Everything You Need To Know About Camper Jacks
If you own a truck camper, odds are you are already familiar with camper jacks. If you are considering buying a truck camper, you’re going to want to become familiar with camper jacks.
Truck campers can weigh upwards of 5000 lbs. for multiple slide units and even the smaller, lightweight campers push the 1000 lbs. mark. This means there needs to be a strong and reliable component to lift, lower, and support your truck camper.
This is where camper jacks come into the picture. Camper jacks are standard on most new truck campers and have been around as long as truck campers themselves.
Many older campers will have manual jacks or may have jacks that are no longer working or possibly have been removed. If you need to replace your camper jacks, you will have some considerations to make and lots of options available.
What are camper jacks?
Camper jacks are an important part of any truck camper setup. They allow for easy loading and unloading of your camper.
Like other types of jacks, camper jacks are mechanical devices designed to make it easier to lift, lower, and support weight.
A typical design will have a jack mounted to all four corners of the camper. This allows for even control and support of weight.
There are two options for camper jacks: manual jacks and power jacks. Much like the tongue jack and support jacks on travel trailers and fifth wheels, cheaper models generally have manual jacks while better optioned and upgraded units often have power jacks.
How do they work?
Camper jacks have a very basic, proven design. The support shaft itself is steel and moves up and down through the housing that is attached to the camper.
Manual jacks vs power jacks
In the case of manual crank jacks, a series of meshing gears or acme threads inside extend and retract the support shaft.
Pump-style hydraulic jacks are slightly different. The housing will contain fluid that is pumped by hand similar to a floor jack for a car. The fluid is sealed in the chamber and through pressure created when pumping pushes the support leg out.
Power and manual jacks perform in basically the same way internally, however, power jacks are controlled by an electric motor by means of the push of a button, in most cases with a remote. Manual jacks are hand-operated by a crank or pump system similar to a manual tongue jack.
Stabile-lift jacks are a more complex system that creates a full rectangular base for the camper to sit on for extra stability when set up. This rectangular support fits snuggly inside the truck bed for travel and claims to eliminate the need for the camper to be secured in place with straps.
Tripod-style jacks are another option that do not connect to the camper. They are stored away and set up when loading or unloading the camper. These style jacks are not suggested while the camper is in use due to stability issues.
What are the best camper jacks?
So what are the best camper jacks? This will be subjective, of course, but there are a few options that are proven performers that are widely used by experienced camper owners.
Depending on the frequency of use, having manual jacks may not be an issue for you. If your camper will only be loaded and unloaded on a few occasions a year, manual jacks are often a fine option.
If you are someone who travels frequently and likes to unload your camper at sites, having power jacks can be a worthwhile upgrade. Electric power jacks are considered by most to be the best option for loading, unloading, and leveling your camper.
Rieco – Titan
Arguably the top name in camper jacks, Rieco-Titan is well known for its high-quality jacks.
They offer weight ranges up to 2500 lbs. in electric and also manual, hydraulic, and tripod options. They also offer kits to convert from manual to electric.
Their manual crank jacks utilize heat-treated tungsten gears for strength and durability.
The wireless remote allows for movement of all four or individual jacks for easy leveling. Swivel heads can be used for added stability and use with dually trucks.
Their 36″ + of lift is a claimed industry leader. Zinc-plated components ensure corrosion resistance and a long life.
HAPPIJAC is a division of Lippert Components, another trusted name in the RV industry.
Weight ratings up to 2800 lbs. are available for use on campers with multiple slides.
HAPPIJAC uses a screw and ball jack setup in their manual jacks for trouble-free operation. All of their screw jack-style manual jacks have electric upgrades available.
A quick-release leg drops the leg into the ready-to-lift position in seconds for quick setup. Remote control of individual jacks makes leveling easy.
Maintaining your camper jacks
As with anything to do with RVs, camper jacks require maintenance to prolong their life and ensure trouble-free operation.
Having a stuck camper jack ruins a day. Here are some general maintenance tips to help avoid jack issues.
Truck campers are subject to lots of bumps and movement in the bed of a truck. For this reason, it is important to regularly check all components for loose connections, wires rubbing, stress cracks, and dirt that accumulates while driving.
Remove covers to inspect connections and make sure there is no moisture or dirt getting inside. Electrical connections should be clean, dry, and treated with dielectric grease.
The jacks should be lubricated with manufacturer-approved lubricant. Ensure the entire support leg is cleaned and lubricated by fully extending and retracting the leg.
The mounting location of the camper jacks is an area of high stress and should be checked for any loose fasteners and signs of stress. Check the base of the jack for any bending or cracking on the ground supports as well.
Truck campers are a super versatile RV option. Having a drive vehicle and camper without having the size and considerations of towing a trailer is great for people who love exploring boondocking areas or camping near cities and want to explore the city.
Do your research and get the camper jacks that are right for you and your rig. Pair this with maintenance and proper operation and your camper jacks will give you lots of trouble-free miles.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.