Last Update: October 2015


If you choose a truck camper as your travel vehicle, expect to become a bit of a curiosity. TC's are certainly a rarity in many regions of North America. They are a rarity in Europe and you won't see many in Central or South America. 

They're popular in the US northwest states, but the majority are found in the western Canadian provinces and northern territories and into Alaska. ' Since writing that last sentence, truck camper usage seems to be growing. Today, each time we embark on a road trip anywhere in N America, we are pleased to see that more travellers are adopting this style of RV'ing.


Why do you blog?
For several reasons, really. I started reading travel blogs awhile back to gather information on international travel and the logistics involved with shipping vehicles to other countries or renting travel vehicles overseas. Many serious travellers write heavily detailed blogs as part of personal travel websites. There are folks out there that have been on the road full-time for decades, who have visited upwards of 75 countries. I'd like to be one of them someday. I realized that I needed to give a little information back to that community of bloggers that has provided us with such valuable travel insight. Another reason is that the writing, documentation and research that goes into the compilation of our website provides entertainment in the evenings - we don't watch TV. And, the final reason is that our family and friends get to stay in touch 'almost in real time' and follow along.

How do you get that canoe up on the roof?
I really should start charging $1 for an answer to this question. I've been asked this more than anything else. 

I carry the boat to the rear of the camper and lean it into the aluminium stop at the top corner of the roof. I have a tarp that I roll down over the awning to protect it. I position the canoe bow to the left centre of the roof and pull up while Wry pushes from below. The boat is Kevlar and only weighs 48 pounds. It doesn't take much effort to slide it along the racks and then safely secure it.

How can two of you live in such a small space?
It's really not that difficult, but you do have to get along ... it's only 134 sq ft, so we bump into each other quite often. Most of our time is spent outdoors anyway and if the weather forces us to stay in we read or work on this blog.

What kind of mileage do you get with that set-up?
The truck was purchased because of it's ability to haul close to 4000# not because it gets good mileage. You can't have both. It's like asking someone with an economy sized hybrid how many 1000# they can carry in their trunk. But, to answer your question, after 55 fill-ups (as of Sept 2015) we are averaging 19.7 litres / 100 kilometres. The statistic is skewed slightly because we also included a few hundred kms driven with the camper off while we were travelling.

Where are you going next?
Not sure, that's what makes this kind of travel exciting. We sometimes block time off in our calendar for travel in a specific area, but we rarely know the day to day details. We do have a Bucket List that we update periodically.

Why did you decide to travel in a truck camper instead of one of the RV styles that offer more space, like a Class A or a Fifth Wheel?
Their isn't a perfect travel vehicle ... they all have their advantages and disadvantages. This is our third RV and our second truck camper. The TC suits us best, because of it's relatively small size. We can get into more remote, back-country places that the big rigs just can't ... they're just too big to go anywhere. Most of the larger RV's are intended for spending extended time parked in one spot ... that's not what we want ... we want adventure and travel. I've often thought the R in a Class A RV should stand for 'Relaxation', not Recreational.

Do you ever take the camper off the truck when you are travelling?

Yes. If we are in an area that offers paddling, hiking or cycling opportunities a short drive from where we are, we may offload the camper. The truck would then be used for day-trips and to carry the boats or any other gear. But, we only do this if are planning on staying at a place for at least a couple of weeks.

Are you Full - Time RV'ers?

No. We have made some extensive road trips though. Some refer to travellers like us as 'Most - Timers'. Currently we've driven more than 145,000 kilometres. One year we spent 5 months travelling North America, primarily in northern Canada - Yukon and NWT and into Alaska, USA. We then followed the west coast south to California before returning home to Ontario. That same year we followed the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, from Panama to Nicaragua in a rented vehicle. That trip was 2 months long.

What is your dream adventure truck set-up?
An Earth Cruiser or an Overland Explorer build are the first choices, but they are costly! Second choice would be a Ford F450 or possibly an F550. Configuration would be a SRW, long-bed, extended or crew-cab, 4x4 with a high trim level. I've owned both diesel and gas, but I'm not sure which engine I would choose this time around; there are pros and cons either way. I would purchase it as a cab-chassis in order to have custom built storage boxes installed on a flat-bed. The camper would be a non-slide, side door, Northern Lite ... they make the best IMO.

Why didn't you choose a dually; aren't they less prone to sway?
They can be, but upgrading the suspension on a SRW by adding overload springs, heavier RV shocks, larger anti-sway bars, offset wheels or possibly air bags can be just as effective. The DRW configuration can be a disadvantage in certain driving conditions and can easily become dangerous. Due to the different axle widths front to rear; driving in snow, through slick muddy conditions or over loose gravel, maintaining solid traction could be a problem. Also, stones are easily trapped between the dual rear wheels on gravel roads. For the kind of driving conditions that we often find ourselves in, the duallies just have too many disadvantages. 

