The 7 Cheapest Truck Campers in 2022

When you are looking for an RV but do not need or want a massive and overly priced one, then a truck camper may just be for you. Depending on how flexible your definition of a truck camper is, you can find some incredibly lightweight and cheap options out there.

Boondocksers

There are typically two types of truck camper:

  • Pop-up tents that sit on the bed of a truck and
  • Hard Side Truck Campers

We will be only talking about hard-sided truck campers (some only with a pop-up on top) in this article.

Metal Carport For RV

Truck campers typically provide enough space to accommodate at least 2 people, along with some camping gear. They give you a safe and warm place to camp, either directly on the bed of your truck. The biggest advantage of small truck campers is that they are lightweight and minimalistic.

Shopping for a new or used truck camper can be a challenging experience because choosing the best truck camper for your needs takes a little research. You need to understand all of the aspects and benefits to make sure you get the most out of your outdoor activities and provide better, enjoyable, and safe times on the road.

Choosing a truck camper will also save you money. In many cases, yearly maintenance is limited to the vehicle while seasonal storage fees can be offset by simply storing the truck camper in a garage. Insurance providers can also add coverage to your existing truck policy so you get additional savings there too.

Type of vehicle required 

Whether you choose a short- or long-bed truck camper, what matters is that your truck’s payload capacity can accommodate the dry weight of the unit. This will determine the type of truck camper you should choose, and also makes for safe travels, optimal handling, and preventing damage to your vehicle’s suspension. I suggest to get an off-road truck so you can go camping to more remote places.

Most truck campers vary in dry weight from approximately 61500 pounds (short bed) and 4000 pounds (long bed). The style, materials, construction, and size of the camper will all influence the weight. With these standard dry weights, a three-quarter or one-ton truck is the preferred choice because of their heavier payload. When considering payload and camper weight, you must not forget to account for the gear that you’ll bring along as it greatly contributes to weight.

Exterior: Aluminum or Fiberglass

There are essentially just a few types of structures to build truck campers. One is a solid wood-frame structure enclosed with aluminum sheets and the other is an aluminum frame structure with a laminated, fiberglass finish. Fiberglass is the more expensive option but it offers several advantages such as:

  • Stronger bond for better driving experiences
  • Better durability
  • Much easier to maintain and clean off debris
  • More functional in harsh conditions and weather
  • Higher resale value
  • Better sound insulation

The aluminum options may be more prone to weather damage but they are less expensive which makes them the best picks for first-time RVers.

Interior

The interior of any truck camper will depend on personal preferences. The spacing, utilities, materials, and designs are all different so you pick what best suits your style and needs. You will need to decide what matters most to you in terms of amenities, comfort, quality, and color. You also want to make sure it is practical to live in especially if you plan to be on the road for a while.

If you don’t mind to pay premium price for extra comfort, quality and insulation, check out the Host truck campers. They have many different layouts, even one with 3 slides. They can customize it for you the way you’d like it and they are truly impressive. I have two friends who live in those full-time and they love it. But let’s talk about the budget friendly options.

Pros and Cons of Truck Campers

Pros:

  • Easy to store: you can just put it in the garage or backyard and that’s it.
  • Easy to manouver: you can drive it like a normal car, fit into parking spaces, back up with it easily.
  • Go camping to road less traveled: with a 4 wheel drive truck, you can take your camper off road anywhere where your truck can go. 
  • Unload your camper: for extended stays, you can unload your camper and use your truck separately.

Cons:

  • Can be top heavy which makes driving it in winds difficult
  • Make you too tall. A truck camper is 10-12 feet high which can makes it difficult to park or fit under bridges or some gas stations.
  • You have to get out of your car to go sleep. Not everyone likes that.
  • Loading it and unloading it can be a pain
  • Small space. Sometimes too small.

The Cheapest Truck Campers

For your first time living the RV life, you want to start out simple and affordable. But you also want a truck camper you can count on and that will give you the comfort of home. Below I am discussing some of the best low-cost truck campers on the market today to help get your search started. I don’t always pick the cheapest from the manufacturer’s line-up. I am trying to put together more variety of campers to choose from. You should check out the manufacturer’s websites for more models they might have in their line-up for even cheaper or more expensive with more features. 

 

Capri Retreat Long Bed

Capri Retreat Truck camper

The Retreat is a hard-side, non-slide truck camper for long-bed trucks. The company has truck campers for short bed trucks as well. The most unique feature is the one-piece fiberglass shower stall. Note that it’s not a wet bath with a toilet and a sink, just a shower stall. The shower stall will accommodate a Porta-Potty. You also get three large adjustable shelves for storage, which is something smaller truck campers typically lack. Your kitchen features a single basin stainless steel sink, two-burner flush-mount propane cooktop, a microwave, and a 2-way, 3-cubic foot refrigerator. The cabover sleeping area is in an east-west configuration meaning you sleep from passenger to driver side and there is additional storage space around the bed.

