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Author Topic: The truck camper era  (Read 9402 times)

Jammer

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The truck camper era
« on: March 29, 2011, 09:21:25 AM »
Someone remarked to me the other day that a certain camper was popular during the "truck camper era of the 1970s."

I guess maybe I did see more of them back then but my memory is fuzzy.

Did they really have a heyday at some point in the past?  What led to their decline?
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

gwcowgill

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 09:34:11 AM »
I see truck campers all the time. I think they have there own little niche and many loyal followers especially amongst sportsmen. They are easily set up, taken down and leave youy with a working truck on weekdays.
2009 Bounder 36B, 2014 Honda CR-V, various grandchildren when school is out. KG4LHS
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Retiredfromthefunnyfarm

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 07:48:55 PM »
You see a Lot more of them in the Western part of the country than in the Eastern half. You could see more of them with increased fuel prices like we have now. For me it's the most sensible solution. I can pull almost any trailer to ATV, Go to Old Engine shows, Fish or whatever and still have 4 WD for the Bad spots... It's a Cheep way to go as far as Insurance, Tires, And Fuel Economy.

PancakeBill

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 08:39:09 PM »
Back in the 70's there were a lot of TC builders, plus plans in Pop Mech.  My uncle built his own.  I have heard stories of folks that built and used and passed them down. 

I have had 4 different TC's, loved them all.  One of the best rigs for an Alaskan trip. 

The modern ones are really good, getting better on weight and stronger framing. 
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

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gwcowgill

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 09:01:46 PM »
I believe they are really great for the weekend fisherman/hunter and occasional camper. I don't believe I could do extended stays in one but I see people who do.
2009 Bounder 36B, 2014 Honda CR-V, various grandchildren when school is out. KG4LHS
2014 Honda CRV Toad,
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Toad

RAMMAN

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2011, 01:56:35 PM »
When I was just a kid in the 60's and early 70's it seemed like all of my friends dads had a Mitchell camper on their trucks.
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RoyM

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2011, 02:48:01 PM »
My parents traveled quite happily with a TC for a number of years. He built the second one, modified the plan as none were wide enough to stretch his 6' 3" frame on the bed. :D  Eventually they wanted more comforts and space for longer journeys. I would be content with one but DW's disability makes the trailer more practical. We like the ability to set up camp and leave it for the day.
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tvman44

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2011, 06:05:37 PM »
For quiet a few years I did not see ant truck campers around here any more.  Lately I am starting to see a few of them.

longhaul

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 09:57:32 PM »
In the late '50s/'60s and '70s we had four different TC manufactures in my state alone. Their all gone but Allen Campers that made Idle Time truck campers. Now they make TT's and 5th wheel trailers.  I had three in that era but TCs just don't sell here anymore.

 The  late '50s/'60s and '70s around here anyway, just about everyone with a pickup had a national brand name or one made and sold regionally. Eastern Oklahome/western Arkansas/south east Kansas and south west Missouri has lots of big COE lakes with a booming RV industry.  TCs were king at one time.

 Many folks carried a TC and pulled a TT. Remember TTs of that era were less than 22' long.  In the late '70s 5th wheel trailers hit the streets and the TCs slowly slide down the hill.  Around here now mostly rodeo  and a few construction workers use them.

seilerbird

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2011, 06:25:10 PM »
TCs were extremely popular in the 70s where I was living in southern California. I think the rise of the class C led to their demise. But I still see them on the road just not in the numbers I saw in the 70s.

slackercruster

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2011, 02:19:14 PM »
Buying a TC can be tough. Lots of complexities with them. Plus all the good dealers are out west. The dealers out east really mark them up and have poor inventory for the most part. TC's area really the 'underground' area of RV'ing.

On a recent 2100 mile trip I only spotted a couple of hard side TC's and a pop up. Tons of 5'ers and assorted TT's though.  I like TC's for all year use, esp in snow. Unless one wants 4 x 4 or a dual purpose DD and RV, class C gives you more bang for the buck than a new TC. They say TC's offer a lower profit to the makers. But for what they are they are pricey enough.




 

lisabrokenstone

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2013, 05:18:57 AM »
Truck Campers have intrigued me for many years.
Another method to vagabond.
Nothing against the class A, B, C, D, E, or F.
Just another means to the end.

I travel solo, so I am drawn to this school of thought.
I also tend to spend way too much time in 4 wheel low, so this might influence my preferences.

Happy Trails,
Lisa

Lou Schneider

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2013, 04:05:14 PM »
Back in the 1960s, when the pickup campers were first coming out, the Big 3 truckmakers agreed to standardize the dimensions of the pickup bed and how high the cab extended above the bed,  This allowed the camper manufacturers to build units that closely matched the truck dimensions, and gave owners the freedom to choose any make of truck to carry it.

This lasted until the late 80s, when Ford broke the agreement and came out with the taller cab.  At the same time they raised the bed rails and narrowed the tailgate opening, meaning many campers no longer fit on the new truck.

I don't see truck campers making a significant comeback unless the truck makers once again agree to standardize their cab and bed dimensions, and commit to keeping those dimensions in the future.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 04:11:53 PM by Lou Schneider »

Greg H.

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013, 07:16:01 AM »
You see a Lot more of them in the Western part of the country than in the Eastern half. You could see more of them with increased fuel prices like we have now. For me it's the most sensible solution. I can pull almost any trailer to ATV, Go to Old Engine shows, Fish or whatever and still have 4 WD for the Bad spots... It's a Cheep way to go as far as Insurance, Tires, And Fuel Economy.
Agree with all except fuel economy.  It takes a fairly sturdy truck to haul most truck campers.  I have a F350 dually for mine and my mileage while loaded is abysmal. 
Can't retire fast enough...

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Robert Ryan

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Re: The truck camper era
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2013, 02:20:36 PM »
Quote
TCs were extremely popular in the 70s where I was living in southern California. I think the rise of the class C led to their demise. But I still see them on the road just not in the numbers I saw in the 70s.
Used to be like that in Australia. Here the rise of the "Luxury Apartment on Wheels" Off Road Caravan, Hybrid and Crossover Caravans has really killed their numbers

http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/1122/wkvv.jpg
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 02:31:45 PM by Robert Ryan »

 

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