Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: Tie downs
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sonuvabug

Mid-West Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 03/05/20 12:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

epcolumbus wrote:

I am new to truck campers. Looking at used ones. Can I safely mount a 1000 lb camper on my Ram 1500 short bed using heavy duty ratchet straps and the factory tie downs in the bed. Looking for opinions.


First, welcome aboard epcolumbus. For the record, you DID NOT do or say anything wrong. Some people just jump to conclusions but you positioned your experience, your situation and your question appropriately. At least some of us got it ... you don't know what the right thing to do is and were just asking. I can assure you the ones that jumped on you are not representative of the majority in this TC (truck camper) forum or RV'ers as a usually friendly and helpful community.

Generally, ratchet straps ARE NOT recommended for regular use with TC's. Perhaps in a very rare pinch but nowadays, TC's are big and heavy and need to be well secured. As JaycoCreek said, there are straps that are very, very strong but I believe he is right in that no one has come out with one that is specifically geared and approved for TC tie down use.

Personally, I use TorkLift Fast Guns ... one of the most effective, simplest and expensive systems out there. They would likely be overkill for your needs ... especially since you're just starting out.

Torklift FastGuns

There are lots of good, safe ways to fasten your unit securely without spending a fortune. Simply google "truck camper tie downs", go to the images section and you'll see lots of examples. Most systems involve some kind of threaded rod, hooks and a turnbuckle as you need them to get the right tension on your lines securing the unit. You can buy them pre-made or if you're handy, you can assemble a set (of 4) yourself. Let us know how you make out.

* This post was edited 03/05/20 12:36pm by sonuvabug *


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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 03/05/20 01:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Epc, yes you’ll find plenty of folks on here who have limited experience with things outside their own small bubble, but attest to being an authority on subjects they know not of.
Like the kill someone comment earlier. Not a person who know anything about loads or different types of tie downs or such an all assuming, ignorant comment wouldn’t have been made.
Heck I’ve got a pile of little 2” nylon ratchet straps in my tool box (I say little compared to 4” straps also on board) that would rip the mount out of any camper before breaking.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

GeoBoy

Bennington

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Posted: 03/05/20 02:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

epcolumbus wrote:

Seriously, I am asking because I want to know "What the right" thing is. Instead of being bashed, I was hoping to get some answers. I have never done this before and want to do it right! Helpful info wanted. The camper I saw was just over 1000 lbs dry weight, It was made for a 1/4 ton truck like a Tacoma. Not looking at something with a bathroom, but possibly a small kitchen area. What kind of tie downs do you use? I was hoping this forum would be helpful to a newbie, but I seem to just get berated! How can I learn if I don't ask questions. I guess this may not be the place for me to learn!

Please tell us the brand and model of the camper you are considering and we can give you the proper recommendation.

stevenal

Newport, OR, USA

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Posted: 03/05/20 04:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jaycocreek wrote:



...ratchet straps rated at 20,000 pounds and only 2" wide......


I think that's the problem right there. Too easy to rip the tie down points out of your TC.


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jaycocreek

Idaho

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Posted: 03/05/20 04:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

stevenal wrote:

jaycocreek wrote:



...ratchet straps rated at 20,000 pounds and only 2" wide......


I think that's the problem right there. Too easy to rip the tie down points out of your TC.


Why would it be any worse than the old standard, turnbuckle and chain..Straps tend to stretch where turnbuckles don't..I agree there needs to be something spring loaded as the happily jack or tork lift hardware..As strong as these straps are,there is no doubt they will hold the largest truck camper in place but they do need some kind of spring loaded device on one end as the other TC top brands do..

I think most of us are on the same page knowing the new ratchet straps are strong enough but how much stretch they have for truck camper use is unknown...They certainly will work just like the old turnbuckle and chains only did for years...


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Kayteg1

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Posted: 03/05/20 07:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I drove over 2000 miles with my 4300lb camper (winterized) ratchet-strapped to my flatbed. But I did haul heavy equipment in the past and knew how to secure the cargo.
Still heavy camper mounted on steel flatbed was moving around, so get rubber mat.





zcookiemonstar

Midwest

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Posted: 03/05/20 10:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of the first things you need to know is that the posted weight on most truck campers is way off. They are usually a lot heavier.

Joe Glidewell

Mississippi

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Posted: 03/06/20 04:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here's a video on YouTube where a guy made some inexpensive spring loaded tie downs with chain, springs, and U bolts. If the link below doesn't work his channel is called Northern Explorer Overland.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhkU3IPcIz0


I hauled mine home with a chain and binder and ratchet strap combo. I scariest thing I've heard of is if the camper tries to hop/rise up off the truck bed when you go over a bump in the road or when your truck bed flexes you could damage your anchor points on the camper. The screws or bolts could rip out of the wood frame. That being said, I suppose it's possible to over-tighten the turnbuckle style tie downs and have this happen also.

Nothing wrong with being creative, but be cautious as well. Here's what I came up with for my flatbed setup. Way cheaper than the frame mounted setup, but I did purchase the spring loaded turnbuckles.

[image]
[image]

Kayteg1

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Posted: 03/06/20 08:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Joe Glidewell wrote:

.. I scariest thing I've heard of is if the camper tries to hop/rise up off the truck bed when you go over a bump in the road or when your truck bed flexes you could damage your anchor points on the camper. The screws or bolts could rip out of the wood frame.


You can also damage anchors by using jacks with tie still attached.
Ask me how I know?
I've been observing TC behavior and even the cabover is huge area, they don't seem to have enough air even at 75 mph that would lift it off the truck. With good rubber mat, this is all it holds in 99% of situation.
Ties are for extreme vibrations only, when rocking motion might have the camper "walk" on the bed.

epcolumbus

Northbrige, MA United States

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Posted: 03/06/20 09:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So I am looking at a 2005 Sun-lite Skyhawk SB. The information I found on this model says its weight is 1035 lbs with the dry weight being roughly 930 lbs. I have a 2019 Ram 1500 short bed. I just want to know if I can use ratchet strap tie downs and the factory tie downs in the bed of the truck to get it home. It's about 8 hours away. I don't want to buy anything not really knowing exactly what will work best. Thanks for the welcoming and the useful information I received after my second posting. Like I said, I am new to TCs and need help before making a trek to look at something.

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