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How Do You Measure Truck Camper Center of Gravity?

How Do You Measure Truck Camper Center of Gravity?

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!

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. 

palomino truck camper on short bed truck

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. 

Truck camper center of gravity Mark
Our Camper has the COG mark with A Red Arrow in the middle
center of gravity Sticker

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. 

measuring truck camper and truck bed

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. 

truck camper center of gravity diagram
This diagram from a ford truck manual shows the safe zone for truck camper loading

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. 

Building the Lance Truck Camper & Pickup Out for Our Expedition North | Go North Ep 2

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.

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. 

Payload Capacity

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. 

How To Best Match a Camper to Your Truck! Chevy & Hallmark Victor

Bed Dimensions

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.

lance truck camper on flatbed truck with custom storage

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.

Dually Ford Truck

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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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
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Sunday 14th of May 2023

Exactly. Trying trying to find a slide in truck camper for my Chevy Silverado 2500 HD 2021. How do I find center of gravity on some of these campers out there. I have a short box truck 6 ft 8 is total length of box. Center of gravity is only about 40 in.