A truck camper is an RV that rests inside of the bed of a pickup truck. These are very small, meaning they can be parked just about anywhere, and are relatively affordable. But loading the camper without jacks can be tricky and almost impossible.
How To Load A Truck Camper Without Jacks
Loading a truck camper without jacks can be done with a forklift or crane, but this isn’t advisable. Some people use a pair of sawhorses, but this could cause damage to the camper, and truck, and cause injuries. A better option would be to rent cable jacks or pay an RV shop to load the camper.
With the proper equipment, you can have your truck camper safely loaded in 10 to 15 minutes. Just follow these instructions:
Loading a Truck Camper without Jacks
Most truck campers come with four corner jacks that are already built into the camper’s design. But maybe you purchased an old camper that was missing the jacks, or the jacks on your camper are broken.
Whatever the case is, it is crucial that you invest in either a permanent jack setup or some temporary cable jacks and gear to get the truck camper loaded and unloaded, especially if you don’t plan to leave the camper permanently attached to your pickup.
The reason why any other method is not feasible is that jacks provide stability while lifting. Using a crane might cause the camper to swing and it will be difficult to align it properly. It might also cause damage to the camper if not harnessed in a way that properly distributes weight.
A forklift could tip or teeter, and may not be the right size to fit between the narrow bed of your truck.
Any loading method that doesn’t involve some sort of jack is dangerous and risky for your safety and the safety of your camper and truck.
How Do You Load a Truck Camper with Manual Jacks?
Each jack should be placed under the four corners of the camper. Back your truck up to the front of the camper leaving a few feet of space from the camper.
Try to get it aligned with the camper. It is helpful to have someone backing your truck in so you can help guide them to the camper.
Then, incrementally crank up each jack one at a time. Turn a few cranks on each side. Or have someone jacking up the opposite corner at the same time.
Do this until you can stand behind the truck camper and see that the bottom part of the camper will clear the truck bed. There should be about six inches of space between the camper and your truck. Do not raise the back of the camper higher than the front. Carefully remove any cinder blocks and/or wood supports.
Get in your truck and slowly begin to back in towards the camper, getting out and checking mirrors to ensure that it is properly aligned. Make sure the camper won’t hit the wheel wells in the bed of your truck or the jacks.
Before the truck is completely backed in, connect any wiring to the camper. Continue to back in until the camper is at the front of the truck bed, raising the back jacks if necessary.
Lower the jacks so the camper is resting on the truck. Lower the back first, then the front, a few inches at a time.
When the camper is resting in the truck bed, tie-down the camper with ratcheting straps towards the front of the truck so that if the camper slides, it does not slide off the back of the truck. Attach turnbuckles to the anchors on the camper and the tie-downs on the truck.
How Do You Load a Truck Camper by Yourself?
Loading a truck camper on your own is virtually the same process listed above, but there are a few things to be aware of.
Give yourself extra time to get in and out of the pickup truck to make adjustments while backing in. With practice, you might be able to rely fully on your mirrors, but it is a good idea to get out periodically to check your positioning.
If your jacks are manually operated, you will not be able to jack up both sides evenly at once. Give a few cranks to each jack on all four corners. Try to give them the same number of cranks.
Remember to avoid crawling under or sticking body parts underneath the truck camper. If a jack gives out, you will not want to be under 1,000 lbs., or one half ton, of truck.
How Do You Move a Truck Camper without a Truck?
Moving a truck camper without a truck isn’t necessarily possible. A regular utility trailer can’t support the weight of a truck camper, plus, the tripod/jacks that rest under the part of the camper that sits above the cab just aren’t stable enough to transport without the support of the truck underneath it.
You don’t want to be going down the highway at 50 or 60 mph with the entire front end of the camper teetering on the jacks.
Some forums suggest using a car transport trailer because it will support the weight, but the camper will be wider than the trailer, and the trailer likely won’t fit between the rear jacks.
If you need to transport a truck camper, the best way is on a truck. If you don’t have access to a pickup truck, you can rent one from Uhaul for as low as $19.95 plus mileage. If this isn’t possible, contact the dealer to see if they will transport it for you.
How Do You Anchor a Truck Camper?
Once the camper is in position resting on your truck, you’ll need to secure it with tie-downs with turnbuckles. Turnbuckles allow you to easily adjust the tension in the tie-down straps. Attach the turnbuckles to the anchors on the camper and the tie-downs on your truck and tighten them.
There should be two tie-down points at the front and two at the rear of the truck bed. If your truck doesn’t have these tie-down points, you’ll need to install them. Frame-mounted tie-downs are more secure than bed-mounted tie-downs.