How to Camp in a Camper Shell

Camping in a Camper Shell
Camping in a Camper Shell (Image: (c)2009 Jeff O'Kelley and its licensors. all rights reserved.)

Camper shells have been a popular option for many years and offer some creature comfort benefits over traditional tent camping. Camper shells come in many configurations offer a variety of features. From simple camper shells with just a bed and sink to higher end models with toilets, stoves and refrigerators, the combination of options in nearly endless. Camping in a camper shell requires different preparation than traditional camping, but can be easy with a little planning.

Things You'll Need

  • Camper shell
  • Food and drink
  • Clothes
  • Camper hookups for electricity, gas or toilets

Determine the features and capacities of your camper shell. Features such as electrical hookups, cooking facilities, toilet facilities and heating/cooling should be taken into consideration. A good understanding of your camper shell will help you plan your trip and what you'll need to look for in a camping site.

With a destination in mind, configure your camper shell for the trip. Depending on the location and expected weather, items such as additional bedding and blankets, external gas hookups for cooking and heating, liquid propane gas tanks, electrical extension cords and refrigeration should be considered. With the thought that you won't be able to purchase it at the camp site, plan for any technical or mechanical item that you could possibly need. This will eliminate searching for some missing part in an unfamiliar area.

Pack for the trip with as few items as necessary and consider purchasing consumables such as food or ice at your destination. Carrying excess items will only crowd your camper shell, increase the load on your truck and reduce gas mileage.

At your destination, take time to set up your camper shell for your visit. Be sure to use the camper shell jacks to stabilize the camper while in use. External electrical or gas lines should be routed so they don't present a hazard to anyone walking around the camper. Always lock your truck and camper shell if you leave the campground, and secure any external items such as generators, propane tanks or sports gear.

Tips & Warnings

  • While most RV or motor camping sites offer electrical hookups, not all offer toilet or pump-out facilities. Lightweight hiking pants with zip-off legs are versatile and take up less room in your camper shell. Check with the campground at your destination to see if it has a general store or market on site. Packing sports or outdoor equipment such as skis on the outside of the camper shell will provide more room on the inside. Try to plan for clothes that can be worn more than once or easily washed and dried.
  • Always check for propane gas leaks before using a camper shell. If using an external electrical hookup, be sure to disconnect before leaving the campsite. External generators should never be run inside the camper shell and should be placed a safe distance from the camper.

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