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The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

The slide-in truck camper is a great choice for those wanting something more than a rooftop tent or truck-bed shell for their vehicle-based outdoor adventures.
Four Wheel Pop-Up CampersFour Wheel Campers builds custom slide-in campers to mid-size truck specifications; (photo/Four Wheel Campers)
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Slide-in truck campers for midsize pickup trucks are perfect for the off-grid overlanding and remote camping lifestyle that has blossomed over the last couple of decades. There’s nothing wrong with a cushy mattress, a heater, and hot food when you’re in the middle of nowhere. 

With slide-in truck campers weighing as much or more than 3,500 pounds, however, it can sometimes feel like the midsize pickup truck owner has been left out in the cold. The truth is that some manufacturers offer well-built and generously outfitted slide-in truck campers for the midsize pickup truck market.

Small truck-camper-focused builders as well as major RV corporations with multiple RV types and brands have stepped up and met the rising demand for smaller and lighter slide-in truck campers. Now let’s go shopping for a slide-in truck camper for that truck of yours, whether it be a Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier, and even the Honda Ridgeline.

The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

BunduTec USA Campers Topi


  • Dry weight 1,330 lbs.
  • Overall length 135 in.
  • Exterior width 80 in.
  • Exterior height closed 64.25 in.
  • Interior height open 75 in.
  • Interior height closed 54-7/8 in.
  • Floor length 73 in.
  • Floor width 41.25 in.
  • LPG capacity 20 lbs.
  • Fresh water capacity 11 gals.
  • Base price $19,963
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize PickupsBunduTec USA offers the Topi slide-in pop-up truck camper designed for mid-size pickups; (photo/BunduTec USA)

BunduTec USA offers truck campers, vehicle rooftop tents, and awnings to support the outdoor lifestyle and the desire to reach out-of-the-way places.

While the rooftop tents and awnings are imported, all BunduTec USA truck campers are made in the USA.

BunduTec Topi LIving Space
The rear half of the BunduTec USA Topi truck camper interior offers a well-appointed kitchen and a convertible dinette with a swivel table; (photo/BunduTec USA)

The company builds hard-walled and pop-top truck campers in a variety of floorplans. All its pop-top roofs can be raised with the push of a button with the camper’s standard electric lift system, making them convenient and quick to set up for camping.

BunduTec USA Topi Interior
The BunduTec USA Topi features storage space inside and above the kitchen cabinet. The fridge and electrical box are located under the cab over the bed; (photo/BunduTec USA)

Of most interest in this case is the BunduTec USA Topi. The Topi pop-up slide-in truck camper has a base dry weight of 1,330 pounds and is designed to fit most midsize pickups with 5-foot or 6-foot bed lengths with the tailgate removed.

BunduTec USA Topi Floorplan
BunduTec USA Topi slide-in truck camper base floorplan; (photo/BunduTec USA)

Standard equipment aboard the BunduTec USA Topi begins with a 1.9-cubic-foot 12V refrigerator, a single stainless-steel sink, a pull-out kitchen faucet, a pressurized water system, and a two-burner drop-in stove in the galley area. Comfort and convenience standards include an electric roof vent, a 12,000 BTU furnace heater, privacy window shades, a tinted entrance door with a screen, lots of interior storage compartments, and locking exterior compartments.

The Topi’s electrical system features a 30A shore-power cord with adapter, 25A converter, 12V outlet, dual USB outlets, GFCI outlet, LED lighting, and a G27 AGM battery. A portable solar port helps keep the system charged when off-grid.

Build options are numerous and BunduTec campers can be customized to fit your style of outdoor adventure. Some of these options are a combination furnace/water heater, insulated windows, lithium charging converter, independent 3,000W inverter, rear wall air conditioner, 170W or 340W solar packages, dual G27 AGM batteries, porta potty, roof racks, entry steps, rear wall ladders, awnings, and an exterior storage box.

