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The truck camper is a type of RV that not many know about but is actually very easy spot. These models have a camper placed on the bed of the truck and make a great RV for boondocking and dry camping. They can be smaller or larger depending on the size of your truck’s bed. These campers can be loaded and unloaded, without impacting the number of towns, streets, and areas you can drive through.
Here’s everything you need to know about the truck camper – its specs, amenities, pros and cons, and who should buy one.
What Is a Truck Camper? – Definition
A truck camper is a compact type of RV with a special camper placed above a truck’s bed. These campers can either be hard-sided or pop-up. Some campers can fit on any truck bed size, while others will be specifically designed to fit a certain one. Travelers who own a truck camper can access and visit any places that you can reach with your truck. This advantage is particularly important, opening up a wide range of possibilities that you wouldn’t have with a larger Class A motorhome or fifth wheel trailer.
Truck Campers: Features and Specs
Truck campers are an asset if traveling to different locations is something you like doing. You can access any place you would with your truck and reach peaceful destinations that large RV owners can’t normally access. Truck camper models come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate any truck size: compact, mid-size, full-size, and heavy-duty trucks. Models can range from 8 to 20 feet in length.
Truck Camper Specs
The technical specs for standard truck camper models include:
- Storage: Ranges from moderate to high, with several storage compartments and slideouts.
- Weight: Standard models weigh between 1,500 to 3,500 pounds.
- Gas mileage: Small-sized trucks can easily achieve 14 mpg.
- Sleeping capacity: Can accommodate up to 6 people.
- Other amenities: full kitchens, try bathrooms, dinettes, TVs, king or queen-sized beds, freezers, microwaves, ovens, table and sitting areas, and more.
- Price range: Ranges from $5,000 to $60,000 for a new model, and between $2,500 and $30,000 for a used model.
Truck campers can also become a towing vehicle for extra gear, as long as there is a minimum of 350 lbs of additional payload capacity.
Truck Campers: Standard and Special Amenities
Truck campers can come in a variety of floor plans designed to cover everything you would need for a shorter or longer stay. Despite how small they may appear from the outside, these campers offer a lot o space and possibilities for customization. Standard models can include bathrooms, sleeping areas, and kitchens that can reach the size of those you’d find in a Class C RV. These models are perfect for those looking for a comfortable “tiny-living” experience.
Standard and special amenities of a standard truck camper include:
- Sleeping: Sleeping areas can accommodate up to 6 people, with slideouts that create possibilities for adding an additional bed.
- Kitchens: Truck campers can feature fully-equipped kitchens with microwaves, stoves, refrigerators, tops, sinks, and more.
- Dining Areas: Standard models feature dinette tables.
- Bathrooms: Most models allow for a variety of bathrooms and showers.
- Solar Power Setup: Some truck camper models have solar power capabilities.
- Water Tank: Hard-sided campers normally feature separate water tanks, but smaller pop-up models may not.
- Storage Space: Some models can offer ample storage, with basement compartments, and overhead and outdoor storage.
Some of the best truck camper manufacturers include Lance Camper, nuCamp, Adventurer Campers, Northern Lite, Northstar Campers, and Northwood.
Truck Campers Pros and Cons
Before jumping into the pros and cons, you have to hear a little about the difference between a hard-sided truck camper and a pop-up truck camper.
Hard-Sided Truck Campers
Hard-sided truck campers are solid and are built on bigger and more permissive floor plans. This type of truck camper can feature slideouts for extra space and can accommodate amenities like a dry shower. Some hard-sided truck campers can also feature separate black and gray water tanks.
Pop-Up Truck Campers
Pop-up campers have a roof that must be raised to use and lowered when the vehicle is moving. Because they are more compact and lightweight, these campers can access a lot more roads and areas. But because they are smaller, they may not offer as many amenities as the hard-sided truck. Some of the missing assets include:
Here are the most relevant pros of the standard truck camper models:
- Truck campers are smaller than other motorhomes and compact, thus easier to drive and maneuver.
- It saves a lot of preparation time before going on a trip.
- All the standard features you would need in a motorhome can be incorporated into a truck camper.
- Truck campers can access more locations that many Class A motorhomes wouldn’t be allowed to.
- Standard models are very easy to park.
- Can detach the camper and drive the truck without the extra load.
- Truck campers come at affordable prices and cover a wide range of amenities.
Some of the cons of owning a truck camper include:
- A suitable truck is needed to carry the weight of the camper
- The production of truck campers is quite low, meaning that you may find it difficult to find a camper that suits your truck’s build.
- Some mounting systems can be problematic as you may not be able to reuse them on other vehicles.
- Some truck camper models can be uncomfortable for taller people.
- Entering and exiting the camper can be difficult with some models.
- Some larger truck camper models can be very pricey.
Who Should Use a Truck Camper?
Truck campers are versatile and suitable for anyone who already owns a truck and enjoys the freedom of bringing their tiny home on every vacation. Small families and groups of friends are a target audience for truck campers.
Adventurers will also enjoy having the possibility to tow their extra gear. That can be ATVs, dirt bikes, and even a boat. Drivers can reach remote areas and also bring the comforts of home with them.
What Are the License Requirements to Drive a Truck Camper?
You don’t need a special driver’s license to operate a truck camper. No special license is necessary to drive any RV camper under 26,000.
What to Look for in a Truck Camper?
There are many things you should look for in a truck camper. For a start, you will have to pinpoint the requirements of your truck and how much load it can carry. Knowing which type of camper is compatible with your truck will narrow your options down.
How many sleeping places will you need? Depending on how many people will travel with you, you must look for a floor plan that features all the necessary amenities, or look for how many configuration opportunities the truck camper has available.
The size of a truck camper is also something to consider. Although smaller and more compact than other motorhomes, a truck camper can reach sizes that are still difficult to handle. If you are a first-time owner and haven’t had much experience with operating a larger vehicle, you should be looking at the more compact models that are easier to maneuver.
What Is a Truck Camper? Bottom Line
A truck camper gives travelers the opportunity to bring the necessities of a home on their trip, without having to operate a large motorhome. Although truck campers have some drawbacks, many people think they’re a terrific way to travel. They transport you to locations a massive RV could never reach while still providing many extraordinary home comforts. They might not be suitable for every traveler, but if they are, you can go on an amazing vacation that will provide you with lifelong memories.
Truck Camper: FAQs
Here’s a list of answers to what most people in your position wish to learn more about:
What does a truck camper look like?
A truck camper has a very distinctive aspect, consisting of a pop-up or hard-sided camper placed above a truck’s bed. These campers can vary in size and are highly customizable.
Who are the best truck camper manufacturers?
Lance, Palomino, Adventurer Truck Campers, Northern Lite, Northstar Campers, and Northwood are some of the most popular truck camper manufacturers.
Can you sleep in a truck camper off the truck?
Sleeping inside a truck camper after the camper has been detached from the vehicle is absolutely possible. Many campers have the ability to be detached and later reattached. They include tie-downs and turnbuckles that may be released as needed.
How much does a truck camper cost?
Prices range from $5,000 to $60,000 for a new truck camper model, and between $2,500 and $30,000 for a used one.
What is the lifespan of a truck camper?
Truck campers can last around 25 years or about 250,000 kilometers with good maintenance.
What to do with an old truck camper mode?
You can sell your truck camper directly to us, or try to make a sale yourself. You can find potential buyers on community forums or by placing an ad in the newspaper.