You can do more and spend less with a truck camper. From sandy beaches to back roads, from regular parking spaces to the driveways of family and friends, truck campers can go anywhere a pickup truck can go. The turning radius of pickup trucks allows you to turn around quickly which can be crucial when traveling in unfamiliar areas.
Truck (pickup) campers were first created by Walter King in 1945 when he began manufacture of the Sport King camper in Torrance, California. King loved to hunt and fish and came up with the idea while pursuing these hobbies with his buddies. Though King Manufacturing, expanded his product line in the early ’50s by offering small travel trailers and in the ’70s with motorhomes, the cab-over camper remained one of its most popular products until 1987 when the company officially shut down operations.
Truck camper prices are very competitive with other RV types. And you will save money on fuel, registration, insurance, maintenance, storage, and depreciation.
Many people have become frustrated by attempting to match a truck and camper when they haven’t yet selected either one. You need to choose either a truck or a camper before you can assemble a safe and successful truck and camper combination. This can be done in one of two ways: Match a specific camper to an unspecified truck or match a specific truck to an unspecified camper.
Match a specific camper to an unspecified truck if you already own a camper or have selected the camper you plan to purchase and are now ready to find the right matching truck.
Match a specific truck to an unspecified camper if you already own a truck or have selected the truck you plan to purchase and are now ready to find the right matching camper. The favored recommendation is to choose your camper first to ensure that you get the camper you want and to avoid buying more or less truck than you need.
Choosing a truck can be a complex process. Not only are there six truck manufacturers and four truck levels to choose from, but each truck comes in a myriad of styles, bed lengths, engine types, and option packages. The number one issue when buying a truck for a truck camper is payload capacity.
Campers are available in three basic types, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages: pop-up campers, hard-shell campers, and campers with a slide-out.
Pop-up truck camper are often hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds lighter than hard-side campers. When collapsed, their low profile allows for a lower rig height and superior driving aerodynamics compared to hard-side campers. Their lower weight allows you to use a lighter duty truck.
Hard-side campers have their own advantages. They offer significantly more storage and significantly more insulation from the weather. They’re always set up and ready to go. And in general, hard-side campers also have a more domestic full-sized RV feel.
Slide-outs in a truck camper have a huge “wow” factor. You’ll be blown away by the difference. A single slide can completely transform the interior feel of a truck camper. When a truck camper features a full-wall slide-out or multiple slide-outs, you’ll almost forget you’re even in a camper. The answer seems obvious, “Yes, please”.
On the other hand, non-slide campers are usually several thousand dollars less than slide-out models and are often several hundred pounds lighter as well. The reduced weight can mean that you can use a less expensive, lighter-duty, and more fuel-efficient truck.
If you can’t live without a slide-out camper, you won’t be the first. Just keep in mind the added weight, costs, and other considerations. And then enjoy your extra space.
Nothing beats equal parts research and experience. Learn about the above choices and make some informed decisions about what you want and need in a truck camper. Then go out and experience different truck campers in person.
This may mean several months of research, visiting dealerships, and attending RV shows. In the end, the balance of research and experience should allow you to choose a truck camper with confidence.
May all your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view… where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you.