Four Wheel Campers Swift


  • Base dry weight 935 lbs.
  • Overall length 118 in.
  • Exterior width 75 in.
  • Exterior height closed 55 in.
  • Interior height open 6 ft., 4 in.
  • Floor length 5 ft., 10 in.
  • Fresh water capacity 20 gals.
  • LPG capacity 20 lbs. (two 10-lb. tanks)
  • Base price $25,625
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize PickupsFour Wheel Campers Swift; (photo/FWC)

Four Wheel Campers produces custom truck campers based on multiple platforms. Choices range from the company’s super-lightweight Project M Topper camper shell to its large flatbed truck campers. In between those bookends are a collection of slide-in pop-top campers for pickups from midsize to 1-ton capacity.

Four Wheel Campers offers two slide-in pop-up truck camper models — the Swift (5-foot bed) and the Fleet (6-foot bed) — that are appropriate for the midsize pickup category we’re focused on here. The Swift has a base model dry weight of 935 pounds and was designed to fit midsize pickups with 5.5-foot beds. The Fleet is slightly larger than the Swift, designed for 6-foot beds, and listed with a 1,045-pound base model dry weight.

The Swift slide-in truck camper from Four Wheel Campers comes as a rollover couch platform in its standard form. The rollover couch starts as a 62 x 33-inch couch with storage underneath and can roll out into a considerably wider flat sleeping platform. Its cabover bed is a slide-out of 76 inches long by 72 inches wide.

Four Wheel Camper Swift
Four Wheel Campers Swift slide-in camper roll-over-over couch floorplan; (photo/Four Wheel Campers)

Standard features for the Swift include a kitchen area with Formica countertops, stainless steel sink with an electric water pump, a two-burner propane stove, and a 65L-capacity two-way refrigerator/freezer.

Electrics in the Four Wheel Campers Swift model includes a shore-power 110V system, Camper Battery System (battery, wiring, and battery isolator), 30A power converter with an IQ4 Smart Charger, multiple 12V outlets, and LED interior and outside porch lights. An LP/CO detector, smoke detector, and fire extinguisher are standard safety gear offered. The roof is also prewired for solar panels.

Nice touches such as a finished wood interior, a three-piece portable dining table, a powered roof fan, privacy curtains, and a screen door are all part of the Swift’s standard feature package. The Swift pop-up camper’s exterior is an all-aluminum construction, with a one-piece roof, insulation in the side walls and roof, and waterproof marine-grade cloth pop-up sides.

Its pop-top is manually operated but easily opened and shut by one person due to its gas strut roof lift assists. Folding lift panels on both ends lock the roof in the up position.

There are numerous options in the Swift model slide-in truck camper that can help deliver a camper package ideal for your needs. Build your own with creature comforts like a forced air furnace with a thermostat, a water heater with an outside shower, a roof-mounted 160W solar panel with a charger controller, a dual 12V battery package, or a porta-potty.

Other nice extras to choose from are a 270-degree awning, roof racks, a rear wall ladder, and camper jacks.

Four Wheel Campers Fleet


  • Base dry weight 1,045 lbs.
  • Overall length 128 in.
  • Exterior width 75 in.
  • Exterior height closed 55 in.
  • Interior height open 6 ft., 4 in.
  • Floor length 80 in.
  • Fresh water capacity 20 gals.
  • LPG capacity 20 lbs. (two 10-lb. tanks)
  • Base Price $25,625
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

Aside from being a bit larger and heavier than the Swift, the Four Wheel Campers Fleet model bears an almost identical resemblance to its little brother. The Fleet’s construction, standard features, and available options are nearly the same. The Fleet does, however, offer some upgraded options and a wider selection of floorplans than the Swift.

Four Wheel Campers - Inside Fleet
The interior of the Four Wheel Campers Fleet offers a cabover bed, convertible dinette, and high-grade cabinet and table surfaces; (photo/Four Wheel Campers)

The Fleet can be built in the same rollover couch configuration as the Swift, but additional floorplans include a side dinette layout and a front dinette design that can accommodate an optional inside shower and a cassette toilet.

