If you’re looking to get into the camping world, one of the most comfortable and most appealing ways is a truck bed camper. But what exactly is a truck bed camper, and are they superior to RVs?
We’ll break down everything you need to know here and help you decide if a truck bed camper is precisely what you’ve been looking for!
What Is a Truck Bed Camper?
Truck bed campers are campers that sit directly on the bed of a truck. You don’t need to tow or pull them, but you need a truck that can handle the added weight on the bed.
Truck bed campers come in a variety of sizes. Some are nothing more than a covered sleeping area, and others have bathrooms, refrigerators, and more!
While truck bed campers cover a wide array of campers, there are several different types of truck bed campers you can choose from! The two most common are popup campers and hard side campers.
Popup Truck Bed Camper
Popup campers are far more limited than most truck bed campers. They don’t offer any insulation, and they don’t typically provide any amenities outside of a place to sleep. However, they are easy to set up and come at a much lower price.
However, most people looking for truck bed campers are looking for a little more luxury with a hard side truck bed camper.
Hard Side Truck Bed Camper
Hard side truck bed campers are what most people think about when they think of a truck bed camper. These campers come with hard sides and typically have insulation for added comfort.
Depending on how much you spend, hard side truck bed campers can come with tons of features.
You can find bathrooms, cooking areas, dinettes, and more in a hard-side truck bed camper. These campers typically cost a little more, but you can still remove them from the truck, and they provide a far more comfortable setup.
Removable vs. Attached Truck Bed Campers
All popup truck bed campers are removable. However, if you get a hard side truck bed camper, there are two different styles you can get, removable or attached.
Removable campers are campers you can take off your truck’s bed when you get to your destination or when you’re home. Removable campers are the most common and since they are removable they are often more convenient for those who want to use their truck for more than just camping.
However, attached campers are common for those that are looking to only use their truck for camping. These truck bed campers attach to the bed of the truck, and you cannot remove them.
While this seems like a disadvantage, one of the perks is you don’t have to exit the vehicle to get into the camper. If you’re looking to slide in and out of the camper while on your adventure, it’s insanely easy.
What Is the Best Truck Bed Camper?
Finding the best truck bed camper really depends on what you’re looking for. With such a wide array of options available, there’s really no one set answer. Still, we’ll break down a few of the best options so you can find a truck bed camper that fits your needs!
Best Simple Truck Bed Camper
You don’t always need the most decked out camper on the market. But if you’re looking for a great camper with minimal features, the Capri Cowboy Long Bed camper is a great choice.
Priced at under $8,000 for a brand new 2021 camper, it’s one of the most affordable ways to get into the game.
It comes with tons of electrical outlets, lighting options, customizable color schemes, extra storage, and an excellent ventilation system. They do have optional upgrades for refrigerators, AC units, sinks, and blackout shades.
Even if you upgrade to the premium package and add a couple of optional add-ons, like a cooktop, it’s still a great deal.
Best Deal for a Truck Bed Camper
If you have a little more money to spend and want a great deal on a premium camper, the Wolf Creek Camper 840 is an outstanding choice. It has an oven, a sink, a wet bath, a climate control system equipped with a thermostat, television, and so much more!
While the base price is close to $20,000, for what you’re getting, it’s a great deal. Furthermore, it’s far cheaper than an RV or fifth wheel but offers many of the same amenities.
Most Luxurious Truck Bed Camper
If you’re looking for a truck bed camper and cost is not a concern, this is precisely what you want. It starts at $490,000, but it comes with the truck you pull it with.
It has a 900-mile range and can hold up to 12,000 watts of power between charges. Even better, charging this model is as easy as it could be with 1,320 watts gained through solar power.
But what really sets this truck bed camper apart is the luxury options. With a wet bath, an indoor kitchen, an outdoor grill, a television, and easy access to the driver’s cab, there’s not another truck bed camper that comes close to this one!
DIY Truck Bed Campers
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking for an ultra-basic truck bed camper, the best option is to build one yourself. You can build your own truck bed camper for under $1,000 if you don’t want a ton of features.
However, even if you’re looking for a few extra features, the most cost-effective way is to embrace DIY and build the features you like best.
Why Buy a Truck Bed Camper?
Truck bed campers have a ton of advantages and an avid following. It’s not hard to see why. Most truck bed campers are far more affordable than other camper or RV options. Furthermore, it’s incredibly convenient to have your sleeping arrangements attached to your vehicle.
While many places won’t allow you to tow campers or RVs to sleep in overnight, very few places limit truck bed campers.
If you’re looking to break your way into the camping world, one of the most cost-effective ways to do it is with a truck bed camper, especially if you already have a ½ truck or bigger!
Added Perks of a Truck Bed Camper
While space and the price are the primary reason most people purchase a truck bed camper, they offer a few additional perks that owners love! While many people buy a truck bed camper for the lower price tag, they keep them for the added convenience.
Fit in Regular Parking Spots
First, truck bed campers fit in almost any parking spot in the United States. While most truck bed campers will extend the sides of your truck bed a bit, it’s typically nominal.
Because truck bed campers easily fit into parking spots at Walmart, smaller gas stations, and generally any rest stop you may encounter! All of this makes traveling easier than ever!
Lasts Longer and Has Lower Maintenance Costs
Truck bed campers don’t have wheels or engines, which means they break down far slower than RVs. In fact, it’s not uncommon to move a truck bed camper from truck to truck because they last so long.
