Truck camper tie downs are required by law to be used by all camper carrying trucks for road and vehicle safety. The minimal truck camper tie-down attachment points that are required for safety are four, two tie-downs in the front and two tie-downs at the back. Truck camper tie downs prevent damage to the structure or body of the vehicle from the grinding and scraping of the camper when the vehicle is moving. Truck camper tie downs can be mounted on the bed of the truck if the camper is the lightweight type or on the frame if the camper is the more modern heavyweight type. It is considered prudent from a safety standpoint to own and install extra sets of truck camper tie downs if the camper to be attached is extra heavy even if the camper is supplied with factory installed tie-downs.
Two variations of truck camper tie downs are commonly used on recreational vehicles: the bed-mounted truck camper tie-down and the frame-mounted truck camper tie-down.
Frame-mounted truck camper tie downs are divided into two classes. The first uses two flat metal bars or heavy-duty square tubes that are secured crosswise under the truck bed and is anchored to the truck’s frame using a clamp or bolt system. The camper is secured to the truck using a chain and turnbuckle system to firmly attach the camper and prevent any movement when the vehicle is moving. Specially designed anchoring clips on the rear frame or bumper of the truck, with its chain and turnbuckle system, is utilized when securing the rear of the camper to firmly attach the camper in place on the truck bed. The second common method of anchoring a camper is using a square tube truck camper tie down that attaches to the front outer surface of a truck’s frame and the rear of the camper is attached to another square metal tube that is secured to the truck’s rear hitch receiver. Smaller square tubes are then slid into the frame-mounted tie-downs and secured by a retaining pin to firmly anchor a truck camper into place. Frame-mounted truck tie-downs are more suitable and safer for securing more modern and heavier truck campers.
Bed-mounted truck camper tie downs are more commonly used for anchoring very lightweight truck campers. A heavy-duty metal plate is attached between the cab, truck frame, or bed to attach the truck camper tie downs. But due to the thinner skins of more modern trucks, using a bed-mounted truck camper tie down results in shear or bending damage to the truck bed if a lightweight truck camper is not used.
Truck camper tie downs must be sturdy enough to securely anchor a truck camper so that it will not fall off or get displaced from a vehicle and compromise road safety. Truck camper tie downs must have a rated strength that is above the truck camper’s weight so that the camper will not deviate from its position in the truck bed and create an unsafe driving and road condition that poses a hazard to vehicle stability and other vehicles on the road. Truck camper tie-down strength is generally based on the gross weight of the truck that is going to carry the camper and removable campers must be securely attached to the carrying vehicle to prevent stability problems when the vehicle is running and to prevent damage to the vehicle’s bed or structure due to the camper shifting under its weight while in motion.