Four Wheel Campers Fleet
Four Wheel Campers Fleet model truck camper floorplan; (photo/Four Wheel Campers)

Northstar Campers 600SS


  • Base dry weight 1,258 lbs.
  • Overall length 12 ft., 2 in.
  • Exterior width 6 ft., 5 in.
  • Exterior height closed 5 ft., 1.5 in.
  • Interior height open 6 ft., 11 in.
  • Interior height closed 4 ft., 10 in.
  • Floor length 6 ft., 3 in.
  • Fresh water capacity 17 gals.
  • LPG Capacity 20 lbs.
  • Base Price $24,995
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

Northstar Campers is solely focused on truck campers. It’s what they do, and it’s been that way since the company was started in 1955. All Northstar Campers, whether it’s a pop-up or a hard-wall camper, are hand-built.

Each begins with a 5/8-inch insulated underlayment floor to cover the full length and width of the camper. Body construction features a reinforced frame and galvanized steel corners for strength. All joints are glued and then secured with hardened steel screws. The walls and the roof feature hand-fitted foam block insulation, and a fiberglass exterior.

The Northstar 600SS offers well-crafted interiors with features like this convertible dinette and swinging table; (photo/Northstar Campers)

Every hard-wall camper gets insulated windows as standard, and the signature Northstar Camper “Sub Zero” package is a popular addition to any of its pop-up campers for added protection against winter weather.

With a base dry weight of 1,250 pounds, the Northstar Campers 600SS pop-up camper is designed to fit Tacoma, Canyon, Colorado, Ranger, and Frontier.

The pop-up soft-sided Northstar 600SS is loaded with standard features that come with the base model. Some of the standouts on the long list include a 3.7-cubic-foot three-way (LPG, 110V, 12V refrigerator with a removable freezer, glass-top two-burner stove, furnace heater with thermostat, and an electric roof-lift system.

Northstar Truck Campers 600ss
A 6-inch gel high-density memory foam cabover mattress is standard in the Northstar 600SS model; (photo/Northstar Campers)

A swing-away table system, a 6-inch gel high-density memory foam mattress, a 30A adapter with a 15A lighted power cord, and a screened entry door with a deadbolt and gas strut are also standard equipment.

Northstar Truck Campers 600ss floorplan
Northstar Truck Campers 600SS model slide-in truck camper base floorplan; (photo/Northstar Campers)

Highlights of the options available for the Northstar Campers 600SS include niceties such as an autoignition water heater with an exterior shower and a bypass and single-lever faucet with a pull-out sprayer.

Other option choices are an upgraded refrigerator, rear window air conditioner, roof air conditioner, audio systems, TV antenna, and electric corner jacks. Awnings, steps, roof racks, a 1,000W converter, and a 170W solar panel with a 30A controller are also available options for the Northstar Campers 600SS model.

Outfitter Manufacturing Campers Caribou Lite 6.5


  • Base dry weight 950 lbs.
  • Overall length 134 in.
  • Exterior width 83 in.
  • Exterior height closed 59.5 in.
  • Interior height open 83.5 in.
  • Floor length 81 in.
  • Fresh water capacity 24 gals.
  • LPG capacity 20 lb. tank
  • Base price $22,995
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

Outfitter Manufacturing Campers combines a tradition of quality with modern technologies and materials in the design and construction of all its truck campers. The company offers slide-in truck campers to fit every size of pickup truck on the market, including a lightweight unit specifically designed for the midsize pickup truck category.

Outfitter Manufacturing’s Caribou Lite 6.5 slide-in truck camper is the company’s lightest weight (base dry weight of 950 pounds), lowest profile, and most economical option for the midsize truck owner looking for a full-featured slide-in truck camper. It features a fully welded aluminum roof and frame with vacuum-bonded composite hard walls, block foam insulation, and a UV-protected white fiberglass exterior.

A torsion-assist roof lift system and insulated Weblon soft-side walls make the Caribou Lite 6.5 quick and easy to set up. A sliding cab-through window is also standard equipment.

