Can you Use a Truck Camper without Removing a Tailgate?

This article will answer this question: Do you have to remove your tailgate to carry a truck camper? In most cases, the answer is yes. Campers that extend past the truck’s bed will call for the removal of the tailgate. Even if your truck camper loads when the tailgate is down, you may choose to remove it. Every pound matters as far as truck campers are concerned, especially when the weight is at the back of the axle. There may be no need to haul an 80-pound tailgate if you do not need it. You will understand the use of a truck camper tailgate, how and when you can remove it safely. The article also discusses the advantages of a truck tailgate.

© Greg Gjerdingen on Wikimedia

Should You Remove Your Tailgate To Carry A Truck Camper?

Whether or not you remove your tailgate to carry a truck camper will depend on if the camper you are carrying is designed for a long bed truck or a short bed truck. In other terms, the tailgate is a vehicle-mounted handling system assistance system that makes the managing (loading and unloading) of the truck camper way easier, and it takes the weight from the truck bed.

There are two possible scenarios here:

·         You carry a truck camper that is designed to work only on a short bed. In this case, you will not need the extra support offered by the tailgate. When you leave the tailgate on, you will be carrying more weight too. You have to ensure that the recommended towing weight of the truck does not exceed.

·         Carry a truck camper that is designed to run on a long bed. In this case, the tailgate on your truck will help with the process of unloading and loading the camper. The tailgate will also offer extra support resulting in more secure loading. You should also be extra careful not to surpass the required towing capacity of the truck.

How to Remove a Truck’s Tailgate

There are several reasons why you may have to remove your tailgate from your truck’s back. If the tailgate has been damaged, you should remove it for possible repairs and even replacement. Some people would like to replace the hatchback stock with a mesh hatchback.

Just like on a vehicle door, the tailgate is a heavy and large body part. The process of removing it from the truck is very simple, but you will need at least two people to separate it safely. Here is the process:

1.  Using the handle and the clock, open the tailgate and let it lie flat, touching the bumper.

2.  Separate the guy wires from the sides of the truck. This is done by lifting the spring retainer and then sliding the bolt. In some models like the Chevrolet, you may also need to remove the screw close to the hinges using a wrench.

3.  Lower the tailgate while paying attention to the hinge pin on the tailgate with a space in your pocket which is usually the hinge pin on the right side of the tailgate. You have to find the part that is flat on the hinge pin to line up with the slot.

4.  Lift up the hinge pin from the slot to remove the back door from the body. Let your assistant support the weight of the tailgate as you remove the other hinge pin from the body. The both of you can then lift the tailgate from the truck. Ensure the tailgate is stored in a more secure place.

© Truck Camper Adventure

Why should you leave the Truck Tailgate on?

As an important handling aid device, you can use the tailgate on different types of trucks. The tailgate will enable you to do the following:

·         Secure all the handling operations.

·         It will reduce downtime.

·         Your tours will be profitable.

·         It will free the driver from more help for deliveries.

·         Store huge loads, especially at heights.

·         Unloading large items.

·         Lifting heavy cargo.

You can only entrust the operation of a tailgate to a trained operator. There are strict rules that should always be observed:

·         Use the control station every time to enable better visibility.

·         Check if the weight of the cargo and their position can fit in with the load table before lifting any operation.

·         If you remove the stabilizing stands with you in the vehicle, you must put them in position before you start to operate the tailgate.

·         Support the rolling loads properly.

·         Make sure the vehicle’s hazard warning lights are turned on every time.

·         At night, ensure your parking lights are on,

·         In case of a prolonged stoppage, ensure the platform is on the ground.

·         When you have finished your work, lock the tailgate maneuver.

Advantage of having the Tailgate on While Carrying a Truck Camper

There are benefits of installing a tailgate that is more important than you may think. The following is the list and additional information on the importance of investing in a tailgate:

·         Distributed weight. The truck campers that do not have tailgates commonly tend to overload the front of the truck. This will prevent the camper from falling out from the back. It may seem to be a practical solution, but when the excess weight is put on one area, it can put stress on the front tires and the lifting mechanism of your truck. Most off-road pick-up trucks can carry a third of the material’s weight on the front shaft and two-thirds on the back. You can achieve proper distribution by installing a tailgate.

·         Extending the life of your truck. You will get the ability to increase productivity while prolonging the equipment’s life, making a solid investment in a tailgate for your pick-up truck.

·         Faster and easier loading. Mounting a tailgate on your off-road truck is exceptionally beneficial. You can also avoid road maintenance as the spill reduces, reducing the downtime and spending more time travelling. The tailgate will increase that target and help you save the consumption of fuel.

·         Increased load capacity. The first benefit of having a tailgate on your truck is that you can increase the capacity of the cargo. Your investment in a tailgate will pay up since you can equip your vehicle to use the full width and length of the bed. You will be able to close the back leading to larger cargo. This will increase the production by 10-20%. If the pick-up truck does not have a tailgate, the bottom corners of the bed will be left empty. The stacking slope’s capacity begins beyond the back, leaving a smaller part to transport material.

·         Reduction of tire costs. A truck camper’s tailgate can boost the overall weight distribution by allocating it to all four tires and not just the front two. The even distribution of sand, gravel, or rock results in reducing the pressure of your truck’s lift system by 15-25%. If you do not install a tailgate, the tires of your trucks will be more likely to roll over bad objects. This will make the tires more vulnerable to external and internal damage. With the extra accessory, the cost of the tire can be reduced by 40%.

