Gear up for 2016 with truck camping necessities

Purchasing your first truck camper is exhilarating—there’s the anticipation of taking it on the road for the first time and the thought of spending long weekends in your new home away from home. It’s an exciting time in your life; however, preparing for a truck camper can also get a little overwhelming because it’s necessary to secure your truck camper before you can use it.

If you’re a truck camper newbie, we want to make life a little simpler for you by sharing a few tricks of the trade and by highlighting some of our favorite products to answer your questions about how best to hold down a truck camper.

The Three T’s: How to Successfully Secure Your Truck Camper
Those new to truck camping are often unclear about how to hold down a truck camper. Here, we list our “Three T’s” for doing just that. Keep these in mind as you’re preparing for your new addition.

truck camping necessities1Frame-mounting tie downs shown in yellow for contrast#1) Tie Downs
One of the first accessories you’ll need to purchase for your truck camper is truck camper tie downs. Tie downs are part of a system to secure the truck camper to its vehicle using either a frame-mounted or bed-mounted design. If you aren’t sure which to use, Torklift International recommends using frame-mounted tie downs as opposed to bed-mounted tie downs.

The benefits of attaching the tie down system to the frame of your truck:

• Dramatic improvement with vehicle handling 
• Provides safety, security and stability while on the road 
• Avoid bed and bumper damage: truck camping necessities2
• Maintain the value of your truck and prevent rust and bed damage by avoiding drilling into your truck bed or bumper

The truck bed is not a secure point for a tie down to attach. Using this method may result in paint damage and truck bed flexing and cracking. Vehicle manufacturers recommend that truck campers should be directly attached to the vehicle frame structure and that no additional holes be drilled through the vehicle frame. See the details here.

#2) Turnbuckles
Truck camper tie downs are important, but tie downs alone won’t secure your camper—you’ll also need a set of turnbuckles to complete the system. Now, you might be scratching your head and thinking to yourself—what in the world are turnbuckles? Don’t worry—it takes time to get used to the truck camping lingo. Turnbuckles, which can confusingly be referred to as tie downs as well, connect the truck camper to the truck and tie down system for maximum stability. There are many different designs of turnbuckles. Below we’ll highlight a few of these—like the FastGun Quick-Disconnect turnbuckle and the SpringLoad XL—to help you decide which turnbuckle is right for you. truck camping necessities3How to attach a truck camper to a truck

#3) Tension
Often, tension is a bad thing—if your spouse comes home from work and you ask how their day went and they answer, “Tense,”—you can almost guarantee that something unpleasant has happened and they may not be in a good mood. With truck camping, tension is actually a good thing—especially when it comes to turnbuckles. Camper manufacturers recommend that 300 truck camping necessities4Torklift's spring tension indicator makes adjusting turnbuckles easypounds of tension be applied to the turnbuckle in order to properly secure the camper. When you’re shopping for your new truck camping gear, don’t settle for any old camper turnbuckles—make sure to purchase spring-loaded turnbuckles. The spring system will help absorb shock you encounter with bumps along the road. It will also help protect the anchor points on your truck camper and tie down system.

Click here to learn how the spring tension indicator on Torklift’s truck camper turnbuckles make it extremely easy to achieve the perfect amount of tension every time. 

Now that you know the Three T’s, it’s time to start looking for a solid turnbuckle.

The Famous FastGun: A Quick Disconnect, Spring-loaded Favorite
The Original FastGun turnbuckle is like the Olympic gold medalist of turnbuckles. It’s the #1 selling quick-disconnect turnbuckle in the world. FastGun turnbuckles require no tools; instead, they’re designed with a lever action handle that makes connecting or disconnecting a breeze. In fact, you can install a set of four in under four minutes. With the FastGun, installing turnbuckles or learning how to adjust turnbuckles couldn’t be easier.

truck camping necessities5FastGuns come in several finishesAll FastGun turnbuckles are made from high impact powder-coated stainless steel, and are available in long and short sizes to be compatible with both frame-mounted tie downs and bed-mounted tie down applications. Each FastGun comes in a set of two, and you can choose from a selection of high impact powder coated bright white, grey, black or stainless steel polished finishes. FastGun turnbuckles are backed by Torklift International’s legendary lifetime warranty and are proudly made in the USA.

