Truck Camper Living: Costs, Essentials and Things to Know

Truck Camper Living

Truck camper living; it’s the perfect combination of on-road freedom and vehicle versatility. Ditch the thought of overly-large RVs and turn your head to truck campers – where you can have your home away from home (minus the extra baggage.)

When deciding if you can pursue the “truck camper lifestyle-” take a step back to observe what’s most important to you when living on the road. Being mindful of the living costs, how to properly set up and take down the camper, as well what type of weather or petrol is best when in use are just some of the thoughts to consider.

It’s no surprise that truck campers are becoming increasingly popular- as it’s a fantastic alternative to traveling on the road without worrying about some of the popular external issues that one might be faced with vans or travel trailers.

Space is the main issue many people tend to face with truck campers, however, they can come in many different sizes (depending on the vehicle you own.) And if you already own a truck – then your job is halfway done for you!

Reasons why truck camper living is ideal:

  • Less weight to tow
  • Cost-efficient
  • Smaller in size
  • Easier to store/park
  • Doesn’t necessarily require electricity
  • Less expensive to own
  • Holds value

Unlike traditional RVs – truck campers best suit singles or couples. Even if you opt for a larger truck camper, it’s still best to limit your passengers to no more than 4 max – as you might begin to feel the effects of the size and capacity.

Overall, if you’re wanting to branch out (on a budget) and explore the unique wilderness and picturesque views of America – investing in a ruck camper is one of the best ways to do so!

Truck Camper Living Costs

The living cost of a truck camper is compiled by multiple factors. From the initial purchase, fuel, camping or overnight costs, as well as maintenance, repair, and other components such as insurance or additional features – all of this will vary from person to person.

Fuel Costs

Depending on the type of fuel your truck camper takes, will give you a significant difference in cost.

It’s been noted within the truck camper community that Diesel engines are much more expensive in comparison to Gas – this is due to the robust build-up of materials used to accommodate and harvest such a mighty engine.

The average fuel cost of a truck camper that weighs no more than 3000 lbs- maintaining a consistent speed of 60 mph, should expect to receive about 8 – 10 mpg on regular Gas. A Diesel engine with the same specifications mentioned above might average between 12 – 15mpg, however.

Camping & Overnight Costs

Camping and overnight costs are just as important factors to consider before purchasing a truck camper. Unlike self-contained RV’s, you’ll still need to locate adequate campgrounds to park overnight – unless you plan on dry camping the entire duration.

When it comes to camping and overnight expenditures, everyone’s figures will look a little different. Factors such as:

  • The state/county/or area you’re in
  • Facilities provided by each campground (power or water)
  • Personal costs (food, electricity, etc)
  • Additional features required for adequate sleep

All of these things can fluctuate your total figures. But if you’re estimating the overnight cost in a campground with power and water- you should estimate between USD 35 – 55 per night.

Maintenance & Repair Costs

Regardless of your truck camper is on the road for an entire year or not – keeping an eye on the maintenance and upcoming repairs can be beneficial if the unexpected may occur.

The maintenance of a truck camper can vary in costs – from the cost of new tires, replacing old materials such as carpet, or even installation of solar prep or a toilet can derange a fixed budget. Maintenance can vary from $500 – $3,500 depending on what needs work and the scarcity of the job.

As for repairs – this also varies. As mentioned above, depending on what needs fixing and how urgent or detrimental the job is, might have you forking out an extra couple of thousand dollars.

Truck Camper Setup

Setting up and keeping steady your truck camper is a tedious process. However, in comparison to a van or other time-consuming RV, it’s a price most people are willing to pay.

Every time you find a suitable location for your truck camper – finding a routine that suits you is the best form of action. Setting up a truck camper can range between 15 – 35 minutes – depending on the specifications.

Things such as accurately leveling your camper, plugging into the correct power docks, and everything in-between should all be accounted for.

Essentials for Cold Weather

Truck camping during the winter season can seem like a nightmare for some – but for those brave few that enjoy the risks, we’ve discussed some essentials for the cold weather.

Pack appropriately (Clothing): Avoid bringing anything “for the sake of it” and instead make sure to invest in high-quality thermals or clothing designed to help you keep the cold out! Layering your clothes is another fantastic way to help you prolong heat.

Invest in Sleepwear: Apart from the obvious which would be appropriate clothing, make sure to invest in quality sleeping bags too! The Vaude Marwees 300, Mountain Hardwear Phantom, and Kelly Cosmic 0 Degree sleeping bag are just a few that you might want to consider.

Portable Heating: Making sure to bring along a portable fan heater could be the make-it or break-it when truck camping in cold weather. Not only are portable heating much safer than propane tanks – but they can also serve as a fan to help with ventilating your truck.

