Truck Camper Storage. At some point every truck camper owner needs to do it, yet few do it properly or give the process of storing the camper much thought. The major of owners simply unload the camper from the truck and leave the camper “as is,” resting on all four jacks. Yes, it’s great to have state-of-the-art jack systems to load and unload the camper, but over time the frame of the camper can become weakened by gravity and wind. Over time, these external forces can cause a catastrophic failure resulting in the camper toppling over. Over the years, we’ve seen several campers that had suffered this fate and it wasn’t pretty. Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody made a storage system for truck campers that eliminates these stresses to the frame and jacks? Fortunately, somebody does. It’s called the Camper Packer and it’s made by our friends at Torklift International. This is a review of that product.
Camper Packer Introduction
The Camper Packer (Torklift part A7012) is the industry’s only structural support solution for truck campers. It resembles a pair of heavy duty sawhorses, but with a weight rating of 6,000 pounds, it can support all but the largest triple-slide truck campers being built today. The Camper Packer is tough. Featuring high-impact, powder coated brackets and foot supports, hardware, and 2×6-inch Douglas Fir, the camper packer is capable of enduring harshest weather in North America. The beauty of the Camper Packer design is its simplicity. It can be used for both short-term and long-term storage, and with few moving parts, it can be folded-up easily when not in use. Like all Torklift International products, the Camper Packer is made in the USA and comes with Torklift’s excellent 5-year warranty. The cost for the Camper Packer is about $585 on Amazon.com.
The Camper Packer is shipped in one VERY LARGE, 90 pound box. The support system fits all truck campers including hard-side and pop-up truck camper models as well as flatbed models. If you already have the treated 2×6-inch wood, no problem. The Camper Packer can be ordered without the lumber (Torklift part A7010) for about $375. We ordered our Camper Packer with the lumber, so we could evaluate the quality of these pieces for this review. Overall, the quality of the Camper Packer is excellent, though one 50-inch length of lumber was warped and had a deep gouge on one side, which required replacement. We also had one hex screw break during torquing, though we attribute that to over tightening.
Camper Packer Assembly
Assembly of the Torklift Camper Packer is easy. Anyone can put it together, though we were amused to find a few online reviewers who found the directions challenging. We didn’t. In our opinion, Torklift’s 11-page assembly instructions are well-written with plenty of photographs to aid in assembly. Very few tools are needed to assemble the Camper Packer. For the job, you’ll need a drill and a 3/8-inch drill bit and a ratchet with 14mm (9/16-inch) and 11mm (7/16-inch) sockets.
A few things regarding the assembly are worth mentioning. First, the teeth in the two leg brackets won’t bite fully into the wood until after your camper has been loaded. The weight of the camper is needed for the biting action to take place. Second, while the instructions call for drilling 7/16-inch holes for the top mounting pins during assembly, we recommend doing this later until after your camper is loaded and after the leg brackets have bitten fully into the wood. Before doing this, we found that getting the angle right for the holes was a bit of a challenge and in two cases we had to redrill the holes to enable the pins to pass through both sides of the leg bracket.
As stated before, the Camper Packer resembles two, large sawhorses. Fully assembled each Camper Packer support or “sawhorse” weighs 43.5 pounds and measures 35 inches high and 50 inches wide. The size and weight of each Camper Packer support makes it relatively easy to move and store. As you can see from our photographs, the Camper Packer supports can be used on any firm surface, including asphalt, gravel, and dirt (the dirt here in Arizona is pretty firm).
Camper Packer Versatility
With few moving pieces, there’s not much you can say about the Camper Packer. The design is pretty basic and it works well in what it was designed to do—support the camper while off the truck. The Camper Packer can be used either lengthwise or perpendicular to the length of the camper. In our case, we used them lengthwise to support the perpendicular bracing underneath the camper. Truthfully, having the Camper Packer underneath the camper engenders confidence when the camper is off of the truck. Yes, we still use the camper’s jacks for overall stability, but the bulk of the camper’s weight still rests on the Camper Packer where it’s preferred.
Camper Packer Con
The Camper Packer, however, does have one limitation worth mentioning. Being a fixed support system, the height of the Camper Packer cannot be adjusted. This means your camper must be mounted at a height of roughly 35 inches. This is fine for truck campers with manual jacks as the 35-inch height makes raising and lowering quicker. However, not everyone will want to have their camper mounted that high. Some owners prefer to have their camper stored closer to the ground to make getting into and out of the camper easier. For our Four Wheel Pop-Up Grandby with manual jacks, we found the height perfect. The 35-inch-height makes loading and loading on our lifted Ford F250 much quicker and easier by reducing the amount of time it takes to raise and lower the camper. If you’ve ever owned a camper with manual jacks, you know what we mean.
Is the Camper Packer Worth It?
So what’s the bottom line? Is the Camper Packer worth the cost? Yes, with a major caveat—go with Torklift’s “lumberless” version and buy the lumber separately through a lumber mill or big box store. It’s cheaper that way, especially if you already have the lumber lying around. Sure, you can build you own DIY truck camper support structure out of wood or masonry blocks, but going this route can be cumbersome and difficult to move when it’s no longer needed. In contrast with most DIY solutions, the Camper Packer can be moved and stored quickly and easily until needed again. And with the Camper Packer you always have a set of heavy duty sawhorses to use for home improvement projects. What’s not to like about that? What rating would we give the Camper Packer? One a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest, we give the Camper Packer a rating of 5 stars. It’s a terrific product though it is a bit pricey.