If you are a camping enthusiast and like to get out and explore the world, you probably own a camper. A camper makes it easy to travel, giving you a place to take a break from hours of driving and a place to stay once you get to where you are going.
There are many types of campers out there for you to choose from, and a popular option is the truck bed camper. These campers attach directly to the bed of your truck, and they make any travel seem easy.
If you own a truck camper, you must have it secured to your truck properly. Although these campers have many advantages, they can also be dangerous if not fastened down correctly.
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What is a Camper Tie Down
A camper tie-down is the attachment used to hold your camper in place on your truck when you are transporting it. They are usually made out of steel and can be attached to various locations on your vehicle.
There are four main types of tie-downs explicitly designed for trucks. No matter which type you choose, you will need to use 4 of them all together to hold your camper in place securely.
5 Things to Consider When Selecting Truck Camper Tie Downs
Now that you know what a tie-down is for, we are going to give you some tips on how you should go about selecting the right truck camper tie-downs for your vehicle.
1. Type of Tie Down
There are four different types of tie-down that people commonly use for trucks. All four are good options depending on where you are going to be mounting them. We prefer tie-downs that work with frame mounts because they are less noticeable and easier to use.
With that said, every vehicle is designed differently and will require a type of mount that will fit it in the most secure way possible.
- Frame-Mounted Tie Downs:
The frame-mounted option is a steel tie-down system that gets bolted directly into the truck frame on all four corners (or points). These tie-downs are one of the better options as they offer equal balance and stability for your vehicle and the camper you are pulling.
Another advantage to the frame mount option is that its support is lower down on the truck, creating an evenly distributed weight across the bed.
- Custom Frame-Mounted Tie Downs:
The custom frame-mounted option is a design specific to your vehicle’s make and model. These tie-downs attach directly to the frame from permanently fastened bolts, making it easier to load and unload.
This type of tie-down comes in two separate pieces – the side that stays bolted to your truck and the mount itself. You can remove the mount when you are not using the camper and then. reattach when you are ready to gear up.
The bolts attach to areas of the truck where they are not noticeable.
These are a good option for people who go camping or travel with their camper often.
- Bed-Mounted Tie Down:
Bed mounted tie downs are less common today, and you should pair this option with other tie-downs for more support. You mount these by bolting a steel plate to your vehicle that offers anchor points to strap down your camper to the back of your truck. These plates were permanent but made mounting easy.
Another form of bed-mounting is tie downs that attach directly to your truck’s bed rails. They drop down into the stake pockets of the vehicle and are bolted or clamped into place. Bolting them in place is a little more secure but permanent, but you can remove them when they are not in use.
- Bumper Mounted Tie-Down:
Like the bed-mounted tie-downs, you should not use these alone. They are for extra support or should be paired with a front-frame mount.
The bumper-mounted tie-downs are small hook loops bolted to the back bumper of your truck. They provide a secure place to hook your strap. (Never hook a rope or strap straight to the plastic part of the bumper).
Whenever you hook a truck camper to your vehicle, it needs to have four anchor points: two front points (right front, left front) and two back points (right-back, left-back). Doing this disperses the camper’s weight equally on top of the truck, keeping it from being too heavy on either end, causing it to tilt or lean.
3. Customer Service
When selecting any product for your pickup truck, you want it to come from reputable companies who appreciate your business and pride themselves on quality products and services.
Look for a camper tiedown with good customer reviews and ratings and whether or not the company has responded to the negative ones with reasons (some people just cannot be pleased).
Also, make sure your tie-downs come with a good warranty. Preferably, it should be a lifetime warranty. Many of the well-made options, especially those that are custom-made, cost a pretty penny. They should be backed by a guarantee that they will do what they are supposed to, or you will get your money back.
Your truck is going to be pulling a heavy load for quite some time. The mounts designed for holding the camper in place need to use good strong steel that will not bend, rust, or corrode as this causes them to weaken.
The mounts themselves are not the only thing that needs to be strong and durable. Check the bolts and screws to make sure they are not only strong but fit properly and stay tightened to the mount.
4. Buy the Extras
Most good sets of tie-downs are already weather-ready and have some protection applied. It is always a good idea to purchase a weather-resistant protector and a tie-down finishing kit. The finishing kit helps keep the equipment free of moisture, dust, and rust when you are not using them. Spraying a weatherproof spray on your tie-downs will help keep them protected when you are.
5. Your Tie-Downs are Only Half The Battle
Even if you purchased the best set of tie-downs on the market today, they can’t help you if you are not using a good rope or strap to tie to it. Tie-down straps make a big difference in how secure your camper truly is.
Once you have your tie-down mounted to your truck, the straps have to be connected to all of them to keep the camper staying in place. Purchasing a good set of straps is very important. Some of the things you should look for in a good tie-down strap are as follows:
- High-grade durable material
- High rated break strength
- Strong metal hooks (preferably with clast for extra secure hold)
- Well made no slip ratchet handle
Always use a ratchet strap system to hold your camper in place. These are the best options to make sure the camper is as tight and secure as possible. Using rope or, even worse, bungee cords will allow for wiggling and movement.
Safety Tips For Using Truck Camper Tie Downs
When attaching a camper to a moving truck, it is important to be as careful and safe as possible. Not only are you driving down the road with a few thousand-pound projectiles, so are others around you.
- Tighten the load- The equipment you use should be fastened as tightly as possible to what you are carrying. A ratchet strap will not destroy your camper, even if you push it to the limit. It will stop when there is no more slack left, and the camper is secure.
- Use Proper Equipment- It may be easier and cheaper to tie down your camper with a rope, but unless the rope is designed for this job, it is not ideal. And without the proper attachments, connecting it to the tie-down mount won’t be as secure.
- Use the Tie-Down Mounts- Never skip on buying the mounts and simply tying your camper down to the truck itself. Not only does this make the camper less secure, but it can cause a lot of damage to your truck. The tie-downs will be a cheaper alternative to truck repairs.
- Use Caution- Even if you have all the right equipment, accidents can still happen if you are not careful. Remember you have a large load attached to your vehicle, and that can cause you to lose control if you are driving too recklessly or in bad weather.
Never let an unsecured camper stop you from getting out and enjoying the world. Take our advice above and buy the best camper tie-downs offered for your vehicle and make sure to secure them properly in place.
There are many tools available to you showing how to attach your tie-down and where they should go to get the best hold. Utilize those tools and the information above to select your camper tie-downs and start traveling.