ABCs of RV shopping: Slide-in truck campers

ABCs of RV shopping: Slide-in truck campers

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

In our series on the ABCs of RV shopping we’ve talked about motorhomes and towables of all sorts. While not a “towable” as such, there is one other non-motorized RV that fills a real need for some RVers: Slide-in truck campers.

truck camperThese non-motorized units don’t tow behind you — instead they slide into the bed of your pickup truck. These distinctive RVs are a favorite among those who really want to get off the beaten path. They’re hardy, yet at the same time, comfortable. If you want to tow a horse trailer or a boat, a truck camper is a natural because you can have your RV and tow your stuff too.

If you already own a pickup, a truck camper is a must to eyeball when you shop. Since the unit is carried in the truck bed, rough roads, narrow roads, and windy roads don’t phase it. While it’s a bit more difficult to “offload” a truck camper than to detach from a travel trailer or fifth-wheel, it can be done, leaving your camper as a base camp while tooling about in the pickup.

What about amenities? Although the space in a truck camper is likely to be less than in a travel trailer, you’ll still find plenty of amenities. You can cook in the galley, and many have showers and toilets, too. Sleeping in the “master bedroom” is done in the area above the cab, but there may be other places to sleep too, including a dining table that makes into a bed. Some units have a slideout or two, increasing the available floor space.

Sizes of pickup campers range from eight to 20 feet, with selling prices running from $6,000 to nearly $60,000. Don’t let sizes fool you though: Some manufacturers size their camper by the length of the floor—not including the cabover. Hence an 11-foot truck camper is quite large—hanging over the back of the typical pickup bed by three feet. By adding on the cabover length, you’ll find an 11-foot camper much bigger than you might imagine. You’ll find truck campers suitable for small pickups to one-ton dually units.

photo: R&T De Maris

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