What do you do about personal protection ... do you carry a gun?
We get this question most often when we are travelling south of the 49th parallel. A large number of Americans carry handguns for personal safety. I met an elderly couple in there mid 70's in Florida a few years ago who were shocked to learn that transporting their Texas issued, concealed carry, handguns into Canada would be difficult. They were also somewhat confused to hear that I and the vast majority of my fellow countrymen were able to survive as many years as we had without being shot in the streets ... in my case that's more than 60 years. For safety when travelling, rifles are sometimes in our camps on remote, back-country canoe trips, in bear country in northern Canada. For personal protection, on road trips, we keep a canister of bear spray handy at the rear door of the camper and we always use common sense and a certain amount of street sense when travelling. I attended a presentation on international travel recently that was hosted by a number of seasoned adventurers ... all agreed that you should NOT travel with a gun, even in the world's most politically sensitive countries.

That rigs tall, how high are you?
Overheard Comment: I bet that rig breaks height restriction regulations!

Well, we don't! We're 10' 6" to the top of the A/C unit. If we have our kayaks or canoe on top we're about 12' 6". For comfort, we need 13' clearance and that's not an issue on most highways in Canada or the USA. We get a little nervous travelling in urban residential areas where power lines can droop down, tree limbs are not always trimmed back or in the down town sections of older cities where overpasses or bridges can be less than 12'. I had once thought of lifting the truck slightly so that I could stuff slightly taller and more aggressive tires underneath, but due to the issues of handling and drive-ability with these top heavy camper vehicles and now this additional height concern, I've since changed my mind.

A truck camper certainly doesn't handle like a sports car. What is the most difficult driving condition for you?
Driving through freezing rain is a problem, like it is with just about an type of vehicle. I'd rate that second. The situation that affects a top heavy vehicle, like this one, the most is a combination of conditions ... steep downward mountainous slopes that are sharply curved in an area subject to strong and gusty crosswinds. Even a couple of those conditions can combine to create a dangerous situation. We recently drove through the Codroy Valley in south-western Newfoundland. Winds have been measured at 200 kms/hr there and there are a couple of long downgrades. Pincher Creek, Alberta and some of the high mountain passes in the Canadian Rockies also get scary with strong winds. Throw a tractor trailer travelling in the opposite direction into the mix, add high winds, a 15% or greater down-slope and a curve that falls away from the wind direction and it wouldn't take much to flip a TC on its side.

How are the roads up there in Canada? 
LOCATION: Tok, Alaska
SITUATION: I was speaking with a traveller. He was in his 70’s, from Michigan, towing a large fifth wheel and on his first road trip to northern North America. The conversation was initiated by him, as a complaint; ‘ That Road in Canada was the worst I have ever driven. ’ He was referring to a highway improvement project northwest of Burwash Landing, along the Alcan Highway.
RESPONSE: ‘ Really!, hmmm? ... well ya know ‘ We have travelled to this part of North America numerous times since 1988 and have driven most roads in northern BC, NWT, Yukon and Alaska. That includes rough roads like the Dempster (in Yukon) and Dalton (in Alaska) Highways. The roads crews that build, maintain, repair and improve these highways in Canada and the USA do an exceptional job; on BOTH sides of the border. They work in some of the most adverse weather and rugged landscapes in the world. Roadwork is a never-ending process in these northern regions and the condition of routes travelled one year in either country, can be quite different travelled the next. Appreciate the work they do; don’t complain! To paraphrase James A. Michener ... ‘ If you’re going to critisize the condition of the roads when you drive to remote places, you might best stay home.


1 comment:

  1. Probably the second most interesting drive we ever did was pulling a low profile 5th wheel to Alaska in the early 1970s, including alternate routes through BC coming and going. And then going all the way to Prudehoe Bay before it was officially opened for public transport. The first most interesting drive was the 6 month TC trip to South of the Canal in Panama (made it a very short distance from the end of the road at the Durian Gap, but that is "rebel" territory and quite dangerous). Went lots of places we never should have ventured, but will never forget the beach and mountain boondocking all through central America! Plus a few other adventures not fit for unfiltered internet broadcast. I even had a two-way internet dish on the TC, got a signal I could reach (ran out of vertical dish travel at the end) through Honduras.

    I LIKE your spirit. Sounds like us, for sure. Keep on trucking!


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