Keep your Truck Ventilated: The only way you can help prevent mold, moisture, and a build-up of mildew is by regularly ventilating your camper. Picking a time that suits you best to crack open a window and allow fresh air to circulate is ideal.

Truck Camper Living for Dry Camping

Dry camping refers to complete self-sufficiency – meaning people why dry camp doesn’t necessarily need a campground or any other place that requires hookups. In fact, they’re likely to be comfortable enough to dry camp anywhere!

There is no particular brand of truck camper that can make dry camping any easier, however, there are certain specifications you could look out for to assist you in any future dry camping.

For example; making sure your truck camper has adequate power. In this instance, at least a 12-volt battery system is required. Adding additional batteries should also be considered.

Keeping in mind the reliance of your freshwater tanks, your holding tanks, propane fuel tanks, and similar will also help you gauge possible conservation techniques you might need to implement.

Other things to keep in mind/act as tips:

  • Keeping all electrical switches, lights, or similar turned off when not in use
  • Refrain from long showers
  • Avoid destinations too hot or too cold (places that do-not require AC or heating)
  • Practice in your driveway before attempting to dry camp
  • Install solar panels/prep

Popular Places for Truck Camper Living

Find below some popular places for truck camper living – located within The United States!

Stone Mountain Provincial Park

Located 87 miles west of Fort Nelson intruding along the Alaska Highway lies breathtaking landscapes and picturesque scenes of wilderness.

Death Valley National Park

If you’re up for a challenge filled with plenty of off-road picture opportunities and unique wildlife encounters – Death Valley National Park is a must-do on the popular places for truck camper living list.


Choose between the Spanish Trail RV Park located in Moab, Panguitch KOA Holiday Campground in Panguitch, or another stunning location that makes the state of Utah stand-out for their magnificently bright yet unique landscape.

Grand Canyon National Park

Located in Arizona, it’s no surprise that the Grand Canyon National Park is another popular must-do while truck camper living. Although bits of the unpaved ground can be a mission – the result is certainly worthwhile.

Hell’s Backbone Scenic Road, Utah Scenic Backway

Ever fancied a steadily-windy trip through the Grand Staircase Escalante? Hell’s Backbone is another favorite among campers for its breathtaking views and otherworldly driving experience.

Pros and Cons of Truck Camper Living

Continue reading to learn about some of the pros and cons of truck camper living:

4 Pros of Truck Camper Living

1. Save on Gas

Thankfully- given the lightweight of a truck camper, you’ll be saving more on gas as opposed to a heavier RV.

2. Maintenance

Being the owner of a truck camper can be beneficial as the maintenance is fairly easier to keep clean.

3. Comfortable to Drive

In comparison to a heavier RV – truck campers are noted to be a comfortable drive and considerably easy to maneuver given the straightforward navigation.

4. Cheaper than Competitors

Truck campers can cost you less money to purchase, as well as maintaining. Repairs, insurance, and additional fees can still be cheaper than competitors too!

3 Cons of Truck Camper Living

1. Limited Space

It’s a no-brainer that you’ll be compromising on space in a truck camper as opposed to a travel trailer or larger RV.

2. Setting Up and Putting Down

If you want to shoot down to the store, travel the roads, or do further exploration without your camper – you’ll need to remember that roaming away can limit you on time.

3. Not Suitable for Large Families

Given the limited space – truck camper living can make larger families fairly uncomfortable and might not even be suitable for others.

Truck Camper Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance (also referred to as Breakdown Cover) is extremely beneficial when you’re the owner of a truck camper. Given the uncertainties that can arise when traveling – being covered for the “unexpected” can ease your worries.

It’s important to remember that not everybody offers roadside assistance for truck campers. In fact – many people have discussed certain insurance companies failing to offer such service, even after mentioning they’re willing to add it into their premium.

Before purchasing a truck camper – make sure you can negotiate with the dealer if roadside assistance comes with your RV package. Otherwise – be sure to carefully scope a range of insurance companies that are willing to provide you something similar.

How Fast Can You Drive with a Truck Camper?

The standard speed limit across all states within The United States is restricted to 70 mph. When driving a truck camper – you must not exceed this limit. Most drivers prefer to stay between 45 – 60 mph as they believe this is the perfect in-between speed, regardless of GVWR.

Do Truck Campers Tip Over?

A truck camper is no more susceptible to tipping over than a car. Although truck campers are top-heavy, you’ll find it’s rare for tipping to occur unless the driver has done something erratic – like taking a sharp turn or swerving in and out of lanes at high speed.

How Heavy is a Truck Camper?

Many factors determine how heavy a truck camper is – on average, truck campers weigh between 1,000 – 4,000 lbs dry weight.

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