Standard in the Caribou Lite 6.5 kitchen are birch doors and cabinets, a 16,000 BTU furnace, a 1.9 cubic-foot three-way (AC/DC/LPG) refrigerator, and a three-burner cooktop; (photos/Outfitter Manufacturing Campers)

Standard interior feature highlights include a full-size cabover bed that pulls out to make a queen bed, birch doors and cabinets, a 16,000-BTU furnace, a powered roof vent, pressure freshwater fill, an electric water pump, and LP and carbon monoxide detectors.

A 1.9-cubic-foot three-way (AC/DC/LPG) refrigerator and three-burner cooktop make up the galley. The standard Caribou Lite 6.5 electrical system includes a 45A converter with a three-stage charger, and 110V and 12V outlets.
The list of options for the Caribou Lite 6.5 pop-up slide-in truck camper runs the gamut from an electric lift system for the roof to additional 110V and 12V outlets. Major upgrades in that wide range of extras include a cassette toilet, a north-south (aligned with the length of the camper rather than the width) cabover bed configuration, an outside shower with a water heater, and awnings.

Outfitter Manufacturing Caribou Lite 6.5 slide-in truck camper base floorplan; (photo/Outfitter Manufacturing Campers)

Larger capacity (3.0 and 3.8 cubic feet) refrigerators, solar panel systems, dual battery systems, air conditioner systems, audio systems, and a TV antenna can also be added to your Caribou Lite 6.5 camper build.

Palomino RV Backpack SS-500


  • Base dry weight 1,197 lbs.
  • Overall length 12 ft., 8 in.
  • Exterior width 76 in.
  • Exterior height closed 6 ft.
  • Interior height open 7 ft.
  • Floor length 6 ft.
  • Fresh water capacity 9 gals.
  • LPG capacity 20 lbs.
  • Base Price $17,894
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

Palomino RV harbors several brands under its corporate wings that include the Backpack, Real Lite, and Rogue lines of truck campers. the Backpack and Real Lite brands, there are hard-wall and soft-side campers for pickup trucks ranging from midsize to one-ton capacity dual-rear-wheel models. The Rogue lineup features tilt-top campers in sizes that ride just on the edge between compact and half-ton and are probably better left to the larger of those two pickup truck categories.

We’ll focus on the Palomino RV Backpack SS-500 soft-side pop-up truck camper for this discussion. It’s virtually identical to the Real Lite SS-1600. Coming in at a base dry weight of 1,197 pounds, the SS-500 is a good choice for owners of most midsize pickup trucks like the Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger, and others.

Loaded with standard features, the Backpack SS-500 slide-in truck camper offers high-density block foam insulation in the walls and roof, aluminum framing, plywood substrate, high-gloss exterior fiberglass, and Alpha Superflex TPO membrane on the roof for the ultimate in leak-proof coverage and UV protection.

Looking toward the front end of the Palomino Backpack SS-500 offers a view of the camper-wide convertible dinette and cabover bed; (photo/Palomino)

Standard features for the Backpack SS-500 pop-up camper include nice touches such as hardwood cabinets, pocket screw lumber core cabinet stiles, ball-bearing drawer glides, and Congoleum brand flooring. 

A single battery inside a vented box, battery quick disconnect, exterior battery charging station, and LED interior lighting round out the electrical system.

The rear half of the Palomino Backpack SS-500 pop-up truck camper reveals modern kitchen appliances and fixtures with plenty of counter space; (photo/Palomino)

One of the nicest standards on the Backpack SS-500 is a 55-inch one-piece door for easy entry and egress. A 20,000-BTU heater furnace and a three-way (110V, 12V, LPG) refrigerator come with the base camper, as does an electric roof lift system with remote control, pre-wiring for electric camper jacks, solar system prep, and a power fan roof vent.

Palomino RV Backpack Truck Camper Floorplan SS-500
Palomino Backpack SS-500 soft-side pop-up slide-in truck camper base floorplan; (photo/Palomino)

Among the options commonly ordered for the Palomino RV Backpack SS-500 are accessories such as an air conditioner, an entry step, and a 100W solar panel. An optional audio system, a 5-foot box awning, and a water heater/outside shower make life a lot nicer when camping. 