 

truck camping necessities6Finally, FastGun turnbuckles are spring-loaded, and they come with our patented spring tension indicator or “o-ring”, which allows you to quickly determine whether or not you have applied the right amount of tension. They are also 100 percent lockable with the addition of FastGun locks. So go ahead and let the stress melt away—you can’t go wrong with the FastGun spring-loaded turnbuckles.

 

 

Additional Turnbuckles for Truck Campers
If the FastGun turnbuckle takes the Gold, the SpringLoad XL turnbuckle takes the Silver. The SpringLoad XL is designed specifically for frame-mounted tie downs. It’s made of aircraft grade aluminum and stainless steel and also comes in a set of two. Spring tension indicators ensure that tension has been properly applied. The SpringLoad XL is hand-tightened when installing or adjusting the turnbuckle, but it can be done in a matter of minutes. truck camping necessities7SpringLoad XL turnbuckle

truck camping necessities8Basic SpringLoad KitThe Basic SpringLoad turnbuckle is a basic chain turnbuckle application. It comes with two quick links, two heavy-duty forged steel turnbuckles and 24” of marine grade chain. The Basic SpringLoad also protects both the vehicle and the camper anchor points from damage.

Both the SpringLoad XL and the Basic SpringLoad are proudly made in the USA and backed by Torklift International’s legendary lifetime warranty.

Already have a set of camper turnbuckles? You can turn any set of camper turnbuckles—including the SpringLoad XL or Basic SpringLoad—into a quick-disconnect turnbuckle with the addition of a Derringer Handle.

Check out the video below to compare the various turnbuckle models: 

Start the New Year Right with Torklift Turnbuckles
In the rush of the holidays, it’s easy to put off buying equipment for your truck camper. But spring will be here before you know it and as the road beckons, you’ll wish you hadn’t waited. Why not prepare for your truck camper now?

Be sure to start the New Year with all the truck camping accessories you need. Click here for more information on the FastGun turnbuckle or find a dealer near you by searching our Where to Buy locater.

 


 

Jenica headshotWritten by Jenica Donahue:
Jenica holds a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is a freelance writer interested in blogging, copy writing and editing. She enjoys exploring new places and hiking in the Pacific Northwest.

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Six steps you don’t want to skip when prepping for a truck camper

Congratulations on your new truck camper! Now, what are the next steps to further prepare for your camper?

STEP 1 – Tie Downs
To start with the basics, you need to add a tie down system to your truck in order to safely secure the truck camper to the vehicle. Tie downs that mount directly to the frame of the truck are the best way to secure the camper. The frame-mounted design fits to specific vehicle makes/models allowing strongest possible attachment to the truck. Eliminate any chances of bed and bumper damage by using a frame-mounted design.

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Torklift International’s frame-mounted tie down system incorporates four independent tie down points for dramatically improved stability. The tie downs bolt directly onto the truck frame and most applications don’t require drilling. There is no loss of ground clearance and they are tucked up tight to the truck to minimize their visibility when the tie down inserts are removed. Torklift International tie downs are the only tie downs that truly attach to the strongest part of your truck: the truck frame. All others are bed-mounted.

As an industry first, Torklift recently unveiled the precision crafted aluminum Talon Tie Downs. They are made from 100% lightweight military grade aluminum alloy making them up to 50% lighter than steel applications. The Talons come with rust free corrosion protection.

Torklift Tie Downs have a lifetime warranty. When Torklift Tie Downs are used with our spring-loaded turnbuckles, we extend the lifetimewarranty to the truck frame and camper anchor points for the extent of its manufacturer’s warranty.

STEP 2 - Turnbuckles
That will bring us to the next step in selecting important hardware for your truck camper. The equipment used to connect the truck and tie down system to your new camper are called turnbuckles.

