While RVs and motor homes are extremely popular at most campsites around the country, there's a unique community of campers who enjoy a very different form of camping called "truck camping," and many of those folks often find themselves searching in vain for truck camper plans. If you're an avid camper or want to start a new DIY project, take a look at how to find camper plans on your own, as well as some of the best ones currently available.
What Are Truck Camper
With a typical pickup truck bed averaging about 8 to 9 feet long and 4 feet wide, most people never think of transforming the bed of a pickup into a recreational vehicle for camping. However, if you look at many smaller RVs, you'll find they are essentially a large pickup with the body extended up and back to take advantage of all the empty air space behind the driver's cab. Transforming the empty bed space of a truck into a livable area is a very rewarding and worthwhile project. The benefits of truck campers are many.
- Because you are not towing a vehicle, you don't have to worry about the difficulty of backing up or taking sharp turns.
- Truck campers are very convenient and provide the comforts of home anywhere you go. Because of that, they are especially popular among hunters, forest rangers, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone who needs to travel to remote locations that lack hotels.
- Some designs incorporate "legs" that, when extended, hold up the entire unit and allow you to drive your truck around as normal.
- Enjoy the comfort of a bed, the luxury of cooking, and even washing facilities while you are away from civilization.
Using Truck Camper Plans to Build Your Own
There are dozens of designs you can choose when you're converting your truck into an RV, but like many do-it-yourself projects, information and precise instructions are very difficult to come by on the Internet. You could easily spend an exorbitant amount of money purchasing prefab truck campers from an RV dealer, but the truth is that paying for the cost of materials and doing it yourself will cost only a fraction of what you'd pay for a new truck camper. The only significant investment you'll need to make if you do it yourself is in time, effort, and a little elbow grease.
Free Truck Camper Plans Are Hard to Find
Like most things in life, good plans to build quality truck campers are not free. With that said, thanks to the world of Web 2.0, there are a lot of carpenters who are interested in sharing the success of their handiwork with the rest of the world. Because of this, you can find complete project descriptions including photos and step-by-step instructions at a few excellent blogs and websites across the internet.
Glen-l is well-known for boat building plans. However, camper enthusiasts around the internet have only good things to say about the Glen-l campers section. Here, you'll find lots of high-quality camper plans for sale. However if you click on the "Construction Photos" link at the top of the page, you'll discover an entire section of the site that details the full process of constructing the frame. The "Interiors" link underneath provides photos of the inside. If you are very skilled at building, you could potentially reverse engineer your own design from the photos and descriptions. Otherwise, you might consider purchasing one of their plans. For example, Glen-l offers plans such as the Bayou for $48, which provides instructions for building a spacious camper that has no overhang and fits on an 8-foot truck bed.
HomeBuilt Truck Camper
HomeBuilt Truck Camper is a detailed blog by Dan Rogers, which explores the entire process of building his own camper from one of the Glen-l plans. In this blog he provides a great bundle of photos from his project, detailed descriptions of what he did to complete it, and at the end of the blog series he even included a complete breakdown of his construction costs. If you're planning to build your own camper for your truck, this is a great place to start. It will provide you with a visual roadmap of what your camper should look like at the different stages of the build. Head to Roger's blog if you're looking for some insider tips on how to make your build go as smoothly as possible.
Expedition Portal offers a unique and fun way to build a "pop up" style truck camper that has the look and feel of the vintage truck bed campers from decades past. Pop up campers are great because they provide much more space beyond the confines of your truck bed floor area. Keep in mind that these plans aren't as optimized for beginner builders, due in large part to the instruction's vintage feel. Therefore, you shouldn't start with this camper plan unless you've got some experience with following crowded designer notes.
Wild We Wander
This website explores one person's experience building their own truck camper. With tons of useful tips, ranging from practical advice concerning materials and costs to emotional reminders to keep you confident throughout the entire construction process, Wild We Wander is an absolutely fabulous place to start for people who aren't quite sure how to approach a build like this. Divided into sections such as Weatherproofing and the Interior, the website is easy to navigate and intuitively designed. Head on over to Wild We Wander if you've got a hankering for some DIYing but don't know where to start.
Websites to Buy Camper Plans for Your Truck
If the information provided at the free sites just isn't enough, you might want to consider buying affordable plans from the many websites that offer them. With paid plans, you receive very detailed instructions, photos of each step, a construction materials list, and more. If you want to ensure your project doesn't fail, buying a plan is definitely the way to go. The following websites offer excellent plans for hobbyists, from amateur carpenters to more experienced builders.
- Butler Projects offers truck camper plans that are tailored for first-time builders. The design is all-wood, high quality, and easy to build, although it is lacking many of the amenities other plans usually provide for.
- Duckworks offers a $50 printable PDF explaining one builder's way of constructing a truck camper from home. With multiple configurations and positive personal testimonies from individuals who have created their own truck campers using the 24-page instruction manual, Duckworks is a great option for someone who's looking for a consistent build.
The Joy of Building Your Own Camper
The attraction of the truck camper is the romantic idea that whether you're traveling in the middle of the desert or driving through an isolated mountain range, all the comforts of home are with you. Just pull out some food from your custom cabinets, cook up a warm meal on your built-in camp stove, and sleep warm and dry on your comfortable camper bed. No matter where you find yourself during your travels, that's where your home is.