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If you’re looking to start camping in an RV, you can choose a class A, B, or C rig or haul a trailer behind your tow vehicle. However, if you have a pickup truck, you can opt for something different – a truck camper.
These campers fit into the bed of a pickup and allow you to travel wherever you like to your heart’s content, all without having to buy a separate motorhome or trailer.
In this case, we’ll be looking at campers that fit into the back of a Ford Ranger. While these units are not unique to the Ranger pickup, they fit into the flatbed perfectly. So, if you’re ready to hit the trail, let’s begin.
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What is a Truck Camper?
A truck camper is like a small RV unit that gets mounted to the rear of your pickup truck. In many cases, the camper sticks out over the cab of the truck so you get some extra interior space without being too tall or wide.
Because these campers are designed to fit in a flatbed, they’re the smallest RV model you can find. In fact, most states consider them “cargo” instead of an actual RV. However, if you’re buying insurance or anything, you’ll classify it as an RV or camper.
Technically, you could mount and detach a truck camper at will, meaning you can use your pickup as just a truck when you’re not out on the trail. However, dismounting the camper can be complicated and time-consuming, so it’s not exactly convenient or feasible to do so.
Pros and Cons of Using a Ford Ranger Truck Camper
If you haven’t considered a Ranger camper or something similar before, here are a few advantages and disadvantages to be aware of before making a final decision.
Pro: Easier to Drive and Park
If you’re already driving a Ford Ranger, you don’t need to do anything different once you have a camper mounted to the back. While some of these models do increase your height clearance, it’s often not by much.
Most of the campers on our list have a low profile so you don’t have to worry about things like low bridges or tree branches.
Con: Limited Interior Space
Even the most fully equipped Ford Ranger camper will only have enough room for two people maximum. These units often just have a bed, a kitchenette, and maybe a bathroom. You often don’t even get a table for eating, but it depends on the model.
Pro: Easier for Boondocking
That said, you should only boondock for one or two nights at a time to avoid stirring up trouble in any one spot. Plus, without access to clean water and electricity, it can be hard to live in a truck camper for extended periods.
Con: Makes it Harder to Go Off-Road
Although a truck camper is relatively lightweight, it’s still pretty heavy compared to other types of cargo you can have in your flatbed. So, even though you might have all-wheel drive, the weight and height can make off-roading harder. That said, if you’re planning to stay on paved pathways, this con doesn’t apply.
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Top Six Ford Ranger Camper Models
Kicking things off is this Fleet Model camper from Four Wheel Pop-Up Campers. As the brand name would suggest, this particular unit pops up to offer more room inside. This design is advantageous because the base doesn’t increase your height clearance too much.
That said, because the pop-up material construction is lightweight and more breathable, it’s not ideal for cold-weather camping. Also, it can develop holes and tears faster than a solid camper roof and side walls.
There are a few different layouts available for the Fleet Camper, although not all of them fit a Ford Ranger. Most of them don’t come with a toilet or shower, but you can add those elements as optional upgrades if you like. In each layout, the camper comes with a queen-sized bed over the cab, meaning you get more room for the kitchenette and seating area below.
Technically speaking, you can’t get this Ford Ranger camper anymore, but you can find used models for sale on different camping sites, so it’s not impossible to get one. That said, unless the company comes back, it will only get harder and harder to get a Flip-Pac camper, so keep that in mind.
What makes this camper unique is that it doesn’t use a slide-out section to pop-up. Instead, you just flip the top and it turns into a fully-functional truck camper. This option is perfect if you want to minimize the space of the installation when your truck is parked. As a shorter camper model, you have more flexibility over where you can go and what you can do.
With a soft canvas exterior and aluminum frame, the Flip-Pac is best suited for warm and hot weather. It’s easy to get air flowing through the massive windows on either side, but if you’re trying to camp in cold weather, you need some extra insulation.
If you want a fully-customized truck camper, the Yoho model from Scout is an excellent choice. Here, you can pick and choose which elements you want inside, such as a dual-top stove, fridge/freezer combo, and even a portable toilet.
As you would imagine, adding any extras to the base model will inflate the price, but you get a more accommodating rig, so it’s often worth the investment. The basic setup includes a bed over the cab, a small table with a chair on either side, tons of storage, and a small kitchenette area in the back.
This Ford Ranger camper is a bit taller than others on this list, but it is made of metal, making it more durable and weather-resistant. With the right insulation, you can take this rig anywhere at anytime of year and still feel comfortable inside.
As we’ve seen, most Ford Ranger camper units are super compact, meaning they only have the essentials and no bathroom. Northern Lite makes more accommodating camper models that can come with a wet or dry bath installation. This way, you don’t have to get creative when nature calls, and you can take a warm shower, thanks to the solar panel on the roof.
As with the Scout Yoho, this Ford Ranger camper is built solid, so it’s weatherproof and extra durable. It’s also equipped with everything you could need, and it even sleeps four, thanks to the convertible dinette section.
Overall, if you’re not a hardcore adventurer, or you want to share the camper with the family, a Northern Lite model will be an excellent choice. Plus, there are tons of floor plans available, so you can find the right installation for your needs.
Our final model isn’t so much a Ford Ranger truck camper as it is a campervan that uses a Ford Ranger chassis as its base. So, rather than buying a separate unit that you can install in the bed of your truck, the Sunliner is an all-in-one motorhome where you can’t separate the cab from the living area.
However, this layout is beneficial because there’s no separate between the cab and the rest of the camper. This way, you can move back and forth without having to get outside of the vehicle. This option works well for extreme weather or if you’re just feeling lazy.
Another advantage of having a full-on camper is that you get a toilet, extra storage, and a fully-functional kitchen. Since everything is connected, the manufacturer has more flexibility on how and where to install different elements. But, keep in mind that this is an Australian company, so it can cost a lot more to ship it to the US.