Friday, July 5

Can I Walk In Travel Trailer Without Jacks Down?

The very interesting question ”Can I walk in travel trailer without jacks down?” recently came to my attention, and I have to say that I love this question. It reminds me of our early days of camping with a pop-up camper. As you may not know if you've never had one, a pop-up is quite small, and is balanced over the axle or axles, so it was an important thing to know. Later on, after we got a 15 foot travel trailer, the issue seemed to become even more important because we were dealing with quite a bit more weight, and the question of balance was one always on my mind. With a motor home it doesn't apply, so I didn't have to worry about it while we had ours, but now we are in a 5th wheel, and I have often wondered, can I go in without putting down the stabilizer jacks?

The answer, as with so many things in life, is that it depends. We quickly discovered that with our little pop-up camper, it was not a good idea to do anything inside until the jacks were down. This was simply because it was a like a big see-saw, and you didn't want the rear end to be bouncing off of the ground while trying to set up the stove or the bed. We learned this after the first time we set up and forgot to put the jacks down before walking around.

With the small pull camper, we thought about doing the jacks first right off the bat the first time we set up. After unhooking from the truck, the camper is sitting in a rather precarious state of equilibrium. If the jacks aren't down and you only weigh a hundred pounds or so, chances are nothing will happen. The opposite case is different, and anyone weighing over a couple hundred pounds might have an effect on the delicate balance.

A 5th wheel or a pull camper with 2 or 3 axles is yet another story, because these rigs are usually designed with more weight towards the front of the camper, and the overall weight is greater. The only problem with walking around inside without the stabilizers down is the bounce factor, and you will have to judge whether that is something you can live with – at least temporarily.

Of course, if your towing vehicle is still connected to the camper, none of this matters. It will hold down the camper and keep it from bouncing around too much, or see-sawing into the ground. So the answer to the question, can I walk in travel trailer without jacks down, really does depend on all sorts of things. But all in all, why tempt fate, unless you just have to have that bologna sandwich while you're still setting up.

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