As a full-time truck camper, I would go bonkers if the gear inside my camper shell was unorganized. I’ve done a lot of research on camper shell interior ideas for comfortable truck camping and I am excited to share them with you.
14 Camper Shell Interior Ideas
These ideas are designed to give you some ideas and inspiration for your own DIY camper shell build.
Camper Shell Ideas: The Simple Sleeping Platform
Depending on the make and model of your truck, building a sleeping platform is one of the simplest camper shell interior ideas.
My Tacoma, for example, has notches on the walls of the bed that allow me to lay two-by-sixes across and then set two separate sheets of plywood on top.
The plywood is wrapped in outdoor carpet to protect it (and my stuff) from damage.
I do sometimes use it to crawl in and get some rest in bad weather. But the platform is also useful for maximizing the storage space in my camper shell.
Camper Shell Ideas: Wrap Around Shelving
The wheel wells in a truck bed sometimes get in the way when you are packing your camper shell full.
Installing wrap around shelving is a camper shell interior idea that allows you to make better use of that space.
By the looks of it, this method involves bolting two-by-two supports vertically into the truck bed.
They used a total of six vertical supports (three on each side) and they must have made them tall enough so that the shelves on top will rest on the lower edge of your camper shell (just below the windows).
The secondary shelves can rest on top of the wheel well and bracket to the vertical supports. The other sections may need brackets installed on the walls of the truck bed for more support.
You may also be interested in: The Best Truck Camper Accessories For Life On The Road
Camper Shell Ideas: Sliding Drawers
In my case, I went with wheeled latching boxes of the same variety that one might use for under-bed storage in their home. But you can also purchase prefabricated truck bed sliding drawers like these from DECKED.
As you can see from the photo above, you can also tackle this as a DIY project.
Instead of stopping at just the sleeping platform, install tracks and sliding drawers that give you a secure place to keep clothing or kitchen accessories that you want to be able to access quickly.
You can also quite easily add locks to the handles on your drawers so that you bolster the security of your belongings even further.
In this design, you should also look closely at the sides of the sleeping platform. It looks like the camper shell owner cut out three or four cubby holes on both sides to utilize the storage space around the wheel well.
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Camper Shell Ideas: Double Twin Beds
Isn’t this cool?! It seems that this camper shell idea is built in a high-rise camper shell so that you have more headroom when you are seated in bed.
Two relatively simple boxes have been built over the wheel wells on either side of the truck bed. They left a small aisle in the middle that can either be used for storage or swinging your legs out of bed in the morning.
Each “bed” looks like it has an interior drawer that can be accessed above the tailgate.
You will most likely need to find or fabricate custom-sized mattresses for these beds (I doubt they are actually twins). Of course, you will also need to supply your own fruit basket!
Camper Shell Ideas: Easy Drapes
If you want to maintain privacy for sleeping in your camper shell, installing drapes on the side windows is a great camper shell interior idea. Drapes can also be useful to keep prying eyes from canvassing your belongings if your camper shell is loaded with gear.
DIY Instructions For Installing Drapes
Fortunately, these drapes are pretty easy to put up. Here’s a general list of what you will need for this DIY project:
Install the curtain rod mounts using the screws that are already holding your camper shell windows in place. Remove a screw at either end of your window (and in the middle if you can) and use it to secure your rod mounts.
You can also use a wood or aluminum dowel with wire clamps as a rod substitute if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option!
Cut your curtain fabric to your preferred dimensions to cover your windows. Most folks opt to cut two curtains for each window so that you can open your curtains in either direction once installed.
Use clips or curtain rings to slide the curtains over the curtain rod.
To keep the curtains neat, you can also install three wire holders along the bottom edge of the windows. Install an O-ring in the center wire holder and then run a section or rope through the wire holders and the O-ring.
This will give you something to tuck the bottom edges of your curtains into.
It will prevent them from hanging free and also protect them from damage when you are sliding other camping gear in and out of your camper shell.
Check out some Truck camping inspiration: Family of three travels in DIY truck camper
Camper Shell Ideas: Floating Shelving
If you liked the idea of wrap around shelving but not necessarily the look, check out this camper shell idea.
