My truck camping set up is not this nice

Originally published at: My truck camping set up is not this nice | Boing Boing


The more I look at solutions (and get older), the more I want a medium-size Class C RV. I can make a sammich while it’s moving, I can nap in the cab-over area and watch the pavement go by, and I can use the bathroom while rolling down the road. Plus all of those luxuries are waiting for me, without significant setup, the minute we stop rolling. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but as creaky as I feel waking up in my fluffy bed every day, the prospect of having a stack of work waiting to be done to clear up camp is less exciting.


Living as close as we do to Joshua Tree NP, you see the tippy top of the line up-fitted campers.
I just saw one yesterday that was completely off grid solar powered 4x4 overland Klingon WarShip, all mounted to a Sprinter Van. Bet it was a chunk of cheddar to purchase…


There are $250k variants that are E-250, transit connect or sprinter conversions. Self-sufficient for the half-life of the OE uranium, with their own hydroponic gardens for growing soybeans to fuel you and the diesel.


Grew up with a camper-in-truck-bed situation, and have yet to see anything that strikes me as better. Hits the sweet spot of all the different compromises.

Maneuvering with a trailer is a PIA I can do without.


This is my opinion, as well. I love spending time in the backcountry, but I can’t do a trailer. The last time I tried it was 15 minutes of backing up and straightening out, backing up and straightening out (and my dad was a truck driver).

Give me a truck bed camper or something big enough to sleep in the back of.


I have a VW T4 Transporter LWB van that I’ve set up as a rudimentary camper, while still functioning as a van.

I insulated it. lined it with MDF, fitted some LED lights and installed a cheap diesel powered night heater that runs off the main fuel tank and a second battery. I fitted narrow Ikea TRONES boxes, two on each side and use them to store a single gas burner, cooking equipment, snow chains, tow ropes and various other junk.

For sleeping I sling a hammock from corner to corner, with an under-quilt and a winter sleeping bag. If it gets really cold I can reach the controls for the night heater from the hammock.

I have a toolbox full of mechanic tools and a toolbox full of non-perishable food items strapped to the bulkhead. Also, a shovel, a bushsaw and axe, a fire extinguisher, a Hi-lift jack, 20 litres of water, first aid kits (one in the front, one in the back) and other bits of equipment stashed securely around the walls

All that stuff stows against the wall without reducing the cargo capacity much so the van can still carry two dirtbikes, sheets of MDF and other workshop supplies, sofas or whatever.


Agreed. Especially if you also need to tow a boat or other trailer. No other combo works as well save for a full sized class B or C camper.

Those 4WC rigs are nice but way overpriced. Everyone I talk to says you can’t go wrong with Lance. You can usually find a decent older model one on CL.


If you are camping in a U.S. park that has bears in it, please be advised (IIUC) authorities no longer let people in who have soft-sided sleeping accommodations. Hard-shell only.

How well can you back a trailer?
I get it that it is somewhat less folderal to set up camp with a trailer.
We were thinking of a pop-up trailer for a while, for fuel efficiency and fast set-up and breakdown.

The good:

(he has not been living in it that long)

However and esp. if you are doing cold weather or wet weather camping:

… the guy’s whole channel is pretty thorough:


Pretty simple with a camper shell even, no bells or whistles. Set up and breakdown of camp is faster, drier, cleaner, and in dangerously bad weather you can bail out for a parking garage or overpass etc. a lot more efficiently.

ETA: typo

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There’s a HUGE difference in safety between a Class B (Van) and Class C (Chassis cab with a camper shell attached). The Class C RV’s are absolute abysmal from a safety standpoint. The center of gravity is extremely high with absolutely zero protection in a rollover. Once panicked moose maneuver and that rig is in a million tiny little pieces with you lying somewhere between your sandwich and the ditch. They do provide a little extra space, but at the risk of no structural protection for the occupants. Just keep that in mind when looking at options.


I have a feeling we’ll be doing the old-folks crawl in it, so less worries there. Warm places in winter, and minimal cool places in summer. But I can also agree that a camper on a truck is pretty badass as well (except trying to get into it from the cab, heh).

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You will have to adjust your preferences for a while as she gets older. And then she’ll be grown and move out and you can go back to your own preferences. But if you want her to be willing to spend time with you now, you have to consider that sleeping next to her dad in a truck bed is not going to play well.

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You are funny as hell. She has been told to pick a tent and can sleep on the ground with an air mattress of her own.

For a multi week extended trip to Yellowstone, however, we plan to rent a trailer.

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Just ran across this beauty:

Like having an urban rooftop deck bar for the road.

I’m here to not agree. Trailers rock. You can pull one with your truck, and once you get to your destination, you can drop it and take off for adventure (or to the tackle shop for more beer). Trailers cost almost nothing to register, nothing to insure, and they don’t have drive trains to break down and cost big bucks to fix. They also have fewer tires to replace. Backing them up is a skill, like anything else, it’s not hard once you get used to it. We’ve had a Class C RV, and yeah, I guess getting served snacks while I’m driving is ok, and if the kids gotta pee, they can do it without have to stop and find a place to go, but those are small advantages compared to advantages a trailer brings.

I’ll take a trailer any day.


My big thing with trailers, beyond not having the patience to maneuver them, is that I like to go places you can’t tow them. The more remote and hard to reach, the better.

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For that matter, if they’re a reasonable size, or there’s enough people, you can just unhitch it and turn it round if’n you don’t like going backwards.

Not to be disagreeable, but there’s not much here that hasn’t been done for a long time.

Although, I do wonder how expensive this setup was back in its day.

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