Truck Camping Tips: A Detailed Guide for the New Campers

Right from when there are vehicles, people have been taking shelter under them. Considering vehicles as the home is not new to the campers. The sophistication and comfort levels have changed.

With these changes, camping has never been so easy. After covid, this has only increased as people now prefer staying in remote or rather isolated places than under concrete structures.

As these people like to travel more and more, they ending spending most of the time including the nights in these vehicles. There are several types of these vehicles:

  • Standard Little Cars: The normal cars that are used by everyone
  • Jeeps: A rugged vehicle with good ground clearance
  • SUVs: Sports Utility Vehicle, a stylish big vehicle having great power
  • Pickup Trucks: Large vehicles that offer big storage
  • Vans: Both big a stylish
  • Mini Bus: Almost as big as buses
  • Trailer: An unpowered vehicle pulled by a powered vehicle
  • Recreational Vehicle (RV): A vehicle that has living quarters designed for accommodation
  • Camping Truck: An affordable truck that carries living quarters on its back that is not as spacious as RVs

With these many off-road vehicles, the most convenient and budget-friendly is the Camping Truck, and we’re going to be discussing it in depth in this article.

How to get a Truck Camper for your Trip?

Looking for a truck camper, you need to first plan your trips and prepare. Let us see what we should look for before getting a truck camper.

Plan, Prepare, and Get Accustomed to Truck Camper

To get a pleasurable experience while you follow your dreams of getting on the road and staying for most of your time, you need to first plan the best out of it.

Thorough knowledge of the truck camper is a must as most of what you are looking forward to along with convenience and safety is built into the camper. The familiarity with your camper should be on par with that of your own vehicle.

Get rid of all your queries before getting the camper, so you have all the convenience handy, which will help you fasten the process of getting accustomed to the camper.

Follow the Maintenance Schedules for the Campers

Each camper, like every other vehicle, comes with its own maintenance schedule and it is a must to follow the schedules as you will be taking the vehicle into an uncivilized world most of the time.

Skipping these maintenances might get you into trouble amidst some forests or off roads, which is not at all advisable.

Also, be careful not to modify the camper as you may void your warranty. Even the small activities in modifying the camper might put you into trouble.

  • Hanging a picture
  • Drilling
  • Changing the seating arrangement
  • Blocking areas of ventilation

They can disturb something else resulting in a disaster. So, even the smallest modification, call for assistance and move further.

Camper and Truck Matching

Once you have planned, before doing anything, the first thing that has to be done is to match the truck with the camper. Yes, the dimension of the back of the truck should be able to accommodate the camper.

The camper should not fit in exactly to the truck. There has to be enough clearance between the truck and the camper to prevent damage while the truck moves on uneven roads and bouncing conditions.

The cab-over of the camper should never be close to 1.5 inches to the tallest point of the cab of the truck. In addition to that, we should also ensure that there is a minimum of 1.25 clearance between the truck bed rails and the camper wing.

A bed mat might also be necessary for the truck bed to raise the camper to gain the minimum clearance requirements.

If you don’t want to purchase a new one, don’t worry at all. You can use the domains like Craigslist, Marketplace on Facebook, etc.

Camper and Truck Weight

The next important thing to consider is the weight. The more and more items you start accommodating inside the camper, the more load will be on the truck. The most important point of the truck is the Wheel Axle, which should be able to withstand the weight.

What you should also consider is the liquid weight including the fuel that might come up to 400 lbs.

Tires of the Camper Truck

The tire of the trick should also withstand the load of not only the truck but also the camper. If the tire cannot withstand the camper, upgrade it to a better tire that can withstand the camper load.

Electrical Connection from Truck to the Camper

An electrical connection comes with an electric connection that makes it possible to use the camper as a living quarter. For the prevention from overload, a 40-amp circuit breaker should be installed at the power source under the hood.

Support Equipment for the Truck

Let us see the essential supporting equipment that betters your ride. The following is the list of the things that are better upgraded if not already present.

AirbagsTo maintain weight distribution to all the tires
Heavy Duty ShocksTo increase ride-tuning capabilities on and off-road
Tie-downs & TurnbucklesTo secure the camper to the truck with high-quality tie-downs and turnbuckles
Hitching & Towing SystemsTo use either Reese or Torklift hitch system for use when towing
Loading & UnloadingTo load and unload the camper with the aid of jacks positioned at each corner of the camper

