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Author Topic: Riding in the back of a truck camper  (Read 27827 times)

LilScootie

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Riding in the back of a truck camper
« on: February 28, 2011, 11:44:53 AM »
Just curious.....can you have people ride in the back of a truck camper when its rolling down the road; or is this not safe?  And if you say no, then how does this compare to people riding in a motorhome as passengers when its being driven around? 

maddog348

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 11:59:22 AM »
Seatbelts??!!??
Pam (a.k.a.-Maddog-driver)
Kate (a.k.a.-OneEyedOldLady-navigator)
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scottydl

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 12:09:12 PM »
Something tells me that truck campers are much less secure (attached to the back of a pickup truck) then a motorhome is connected to itself... if that makes sense.

Also as mentioned, the majority of motorhomes have various seatbelted locations on chairs, sofas, dinette tables, etc. (depending on make/model) in the rear living area.  As a parent, I would not feel like I could keep an eye on kids in the back of a truck camper compared to my motorhome where I can see them at all times.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...

bondo

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2011, 08:22:14 AM »
legal? yes. safe? well....
many states do have restrictions on riding in "cargo areas" (I haven't found any instances where installing a TC in the truck bed changes the definition of this area) but some, e.g. Nevada, make allowances for vehicles using camper shells or cap.

Interestingly, in New York, you cannot allow passengers to travel in a towed 5th wheel but you can allow them to travel in a truck camper. Here's a quick link for a state-by-state look:

http://www.iihs.org/laws/cargoareas.aspx

side note: truthfully, I can say that the only time I've ever looked in the rearview in my class C and actually noted that everyone was seatbelted in was traveling through Muddy Gap in Wyoming - the wind was downright scary. usually there's a lot of wandering about back there...

switched things up -
bought: '12 Montana 5th Wheel
sold: '10 Greyhawk SS Class C

Carl L

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2011, 01:51:13 PM »
legal? yes. safe? well....
many states do have restrictions on riding in "cargo areas" (I haven't found any instances where installing a TC in the truck bed changes the definition of this area) but some, e.g. Nevada, make allowances for vehicles using camper shells or cap.

Interestingly, in New York, you cannot allow passengers to travel in a towed 5th wheel but you can allow them to travel in a truck camper. Here's a quick link for a state-by-state look:

http://www.iihs.org/laws/cargoareas.aspx

side note: truthfully, I can say that the only time I've ever looked in the rearview in my class C and actually noted that everyone was seatbelted in was traveling through Muddy Gap in Wyoming - the wind was downright scary. usually there's a lot of wandering about back there...


Glancing over that table I note that in California, riding in a cargo space is allowed only if the passeger is restrained by a "federally approved restraint system".   Lots luck in getting that in a slide-in truck camper.   
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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baadpuppy

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2011, 02:04:44 PM »
I found this link while searching for information on motorhome width, height, and length legalities.  There was information about riding in truck campers and towed campers for many of the states.

Personally, I would not want passengers anywhere other than the passenger space of a vehicle.  In a motorhome, the back is designed as passenger as well as living space.  In a trailer or truck camper, it is designed as living space, not passenger space.  But that is just my opinion.

I hope this helps,
jim

George4

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 09:14:21 PM »
I found a good listing of laws for all the states here. Looks like its legal in all the states except a few. http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm
~George
 2000 F-350 7.3L Powerstroke Lariat DRW Crew Cab 4x4 83k easy miles and counting
 1993 Dutchmen 9.5 truck camper

Lou Schneider

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 11:51:29 PM »
What kind of windows do you have in a slide-in camper?  Motorhomes are required to have tempered safety glass in all windows to protect occupants from flying shards in the event of a crash, trailers do not.

Slide-in campers may fall under the trailer classification.

Beyond that, I'd have real concerns about the strength of typical truck camper hold-downs vs. having the camper body solidly bolted to the vehicle frame holding things together in the event of a crash.

Most states that allow riding in truck campers require a way for the camper occupants to communicate with the driver in case of an emergency.  Do you have a sliding rear window in the cab and a matching window in the camper that will be kept open, an intercom system, or what?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 11:58:52 PM by Lou Schneider »

George4

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2012, 12:29:03 PM »
What kind of windows do you have in a slide-in camper?  Motorhomes are required to have tempered safety glass in all windows to protect occupants from flying shards in the event of a crash, trailers do not.

Slide-in campers may fall under the trailer classification.

Beyond that, I'd have real concerns about the strength of typical truck camper hold-downs vs. having the camper body solidly bolted to the vehicle frame holding things together in the event of a crash.

