Taking the time out to vacation with the family using a truck camper is an activity that is a ton of fun. Given that you are able to go to just about anywhere, camping wherever you so desire.
All you really need to do is put the truck camper into your truck’s bed, ensure that it is fastened down and you can simply go on to explore the world. However, there is a thought that has crossed your mind since you got your truck camper.
You have always wondered if it legal and possible to ride in a pickup truck camper. To answer that as concisely as possible, yes you can… in the majority of states. However, each individual state has its own laws and statutes concerning the matter.
Should your family be a pretty large one, you will need to determine where everybody will sit. It is important that everyone rides securely, particularly pets and kids.
A way to fix this solution would be to purchase a truck that has a crew cab or an extended cab. Typically, extended cabs tend to have smaller seats, while crew cabs come with the same sized seats that the front of the cab has.
They also have their own doors. Generally, the seats at the back are comfortable and can securely seat three people thanks to the accompanying seat belts.
Nevertheless, if your truck is just a standard one, your front seats will only take two, so where would everybody else ride? The most logical answer would be for those individuals to ride in your truck camper. But this brings up a question of not just legality but of safety.
The legality surrounding riding in a truck camper
Generally, it is possible to legally ride in a truck camper, however, there are a couple of exceptions that you have to be aware of. For example, you can ride in a truck camper while it is in motion in nearly every state in the nation except Maine, Mississippi, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.
Additionally, there are some states that require your truck camper to have either safety glass or some form of access to the pickup’s cab. There are also some other states that require any passenger riding in a truck camper to be aged 13 or 14 as a minimum.
It does seem to be more than strange considering that the majority of the states that allow you to ride in a truck camper while it is in motion do not allow for passengers to ride in a fifth wheel or travel trailer.
This lapse might be down to poor classification. The laws of the majority of states do not address truck campers, according to the RVIA or RV Industry Association.
Amongst those states that do acknowledge the legal existence of pickup campers and truck campers in their laws, some strictly forbid passengers to ride in a moving truck camper and a couple of others place certain conditions that have to be met.
To help you clarify so you do not run into trouble, the list below contains the states that inherently forbid passengers riding in a truck camper while it is in motion:
- New Hampshire
Other states tend to place strict restrictions on how passengers should ride in the truck camper. The majority of these restrictions tend to address the passenger’s age, however, there are some states that legally require the passengers riding in the truck camper have access to the truck’s cabin. This is not a feature that tends to comes standard on pickup campers.
Below is a list of states that place limitations on how passengers can ride in a moving truck camper:
- The state of Kansas requires passengers to be older than 15 before they can be allowed to ride in a moving truck camper.
- Georgia does not have an age limit; however, it does require passengers in the truck camper to have uninhibited access to the trick’s cab.
- California does not have an age requirement, what it does have, however, is a requirement that passengers in the truck camper be able to easily communicate with those in the truck camper.
- The truck camper’s exit needs to be accessible from both outside and inside. Seat belts and safety glass in the windows complete the list of requirements for this state.
- Hawaii passengers have to be at least 13 years old before they can legally ride in a truck camper.
One thing to remember is that laws will constantly change, so it is a great idea to look up what your state says concerning passengers in a moving truck camper. You should also check states that you plan to pass through or go to before you get out on the road.
Is riding in a truck camper safe to do?
Legality aside, you simply cannot expect passengers to ride in your truck camper without taking a couple of precautions. Here are a few safety tips and precautions you should consider before letting anyone ride in your truck camper.
- Double and triple check the turnbuckles and tie-downs. It can be quite horrible to drive down the road only to have your camper fall off the truck. This can be disastrous for those inside and any vehicles behind your truck.
- Regardless of the regulations in your state, it is important that you never let children ride unsupervised in the truck camper.
- This should also go for any pets as they might panic being alone in the truck camper
- Your pets should always be riding in a secure carrier. They should not be left loose in the truck camper. And if you do decide to put your pet in the truck camper, someone from the family should stay with them so they do not panic.
- If you intend on carrying passengers in your truck camper, you should consider installing seat belts.
- When you do install the seat belts insist that any person looking to ride in the truck camper uses them. Seat belts can help prevent any injuries that might happen as a result of a sudden stop.
- Any loose objects should be secure before you get on the road. Something as simple as a game controller, a can, or even a bottle can cause a lot of damage.
- Those states that state some form of communication must exist between the truck camper and the truck’s cab seem to be on the right track.
- If you are unable to have a window that allows for communication, you could consider an intercom or walkie talkies. You cannot rely on phones as they might not consistently work.
- It is imperative that the truck camper’s door is left unlocked. Should an emergency happen, it can act as an emergency exit which your passengers can use to get out. It can also be useful for emergency crews to get in, in the event of an accident.
- A carbon monoxide monitor should be installed in your truck camper to help ensure the exhaust is not finding its way into the truck camper as you move on the road.
- You can get both 12V and battery-operated models to ensure that your passengers are safe while on the road.