Checklist to Follow before the Truck and Camper Goes on the Road

LoadingDistribute the weight equally when loading camper gear by storing heavy items first and place down low.
Cabinets & Storage areasThey should have the heaviest items at the bottom and the lightest at the top
PreparationA checklist from the following categories will help you not miss any items. Bathroom supplies, Bedding, Cleaning Items, Clothing, Fire Extinguisher, First Aid Kit, Food, Holding Tank Chemical, Kitchenware, Personal Items, Road Flares, Tools
Pre-requisites for the tripBattery Conditions, Fluid Leaks, Tire conditions, Tire Balance, Security of access doors, Engine and Powerplant oil levels, Engine Coolant level, windshield washer reservoir, batteries, running lights, tail lights, electrical system, tighten the tie-downs, heavy-duty jack that can lift the camper and truck together
InteriorSecure Loose Items, Close drawers, and cabinets, Secure Fridge Doors, Lock the Entry Door
SystemsFill the Water Tank, Drain Sewage Tanks, Secure Drain Cap, Check Electrical Operations, Check Gas Levels

Safe Driving Rules with Camper on the Truck

Travel SlowlyLearn to handle and stop characteristics of the combination by not exceeding 55 miles per hour
No Inexperienced DriversNever permit an inexperienced driver to take control of the truck camper
Downhill drivingReduce speed before starting downhill as the weight of the truck camper is on the higher side
Maintain DistanceThe distance between the vehicle ahead should be double the distance during driving a normal vehicle
Use lower gearsDuring a drive to downgrades manage with the lower gears and use the brakes as less as possible
Slow movementDue to the heavy camper, the truck moves at a lesser speed. Be aware of this and take ample time to pass by
Hefty BodyBe careful about the bulky truck by using side mirrors wherever required
Extra HeightBe aware of the extra height of the camper by noticing the low-hanging trees and other obstructions.

Effects of Extending your Stay in a Truck Camper

For Short TermThe goal of a camper is for recreational purposes which are short-term and small volume.
Excessive CondensationWhen water condenses and gets collected on glasses, take actions to minimize them
On excess moisturePartially open the roof vents to provide air circulation of outside air into the interior
Run Vent FanYou can even run the range vent fan when cooking and the bath vent fan when bathing to carry water vapor
Don’t use the oven Due to the hazards of open flames adding moisture to the interior air,
increasing condensation
DehumidifierInstalling a dehumidifier removes excess moisture collected
Ventilate closetsLeave the doors of cabinets and closets open
Dripping ventsIf ignored the moisture accumulates in the ceiling vents and drips onto the surface below

Fire and Safety in Truck Campers

As in any other area of life, the recreational lifestyle is prone to fire too, due to the camper being sophisticated and made of many materials, out of which, some may be inflammable.

Here is a list of materials in the camper that are inflammable.

  • Unattended food-cooking on the stove or oven
  • Faulty or damaged wiring
  • Electrical devices
  • Fuel leakages
  • Carelessness

Make sure that the camper comes with the most important fire-controlling devices.

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Smoke Detector
  • Gas Alarm

Features of a Truck Camper

We will now look at a typical camper and see what features they have.

RoofDecked and laminated roof with top decking made of Thermal Plastic Olefin (TPO)
Compartment DoorsThese doors give access to certain appliances, controls, and general storage. External compartment doors may not be watertight, so it is safe to carry articles damageable by water inside
Water Heeter Door provides access for service of water heater
You can access the storage propane tank and regulator valve through the propane tank compartment door
VentsNever block these exterior vents as they supply needed air from outside. The other vents are Roof Vents, Bath Vents, High Volume Power Roof Vent…etc.
SkylightIn dual-pane that opens to three positions
Roof Rails and LadderRoof rails come with adjustable tie-down, and the ladder with the lower section is hinged.
Roof rack systemThe optional towers and cross bars can be mounted to the roof racks. Be sure to spread the load across the rails.
Entry DoorThe key is double sided ensuring us open in either way
WindowsThey are torque pane types with safety glass or acrylic.
AwningAwnings operation is a must-know when a sudden wind or high wind comes up. Especially to retract.
Exterior Wash StationA wash station is provided to the roadside along with accessories such as water hookup and shower
Camper StepFold-down steps can be used while entering or exiting the camper. It is helpful even for towing a boat or trailer. There is a side entry step that can be extended when getting in.
Backup CameraThis comes attached to the rear wall along with a built-in microphone. This can be turned off using a switch to save battery.
Interior Storage AreaThis can be found in a number of areas like overhead compartments, wall closets, under the dinette, under the bed, lavy and gally cabinets
BathroomThe walls are sealed and waterproof, making it a worry-less bath.
ToiletUses minimal water to flush out along with odor control.
GalleyIs designed for three things: Utility, convenience, and comfort.
Dinette CushionsReversible cushions with vinyl backing for use when sitting with damp swimsuits or clothing.
Dinette ConversionsTo save space, the dinette area can be converted into the sleeping area
Day/Night ShadesThese dual covering windows provide piracy at night and light control during the day.
Folding DividerThis door acts as a divider when closed and merges when opened

