• RV Life and Living

Everything you need to know about truck campers.

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

So you are looking for a truck camper and need to know what is what? While then, you came to the right place because I just finished researching them and have everything you need to know right here. Needless to say, there are a lot of great things about truck campers when it comes to living the RV life, and I have them and the cons of truck campers listed below.

What is a truck camper, and why should you consider one?

So a truck camper or a truck bed camper is a camper that slides into the bed of a truck. It sounds really basic when I say it like that, but there are many engineering and added features that come from this design. The fact that these campers have no drive train or any real need for the typical superstructure of a traditional camper leaves many leeways for designs to be more creative. The size and layout of a truck camper are compact but laid out in ways that utilize the space so that you don't find in many small living accommodations. This feature makes them highly use full as a way to live in an urban or woodland area.

Some of the other factors that we will go into, but you should consider while reading the article.

  • Truck bed campers are good for off-roading and boondocking.

  • They work well in an urban environment because of their compact size.

  • Many have amenities that rival a full-length camper.

  • Different models will fit on a different sized truck, but not all are interchangeable.

  • A truck camper may economize on space that allows you to still use your tow hitch so you can take extra items along for the ride.

How much does a truck camper cost?

The cost of your truck camper will depend on a variety of factors that range from the size of the truck camper to the brand you are looking at. In terms of the size, you should be aware that truck campers start at 6ft but can go all the way out to an eight and half-foot with a covering hanging cab for a sleeping area, and they only go out from there. Give the progressive size difference, the amount of what is included inside will change and add to the overall cost of the camper but may just be worth it.

Another factor that will contribute quite heavily to the cost of your truck camper is the truck itself's actual cost. Do you already have a truck? What size is it? These have a bearing on the cost of the truck and the truck camper. Remember that as you get into the larger campers, you will need a larger truck to accommodate the weight, think a three quarter or one-ton truck. You are also probably looking at a dually to be able to efficiently carry a full-sized camper model. If you want more details about this, we cover further what truck is best for a truck camper section.

One ton truck and truck camper prices.

Average truck camper model cost $45,000 from RVT.com

(RVT.com. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.rvt.com/)

lowest found price was $7,495

(RVT.com. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.rvt.com/New-and-Used-Truck-Camper-RVs-For-Sale-On-RVT.com/results?type=Truck+Campers)

The most expensive was $82,499

(RVT.com. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.rvt.com/New-and-Used-Truck-Camper-RVs-For-Sale-On-RVT.com/results?type=Truck+Campers)

Years 2020 to 2021.

Dodge Ram 3500 1 ton with duel wheels and a 6.7 liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, and a gross vehicle weight of fourteen thousand is $49,040 net.

(THE POWER HAS SHIFTED. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.ramtrucks.com/)

Chevrolet Silverado 3500 1 ton 4wd dual tire, wt safety package, is $55,220 net.

(ALL-NEW. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.chevrolet.com/trucks/silverado/2500hd-3500hd)

Ford super duty f-450 with dual tires and a single cab is $50,210.

(2020 Ford® Super Duty Truck: Best-In-Class Towing. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.ford.com/trucks/super-duty/?gnav=header-all-vehicles)

Can I live in a truck camper?

Yes. A large portion of people decided to leave the once ordinary life in the suburbs behind and are beginning to live in campers, and yes, this includes truck campers. If you are going to live in a camper, then there extra considerations for both space and weight, and we have accommodated that in this article. That is also partially why the truck and the campers' information qualifies both their long-term use and how easy they would be to use during that time. This information will be made apparent throughout the article, and I hope it helps you plan your RV life.

One of the biggest considerations for living in a truck camper is the amount of space you need to live in, and I think that most truck bed campers do provide this adequate space. The thing is that the trade-off for space is often weight, both in the camper itself and for all of the items, people, and even pets that will be stored in the camper. Because of this, I highly recommend looking into a one-ton truck for use in living in a truck camper all of the time. You might make a three-quarter work, but a half-ton would just be too risky considering all of the weight that you would be putting on the back.

What is the difference between a pop-up truck camper and a hard slide-in truck camper?

The difference between a truck camper with slide-ins and a pop-up is like the difference between a travel trailer and a small pop-up camper. Both are very good, and you can use both in various ways, but they can hardly be compared outside of the fact that both are campers. A hard slide-in truck camper will have a similar construction to either a travel trailer are the fifth wheel, solid walls, and a solid roof. The walls may go in or out, but the roof will stay firmly in place as you travel or stay. A pop-up truck bed camper is exactly like a regular pop-up camper. It folds the roof down to conserve space while traveling and give the camper a sleeker profile. I'm sure that this impacts wind resistance and fuel economy for the truck you are using.

