6 Tips For Your Truck Camper Build
Is your truck camper outdated? Maybe you bought a used camper that isn’t your style inside or needs some love. There are great deals on older campers, and with some imagination and effort, they can really clean up nicely!
A small space can get old quickly, and a truck camper build is a pretty common thing. It could be remodeled to use the space more efficiently for your lifestyle or to modernize the interior. Whatever the reason, you will want to plan your truck camper build so it fits your budget and lifestyle.
1. No wasted space
Even inside the largest models, truck campers are small spaces. Odds are, the factory layout of your camper is a well-thought-out floorplan and any available space is used wisely.
But there is always more space to find! Utilizing any nook or cranny is key. Wall space is also generally limited, but using it for shelving or to hang things offers up more free floor and counter space.
Some newer models have hidden storage and multi-use spaces that can be used for inspiration in your remodel. Drawer space can be limited as well as countertop space. Be creative when it comes to storing commonly used items.
2. Make It road worthy
When you are out exploring the unbeaten path, your camper can take a beating. This is one of the great things about truck campers: they are great for exploring and getting off-road.
When considering things for your truck camper remodel, remember this thing is gonna get bumped, shook, and rattled around. Anything mounted like shelves, cabinets, and decor should be up to the task of being bounced around.
The fewer things that need to be packed up or put away for travel, the more enjoyable your trips will be.
3. Consider the weight of everything
The maximum weight of your camper will be determined by the truck you are carrying it with. Keep this in mind when you are adding or changing anything. Even with large dually truck payloads reaching 8,000 pounds, you still want to consider weight and keep things as light as you can.
This will have to be balanced with the previous tip: make it road-worthy. If you use cheaper materials or products because they are lighter, you may end up with a very short-term solution.
4. Open up the area
The actual layout of your truck camper may not be easy to change due to structural and electrical and plumbing systems. Removing a closet or replacing a couch with a chair are easy ways to open up space.
There are ways to open up a small space without altering any walls or solid objects. Things like paint choices, fabrics, and decor can really open or shrink the size of a space.
One of the main reasons people tackle a truck camper remodel is the colors and materials in older units are dark. Look at any older RV; most likely, there will be dark brown and orange fabrics and wood wall paneling.
Kelsey and Scott from no.e.t.a nailed the color and material choices on their truck camper remodel.
5. Consider RV solar power
When opening up your pockets for the remodel, why not look into solar? After all, the freedom to roam and stay on the road is probably a huge reason you have a truck camper.
Solar power allows you the freedom of having power wherever you are. There are some upfront costs, of course, but solar systems have become very reasonably priced in recent years.
Having the ability to drive off without planning your next camp spot is worth the price of solar.
6. Don’t forget the exterior
When you think truck camper remodel, you probably think interior, right? Most of the changes you make will indeed likely be to the interior of your camper. However, there are things on the exterior that can be remodeled as well.
The exterior of your camper is exposed to the elements year-round, and it begins to show after years of travel. Paint and decals become faded and damaged, and freshening them up can make a huge difference.
Since the interior space is limited, storage ideas for the exterior will keep your outside gear outside. Roof racks and storage boxes will eliminate cramming your stand-up paddleboards and bikes inside every time you move.
Sure, everyone would love a brand new truck camper; however, with some time and a limited budget, you can remodel your current camper. Whether it’s just painting or adding a bathroom, a truck camper remodel will make you fall in love with your truck camper all over again!
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.
Kendall lives with his wife and their two cocker spaniels full-time in their RV currently in Mexico. He is one half of DashboardDrifters.com and the co-founder of RVSpotDrop, a web service for full-time RVers.
6 thoughts on “6 Tips For Your Truck Camper Build”
2003, we converted a 1996 Ford CF8000 commercial truck to our concept of an ExpeditionVehicle.
Our interior is 7w x 12l x 7h, about 700cf… perfect for three RedHeelers plus two adults (and a frequent yummy third!).
Everything we installed is modular, everything is easily replaced or eliminated.
We started with the empty box, learning our needs as we camped, allowing the build to evolve organically.
A little light-duty pick-up… not interested.
Truck campers are fine. But if you plan on doing that much work, I’d get a van, extend the roof it not already done, and do the inside how I preferred. I prefer a van for various .reasons. It is not rocket science to raise the roof if it is not already. If you need to go, want to take a nap, eat, whatever, you do not have to get out, walk around, and enter again, regardless of what the weather is like. Instead. you can just leave your seat and viola you are in the camper. Almost as important, to me, is the fact you can do the interior the way you want it and not the way that whoever designed it liked.