You can also get Mesa Maple cabinets (lighter wood) or Greystone Maple cabinets (for a darker look). The premium optional Badlands Package also gets you a roof rack, a 100W solar panel with a charge controller, and a second battery tray for the Backpack SS-500 slide-in truck camper.

Phoenix Pop Up Campers L1


  • Base dry weight 900 lbs.
  • Overall length 141 in.
  • Exterior width 78 in.
  • Exterior height closed 56 in.
  • Interior height open 76 in.
  • Interior height closed 48 in.
  • Floor length 71 in.
  • LPG capacity 20 lb.
  • Fresh water capacity 20 gals.
  • Base price $32,995
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

Phoenix Pop Up Campers takes a completely different approach to truck campers. Among its products for pickups and flatbed trucks, Phoenix Pop Up Campers offer four different basic models for midsize trucks. From there on, it’s all a custom creation.

With a custom build menu on its website, Phoenix allows you to pick and choose from among the dozens of galley appointments, appliances, electronics, creature comforts, and cabinet arrangements in a wide variety of finishes to create your personalized pop-up truck camper.

Two of the most popular Phoenix Pop Up Campers models are the Level 1 and Stealthy-Mini. Both can be sized for midsize trucks with 5.5-foot or 6-foot beds. All slide-in Phoenix Pop Up Campers begin with a double-welded aluminum cage frame, fiberglass siding, and a molded aerodynamic cabover nose. Extruded polystyrene insulation fills the wall and ceiling.

Phoenix Pop-Up Campers
This Level 1 from Phoenix Pop Up Campers can be built with a convertible dinette with custom fabrics and slab tabletop; (photo/Phoenix Pop Up Campers)

A Level 1 build gets an electric roof lift system, a 20-pound vented LPG tank system, a 20-gallon fresh water tank, and a 175W solar battery charging system. The Level 1 package also features a 30A converter and 110V shore power system, auxiliary deep cycle Group 24 battery, 100A lithium battery system, LED roof lights, and a three-speed reversible electric fan roof vent are also included.

The Level 1 offers a cabover queen-size bed with a 5-inch-thick combination foam/memory gel mattress and a dinette and table setup that can convert to a second bed. A large side window, front opening window, and louvered side window come with privacy curtains of your choice.

Phoenix Pop-Up Campers
Phoenix Pop Up Campers Level 1 midsize truck model base floorplan; (photo/Phoenix Pop Up Campers)

The Base Birch clear-stain wood cabinetry and solid surface counters house a sink and two-burner stove combo, a 2.3-cubic-foot two-way refrigerator/freezer, and a 10,000-BTU furnace heater.

Phoenix Pop Up Campers Stealthy-Mini


  • Base dry weight 800 lbs.
  • Overall length 130 in.
  • Exterior width 78 in.
  • Exterior height closed 51 in.
  • Interior height open 74 in.
  • Interior height closed 44 in.
  • Floor length 60 in.
  • LPG capacity 20 lbs.
  • Fresh water capacity 11 gals.
  • Base price $29,740
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

The Stealthy Mini package swaps the convertible dinette for a couch that folds down into a second bed and replaces the Level 1 storage cabinet with a cooler/portable refrigerator area. From there on, you can go wild with further customization.

Phoenix Pop Up Campers
The Phoenix Pop Up Campers Stealthy-Mini 5.5 build enjoys the wide range of appliance upgrades available to the Level 1 six-footer in a smaller and lighter (800 pounds) package; (photo/Phoenix Pop Up Campers)

Almost everything you can imagine having in your truck camper can be delivered. A choice of more than a dozen cabinetry wood finishes, as well as multiple selections of countertops can also be ordered for your Phoenix Pop Up Camper.

