Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
If you are looking for a lifestyle change, and you want to enjoy the RV life, but your budget doesn’t stretch to a Class A RV, a truck camper shell is a perfect solution.
A truck camper shell is both an economic solution, and one that ranges from a step above camping to something close to the RV experience. If you love either and budget is any kind of concern, this is a great solution.
We are going to take a look at what types of truck camper shells there are, and what the pros and cons of those shells are, and help you make the best choice of truck camper shell for you.
What Is A Truck Camper Shell?
Let’s just suppose that you don’t really know what the term Truck Camper Shell is referring to, and quickly clear that up for you.
It’s pretty straightforward. It refers to any recreational vehicle or that can be carried in the bed of pick up truck, and just so you don’t get confused if someone in North America is talking about a slide-in or a cab-over, they are talking about the same thing.
What’s It Like To Live In One?
As with any lifestyle choice, it has its pros, and it has its cons, and how much those bother is going to depend somewhat on what you expect going into it, and how much you like it once you have been doing it for a while. This kind of goes without saying, but all lifestyles really do come with a disclaimer.
What kind of living in a truck camper shell you are doing obviously needs to be clarified as well. If you are looking for something to live in as you go on your travels, that is somewhat different to if you are moving out from a brick and mortar residence and making this the place you are permanently living.
The truck camper shell offers people with budgetary constraints that rule out buying some of the more expensive RV options out there a real solution to enjoy the benefits of RV living.
You may have an issue with condensation because the ventilation is not always going to be the best in some of your truck camper shells.
Space is obviously going to be at a premium, and you are going to want to do your due diligence when making your choice.
Make sure that your truck topper is properly waterproofed, or your belongings are going to suffer, and depending on how basic the set up is, you may want to set things back from the entrance.
Pop-ups are super easy to set-up, and there are no electronics to worry about, and you can also remove it from the truck if you need to use it for something else. This means that they are easy to store as well.
It gets you out on the road, with something that is pretty much fuss-free, and if you love camping and want to step it up a notch, this is going to get your significantly closer, and with the higher end models you are going to get something that is very much like living in one of the more expensive RV solutions.
How Do You Pick The Perfect Truck Camper?
1. Pop-up Or A Hard Side Truck Camper?
The first option comes in cheaper, and you make some sacrifices for that in terms of the amount of storage space that you have, and depending on the design it can also impact on the available conveniences that you have as well.
What you do get is a bed, interior standing room, and a large locked storage area. Which for a short period of time may be enough, but you may want more
A hard side camper is going to give you a more permanent and fixed space, and with that may come more of the accouterments you would be looking for in a larger RV.
2. Long Bed Or A Short Bed Truck Camper?
Well, this one is going to be answered for some people by whether or not they have a long bed or a short bed truck already.
Still, it may be that upon looking at the options available for campers, a new truck may be the order of the day, or if that is in the budget a different class of RV might be the choice for you if the size is an issue.
When you look at the campers on the market you are obviously looking to find something within your budget, but you need to make sure that you are going to enjoy using it as well. If the camper doesn’t look like it is going to be much fun for you don’t get it.
These shells are pretty cool, and they do what they are intended for, but they aren’t going to give you the same levels of comfort as a Class A RV, but they have their own charm, and people do fall in love with them. Make sure you fall in love with your choice because you’re going to be spending some time with it.
3. Non-slide, Single-slide, Double-slide, Or Triple-slide Floor Plan For Your Hard Side Camper?
Again, with this choice, you may be looking at the question of what your budget is, with multiple slide-outs costing as much as several thousand dollars more than non-slide options.
The great thing about a slide-out is that it can make the whole experience of being in a camper shell drastically different because of the interior space that it adds. It may make it slightly less ready to go because you have to slide it out, but that really doesn’t seem like a major issue at all.
4. Hard-side Pop-up Walls, Or Soft-side Pop-up Walls For Your Pop-up Camper?
The arguments for hard-side pop-up walls versus soft-side pop-up walls are similar to those for pop-up versus hard-side camper shells.
How durable is your shell? Some of the soft-sides are not as waterproof as you would want, and they are going to be better for you if you are looking at a short term usage rather than something you are using for an extended amount of time.
There are some conversion kits that are out there, and there are some hybrids that you basically turn into a hard-side once they are up.
5. Wet Bath, Dry Bath, Or No Bath?
Yep, that is what we said. So, you’re asking, what is the difference? Well, no bath is pretty self-explanatory, and that is going to force you to camp somewhere where there are facilities that you can use.
A dry bath is the RV equivalent of the bath that you have at home. It means that you have a shower, tub, and toilet in their own designated areas.
A wet bath has the bath, toilet and shower space combined, with a waterproof floor, and when you shower everything gets wet. Now, why would you want that? Well, your camper shell is going to, as mentioned, have limited space, and that means you want to make sure that you use that space efficiently. It means you also get a larger shower, and there is going to be less daily maintenance.
5 Great Truck Camper Choices
Here are 5 excellent choices if you're looking for a truck camper.
1. LANCE 650 TRUCK CAMPER
This camper is designed for trucks with 5’ and 6’ beds. You have a sturdy aluminum frame with radius acrylic tinted thermopane euro windows.
You get a tankless water heater, ducted heat, one-piece PVC roof, lite-ply framed cabinets and some really cool optional features such as power awning, keyless entry, A/C and microwave.
2. Cirrus 820 Truck Camper
This great truck camper has a floor-length of 8 feet 6 inches and a height of 8 feet 7 inches, with a comfortable amount of space for your bed, and there are a sink and shower unit too, A great choice with a pretty luxurious feel.
3. Hawk Model Truck Camper
This truck has an interior headroom of 6’6” and sleeps 3 to 4 adults. The floor-length is 80”, and the various floor plans offer you some beautiful choices of rollover couches, dinettes, and more. They come as standard with white aluminum siding, but like everything else with the hawk, upgrades are available.
4. 8-11EX Special Edition Dry Bath
This camper claim itself as the only short box non-slide dry bath in the industry, which is pretty cool.
You get a 10’ side awning, a 7’ power rear awning, thermal pane windows, a thermal skylight, and a 100-watt solar panel. It is designed to fit a larger short bed truck of 6.6’. A really nice and luxurious camper.
5. Arctic Fox Camper 865
This camper's interior height is 6’7” and the floor-length is 9’4”. You are looking at an aluminum frame construction, with four-season foam block insulation. You have a cathedral arched ceiling to give you that sense of more space. Heated holding tanks, microwave oven, etc. This is a really beautiful camper, one you would feel totally at home in.
Whatever kind of RV adventure you are looking to go on, it is an adventure, and sometimes the important thing is just getting out there on the road and camping under the stars.
It may be something that you have been looking at for a while, but you weren’t able to afford it, and these truck camper shells are priced so that you are going to be able to find something in your range. They may, at the lower end, be better suited to short term use, but that may be exactly what you are looking for, and they provide either a long term solution for someone with less of a budget, or a good intermediary choice for someone who doesn’t want to commit to a Class B or a Class A RV just yet.