Can You Sleep in a Camper Off the Truck?

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Truck campers can be used for many purposes. They’re useful for boondocking for small trips, but they can also be a longer-term home too.

There is some debate whether a truck camper can be used off the truck. Also, whether it’s possible to sleep inside one when it’s not on the truck any longer too.

In this article, we look at the different ways to use a truck camper to make its use a little more flexible.

Can You Sleep in a Camper Off the Truck

Yes, it’s totally possible to sleep in a truck camper where the camper has been removed from the truck.

Many campers are designed to be removable and then to reattach later. They include turnbuckles and tie-downs that can be undone as needed.

Sleeping in a camper off the truck is no different from when it’s on the truck. Certainly, it’s easier to get in and out of the camper. It also allows more freedom because the camper and the truck are now two separate units

Also, for couples where one partner stays with the camper and the other goes into town to pick up food and supplies, it can be a great temporary solution.

What Reasons Might You Take Your Truck Camper Off the Truck?

You can be in a situation where removing the truck camper from the bed of the truck is a preferable option. It may not stay off, but there are some valid reasons for doing so.

Here are a few of the potential reasons:

  • Reduce the weight on the back of the truck.
  • To drive into town while leaving your truck camper shell behind to keep your camping spot.
  • Taking the truck into a workshop for repairs.
  • Going off-road with your truck.
  • Taking an overnight hunting trip.
  • To set up for several nights at the same location.

Truck campers are bulky enough that even a reliable 4×4 truck suddenly becomes undependable with the truck camper installed on the back of it. It adds considerable weight and potential instability if trying to drive off-road without removing the truck camper beforehand.

Possessions inside the camper will get moved and get bounced around the longer a road trip is, or the more varied the terrain. Putting fewer miles on the truck camper is preferable to prevent damage to electronics and other fragile items inside the camper. If it’s safe to leave the truck camper behind, it could make sense to do so.

One of the advantages of a truck camper over a motorhome is that much of the weight is detachable/removable. Subsequently, the truck can achieve better fuel economy to make longer trips more economical too.

Can Truck Campers Be Used Off the Truck

Fortunately, truck campers can be used off the truck or on it.

The twin option provides greater flexibility versus either towing a camper or trailer. The latter two don’t handle rougher terrain well; a motorhome will fare even worse when attempting to take it off-road.  

With newer truck camper shells, they are all-in-one, self-contained living spaces. Detaching them doesn’t change how they’re lived in compared to when they’re attached to the truck.

For older truck camper shells, it might be necessary to perform an inspection of them either whilst they’re still attached or when they’re currently detached. This can highlight where there could be any holes or deterioration of the wall or ceiling materials that have previously gone unnoticed. These should be fixed before sleeping in a truck camper.


It’s always a good idea to consider whether it’s the best option to remove the camper from the truck. If you’re boondocking and the ground isn’t flat, it might present some problems. Also, if security in the area is perceived as poor, you may feel safer with the camper still strapped onto the truck.

How to Unload the Camper from the Truck

There are different ways to remove the camper from the truck and to stabilize the camper once it is removed.

Perhaps the simplest way is once the mounting and tie-downs are removed, the camper is placed on truck camper support stands or truck camper support legs. These camper jack stands provide support for when the camper is no longer fixed to the bed of the truck.

From that point, it should be possible to drive forward and the camper shell stands on the supports. Care must be taken to ensure it’s properly supported before removing the truck support. Bear in mind that many truck camper manufacturers woefully underestimate the weight of the camper. Therefore, an excess amount of carrying capacity is required for any replacement supports or camper jacks.

Stabilize Truck Camper Off Truck

Camper jacks with enough support to carry the camper are a good solution for people who don’t intend to leave their camper off the truck indefinitely.

A camper jack is an excellent off truck camper support that might be worthwhile. This pair of support jacks from Rieco-Titan support 2,000 lbs per jack and 36’ lift capability. Likely a couple of pairs will be required for all four corners.

Rieco-Titan Any Corner Camper Jack – 44321 TFC2A3W (2 Pack)

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For lower-level support up to 6,000 lbs, then this 4-pack RV Stack Jacks from RV Guard can adjust from 11-inches to 17-inches.

Truck Camper Overhang Support

If you’re planning to remove the camper, then do consider the overhang section too.

If it was being supported by the truck’s roof and relied upon that, you may want to use some truck camper overhang supports to do the same. Especially, if that’ll still be used as the main sleeping area.

How to Move a Truck Camper Without a Truck

Moving a truck camper when you don’t have a truck to do so is admittedly a bit tricky.

The best solution is to hire a truck or to get a friend with a truck to help you out. The truck does need to be the right width to support carrying the camper. The weight of the camper and the rated carrying capacity for the truck used needs to be fully considered to avoid not damaging the truck’s axles, or worse.

If there’s a truck camper dolly for sale, that could be one solution. These are framed supports on wheels designed to hold the weight of the camper once it’s been removed from the truck. Because they’re on wheels, they make it easier to move the camper inside a garage or another nearby location. Ensure any dolly can support the right amount of weight because their capabilities vary widely from dolly to dolly.

Closing Thoughts

Whether wanting to detach the camper to sleep in it, or to use it while freeing up the truck for separate trips, it’s all possible.

It’s vital that proper supports including stabilization using jacks and other mechanisms to support the camper’s weight when detached from the truck. Ensure the rated carrying capacity is more than sufficient for the weight of your camper.  

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