How Do You Support a Truck Camper off a Truck?

A white & orange truck camper.

This isn’t the first time we mention truck campers on this blog. However, we still haven’t talked about how one should support a truck camper off a truck. Needless to say, that’s all about to change pretty darn soon!

So, since you’re reading this you must be wondering what’s all the fuss about supporting a truck camper. Not only will we explain the fuss, but we’ll also cover some issues that surround our main topic for today. Once you’re finished reading, you won’t feel like you missed out on some truck-camper-related info. Stay tuned!

Lower your camper onto the three sawhorses (one across the front, one across the middle, and once across the back of your camper’s sub-floor). Each of these sawhorses should have a piece of plywood on its top. Keep in mind that you’ll need to lower your camper onto the supports with extreme care, a few inches at a time. 

There’s no way you’ll learn how to support a truck camper off a truck by reading just the preview. Feel free to read the whole thing!

Basic truck-camper supporting info (FAQ)

Okay, as we’ve promised, this article wouldn’t be whole without some basic truck-camper supporting info. Therefore, let’s check out some frequently asked questions that circle around our main point for today. Also, if some of you are wondering whether pop-up truck campers are worth the money, click on the highlighted text.

How do I prevent my truck camper from moving?

Needless to say, you don’t want your truck camper sliding & moving a lot while you’re on the road. That’s why we’ll show you some tips on how to keep your truck camper from moving. Also, you should read this piece on pop-up truck campers’ safety during thunderstorms.

Anyway, there are a few ways you’re able to do this. Shall we see the first one?

#1 Installing a mat

The first option concerns installing a thick rubber mat in the bed of your trusty vehicle. Outdoor enthusiasts say that nothing beats these bad boys in reducing your truck camper’s movement, all that never-ending shifting & sliding. Here’s the thing: the rubber will not only be a fantastic non-skid surface for your truck camper but it’ll also give you a decent amount of vibration resistance. Without a thick rubber mat, you’ll need some luck when encountering frequent road bumps.

So, how thick of a rubber mat are we talking about here? You’ll want to obtain a rubber mat that’s at the very least 1/4 of an inch thick, although you’ll rather want to go towards a 1/2 of an inch thick one. Of course, personal preferences matter, and some folks opt for rubber horse stall mats, while other truck camper owners opt for bed mats that are designed to be used in truck beds. Now, don’t worry, the choice shouldn’t be a tough one since both options work pretty well. However, we’d recommend you stick to the so-called truck-specific mats because they’re easier to install and remove.

#2 A supreme tie-down system

Another way you stop your truck camper from moving during your trip is to employ a supreme tie-down system. Okay, and what do we mean when we say a supreme tie-down system? That system should be made out of either frame-mounted or bed-mounted tie-downs besides a top-notch system of spring-loaded turnbuckles. Not only will you do away with moving issues, but you’ll also protect your camper against strong winds. However, you don’t want to overtighten your turnbuckles since that might cause some damage to your anchor points and your trusty camper’s frame.

#3 Installing front rubber bumpers

Now, most truck campers you’ll encounter on the market today come with front bumpers. However, if yours didn’t come with it, we strongly recommend you install them. Rubber bumpers are one of the best (if not THE BEST) methods to limit the forward movement of your camper. The best thing about ’em is that you’ll install them and totally forget about them. Also, there are many online guides on how to make DIY front bumpers, so make sure you look them up.

Okay, that’s about it when it comes to keeping your camper from moving while you’re on the road. Let’s see some additional basic truck-camper info!

Do you have to detach the tailgate to carry a truck camper?

There’s a good chance that you’ll have to remove your tailgate in order to carry a truck camper. Also, keep in mind that even if your camper loads with the tailgate down, you’ll still want to do away with it. Here’s why that’s so: when we’re speaking of truck campers, every pound counts. If there’s no need to haul an 80-pound tailgate, why should you do such a thing? It’s really not that complicated, you’ll remove it in a matter of minutes, and you’ll ensure that none of the paint gets harmed by stones being kicked up from underneath.

