Truck Campers- Camper Options
You can buy nearly all of the same RV options for a truck camper that you can for the other RV types. Options unique to truck campers are worth discussing here. Camper jacks top my list of uniquely camper option items. You can buy manual jacks that require you to either pump each jack up and down like any other hydraulic jack, or you turn a crank. These are almost exclusively available only on smaller lighter campers these days. Most campers come with electric jacks. Most of these come with some sort of control that allows you to raise and lower the jacks by yourself. Most of these controls are remote, either wired or wireless, which allows you to walk around the rig while lowering or raising the camper. Wired remotes have that pesky coiled phone style cord to deal with, but the signal is constant. Wireless remotes get rid of the wire, but can loose signal depending on where you stand and are usually an upgrade option. There is one other option with electric jacks, quick-release or not. Non quick-release jacks lower and rise slowly at the rate the motor turns. Quick-release jack are convenient when you want to put the jack down. When the jacks are fully retracted on the truck, they are usually about 24 to 30 inches off the ground and with quick release jacks; you flip a lever and push the jack foot to the ground in seconds. It’s a handy option worth the nominal extra cost. There is also a camper stand system available that has the 4 corner jacks connected at the base by a big metal “ring”. This offers more stability for an unloaded camper, but it is an expensive aftermarket system that is not as widely used as standard electric jacks.
Camper struts are often considered as an option. These are the struts that connect the cab-over bed to a point on the truck between the hood and windshield. Only one camper manufacturer I’m aware of offers struts for the cab-over (Lance) these days. Most other manufactures do not offer the option and none of the manufactures (including Lance) require them anymore. Building techniques and materials have improved to the point that they are now rarities.
The hold down system is the last real camper unique option (the option is what type; all campers require something to hold them down). Strictly frame mounted hold-downs are bolted to the frame and have arms that stick out to connect to the camper beyond the truck body (the most common brand is Torque Lift). These systems have a direct connection to the truck, but are usually the most expensive option. Other systems are connected to the truck bed and/or the bumper, which is connected to the truck frame (the most common brand is Happyjack). These systems are usually cheaper, but they can cause damage to the body and bumper and cannot be removed without leaving evidence at a truck resale. Another system uses what is referred to as a belly bar. The truck has a bar mounted in the bed at the cab and the camper has a catch mounted under the pass through window that engages the bar when the camper is slid in. This has one less pair of chains to install, but is used much less. One reason is because the front bar has no opportunity for spring as noted next.
The hold down system should have springs on the chains or in the turnbuckle system. The springs are there for an important reason. If you install chains only and tighten them down fully, you run the risk of breaking something when you hit a hard bump. The springs allow the camper to move during a bump and the springs will pull the camper back into place. They allow a constant hold down force while reducing the chance of breaking something when you hit a shocking bump.
Well, I would suggest all of these posts be made "sticky" threads at the top of the forum, but then that might render the interactive forum obsolete, and I would have nothing to read while I eat my lunch.