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Don’t make this mistake? Chevy Colorado slide-in camper issue explained

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Chevy Colorado Slide-In Camper

As this pickup is shown with a slide-in camper, the owner has voided the warranty. (Photo Courtesy Truckcamperadventure.com)

The growth of overlanding and the many new stock off-road midsize pickups on the market seems like a perfect match. You have a smaller, more capable pickup to get through the trails and a place to sleep under the stars — unless you own a Chevy Colorado. If you just said, huh, you’re right. Here is why you shouldn’t put a slide-in camper on the midsize Chevy truck (or the GMC Canyon).

Recently, we found yet another customer who had bent his frame on the Chevy Colorado ZR2. While we didn’t get permission to use his photos, we have done similar stories on bent frames for the ZR2 and Gladiator on our YouTube channel.

What makes his story unique is he had an Alu-Cab Explorer canopy on his truck. This isn’t exactly a camper, but similar to a leer, snugtop or similar topper. However, it still begs the question on a slide-in camper. Alu-Cab has been offering a camper for years and even has photos of a Colorado with the camper on its Instagram page. Rather it’s the fact Chevy specifically states do not use a slide-in camper (any slide-in camper) on the Colorado that is unique.

On page 173 of the Chevy Colorado’s owners manual, it states, quite clearly, “do not install a slide-in camper or similar equipment on the vehicle.”

Chevy Colorado Slide-In Camper

In the lower right-hand corner of page 173 of the owner’s manual, you can read it quite clearly states do not use a slide-in camper.

This is a very interesting statement considering companies like Alu-Cab offer such equipment specifically for the Chevy Colorado, and they even have installation instructions.

Why no Chevy Colorado slide-in camper?

What gives? We asked Chevy about the no slide-in sticker on their Colorado and got a rather interesting answer.

“When we began developing the current-generation Colorado’s architecture, there were no midsize boxes like ours on the market,” said Chris Bonelli, Chevy Design, Product and Brand Communications. “So, naturally, no one made a slide-in camper that was designed to fit. Because of this, we didn’t design or test the architecture for that specific accessory condition.”

While this statement is certainly debatable, the fact is companies like OVRLND Campers are offering slide-in campers for the Colorado as well as showing off these pickups with their slide-ins on their Instagram pages.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

@dj_mccomas first night in the new rig!

A post shared by OVRLND Camper Company (@ovrlndcampers) on

Further making things interesting is this isn’t the first time Chevy has had an issue with slide-in campers. This post on GM-Trucks.com shows a 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 with a no-slide in sticker in the glove box.

Chevy Colorado Slide-In Camper

This no slide-in camper sticker is on a 2015 GMC Sierra 1500. (Photo courtesy GM-Trucks.com post)

What about other midsize pickups?

We checked with every other manufacturer of midsize pickups, and most said you could use a slide-in camper with the longer bed option — except for the Honda Ridgeline due to lack of testing  plus the fact the trunk has a max weight of 300 pounds per the owner’s manual.

In fact, Toyota and Ford both sent us pictures proudly showing off their Tacoma and Ranger pickups with slide-in campers and both directed us to Four Wheel Campers to see their product options.

Toyota Tacoma using the Project M slide-in camper from Four Wheel Campers.

The bottom line on slide-in campers

With the slide-in camper products available for sale and every other midsize pickup saying a slide-in camper is just fine, this leaves Chevy customers wondering if they should ignore the slide-in camper sticker.

However, the danger in doing so is rather risky. For the owner we talked about in the beginning, he is out several thousand dollars replacing the frame on his truck. Since he had the slide-in camper, Chevy denied his warranty claim and the insurance company said no as well since he didn’t follow the manufacturer’s recommendation not to use a slide-in camper.

Are you willing to take the risk?

Related posts:

2021 Chevrolet Colorado brings key changes to popular offering

5 overlooked features on 2020 Honda Ridgeline

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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8 Comments

  1. Brandon October 1, 2020

    Really strange. Just seems like a way for GM to avoid liability. Yes it is easy to overload a midsize with a camper but there are many great options out there for mid size campers.

    Reply
  2. The Wiff November 11, 2020

    Finally a straight answer on the Colorado/Camper question!!!! Well this seals the deal. My Colorado was the first Chevy I ever bought and will be the last (had Rangers prior to this) Before it’s asked: No the new Ranger wasn’t out when I bought it.

    Can’t wait until this is paid off and can go back to a real truck.

    Reply
  3. bob December 17, 2020

    Ovrldn Camper is not slide in, it is rail mounted and weighs 300lbs. The pictured, Project M, 4 Wheel Camper is also rail mounted. Given these glaring misstatements, not sure how much of anything in this article is to be believed. Just say’n.

    Reply
  4. issadiesel December 26, 2020

    The Alu Cab Canopy Camper is not a slide in camper its rail mounted camper shell with a pop up tent.

    Reply
    1. issadiesel December 26, 2020

      Just to be clear the Alu Cab Khaya is a slide in camper but the Alu Cab Canopy Camper isn’t.

      Reply
  5. Andre January 4, 2021

    Jaw dropped when I read this and have been pulling my hair out ever since. Just recently bought a used 2017 Colorado Diesel with every intentions to use it with my light weight slide-in camper. (1000 lbs dry). Now im thinking ill have to sell it. I mean i can live with rolling the dice with not having my own damages covered but you all know damn well that if you caused an accident with the camper on and the insurance company caught wind of the fact that you drove it against manufacturers recommendations theyd take you to the cleaners!!

    Reply
  6. Peter Hirst January 18, 2021

    Makes no sense as Tacoma payload is only 2/3rds of the Colorado’s?

    Reply
  7. Tom Powell March 6, 2021

    you what else doesn’t work with a camper — it is the brand new chevy silverado 3500. The bed wasn’t wide enough for our lance 1130. Also the plug is right at the narrowest part and you can’t plug the caper in there. So you have to plug it in at the back which then makes the truck think it is pulling a trailer — setting off an endless series of warning bells while you are driving. They couldn’t have engineered this truck any worse for a camper. The satellite antenna is non operational with the camper on. And on top of all that when you take the tailgate off the side cameras don’t work and your screen goes dead. This truck was designed for a trailer NOT a camper.

    Reply

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