Does the type of camper affect how you live in it? Yes. A hard slide truck camper will be much easier to live in; amenities like toilets, showers, and power and pretty commonplace when it comes to the construction and design of these campers. A pop-up camper is far less Lilley to have these and is a lot more like having a semi-solid tent on the back of your truck. The one advantage that the pop-up has is that many of their models are small enough and light enough to fit on a half-ton truck. Not all but some, so it is very important to check the weight specifications in that regard.

What amenities can I get in a hard slide truck camper?

A hard slide truck camper will come with the majority of amenities that you would find in other campers like travel trailers and fifth wheel. You will often have a wet bath, but there are some models with dry baths in them. You will have some kind of kitchen setup where you will have the basics, but in larger models, you will find a full camper kitchen with a fridge, stove, and microwave. It will even have a kitchen sink for you to clean the dishes and cabinet for said dishes. There will be a small dining area of some type that you can eat at, and in some models, this may turn into a very small extra sleeping space. Then you will have your actual sleeping area, and the bed top here will range depending on the available types and models. Some hard slide campers even have extras like cleverly hidden storage or even a generator on some modes.

Now let us look at a few of these features in a little bit more detail.

Wet Bath vs. Dry Bath.

A wet bath is a bathroom that doubles as a shower. Everything in the bathroom, from the toilet to the sink, is a single mold that serves as the shower. As someone who has a dry bath in his current camper, I can say that this looks convenient compared to a dry bath in a tiny space like this. A dry bath is how you would normally think of a bathroom in your home or a trailer. The shower and bathtub is its own space with the sink and toilet being outside of that space. Keep in mind that depending on the model, the toilet and the shower will be in the bathroom, but the sink may be outside of the bathroom.


You can get a good amount of the things that you would normally find inside a kitchen inside of a normal-sized camper or even a home. You can usually find an oven, a sink, and a microwave that will all be functional. The oven will usually have two to three burners depending on the size, and both the oven and the burners will run off the same gas supply. Don't expect a huge amount of space from these, though, as they will often be designed to fit within the space given, but that isn't always practical for actually cooking.

What amenities can I get in a pop-up truck camper?

A pop-up truck camper will have some amenities but not as many as the hard slide variety. You will usually have some kind of kitchen set up, but the stove and oven and the sink are the most likely to be included. There is a toilet, but it may be detachable for when the camper folds up and closes down in some models. The amenities in a pop-up truck camper will be more limited because these are supposed to be more of a camping experience. This simplicity is by no mean a bad thing, though, because if you prefer a simpler lifestyle, than this might very well be the camper for you.

Where can I go camping in a truck camper?

Anywhere you want, Yes. A truck with four-wheel drive can go a lot of places, and there is no reason that you can't take your truck bed camper along with you for the ride. All campgrounds take truck bed campers because they are so small compared to other models, and they work well for boondocking because some have built-in generators and all of them you could pull a trailer behind that has all of the toys and equipment that you need. Ensure that if you are going boondocking that you have the right kind of truck because too much weight in the back will cause it to flip over.

The advantage of a truck camper is that you can go anywhere you want whenever you want, whether camping in the woods in the middle of summer or camping on the beach in the middle of winter. Most states have RV resorts, and some of them even rival hotels in terms of the amenities that you can get, whether that is enjoying a lake in the midwest. The desert in Nevada, or even camping next to the warmest ocean in the Florida keys. There are many great options out there, and with a truck camper, you can go ahead and explore one or all of them.

What truck is best for a truck camper.

So your choice of the truck will be a matter of personal preference, but I do have some suggestions. For one thing, you should only be looking at 250 trucks and up if you want a hard slide model. You really should be looking at 1 ton or 350 for this, but those can be expensive, so you could push it to a three-quarter truck. I would only use that absolute lightest pop-up with a 250. The weight ratio is too uncontrollable when it comes to the 250, and nobody would be happy if they flipped their truck with there home on end over end, so long story short, always make sure that your truck can take the weight of the camper.

Can I tow other things with a truck camper?

One of the best advantages that you have with a truck camper setup is that it leaves the tow hitch available to bring something along. Some people tow their boats for fishing trips while others tow trailers. A trailer can have everything in them, from living essential to dirt bikes. There isn't a limit to what you could imagine yourself towing, but there is a weight limit. Just remember as plan out your trip that you consider the camper's weight concerning what you are towing and what your truck can tow.


So we covered a lot in this article, but let's go over it real quick. One, there is a large variety of truck campers to serve your purposes. Two, the type of truck you have is just as crucial as the camper that goes on the back. Three, if you are looking for an effective and convenient means of living the RV life but don't quite now what model to go with, then the truck because of space or towing capacity, then a truck bed RV might just fit the bill.

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