We got our camper used back in 2016, we were green.
We had rented a TC and Ford from cruise America so we at least had that experience. I had years of experience driving cargo vans so I was used to high profile vehicles, but my wife had much less experience but is a motorcycle and vehicle enthusiast and is a talented driver.
First and foremost make sure your truck can handle the weight of the camper…
That said here’s some of our tips;
We got our set used as a combo that was set up already.
Gave ourselves plenty of time to get to know the camper and truck. Started out slow (and have remained so)
We went through the camper filming a video with the previous owner going over all of the systems and how they work.
We check our tires every fill up, and in the morning we check tire pressure. And temp check tires at each fill up.
Since both the camper and truck were new to use we also checked the oil, coolant, and kept and eye on steering, clutch and brake fluids.
On our first drive we were very cautious and just putted around the local area for a bit until we had got the basic feel for the rig. Then we hit the road.
We check the hold downs and electrical, we make sure all lights are working.
And most of all we have and use check lists for leaving, setting up camp breaking down camp and underway.
We printed the size of the rig and have it on a card on the review mirror it has the height, width, length and weight of the rig.
We adopted G.O.A.L. (Get out and look) and we don’t back into a space unless we have a spotter or know it’s otherwise ok.
We also added a backup camera which is awesome and worth the price.
We found moving from bed to frame mount camper mounts made a massive difference in the handling of the rig.
We use noise canceling headphones and our phone when backing the rig up or parking in a camp spot. We have formalized directions using the following
Drivers side(left side) passenger side (right side)
Front and back for front of the rig and back of the rig, with the headsets and standard terms makes it easy to communicate what the driver needs to do. We never move the rig unless the driver and passenger are in visual or audio contact.
We have wheel chocks and leveling blocks, and traction boards
Anytime we are on the dirt and in the camper the chocks are under the wheels.
We recently upgraded our brakes to Fords severe duty pads and new rotors and it made a noticeable improvement in braking.
Despite all of this we have both done minor damage to the rig.
I took out the old and brittle fridge vent, we both have taken off marker lights and one set of folding stairs have been backed over.
Stuff happens we learned to roll with it.
The extra weight really weighs on the chassis and wears stuff out much quicker when compared to not having the load in the bed, so we check the suspension, brakes, frame, wheels and tires often. Tire under inflation is a big issue and big cause of dramatic tire failure.
Good luck and enjoy your new camper.