One of the benefits of owning a truck camper is the ability to use it dismounted from the truck. Unfortunately, dismounted campers tend to be bit wobbly and unstable like a newborn colt. The issue lies primarily with the lift jacks. The lift jack connection points to the camper, which are located at the top of each jack, create an unstable pivot point due to the length of the jack and the camper’s weight. Not only does this instability make using the camper off of the truck somewhat intimidating, but over time can create undue stress where the jack is connected to the camper. We’ve seen total jack collapses from enlarged and weakened jack connections on older campers, so the problem is very real. Surprisingly, no product existed that addressed this annoying, potentially damaging issue until a new company called StableCamper released a product that goes by the same name. This is an Installation Report and Review of the StableCamper.
First, a little background on the company. StableCamper was founded by Jared and Candice Sund in 2018 and is based out of Sandy, Oregon. As long-time truck camper enthusiasts, the couple saw a need for a product like the StableCamper and began designing a prototype that would eliminate sway unloaded. Employing his extensive experience in mechanical design and software development, Jared built a basic StableCamper prototype out of wood and began testing it. After a few tweaks here and there, the 2×4-inch prototype worked perfectly and the rest, as they say, is history. Once the details on the patent were worked out, the couple went into business in 2018 and since then the two have spent a great deal of time at rallies and shows promoting the product. In 2019, the company expanded its catalog to include several truck camper accessories as well, including an excellent hitch extension storage mount for the Torklift Superhitch. While all of these products fill an important need in the truck camper community, none are more important as StableCamper’s signature truck camper stabilization product.
The StableCamper is the only truck camper product that addresses both side-to-side and front-to-back stability when unloaded from the truck. The StableCamper decreases stress at jack point connections, is easy to install, and stores on the outside of the camper using exterior mounting brackets. The StableCamper consists of four, adjustable tube assemblies—two long tube assemblies, roughly 8-feet long, and two short assemblies, about 2-feet in length—two jack clamps, two hanger mounts, and all of the mounting hardware needed for a smooth installation. The tube assemblies are manufactured out of durable, aircraft-grade aluminum, while the threaded rod and hardware are made of stainless steel. The tube assemblies are powdercoated an attractive high-gloss white and all other aluminum parts are anodized. Better yet, all parts, including the mounting hardware, are made in the USA, a huge bonus for any product that we purchase and review.
The StableCamper is a simple, yet ingenious design. The longer, side-mounted tube assemblies attach to the rear tie-down bracket and to special jack clamps mounted to the front jacks, while the shorter tube assemblies are mounted to the front of the camper using a special pivot assembly and to the aforementioned jack clamps. The four tube assemblies work holistically to prevent both lateral and longitudinal movement when the camper is used off of the truck. When not in use, the StableCamper stores easily underneath the wings of your camper and below the front bump stops using the enclosed hanger mounts and front cradle assembly. The storage feature makes the StableCamper even more practical since it’s always there when you need it.
StableCamper makes a StableCamper product for nearly all makes of slide-in truck campers, including Lance, Arctic Fox, Northern Lite, Eagle Cap/Adventurer, Cirrus, Livin Lite, Host, Rugged Mountain, and Northstar. Installation kits for campers of other makes can also be made by contacting the company via the company’s website. Some drilling is required though the installation kits for Northern Lite campers, use a very-high-bond adhesive tape instead. This tape is used to keep the existing Northern Lite warranties intact due to the company’s watertight, fiberglass construction. The cost of the product varies by truck camper make and ranges anywhere between $400 and $550 dollars. The StableCamper can be ordered on the company’s website or purchased at a growing number of retail outlets here in the United States.
