Buckstop Bumper Swapout for the Truck Camper Adventure Rig

It’s amazing how quickly things can happen. Often they can happen in the flash of an eye. It was the summer of 2019. We were vacationing in the Truck Camper Adventure Rig, headed toward Hurricane Ridge in Washington state’s Olympic National Park. We had just paid our admission at the entrance station and were traveling at a modest 45 mph when all of a sudden it happened—a deer jumped out right in front of us. Through a combination of quick reflexes and good luck, we were able to avoid hitting the startled deer. Even though this was the sixth time we’ve experienced a close call with deer and elk, you never get used to it. It usually takes a good two to three hours to calm down and get over the adrenaline rush when things like this happen.

Fortunately, we were prepared for the worst. Our truck was outfitted with a Buckstop front bumper, one of the best steel bumpers you can buy for your truck. Sure, having a Buckstop bumper doesn’t mean the truck is automatically immune from damage from a deer or elk strike, but it substantially reduces the chances of being disabled. If your truck is like ours, your front grill is probably made of plastic, not much protection for the radiator and engine if you happen to hit a buck at highway speeds. The last thing we need is a break down in the boonies, beyond cell range. In that regard, our Buckstop bumper offers us greater peace of mind knowing that our radiator is protected from whatever may come our way.

Buckstop Truckware is an American company based in Prinveville, Oregon. The company is small, which means you’ll get the service and attention to detail that you would expect from a family-owned business. Buckstop currently offers five basic styles of front bumper for today’s trucks, including the Classic I, the Classic II, the Baja, the Boss, and the Outback. The company makes heavy duty front and rear bumpers for full size trucks of all makes, including Ford, Chevy, Dodge, GMC, Nissan, and Toyota.

As the name implies, Buckstop’s front bumpers are meant to stop a large buck from damaging the front end of your truck. The company’s winch bumpers come with an impressive array of standard features including a heavy duty brush guard, a fully enclosed winch area with a winch access cover door, two Frenched light buckets, a 2-inch trailer receiver, two tow hooks, and a license plate bracket. Buckstop Truckware offers both steel and aluminum construction in all of its products. You can buy a front bumper anywhere between $1,805 and $2,408, depending on the style.

When we bought our Buckstop bumper in 2014, we decided to get the Classic II. With so many excellent styles to choose from it was a very difficult choice, but after six-long years we wanted a look that was more aggressive and more overlanderish, so we gave Dorian Hartfield at Buckstop a call and asked him if it was possible to swap out the brush guards from our Classic II to a Baja. To our surprise, he said yes. Not every style of bumper brush guard can be swapped out with another, but you can with these two styles of bumpers. Buckstop’s current offerings for Ram trucks can be found by clicking here.

Closeup of the Buckstop Classic II Winch Bumper
Closeup of our brand new Buckstop Baja Winch Bumper

What originally sold us on a Buckstop bumper is the quality construction and after six years of use, we have no regrets. Buckstop bumpers are made with 1/4-inch steel in the primary impact zone and winch center and 3/16-inch steel under the headlights. The 190-pound bumper is stout enough to house a winch with a rated line pull of 16,500 pounds using the standard 4.5-inch by 10-inch bolt pattern. This pattern will accommodate most winches available in the market today including the biggest and best ones like our Warn 16.5ti. The grill/brush guard is made of 2.5-inch circumference tubular steel to protect the front end from high impact strikes. Better yet, the grill/brush guard is removable, perfect for those times when you need to service the radiator or grill on the truck or the grill/brush guard on the bumper.

We think you’ll agree that our new Buckstop Baja Bumper looks great. We get looks and stares everywhere we go. Sure, you can buy a foreign-made winch bumper that is cheaper, but it won’t stand up to actual use and deer strikes. Dorian Hartfield at Buckstop has received several testimonials from owners who suffered no damage whatsoever to their trucks and bumpers after a deer, elk, or caribou strike and that’s pretty impressive. It feels good to have an American-made bumper built by an American company. Fortunately, we haven’t needed what the bumper was primarily built to do, but we have used it to winch ourselves and others out of trouble. When it comes to preparedness, the bumper is definitely worth having and the peace of mind it provides is priceless.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

About Mello Mike 453 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a Jeep and truck camper enthusiast, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. He currently drives a 2013 Ram 3500 4x4 pickup truck with a 2016 Northstar Laredo solar powered truck camper mounted on top. He enjoys football, music, hiking, travel, photography, and fishing. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, worked in project management until 2017, and now runs this website full-time. He also does some consulting and RV inspections on the side.

2 Comments

  1. Mike, your truck keeps getting better looking. I really like your front bumper design. The addition of the HD Warn is also a smart choice.

    Future truck campers should note one very important item that your rig exemplify’s. Owning a heavy duty truck paired with a small to midsize camper allows the owner lots of wiggle room when it comes to adding accessory’s and towing trailers with tongue weights that can’t be ignored.

    My truck is a prime example for demonstrating the need for matching payload capacity with the owners intentions. Simply loading a 12 foot Northstar with dual 31 AGM’s and basic personel items would use up most of my payload. The addition of a winch and a custom front end which I would love to have would probably take me over the top of my payload allowance. Adding any type of trailer would only accentuate the problem.

    I have brought my trucks short comings to the forum before and will continue to do so occasionally in order to educate new truck camper buyers on the importance of designing your rig before you write the check.

    • Mile, I am glad you came out unscathed during the encounter. I wish I had the extra weight tolerance to add buckstop bars among a few other items.
      Back in the fall of 2018 I bought a 2015 Chevy Silverado 3500HD, SRW, 4WD, long bed with a 1999 Shadow Cruiser slide-in. The slide-in was a bonus as I only looked to purchase a truck. Now, that I am considering replacing the camper I am seriously challenged by the relatively low truck-bed payload listed as 3200pds. Any suggestions for a hardside camper under this weight limit (wet) without any suspension or tire/wheel upgrades ? The current tires are load range E.
      Not looking for anything fancy, i.e. no slide-outs, fancy bath or three burner stove etc…it’s just for me and an occasional guest.
      Thanks for any expert comment.
      Happy trails,
      Klaus

Leave a Reply