Phoenix Pop Up Campers Stealthy-Mini Floorplan
Phoenix Pop Up Campers Stealthy-Mini midsize truck model base floorplan; (photo/Phoenix Pop Up Campers)

Scout Campers Yoho


  • Base dry weight 920 lbs.
  • Overall length 121 in.
  • Exterior height 78 in.
  • Exterior (body) width 74.75 in.
  • Interior height 75 in.
  • Floor length 69 in.
  • Floor width 39.5 in.
  • Fresh water capacity 4.9 gals.
  • LPG capacity 10-lb. tank
  • Base price $22,945
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

Scout Campers produces three slide-in truck campers — the Yoho, Olympic, and the Kenai. All three campers share a design ethic of lightweight and modular construction that is built to last. The Olympic and Kenai are a good fit for half-ton capacity and greater pickups, while the Yolo is aimed squarely at the midsize pickup truck market.

The Yoho has a base dry weight of just 934 pounds and offers standard equipment that would be options for other truck campers of the same category. Its all-aluminum framing and gel coat fiberglass exterior and roof (with a composite substrate) provide a sturdy and well-insulated shell that’s designed for four-season camping.

Scout Yoho Camper
Modern and efficient design is the Scout Campers approach, and the interior of the Yoho is a showcase of that aesthetic; (photo/Scout Campers)

A short list of standard features for the Yoho includes thermal pane windows and a moon roof with screens and solar reflective shades, a convertible dinette lounge/second bed, stainless steel sink with direct exterior drain, a 10-pound LPG tank in a vented compartment with a quick-disconnect for an accessory hookup, 175W solar panel, portable 1,500W lithium power station, LED lights, and portable water storage with filtration.

The standard equipment roster for the Scout Campers Yoho continues with items such as a 4-cubic-foot gear locker, portable 4.9-gallon fuel can, 21-inch entry door with clear glass window and snap-on cover, and removable flooring. Security and safety standards include a solar porch light with a motion sensor, a fire extinguisher, and smoke, gas, and carbon monoxide detectors.

Scout Yoho Camper floorplan
Scout Campers Yoho model slide-in truck camper base floorplan; (photo/Scout Campers)

The choices of optional equipment and amenities are numerous. Popular add-ons to enhance your off-grid experience are a 45L portable refrigerator/freezer, dual-zone cooktop designed specifically for Scout, 270-degree awning, rear-mounted diesel heater, and roof racks.

The Yoho campers’ minimalist design is evidenced by the lack of a shore power connection and the focus on independence through its use of solar power systems, and its modular portable amenities like the fridge/freezer and indoor/outdoor gas cooktop offer a greater degree of versatility during outdoor adventures.

Travel Lite RV Cent


  • Base dry weight 940 lbs.
  • Overall length 77.5 in.
  • Exterior height 77.5 in.
  • Exterior (body) width 77.5 in.
  • Interior height 74.25 in.
  • Floor length 6 ft.
  • Fresh water capacity 13 gals.
  • Base price $16,895
The Best Truck Campers for Midsize Pickups

Travel Lite RV offers travel trailers and truck campers. Its four slide-in truck camper offerings are the Up Country 750, Up Country 650, Atom, and the Cent. All four members of Travel Lite RV’s line of slide-in truck campers feature aluminum and laminated (no wood) construction.

While the Up Country 750, Up Country 650, and Atom are best suited for full-size pickup trucks, the Cent slide-in truck camper has a base dry weight of just 940 pounds and was designed specifically for midsize trucks.

Travel Lite Cent
The Travel Lite RV Cent features a small but well-appointed interior with all the basic amenities; (photo/Travel Lite RV)

Admittedly, the Travel Lite Cent is a somewhat atypical design for a truck camper, lacking the protruding cabover section that would normally accommodate the primary sleeping quarters of most truck campers. The configuration of the Cent slide-in truck camper allows it to be light and small enough to fit just about any midsize pickup with a short bed. The unique camper design is also great for people who want to put a roof rack on the cab of the truck to carry bulky gear like bikes and whitewater kayaks.

