The biggest mistakes come from failing to thoroughly research the unique requirements of a truck camper. Let’s take a look at what these are.
- Putting a long bed camper on a short bed truck can cause major accidents on the road.
- Exceeding the truck’s weight limit can cause structural damage to the truck and limit travel possibilities.
- Adding unnecessary modifications to a new truck is simply a waste of time and money.
- Never buy the first camper you see as it is important to take the time to find a camper that best fits your needs.
- Do not underestimate how small truck campers can be. Being very economical in what you need on a trip is essential for proper storage management.
- Not being aware of which amenities are the most important to you. Choosing a camper with the right amenities will make traveling far more comfortable.
- Never rush the buying process, taking things slowly is crucial when learning the important aspects of truck camping.
- Last but not least, the worst mistake someone can make is choosing a truck camper that does not fit their camping style.
Avoiding these mistakes is critical to your success as a new truck camper. Let’s dive into each one of them further and why it’s so important to be aware of them.
Putting A Long Bed Camper On A Short Bed Truck
While it is possible, putting a long bed camper on a short bed truck is a mistake many travelers make. At best, it will require extensive and expensive modifications, and at worst, it will cause the camper to fall off the truck bed while driving and cause a major accident.
The ability of the camper to sit within the truck bed is a huge part of vehicle compatibility. If the truck bed is too short, it can make it very difficult or even impossible to enter the camper. To fix this would require driving with the camper hanging further off the truck than advised which increases the risk of it falling out while driving.
Just because something can be done does not mean it should. A mismatch between a camper and truck bed poses structural risks, but it also may be too heavy for the truck itself. Short bed trucks often have smaller payloads and overlooking the weight limit of a truck is a mistake made too often.
Exceeding The Maximum Carry Load Of The Truck
Ignoring the payload rating on a truck is an important mistake to avoid. Exceeding it puts the truck at risk of structural damage to the frame, tires, and the camper it is hauling. It also puts passengers at risk while driving as this can lead to accidents. Drivers don’t usually intend on going above the limit, that is why it is important to note that the payload rating includes all weight not just that of the camper.
When purchasing a truck look for a payload rating that is about double the weight of the camper. Once you bring food, tools, spare items, grills, portable heaters/fans, and all other camping supplies onto the truck, the initial weight carried by truck can quickly skyrocket.
Staying below the payload rating is also very important in the event of an accident, insurance claims can be voided if it is found that the weight carried by truck exceeded the limit. The articles Are Truck Campers Top Heavy or Unstable showcases how disregarding the weight limit can even cause stability issues.
Going above the payload rating is an easy mistake for new buyers to make, but another one to watch out for is getting drawn into the hype around modifications and suspensions.
Modification Or Suspension To The Truck
Being quick to add a ton of modifications onto a truck before understanding what their role is and if your vehicle really needs it is a huge waste of time and money. Buyers fall into this pitfall as they are excited to “upgrade” their truck despite the purpose of modifications being to fix existing problems, not upgrade a vehicle that is perfectly fine.
The suspension of a truck is responsible for smooth driving by aiding in braking and shock absorption. Only consider modifications if a problem arises with your truck. For example, if you are dealing with swaying on the road, then an anti-sway bar is a good modification to get.
It reduces excessive movement by stabilizing the axle and frame of the truck. This research paper published at the International Conference on Mechanical Engineering details the benefits of modifying a vehicle’s suspension when the need arises.
If you modify a truck that you’ve just purchased, all you’ve done is increase the weight it carries and waste a ton of money. Unnecessary modifications can even cause a truck to drive abnormally as now the frame has been altered, causing problems where there were none, to begin with. This is a result of rushing into the buying process, a mistake that buyers also fall into when they decide to purchase the first truck camper they see.
Buying The 1st Truck Camper They See
This is a huge mistake because it does not allow a buyer to choose the truck camper best suited to their needs. A buyer should know what they intend to carry and for what purpose and choose the camper that is built for that instead of the first one they see. Maybe you want to live in it full time or use it for weekend warrior trips, or maybe for fun cookouts and fishing trips with friends.
These are important to consider as different truck campers are better for certain tasks. If your goal is to be full-time, you will need a camper that is efficient with its storage capabilities. For weekend trips and spontaneous plans, a smaller camper that is suited for off-roading and rougher terrain is best.
The most important factor when choosing a camper will be its space as this directly correlates to how much it can store. Rushing into the purchase of a truck camper without the storage that you need is a mistake that will cause endless hassle in the future.
Not Aware Of How Little Space Is In A Trucker Camper
Underestimating how small a Truck camper is can make living and traveling in one very difficult as storage problems constantly arise. Truck Campers range from 100-400 square feet, if a buyer is unprepared to adjust to these confines it can pose a ton of problems.
Trying to overpack a camper may cause it to exceed the truck’s weight limit and having a camper that is too small for a buyer’s needs can derail future travel plans. The article How Big are Truck Campers elaborates on this further.
Being aware of a camper’s space and storage arrangements is crucial for a buyer as it is the basis for what can and cannot be packed. Buyers must decide beforehand what travel items they need with them inside a camper and make sure the vehicle of their choice can accommodate them. This also applies to choosing a camper’s amenities as these contribute to a loss of space and increased weight and must also be considered before purchase.
Deciding On What Amenities Are Really Crucial
Every traveler prefers different amenities, failing to consider which ones are most important to you when choosing a truck camper will affect space, storage, comfort, and the payload rating of the truck. Different models will include different amenities, this will include sleeping arrangements, internal and external storage cabinets, power supplies, a furnace, air conditioning, and more.
The combination of amenities in a camper will affect how heavy it is and will help determine how well it will operate in different scenarios. Full-timers may prefer a camper with a lot of amenities, while weekend warriors may only want the bare minimum. Deciding which amenities are most important to you is done by knowing what you wish to accomplish with your truck camper.
Taking your time in assessing your goals and figuring out exactly what type of camper best fits that is a critical part of choosing a vehicle. Many buyers rush the process and that is an important mistake to avoid.
Taking The Journey Slowly
Taking the journey slowly is important because it allows a buyer to avoid one of the worst mistakes one can make, rushing the process. it contributes to every mistake mentioned thus far and has the potential to cause many more. Truck camping is a unique form of recreation, so much so that there is a world of differences buyers must consider.
With regards to driving alone, some important tips to know are being aware of how tall your camper is so you don’t hit any bridges or overhangs. Even more important than this is being aware of your camper’s higher center of gravity.
This makes sharp turns dangerous as it can cause the entire vehicle to flip over. Taking the time to be aware of how truck campers relate to all aspects of traveling is crucial. However, what’s even more crucial than this is knowing how the truck camper you choose relates to your specific camping style.
Matching The Camper To Their Camping Style
Failing to match the camper to your camping style is the most important mistake to avoid. Truck campers are suited for rugged roads and tight spaces, perfect for adventurous travelers. Truck campers are great for boondocking as they can be parked almost anywhere making them perfect for state parks, campgrounds, and beaches.
Their maneuverability and compactness make them perfect for travelers who enjoy braving off-road terrain. Truck campers can also be great for budget travelers as the small space is far more insulated and easier to maintain.
The type of trips best suited for a traditional RV or fifth wheeler would not be ideal for a truck camper and vice versa. Understanding your own camping style and matching that with your truck camper is crucial. Compatibility between the truck and camper is very important, but nothing is more important than the compatibility between the buyer and their camper.