If you’re looking to make your truck bed camper last, you must take care of it. Whenever possible, park them inside when you’re not camping and keep up on the little maintenance jobs that crop up here and there to ensure issues don’t become a big problem that takes longer to fix!
Even with small issues cropping up, they are far cheaper to maintain than a full-sized RV.
Easy to Store
Speaking of storing your truck bed camper, they are straightforward to store. Many truck bed campers are removable, and once you take them off, you can easily store them in your garage to protect them from the elements.
This means you don’t have to worry about a camper sitting in your driveway throughout the year, but you’ll still have easy access whenever you want to use it!
Furthermore, if you don’t have anywhere to store a camper, you can leave it on the back of your truck, so it’s never in the way!
You Can Still Tow!
Just because there’s a truck bed camper attached to the bed of your truck doesn’t mean you can’t tow things. Just remember you’ll need a truck that can handle the combined weight of the truck bed camper and the rolling weight of the equipment you’re towing.
Having the ability to tow things in addition to your camper makes truck bed campers an excellent choice for those looking to visit lakes with their boat! If your truck can handle the added weight, it’s a great way to hit the open road and get wherever you need!
Easier to Take on Off-Road Adventures!
While you can’t take a truck bed camper everywhere, if you have a 4WD truck, it’s far easier to get off the pavement and explore the wilderness than it is with any other style camper.
Whether you’re looking to make a romantic meal at the top of a mountain or explore the desert wilderness, truck bed campers make a great choice for exploring the great outdoors!
RVs are expensive, and so is RV insurance. But insurance for truck bed campers is a little different. Depending on your state, you might not even need to buy insurance for a truck bed camper.
However, some states do require truck bed camper insurance, and if you have a valuable truck bed camper, it’s worth the money.
Still, even if you insure your truck bed camper, it’s far cheaper than insurance for a regular camper or RV.
Pros and Cons
While there are tons of perks to a truck bed camper, they aren’t the perfect solution for everybody. We’ll break down some of the pros and cons here to help you make your decision!
Pros of a Truck Bed Camper
If you’re looking for a truck bed camper, it’s probably because you want to travel and enjoy the open road and the great outdoors. Truck bed campers are a great way to do this without breaking the bank.
This is especially true if you already own the truck you need, but even if you need to purchase a ½ truck or larger, it’s often still a great deal.
Furthermore, many truck bed campers are fully removable, making them easier to transport and giving you access to a pickup truck when you’re at home or the campsite.
Moreover, truck bed campers are typically far more cost-effective to use than most tow campers or RVs. This is because truck bed campers usually use less fuel than a regular camper or RV.
Furthermore, most campsites will charge you less for a truck bed camper due to their smaller size than a larger camper you have to tow.
Having a more affordable camper dramatically increases the chances you’ll use it more often year after year. It might even let you fit in an extra vacation or weekend trips throughout the year!
The last thing you want is to purchase the RV of your dreams only to leave it in the driveway because you can’t afford to drive it!
Finally, removable truck bed campers offer a huge advantage when you get to the campsite. All you need to do is lower the camper jacks, and you can drive your truck around without your camper when you get there!
You can leave your camper at the campground and hit the open road to explore everything the area has to offer! This is a massive advantage over a traditional RV, which is so large and bulky, that it’s cumbersome to use to explore the local areas.
- Lower cost – especially if you already have a truck
- Easier to transport
- More cost-effective to use
- Some models are removable from the truck
- It gives you a truck when you get to the campsite (with removable campers)
Cons of a Truck Bed Camper
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies with a truck bed camper. While they offer many great perks, there are a few drawbacks you need to be aware of. First, truck bed campers are small compared to most tow campers and even popup campers.
They need to fit onto your truck, so they don’t have a lot of space to work with. Furthermore, they typically only extend a little past the top of your truck, which means you likely won’t be able to stand up in the truck bed camper without hitting your head.
If you’re a little claustrophobic, a truck bed camper might not be right for you. Furthermore, while one of the perks of a truck bed camper is how compact they are, it also acts as a significant deterrent.
It doesn’t matter how creative you get with space; there are only so many amenities you can pack in before you run out of space. Because of this, most truck bed campers have a limited number of amenities.
Furthermore, only the largest truck bed campers have the best amenities like flushable toilets and showers. This means if you’re looking for a truck bed camper that can handle everything, you’ll likely need a 3/4 ton truck or larger to get the job done. Even then, you’ll only have a limited towing capacity unless you purchase an even larger truck.
Another feature of limited space is that most truck bed campers don’t have space for more than three people, and privacy inside the camper is pretty much impossible. This makes truck bed campers great for couples, but they have limited functionality for just about everyone else.
Finally, while most truck bed campers have a reasonable price tag if you don’t have a ½ truck or larger to tow them around, the cost jumps – especially if you get a larger camper and need a ¾ truck. While you’ll need a truck for most tow campers too, it’s a cost you need to factor in when making your decision.
- You need a large truck to mount and transport the truck bed camper
- Space is limited – especially vertical space
- Not as many amenities as larger campers
- Limited sleeping arrangements
If you’re looking for one of the most affordable ways to hit the open road and start your adventure, a truck bed camper might be exactly what you’ve been looking for!
You get a truck bed camper stuffed full of amenities for a fraction of the cost of an RV, and the price for traveling with them is insanely affordable! If you’re looking to crisscross the country and not break the bank, a truck bed camper is precisely what you need to go where you want!
So, what are you waiting for? Find your perfect truck bed camper today and hit the road!