Recreational Vehicle and Camper Tie Down

Estimated read time 3 min read

Camper tie downs are based on the licensed gross vehicle weight of the vehicle that is going to be used in hauling a camper. Vehicles carrying detachable campers must have their campers secured and immobilized to the structure of the carrying vehicle. The tie-downs must be secure enough to solidly anchor a camper to a vehicle so that it will not fall off, ejected, or displaced from the vehicle. Camper tie downs must also have a rated strength that can secure a given camper’s weight so that it will not shift from its position on a vehicle while in transit so as not to affect the stability and maneuverability of a vehicle and not compromise road safety for all road users.

Camper tie downs are mandatory for all camper carrying vehicles and most regulations require a minimum of four tie-downs to be mounted on a vehicle, two on the front and two on the back, and the camper tie downs can be connected either on the bed of a vehicle or mounted directly to the vehicle’s frame. The tie-downs can also prevent body damage on the vehicle from the rubbing and sliding of the camper when the vehicle is in motion. Owning a camper means that it is inordinately necessary for running a vehicle safely to own extra sets of camper tie-downs to help secure extremely heavy campers even if the camper has its own manufacturer-supplied, built-in camper tie downs.

Truck campers usually come from the factory with attachment points called eyebolts that are connected to the camper frame and the camper tie downs are attached to them. There are two common types of camper tie downs: bed-mounted and frame-mounted.

Bed-mounted camper tie downs are secured to a durable metal plate that is bolted between the truck cab and truck bed. Bed-mounted camper tie downs are the traditional method of attaching campers on trucks but due to the thinner skins of contemporary trucks and the heavier modern campers used, modern trucks usually suffer bed damage from using the bed-mounted camper tie downs. Bed-mounted camper tie downs are much more suitable for attaching lightweight campers on trucks to prevent bed damage from the weight of the camper shifting when the truck is moving. 

Frame-mounted camper tie downs fall into two categories: the first utilizes a square metal tube that attaches to the front outer surface of a truck’s frame and the other metal tube is attached to the truck’s hitch receiver. Small metal tubes are slid into the larger frame-mounted tubes and is secured by a retaining pin, thereby securely anchoring the camper to the truck bed. Another form of frame-mounted camper tie down utilizes a heavy-duty metal flat bar or square tube that passes crosswise under the truck bed and is usually secured to a truck’s frame by a clamp or bolt system and the camper is anchored to the truck using a chain and turnbuckle system. The rear of the camper when utilizing this method of camper attachment is usually secured by using special securing clips on the bumper or the rear of the frame to where the chain and turnbuckle system can firmly anchor the camper in place. Whatever camper tie-down method is used, it is critical for safety to securely anchor a camper to the truck bed at four points to prevent campers from shifting due to their weight, when the vehicle is in motion. 

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