MSRP$16,495 (base model)
Weight1740lbs (dry) and 2609 lbs (total)
Width7′
Length13′ 5″
Fresh Water30 gallons
Long or Short BedLong Bed
SlidesNo Slides

Palomino Rogue EA1 & EB1

Palomino Rogue

Small, cute, and light. This is how I can describe this Palomino pop-up hard-side camper. It comes with a power roof lifter, no hand cranking. The only thing you cannot use without the roof up is the bed. Pre-wired for power jacks or can be ordered separately with automatic power jacks. Comes with some solar setup, 20-pound propane tanks, a two-burner cooktop, a small 3-way-fridge, a small water tank, and 30 Amp connector. You also have an outdoor shower but no toilet. No AC. The dinette drops down to an additional bed if you have friends tag along. Check out Palomino for more models!

MSRP$17,988 
UVW1402lbs
Width86″
Length12′ 5″
Fresh Water8 gallons
Long or Short Bed5′ bed or longer truck
SlidesNo Slides

Scout Olympic 6.5

Scout Olympic 6.5

The Scout Olympic 6.5 is a hard side, non-slide, short bed truck camper. Inside this lightweight camper, you’ll find detachable camping equipment that you can take with you. Take your dining table, camp chairs, fridge, and stove outside and enjoy more fresh air. The exterior pull-out storage tray doubles as an outdoor table-top that you can cook on and use as a functional surface. And with the Batwing awning, extending 270 degrees along the back wall and sidewall will protect you from the elements when needed. Here are more truck campers from their line-up.

MSRP$19,980
Weight1165 lbs (dry) and 1716 lbs (wet)
Width7′
Length10.62′
Fresh Water4.9 gallons
Long or Short BedShort Bed
SlidesNo Slides

 

Palomino HS-690

Another one Palomino. The HS-690 is a hard side, a non-slide truck camper that fits both long and short beds. The lightweight camper includes as standard a water heater, exterior shower, interior sink, two burner range, 5-cubic foot refrigerator, plenty of storage, a U-shaped dinette, queen size bed, porta-potty storage, and an AM/FM, CD, DVD, USB, and Bluetooth-equipped stereo system.

MSRP$19,641
Weight1165 lbs (dry) and 1716 lbs (wet)
Width7’16”
Length12’9”
Fresh Water8 gallons
Long or Short BedBoth
SlidesNo Slides

TLRV Travel Light 890 RX

tlrv truck camper

TLRV truck campers are lightweight, made with solid wood, and have long-lasting construction. Their 4 season truck campers are well insulated on the side and the bottom. Inside is made with the modern home in mind, using neutral colors. The model I’ve picked is not their cheapest camper, if you want a cheaper model, check out their Rayzr. This one is from their Extended Stay line-up, comes with a wet bath for people who want this convenience on board.

These lightweight RVs give you a comfortable living area while still freeing up your truck’s hitch for you to bring along your toys. You can have all of the luxuries of a travel trailer inside any one of these Travel Lite Extended Stay truck campers. Extended Stay Truck Campers by Travel Lite RV give you everything you need for your long adventures across the country or even a weekend with your friends!

 

MSRP$21,495
Weight2397 lbs (dry) and 2609 lbs (total)
Width54″
Length193″
Fresh Water25 gallons
Long or Short BedLong Bed
SlidesNo Slides

 


Adventurer 80RB

Adventurer 80RB

The Adventurer 80RB is a hard side, non-slide, wet bath, long or short bed truck camper. Even with strict weight guidelines, this camper offers a healthy list of standard features including a high gloss Lamilux 4000 fiberglass exterior, wet bath with flush toilet and shower, north-south queen-size bed, roll-out sofa bed, all LED lighting, and a four-cubic foot refrigerator. Despite the lower price and lightweight aspects, this camper boasts a high quality of materials and a comfortable feel. See more of their campers.

MSRP$21,245
Weight1819 lbs (dry) and 2529 lbs (wet)
Width7’5″
Length15’10”
Fresh Water15 gallons
Long or Short BedBoth
SlidesNo Slides

Wolf Creek 840

Wolf Creek 840

The Wolf Creek 850 is a hard side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper suitable for both long and short beds. At the most basic Value Package, you can get an AM/FM/CD player with Bluetooth, rear awning, 5 cubic foot refrigerator, dual 20 pound LP tanks, exterior shower, heated holding tanks, roof rack, ladder, sewer hose storage, and Combo Bunk Cab with dinette. See their other models.

MSRP$26,840
Weight2008 lbs (dry) and 3008 lbs (wet)
Width8′
Length16’2”
Fresh Water33 gallons
Long or Short BedBoth
SlidesNo Slides


The choice for truck campers can be daunting, but I want to make sure that it isn’t that way for you. Once you know what your budget is, these are the top 5 new truck campers to start with. Moreover you can find budget friendly used options out there. You can find good, used truck campers for around $5000.

Whether you are a newbie to the RVing life or a pro, these smaller truck campers are perfect for exploring the open road even to live in them full-time. They are affordable, reliable, easy to store and easy to maneuver where bigger rigs cannot go, look into a truck camper today.

 

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