Useful Advice for Carrying a Truck Camper

© Camper Guide

Truck campers can be very heavy. This means that they will require more care when driving in strong winds or off-road. These are some helpful tips for carrying a truck camper to be in every driver’s mind:

·         Ensure that you use the right vehicle to tow your truck camper. Ensure you check the vehicle’s towing capacity to know if your vehicle can support your camper’s weight.

·         Use a stabilizing bar or any tool that can level the weight and height of the truck camper. This ensures your camper’s security. It also does not insert pressure on your towing vehicle.

·         Before you embark on your road trip, ensure you have secured the hitch. If the hitch is not secure, the truck camper can become loose and start rolling on its own.

·         If there is high wind, it is recommended that you do not take breaks quickly.

·         The brake pedal should not be forced to avoid risking losing control of your towing vehicle.

The tailgate is very important for vehicles that transport voluminous objects, especially the ones. This will increase the hatch space hence providing extra storage space and weight support.

It may or may not be a good idea to remove the tailgate, and this depends on the type of truck camper you are carrying. It will be your decision if you want to keep it off or on at the end. Removing and installing the tailgate again is a job for two men. Some drivers may find it to be annoying at some point.

There are some questions that are frequently asked: Do I have to remove my tailgate to carry a truck camper? Some of them are:

·         Are truck campers easy to remove? The answer is yes. It is easy to remove truck campers once you are familiar with the process. If you do not put the truck camper back together properly, you will be risking wrecking both the pick-up truck and the camper.

·         Are campers hard on trucks? It is not easy to load and unload truck campers. Make sure you are careful with the towing capacity of the truck camper. Load up to the correct weight capacity of the camper.

·         Can a truck camper tip over? Yes, a truck camper can tip over. Although it rarely happens. This can happen for several reasons:

ü  Your camper is not secured properly.

ü  You have overloaded the camper, or the weight is not distributed correctly.

ü  You drove against high winds and bad weather conditions.

5th Wheel Tailgate

© Cap-It

You will end up opening and closing your tailgate a lot when loading and unloading a 5th wheel camper. This is the reason why there is a specific 5th wheel tailgate, also called a louvered tailgate. They have several benefits over the standard tailgate.

The common mistake that 5th wheel truck campers make is to forget when to lower or raise the tailgate. You can crash the tailgate if you forget to back up your axle or haul away from it. A 5th wheel tailgate will help you avoid this and has other bonuses too.

These 5th tailgates are made from light hollow plastic or metal tubing. This makes them extremely lightweight, and it reduces extra pounds from the truck.

They can also help in controlling the tuck bed’s airflow. The truck beds are made with airflow in mind, but if you add a 5th wheel, you can turn the bed’s truck into a violent wind vortex.

5th wheel tailgates help to prevent turning the bed’s truck into a violet wind vortex by diffusing the air through the inclined slots to force it under the camper. This design helps in keeping bug guts from your camper.

Disadvantages of 5th Wheel Tailgates

These tailgates are likable, but they also have cons. For example, you will have to look for a safe and secure area to keep the original tailgate. Also, the modified tailgate may reduce the truck’s value, limiting those who would like to buy the truck campers. Do not throw away the original tailgate so that you can switch it back before selling the 5th wheel tailgate.

Most of the truck owners who have turned their tailgates usually yearn for their workspace. The majority of truck owners drop their tailgate to sit, stand, work, or set things on. However, the 5th wheel part of the tailgates has gaps that small appliances can slip through.

Additionally, these tailgates are not as durable, which can be a deal-breaker when standing on them.

How Much Is A 5th Wheel Tailgate?

A 5th wheel tailgate’s average prices will range from $250 to $375. The cost can however, vary depending on the model and make of the truck or the materials used for the tailgate.

Plastic tailgates are generally cheaper metal ones. When you are looking for a 5th wheel tailgate, ensure you find the designs for the year and the exact make and model of your truck.

How much does a Regular Tailgate Cost?

It is not cheap to replace your truck’s tailgate. If you go to the dealership, a tailgate will cost more than a thousand dollars, and this does not include taxes, shipping, or installation fees.

If you choose to replace it yourself, you can get a tailgate from different make, the year, and the model for $500 to $700. You may also buy them from local dealers, as shipping may be tough because of their size.

With some luck, you can get a good used tailgate while going through a rescue yard which is time-consuming.

Do You Need To Remove A Regular Tailgate To Haul A 5th Wheel?

Thankfully, there is no need to remove a regular tailgate in order to haul a 5th wheel. Because of the way these truck campers attach, you will have to lower the tailgate when hitching and unhitching. You will then have to close it after you hitch to prevent any damages.

You can prevent damaging your vehicle accidentally by using a hitching and unhitching checklist. Make sure you have updated your list upon gaining experience on the process and customize it to your individual equipment.

Are 5th Wheel Tailgates Worth It?

If you haul your equipment regularly, these 5th wheel tailgates are special and great too. This will help you avoid mistakes if the routine becomes boring. They are also affordable compared to replacing a whole truck’s tailgate.

If you haul occasionally or moderately towed, you may not get much value out of your investment. You may want to invest your energy and time into making a comprehensive checklist to follow when hitching and unhitching instead.

Anyone can make mistakes. Tailgates can prevent easy mistakes when on truck campers. It is always good to avoid them since they are costly.


There is not much to dislike about using a truck camper without removing the tailgate. The designers of tailgate have experience in outdoor touring that they have not wasted any space. The tailgate might have a small living space, but considering the limits imposed by the need to fit everything within the space available but they are more than enough to serve their purpose. Storing large items like a spear wheel might be a problem.

You can take tailgate campers to places where normal truck campers cannot reach. If you are ready to have a cab bodywork or you would like to buy a 4WD to travel in some remote areas, it will be worth checking on a tailgate camper.

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