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Why A Truck Bed Camper Is Making A Comeback

truck bed camper on road with sunset

Table of Contents

Have you noticed more truck bed campers on the road? In recent years, you might have seen an increase in the popularity of truck bed campers. These versatile, compact additions to your pickup truck are making a comeback for a number of reasons.

More campers than ever are searching for freedom and flexibility in travel. With a truck bed camper, you can easily access free camping on public lands, often unreachable for traditional RVs or trailers. You no longer need to compromise convenience or comfort, as these campers offer a wide range of amenities, making them the perfect solution for those seeking the best of both worlds. Keep reading to learn more about why truck campers are a popular choice right now!

Why Truck Campers Are Increasing In Popularity

You might be wondering why truck campers are making a comeback. It’s because they offer several advantages over traditional RVs and other camping options. If you love the great outdoors but want to take your adventures to the next level, a truck bed camper could be the perfect choice for you and your customers.

Truck campers bring the convenience of an RV without sacrificing the off-road capabilities of a 4×4 truck. Thanks to their compact size and easy maneuverability, they allow you to navigate challenging terrain and reach remote destinations that larger RVs simply cannot.

Fuel economy is another reason why truck campers appeal to adventure-seekers. Generally, you’ll experience better fuel efficiency with a truck camper compared to hauling a larger RV. Saving on fuel costs means you can allocate more of your budget to creating new adventures and exciting experiences.

Moreover, the growing number of innovative designs and features cater to a wide range of needs and preferences. From pop-up campers for off-roading to larger units with all the comforts of home, the variety available makes truck campers suitable for both weekend getaways and extended trips.

Finally, there’s a greater level of freedom and flexibility when traveling in a truck camper. When you arrive at your camping destination, it’s easy to remove the camper and then use your truck for sightseeing or running errands without having to pack up your entire campsite like with drivable Class A, Class B, or Class C RVs. This convenience is a major benefit for those campers who enjoy more spontaneous and carefree adventures.

pop-up truck bed camper in campsite

What Is Considered A Truck Camper?

A truck bed camper, also referred to as a pickup camper, offers a range of advantages for outdoor enthusiasts. This type of recreational vehicle is specifically designed to fit snugly into the bed of a pickup truck, providing a versatile and convenient option for travel and camping. The compact and lightweight nature of truck bed campers enables easy transport and parking, allowing adventurers to access remote and scenic locations with ease. These campers often come equipped with home-style conveniences and amenities, such as a kitchen, bed, dining space, and bathroom, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience. With their combination of mobility, functionality, and affordability, truck bed campers are a popular choice for those seeking adventure on the open road.

There are various types of truck campers to suit your needs, depending on your preferences and requirements. The two main types include stationary and removable bed campers for trucks. Stationary models are permanently attached to the truck bed, while removable options can be slid into place and removed as needed.

One of the unique features of many truck campers is the cabover loft section, which is located above the truck’s cab. This additional space typically includes a bed or sleeping area. However, not all campers for pickups come with this feature, so you will have to consider whether it’s essential for your needs.

When choosing a camper for your truck, it’s important to think about the size and weight of the camper in relation to your truck’s payload capacity. Many truck campers offer a compact living space with comfortable features like a small kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area. This makes them the perfect choice for adventurers who want to travel light while exploring different areas.

Why Buy a Truck Bed Camper?

There are many reasons you might consider purchasing a truck bed camper for your next camping adventure. First, truck bed campers, also known as pickup campers, provide a compact and easy-to-use option for exploring the outdoors. With a smaller footprint than most traditional RVs or trailers, you’ll find it much easier to maneuver in tight spaces and park in most locations without taking up more than two parking spots.

Another fantastic benefit of a truck bed camper, such as a cabover camper, is the ability to detach it from your truck. This allows you to set up your campsite while still being able to use your vehicle for whatever you like without the need to pack up the entire camper each time you want to go somewhere.

