A Complete Guide To Camping In A Pickup Truck

General Travel


Pickup truck camping is like nothing else.

If you love exploring the great outdoors, one of the most rewarding and practical ways to do it is in a pickup truck. Trucks give you the most malleability of any vehicle when it comes to storing important items, setting up camp, and getting into unexplored territory. 

In this post, we’re going to show you how to make full use of your pickup on your next camping excursion. You don’t have to be wary of getting lost on a map anymore. You’ve got your pickup on your side.


Your Guide to Pickup Truck Camping

You’ve probably seen lots of pickup trucks at camping sites that you’ve been to. Unfortunately, there’s usually a massive RV and a generator latched on them. That’s not the type of camping we’re talking about here.

Pickup Truck Camping - Family Fun

If you really want to make use of your truck, it can’t be hauling an RV, it’s got to be an RV. Then you can really go anywhere you want to.


Canopy vs. Tent

This is the first decision. If you’ve got a pickup that already has a canopy, then you’re all set to start construction on your sleeping area. For trucks that don’t have a canopy, you either need to consider buying one or something else to sleep in.

Pickup Truck Camping - Rooftop Tent

You can get a rooftop tent, a tent that fits snugly in the truck bed, or a slide-in camper. These all offer different levels of comfort and security, so think long and hard about how you want to get your bed and living arrangements set up.


Security and Sleep

Basically, you’ll want to choose between a real mattress and a blowup mattress. A real one will be more comfortable, and you’ll leave it in the back, but a blowup will allow you to create more lounge space in the back of the truck. 

Pickup Truck Camping Trip

In order to store all of your gear for long trips, you’ll want to build a raised platform to put your sleeping arrangements on. We’ll cover that in the next section, but you should always ensure that you’ve installed extra locking mechanisms that latch on the inside. 

Whether you’re camping in a remote area or you’re surrounded by people, you should ensure that all of your belongings are safe from theft and that you’re safe from any intruders. If you’re setting up camp on the ground every night, you’ll need to look into truck bed covers to keep your belongings safe.



Get a second battery for your pickup truck. When you’re on a remote excursion, you’re going to want to occasionally charge your devices while the truck is off. If you charge off of your solo truck battery, you might burn it out, and then you’ll be stranded.

You can install a dual battery setup, connecting it to your truck’s alternator. When you’re driving around, you’ll be charging the batteries. Then when you’re idle you can hook up your devices to the secondary battery. You can also use a portable solar panel or solar generator, which will charge during the day and give you power at night.


Stuff You Need and Storage

There are too many camping items to list here, but if you’re a seasoned camper already, then you’ll know what they are. 

Pickup Truck Camping - Camping Gear

If you build a removable raised platform to sleep on, you can store things like bear spray, power inverters, camping chairs, lights, your GPS, jumper cables, an auto repair kit, and any other important personal items safely underneath you.

You might also find it helpful to take a portable power station with you as well.

And if you are traveling with kids, you might like to pack a few camping-themed kids’ gifts to make the trip super special for them.

As you accumulate camping gear, you’ll have to make more storage space in the truck.


Explore the Great Outdoors

When you’ve done all of the right pickup truck camping preparation, you’ll be ready to take on the great outdoors. There’s nothing more rewarding than outfitting your truck to become your own private recreational vehicle.

Once you’ve covered all your bases, all that’s left to do is start driving. Find remote areas where you can sleep under the stars and become one with nature and do it all in your converted pickup truck.

For more informative posts on everything from cars to unique living, come back and check out more of our blog!

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Andrzej Ejmont

Andrzej believes life to be a never ending adventure. Originally from Poland, he is a devoted husband and father. Dedicated and enthusiastic to chase all his dreams. Storytelling to entice other families to travel.