Truck Camping

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Truck Camping

Truck camping is a quick way to get to the great outdoors when you don't have a lot of time to set up.  Truck camping can be as simple as throwing a sleeping bag in the truck bed and sleep under the stars to a truck tent or all the way with a full camper with air conditioning.  The styles can vary greatly in cost the closer to civilization you get.  Have a SUV, that is OK this page is written for you too.

One advantage to this style camping is there are a great many more locations to get to that would be otherwise inaccessible by car, camping trailer or motor home.  If the truck has 4-wheel drive, the locations are virtually endless.  Truck camping is very popular with sportsman who go out overnight in to remote locations.

Different Truck Camping Styles


A step up is a truck camper that can sleep up to 4 people, with a small kitchen and eating area.  Similar to a Pop-Up Trailer, you are protected from the elements.  As with anything, they have evolved over the years being equipped with many of the amenities that travel, 5th wheelers and RV’s have.  Price range is $6,000.00 to $55,000 depending on size and the extras you desire.  This is perfect for people who do a lot of traveling.

Two people can sleep in the area over the cab.  The table drops down, making room for two more people.  The truck will need to be at least a 3/4 ton model to handle the extra weight and overhang of the camper over the cab of the truck.  Care is need when mounting and removing the camper from the truck.  Depending on the age of the camper, may be equipped with hydraulic jacks, which makes this task much easier.  Especially if you are at a campsite, you can easily leave the camper there if you want to go somewhere.  Once mounted on truck, double check seals, windows, doors etc. for possible leakage.  It is recommended to store the camper when not in use in a covered area, at the same height as when the camper is on your truck.

Tent / Truck Tent

This is the next step from Truck Camper, not up but flexibility and more economical.  The number of poles and how it is secured is the only difference between this type of tent and a regular tent.  Storage and maintenance is the same as regular tents.  These are easier to store in your garage in a storage bag.  Less expensive ranging $125 to $500, this is in the same range for tents that setup on the ground.  Design the same as regular tents, with window, storage pockets and floor, the only drawback is that it only has room for two people.

The more expensive design is a Pop-Up Tent, which fit in the bed of the truck.  Sleeps 4, comes with built in storage, folding down level to the top of the bed.  Priced at $4,000 to $5,000 depending on design and not available for all trucks.

Air Mattress

For comfort of sleeping, one should have a sleeping pad and for extreme comfort consider an air mattress designed for the back of the truck.  You may not think you need the extra padding under you sleeping bag but you wake up the first morning you will change your mind.

Of course, if you have more the two people or want to store your equipment in the back of your truck.  You will use a regular tent.  For more on this choice refer to our Tent Camping.

Truck Top Conversion

This is self-explanatory, just like converting a Van to Van Camper; you can convert the back of a truck.  You have to take your time deciding just what you want when you are done.  If you are going use the truck strictly for camping, you can really have a nice setup complete with electric wire from you truck.

Packing for your Truck Camping trip

Truck Camping is similar to Van camping in regards to the amount of room for sleeping and the amount of food and other camping equipment you bring.  If you have a Truck Camper, it is very much like a Van or Pop-Up Trailer, just mounted in your truck bed. While bringing along everything you think you will need, remember that most equipment needs to be removed to make room for sleeping arrangements.  This is especially true if you have a Truck Tent.

The cooking equipment you bring along with you will work out best if you have a good supply of clean water in which to wash all utensils after every meal.  The camp stove should be small enough to pack away or fit under the truck at night.

Choosing your campsite

Truck Camping Tent

When pulling up to a prospective campsite, first locate where you will be cooking and building a campfire.  Make sure to park the truck 20 feet away from either of these two locations.  A common sense approach to parking your vehicle should include not parking near streams or areas that could be natural drain ways for rainwater as this could be a problem later if a storm comes up and the vehicle is stuck.  Try to elevate the cab portion slightly as any moisture that collects in the bed of the truck will drain away naturally towards the tailgate.

Make sure that all food and ice chests will fit in the cab of the truck at night.  Leaving coolers and other items on the ground are just going to attract night visitors in search of a good meal.  If this is not possible, create an area approx. 10 feet off the ground so that the food can be suspended from such as a rope between two trees.

If you have any questions about different models available, please email us using the Contact Us button on this page. 

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