Adding a camper shell to a mid-size truck is a great solution for covered storage space, but it doesn’t necessarily give you a comfortable place to sleep. For those that want to enjoy the amenities of an RV or travel trailer without having to tow or sacrifice off-road capability, the best midsize truck campers are an excellent choice.
What is a Midsize Truck?
Midsize trucks are similar to full-size trucks, but they’re more compact. This category is known for makes and models like the Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, Jeep Gladiator, and Ford Ranger.
Many offer true four-wheel-drive capability, which allows you to handle rough terrain and access more remote locations on your outdoor adventures. But the compact nature of a mid-size truck means they don’t have a ton of bed space for a sleeping platform.
That’s why many mid-size truck owners opt to tow a small truck camper. But towing can be a hassle and trailers that can handle the same terrain your truck can handle can be hard to come by, which is where truck campers come in.
Truck Camper Buying Guide
Because you’ve already narrowed down your options to campers that will fit your mid-size truck, here are a few other buying factors to consider before buying a new camper:
Dry Weight versus Wet Weight
You’ll need to start by considering your truck’s payload capacity and whether the dry weight of the truck camper you’re interested in adheres to that capacity. But you’ll also need to consider whether your small truck camper offers liquid storage.
If it’s equipped with a freshwater tank (or grey water tank), you’ll need to estimate the weight of those liquids when full to make sure you don’t overload your truck’s suspension.
For reference, one gallon of water weighs approximately 8.3 pounds. So if your truck camper offers a 15-gallon tank, that’s roughly 125 pounds of added weight your truck will need to carry.
While you could try to always travel without weight in your tanks, that’s ultimately unrealistic. Especially if you’re buying one of these quality truck campers for boondocking, you’ll need to fill your tanks before you head to your destination.
This also doesn’t account for the weight of liquid propane you’d carry to heat your truck camper or cook meals. A 20-pound propane tank weighs about 28 pounds when full. Factor that added weight into your calculations to ensure the health of your truck.
Pop Top versus Hard-Sided
Pop top camper models provide typically provide better gas mileage because they have a lower profile. If you put a roof rack on a pop-top camper that can handle one, it’ll be easier to access anything you secure to the roof rack when the pop-top is down.
However, a pop-top camper is going to require more setup time than a hard-sided truck camper. They also tend to provide less insulation for cold weather camping, even if the pop-top section is constructed with insulated tent fabric.
If you need to find the lightest camper possible, you’re likely to trend towards a pop-top camper. But if your truck bed can handle a slightly heavier truck camper, hard-sided models offer more interior living space and the ability to simply park and climb inside with minimal setup.
Standard Features versus Add-Ons
Many of the best small truck campers come with a set list of standard features and start at a base price. From there, it’ll be up to you how many add-ons you want, such as roof racks and/or solar panels.
Some of these add-ons might be critical to your camping style, but they will increase the final price of your truck camper. When you’re comparing across models, you’ll want to compare standard features like the size of the sleeping space, interior standing room, and internal width access before you get distracted by add-ons.
For our money, most of the best small truck campers include a memory foam mattress, accessory-ready roof, a small kitchenette, and some sort of convertible eating/lounging space.
Sleeping Platform Alignment
Another question is whether the truck camper is designed for you to sleep east-to-west or north-to-south. Many offer a queen-size bed, but the alignment of the sleeping platform can have various consequences.
An east-to-west alignment basically means you’re sleeping across the width of the camper (perpendicular to your truck bed). A north-to-south alignment allows you to sleep parallel to your truck bed.
East-to-west alignments are the most common, but they can make it more difficult to level your sleeping space. With a north-to-south alignment, you can make sure the front of your truck bed is slightly uphill so that your pillow is also uphill when you climb onto the bed platform.
Because many truck camper manufacturers build their campers based on customer orders, some can have lead times of several months before your perfect truck camper will be ready.
Lead times will differ depending on the manufacturer, their popularity, and current supply and demand. But the reality is that you’ll need to plan ahead if you want to add one of these campers to your mid-size truck.
If you want to start camping in your truck camper in the spring, you’ll need to place an order with some of these brands during the previous fall. This gives them their 6-12 month lead time to complete your build and install it in your truck bed.
The Best Midsize Truck Campers
Now is the moment you’ve all been waiting for — our selections for the top-rated mid-size truck campers on the market today.
