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Truck Bed Camping 101 | Everything You Need to Know About It

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Truck with Roof Top Tent in FieldTruck Bed Camping | Everything You Need to Know about It | featured

Do you plan to go truck bed camping soon? Before you hit the road, it pays to know everything first on what could be the adventure of your lifetime. Your journey begins here.

RELATED: 25 Top Camping Tips I Learned From My Old Man

Ultimate Truck Bed Camping Guide

What Is Truck Bed Camping?Two Male Friends near Bonfire, Pickup Offroad Truck-Truck Bed Camping

Truck bed camping is an option for setting up camp using a truck. Instead of camping on the ground, you convert your truck bed into a campsite.

What Is the Best Truck Bed Camping Method?Hug the sky, view silhouette of a tourist standing on roof top of a 4WD-Truck Bed Camping

What’s the best way to camp in a truck? It depends on your preference and the vehicle that is available at your disposal. The three common options are:

  • Camper ShellCamper traileron a seashore-Truck Bed Camping

Camper shells already have built-in space for mobile shelter. Secure and weather-resistant, you can also customize this space based on your needs and preference.

  • Ground TentYoung man crouching near a dome tent hammering it in the ground-Truck Bed Tent

This option is the same as conventional camping. Its lack of elevation though is a disadvantage during unfavorable weather conditions.
  • Truck Bed Tent

Tents are perfect for truck bed camping since they provide a less constricted space. It also doesn’t need any major additions or alterations to your vehicle to install.

Note: Truck bed camping is not limited to sleeping in the back of your vehicle. If the weather is good, you can also set up camp away from your truck using a ground tent.

Where Do I Sleep When Truck Bed Camping?Young couple relaxing by laying down in the back of a pick up truck-Truck Bed Camping

You need to rest well if you want to enjoy the whole truck camping experience. Getting a consistent good night’s sleep will give you the energy for the next day’s activities.


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To achieve this, you need to have the right truck bed camping sleeping gear. Aside from blankets and pillows, the two sleeping gears that you need are:

  • Mattressgirl inflates sleeping mat in nature-Truck Bed Tent

For camping, mattresses should be light, durable, and comfortable. The best options are an inflatable mattress, sleeping pad, and memory foam mattress.

  • Sleeping BagA woman folds and packs a sleeping bag-Truck Bed Tent

For colder temperature truck camping, a sleeping bag is a perfect option. Make sure that your sleeping bag has synthetic insulation against moisture and condensation.

Tip: When choosing a sleeping bag, go for one that has a proper temp rating. This will ensure that it is suitable for your camping area’s temperature range.

What Do I Need To Setup a Truck Bed Camping Kitchen?Close up on frying pan with organic salmon prepared in inside camper van-Truck Bed Camping

Your truck’s tailgate is the perfect space to set up a truck camping kitchen. You can also change it based on your preference and cooking style. The basic truck bed camping kitchen gears are:

  • Camping Stovecooking in nature camping outdoor, cooker prepare breakfast picnic on metal gas stove-Truck Bed Camping

A camping stove for this type of setup does not have to be as elaborate as those used in a conventional kitchen. A budget two-burner propane stove is a good place to start.

  • KitchenwareTourist Cooking and Camping at sunset-Truck Bed Camping

Choose a basic kitchenware set and secure them on a portable container. Utensils that are available in your kitchen would do or you can get them cheap from thrift stores.

How Do I Organize My Truck Bed Camping Storage?back interior of Motorhome new modern-Truck Bed Storage

For truck bed camping setup, you will be needing a storage space for your tools, gears, and other supplies. This is important so that you can be more organized.

Here’s how you can organize your storage:

  • Gear StorageBlack duffle bag on car roof rack-Truck Bed Storage

For gear and clothing, use plastic totes and water-resistant duffle bags. If you decide to pursue truck bed camping as a permanent hobby, you can invest in built-in storage options.

  • Food and Water StorageHandheld blue refrigerator in the garden-Truck Bed Storage

Using air-tight containers is best in storing and preserving food and drinks. The most efficient options are ice chests, coolers, or solar-powered camping refrigerators.

Tip: Instead of one big cooler, use two smaller ones. Smaller coolers cool food and water fast and you can access them with ease anytime.

  • Slide Out Tool Boxold used wooden box slide-Truck Bed Storage

It is important to keep your tools organize for easy access when you need them. A slide-out toolbox is a great way to do this and you can have it custom-made to save space.

How Do I Bathe While Truck Bed Camping?Young attractive happy woman take bubble-Truck Bed Camping

Sponge bathing is effective for maintaining proper hygiene regiment while truck camping. A more advanced means is by using a solar-powered pressurized shower in your truck.

How Do I Deal With Extreme Temperatures While Truck Bed Camping?Caucasian Young Family Planning Road Trip Taking Look on the Local Map-Truck Bed Camping

To deal with extreme weather changes while camping, planning is the key. Do your research first on your destination before embarking on a trip.

You also need to bring appropriate gear and clothing. Make sure that you bring both summer and winter outfits with you.

What Are My Off-Grid Power Options While Truck Bed Camping?Young-couple-tourists-using-laptop-in-the-camping-at-night-Truck-Bed-Camping

There are many ways to charge your laptop, cell phone, and GPS while truck camping. These are your options:

  • Truck Cigarette LighterCigarette lighter from a truck. Car cigarette lighter-Truck Bed Camping

Your trucks’ cigarette lighter could power devices that run on 12-volts. You can also use a 12-volt power inverter for gadgets that run on regular 110 volts.

Note: Make sure that you don’t drain your trucks’ battery when you are using it to charge your devices. Bring a portable jump starter in case your battery runs out.