On which types of campers does the StableCamper work best? The product is made primarily for those who own hard-side truck campers, including those with one or more slide-outs, though it works just as well on large pop-up campers made to be used off-truck like those made by Northstar, Bundutec, Hallmark, and Outfitter. The StableCamper works on both square HappiJacs or round Reico Titan lift jacks as well as on both long-bed and short-bed campers of various weights and sizes. If a StableCamper product doesn’t presently exist for your make of camper, we’re certain that the company will be able to “build” one for your camper that works. That’s what happened with our Northstar camper. Even though the company didn’t have Northstar campers in it’s StableCamper catalogue Jared and Candice were able to build us one that worked perfectly.
We were lucky to have Jared and Candice install our StableCamper at a recent truck camper rally, so we can’t provide deep insights into the installation process like we normally do. However, we can say the instructions are well-written and the installation process is fairly simple. We watched Jared do everything from start to finish and were neither surprised nor intimidated by anything he did. Since some drilling is required, the installation does require a little more planning and foresight to avoid drilling into places where you wouldn’t want like into the fresh water holding tank or into a wiring loom. Still, for those who might be intimidated by the installation, the system can be installed at a StableCamper dealer.
What are some of the potential pitfalls with the installation? We asked Jared and Candice that question and were told to read the instructions carefully beforehand and to “dry fit” everything to ensure that the placement and lengths are correct before doing any drilling. If you have any questions about the installation, Jared and Candice will be more than happy to answer your questions by phone via Facetime. One of the benefits working with a small, family-owned business like StableCamper, is the personalized service and this benefit should be taken advantage of when needed. Overall, the installation takes approximately one-hour though some makes of campers might take a little more time.
How it Performs
How well does the StableCamper perform? Let’s put it this way. When we pushed on the side of the cabover before having the StableCamper the camper would wobble all over. It was very disconcerting. With the StableCamper installed, the camper is rock solid and doesn’t move at all when we push on it. The same applies to any movement inside the camper. It was a hair-raising experience getting into the cabover before with all of the wobbling and instability, but that is no longer the case. Indeed, the StableCamper instills a level of confidence that we didn’t have before when we used the truck camper off of the truck.
Are there any cons associated with the StableCamper? We can’t think of any. The unit weighs only 25 pounds and stores outside under the wings where there’s little to no impact on the storage space of a camper. Thus, the two things that could potentially hurt a truck camper product’s overall grade really aren’t a factor here at all. As far as we can see, having the StableCamper is a win-win. It’s even made in the USA!
We do have one warning and one recommendation on the use of the StableCamper. If you have fender flares like those made by Bushwacker, be careful when loading and unloading the camper as the clamps on the front jacks can scrape on the rear flares if you aren’t exactly centered. This shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of truck camper owners, but it is something to be aware of if you have them. We also recommend dismounting your camper onto a firm surface, either on asphalt or onto a special set of jack pads. Doing this will keep your camper level and will prevent one or more jacks from settling into the ground over time. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of if you decide to dismount your camper in the boonies.
So what’s the bottom line? Is the StableCamper worth the cost? That really depends on how you use and how you store your camper though we think the vast majority of truck camper owners will want to have this product. If you use your camper dismounted, then the StableCamper is a must-have item that will make your camping trips more enjoyable by freeing up use of your truck. It’s also a great way to protect your investment, which for some high-end campers can be as high as $70,000. Yes, Torklift makes a similar product called the Wobble Stopper, which is a fine product in its own right, but the Wobble Stopper addresses side-to-side movement only. The StableCamper, on the other hand, addresses movement in all directions in a holistic manner with a minimal increase in cost. Indeed, how the StableCamper works is so simple, yet ingenious it begs the question why nobody had thought of it before. What would we rate the StableCamper? On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, we enthusiastically give it a rating of 5 stars. It’s a terrific product. We love it.
In general, would you recommend a tripod for the front cabover or simply not required? Seems that would also provide some stability.
I just ordered a set for my 2020 Host Cascade, I’ll report back after I receive them and get them installed.
Stable Camper is similar to fifth wheel Strong Arms that have been around for years. Only difference is stabilizing arms have to be removed rather than just retracted.