Are truck campers top heavy?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: Are truck campers top heavy? We will explain what top heavy means, what are pros and cons of truck campers and what are the dangers of driving a top heavy truck camper. 

Are truck campers top heavy?

Truck campers can be top heavy, which means they require extra care while driving off-road or in strong winds. It happens rarely, but yes, a truck camper can tip over. This obviously happens for several reasons:

  • you did not secure the camper properly;
  • you overloaded the camper or do not distribute the weight correctly;
  • you drove in high winds and severe weather aversions. 

To prevent your truck camper from tipping over you can follow these simple tips:

  1. Make sure you are towing your truck camper with the right vehicle. Make sure to check your vehicle’s towing capacity to find out if your vehicle can support the weight of your camper.
  1. Use a stabilizer bar or other type of tool that will level the height and weight of your truck camper. By doing this, you ensure that your camper is secure and does not put pressure on the towing vehicle.
  1. Make sure the hitch is secure before starting a road trip. If your hitch is not secure, your truck camper could come loose and start rolling on its own. 
  1. Drive slow in high winds. I would recommend not taking breaks quickly in high winds.
  1. Don’t force the brake pedal. You risk losing control of your vehicle. 

Safety tips for tip heavy truck campers

Although in recent years an increasing effort has been made to reduce the number of accidents on the road, a responsible and calm circulation is in our hands to avoid possible driving problems.

If we already do it when we circulate with our truck, at the moment in which we have a hooked camper we must take extreme precautions, especially if the conditions are not favourable.

The wind is one of the great enemies of camper routes and you have to know very well what to do to be able to complete your journey safely;

  1. If the wind comes from the side, we must try to hold the steering wheel firmly and reduce speed to avoid possible overturning. 
  1.  Faced with a headwind, we must not forget that the resistance presented by our car added to that of the camper is great, so you have to drive slowly and firmly.
  1.  If the wind comes from behind, we must reduce the speed as much as possible to prevent the camper from swaying and overturning.

The experts in driving with camper point out that in general in a windy situation it is necessary to follow certain guidelines;

  1. Although it is a necessary recommendation before embarking on any journey, it is important to check the condition of the wheels, their pressure and the condition of the brakes in order to drive as safely as possible.
  1.  In the camper, you have to check the condition of the anchors, as well as the closures of the windows and doors.

Apart from all these tips, if necessary, it is better to stop and wait for the wind to subside or, in any case, to change direction or its strength to be able to drive better.

All you need to know about truck campers

Truck campers are caravans that are placed on the bed of a truck or pickup. This RV class typically seats two or three people and offers basic sleeping, cooking and eating facilities. The newer and more luxurious models have extensions that greatly expand and improve the living space.

Advantages of Truck Campers

  • The basic models are usually very cheap.
  • Maintenance and insurance are not expensive.
  • Ideal for off-road experiences, short trips or vacations.
  • They are easy to drive and maneuver.
  • They provide a very flexible travel experience both in remote areas and in the city
  • When you are not camping you can use your pickup or truck for other activities.
  • It adapts to a variety of pick-ups, including backpackers or used.
  • It can be removed when not in use. Your pickup then becomes an automobile (or utility, depending on how you use it).
  • It embeds a real arrangement including beds, a kitchen, and sometimes a real bathroom with a shower.
  • It is much more comfortable and better insulated than a rooftop tent.

Disadvantages of Truck Campers

  • Very small living and storage space.
  • Limited services, especially on the lighter models.
  • Most do not have a full bathroom. Some, not even a half bath.
  • Requires specific truck or pickup models that match the type of caravan.
  • The most luxurious and spacious models can be as expensive as a fifth-wheel and require expensive and sturdy trucks or pickups that can support their weight.

