Pickup Truck Campers

Pickup truck campers take the work and cost out of camping since you don’t have to tow anything, level any blocks, pay for repairs on another engine, or spend money on storage. Automotive technology allows you to travel with a more stable, wind resistant camper but without omitting space. In fact, many manufacturers, such as Lance and Alaskan, have found ways to add living space to truck campers.

Pickup Trucks

Every pickup truck comes with a manufacturer rating to let you know the full capacity of the vehicle. It is important to know this information if you want to add a camper to a pickup, whether you already own one or are shopping around for a model that fits your needs.

Campers are various sizes, have different weights when they are dry and wet, and you must also consider the specifications and weight of the supporting equipment. To determine the truck you need for the camper you want, you have to look at the trucks load carrying capacity and the wet weight of the camper combined with installation and optional equipment, passengers, cargo, and the heaviness of any items you might tow, such as a boat or animal trailer.

pickuptruckcamper-Sherlock77James
Image Courtesy of: Sherlock77James/Flicker

Supporting Equipment

Pickup truck campers require a few pieces of supporting equipment so that they are properly mounted, safe, and secure. Before installing a camper, your truck must be free of toolboxes, liners, shells, covers, and its tailgate, which won’t close once the camper is in position. It is important that your tires are in good condition and have a D or E rating, the vehicles electrical system works, and you upgrade the shocks.

The camper installation process requires little more than tie-downs, turnbuckles, and a vehicle specific crossbar with brackets. However, simple as this appears, the camper is very heavy and requires professional installers that have the right tools and machinery. For this reason, the recommendation for installation is that the camper manufacturer does it, which ensures your safety and optimal warranty coverage.

Lance Truck Campers

Lance Truck Camper

Of the many pickup truck campers on the market, Lance offers a variety of models for long and short truck beds. The campers consist of laminated, fiberglass panels that provide strength, support, and durability while block foam insulation offers protection from the elements. A specially designed aluminum frame that requires welding, lamination, and extrusion fasteners allows Lance truck campers to support compartments under the flooring as well as full walls that slide out.

  • Lance has eight different long bed floor plans ranging from 16 to 20 feet in length and 2300 to 3700 pounds.

  • Most of these campers can accommodate five people but the largest camper sleeps seven.

  • Among the five short bed models, all of them sleep five except for the bigger of the bunch, which accommodates six adults.

  • All of the short bed campers are between 16 and 17 feet in length and weigh from 1700 to 2500 pounds.

  • Standard features are complete kitchens, a bed, pull out sofa, and toilet, though the larger models come with showers.

Alaskan Camper

Alaskan Pickup Camper

The Alaskan camper is different from most other pickup truck campers because it slides in and pops up. A hydraulic system allows the camper roof to move up and down, a feature that allows you to stand while in the camper, drive with less weight, and reduces swaying from strong winds. Unlike a traditional pop up, this camper offers full protection from outdoor elements since it features solid materials instead of mesh and cloth. These campers are available in lengths of eight or ten feet as well as custom sizes.

Talking About Wind

After moving from a motorhome into a truck camper, I was amazed at how noticeable was the least little wind. Since we spent all of our time in the west, we soon learned that at certain times of the year, on certain days, you would do better to just sit in one place than try to drive into or with a side wind.

One March we spent a couple of days sitting at a Flying J truck stop waiting out the wind. We passed time enjoying the facilities of the truck stop, including: showers, movie theater and coffee shop.

Summary

Pickup truck campers offer convenience, affordability, and versatility due to modern technology and advancements. A number of camper manufacturers are available so that you can select the one that best suits your needs and your pickup.