Must-See Cheap Truck Campers for Thrifty Explorers

Are you looking for a more affordable truck camper under $20,000? Here are our top picks!

truck bed camper parked outdoors near the road

For those interested in getting into truck camping on a budget, it’s natural to start your search with the best cheap truck campers. I started my truck camping journey by installing a camper shell on a Tacoma and sleeping in the bed, but I couldn’t help but feel a little envy every time I passed a true truck camper on the road. 

Truck campers have some distinct benefits over other types of RVs, as we’ll detail a bit later. But let’s begin by defining what we mean by cheap truck campers for this article. 

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The Best Cheap Truck Campers

Here are my selections for the best cheap truck campers that start under $20,000:

Go Fast Campers Platform Camper

couple in a truck camper parked on the beach
Photo: Platform Camper from Go Fast Campers

Camper Specs

  • Fit: Supported makes include GMC, Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Jeep, RAM, Nissan, and Honda 
  • Base Dry Weight: 275 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: 2 adults plus one pet/child
  • Dry or Wet Bath? N/A

Originally designed for off-road racers (and those supporting them), the Platform Camper from Go Fast Campers is arguably the lightest and cheapest truck camper you’ll find on the market today. It’s perfect for rugged adventurers and those seeking true solitude at off-grid destinations that many others wouldn’t even attempt to reach. 

Like many of these cheap truck campers, you’ll have the freedom to customize your ideal unit with Go Fast Campers. That starts with choosing the standard 90” x 50” sleeping area or upgrading to the XL 90” x 56” area. It continues with options to include automotive front and rear windows, side tent doors, and more. 

Also known as the premier “wedge camper”, the Platform Camper boasts lockable panels for added security, a three-inch dual-density foam mattress for comfortable sleeping, and 300-denier tent fabric throughout. If you’re the kind of camper that’s always on the go, there aren’t many that are easier to set up and break down than this one.

Four Wheel Campers Swift Model

four wheel campers swift model inside a showroom
Photo: Four Wheel Campers Swift Model

Camper Specs

  • Fit: Mid-size truck beds from 5’ to 5.5’ 
  • Base Dry Weight: 950 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: 2-3
  • Dry or Wet Bath? N/A

The Swift Model is the smallest that Four Wheel Campers makes for mid-size trucks. The only floorplan available for this base model (the Roll-over Couch) features a 72” x 76” cabover bed, a 33” x 62” convertible couch seat, and a 6’4” interior height when opened. 

Classified as pop-up truck campers, all models from Four Wheel Campers collapse for safe transit, which has two main benefits: improving your fuel economy and reducing concerns about not fitting under bridges or underpasses with low clearance. 

All Four Wheel Campers are fully customizable, providing options for you to build your personalized cheap truck camper. But all feature upholstery and collapsible siding that are cut, sewn, and finished at their factory, instead of being trusted to a third-party provider. Plus, their fully aluminum construction makes them lightweight and durable.

Capri Campers Cowboy Model

Cowboy model from Capri Campers parked outdoors
Photo: Cowboy model from Capri Campers

Camper Specs

  • Fit: Mid-size trucks with 6’ bed and full-size trucks with 5.5”, 6.5” and 8’ beds 
  • Base Dry Weight: 695 to 840 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: 2-4
  • Dry or Wet Bath? Option to add an interior shower with a portable toilet stored on the shower floor.

The Cowboy model from Capri Campers is a solar-ready truck camper that doesn’t require any setup when you arrive at the campsite. There’s no need to pop up an expandable roof, but these models only boast a 5’ interior height, making them ideal for shorter folks, or those who don’t need to stand up inside. 

Like many truck campers at this price point, there are a host of optional features you can add, which ultimately impact your final sale price. But the standard features include a 48” x 80” bed with a heavy foam mattress (48” x 76” in the mid-size floorplan), a motorized vent fan, and two side windows with blackout shades. 

It also comes with a 30-amp power plug on the back wall, LP/CO leak detector alarms, interior and exterior 110-volt AC outlets, and three overhead storage cabinets. Each design gives you the option to choose your preferred interior wood grain panel and exterior color and striping, plus all the required amenities like a roof-mounted A/C, microwave and cooktop, and more.

Scout Campers Tuktut Model

Scout Campers Tuktut Model showing the interior
Photo: Scout Campers Tuktut Model

Camper Specs

  • Fit: A wide range of mid-size trucks, including the Ford Maverick, Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger 5’ bed, Toyota Tacoma 5’ bed, and more. 
  • Dry Weight: 638 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 2
  • Dry or Wet Bath? Storage for a portable toilet

When you see any Scout Camper for the first time, it catches the eye. This is mainly due to the gelcoat fiberglass exterior and roof. Combined with aluminum exoskeleton framing and a fully composite substrate, Scout delivers a truck camper that’s lightweight, extremely durable, and easy on the eyes.

