Truck Bed Camping Setup: How To Do It?

truck bed camping setup

One of my preferred camping methods is using a truck. You can travel almost anywhere because of four-wheel drive and higher clearance. You can bring everything you need to remain off the grid because the truck has so much storage.

You just need to figure out how to convert your truck bed into the ideal camping setup if you already own a truck and want to experience luxury travel on a budget. It is easier than you might think to do, which is good news. You can set up a truck bed for camping if you read this article.

What Is Truck Bed Camping?

The cost of a weekend getaway can be reduced by camping in a truck bed. It is an even superior method of exploring the globe. Your car, some supplies, and some creativity are all you need.

Using your truck bed as a hotel room is known as truck bed camping. Your adventure can include however many luxuries you want. To truly experience glamping, your lodgings can be basic or stuffed with creature comforts.

Benefits Of Truck Bed Camping

If you are wondering what the appeal of truck bed camping is, consider the following benefits:

  • You do not require a special parking area for your truck, unlike an RV, which might not even fit in your driveway.
  • An RV’s fuel efficiency may be doubled or tripled by a pickup truck.
  • You can travel farther with a truck than you can with an RV because it is more portable and manageable.
  • You can camp without a hookup for a number of days thanks to a truck’s large battery and fuel tank.
  • You can drive your truck when it isn’t being used for camping, unlike an RV which cannot be used as a commuter vehicle.
  • Compared to sleeping on the ground in a tent, sleeping in the bed of your truck offers a warmer, safer, and more comfortable environment.
  • You won’t need to pay for hookup fees, hotels, or motels if you sleep in your truck.

What To Consider When Creating A Truck Bed Camping Setup? 


Your personal safety is the most crucial factor to take into account. When you are sleeping in your car, you don’t want any animals or people to come in. Additionally, to avoid becoming a target of theft, you should keep your valuables hidden from view.

Tents Vs Canopy

A truck bed tent could be a possibility if you choose to camp in a place where you feel secure. These items are portable, reasonably priced, and transient. The drawback is that they have to be taken down before driving and are not as strong, safe, or weatherproof as a canopy.

How To Designate Space

You must designate particular areas to particular functions in order to make the most of the truck’s available space. The driver’s and passenger’s seats should be as uncluttered as possible for safety reasons.

Usually, under the bed and behind the front seats are the best places for storage. Make sure to lock up everything in these spaces so that it won’t be dangerous to stop here. The truck bed is where the sleeping area should be.

However, there are inflatable beds that can fit in the back seat if you are traveling alone. The truck bed can serve as your storage space if you aren’t too tall.


Your truck doubles as a bedroom when you’re camping. To have privacy, window coverings should be hung. Additionally, the sun may wake you up when it rises, so if you want to sleep in, it’s important to hang up some sort of light-blocking material.


You won’t need lights in the daytime, but you will want your entertainment devices—your phone, tablet, speaker, etc. — fully powered. Your phone needs to be charged for emergencies even if you are having a weekend without technology. You might also want to run a fan, depending on the temperature. You’ll need light at night, and a mosquito repellent will be useful if there are a lot of insects.

Truck Bed Camping Methods

It certainly makes truck camping simpler to have a camper shell or canopy on your pickup, but it’s not necessary to have one to enjoy your time in the great outdoors.

Camper Shell

Use your truck’s existing camper shell or canopy if you have one. And it doesn’t have to be expensive; our used fiberglass camper shell cost us $40 on Craigslist!

truck bed camping setup

In order to eventually customize your truck bed with a sleeping platform, organization, drawers, curtains, lighting, etc., this method of truck bed camping offers a safe and weather-protected space. To specifically suit your own camping needs so you can always be ready for any adventure.

Truck Bed Tent

Starting out camping in the bed of your truck is easy and affordable with a truck bed tent like this one. This approach to truck bed camping has the advantage of having the lowest entry barrier, requiring less investment up front and no significant modifications to your truck while still giving you an elevated area for sleeping.

However, using this technique prevents you from installing more permanent or customized truck bed sleeping platforms, and setting up the truck bed tent can be just as difficult as setting up a ground tent.

Ground Tent

Truck bed camping can still occur even if you aren’t actually sleeping in your truck’s bed. Put some water-resistant totes and a high-quality tent for your truck camping supplies in the back of your car, and drive off to the campsite! Once you arrive at your campsite, all you need to do is pitch your tent and set up your camp kitchen on the tailgate.

Additionally, if it’s a fair-weather camping trip, you could always skip setting up a tent and instead choose to spend the night in the bed of your truck. Even though you won’t need much fancy equipment for your first time truck bed camping, you still need to pack a few essentials.

Rooftop Tent

It does require a greater level of dedication than a truck bed tent because you’ll need to install a roof rack and rooftop tents are more expensive.

