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Author Topic: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.  (Read 40267 times)

diesel99

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truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« on: December 13, 2009, 12:27:55 PM »
Hi,

We're researching truck campers after having serious mouse and other issues with our 5th wheel.  The theory is the TC is easier to maintain, no wheels/tires/axles, lower roof, and way easier to rodent proof.

After reading this board, I came to the conclusion that truck campers are difficult to remove and you can't sleep with them off the truck. 

However, from what I've seen at camp sites is the opposite.  I believe they camped with them off the truck while the truck was hooked to a boat.  When they left, it seemed to take them no time at all to get it back on the truck.

What is the truth?  Are they really that difficult or are there different types?

ava

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2009, 05:48:10 PM »
I had a camper on my Chevy truck many years ago, it had jacks and it was no problem
to take it off the truck. In fact I lived 6 weeks in the camper off the truck in an rv
park in between selling the house and moving into a condo. Worked for me, but I
must admit I've never seen one off the truck in a campground. But I don't get out
much either, certainly others will come along and clue us both in.
from the desert of Arizona
where the wind blows and the tumbleweeds roll
2000 Cameo fifthwheel
Ava
Gracie and Pixie
forever in my heart Bandit

Carl L

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2009, 05:56:53 PM »
A number of campgrounds I have used bar campers off the truck.   You might want to check out your favorite spots' rules before taking the jump.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2009, 09:15:23 PM »
I would also be very hesitant about living in a TC if it was supported only by the jacks.

When I had a TC I wouldn't get into it or store it if it was supported only by the jacks.

Also check where the TC's center of gravity is. If it is sitting on jacks, someone getting up into the bed area may be enough to tip it over on its nose.

As Carl said, many campgrounds will not allow a TC to be unloaded.
Don & Peg
Alaska/Arizona
Currently located here.
Weather at Camp Verde, AZ.

Marsha/CA

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2009, 11:32:47 PM »
We had a TC for over 10 years.  It was stored off of the truck.  My husband made a movable square wooden frame that fit under the bed/floor part of the truck camper (what sits in the bed of the truck).  We would raise the jacks and drive the truck forward.  He would slide the stand under the frame and lower the jacks.  This allowed the TC to rest on the frame.  He would then adjust the jacks so that basically there were 8 corners supporting the camper (the 4 corners of the wooden frame and the 4 jacks)  He then made an upright "T" that went vertically to the ground with a horizontal cross brace under the overhead bed to provide stability.  If you decide to do this, be sure and put the "T" on a cross seam.  Not sure I'm explaining this correctly, but this setup was very stable.  We used it as a guest bedroom all the time with no problems at all.  This won't help you with camping in it unless you carry the frame with you; but storing it at home will work.  FWIW, we never camped in the camper off of the truck while camping. 

If you have electric jacks it's much easier to get the camper on and off.  Those hydraulic ones scared me to death.

As far as seeing them off the truck in campgrounds, I've only seen it once or twice and it was always in the long term areas; such as construction workers for the season.

On another note, if we were camped in strong winds with the camper on the truck, we would drop all 4 jacks to help stabilize the truck.  Dropping the jacks also helped with keeping the camper and the truck solid when camping whether there was wind or not.

There are times I miss that old camper.  We could go anywhere and had a ball with it.

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

PancakeBill

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  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2009, 06:01:23 AM »
As some have mentioned, the campground may have an off the truck issiue.  related to quick evacuation issues.  However, in my 10 years of TC I have never run into it.  We would use it off truck at times, but found it easier to just leave on.  If I needed the truck by itself, unloading was easy.  As also mentioned carrying supports for the use is recommended.

If using off truck, lower as far down as possible and set the bottom on supports.  6x6x12 blocks work great. 

Ease of loading/unloading, be sure to get electric jacks.  Wireless the best, you can walk around the camper and individually adust each corner.

The old style of tripod jacks works but is horrible for the off truck use.

As was mentioned using bed and toppling?  I won't say it would never be an issue, cuz I haven't seen the writer in person,, but it would take a pretty big person and all their wealth in gold in the nose to cause a problem.  OR, a very light TC with an odd design. COG is designed to be just forward of the truck axle. 
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

Marsha/CA

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 10:28:06 AM »

As was mentioned using bed and toppling?  I won't say it would never be an issue, cuz I haven't seen the writer in person,, but it would take a pretty big person and all their wealth in gold in the nose to cause a problem.  OR, a very light TC with an odd design. COG is designed to be just forward of the truck axle. 

Our old TC had a full king sized bed, which ran length wise of the camper; not cross wise.  So the length of that overhang was nearly as long as the slide in part of the TC.  It always made me a bit nervous when using it and it was not sitting in the bed of the truck, secured down.

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

PancakeBill

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  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 08:29:26 PM »
Ours was set the same way.  When you consider the camper weighs, say 3000 pounds, COG about 3 to 4' back of the front legs, 2500 or so of this weight behind the front legs, and adding 325 pounds or so evenly distributed from the legs to the front, I don't think there would be a problem.  Have to get my slide rule out to be sure.  I would never stay in it with the legs extended though.  Not for balance, but for stability. 

