Truck Camper Fail!

A reader recently emailed me this photograph and to say I was shocked when I first saw it would be an understatement. This photo provides all of the evidence that you need that RV dealerships don’t always have your best interests at heart. The truck in this photo is a 2016 Ram 2500. While the regular cab long-bed configuration nets more payload than the other Ram 2500 configurations, it’s still not enough to haul this behemoth. According to the Ram website, the payload rating for a 2500 with a Cummins 6.7L turbo diesel is only 3,160 pounds. The camper sitting in the bed of this pickup truck is a 2016 Lance 1172, Lance’s flagship model. The wet weight for this dual slide-out, side entry truck camper is 4,300 pounds. Add another 1,000 pounds for a fully loaded truck camper and you get a figure of 5,300 pounds. That’s a whopping 2,300 pounds over the truck’s payload rating and GVWR! To put that into perspective we’re talking over one ton of weight! Yikes!

This illustrates exactly what NOT to do when buying a truck camper. Not only is this camper too heavy for this truck, but it’s also too big (I shudder to think how this combo will handle on corners, during a blowout, or when making high-speed turns). Putting a camper this large and heavy on a three-quarter-ton truck simply isn’t safe. Who’s to blame for this gross mismatch? Obviously, the dealership was wrong to sell this camper to this buyer, they’re supposed to be the experts, but the buyer must also share in the blame. Ignorance isn’t always a valid excuse, especially when your safety–and ours–is involved. Apparently, the buyer neither solicited any advice on the truck camper forums nor did he visit any truck camper websites, like this one, to get educated. Matching the right truck camper with the right pickup truck is basic Truck Camper 101. Yes, it’s true that most truck camper combo’s are overweight. A couple hundred pounds over your truck’s GVWR is no big deal, but in this case we’re talking over 2,000 pounds.

Now if the buyer had his heart set on this particular camper, then good on him, the 1172 is a fine camper and is Lance’s best-selling model. But a big and heavy camper like this must have the right truck to safely haul it, which in this case should’ve been a one-ton dually with a 6,000 pound payload. Not only would a dually provide the owner with the requisite payload needed to haul this fine camper, but it would also provide the stability needed during all kinds of handling situations including emergency braking and heavy winds. Of course, downgrading to a smaller camper would be another option for this buyer. There are plenty of fine non slide-out, long-bed truck campers that would be a perfect match for this truck, the Adventurer 80RB and the Northstar Laredo come immediately to mind. Let’s hope for his sake–and ours–that the owner realizes his mistake soon and makes some kind of change.

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About Mello Mike 534 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. He currently rolls in a 2013 Ram 3500 with a 2021 Bundutec Roadrunner truck camper mounted on top. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, worked in project management, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side.

8 Comments

      • Well Thank You Mike. It’s my very first camper, didn’t know how I’d like it, so opted for the economy SS550. For me, a great choice, sports camper for the money, and I never once had bad experience with it while in Alaska. I’d buy another one. Dealer in Middlebury fantastic. I could spend a week telling you all my adventure stories, but Alaska campers know them all. Thanks again. Shellie

  1. Only a hand full of trucks will safely haul this camper….Yes its sad to think that a dealership may not of helped much….Or maybe the owner of the truck had his mind set…..and is not aware of the legal issues of being over weight…get into an accident…or the unthinkable….hurt someone…..the insurance company will investigate and the RV owner will end up facing all the legal issues and costs totally on his own…..There is a reason insurance companies have such a well developed investigation process…..It saves them billions..!!

  2. It took me awhile for to learn that camper sales people are only after getting the money and think it’s OK to throw a heavy weight camper on just about any truck that can haul it. My own personal experience when I first bought my Lance 815 in 2002, yea the sale people said your 1/2 ton (1984 chevie) will do just fine. It was ok till we got slammed by a side wind and both passenger side tire got air under them, this was too close of a event and that when I started to wise up that maybe I just didn’t have enought truck under this camper. I bought a 3/4 ton ford and never had to worry about the wind again for the most of the time.

  3. Holy Cow!! And I was worried when I bought mine because of 200 pounds. All in all I’m glad I moved up in truck, now I can buy a bigger camper later 🙂

  4. This should be reported to the proper authorities. Not everyone has any sense in not putting themselves and the public at large in danger through plain stupidity. Please post the dealership that sold this camper also so that we all can avoid buying from them.

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