Highlights of the Cent truck camper stock gear list include amenities such as a stainless-steel sink, a high-rise kitchen faucet, an electric water pump, a high-efficiency vent fan, a compact portable two-burner stove, a 20,000-BTU furnace heater, a 20-pound LPG tank, and a 12V refrigerator.

Travel Lite RV Cent Floorplan
Travel Lite RV Cent slide-in truck camper base floorplan; (photo/Travel Lite RV)

Electrics like the detachable 30A shore power cord, a 40A converter, and a system monitor panel make power management simple. The only option available at the time of this report for the Cent was a side-mount air conditioner.

The basic floorplan of the Travel Lite Cent slide-in truck camper delivers a side dinette that converts into a pull-out bed. That being its only sleeping accommodation makes the Cent too small for more than two people unless some sleep on the floor. Nonetheless, the Travel Lite Cent is offered with a host of available standard equipment and comes ready for off-grid adventures.

Truck Camper Buying Tips

Slide-In Truck Camper Weight Ratings

First and foremost is the relationship between truck camper weights and the payload capacity of the midsize pickup truck you own or are planning to own. Truck campers are listed with a “base dry weight.” That number is the weight of the camper in its most basic configuration. Normally that number is without any optional equipment and without any fluids (water).

Why is that important? When you begin shopping for a slide-in truck camper, either building it custom or buying off a dealer lot, it will very likely be outfitted with numerous accessories and options that were not accounted for in that advertised base dry weight. Those options can add hundreds of pounds of additional weight, pushing the camper over or dangerously close to your intended vehicle’s payload capacity. That can cause irregular and unsafe handling behavior or serious damage to your pickup truck.

Luckily, some manufacturers offer weight calculators on their websites that can total up all the options you order and give you a final overall weight of the finished build. Sometimes, those overall build weights will be available from the RV dealership. If all else fails, you may have to find a way to weigh the camper. Be sure you know these real weights before you buy a truck camper for your midsize pickup.

Not All Pickups Are the Same

Payload ratings for pickup trucks are different for each body configuration and drivetrain type for every brand of pickup truck. For example, the payload rating for the 2023 Ford Ranger SuperCab 4×2 with a 6-foot bed is 1,905 pounds.

The payload rating for the 2023 Ford Ranger Tremor 4×4 with a 5-foot bed is 1,478 pounds. The 2023 Toyota Tacoma AccessCab SR5 V-6 4×2 with a 6-foot bed has a payload rating of 1,525 pounds, while the 2023 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab SR5 4×4 is rated at 1,105 pounds.

Not sure about the payload capacity of your truck? It will be on the sticker usually posted in the driver’s doorjamb or some other easily accessed location of the truck. If worse comes to worst, find the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of your truck. Weigh your truck at a public scale, then subtract its weight from the truck’s GVWR. The difference will give you a payload rating you can work with.

Sleeping Space

Most truck campers designed for midsize trucks come with a cabover bed that is referred to as a queen size. Be sure to get measurements of that bed. They can be smaller than a typical home queen bed. Some manufacturers will offer a larger cabover bed and a mattress that is more than a foam pad. A few offer gel/memory foam mattresses. 

Almost all truck campers will offer a dinette/seating area that converts to a bed. These are rarely large enough to sleep an adult. More often than not, the bed made from a convertible couch or dinette will be best suited for children or teens. The manufacturer may advertise the camper as sleeping four, but that doesn’t mean four adults.   

Kitchen Appliances

Truck campers meant for midsize pickups usually provide basic stoves and small sinks in the galley area. Two-burner stoves with piezo-electric ignition and larger sinks are almost always an option. Most come standard with a small refrigerator, but larger optional refrigerator/freezers are commonly offered as options.

If your style of camping includes frequent outdoor dining or cooking on a portable grill or campfire, a basic kitchen with a small refrigerator augmented by an ice chest may be just the thing for you. It will keep your costs and the weight of your camper down.


