for truck campers in my mind is the road trip; the ability to go anywhere, stay anywhere, and move on.  If we stay more than a few days in one spot, we set the camper off and live in it, having the truck free to run around in.  We rarely stay in one place for more than a couple nights at a time. 

In the national parks, we stay in a different campground each night as we make our way around the park.  That way we never have to worry about our battery going dead after running the furnace on cold nights when there are no hookups, which is usually where we find ourselves.  We do not want to have the extra weight of extra batteries and noise of a generator if we don’t have to.  We like to keep it simple. 

We are looking forward to putting the camper on in a week to take a trip to Michigan for a wedding.  We are also stopping in two places in Indiana and attending a grandparent’s day at our grandchildren’s school in Michigan.  We get plenty of use out of our Northstar TC650.  We are sad to say, when we get home it will be put away until spring.” – Allen and Sharon Brummel, Minnesota

“Yes, a truck camper can be used to stay in for an extended period of time.  In July, my wife and I just finished a fifty day trip to Alaska and we had no problems at all.  Last week we were on the east coast of Canada and had truck problems.  We had to live for eight days in the camper in the dealership lot.  Again we had no problems.  For two people, a truck camper offers everything you need to survive.  I would not want to do it with more than two people.” – Paul Goggan

“Angela – We don’t have the truck camper yet.  I am still researching my options as to which model and company would be appropriate.  Our camper will be for full-timing only.  We have been planning for a year, and we have a year to go.  Just a little more research is necessary.  We cannot fathom dragging around a travel trailer or fiver.  Most smaller motor homes do not have a 350HP diesel.  I have been spoiled by my 6.7L, 350 HP, Ram 2500 Diesel.

Next year I am planning to purchase a 2013 Ram 3500, dually, 4×4.  Since moving from Florida to Texas, I have become sick of living in sticks and bricks.  The camper I buy will be small enough, but big enough for me and my two and a half pound chihuahua.  We will be able to boondock for a few days here and there and travel or stay where we wish, full time.” – Carol and Gremlynne, Texas (for now)

“Angela – I have used my truck camper many times when volunteering for disasters around the country.  Once I arrive at location, I get water and electric hooked up if they are available.  If hook ups are not available, I just fill the water tank.  I have plenty of solar and batteries.  I can go for around seven days before having to find a location to empty waste tanks and fill up with water.  Sometimes I will have the folks who empty and clean portable johns come by and empty my tanks and I a water truck fill water tank. 

The longest I stayed in my camper was about six weeks in Alabama after a tornado last year and I spent about three weeks in Joplin.  The only thing I missed was having someone do the cooking.  My cooking is not so good.  I usually become a junk food eater about that time.  Oh well, I cannot have it all.  Take care and safe travels.” – Ed Krech

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“It takes a little planning for an extended stay trip!  Each year my wife, two dogs, and I take a couple of two week fishing trips.  We pull an eighteen foot Robalo Boat with a 1994 Ford F-350 and our 1991 Hornet Camper.  We try to select a site that has or is close to fresh water.  We have thirty gallon fresh water tank and, with a little effort, it will last a few days. 

I set the camper off the truck so we can launch the boat and have transportation to do a little shopping from time to time.  We will use the camp showers and restrooms, so we do pretty well with the black water storage.  I have a grey water portable holding tank that can be taken to the dump when full.  I keep a couple of outdoor carpets rolled up between the camper and cab.  We lay them out by the camper and set up our portable dog pen, pull out the BBQ, chairs and we’re set. 

Our camper is older, but we have all the comforts of home including hot showers, air conditioning, television, refrigerator, and a good bed.  We spend most of our time outside or fishing.  If we have bad weather, we’ll stay in the camper and watch television or play cards to pass the time. 

We will stock up with some frozen foods and Judy will normally bring a couple of quart jars of homemade soup.  That is always great after a day on the water.  For us, the camper is just right for travel or extended stays!” – Jim and Judy Holyfield, Missouri

“When we bought our fixer upper house in Casa Grande, Arizona, the place was completely unlivable.  We stayed in our 1976 Mitchell truck camper for three months in the backyard while fixing up the house.  It was nice and cozy for us and our two dogs.  

Then our parents came to help up fix up the house and they too stayed in our little camper!  So there were four adults and two dogs!  We cooked, ate, and slept there.  It kept us warm and dry; okay warm when we could get the heater working.  It was a struggle because it was basically a two man camper, but it was the best family time ever. 

I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.  But we were all glad when we could finally camp in the house with our air mattresses on the floor and spread out.” – Cheryl Mikel

“I would say it all depends where you’re camping.  If you are going to be boondocking, then probably not, due to the small holding tanks of most truck campers.  However, if you are boondocking in a place that has a nearby dump station and a place to fill your fresh water tanks, then I would say yes, it is appropriate for camping in one location. 

You could camp full time for a period of weeks or months at a time as long as you can refill your food stores when you need to.  This also applies to campgrounds.  Weather and climate has a lot to do with it as well.  If you are camping in a place where it rains often or gets really cold, then you might want something a little bigger since you’ll probably be indoors a lot. 

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