What is a truck camper? | All you need to know

What is a truck camper? | All you need to know

silverado truck camper

What is a truck camper?

A truck camper is a vehicle mounted camp trailer. It's designed to be attached to, and towed behind, a pickup truck. The basic idea is simple: Take the comfort of home with you on your travels. While many use it as an extra bedroom for guests or family members, they are often used in combination with a tent for camping trips where extended stays are required or unwanted.

How far away are you willing to travel?

This will all depend on what you want from a truck camper. How far from home are you willing to travel? Truck campers can be as large as a small RV. You can tow it behind anything from a full-size pick up truck to a subcompact pickup truck.

How much do truck campers weigh?

The average truck camper weighs roughly 2,600 lbs. This weight is distributed over a truck's average weight of 3,500-4,000 lbs. towing capacity. This means you have a 1,000 -1,600 lbs. of weight left for your personal things (clothes, tools, food supplies). Keep in mind that this is an average weight. Depending on what type of truck camper you buy and what year it was manufactured will make a difference in how much weight you are allowed to carry on the truck camper itself; some can only accommodate 100 lbs., others 500-800 lbs., etc. Be sure to verify this with your dealer when buying or leasing a truck camper so there will be no surprises later down the road if they don't allow any cargo onboard.

A 2021 Ford F-150 weighs 4,069 to 5,697 lbs depending on the model you choose. This truck is also able to tow 5,000 to 11,300 lbs.

How to choose the perfect camper for your truck

This is kind of easy to do. First, you will need to check with your dealer about the maximum weight they allow on your truck. Some trucks won't let you tow anything heavier than 1,500 lbs., so don't be surprised if they tell you such. You can then determine how much cargo or items that will fit inside the camper and still allow for enough fuel and space for other things like food, clothes, etc. An empty camper can weigh anywhere from 1800 lbs to 5000 lbs. depending on which one you choose to purchase.

When it comes to choosing an actual model of a truck camper, there are many variables involved, not just price and size; here's what I mean:

Size - A small truck bed is going to hold a smaller sized camper. For example, if you have a small truck with a 6' bed, then you are going to be able to fit in the smallest camper; of course there are also smaller sized truck campers out there that people can choose from. If you have a big truck with an 8' or 9' bed, then it's safe to say that your camper should be at least 8 ft. long. Most RVs/campers on the market today come in two widths: 6' and 7'. You can get them longer than this if you really want, but most people go for one of these two sizes simply because they fit their truck best. Older models used to all be 5'-6" wide because they were meant for a standard truck bed, but today you can get smaller campers that will fit in a half-ton truck.

This also applies to the height of your camper because if it is too high, then you might not be able to open up your tailgate all the way or even at all! If this is the case, then consider lowering or removing the hitch portion of your bed extender so that you aren't driving around with an awkward bumper sticking out. Some custom bed extenders even have hinges on them so that they fold away when not in use. This option won't work for everyone but it's something to think about if yours doesn't already come with this option.

Price - the price of a camper will vary a lot depending on the brand. The price for a truck camper is usually anywhere from $3,000-$30,000+You will want to consider how much you are willing to spend and also if you'll be able to keep this camper for years or if it's only temporary. In my personal opinion, the more money that you spend on your camper, the better quality it will be over time since cheaper campers tend to have cheaper materials used in them. But I realize not everyone has thousands of dollars to invest into their new camping "toy" so don't think that all cheap campers are bad products.

What about Tie-Down Equipment?

Tie-down equipment is essential if you choose to tow a truck or flat bed camper. The problem with these is that they tend to "whip" and can cause serious damage if not secured properly. In addition, the action of having to secure your campers while driving on windy days could be extremely inconvenient.

Winch Equipment?

This is probably the best way to go for many owners simply because it's faster than tie-down equipment and less hassle than using a fifth wheel. Most winches are rated quite powerful enough for this task, making it very convenient in off road situations where you may need more pull power at times but do not want the inconvenience of a 5th wheel or camper shell.

Which tires are best for truck camper?

