Last updated on February 23rd, 2023 at 09:32 am
All of our reviews are based on exhaustive research, industry experience and whenever possible, hands-on testing. When you make a purchase using one of our chosen links we’ll get a small percentage of the proceeds. This supports the site and keeps Jeffsetter running. You can read more here.
Truck campers are versatile rigs that are perfect for adventuring out into nature’s core. Truck campers are different from camper vans as they can be used on or off the back of a pickup truck. So, when you reach a campground and realize you are planning on staying for a while, you might be wondering if it’s possible to still use the truck camper whilst it’s off the bed of the pickup.
If so, can you sleep in a truck camper off the truck?
You can sleep in a truck camper off the truck provided you have stabilized the camper with the appropriate equipment. A jack stand, hydraulic legs, jockey wheel, camper dolly, and blocks are all ways you can secure your truck camper well enough to continue camping inside without the support of a pickup truck.
Taking your truck camper off the pickup truck means you can continue to use your rig as normal. If the correct support is given to a truck camper, it can be used off the truck and you can camp and sleep in it, so let’s see how this works!
Can You Sleep In A Truck Camper Off The Truck?
Sleeping in a truck camper off the truck can, at first, seem like a crazy idea. However, have you ever rocked up to a campground and wanted to explore the area in your pickup but you’re restricted by the total height of your rig?
Removing the camper and stabilizing it off the truck gives you the freedom of two separate spaces that no longer interfere with each other. This can be extremely beneficial if you’re wanting to go off-roading, hunting, fishing, or maybe you just want to give your truck a break from carrying the hefty weight of the camper.
If you’re only staying a couple of nights at a campground or wild spot, it would probably make more sense to leave the truck camper on the pickup, as removing it takes a bit of time and effort.
How Do You Sleep In A Truck Camper Off The Truck?
You’ll need to stabilize the truck camper to sleep in it off the pickup truck, as it will no longer have the sturdy support of the pickup bed and it’s important to keep the center of gravity in check. If you don’t secure the truck camper, it can be dangerous and uncomfortable as it will likely move around a lot when you’re inside.
There are a few different ways you can stabilize a truck camper when it’s off the truck, so you can continue camping in it without worrying whether it will tip over or move with you in it!
Let’s take a look at these options in a bit more detail so you can choose the one best suited to you.
1. Jack Stand
Jack stands are a relatively low-cost way of stabilizing your truck camper when it’s off your pickup truck. It’s vital to only use stands that will support the weight of your trailer, as this will vary depending on the model and size of the trailer you own. Using jacks that aren’t strong enough to withstand the constant weight of the camper isn’t a good idea as they can crack and give way under the pressure.
2. Hydraulic Legs
Acting like powered jacks, hydraulic legs are a durable option to keep your truck camper stabilized off the pickup truck. Hydraulic jacks are powered by electricity and work with the simple press of a button. Once activated, the legs lower to the desired height and your camper will remain in that position until you raise the hydraulic legs back up.
3. Jockey Wheel
You may find it’s useful to use a jockey wheel to help keep your truck camper secure off the truck, however, it’s essential to choose one that can support the weight of the trailer and be stable enough even when you’re moving around inside the camper.
It may be worth checking the owner’s manual for advice from the manufacturer as they will help to point you in the right direction.
4. Camper Dolly
A camper dolly is essentially a portable stand that usually has a set of lockable swivel wheels and a set of rigid wheels. If you decide to use a camper dolly, be sure to choose one that suits the size and weight of your trailer. It’s also important to check the tire pressure on the dolly before going ahead and mounting your truck camper onto it.
A popular method of storing a truck camper when it’s off the truck is to stack blocks such as cinder blocks for the camper to rest onto. You’ll need to make the ground flat before making a base for your camper to sit onto, otherwise, you could end up with a very unlevel camper and won’t get a good night’s sleep at all!
How Do You Take A Truck Camper Off The Truck?
The idea of taking your truck camper off your pickup may at first be intimidating, however, following a step-by-step can help break the process down into more manageable chunks. My biggest piece of advice before you start the process of getting your camper off the truck is to recruit a friend or family member.
With so many different moving parts, it can be hard to keep an eye on everything from the jacks to the height of the camper and if the ground is level. Having an extra set of hands and eyes can be useful and help take away some of the stress too as camper shells can sometimes be tricky to remove.
1. Find Or Create Level Ground
After switching the license plate from the truck camper to your pickup truck, it’s time to find a level spot to park your camper. It’s important to choose hard ground as the last thing you want is your camper sinking as the ground beneath it can’t support the weight.
You may need to dig and move dirt around to get it level, but it’s worth taking the extra time at this stage in the process as you’ll end up with a perfectly level truck camper. This also prevents any excess stress on the jacks from the unlevel ground.
2. Remove Turnbuckles And Tiedowns
As turnbuckles attach the truck camper to your pickup truck, these will need removing before you can go ahead and take the camper off the truck. There are various types of turnbuckles for different camper tie-downs, so you’ll need to remove them in the way suggested in the manufacturer’s manual.
3. Disconnect The Electrical Harness
Unplugging the electrical harness is a step not to be skipped, as leaving it plugged in can potentially cause damage to both the truck camper and the pickup when they get moved. Once unplugged, it’s important to make sure any wiring is completely out of the way of both the camper and the pickup, as the last thing you want is for it to get trapped or tangled in anything.
4. Use Jacks
Leveling blocks and wood boards can be useful to help support the jacks by distributing the weight of the truck camper evenly. Once you are confident the ground is level and clear of any obstructions, the jacks can be lowered. The goal is for all jacks to raise the camper at the same time, so you’ll need to keep an eye on the rate it takes the individual jacks to lower.
The truck camper needs to be raised until it is completely clear of the bed on the pickup truck, but there’s no need to raise it an astronomical amount as this can make the camper less sturdy.
5. Move The Truck Forward
Now is the time when another set of eyes can be particularly handy, as you’ll need to move the pickup truck forward to leave the camper standing alone. It’s best to take it slow and steady, and try and pull forward as straight as possible to avoid coming into any contact with the camper.
Utilize your side mirrors here to ensure the pickup moves forward as straight as possible so you don’t accidentally bump into the truck camper.
6. Lower The Truck Camper
The final step of the process is to lower the truck camper down to the desired height. It’s wise to avoid leaving a large distance between your truck camper and the ground as this can cause issues in windy conditions and when you’re moving around inside the camper.
As you can see in the video below, taking your truck camper off the truck is simple to do if you follow each step and take your time. Preparation is key, so be sure to put time into finding or creating level ground for the best results.
Don’t panic if the process takes a while to finish the first time, this is completely normal and you’ll get faster and more confident each time you load and unload your truck camper.
Sleeping in a truck camper off the truck is absolutely possible. This can be useful not only when you’re staying at a campground for a couple of weeks, but also at home as an additional living space perfect for guests when they visit. Provided the camper is supported correctly, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to use it as usual.
Arguably, the hardest part about doing this is making sure the camper is secure enough for you to continue camping inside like normal. Using equipment such as jack stands, hydraulic legs, a jockey wheel, a camper dolly, or blocks, can all help to create a strong base for your truck camper.
Unless you enjoy sleeping on a slope, making the ground level before setting up your truck camper is essential, as no one likes walking around an RV that’s not level!