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

grandpaclint

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2010, 11:20:50 AM »
correct me if I am wrong,,,,but the whole concept of a T/C is to put it on the truck, and leave it there.
if you only use it 2 weeks out of the year,on for 2 weeks, off for the rest of the year.

i have had T/C's since the late 60's,,,,,,,,,,always stayed on the truck.
if you want to take on and off at camp grounds, just get a 16 foot T/T,lots more room

Just my 2 cents
96 dodge ram1500 4x4
highlander non cabover camper
superstar 121 am/fm cb
4 ft.barjan antenna

PancakeBill

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  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2010, 12:24:32 PM »
Wrong, the concept ids to be able to use the truck for other purposes while camping.  Go launch a boat etc.  However, we mostly kept it on our truck.
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

grandpaclint

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2010, 08:26:13 AM »
Wrong, the concept ids to be able to use the truck for other purposes while camping.  Go launch a boat etc.  However, we mostly kept it on our truck.

well i suppose there are some, that cannot launch a boat with a camper on the truck, and i guess
it is very difficult to go to the market with a camper on the truck, also that sightseeing thing is almost
impossible with a camper on the truck.People that have problems with that,,simply need a motel room.
96 dodge ram1500 4x4
highlander non cabover camper
superstar 121 am/fm cb
4 ft.barjan antenna

Dave W

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 09:30:12 AM »
We had a truck camper a while back and loved it - that is until I got up one night for a toilet run and got "stuck" in the bath doorway :o. And I'm not weight challenged tho am quite tall at 6'4". There are drawbacks to this kind of camping as the spaces, while adequate for most, are somewhat downsized for some and might create a problem for others in the overhead sleeping space if claustrophobic. I do like the new Lance truck campers with the slide, but they are way up there in price. I don't think that most of them would be an easy camp ground unload for a stay. We did use ours on a couple occasions, camping with it off, but I do have to say - unsteady, even with lowering the jacks to some blocks. Would it have tipped?  Probably not, but Dramamine might be a medicine cabinet requisite for some folks. As far as touring with it on the truck - no worse then a Class C - and this is what we did after our attempts to stay with it off of the truck.  I would not trade my 5er for one, but that's a personal decision. I've plugged my mouse holes so no longer have that problem - but did.

PancakeBill

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  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2010, 04:27:47 PM »
The removal of the TC to use truck while camping seems to be something you do the first year, then you discover that if heading to the beach, you don't have to pack a cooler, or use the restrooms.  When going to the market you don't have to rush back to put the meat in the fridge, all sorts of uses for leaving it on the truck.  Our first year we carried saw horses, then decided that left it too high, then carried some blocks, but then the awning was too low.  Figured it was best to just leave on and attached. 

What I had seen as a hassle, disconnecting water, electric, rolling awning etc, turned out to be a lot less probelm.  Then I started pulling a trailer with a motorcycle to use to go get ice cream and I was in heaven.

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

srose

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2010, 05:56:33 PM »
My wife and I just purchased a lance first part of May.  I have had it on the truck and off the truck while camping.  I'm not big but then I'm not small either and we have had no problem using the camper off the truck on the jacks.  We just lower it as far as it will go while not resting on the ground and it's pretty stable.  Having the camper while traveling out west and doing all the touristy things was not a problem either.  I just parked away from all the other vehicles.  Had 1 problem going through Garden of the Gods.  There was a sign warning campers and buses to use an alternate route, only problem was the sign wasn't until I was already on the road and nowhere to turn around until the constricted area.  Even that was not a problem with a backup camera.  Go for the gusto truck camping is great.  I did the van thing and this is a lot better and more convenient than pulling a trailer (did that also).

Justlookingon

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2010, 03:23:22 PM »
We've slept in ours many times with it off the truck just on the jacks without an issue.  Granted, it can be frighteningly unstable while high up on the jacks, but of course you wouldn't use it that way.  We always put ours down until it was at a comfortable height to step into it from ground.  We store ours on jacks all winter too with blocks under the jacks to avoid any sinking and have had no problems whatsoever.  We always drop it to a "comfortably stable" height and then level it up using the bubbles.

Pancake Bill is right though, we never take ours off during trips anymore.  It isn't worth the hassle!  You've got your toilet and fridge with you, food for meals and bed if you feel so inclined to have a nap.  Only way to go! 

jaeger19

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2010, 06:27:00 PM »
I've had a LOT of experience the T/c  and understand your dilemma... Here is what I have learned over the years...

Taking the truck camper off with standard jacks (even electric) is a big pain in the butt... (compared to park and go with a trailer)....
Additionally, it is not a great idea to use the camper with just the standard jacks... in a high wind, or rambunctious kids in the nose... they can be flipped onto their nose with standard jacks.. (don't ask :-X)
Since most standard jack systems only attach to the corners of the camper.. there really is not much support and they can tear off surprisingly easy (another story :-X)

That being said.. there is a product called a stable Lift.. made out of montana that can be put on your camper... (I have one)...

Basically, they are a square hydraulic support that acts as a foot print.  It hooks underneath your truck so it ties in your truck and camper into one solid unit.  Loading and unloading is pretty easy and is just a touch of the button, as is leveling.  Its rock steady on its own in the lowered position and it has additional supports that hook onto the flooring to give even more support.. additionally, he support for the stable lift isn't attached at just the corner but runs through the whole side of the camper....

Now.. here is the thing.  I rarely take it off when camping anymore... and the reason is that its still not as easy to unhook as a trailer.  AND you have to have pretty level ground to unload it...which where we camp out in the boonies of idaho is pretty hard to find.
I hope this helps

Full Monte

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Re: truck camper removal ease and camping with TC off truck.
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2010, 07:46:09 AM »
I never remove my camper from the truck.  It's an older camper on a dually truck.  The hand-pump hydraulic jacks are scary, and the camper is pretty unstable while on the jacks.   Also, since the camper is 11'6", it overhangs the back of the truck 3'6".  In order to tow a boat, I had to have a 2" receiver-hitch added that bolts onto the camper and the truck.  It's too difficult to unhook all that to remove the camper.
2004 Tiffen Allegro 27.5 ft.  8.1L Workhorse engine.
11k miles.
1985 F350 dually crewcab 6.9 diesel 4x4 with 11 1/2 ft. Vacationeer camper

 

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