1) Four Wheel Campers Slide-In Truck Camper – Swift Model
- Base Model Dry Weight: 935 pounds
- Adult Sleeping Capacity: 2-3
- Price (Shell Model): Starting at $16,695
- Price (Full camper): Starting at $25,625
The Swift Model pop-up truck camper from Four Wheel Campers is available as a shell or a fully built-out truck camper. They are known for their ability to be customized and as a great solution for most midsize trucks, although FWC currently has no way to mount the Swift model on small GM trucks (the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon).
So if you have a Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, or Ford Ranger, you’re in luck. Remember that Ford Ranger models with the short 5-foot truck bed will require external tie downs.
While your Swift model will ultimately depend on your customization choices, there are several standard features, including a 20-gallon freshwater tank, two 10-pound propane tanks, and a one-piece, lightweight, waterproof aluminum roof that will handle years of opening and closing.
The customization options for this lightweight camper for mid-size trucks include a hitch-mounted entry step, an 8-foot side awning or 270-degree batwing awning, an exterior LED lighting package, a side-mounted board rack for extra storage for SUPs or surfboards, and more.
2) Four Wheel Campers Project M Truck Topper
- Base Model Dry Weight: 352-377 pounds
- Adult Sleeping Capacity: 2
- Price: Starting at $10,995
If you happen to have a GMC Canyon or Chevy Colorado, these are supported vehicles for the Project M Truck Topper. In addition to being one of the best small truck campers for mid-size trucks, the Project M’s complete list of supported vehicles includes most full-size trucks, such as the Dodge Ram and Ford F-150.
The dry weight for this truck camper depends on the length of your truck bed, but all Project M toppers for mid-size trucks include an 81″ x 66″ sleeping area, welded aluminum framing, and 30 inches of clearance from the cabover sleeping area to the roof ceiling.
Additional standard Project M camper features include a rugged vinyl pop-up liner, 13-inch wide shelves down both interior sides, insulated roof and side walls, and pre-wiring for battery and solar power systems.
From there, your list of potential add-ons for your custom build is extensive. But some of our favorites include a thermal pack for additional insulation, interior L-tracks and or GearTrac storage, a roof vent with a powered vent fan, and multiple roof rack mounting systems.
3) Capri Campers Cowboy Model
- Base Model Dry Weight: 695 pounds
- Adult Sleeping Capacity: 2
- Price: Starting at $11,995
If you’re looking for a hard-sided truck bed camper, the Cowboy model from Capri Campers eliminates the need to pop open your camper before you climb inside. This is a non-cabover truck camper shell that features a 48″ x 76″ heavy foam mattress for mid-size trucks.
There are roughly five feet of interior standing room and a width of 80 inches above the bed rails. The layout for mid-size trucks features a sleeping deck that’s oriented across the width of the camper (east-to-west relative to your truck).
Inside to the right and left there are small seats and there’s also a closet rod to the left for hanging storage. The design also features three windows and can be built with a motorized roof vent fan or upgraded to a roof-mounted air conditioner.
The standard features include a dedicated battery with charger, blackout shades, a 30-amp power plug, and more. Optional upgrades include an external shower, 12V/110V refrigerator, propane heater, microwave, cooktop, and more.
4) Summit Truck Topper from AT Overland Campers
- Base Model Dry Weight: 360 pounds
- Adult Sleeping Capacity: 2
- Price: Starting at $12,000
This AT Ovrlnd custom pop-top camper is like a camper shell and a rooftop tent combined. It’s an excellent choice for newer Jeep Gladiator owners, but also fits most midsize trucks with varying bed lengths, including the 202-2021 Ford Ranger, 2005-2021 Nissan Frontier models, and all three generators of the Toyota Tacoma.
It looks excellent on the 2020-2021 Jeep Gladiator with a five-foot bed, though, and the insulated tent component is manufactured with water-repellent, UV-resistant Firesist awning fabric.
It can be equipped with roof racks, but the maximum roof opening weight is 100 pounds. The bed weight rating is 500 pounds and the 80″ x 48″ x 2″ hi-density foam mattress comes standard on the Ovrlnd custom pop-up truck camper.
The Summit Truck topper can be deployed in just 30 seconds and boasts a lift-assisted platform and five LED lights inside. The list of optional equipment you can add to your truck topper includes a passenger side batwing awning, driver or passenger side sliding windows with bug screens, a Thinsulate thermal tent liner, and much more.