A popular model of truck bed campers is the pop-up truck camper. These campers offer the benefit of a lower height profile when driving and can be expanded to provide a spacious living and sleeping area when you’re parked. Pop-up truck campers can also be lighter-weight and easier to drive.

Lastly, truck bed campers are often more affordable than larger RV options, making them a great choice for adventurers on a budget. Plus, you just can’t beat having your sleeping arrangements attached to your vehicle for convenience and comfort.

For a compact, versatile, and budget-friendly option, a truck bed camper, like a cabover or pop-up camper, could be the perfect choice for your next camping adventure.

Pros And Cons Of Truck Bed Campers

There are many pros and cons to consider when deciding if a truck camper is the right choice. Let’s jump into the details so you know if this is the best fit for you or your customers.

Benefits Of Truck Campers

Truck bed campers offer several advantages, including the ability to save on fuel costs due to their smaller size compared to traditional campers or towable RVs. Their compact nature also allows for easier maneuvering and parking, making them an excellent option for those who want to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations.

When it comes to living space, truck bed campers often have creative design solutions to maximize the available area. For instance, many models come equipped with a queen-size bed and a living area that can be converted into additional sleeping quarters if needed. Having a rooftop tent on some models can also provide extra sleeping or storage space as an added bonus.

Another benefit of truck bed campers is their ability to offer amenities such as a wet bath and solar panels. Wet baths are common in these vehicles due to space restrictions, but they provide a convenient means of freshening up while on the road. On the other hand, solar panels can be a great addition for those who want to camp off-grid and require a source of renewable energy.

Moreover, the resurgence in truck bed camper popularity can be attributed to practical concerns like fuel efficiency, easier maneuverability, and being more environmentally friendly. With the ever-growing trend towards minimalist living and adventures, embracing a truck bed camper makes sense for those looking to connect with nature without sacrificing essential comforts.

Drawbacks Of Truck Campers

While truck campers offer many benefits, it’s important to consider their potential limitations. One drawback of truck campers is their limited storage space due to their compact design. This means you’ll need to carefully plan and organize your belongings, especially for longer trips. Additionally, accommodating more than two people in the camper can be challenging, as the compact size may not provide ample space for larger groups. It’s essential to assess your specific travel needs and the number of people you plan to accommodate to determine if a truck camper is the right choice for you

hard sided truck bed camper in campsite

Top Truck Bed Camper Features

As truck bed campers make a comeback, it’s helpful to know the top features to consider in these compact vehicles. Here are some of the main features that make truck bed campers a popular choice right now for traveling:

  • Kitchen amenities: Truck bed campers often come equipped with a two-burner gas stove, sometimes also a microwave oven, and a three-way refrigerator, providing you with all the essentials for cooking on the go.
  • Entertainment center: Many truck bed campers have a built-in entertainment center, providing a nice way to relax and unwind after a day out exploring.
  • Sleeping arrangements: A queen-size cabover bed is a common feature in truck bed campers, providing a comfortable and spacious sleeping area. Some floor plans may also include a U-shaped dinette or another type of dinette that can be converted into an additional small sleeping space.
  • Hot water systems and tankless water heaters: Truck bed campers often come with hot water systems or even tankless water heaters, so you have access to hot water for comfortable showers.
  • Outdoor shower: An outdoor shower is a convenient addition that allows you to rinse off after a day of outdoor adventures.
  • Power awning: Having a power awning on your truck bed camper provides additional shade and shelter from the heat and creates a cozy outdoor living space.
  • Dual propane tanks: Propane tanks provide a fuel source for heating and cooking in your truck bed camper.

Remember to research and prioritize features that will create a quality and comfortable camping experience for your and your customers.

Slide-In Versus Flatbed Truck Campers

When choosing between a slide-in and a flatbed truck camper, you may want to consider a few factors, such as aesthetics, ease of installation, safety, and cost.