With this, we end the introductory section. That being said, let’s consider just how you’ll support a truck camper off a truck!

A truck camper parked on the street.

How do you support a truck camper off a truck?

It’s pretty self-evident when your truck camper’s mounted onto your truck bed, there’s no need to worry about its support. However, one must ask how should one support a truck camper once it’s off the truck, and ready for storage. Some folks like to take it off while camping, too. Needless to say, it will need some good support in order for folks to live inside it since it shouldn’t move around. Alright, so how do you support a truck camper when it’s off the truck?

We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide you’ll have no trouble following. So, shall we begin?

Step #0: The items you’ll need

First of all, you’ll need to gather the ingredients:

  • Three sawhorses. 
  • Three pieces of plywood (1×3 ft.)
  • Level.

Doesn’t seem all that hard to obtain, right? Right. Let’s continue!

Step #1: Check the surface

That’s right, you’ll want to make sure that the surface onto which you’ll place your camper is as flat as possible. Also, the ground beneath your trusty camper will have to be pretty solid 7 & dry. Therefore, you’ll need to avoid any muddy spots, grass, or cushion-like forest floor. 

Speaking of soft surfaces, here’s an article about whether you’re able to sleep inside your car in Pismo Beach.

Step #2: Detachment (not the movie)

Once you’ve hauled your camper onto the desired spot, you’ll need to detach the tie-downs from your truck. Additionally, you’ll have to unplug your camper’s power plug. Also, unplug the light plug from your truck.

Step #3: Raise your camper

The next thing on the list is to utilize your camper jacks to raise the camper about 6 inches (15 cm) above the truck bed. First, raise the front camper jacks, then the back jacks, going just a few inches/centimeters at a time. That’s because you’ll want to avoid issues with uneven weight distribution. Once there’s no connection between the bed and your camper, you’ll want to slowly drive your truck away from the camper.

Step #4: Sawhorses to the rescue

Once the truck’s out of the way, you’ll need to place the three sawhorses we’ve mentioned in the beginning beneath your camper’s sub-floor. What about their positions? One should go across the rear of the bottom, one across the middle, and, it’s pretty obvious that the last one should go across the front end.

Step #5: Don’t forget the plywood

Who could forget the plywood? Anyway, put a single piece of plywood on the top of each of the three sawhorses. They’ll be there to protect the bottom of your camper. Also, they’ll ensure proper weight distribution.

Step #6: It’s landing time

This will be the last step on the path to a fully-supported truck camper. In order to finish the ordeal, you’ll have to gently lower your camper down onto the sawhorse supports, boosted by pieces of plywood on top of each one. Use the good old tactic: lower the back first a few inches/centimeters, then the front a couple of inches/centimeters, and, as we’ve said, do it with extreme care. 

Once the camper’s bottom nears the plywood pieces, you’ll want to be fully focused to make sure the plywood stays put. Stop lowering your trusty camper once the sub-floor is making direct & firm contact with the plywood + sawhorses combo. Don’t try to go beyond this point since that will most probably damage your camper’s sub-floor.

Lastly, use the level (we almost forgot about it), and see if your camper’s resting flat on the supports.

Bonus round: What not to do

To reward your patience, we’ve put together a list of things you’ll want to avoid when doing the process we’ve shown you above:

  • Avoid going beneath the camper once you’re using the camper jacks to raise/lower it. 
  • Also, avoid raising the back section of your camper higher than the front since it weighs more. Therefore, you’ll avoid the scenario in which your camper’s toppled. 
  • Lastly, don’t extend camper jacks while your camper’s connected to the truck since you’ll probably damage both your truck and the camper. 

That should’ve done it! Oh, and if you’re curious about whether a person can add a hitch to a pop-up truck camper, click right here.

The bottom line

Alright, that’s about it on the whole how-do-you-support-a-truck-camper-off-a-truck topic! Now you know how to provide some good ol’ support of your trusty camper. Anyway, if you’re on the lookout for more RV-related articles, simply pay a visit to this page.

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