5) Hiatus Midsize Truck Campers
- Base Model Dry Weight: 460-480 pounds
- Adult Sleeping Capacity: 2
- Price: Starting at $15,500
Hiatus Campers is a relative newcomer to the world of truck campers, but Tyler and Erin have hit the ground running with their mission “to create the ultimate adventure rig.” All of their campers are custom builds, but they all have several features in common.
For one, the sleeping deck for their mid-size camper models (i.e. to fit your Toyota Tacoma) measures 50″ wide by 74″ long. With the handles and heavy-duty gas struts attached to the exterior of the camper, it takes less than 30 seconds to open.
Unlike many pop top campers that rely on waterproof tent fabric for the sidewalls, Hiatus builds their sidewalls with rigid, weatherproof folding walls. They also offer various floor plan models and you’ll have the freedom to customize the interior according to your preferences.
Because each of these campers is custom-built, their list of supported vehicles is basically endless. With a stowaway sleeping area, it also allows you to maximize the interior space when cooking or lounging, but the bed can be set up in seconds when you need to rest.
6) The Drifter Truck Camper from Vagabond Outdoors
- Base Model Dry Weight: 350-500 pounds
- Adult Sleeping Capacity: 2
- Price: Starting from $7,750 to $8,250
True to its name, the Drifter from Vagabond Outdoors is designed to go anywhere at a moment’s notice. The all-aluminum construction keeps its light, but the interior features a three-inch high-density foam mattress that’s as long as a queen-size bed, but only four feet wide.
The one-piece lid lends to the durability and water-resistance of this pop-up camper and Vagabond Outdoors designed it with concealed struts to give it a sleeker look than similar camper shell models.
When expanded, the waterproof canvas tent features three windows to let it plenty of natural light. And there’s also a glass cab window with a drop-down for easier access and cleaning. Plus, the rear glass window has keyed locks for added security when you leave it behind to head for a hike or a paddle.
The supported vehicles for this truck camper include the Nissan Frontier (2005+), Chevy Colorado (2015+), Jeep Gladiator (2020+), Ford Ranger (2019+), and all three Toyota Tacoma generations (1995+).
7) Camp King Outback Series Ute Truck Camper
- Base Model Dry Weight: About 325 pounds
- Adult Sleeping Capacity: 2
- Price: Starting at $14,970
The Camp King Ute Tub camper is part of their Outback Series and made with rugged materials capable of handling the Australian backcountry. That starts with Australian-made wax convertors tear stop canvas that’s manufactured using state-of-the-art textile processing equipment.
The camper is designed for numerous supported vehicles both foreign and domestic, including the PX Ford Ranger, 2020 Jeep Gladiator, Gen8 SR5 Toyota Hilux, Ford F-150 Raptor, and Dmax/BT50.
The pop-top camper can be set up or broken down in roughly two minutes. The single-piece tent roofs are fully TIG welded and secured with an Orlock riveting system for added structural stability and the Camp King camper is fully customizable.
Camp King offers a number of add-on choices, including additional sealed storage, a 12-volt electrical system, a small refrigerator, kitchen slides, top rail kits for mounting solar panels or lightweight items, and much more.
8) Scout Yoho Truck Camper
- Base Model Dry Weight: 920 pounds
- Adult Sleeping Capacity: 4
- Price: Starting at $21,980
If you’re looking for a midsize truck camper that can accommodate a family of four, you can’t overlook the Yoho from Scout Campers. Scout is also one of the leading truck camper manufacturers when it comes to sustainability and green design.
They are lightweight, energy-efficient, and require no power hookups due to their included solar power systems. They also feature all-weather protection with no-wood composite structural panels and an aluminum exoskeleton that will never rot.
The standard amenities on the Yoho camper include a Goal Zero Yeti 1000 portable power station, a 190-watt flexible solar panel, a Lifesaver portable 4.9-gallon jerry can with charcoal filter and spray wand, and much more.
The supported vehicles for this camper include all midsize trucks, including the popular Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger. And some of our favorite optional upgrades include a 45-liter combination Dometic fridge and freezer, a rear-mounted diesel heater, and a portable indoor/outdoor gas cooktop.
Conclusion on the Best Midsize Truck Campers
If you have a large truck, you might be interested in our reviews of other off-road truck campers for boondocking!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to midsize truck campers. And if you have any suggestions for midsize truck campers we didn’t include, please share them in the comments below!