We are planning to purchase a truck camper but have become concerned because they all seem to weigh too much. We have a 2019 Chevy Silverado 2500 Diesel Shortness. We really like the Lance 855 S. Thanks
I have and 2001 f-250 4×4 shortbed extra cab super duty diesel. Went across the dump scale without camper to throw out the mattress from my camper. Clocked in at 7580lbs with me in drivers seat. (My lance 820 weight loaded pushing 3500lbs with gen. and AC) (same year) GVW on truck it is 8800lbs. So that tells me i can legally carry 1300lbs provided I don’t have anyone in the buddy chair to help me unload it. Fortunately my truck has the Dana 60 front axle, same as the 1-1 1/2 tons. Quit unusual for that year! Anyway the truck weighs in heavy because of the suspension upgrades and other improvements i have done. I put in the Hellwig bigwig sway bar, Hellwig airbags and Sway-stops on the upper overload spring. (Which if your handy can easily make yourself) and oversize tranny pan, Tran cooler etc.etc. By involving the overloads before the camper is even loaded greatly improves the load handling. I find that running with only 38lbs in the bags puts me on the same plane as before loading the camper. One thing to consider is airbags are not your friend as far as sway stability. Yes they level you from front to rear, but side to side you need to remember your balancing on air some what. If the camper is to stay on the truck 75% of the time i would recommend going to a quality spring shop and let them build a proper spring setup to handle the load and deal with the roughness when camper is off. I use my truck so the camper is off 25% of the time. Springs built for the load would be the way i would go if i was to do it again. Would have saved me time and substantial money if i had to pay someone to do the work. This forgoing the need for bags $450, Swaystops $200+ I also changed out shocks and steering stabilizer to Bilsteens ( items where in need of replacement anyway) no regrets there. I do all my own work so save substantially. I also have the Lance camper struts that install from the overhead down to the hinge point of the front hood. ( I recommend them) for any camper. My setup has turned out to handle the load extremely well and is very comfortable to handle and drive. Side note: friend of mine has 07 Dodge crew 1 ton dually 4×4 Cummins with bags and Hellwig sway bar and 2016 Lance 850 on board. Believe he’s camper weights in about 3-400lbs lighter than mine. (No AC no Gen.) aluminum construction. We have driven each other’s truck and he felt my truck handled better (I did also) and wants me to setup his the same. We both only boon dock camp. Ive taken mine into areas where i was thinking i would be lifting my front end off the ground coming back out. PS the tires i run have a 3820# load rating. ( If i didn’t feel safe i would upgrade the truck. ) All that said…….legally i am way over weight according to the sticker. And if involved in and accident, and found at fault could cost me substantially. My insurance would possibly cover the situation, then drop me. (So do it once and due it right, don’t cut corners. You want to be safe and confident with your final setup) I hope this winded and lengthy answer gives you and anyone else the info your looking for and help you build up a safe and enjoyable ride.
Joe: I replied earlier but not sure if it posted to you. So i hope this information i share helps. The load carrying limiting factors of any light duty truck are tires/rims, frame, suspension and brakes etc.and are calculated in to come up with stated GVW of the vehicle. Your engine and the Allison trans are used in much heavier commercial trucks. But were talking about what you can put on its back. After doing many suspension upgrades and tires to my 01 f-250 SB 4×4 PS to handle a 3500# camper i have created a very comfortable, drivable and safe setup. But legally i am way over weight. So that said, something to consider. Can i make and evasive maneuver. My friend drives and 07 Dodge dually 1 ton and carry a 2016 lance 850 camper. Approximately 400 lbs lighter then my camper. We have driven each other’s trucks many times and he fills my truck handles better as i. Case in point. In December he was headed south on the 95 headed towards Vegas when and on coming north bound driver pulls out to pass vehicles. My friend figured he would pull back in when he saw on coming traffic. Not the case the vehicle accelerated. My friend quickly dove for the desert and maintained control to a stop. The oncoming vehicle ripped off his driver side rear camper jack and peeled open the back of the camper. Sadly another vehicle behind him was hit head on. The driver was drunk and of coarse survived with little injury. The family did not. My point in all this is he has more than enough truck to handle his load and control it. I on the other hand am under trucked for the load i carry. Yes i have made many suspension upgrades and it handles the load beautifully. But being a shorter wheelbase and heavier I don’t think my outcome would have turned out as well. If you do decide to go with the said camper don’t scrimp on the truck upgrades to handle the load. Go to a qualified spring shop and put in a spring pack that can handle the load including the people that are going to be onboard. And don’t use airbags. Yes the level you front to rear but side tide your partially balancing on air.
Two possibilities exist to boost load carrying capacity: overload/booster springs and greater load range tires. Keep in mind that with heavier loads comes less stability, paying close attention to load being top heavy.