This owner did not like how little headroom they had with the sleeping platform idea, so they wanted to keep their bed directly on the truck bed.
The side shelves are eight inches wide and they mount above the bed rail. They secured them using the four camper shell bolts that hold the shell onto the truck bed.
At the front of the camper shell, they built a larger 22-inch shelf. That shelf simply hangs on the side rails and can easily be removed or installed as needed.
The four sections of four-inch mattress pad can also stack underneath the front shelf if you need the rest of your truck bed for gear.
Camper Shell Ideas: Solar LED Lighting
While you could definitely power LEDs using your truck battery or a portable Goal Zero Yeti battery bank, I am a huge fan of solar lighting for truck camping.
My lights simply rest on the dash of my truck collecting sunlight during the day and they have enough charge for my needs at night.
If you are worried about solar because you travel in cloudy climates, I suggest something like this rechargeable Knog headlamp.
For fans of renewable energy, check out MPOWERD’s string lights. Using the screws that hold your camper shell’s windows in place, you can install small hooks along the top sections of the side and front windows.
You will then be able to drape your string lights over these hooks to have soft, useful lighting for evenings in your camper shell.
Camper Shell Ideas: The Slide-Out Platform
If you have a bit larger budget, you can go beyond the simply sleeping platform and get one of these slide-out platforms.
Honestly, for the amount of times I have awkwardly climbed into my camper shell to reach something that I pushed all the way to the front, this is one of my favorite camper shell ideas on this list.
BEDSLIDE offers several different models that support 1,000 pounds, 1,500 pounds, and 2,000 pounds, respectively.
They are all weather-resistant and can either be installed directly on top of your truck bed or on top of a set of sliding truck bed drawers to help you further maximize your camper shell’s storage space.
Check out The Best Lightweight Pop Up Truck Campers [By Four Wheel Campers]
Camper Shell Ideas: The Mobile Office/Surf Camper
This custom build-out camper shell interior idea is awesome! I have something new to aspire to when I can finally get rid of some of my recreation gear.
It is built in a six-foot Tacoma bed with a high-rise camper shell. The wrap-around seating provides a comfortable couch for day-time lounging but also productive seating for getting remote work done.
A flip-up desk on the passenger side provides the workstation and an open storage area under the couch is just long enough for this owner’s short board.
This design even features a pull-out table for your outdoor kitchen setup and it converts into a full bed that could sleep two people (or you and your adventure pup) comfortably.
Camper Shell Ideas: DIY Truck Bed Extension
This gentleman also has a short-bed Tacoma like mine.
It seems he got tired of sleeping in a V-shape in his camper shell and got pretty creative with this truck bed extender.
He built it so that it slides out of his camper shell and gives him more interior space for sleeping and living inside.
The door locks so that he isn’t worried about security concerns and he built it perfectly so that it doesn’t really compromise the storage space inside the camper shell.
Check out this full video of his genius camper shell idea!
Camper Shell Ideas: The Lounge
This looks nice on a rainy day doesn’t it? My bet is that they installed this camper shell idea on a high-rise camper shell so that they would have plenty of headroom when seated.
The angles are the interesting feature of this camper shell interior idea for me.
Most likely, they used a wooden frame and then layered some sort of waterproof marine carpet around all of their finishing panels.
The holes in the design serve the purpose of providing access to secure storage compartments. And several panels can be moved or rearranged to give ‘The Lounge’ different configurations.
Plus, it seems that they kept a full length compartment (the only place where you can see the truck bed liner) for storing longer items.
Camper Shell Ideas: The ‘Triple-T” Platform
If you have a longer bed truck or your truck bed doesn’t have easy slots for placing cross beams for your platform, you can use the ‘Triple-T’ design as an alternative.
The height of the bed platform is up to you, but many people make it even with the edges of the truck bed to provide the platform with additional support on the edges.
The only downside of this is that it can feel a little claustrophobic unless you have a high-rise camper shell.
The platform itself may not seem too close to the roof of your camper shell initially, but things get tight quickly if you add a mattress.
