A couple of weeks ago, my friend R. and I were talking about trailers and RVs and such (maybe because he had recently gotten a new-used boat), and we both had the same question: When did pickup campers go away?
They were the inexpensive gateway to car-camping if you did not want to sleep in a tent due to weather or (conceivably) bears.
"And you could tow your boat behind it," R. pointed out.
We both remembered how when we were kids, a lot of the dads in the Boy Scout troop or whatever showed up with campers mounted on their 1960s or 1970s or maybe early 1980s pickups.
Sometimes the camper was slid out of the pickup bed in the off-season and left sitting on sawhorses in the side yard, while the pickup was used for other hauling or just as a daily driver.
Was this just another example of American Feature Creep? More and more gadgets, more and more dollars? Did Plain Jane pickup campers not offer enough profit margin compared to motorhomes and camping trailers? I suspect that they did not.
I still see a few, often with pop-tops, which helps with the wind resistance out on the highway, but nothing like during my childhood.