It’s rare to find a truck camper for a midsize truck with much more than a porta-potty or storage space for a porta-potty. A few companies offer optional built-in toilet and even shower facilities, but again that will add cost and weight, and take up space that might have been better used for storage space. Outside showers with water heaters are also offered as options for some truck campers designed for midsize trucks as well.

Storage Space

Interior storage space is often found under or along the sides of the cabover bed and under dinette seating or fold-down couches in smaller truck campers. Some offer dedicated shelved storage space, and most offer storage in the kitchen cabinets underneath the stove and sink.

Large exterior storage spaces are not commonly found in smaller truck campers, but some manufacturers do offer locking exterior storage. Roof racks are a common option on truck campers for midsize pickups, and these do come in handy for larger items such as canoes and bicycles.

Electrics, Gas, and Water

Every camper comes with some sort of power source such as a battery to run the internal electrical equipment like the lighting, refrigerator, water pump, roof vent fans, and any optional equipment such as audio systems.

The camper batteries are in many cases capable of being charged through connection to the truck’s charging system while you’re driving. Most all truck campers are also equipped with what’s called shore power or camp power connections that link the camper into electrical outlets often found in improved campgrounds and RV parks. The camper batteries can also be kept charged when you’re boondocking through solar charging systems or high-capacity portable battery systems that are usually options.

Gas (LPG) tanks are standard equipment on almost all truck campers, and most hold 20 pounds of propane to run cooking stoves, furnace/heaters, or three-way refrigerators. Water tanks are almost universally available in truck campers meant for midsize pickups, typically with 20-gallon or fewer capacities.


What truck upgrades can improve its handling of the camper’s weight? 

Numerous aftermarket products are available that can help your pickup truck better handle the weight of the camper. High-quality replacement shock absorbers will provide better suspension damping and overall stability while driving.

Some trucks will sag a bit in the rear end with a camper loaded up. Helper spring kits for the rear end can raise the ride height. Air-bag systems for the rear suspension are also a good choice for managing the camper’s effect on your truck.                 

Can a truck camper purchase be financed?

Yes, it can be financed through your bank or credit union. RV dealers and manufacturers often have financing options they can offer as well. Unfortunately, the slide-in truck camper can’t be financed as part of the truck purchase because the camper is not a permanent structure of the truck. Truck camper loan terms are commonly 10 to 20 years.

How does a truck camper mount to the pickup truck?

Slide-in truck campers use special brackets that mount to the truck (the better systems use frame-mounted brackets) and to the camper body. These truck and camper mounts (usually four, two on each side) are connected by turnbuckles that can be adjusted to securely join the camper to the truck. Attaching the camper to the truck frame offers greater stability for the camper than attaching it to the body of the truck.

Should I put something between the truck bed and the bottom of the camper?

A sheet of 1-inch plywood with a 3/8-inch soft rubber mat on top is recommended by the manufacturers we contacted. It creates a sturdy support platform between the truck bed and the bottom of the camper, and the plywood/rubber combo resists camper sliding and makes the truck bed and camper connection more stable.

What is the best truck camper for the Toyota Tacoma?

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma has a payload capacity of 1,050 to 1,685 pounds, with the higher end of that spectrum on the base SR and SR5 model trucks. The higher optioned and better off-road 2023 Tacoma TRD Pro only has 1,050 to 1,135 pounds of payload capacity.

Remember payload includes fuel, people, and gear, on top of the camper weight. People, gear, and the modification you’re likely to do add up to quite a lot, leaving very little load capacity left in a Tacoma. A great place to start your shopping for a Toyota Tacoma truck camper is the Four Wheel Campers Swift.

What is the best truck camper for the Honda Ridgeline?

The 2023 Honda Ridgeline has a payload capacity of 1,509 to 1,583 pounds, which is quite impressive for a midsize U.S. pickup. Any of the campers on our list are suitable in terms of payload, but the lighter and more streamlined the camper the better for a unibody truck like the Ridgeline. A great place to start your shopping for a Honda Ridgeline truck camper is the Phoenix Pop Up Campers Stealthy-Mini.

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