Got a pickup truck? Wanna go camping?  Want an easy way to turn your truck into an adventure rig?  We’ve got some great ideas for you.

No expensive truck bed shells, tops, or caps needed. No costly and time-consuming custom conversion required either. With some nifty gear you can turn your truck into a mobile outdoor adventure abode.

Of course you can do truck bed camping the hardcore minimalist way by throwing down a bed roll in the back and sleep under a tarp but nowadays pickup truck camping without a shell can be pretty luxurious. All you need is some pickup truck camping equipment.


9 Pickup truck camping ideas

1. Pickup truck air mattress

special pickup truck air mattress

Who would have thought that sleeping in your truck’s cargo area would be bliss? Well, those who sleep on an 12 inch thick AirBedz Original Truck Bed Air Mattress do.

As one of the best pickup truck bed air mattresses you can get this luxury piece fits over wheel wells making the most of  your truck’s cargo area real estate. If you really want to sleep lavishly or in case your other half has the ‘princess on the pea syndrome’, the velours covered Truck-Bedz VFLB Weekender Model may be your best pick.


2. Pickup truck tent


Sleeping in a tent has its charm but laying on the ground isn’t always a bed of roses if  you know what I mean. Keep creepy crawlies and the cold from crawling in. No more waking up stiff and grumpy. Backcountry camping in the safe and comfortable confinements of the back of your pickup truck has its merits.

Happy campers who like boondocking will find that a quality tent pays itself back in no time. After all, who doesn’t hate paying for camping when you can stay out in the wild, with no neighboring campers close, no rules, and an actual view.

The Napier Outdoors Backroadz Truck Tent is made for freedom seekers and coyote campers. Considering a weekend trip on a state park campsite easily sets you back $50, you’ll earn this tent back in no time.


3. Hitch mounted grill


Camping without cooking on fire is like movie night without a TV. Who doesn’t want to grill during their road trip? Whether the menu consists of freshly caught brook trout , some just-shot game, eco-friendly roadkill cuisine, or BYO hamburgers, an easy to mount grill for tailgating is a must-have.

A pickup truck barbecue such as the Freedom Grill hitch-mounted BBQ grill has a huge grilling surface, hooks up to gas tanks, and is easy to install. Great for festivals and other events too. Get it here.


4. Pickup truck cooler


Gotta keep your brewskis cool. Same for perishable foods. A quality cooler such as the Yukon Cold Locker is a necessity too to preserve your fresh caught fish during fishing trips, your booze when at festivals, and of course game from hunting.

Secure this refrigerated box in the bed of your pickup and you may have got an even better cooler than the renowned Yeti coolers. On one load of ice it lets you keep your foods cold on the go for up to eight days.

Tip: instead of crushed ice, line your cooler’s bottom with ice bricks. Freeze foods at home to extend their storage life.


5. Portable camp shower

throw a portable camp shower in your truck for camping trips

Taking a refreshing shower after strolling on the beach is one of the most refreshing feelings in the world. Get that sand out of your hair and the sticky salt from your skin. When out at back roads and remote picturesque spots public shower facilities are scarce. With this Coleman 5 gallon portable camp shower you can always take a shower free-camping-style


Optional pickup truck camping gear

It’s the accessories that make the perfect truck camping setup.


6. Jammock hammock


This two person truck bed hammock has one downside: you can’t put up your tent when the jammock is out in the cargo area. But if that’s an issue you just hang this sling seat off the truck.

It has quite a few more benefits though. The multi-functional Jammock keeps your cargo secured, you can use it for overhead storage, and as a windjammer. Get it here.


7. Pickup truck camping heater


When staying in mild to warm climates you just grab an extra blanket and snuggle up to each other at night. When camping in the mountains, Canada and Alaska, or in winter, a heater is a must.

Truck heating options include;

(in theory) a 12 volt auxiliary heater which is an option if you have a dual battery system (a car and leisure battery). However these drain a battery pretty fast so you can use it only for about ten minutes when hooked on the leisure battery. Some people dislike the humidity that propane heaters emit so they opt to use these for just warming up before crawling into bed. For others 12v heaters are best suited while driving.

A small propane heater is best for most campers. The popular Mr. Buddy heater is often used by RV’ers too as an addition to the rig’s furnace. Connect it with an adapter hose to a standard 5 gallon propane tank and have it filled at a propane refill station.


8. Hamaka trailer hitch stand


Besides obvious comfort this type of seating safes space too. At 7 pounds the Hanging Hammock Air Chair reduces the total weight of your cargo. Not many camping chairs featuring a pillow, footrest and cup holder are that lightweight. Read reviews here.


9. One more pickup truck camping idea: a pickup truck rack

Especially if you’re into outdoor sports installing a truck rack can save  you a lot of hassle with rearranging your camping gear. Pick one with wide crossbars to bring your bike, surf board, kayak, and cargo box. If you do it’s probably best to sleep in a rooftop tent for pickup trucks such as the Smittybilt 2783 Folded Tent. By sleeping on top of your truck’s roof you’ll make the most out of your truck’s surface.


Don’t forget

Chances are you won’t have access to running, or even fresh, water. Just to be sure, adventurous are you are you’ll never know where you’ll end up, bring along a 5-gallon water carrier.

Other packing list items include, a good sleeping bag appropriate for the climate you camp in, baking pans which you can use to clean fish, game, to wash dishes, your hands and face. A flashlight, any glow in the dark item to find things in the dark without attracting too much pesky mosquitoes and other bugs. A portable (solar) charger to charge GPS devices, phones, dog collars, and the likes, as well as the bare essentials such as fire starters, first aid kits and so on.

How do you plan to turn your pickup truck into a camping vehicle?

Now you know how to turn a pickup truck into a camper the easy way. What do you think? Hate paying for camping too? Take matters into your own hands and camp out the unrestrained way.


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