Electrical System in the Truck Camper

The camper consists of two electric systems:

  • 12 Volt DC System user battery power similar to that used in any other vehicle
  • 120 Volt AC System requires an external source through power supply cord or optional generator

12 Volt DC System

This provides power to the following components of the camper:

  1. Electric Jacks
  2. Interior & Exterior Lighting
  3. Water Pump
  4. Power Range Hood
  5. Furnace Blower
  6. Refrigerator
  7. Water Heater
  8. Audio System
  9. Systems Panel Monitor
  10. Fantastic Fan
  11. Power Vent
  12. Starting Generator
  13. Slideout Room
  14. Accessories

Disconnect batteries if you want to store your camper for more than 5 days before the battery gets discharged.

There are three ways the batter gets charged:

  1. By truck while on the road
  2. Roof-mounted Solar Panel
  3. By AC/DC power converters

Propane Gas System in a Truck Camper

Propane is a highly inflammable gas that should be taken care of just like LPG or any other such highly inflammable gas. It is sourced in the liquid form and delivered to the appliances in the gaseous form.

You need to be extremely careful the moment you get the smell of the gas, quickly doing the following activities:

  • Extinguish open flames, pilot lights, and all smoking materials
  • Inspect the system for leaks and damages if any
  • Turn off the flame before inspecting the leakages
  • Get expert advice before drilling holes or fastening objects as they might puncture the gas pipes
  • Use only the gas tanks provided with the camper
  • Do not use rugged machines to handle the gas system, be careful
  • Use the regulators to avoid explosions
  • Check the fitting while trying to connect the pipes

Fresh Water System in the Camper

A camper comes with a freshwater system that provides water through a water tank.

Water PumpTurn it on to pressurize the water system
Filling the TankSlowly fill the water until it overflows. Set pump control switch to on. Replace the cap and lock the access door
Water System DrainThe camper should be level and the pump control switch in the OFF position
Sanitizing Fresh Water SystemAt least once a year and when the camper sits for a prolonged period
Water FilterFilters the dirt, mineral scale, and organic matter out of the freshwater system
ShowerHand shower and a water flow control device that conserves water while showering

Waste System in the Truck Camper

This system is made up of sinks, showers, toilet plumbing drain, and vent lines.

Insulated drainage pipesTo keep the waste tanks and dump valves from freezing in cold temperatures.
Fresh water flush toiletDesigned to operate minimum water usage
Dumping holding tanksJust by pulling an extension handle the content from the tank is released
Holding tank careTo make sure that the tank does not clog

Truck Camping Outdoor Essentials for you

Until now, we have only been busy in figuring out ways on the parts of truck campers. Let us now understand the other essentials we will need for a memorable trip.

Other than what is already a part of the camper, these are the list of essentials we would need. Some of these might already be a part of the caravan, based on your budget that you would want to shell out.

Hammock

To relax in a place full of trees or any structure that can hold two ends of this piece of luxury.

Camp Table

A table for dining purposes if this is not a part of your camper. Even if it is a part of the camper, if you are an outside person, you can enjoy using this to have your morning breakfast or evening snacks.

Bucket Toilet

A portable toilet that will have a commode on the bucket. If you are lazy to clean the toilet that comes with the camper, or your camper does not have one, this is an easier option, but keep it clean.

Portable Shower

You can take this to any place, but we refrain from using these when you have natural water resources like rivers. Even if you use them, don’t use chemical soaps and be aware of your natural surroundings.

Lights

Especially at night, you won’t know how dark it will be. As a safety measure, it is always better to have lights or lanterns with you!

Camp Chair

To sit outside is a heaven, especially amidst nature. What is the use when you don’t have anything to sit on? Take the Camping Chair that will be portable, easy to use, and withstand heavy weight.

Awning

An attachment to the camper that extends and protects us from rain and sun. Be quick in closing it during windy days.

A foldable Shovel

This will be used to dig out soil and make a hole. This could be for burying fire, digging out thorns, releasing a stuck car, or making a hole for your morning poo.

Truck Camping Outdoor Essentials for your Truck

Jumper Cables

Used to recharge batteries and stay safe inside natural environments

A muti-tool

To carry whatever you think is relevant to fix the vehicle. You can have one of them attached to the belt and the other in the glove compartment.

A Toolbox

Selecting the truck tools is an art and you better be good at it before you are stuck somewhere.

Tire Pressure gauge

Imagine the terrain to which you are going. To such terrain, it is quite sensible to take it to such trips where no stops are appreciated

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