  • Portable Solar Power PanelsFlexible solar panel in a mountain base camp-Truck Bed Camping

This option is best if you are going to use high-voltage equipment such as a TV or camping fridge. Solar power panels are easy to install and could provide unlimited power to your device.

How Do I Plan the Right Amount of Truck Bed Camping Supplies?Equipment for trekking on green grass, on nature background-Truck Bed Camping

You can determine how many supplies you will have to bring by considering the number of people in the truck. Aside from this, you also need to consider the number of days that you will be truck camping.

It is also important to put your target location into consideration. The farther you are away from essential services, the more supplies you will need to bring.

What Are the Other Useful Truck Bed Camping Gears?Solar-Chargers-for-Camping-Power-Box-Battery-Camping-Flexible-solar-panels-Truck-Bed-Camping

Aside from the usual equipment, these are the truck bed camping gears that you can consider:

  • Hammockperson view couple resting at camping woman laying in hammock with beautiful view of forest lake-Truck Bed Camping

You can tie a hammock to trees or any sturdy vertical structure. It comes in handy when you want to take a nap or relax anywhere.

  • Camp Chairsman and woman resting on the lake-Truck Bed Camping

Camp chairs are perfect if you want to rest after a day of hardcore hiking. Choose foldable chairs to save space when it’s not in use.

  • HeadlampsPhoto of a male hiker in red jacket and panama putting on head mount flashlight-Truck Bed Camping

This gear will come in handy during emergencies. It provides good lighting and also keeps your hands free to do other things.

  • First Aid KitFirst aid kit-Truck Bed Camping

Never go out truck bed camping without carrying a first aid kit. It could save lives where the nearest medical facility is miles away.

RELATED: How To Build A First Aid Kit

How Do I Ensure Truck Bed Camping Security?Set of hunting equipment on desk-Truck Bed Camping

Again, before embarking on a journey, do your research first. Know every possible information about the camping site where you are bound to.

Before setting up camp, make sure to coordinate with the area’s security officers. Also, bring licensed self-defense weapons and safety gear for protection.

Where Are the Best Places to Go Truck Bed Camping?Summer travel concept - Multiracial young friends looking at map-Truck Bed Camping

Any place is best for truck camping as long it passes the basic criteria of a good campsite. Do your research online or better yet talk to experienced and reliable sources.

10 Truck Bed Camping Tips for Beginners:Travel concept with independent people enjoyig the outdoor leisure activity-Truck Bed Camping

1. Consider Your Health

Truck camping is fun but it could also be a hazard if you are not in your best element. If you have allergies and other ailments, seek professional medical help first.

If the doctor allows you to go camping, make sure to carry your medications. If you have serious medical conditions, it’s better to stay at home.

2. Get the Right Camping Vehicle

The most important element of truck bed camping is your vehicle. Choose a truck that can negotiate treacherous terrains.

Your vehicle should also have the power and mileage to take you to your destination without fail. Here are the following features to consider in choosing an off-road truck:

  • Four-wheel or all-wheel driving capability
  • All-terrain tires
  • Superior ground clearance
  • Fuel efficient and excellent mileage
  • Ideal truck bed length

3. Consider the Weather

It is important to know your destinations’ weather pattern before you go there. Keep in mind that the truck bed camping accessories you will be carrying will depend on the area’s weather type.

Do your research first so you can identify the gear, clothes, and food that you need to bring for truck camping.

4. Carry a Truck Repair Kit

Vehicle repair is a reality that you must expect when you plan to go truck bed camping. You need to have the right tools for this situation.

The basic truck repair kit tools are:

  • Complete screwdriver set
  • Complete wrench set
  • Cutters
  • Tire replacement tools including jack
  • Ice scraper
  • Spare containers of engine oil
  • Portable tire pressure gauge
  • Portable air compressor
  • Flares and triangle reflectors

5. Plan for Truck Camping Hygiene

It’s possible to experience unhygienic conditions while truck camping. To avoid getting sick, plan your hygiene regimen.

You can do this by bathing as well as preparing the necessary hygiene kit for the trip. Bring enough toiletries and disinfectants for everyone.

6. Don’t Carry Perishable Goods

Non-perishable goods are the best option to prepare for truck camping. This includes canned goods and dehydrated meat, and pickled vegetables.

Preserved foods like these will last longer. Preparing them is also easy and would save you time and effort.

7. Bring Enough Water

Water is life. You can last weeks without food yet die in three days due to dehydration.

The safe mindset is to assume that there is no water in your destination. Make sure to carry as many water containers that would fit in your truck.

9. Prepare for Truck Camping Emergencies

Accidents will happen. It’s best to expect emergencies during camping.

Aside from informing your family and friends about your plans, bring these items with you:

  • First aid kit
  • Communication devices like emergency and ham radios
  • Survival gear like rechargeable flashlights, pocket knives, and rain jackets

10. Check Camping Site Reviews

Planning and preparation are key for a successful camping activity. Read online reviews to find out more about your chosen destination.

You can also contact people who have already been to the campsite you wish to visit.

Check out this DIY truck bed camping setup vid by Magellan and Greyhound:

Your truck bed camping experience could be a blast when you got everything covered. Know everything you need to know as much as you can. Enjoy and have a pleasant trip!

Would you still go truck bed camping these days?

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    September 8, 2021 at 12:54 AM

    Truer words have never been spoken. Great article!

  2. Grace

    September 8, 2021 at 1:15 AM

    I appreciate this article, I like how there are many details considered for truck bed camping starters that it feels like it’s all you need to get ready for your adventure. Very helpful and informative stuff.

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