Who wouldn’t love to sip a fresh cup of coffee overlooking snow-capped mountain ranges, or cook dinner on an open fire with nothing but a coastal sunset in front of you? It sounds great right – but not everyone wants to hike 10 miles with 50lbs of gear on their back or spend thousands on an RV. When we invented the original truck tent back in 1990, we believed that the only thing between you and your next adventure should be the open road. If you want to branch out from traditional campgrounds and experience some truly serene locations, or just want to be able to camp without sleeping on the cold ground – then you came to the write place. Here are our recommendations on building the ultimate truck camping setup without breaking the bank.
Let’s start with the obvious – which is place to sleep. When it comes to versatility and affordability, nothing beats a quality truck tent. Napier bed tents range from $199-$279. This makes it incredibly easy to get started in truck camping. The benefit of sleeping off-ground is a cleaner, warmer tent experience. Setting up in your truck bed also means endless opportunities for destinations. Don’t stress about finding a perfectly spot or booking campgrounds; a truck tent can setup in minutes wherever you find yourself parked. If you’re looking to upgrade your tent-game, you could also consider a rooftop tent. Although this is a larger investment compared to a bed tent, they offer increased comfort, space, safety against critters. They also offer the option of a partial teardown. where they can stay on your roof through highway speeds.
Although a truck tent will keep you high and dry, sleeping directly on a truck bed is never going to be a fun experience. Getting yourself an air mattress or sleeping pad is going to be essential when it comes to a good nights’ sleep. We recommend one of our three sizes of air mattresses, designed for virtually any truck bed. With a built-in hand pump, there’s no need to burn your lungs out or rig a cord to blow it up. Pair it with some standard sheets and pillows and in 10 minutes you can have your own cozy bed right under the stars.
PC – Robb Leahy
Although it comes with its benefits, the downside to truck camping can be its accessibility. It may not seem like much to crawl up onto the tailgate to some of us, but if you have pets, children, or underlying joint problems, it can seriously help to install a Hitch Step. This becomes especially true if you drive a larger or lifted pickup. We recommend the HitchMate TruckStep available at RackBiz – it’s high quality build and easy setup makes it a no brainer. If you plan on being an avid camper then we definitely suggest picking one of these up, your knees will thank you!
Anyone who has tried to bring a portable battery/power station off-site knows that it can be a difficult task. However, with your truck camping setup – your site is wherever you want it! You could always rely on your vehicle for power in a pinch, why risk draining your vehicle battery? Instead, you should keep a power station in the back of your truck cab. This offers convenient power to navigation devices, electric appliances, or to charge personal devices. You can even run power directly into your sleeping area without having to rearrange anything by using the rear access window of your tent!
This can be one of the simplest, yet most overlooked portions of your camper setup. One of the beauties of truck camping is being able to pack a lot more gear than if you had to hike your gear to your spot. This means that, as well as a power source, you can bring along some extra creature comforts for a truly cozy experience. With just a few sets of string lights, hanging lanterns, etc., your tent’s warm glow can offer a sense of home that headlamps just can’t measure up to.
PC – @jt.mt.photo
One of the best things you can do for your setup is to incorporate some outdoor space. Having an awning like the one built off our Sportz Truck Tents, or as a separate accessory is the simplest way to create that. This is the cherry on top to take your setup to the next level. Awnings give you a covered area to cook, dry wet clothes, cozy up to a fire, or just sit and sip your favorite drink. This can be extremely useful during particularly hot, or wet seasons. Having a protected space from the sun and rain is well worth the investment.
Truck camping is an excellent and affordable middle ground for freestyle camping. Obviously, you could get more luxury with an RV, and go where no vehicle could reach if you were backpacking. But what truck camping offers is an incredible middle ground. But with the tips above, you could build an amazing camping truck setup for under $1000! Take the leap and immerse yourself in some truly breathtaking locations without having to hike your gear for miles.
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