Weight-Reduction Strategies for Hard-Core Truck Campers July 3, 2015 11:53
Carrying around a camper on your truck can really be eye opening when it comes to weight. An overweight truck camper can cause all kinds of issues, especially if you are a frequent overlander. Too much weight means stress on your truck's suspension components and a huge decrease in fuel economy. Here are some weight reduction strategies to put your truck camper on a diet.
Know Your Limits
All vehicles are rated to a certain weight limit as far as hauling or towing. Find out what your vehicle can handle before assuming it can handle the extra stresses of added weight. Once you know this, you can budget for weight after the addition of a camper — keep in mind that passengers count too, and so does the gas in the tank! When you’re truck is at full weight capacity, it’s full, no matter how much open space you may seem to have.
Get Rid of the "Stuff"
It’s hard to not to hold on to those random things you’ve accumulated along the way. Remember that time you decided to start a rock collection? Or that time you bought that antique coo-coo clock thinking you’d restore it one night when you couldn’t sleep? While these different hobbies and collections might have meant something to you at one time, they don’t now, and it’s okay to get rid of their artifacts.
Who's sitting in your rear seats? No one? If you don't have a need for your rear seats, ditch them! Taking out the rear seats from a truck's interior can remove about 50 pounds from the load.
Take Off What You Don't Use
What aren't you using on your truck? If you're not putting your trailer hitch to use, why is on? Unless you tow regularly, take the trailer hitch off your truck and you can remove 50 points from the body of your truck. Same logic goes for tailgate, if you don't use it, take it off -- doing so can save 50-100 pounds, depending on your truck.
Use Aluminum Alternatives
Look at those clunky, heavy steel bumper -- how much do you think it weighs? It depends on the model, but if you have a steel bumper, it weighs a lot. If you swap out your front or rear (why not both!) with an aluminum version from steel, you can lose nearly 100 pounds or so per bumper. Aluminum is also the best choice for roof racks, mounting kits, brackets, and like components.
Little Things Add Up
What’s an extra set of forks? Or a few more blankets? Not much alone, but they add up when you factor everything in as one weight. The thoughtful packer can save quite a bit in cargo weight. the more of a minimalist you are on your adventures, the better off you’re going to be.
If you are building a camper or storage space yourself, you can get way ahead of the weight reduction game. In general, nearly your entire camper can be made from plastic, aluminum, and particle board/MDF. Sticking to these light weight materials will keep weight to a minimum. And it’s not just about materials either, take into consideration what kind of design is going to require the least amount of construction. This means making it the smallest size that will work, cut down dividers of any kind, and don’t come up with some super complicated system that will require the use of mechanics, brackets, etc. to operate.
Keep these weight savings strategies in mind to keep the cost down at the pump, and maintenance to a minimum.