Tire are one of the most important things that you will probably be dealing with, especially when it comes to safety and performance. The tires on your truck are a huge factor in how safe and controllable your vehicle is in different conditions. Understanding tire sizing will help you make decisions when purchasing new or used tires for your truck camper.

There's even an option to have the best of both worlds: a bed extender that stays attached to the cab at all times! This type of thing can really add convenience, not just by making room for the family dog in back but also by providing plenty of extra space inside the cab, where before there was none. You don't want to spend off-road time wrestling with tie downs and trying not to damage what you're carrying on the outside. And you don't want to be bothered with loading and unloading all your gear when that time comes.

Here are some ideas for achievable projects through which you can make a truck camper the perfect home away from home:
  1. Make sure it fits properly in your truck, including having sufficient clearance between the top of the cab and roof of the camper; measure so there is no scraping or banging as you drive over bumps and dips.
  2. Improving gas mileage: If you drive a stick shift, and your truck camper has an automatic transmission (as an auxiliary transmission), learn how to use it.
  3. Stabilize the camper: You may want to get a leveling system for your truck so that when you set up camp, you will have a level home.
  4. Keep your refrigerator happy : Truck refrigerators require no electricity to operate properly. Their compressors run on engine exhaust heat or propane. Do not be afraid of using one of these systems during overnight pit stops at rest areas or off-road near campsites; however, there are some safety precautions that should be taken into consideration, outlined in the popular book " Truck Camping for Dummies ".
  5. Add a water supply: A camper made for living will need some good drinking water; luckily there is usually plenty of fresh water around a campsite. Use an auxiliary reservoir or install a permanent tank with a hose connection on the outside and fill up before heading out to camp. A self-regulating pump will automatically turn off when full and cut off at empty which will save you time and money.

Here is a list of truck campers and their weight

Camper Name Estimated Dry Weight
Northstar 850SC 1,785 lbs
NuCamp Cirrus 820 2,540 lbs
Northstar Arrow 8.5 U 2,480 lbs
Bigfoot 25C9.4SB 2,980 lbs
Lance TC 825 with Bathroom 1,837 lbs
Alaskan Cabover 6.5 Hard-Sided Pop Up 1,390 lbs
Adventurer 80RB with Bathroom 1,757 lbs
Northern Lite 8-11EX WET 2,650 lbs
Lance 865 Short-Bed 2,012 lbs
Travel Lite Rayzr Fb 1,070 lbs
Lance 995 Long-Bed 3,354 lbs
Palomino HS-2910 3,493 lbs
Northstar 9.5 Igloo 2,900 lbs
Lance 1172 Long Bed 4174 lbs

Here are some truck camper floor plans

Lance has been winning many awards for many years. Below i will be showing the floorplans of four of their best truck campers.

Benefits of getting a truck camper

There are many benefits to owning a truck camper. Below is a list of some of these benefits:

  1. There are many benefits to owning a truck camper. Below is a list of some of these benefits:
  2. You won't have to stay in the campground's restroom for showers since they come with their own toilets and/or bathtubs Plus, some even have water heaters that keep the water hot 24/7.
  3. Some people claim it makes traveling more fun when you're not crowded into a tiny motorhome or trailer.
  4. It can be pulled by small trucks. This has to do with the truck camper being super lightweight because of its shell being made from aluminum instead of wood like other campers. They don't weigh much so whatever vehicle you put them on will have no problem.
  5. They have more storage space than many campers and RVs.
  6. You're able to take a nap in one almost anywhere
  7. They offer amazing views from the height they sit at. If you have ever been in a truck, then you know how high your view is off the ground versus an average car or sedan.
  8. It's easy to see out of since there are no obstructions like window frames like other campers and motorhomes have. The windows are curved and tall, so it offers good visibility when backing up. Plus, everything has to be installed perfectly into the top of a truck camper because if something isn't straight then all the lines will look crooked, causing your camper to look instantly unappealing and even tacky.
  9. You will be able to park a truck camper in small spaces. You can even park on level ground without having to bother with the height. The camper sits low enough that you don't have to worry about hitting the roof or anything like that.
  10. There is no worrying about clearance issues when it comes time to get into a campsite. Everything in a truck camper has been designed differently so there are very few problems that pop up when you try and back into your parking space at night. Also, if you did have any clearance issues, then just hit the gas and ride over whatever little thing stands in your way! You won't hurt anything because of how strong they are built (and I mean this literally).
  11. You can go off-roading without causing any damage to your truck.
  12. You will be able to park a truck camper in small spaces. You can even park on level ground without having to bother with the height. The camper sits low enough that you don't have to worry about hitting the roof or anything like that.
  13. There is no worrying about clearance issues when it comes time to get into a campsite. Everything in a truck camper has been designed differently so there are very few problems that pop up when you try and back into your parking space at night. Also, if you did have any clearance issues, then just hit the gas and ride over whatever little thing stands in your way! You won't hurt anything because of how strong they are built (and I mean this literally).
  14. You can go off-roading without causing any damage to your truck.