Slide-in truck campers are designed to fit into the bed of your pickup truck. They maintain a more traditional pickup truck appearance, while flatbed campers can offer a unique, rugged look.

Slide-in truck bed campers come in both hard-sided campers and soft-sided, collapsible pop-up camper styles. Hard-sided campers provide a more traditional RV feel and greater insulation, while pop-up truck campers offer ease of storage and better gas mileage due to their lighter weight.

Flatbed truck campers sit on a flatbed truck platform that replaces the traditional pickup bed, which is most commonly seen. This design offers a few advantages over slide-in campers.

For example, flatbed campers provide additional storage space, and their lower center of gravity can make them safer on the road. They also allow for more customization, giving you the freedom to create a living space that fits your needs.

However, it’s important to note that flatbed campers can be more expensive and require more modification to your truck. In general, slide-in campers are easier to sell due to their lower cost and because they don’t require the same level of truck modification. So if resale value is a concern for you, slide-in campers might be the right choice.

flat bed truck camper with man at a picnic table

Pop-Up Versus Hard-Sided Truck Camper

When choosing between a pop-up truck camper and a hard-side truck camper, it’s helpful to understand and look at the differences and advantages of each option. Here’s what you need to know to decide which works best for you.

A pop-up truck camper is an excellent choice if you want a lighter, easier-to-move option. Their reduced weight gives you better truck fuel economy and improved truck handling due to the lower profile.

However, don’t assume that all pop-up campers are lighter. Some models feature sturdier designs with more features while still maintaining a reasonable weight.

On the other hand, hard-sided truck campers provide better insulation and sound isolation due to their solid walls. Construction techniques like vacuum-bonded foam and high-density EPS insulation contribute to improved thermal performance. Keep in mind, however, that the downsides of hard-sided campers include increased weight, a higher center of gravity, and more wind resistance, which can impact driving performance and fuel consumption.

If you prioritize easy setup and teardown, a pop-up truck camper might be a more suitable choice and popular option. Some models come equipped with electric lift systems that expedite the process and save time and effort. Moreover, the lower profile enables you to access more locations without worrying about height clearance.

In contrast, a hard-side truck camper might be more appealing if you want more sheltered living space and plan to camp in colder climates. The durable components also can extend the camper’s lifespan.

Ultimately, the decision between a pop-up and a hard-sided truck camper depends on your preferences, travel plans, and the truck’s capabilities. Consider your lifestyle and the adventures you or your customers would like to embark on with a truck camper when deciding which option best fits you.

How To Choose The Right Truck Camper To Fit Your Truck

When selecting a truck camper, you should consider the type of truck you have, whether short-bed trucks or full-size trucks. The truck’s size and payload capacity will determine which truck camper best suits your needs.

Start by measuring the length, width, and height of your lower camper box, the height from the bottom of the front lower camper box to the bottom of the cabover nose above your head, and your camper’s wet weight.

Consider the model year of your truck. The same truck from different model years can have different payload capacities and compatibility with specific lightweight truck campers. Ensure the camper you choose is the payload, the center of gravity, and fit compatible with your truck.

When narrowing down your options, pay close attention to the standard features each type of truck camper offers. Determine which features are the most important consideration to you and compare them against the options available. Some common features may include:

  • Sleeping areas
  • Kitchenette
  • Storage space
  • Electricity and plumbing systems
  • Rear entry

Consider your specific needs and how you’ll use your truck bed camper. Are you planning on this type of RV for weekend getaways, long-term travel, or a combination of both? Will you be traveling with a partner, a family, or solo? Keep these factors in mind as you research the wide range of truck models and types of campers available.

There are various types of truck campers available, from slide-in models that fit into the beds of pickup trucks to soft-sided, collapsible pop-up-style campers. Each type of camper has its own notable features, advantages, and disadvantages, and you should weigh these options carefully before deciding which camper is best for you or your customer’s needs.

truck bed camper with city background

What Is The Best Truck Bed Camper?