Most states that allow riding in truck campers require a way for the camper occupants to communicate with the driver in case of an emergency.  Do you have a sliding rear window in the cab and a matching window in the camper that will be kept open, an intercom system, or what?

Well this got me thinking so I went and looked at all the windows in my truck camper and they are all tempered safety glass windows. And I am sure that the torklift tiedown setup I have bloted to the frame with stainless turn buckles is compairable in strangth to the way many RVs are attached to the truck frame. When you attatch the truck camper to your truck in the eyes of most states it now becomes a RV and falls into the same rules and laws as RVs do. And yes I have sliding windows in both truck and camper that is sealed around with a truk boot, that way we can talk and pass food and drinks through.
~George
 2000 F-350 7.3L Powerstroke Lariat DRW Crew Cab 4x4 83k easy miles and counting
 1993 Dutchmen 9.5 truck camper

scottydl

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 12:52:55 PM »
When you attatch the truck camper to your truck in the eyes of most states it now becomes a RV and falls into the same rules and laws as RVs do.

I guess it depends on what state you are referring to.  In Illinois, it's just a truck with a load in the bed.  But then again, Illinois doesn't have any regulations against passengers in a truck bed (believe it or not) so I guess passengers would not be legally forbidden in a truck camper.  It still seems like an overall unsafe idea for the unrestrained passengers back there, which I'm guessing would likely be children.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...

Molaker

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 01:23:23 PM »
As a kid, how many of you ever rode on the fender straddling a headlight or rode standing on the running board hanging onto the doorpost?  It could be invigorating.  However, it was dangerous as heck and there are typically laws against such, especially where children are involved.  Riding in a pickup camper unrestrained is dangerous as is riding in a motorhome unrestrained.  As for legal, that's a whole different issue and totally dependant upon state law.  Just keep in mind, if children are injured while riding unrestrained in any vehicle, the driver could face child endangerment charges if some ambitious D.A. somewhere decides to pursue it - regardless of what vehicle safety laws require.
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ArdraF

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2012, 06:05:17 PM »
Molaker made an excellent point.  Sometimes it isn't the law itself but the perception of someone who might be ambitious and sees a way to succeed.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Rancher Will

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 04:32:29 PM »
If you have a 2012 edition of the Good Sam Trailer Life Directory, look on pages 44-45 and you will see the state requirements for size limits, equipment required and Riding permitted for each state for each type of RV.

Jammer

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2012, 04:29:06 PM »
A couple of ASSUMPTIONs that should be addressed here first.

Class As have, on the whole, pretty awful crash safety performance.  They're exempt from the rules that govern passenger vehicles.  In many cases the roof will not support the weight of the vehicle, and the requirements for attachment of seats and seatbelts to the floor and frame are not rigorous.

A combination of industry lobbying and the small number passenger-miles in RVs compared to cars has meant that this problem has never received much regulatory scrutiny.

So, is a truck camper as safe as a class A?  Well, perhaps, but maybe that doesn't mean much.

As for laws, be careful.  In Minnesota there is no law against having passengers in a truck camper or travel trailer.  But a creative cop could write a ticket for seat belt compliance or careless or reckless driving, and some do.

Lou Schneider: I think you'll find that all the windows in any camper, whether a truck camper, TT, or MH, are safety glass, by law.  Also, a PROPERLY tied down camper using Torklifts or a comparable tiedown that attaches to the frame, will not separate from the truck during a roll over or collision, any more than the body of a class C would separate from the frame. 

The real problems are different.

The environment of a truck camper being separate from the cab, the driver may miss warning signs that something is amiss.  Kids doing stupid kid stuff, exhaust fumes and CO accumulating, that kind of thing.  So there has to be a trustworthy person back there and a means of clear communication, like a sliding window -- something not always present.

And the roof of TCs isn't built any better than the roof of class C or class A rigs making the risk of injury during a collision or rollover (especially) very real.

The lack of seatbelts is there but a trip to the junkyard and a couple of lag bolts can fix that for you.