Different Types of Truck Campers

There are a couple different types of truck campers on the market today. Below are a list of the most popular ones and a little info about each one:

  • Hard-Side Truck Campers - Hard-side truck campers are very strong, durable and offer dry camping for two people all in one package. Not to mention they will cost you more money than soft-side options because they take up more room in your cab (i.e.: 8' bed trucks need 12' camper). These models are equipped with everything you could possibly want or need while out exploring, including: stove / refrigerator / microwave / radio / television antenna (not included) etc... The only downfall I can think of is that they give you less space than soft-sided options combined with lower.
  • Soft-Side Truck Campers - these offer less space for your money than hard-side truck campers, and they are usually lighter. This means that you can go over more terrain (rocky, steep) but at the same time it is easier to tear one of these up if you're not careful. They have a screen as opposed to glass windows so don't expect as much privacy. Soft-siders can take lots of abuse but it is hard to find one that meets every possible need you might have while on the road. These make great weekend trailers and overnighters as well as a way to get out into nature with your favorite dogs.
  • Pop-Up Truck Campers - these are very user-friendly, with less rooftop space than the hard or soft side models. They are the smallest of all types and require little to no maintenance. There is very little equipment needed for this type of camper to work. You only need a truck bed and a hitch that you will need to purchase separately. These campers can be set up in seconds and folded in just as fast.
  • High profile pop-up campers are designed for comfort, with more space inside compared to other models. The roof's height is the same level as the trucks cab, which allows passengers to enter and exit comfortably and easy. This style of pop up has plenty of floor space compared to others, but does not allow the user to stand.

    These styles of campers come equipped with basic amenities such as an air conditioner, heater, radio/CD player and fire extinguisher located outside near the entrance door. These units are also better suited for those who intend to use their camper regularly throughout the year, instead of only during the warm months.

    Those who intend to use their camper primarily for weekend and week-long trips will likely find these campers are not suitable. The primary decision between a pop up and other models is whether you want space or height, as well as how many times you plan on using your truck camper each year.

    Some commercial vehicles are being equipped with high profile pop up camper shells in order to allow drivers to take advantage of some creature comforts while still maintaining the functions required of the commercial vehicle they operate.

  • Flat-Bed Truck Campers - these campers are mounted on the rear of a flat-bed truck. They do not have any type of suspension built into them, and therefore can only be pulled short distances before they will begin to compromise the functionality of the truck. They are also very heavy and adding another 500 pounds to a half ton pickup can have serious consequences. Flat bed campers should never be towed over 35 mph as this can cause damage to both vehicle and camper. Very few truck owners tow these for pleasure, but there are plenty out there providing needed living space in times of disaster or other fallout emergency situations.
Conclusion

You just learned all you need to know about what a truck camper is, their benefits and how they work. Now it’s up to you whether or not this type of camping suits your needs! If so, we encourage you to contact one of our experts who can provide more information on the different brands and models available in the market today. After reading this blog post, do any questions come to mind? Are there any other interesting facts that are worth mentioning? We invite you to contact us with any questions you might have.

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