A versatile, lightweight truck camper option is Ecocampor’s Luxury Fiberglass Truck Camper. This hybrid camper offers a light one-piece fiberglass shell with a hybrid pop-up roof.

This low-profile rugged design can fit many smaller truck sizes, such as Nissan or Ford Ranger trucks. This quality-built truck camper is 11 feet long and weighs 1,433 pounds.

The R16 spray foam insulation on the walls and throughout the roof helps keep the climate comfortable inside in all kinds of weather. There is also an electric or manual use awning for your comfort outside in the campsite.

This truck camper sleeps three comfortably with a queen size bed and fold-out dinette table. The table is removable for more living space.

The kitchen offers everything you need to enjoy your trip. There is a 12V mini refrigerator, stainless sink, flip-up counter, and 2-burner gas stove.

Stay comfortable with an Airtronic heater, hot water system, outdoor attachable privacy tent shower with a portable toilet, 22-gallon fresh water tank, and 15-gallon grey water tank.

Stay powered up on your trip with two roof-mounted 150 Watt solar panels and two 100Ah batteries. An onboard entertainment system offers an MP5 player with a stereo speaker.

This quality slide-on truck camper has all the features you are looking for in a small, lightweight footprint that makes it easy to use.

Why Choose Ecocampor For Truck Campers

Ecocampor is a great choice for your truck camper inventory. They have many quality models to choose from, including fiberglass hard-side truck campers, pop-up hybrid truck campers, slide-in truck campers, and flatbed truck camper models. The variety of Ecocampor truck camper models will suit any customer’s needs.

Experienced Skilled Manufacturing Process

Ecocampor was established in 2008 and has 15 years of production experience. Products go through several rounds of 100% testing prior to delivery to ensure product quality.

In fact, more than 75% of Ecocampor campers created over the course of nearly 15 years are still on the road today.

Effective Order Handling System

Ecocampor’s modern 60,000 square meters factory, combined with an efficient order handling system, allows Ecocampor to produce over 50 quality units per month. They can meet your inventory requirements.

The Best Materials Produce The Best Products

Ecocampor is an ISO9001 Quality Certified Business. Only the best materials and the most innovative assembly techniques are used to create and assemble the products. They never cut corners. Your customers will appreciate the quality products from Ecocampor.

Is Your RV Dealership Responding To The Increase In Demand For Truck Bed Campers?

As the popularity of truck bed campers is on the rise, it’s important to consider if your dealership is meeting the increasing customer demand. Truck bed campers are versatile and efficient, turning the bed of a pickup truck into a functional camping space.

It’s essential to analyze your current inventory and ensure that you have options suitable for various customer preferences. Here are some factors to consider when assessing your dealership’s preparedness for the truck bed camper surge.

Truck Compatibility

With a wide range of truck sizes and trim levels, it is necessary to stock compatible campers from a half-ton truck to one-ton truck capacities. Consider adding options for various model years to meet your customers’ needs.


Having several choices of truck bed campers lets your customers find the perfect fit for their requirements. Offer different makes and models, including hard-sided and pop-up options, ensuring that the models cater to varying budgets, lifestyles, and features.

Knowledgeable Staff

As customers consider truck bed campers, your staff must be confident and knowledgeable to be able to answer questions and provide model recommendations. It helps to offer staff training and resources to make sure they are ready to assist customers.

Is your dealership ready to meet customers’ expectations and contribute to a positive experience when purchasing a truck bed camper? Staying on top of the truck bed camper trend and carrying sufficient truck camper inventory will help you maintain a competitive edge in the market.

truck bed camper on the road

FAQs Truck Bed Camper

What do you call a camper that fits in the bed of a truck?

A camper that fits in or on the bed of a truck is known as a truck bed camper, cabover camper, or slide-in truck camper. These campers are designed to be compact and lightweight, making them an excellent option for camping off-grid and exploring off-road terrain.

