If you’re new to the world of truck camping, you may be feeling confused about the truck camper’s center of gravity. This isn’t a term that you hear with motorhomes and travel trailers. It’s unique to truck camping, and it’s one of the most important things to know!
So what is it, why is it important, and how do you figure it out?
In this article, we’re going in-depth on truck camper center of gravity and how to match up a truck and truck camper for a perfect fit. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What Is Truck Camper Center of Gravity?
- Why It’s Important to Know the Center of Gravity for Your Truck Camper
- How to Measure Your Truck Camper Center of Gravity
- Measuring Center of Gravity Location of Your Truck Bed
- How Big of Truck Do You Need for a Truck Camper?
- Matching a Truck and Truck Camper
- A Proper Fit is Essential
What Is Truck Camper Center of Gravity?
The center of gravity on a truck camper is the point where most of the weight sits. This point on the camper should sit on a specific part of your truck bed to have a safe, secure, and stable towing experience.
When matching a truck and truck camper, you need to know both the center of gravity of your camper and axle position on your truck.
Why It’s Important to Know the Center of Gravity for Your Truck Camper
It’s essential to know the center of gravity to prevent damage to your truck and the camper. Typically, most of the camper’s weight should rest on or in front of the truck’s rear axle. Meaning, the weight should sit in the front and center part of the truck bed. If the center of gravity is too far back towards the tailgate end, this can cause severe damage to your truck.
By having the weight too far back you also cause the suspension geometry of the truck to change. This lifts weight off the steer (front) axle and makes the rear axle a pivot point. This can cause poor handling or uncontrollable suspension oscilations that can result in a crash. You may also be held liable for a crash caused by improper truck camper loading.
So how do you find out the center of gravity for your truck and truck camper? Here are some ways to figure out this critical information.
How to Measure Your Truck Camper Center of Gravity
Every truck camper manufacturer publishes center of gravity information with the camper specs. It may be listed on the camper, the manufacturer’s website, or in an informational brochure. Many times the center of gravity is even marked on the camper making it easier to see where it is.
If you can’t find the measurement, contact the manufacturer directly.
Once you have the information, you can locate the point on your camper by measuring it.
The industry-standard procedure for measuring the center of gravity on a truck camper is to measure from the front to back wall. If its center of gravity is 40 inches, it is 40 inches from the front wall of the camper. Once you know the COG, you can match it to a truck bed.
Measuring Center of Gravity Location of Your Truck Bed
Truck beds have a specific area where the center of gravity of a truck camper should rest. Not all trucks and truck campers match perfectly!
The COG should never sit behind the center of the rear axle. Finding the center of gravity point on your truck bed is pretty simple.
Measure your truck bed from the front wall of the bed to the center of the rear axle. This number in inches is your truck bed center of gravity point. Your truck camper COG can sit anywhere in this area but not behind.
How Big of Truck Do You Need for a Truck Camper?
Make sure your truck can handle a truck camper! The center of gravity is a vital spec to match, but you also need to consider other things.
Look for the payload capacity when determining how big of a truck you need for a truck camper. The weight of the fully-loaded camper should be less than the payload capacity of the pickup.
You shouldn’t max out your truck’s payload capacity. A good rule of thumb is to come within 20% of your max capacity with a fully loaded camper.
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Matching a Truck and Truck Camper
You can’t put any camper on any truck! Here are some tips to match a truck and truck camper for the safest towing and camping experience.
First, match the payload capacity. As stated above, your truck camper shouldn’t exceed 80% of the truck’s payload capacity when fully loaded. The 20% leeway will help ensure that the truck has a comfortable towing experience, especially in difficult situations like steep grades.
Not all truck beds and campers have the same dimensions! It’s essential to match a truck and truck camper by measuring the bed and the size of the base of the camper.
You also need to measure the exterior of the truck bed as some campers may not fit.
Truck Bed Center of Gravity Point area
The center of gravity point on a truck bed is one of the most important measurements, aside from dimensions and payload capacity. Again, always make sure that the truck camper’s center of gravity sits forward of the rear axle.
If most of the truck camper’s weight sits behind the rear axle, you risk catastrophic truck damage.
Truck Camper Center of Gravity
Measure your truck camper’s center of gravity from the front wall of the camper. This point is the heaviest point of the truck camper, and it should sit forward of the truck’s rear axle.
This part of the truck bed can handle the most weight. Match the heaviest point on your truck camper with your truck bed to avoid accidents or destroying your vehicle.
Truck Camper Dimensions
Lastly, you need to know the dimensions of the entire truck camper compared to the truck and bed size. Many truck campers hang over the sides and rear of the truck. It needs to fit well to work safely.
The stable base of dually trucks can make it safer for some truck campers. However, others may not work on a dually.
➡ Learn more about choosing the right truck here: What Is the Best Truck for a Truck Camper?
A Proper Fit is Essential
Fitting a truck camper with a specific truck takes a little work and research. Do this upfront to ensure safety and comfort.
Some truck camper manufacturers make this part easy by listing trucks compatible with their camper models. You can also find an active and enthusiastic truck camper community on Facebook, advice forums, and more!
When fitting a truck and camper, the most important specs to pay attention to are the center of gravity and payload capacity. Once you have these numbers figured out, the rest is easy!
We’ve put together a list of the best truck camper brands to help you with your search. Check it out: What Are The Best Truck Camper Brands?
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