The built-in mattress and simplicity of setup are additional benefits, though. You also don’t give up as much storage as with an in-bed tent because they are installed on the roof or over your bed.

Truck Bed Camper

Although a truck bed camper is a more expensive option for truck camping, it adds a ton of amenities and comforts that no other truck bed camping setup can. An electric outlet, water tanks, storage space, and even a bathroom are frequently included in truck campers, for instance.

You can still have these things without a truck camper, but it makes it simpler. On the other hand, this choice is significantly more expensive than the other truck bed camping options.

Pull-behind Trailer

Last but not least, this is a fantastic way to camp with your truck even though it isn’t technically a truck bed setup. Unless you purchase an off-road trailer, a pull-behind travel trailer does restrict your options for destinations, but you trade off-road capability for more luxuries.

But once more, this is the option that costs much more money. One benefit of truck camping is that it is inexpensive and convenient as long as you have a truck. You might not want to enter into this level of complexity and expense.

truck bed camping setup

Preparing Your Truck Bed Camper

As you can see, truck bed camping isn’t a situation that works for everyone. You can adapt a truck bed to your preferences thanks to the many inventive ways to prepare one for camping. Always remember that planning ahead will improve your trip.

Setting Your Sleep Space

A good night’s sleep depends on comfort, which calls for the proper equipment. Comfort is something you want while avoiding unnecessary weight.

  • For support and comfort, pick sleeping pads or mattresses for camping.
  • Sleeping bags add warmth and padding.
  • For a restful night’s sleep, don’t forget your pillows, sheets, and blankets, depending on the temperature and your personal preferences.

You should probably make some adjustments to make the most of your space if you decide to set up camp using your current canopy or cap. A platform can be built underneath your bed to add storage space without reducing headroom. Additionally, it means that you can drive without dismantling your bed.

Meeting Your Power Needs

During your camping trip, power will be required at some point. The conversion of DC currents to AC currents by power inverters allows you to charge electronic devices.

There are alternatives if you don’t feel comfortable using your car battery for all of your power requirements. You can use portable power banks or look into additional batteries with portable emergency jumpers.

Creating Your Camping Kitchen

As previously mentioned, a lot of truck campers include kitchen appliances in their full-service amenities. However, if you opt for a cap or tent, you must plan for the preparation of food.

Your pickup truck’s tailgate works perfectly as a prep table. If you need additional space, you could also pack a folding table. When designing your storage space, take cooking utensils and appliances into consideration. Don’t forget to make your kitchenware convenient!

Additional Considerations For Truck Bed Camping

In any case, there are additional difficulties when camping. To help you get the most out of your trip, we’ve put together some DIY truck bed camping tips, covering everything from preventing condensation to establishing privacy.

Combating Condensation

All campers struggle with condensation, and there is no way to completely avoid it. However, minimizing the circumstances that cause intense condensation is beneficial.

  • Picking a campsite is something to consider. Camping in humid areas near water is not recommended.
  • Proper ventilation will allow moisture and humid air to escape from your camping area. Dehumidifiers or vent fans might be added, if practical.
  • Overnight, take wet items out of your sleeping space.
  • To reduce interior humidity, cook outside the tent or camper.

Insulating Your Truck Bed

You should probably insulate your sleeping area unless you anticipate evening lows of 70° during your camping trip. Although getting into a truck bed camper is advantageous, it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t wake up cold.

  • Check your tent or camper for leaks and cold spots. You can add extra fabric, insulating materials, or seal the leaks.
  • Before putting your tent or camper in the truck bed, lay down some fabric.
  • To lift you off the ground or floor, build a platform.

Create Sufficient Storage

Considering storage while operating a pickup truck may seem strange, but truck bed camping depends on it greatly. Consider the clothing, bedding, and cooking equipment you’ll need to bring along for your truck bed camping trip.

  • Plastic storage containers offer structure, keep your belongings dry, and can be labeled for efficiency.
  • Your non-perishable goods are stored in dry conditions. Just make sure no animals can access any of your dry food storage, particularly if you leave it outside over the course of a night.
  • Choose a cooler or camping fridge if your camping setup lacks a refrigeration unit. Think about having a cooler for drinks and another for food.

Truck Bed Camping Accessories You Don’t Want To Forget

We’ve talked a lot about this, but just because you designed the ideal truck bed camping setup doesn’t mean you’re prepared to travel. Before you leave, there are a few truck bed camping essentials you shouldn’t forget.

  • For some camping systems, bathing and using the bathroom are not a problem, but what if your set-up lacks a toilet and shower? To avoid having to forgo personal hygiene, think about packing a pee bottle, a personal toilet, and a portable shower.
  • Safety demands first aid supplies. Purchase a quality kit and don’t worry about doing too much.
  • A repair kit should include tools, duct tape, Velcro, scissors or a utility knife. We’re not lying when we say you’ll use them eventually.
  • A fire extinguisher is a necessity.

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