Top reasons to avoid Truck Campers

  1. The cramped space: Larger truck campers can have a double bed, a table with two benches (convertible into a bed), as well as a kitchen unit and an all-in-one bathroom. That’s already a lot in the back of a pickup, but it’s still a small motorhome arrangement. The most compact truck campers, on the other hand, are limited to a table and two benches, which will be converted into sleeping arrangements.
  1. The fact that you must go in through the exterior: the door can be located at the back or on the side. In any case, no access is possible directly from the cabin.
  1. Overall height: The classic detachable truck camper converts your pickup into a sort of nasturtium, with a large-cap upfront. The height is, therefore, greater than that of a van or a streamlined motorhome. Certain models thus flirt with the 3 meters high (which obviously has consequences on consumption). Note: some truck campers protrude only a few tens of centimetres from the roof of the pick-up. They are then deprived of a permanent bed.
  1. The price: the most frequent prices range between $20,000 and $35,000. This amount does not include the price of the pickup, nor the options.

Our advice: Insure your truck camper

Some insurers may offer you to insure your truck camper on a motorhome contract. That is to say that in a single contract you have insurance for the car but also for your cabin. However, your truck camper must be really considered habitable, that is to say, including sleeping, kitchen, fridge, water. An empty cabin does not fit into this type of contract.

The insurers who offer this type of service are rather specialized. When you contact them, don’t hesitate to ask them for information.

Whether your truck camper is fixed or removable, VASP or not, this type of contract will cover both the value of the pickup but also the truck camper. The contract does not pose a problem even if your vehicle registration document does not specify motorhome. The insurance code is different from the highway code and in the case that interests us, truck camper + pick up are therefore assimilated to a motorhome.

To benefit from it, it will be necessary to prove that the truck camper is mounted most of the time on the carrier. So if you only use it very infrequently and take it apart most of the time, you won’t be able to use this type of insurance. Be aware that if there are any concerns, the insurer may have to make an investigation and find out what your actual use is, asking you to prove how long it stays up, he can also do a neighbourhood survey, etc.

On the other hand, if you rarely dismantle it, this contract is the one for you. It is cheaper than separate insurance. It also makes it possible to ensure the equipment of the truck camper and the 4 × 4 (options and equipment, and this concerns everything that the truck camper can contain, computer, TV, etc.). Up to 30% of the total value according to insurers. However, this figure may vary, always ask the part taken into account from your interlocutor.

The advantage is also that in this single contract everything is included, in general, the price is also advantageous.

FAQ on Are truck campers top heavy?

Are truck campers hard on trucks?

Yes, truck campers can be hard to load and unload. You must make sure you respect the towing capacity of your truck and properly load the weight of the camper. 

Can you sleep in a truck camper on jacks?

Yes, you can sleep in a truck camper on jacks. Jacks will support your truck camper and will safely hold all the weight.

Can a 1/2 ton truck pull a 5th wheel camper?

Yes, a ½ ton truck could pull a 5th wheel camper, but for this type of motorhome, we would suggest going higher.

How long do truck campers last?

Truck campers last approximately 155,000 miles (about 250,000 kilometres), which corresponds to approximately 25 years. Factors such as how often your camper is used, the quality of maintenance and cleaning all have an impact on the life of the vehicle in one way or another.

What is the best truck for a camper?

The best trucks for a camper are, in our opinion, the following models:

  1. Ford F-150 – up to 13,200 lbs towing capacity
  2. Chevrolet Silverado – 14,500 lbs towing capacity
  3. GMC Sierra – 12, 200 lbs towing capacity
  4. Ram 1500 – 8,290 lbs towing capacity
  5. Toyota Tundra – 10,200 lbs towing capacity
  6. Nissan Titan – 9,400 lbs towing capacity
  7. Toyota Tacoma – 6,800 lbs towing capacity
  8. Nissan Frontier 6,720 lbs towing capacity
  9. Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon – 7,000 lbs towing capacity
  10. Honda Ridgeline – 5,000 lbs towing capacity.

Are diesel pickup better for pop-up truck campers?

When considering your options, diesel engine variants will provide as much torque as possible to pull a large trailer behind so factor that into the price. Also, inquire about your tow hitch options as if you want to tow very large trailers you may need the fifth wheel hitch which will add to the base price. 

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