Designed for the minimalist, the DIYer, the tradesman, the upfitter, and the build-as-you-go’er, the Tuktut model is the most affordable option from Scout Campers. It boasts a 6’¼” interior height, a 47.5” x 69.625” bed, a 22” x 63” entry door, and floor space measuring 39” x 59.625”. 

Some of the other features that caught my eye in this cheap truck camper include thermal-pane windows with screens and solar reflective shades, interior cushions made to handle the outdoors, an external entry assist bar, and an easy-to-learn ratchet tie-down system.

Four Wheel Campers Hawk Model

Four Wheel Campers Hawk Model showing the interior
Photo: Four Wheel Campers Hawk Model

Camper Specs

  • Fit: Full-size truck beds from 6’ to 6’7” 
  • Base Dry Weight: 1,200 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: 2-3
  • Dry or Wet Bath? Available storage for a cassette toilet or Porta Potti (Front and Side Dinette floorplans)

Four Wheel Campers provides one of the most robust collections of lightweight pop-up truck campers for all types of trucks. Their Hawk model is ideal for full-size trucks, and there are three distinct floorplans available for this model: the Roll-Over Couch, the Side Dinette, and the Front Dinette. 

The standard main bed in this model is a 64” x 77” queen, but there are two optional upgrades: an 80” x 77” king or a 75” x 77” king. The smaller king bed is only available for the Front Dinette floorplan, but all floorplans boast a 20-gallon freshwater capacity, a 6’6” interior height, and the capacity to hold two 2.5-gallon propane containers. 

Capri Campers Retreat Model

truck camper parked outdoors near the road
Photo: Capri Campers Retreat Model

Camper Specs

  • Fit: Full-size trucks with 5.5’, 6.5’ and 8’ beds
  • Base Dry Weight: 1,050 to 1,150 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: 2-3
  • Dry or Wet Bath? Option to add an interior shower with a portable toilet stored on the shower floor.

The Retreat Model from Capri Campers is a step up from their Cowboy model, and one important difference that jumped out to me was the 6’4” interior height. That makes cooking, organizing, dining, and just lounging in this cheap truck camper more manageable than the 5’ height of the Cowboy model. 

The standard bed in this model measures 60” x 80” and this larger design boasts four windows with sliding screens and blackout shades, plus an escape window for safety. It still boasts the LP, CO, and smoke alarms you’ll find in the Cowboy, but also includes a fully adjustable Lagun-style table system with custom cushions and a tabletop that matches the camper’s Formica kitchen countertops. 

Four Wheel Campers Grandby Model

Four Wheel Campers Grandby Model in a showroom
Photo: Four Wheel Campers Grandby Model

Camper Specs

  • Fit: Full-size trucks with an 8’ bed 
  • Base Dry Weight: 1,300 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: 2-4
  • Dry or Wet Bath? Available storage for a cassette toilet or Porta Potti (Front and Side Dinette floorplans)

The Grandby model is the largest option offered by Four Wheel Campers, and this cheap truck camper is designed for full-size trucks with an 8’ bed. It also gives you the same three floorplans to choose from as the Hawk: the Roll-Over Couch, the Front Dinette, and the Side Dinette. 

The Grandby model comes with a 64” x 77” queen bed as the standard option but provides the ability to upgrade to an 80” x 77” king. It can also be equipped with a convertible lower bed that measures 35” x 72”. The Front Dinette floorplan even provides the option to include an inside shower. 

Travel Lite RV Cent Truck Camper

Photo: Travel Lite RV Cent Truck Camper

Camper Specs

  • Fit: Trucks with payload capacity greater than 1,200 pounds and a minimum 40” truck bed width between wheel wells. 
  • Base Dry Weight: 940 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: 1-2
  • Dry or Wet Bath? N/A

The Cent truck camper is the most compact and lightweight option designed and constructed by Travel Lite RV. It’s ideal for solo travelers, but might work fine for a couple that doesn’t mind close quarters, as the internal floor dimensions measure 72” x 38” and it offers a 6’2.25” interior height. 

While offering quite a small floor plan, Travel Lite packs in an impressive number of standard amenities. That list includes a 12-volt refrigerator, a two-burner Jetboil stove, a 20K BTU furnace, a high-rise kitchen faucet, a Shur-Flo water pump, and more. 

