Truck campers are popular with a particular camping crowd, especially those who love to go off-road and camp off-grid. Many adventurers who already own a mid-size or full-size pickup truck look to this unique camper as their RV of choice, but they need the right equipment. Truck camper jacks, for example, are essential for loading this portable RV onto and off a truck.
Let’s take a look at what truck camper jacks are, how they work, and which are the best on today’s market.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Truck Camper?
- What Are Truck Camper Jacks?
- Can You Load a Truck Camper Without Jacks?
- Types of Truck Camper Jacks
- Best Truck Camper Jack Type: 4-Corner Mounted
- The Best Truck Camper Jacks on the Market
- Which Truck Camper Jack Is Right for You?
What Is a Truck Camper?
A truck camper is an RV that sits on a pickup truck’s bed. We all know that an RV is part motor vehicle and part home. With a truck camper, the pickup is the motor vehicle, of course, and the slide-in camper is the home—the two work in tandem to create your RV.
There are typically two types of truck campers. A slide-in is a hard-sided RV that sits in the bed of the truck. And a pop-up truck camper sits compacted in the truck bed for travel and then raises once you reach your camping destination to reveal the living area.
What Are Truck Camper Jacks?
Camper jacks are used to mount and dismount the RV. You’ll find these available as tripod non-mounted jacks or four-corner mounted jacks, and either electrically powered, hydraulic, or manual. We’ll describe these different types in a moment.
Once you deploy the jacks and raise the unit above the truck bed, you can pull the truck away from the camper. Meanwhile, the living space can stand on its own, or you can store it when not in use.
These jacks must be sized appropriately for both the truck and camper. This first means making sure they are designed to handle the weight of your camper. Truck campers can weigh between 1,000-5,000lbs, so jacks designed to lift 2,000lbs will not work on a 5,000-lb triple slide unit.
Secondly, they must provide enough lift to get the camper in and out of the truck bed. Bigger trucks with lifts, suspension upgrades, rugged tires, or air bags will likely need a jack with a longer extension than a stock half-ton truck. Be sure to measure your bed height before making a final jack decision.
Can You Load a Truck Camper Without Jacks?
While it’s possible to load a truck camper without jacks, it’s not advisable and would certainly not be convenient. To do so, you’d need to hoist up the camper somehow, probably using a forklift or a crane.
And if you’ve ever seen folks using old saw horses to complete the job, just forget it! Remember, you have a substantial investment and–more importantly–your life to protect. This is not a place to cut corners.
However you choose to load your truck camper, there’s no option as convenient, easy to use, or safe as truck camper jacks.
Types of Truck Camper Jacks
As mentioned, there are several different types of truck camper jacks. No matter which type, you need to make sure they are rated to safety life the weight of your fully-loaded truck camper.
Tripod Truck Camper Jacks
These camper jacks are not attached to the camper. Instead, they break down and can be stored so you only need to get them out if they are needed. However, you are responsible for positioning them and must be careful not to run over the tripod legs with your truck’s rear wheels.
The base of the jack is a tripod so the weight is distributed over the ground. Each jack has a metal plate that the camper edge will rest on. The lifting/lowering mechanism is either a cable or screw system with a manual crank.
- Precision engineered and rugged, all steel zinc plated...
- Features a "Won't Slip Off" crank and free floating grip handle...
You will need 2-4 of this type of jacks depending on the weight of the camper. Keep in mind that tripod legs are not intended for storage, only for unloading and loading from your truck.
Corner-mounted jacks attach to each of the four corners of the camper base. These can either be electric, hydraulic, or manual. Dually trucks require that these mounted jacks have “swing out” capabilities so they can avoid the wider stance of the dual rear wheels.
Many new campers will come with corner-mounted jacks already installed, but you are able to purchase and install these aftermarket. There are also kits to turn manual jacks into electric jacks.
Stable-Lift Camper Jacks
These camper jacks get a category all on their own. This patented design is pretty unique in that it creates a rectangular base for the camper to rest on off the truck. When loaded, the rectangle platform cradles the camper between the truck bed and the frame, eliminating the need for turnbuckles (so they claim).
With a price tag of over $3000, these are the most expensive type of truck camper jacks.
Best Truck Camper Jack Type: 4-Corner Mounted
The four-corner jack system is the best and safest way to lift or remove a camper from your truck. There are a couple of four-corner jacks available. Let’s take a look at both to determine which would be best for your rig!
Electric Corner-Mounted Jacks
Electric corner-mounted jacks use an electric motor to raise and lower the camper. So, when you press the lever, the jacks move up or down. No cranking, no physical labor for the operator, and no cursing necessary! By merely pushing a lever, you’re able to load, unload, and even level your camper quickly and easily.
Hydraulic Corner-Mounted Jacks
Hydraulic corner-mounted jacks require cranking, but they take less effort than manual cranks. They let you load and unload your camper more efficiently than manual cranks, but not quite as easily as electric jacks.
The Best Truck Camper Jacks on the Market
All things considered, the best way to load and unload a truck camper is with electric four-corner mounted jacks. Let’s dig in just a little deeper to find out which are the best on the market!
Rieco-Titans are extremely popular in the truck camper world for many reasons. First of all, they have a reputation for being the highest quality camper jacks in the industry. Their biggest drawback could be the difficulty finding them in stock based on their popularity!
Rieco-Titan jacks are durable, heavy-duty steel tools, each weighing 23 pounds. A corrosion-resistant coating contributes to their durability and longevity.
Each jack can hold 2,500 lbs, with a net camper weight of 6,000 lbs. The press of a button raises or lowers all jacks at once or one at a time in any combination for leveling. The system includes coded security control and a 15-minute auto-shutdown for safety. (You could also buy a remote control sold separately for any of these purposes.)
Rieco-Titan also offers a system for replacing old jacks with their industry-best jacks.
Happijac also has an excellent reputation for well-built, durable truck camper jacks with an increased load rating. They have zinc plating inside and out for durability and corrosion resistance, making them capable of moving double and triple-slide truck campers.
Happijac camper jacks weigh 28 pounds per jack, and each jack has a weight capacity of 2,200-2,800 pounds, depending on the model chosen.
You can also use a remote control to operate the Happijac system.
Which Truck Camper Jack Is Right for You?
If your RV of choice is a truck camper, a serious look at these electric camper jacks is in order. The ease with which they will allow you to load, unload, and level your truck camper is unsurpassed in the industry.
Not only will these jacks protect the investment you’ve made in your part-time or full-time home, but they will also make your life easier by taking on the labor for you. Which will you choose?
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