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Truck Campers 

The Ultimate in Small RVs

Looking for a small RV? You might want to investigate truck campers - especially if you already own a pickup truck!

There's a whole range of models. Some are small and basic.

small fiberglass truck camper

Some have one or two slide-outs to increase living space.

truck camper with slideout

The largest can sleep up to 7 people, and may include a full kitchen, dinette, storage space, a bathroom and even a "basement"!

One nice thing about these small RVs is that you just pull into your campsite, and you are set. There's nothing to unhitch and - on a standard model - nothing to assemble. You are ready to enjoy yourself!

truck camper in campsite

Lighter models are great for backroad exploring, too!


They are easy to drive.

There's no significant difference between driving a small truck camper and driving a pickup. Backing up is simple, compared to backing a travel trailer or fifth wheel.

newer truck camper

They are easy to set up.

When you get to your campsite, your home-away-from-home is all ready!

You don't have to unhitch as you do with a travel trailer or fifth wheel, and you don't have to set it up as you do with a pop up tent trailer.

They can be removed from the truck.

You can take the camper off the truck and leave it set up on its jacks, allowing you to use the truck while leaving the camper behind.

truck camper on jacks

Since this takes a certain amount of work, you probably won't want to do it on a short camping trip.

If you're staying at the same campsite for some length of time, though, this is a nice feature - and a definite plus when compared with other types of small motorhomes.

You can tow another unit.

Truck campers are very popular with people who need to tow something behind a vehicle.

truck camper towing trailer

Going fishing? Hunting? Sledding? Boating?

truck camper towing boat

Bring along your boat (or ATV, or gear, or snowmobile) AND have a place to sleep too!


They are crowded

There is not a lot of space for a family in one of these units!

They have limited storage space

You'll have to leave the non-essentials at home. Every item that you do bring will need to be compact, reliable and functional - like this RV Mini Dish Drainer and Tray.

They may leak

This is an issue mainly with older models. If you are thinking about buying a used unit, be sure to check carefully for signs of water damage.

Could this really work for a family?

Our good friends - mom, dad, and two children aged 6 and 8 - spent a whole year living and traveling in their homemade camper. They loved it!

Yes, it was crowded. But the togetherness they enjoyed more than made up for any inconveniences. They can't wait to do it again!

They found found that the lack of storage space actually became an advantage.

Since they could bring only a few possessions, they really learned what they valued and needed - and what they didn't. They found that they actually didn't really need much of what they thought was essential!

Things to know before you buy

Most older models - especially those made in North America - are made of wood, with aluminum siding, fiberglass insulation and wooden interior paneling.

truck camper with aluminum siding

These can be very heavy! Depending on the size of your camper and your truck, you might need to add air bags or extra leaf springs to your truck to support the extra weight.

Heavy units will require adjustments in  your driving. The unit may sway side to side, and you'll go more slowly on hills.

Many of the wood frame models have issues with leaking, too.

Newer models may be constructed with fiberglass side panels. Some have aluminum frames. Others may have foam core-laminated panels and no frame at all.

fiberglass sided truck camper

These can be much lighter, and don't have the same same leakage problems. A one-piece rubber or aluminum roof, available on many new models, further eliminates the risk of leaks.

Bigfoot truck campers are made completely of fiberglass. They are lightweight and easily repaired.

Pop up truck campers

Pop up campers are another option. These units collapse down for traveling and up for living.

row of popo up truck campers

Since they don't push as much air when driving, they have better fuel economy than the regular models.

The bottom line

If you own a pickup truck and if you are comfortable in close quarters, a truck camper may be for you.

Now that you know about truck campers, visit this page to learn about other types of RV campers.

Visit The Camping Family home page for help with everything to do with your next camping trip.

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