It also comes prepped for a backup camera and with detachable electric jacks rated for up to 2,000 pounds, making it easy to get on and off your truck. Plus, you’ll have the option to add a side-mount A/C unit to supplement the standard high-efficiency fan.

What is a Cheap Truck Camper?

I understand that everyone’s idea of “affordable” is a little different. Based on my research, the average price for a new truck camper is between $40,000 and $50,000. The average price of a used truck camper falls between $12,000 and $16,000. These values are averages, and you’ll find both new and used models much cheaper and with a much higher price tag. 

So you know the metric we’ve used to make the selections below, I’ve chosen to focus on new and used truck campers with a base price that starts under $20,000. Many of the truck campers we’ve chosen below are customizable – offering the ability to add as many (or as few) features as you desire to hit your preferred price point while also creating your ideal travel rig. 

First, I want to explain why a truck camper might be the best type of RV for your camping adventures.

The Advantages of Cheap Truck Campers Compared to Other RVs

I’m a firm believer that there’s a perfect “RV type” out there for everyone. Here are a few of my reasons you might choose one of the best cheap truck campers over another type of recreational vehicle: 

  • No Towing Required. There’s no need to worry about installing a weight distribution hitch, adjusting it, and properly connecting and disconnecting on each trip. 
  • Use of Hitch Receiver. With the right accessory, you’ll still be able to use your hitch receiver for a bike rack, cargo carrier, or anything else you want to bring toys on your camping trip. 
  • Easy Driving. You won’t be able to drive as aggressively as you would without a truck camper installed, but the learning curve won’t be as difficult as it would be with a larger motorhome or towable RV.
  • Flexibility. Most truck campers can easily be removed from the truck and left in a campsite so you can use your truck to further explore an area. 

How to Choose Your Ideal Cheap Truck Camper

To help you take the list above and narrow down your search, head out to your truck to collect the following information: 

  • Bed Measurements. Measure the length, width between the wheel wells, and depth of your truck bed.
  • Payload Capacity. Find this measurement in your truck’s owner’s manual, or by consulting the manufacturer. 

Exceeding your truck’s payload capacity is arguably the most dangerous thing you can do when selecting a truck camper. It will put stress on your truck’s suspension, frame, and rear axle. It can also increase your stopping distance and cause your brake pads or rotors to wear more quickly. And from a financial standpoint, it will certainly decrease your fuel economy. 

Remember that your truck’s payload capacity should be higher than the combined weight of your truck camper, all gear and belongings loaded into said camper, and any weight of cargo or passengers inside the truck. As a safe rule of thumb, these combined weights shouldn’t exceed 75-80% of your truck’s payload capacity. 

Here are the average payload capacities for some of the most popular trucks on the market today. Keep in mind that the specs for your truck may differ based on year, make, model, trim package, and any aftermarket installations you’ve completed. 

Truck Model (2023)Payload Capacity (pounds)
Toyota Tacoma1,050 to 1,685
Toyota Tundra1,575 to 1,940
Ford Ranger1,609 to 1,905
Ford F-1501,400 to 3,315
Ford F-2503,217 to 4,303
Ford F-350Up to 8,000
RAM 15001,238 to 2,335
RAM 25002,719 to 3,999
RAM 3500Up to 7,680
Chevy Silverado 15001,550 to 2,290
Chevy Silverado 25003,614 to 3,900
Chevy Silverado 35004,353 to 4,572
Nissan Titan1,356 to 1,697
Nissan Frontier1,175 to 1,697
Honda Ridgeline1,509 to 1,583

Beyond ensuring the truck camper fits in your truck bed and your truck is rated to handle the weight, here are a few more factors to consider: 

  • Sleeping Capacity: Are you a solo traveler? A couple? Do you need sleeping space for the kids or guests? 
  • Climate Control. Is it equipped with a furnace and/or A/C unit that will keep you comfortable for every season you intend on truck camping?
  • Dry bath versus Wet Bath. Are you comfortable with the toilet being in the same room as the shower? Or do you need a larger design where they’re separated?
  • Meal Prep. Do you feel comfortable with the amount of counter space and appliances to help you cook inside? Is it equipped with an outdoor kitchen, if that’s a priority for you?
  • Work Space. Will you need a comfortable place to get work done on your longer camping trips if you work remotely?

This is by no means a complete list of factors to consider. You’ll likely narrow your list of “must-have features” down as you search through cheap truck campers. For example, I prioritized workspace over sleeping capacity because I was traveling solo at the time. Ultimately, your choice will reflect your preferences and the type of camping you plan to do. 

Are you looking for more articles on truck campers or truck camping in general? Here are a few additional resources you might be interested in: 

Which of these truck campers is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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