There are several designs of turnbuckles. For frame-mounted applications, you’ll want to choose from the Basic SpringLoad Kit, SpringLoad XL, and the most popular truck camper turnbuckle in the world, the original FastGun turnbuckle.

b2ap3_thumbnail_basicspringload.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_springloadxl.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_fastgun.jpg

The original FastGun spring-loaded turnbuckles are the top selling turnbuckle for a few reasons:
        - The quick-disconnect handle makes adjustment fast and convenient
        - The design features patented spring tension indicators to assure proper installation
        - Lockable
        - Tool-Free

Spring-loaded turnbuckles are important because it allows for some give when your vehicle encounters bumps on the road. Torklift strongly recommends using spring-loaded turnbuckles on all four points of the camper. The spring design acts as a shock absorber protecting the anchor points on your new camper as well as the tie down system.

b2ap3_thumbnail_oring.jpgWhen putting on your turnbuckles, how do you know how tight to adjust them?

This is where the Torklift patented spring tension indicators make life easier. Camper manufacturers suggest that 300 lbs of tension be applied to secure the camper properly. 

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By setting the O-ring of your tension indicator flush with the body of the turnbuckle, once tightened the internal spring compresses and you should see a quarter inch space between the O-ring and body of the turnbuckle.

Did you know that you could turn a standard turnbuckle into a FastGun?

By adding a derringer handle to any basic hardware turnbuckle, you can achieve the quick-disconnect capability and convenience of a FastGun turnbuckle.

AnchorGuard turnbuckles are appropriate if you choose a bed-mounted tie down system.

 

STEP 3 – Rubber Bed Mats
We strongly suggest adding a rubber bed mat in your truck bed to prevent the camper from sliding in the bed of the truck. Not only are bed mats cost-effective, they also protect your truck bed surface from scratches, dings and dents.

Do not install your truck camper on top of a plastic bed liner or hard surface spray-in bed liners. The drop in plastic bed liners can slide on top of the truck bed surface and the camper can slide on top of the slick surface of the bed liner. The liner can also act as a spring causing a trampoline effect increasing vertical truck camper movement, possibly resulting in truck bed damage and/or camper damage.

STEP 4 - Suspension
A truck camper adds a large amount of weight to your truck with a high center of gravity, causing significant side-to-side sway and body roll. The weight of the camper in the bed will also cause your truck to sag having negative effects on how your truck handles while driving.

How can you battle these effects?

By installing the StableLoad suspension stabilizer, the handling of your truck with the camper loaded will drastically improve. By pre-activating the stabilizing effects of your factory suspension, some of the benefits of the StableLoads include sway reduction, leveling the vehicle, decrease in stopping distance, reduced tire wear and overall improved ride quality.  

To learn more about how the StableLoads work on your suspension, see more information on the Torklift blog here.

STEP 5 - Steps
b2ap3_thumbnail_GlowGuide.jpgOnce you select your camper and have safely tied down your investment for your road trip adventures, you’ll want to determine the most convenient, safe way to enter and exit your RV. Be sure to browse the GlowStep Series to find solutions that are the safest, durable and most importantly fits the needs of your application.  

 

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The GlowStep is a lockable scissor step made from aircraft grade aluminum and stainless steel. It has built in step tread. It is the only step available that uses no rivets and is fully bushing bolted making it the most rigid, stable and most versatile step system on the market. The glowing capability offers additional safe, stable entry and exit to your camper. You can easily add or remove steps with ranges from two to six steps. For increased stability, look into adding a GlowGuide handrail.

If your camper has a large vertical gap from the entry door to the bumper, a Basement Camper Step will allow for easy entry.

STEP 6 – Storage (long term and short term)

Now that you have the camper of your dreams, be sure to protect it! We have a few suggestions:

With the FastGun Wobble Stopper camper stabilizer, your camper is protected against jack and frame stress when it is unloaded. It also makes a significant difference with increased stability by eliminating annoying camper wobble during your time in your RV while it’s off of the truck. The newly designed FastGun Wobble Stopper now has a convenient quick-disconnect application and is lockable, so nobody can load your camper onto another truck and drive away with it when the Wobble Stopper is locked. Don’t let camper theft happen to you!

 

camperpacker3As an affordable way to store your camper during the offseason, turn to the Camper Packer storage stands. With pre-treated lumber in the kit, the sawhorse style camper storage solution has a capacity of 6,000 lbs per pair, is easy to store and very simple to assemble.

 

 

If you have any questions in regards to your new truck camper and what equipment you might need, contact our Technical Support Team at support@torklift.com or 800-246-8132. Their expertise will come in handy when navigating the world of truck camping! 

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