Can you put a camper on a short-bed truck?

Yes, you can put a lightweight truck bed camper on a short-bed truck. There are truck bed campers designed specifically to fit short-bed trucks. However, checking the camper’s compatibility with your truck’s payload capacity is important for safety.

How much does a truck bed camper cost?

Truck bed camper prices vary depending on size, materials, and features. They can range from $8,000 for a basic model up to $60,000 for larger feature-loaded models of truck campers with slide-outs.

What is the lightest long-bed truck camper?

The lightest long-bed truck camper is usually a pop-up camper that can collapse when not in use. These campers typically have a dry weight starting around 1,000 pounds, making them suitable for most long-bed trucks and some midsize trucks.

Can you live in a truck bed camper?

Yes, you can live on the road full-time in a truck bed camper. Many people choose to do so for the freedom and versatility they offer. However, living in a truck bed camper requires getting used to living in a small space and carefully managing resources like water, as they typically have limited storage space, including gallons of fresh water. Most truck campers also don’t have a dry bath which most campers would prefer for RV living on the road.

How do you turn a truck bed into a camper?

To turn your truck bed into the perfect truck camper, you need to measure your truck bed dimensions, cut pieces of plywood to fit, and assemble the structure according to your design plans. Alternatively, you can purchase a hard-sided or pop-up truck bed camper that is already built and good to go for your next adventure.

What is the best truck bed camper?

The best truck bed camper for you depends on your budget, the truck you wish to use it on, and the features which best meet your travel needs. A pop-up truck camper may be the best option for smaller trucks with a lighter payload. This is great for shorter trips and weekend camping. For longer travel, you may want a larger truck bed camper with a bathroom and additional features to make your stay more comfortable.

Is it legal to ride in a truck bed camper?

Laws regarding riding in a truck bed camper vary by state and country. It is essential to check your local laws to determine whether passengers can legally ride in your truck bed camper while the vehicle is in motion.

Do you have to register a truck bed camper?

Whether you need to register a truck bed camper varies depending on where you live. Some states require registration, while others do not. Check your local regulations to ensure you are in compliance with the law.

How do truck bed campers attach?

Truck bed campers attach to your truck using a combination of internal camper tie-downs and external tie-down points. The camper is positioned onto the truck bed, and the four corner jacks are lowered or raised to make the camper level.

How much do truck bed campers weigh?

Truck bed campers vary in weight depending on size, materials, and features. Slide-in truck bed campers typically weigh between 1,000 and 4,000 pounds. It is essential to consider your truck’s payload capacity when choosing a camper.

What size truck do you need for a truck bed camper?

The size of the truck you need for a truck bed camper depends on the camper’s size, weight, and your truck’s payload capacity. Generally, larger trucks, like long-bed trucks, with higher payload capacities, are better suited for larger, heavier campers. Smaller, lighter campers and pop-up truck campers can be used with midsize trucks or trucks with a lower payload capacity.

Is It Time To Increase Your Truck Camper Inventory?

After reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of using a truck bed camper, it is clear why they are making such a comeback. As easy-to-install additions to trucks and larger vehicles, campers have seemingly endless potential for customization. Many people devise creative ways to use their vehicles without sacrificing price, storage, or comfort.

With all of this in mind, it is worth considering whether jumping on board the truck bed camper trend would be beneficial. Is this something your customers may be interested in?

About Author
About Author

Scott, his wife Van, and their 13-year-old daughter have traveled full-time in their RV for 8 years. They have worked and homeschooled on the road through 42 states so far. They blog about RVing tips, travel destinations, jobs for RVing, and the full-time RV lifestyle on their blogs https://theadventuredetour.com/ and https://rvnomadjobs.com/. They are also RV content creators @theadventuredetour on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube. They love connecting with RVers, so be sure to reach out to them and say hi!

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