The major benefit of this interior idea for your camper shell is an abundance of storage space under the platform. You can either use the platform as a base and then install your own slide-out drawers or you can simply store all of your camping gear in waterproof totes.
If you prioritize headroom over storage space, you can also drop this platform down so that the platform essentially sits on top of the wheel wells.
You will still have some storage space underneath, but you will need smaller totes or wheeled boxes for secure storage.
The main issue with dropping the ‘Triple-T’ platform down to the level of your wheel wells is that it can eliminate your ability to use the storage space in front of the wheel wells.
Because of this, many people cut hatches at the front right and left corners of their platform so that they can drop in certain items instead of rendering that storage space completely unusable.
Camper Shell Ideas: The Mega Drawer
If you don’t want to worry about multiple slide-out drawers, you can always go with the mega drawer approach. This requires less material in the way of rolling tracks, but you will need to make sure the tracks you do get can support the extra weight of a large drawer.
From my experience, having large drawers can be dangerous unless you have dividers.
In some ways, it is just like having your gear stored in a large tote or storage container. You will often find yourself rummaging through a bunch of miscellaneous gear to find the one item that wiggled its way all the way to the bottom.
This is probably why this camper shell owner installed dividers in their mega drawer. This will help you keep things more organized.
Another one of the camper shell interior ideas I love is using packing cubes to organize your soft gear and clothing.
Camper Shell Interior Ideas For Insulation
If you intend to live out of your camper shell during the winter months, you will need some camper shell interior ideas for insulation. Most camper shell owners either use a few rolls of Reflectix foil or rigid foam board insulation.
Having used both for RV insulation in the past, I would recommend rolls of Reflectix foil.
They are easier to manipulate around corners and in hard-to-reach spaces. Plus, they don’t fall apart when you cut them and result in foam lying all around the yard where you are doing your work.
These Reflectix rolls have different R-values depending on where it is applied. So if you are planning to camp in extreme cold environments, you might think about doubling up on this material. The good news is that it is relatively affordable.
Because heat rises, it can also be helpful to place more insulation on the roof of your camper shell. You will also need to insulate the windows but if you place Reflectix over your windows permanently you won’t have any airflow or natural light in your camper shell.
So here’s one of the camper shell ideas I’ve used in the past. Use double-sided Velcro to make your window insulation panels removable. Cut the Reflectix to the exact dimensions of your camper shell windows and then line the edges with double-sided Velcro (with the two halves already “Velcroed” together).
If you leave one or two 2-inch sections along the edges of the panel without Velcro, you will have “handles” that make it easier to remove the panels as needed.
Then stick the panels onto your windows and press down the edges firmly. Allow the glue on the window side of the Velcro tape several minutes to adhere to the edges of your window.
Then you can test your work by removing the panel and checking the adhesion of the tape around your camper shell windows.
Camper Shell Interior Ideas Conclusion
Keeping your camper shell organized means less time searching for your gear and more time actually recreating with it.
I don’t know about you, but I quickly get sick of loading and unloading unnecessary items just to find the things that I actually use in my daily truck camping life.
So I hope that you have found some inspiration from these camper shell interior ideas for comfortable truck camping.
If you have any ideas that I didn’t uncover while researching this topic, I would love to hear from you. Drop a comment below so we can all learn from your DIY camper shell mastery!
Tammie Houston says
I love your idea of using a truck shell as a custom-built camper. Since we often use our truck to pull a trailer full of our stuff, something like that would be a good idea for the next time we camp in case we ever need more beds. It seems like a great idea and provides not only sleeping space but even some drawer space underneath the beds as well. I’ll be sure to try something out once we pick out a good truck shell for our pickup. http://www.rhinotopsandtoys.com/products
J. H. Acosta says
Thank you, to whomever thought of such an amazing idea of posting pictures of the many truck bed/ camper conversion; I have been researching different ideas, cost, materials, and time requirements in order to construct something worth the effort; what exactly, I am looking for is total 100% practicality as I move forward collecting different ideas and figuring out what I can use and combine with all the ideas I’ve gathered over the past 36 months. Please keep posting ideas as I appreciate everyone’s time and effort!
How do you generate electricity for AC/Heater without having to use a generator?
Kristin Hanes says