I like my Suburban with 3 rows of seats and consider it a safer way for family members to ride along than the various other options out there.  One of the many considerations that gets ignored in the MH vs TT debates.
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

wcjeep

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2012, 01:56:06 PM »
Communication between camper/truck is key. I wouldn't rely on cellphones. Think frs. I have put the dogs back there for 20min previously in cool outside temps. I've seen a few pics of wood frame campers in an accident. Not good. The two pics I've seen of aluminum frame camper in accidents looked survivable. Truck camper with forward window should exercise caution.
2006 Dodge Megacab
2008 AF811
1993 Jeep YJ

threeful

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2012, 08:10:51 PM »
A couple of yrs ago several people died in a truck slide in from carbon monoxide.  I recommend not doing it.
Bill T
Central PA
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Motor

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2012, 09:44:01 AM »
If you've ever seen what can happen to a truck camper, or travel trailer when in an accident, it would be the last place you would ride, or allow anyone else, or a pet to ride. 

jje1960

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2012, 04:29:56 PM »
Lot's of different laws between the States, means lot's of different perspectives on the subject, that's for sure.  I like the two-way communication requirement.  Agree... RV crashes can be ugly, TT's, TV's, Truck Campers, C's and yes MH's as well....
Jim
2011 Ford F350 DRW 6.7 Diesel
2011 Cougar SRX

George4

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2012, 02:33:32 PM »
So I just took the family on a 3500 mile trip with our truck camper, we started in St. Louis and went to WV and DC then down to Orlando and back to St. Louis. It took a few weeks but we had a lot of fun. But back to the point, we got stopped at a "safety stop" in Ohio while my wife and kids were riding in the camper. He looked over my papers and then went to the back and knocked on the camper door and talked to my wife for a minute and told us to have a good trip. The only thing he asked me about people riding in the back was if the kids could crawl through the pass through window and I think it made him want to get a truck camper...
~George
 2000 F-350 7.3L Powerstroke Lariat DRW Crew Cab 4x4 83k easy miles and counting
 1993 Dutchmen 9.5 truck camper

RoyM

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2012, 04:05:07 PM »
We kids rode in the cab over bunk, it was a great way to see the sights. No crew cabs yet. Mom also wanted the tail gate closed in case the door flew open and we fell out. ::) I think she was more worried about us killing each other and disposing the bodies. ;D
Looking back on it makes me shudder. In the event of a collision we would have been blood soaked missiles and we could not get out in an emergency. Nobody not even pets ride in the back now.
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RickRv

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2012, 01:06:02 PM »
For what it is worth, my new Northstar has a warning label advising to not sit in the seats at the very back when the vehicle is underway.  I assume this is because all the weight would be behind the rear wheels - a bad place as far as handling.  That said, it appears that riding in the front of the camper would be permissible.

RickRV

Mattyd

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2012, 09:54:01 PM »
Legal or not...I learned to love the sighs of the west from riding in the cab over staring out the front window.

99WinAdventurer37G

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2012, 10:44:43 PM »
My thought about having someone ride in a PU truck camper, is so one could sleep while one drives.  If this is what you wish to do, here's a plan for you.  Go to junk yards looking for Class 8 Truck cabs with sleepers.  They have to put a sleep restraint system in, usually it's under the mattress where it's bolted.  They are rarely used, but I think it's a law, because they've been in every sleeper I've seen.  Bolt them down over the bed, then place a CO detector in the area, with a way for the one in the bed to alert the one driving in case it goes off, and that should cover every law.
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2006 Honda VTX 1300S

arch7

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2014, 12:00:01 PM »
Its not whether someone (gov't) will let you, its whether or not someone will stop you.

I would definitely let someone ride in my TC. Depends on how its attached and how confident you are with the drive and security etc. Are you winding around mountain roads or going straight through Nebraska, etc.

ignore the voices who would tell you whats best for you and what you oughta do to be safe etc. Use your own judgement! Its YOUR life!

I scoff at those who suggest its totally unsafe or unwise to ride without seatbelts. What about motorcyclists? What about the old phrase "mind your own business"? Or "live and let live"?

Have fun, drive fast and take chances!!  ;D

kdbgoat

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Re: Riding in the back of a truck camper
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2014, 12:43:13 PM »
As a kid, how many of you ever rode on the fender straddling a headlight or rode standing on the running board hanging onto the doorpost?  It could be invigorating.  However, it was dangerous as heck and there are typically laws against such, especially where children are involved.  Riding in a pickup camper unrestrained is dangerous as is riding in a motorhome unrestrained.  As for legal, that's a whole different issue and totally dependant upon state law.  Just keep in mind, if children are injured while riding unrestrained in any vehicle, the driver could face child endangerment charges if some ambitious D.A. somewhere decides to pursue it - regardless of what vehicle safety laws require.

I and my childhood friends rode many a mile on the open tailgate of a pickup truck. One truck my neighbor had rode pretty low to the ground and we would put taps on our boot heels and drag them on the road to make sparks! Traffic back in those days was a lot different than now. As far as safely riding in the truck camper, go by your gut feelings and use your own good judgement to make the decision.