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Jeep Gladiators are an excellent option for off-roading, but creating your own Jeep Gladiator camper will take your overland adventures to a whole new level. There are some really neat customized Jeep campers out there, so we’re going to highlight a few and suggest some of the best gear for a Jeep Gladiator camper.
Table of Contents
Jeep Gladiator Overview
Let’s start with some basics of the Jeep Gladiator that will help you identify your options for creating an epic overland rig. There are several models to choose from, but four have the same basic specs:
Jeep Gladiator Sport, Sport S, Willys, Willys Sport, Altitude, and Texas Trail
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): 5,800 pounds
- Maximum Payload: 1,700 pounds
- Towing Capacity: 4,000 pounds
- Seating Capacity: 5
The Overland edition offers a slight departure from the first four models. The Overland Jeep Gladiator’s payload capacity is just 1,140 pounds. But it has the same GVWR, towing capacity, and seating capacity as the models above.
Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon offers the most deviation from the other models. Here are the specifications for this Jeep truck:
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): 6,250 pounds
- Maximum Payload: 1,200 pounds
- Towing Capacity: 4,500 pounds
- Seating Capacity: 5
For more information to help you compare the various Jeep Gladiator models, click here.
Coolest Jeep Gladiator Campers
There’s a lot of freedom when it comes to customizing a camper for a Jeep Gladiator – maybe more so than any other type of overland vehicle. So whether you’re making one for your own use or building one out to meet the demands of the Jeep safari rental market, you’ll love these epic modifications.
Team GoMammut’s Jeep Gladiator Camper
This tricked-out Jeep Gladiator truck camper features GoMammut‘s rooftop tent, ARB‘s four-foot awning mounted on the rear, a bed rack system from Datin Metal Fabrication, a Jeep-specific lighting kit from Baja Designs, and various shock, suspension, and tire improvements from Ride Fox, EVO Manufacturing, and Mickey Thompson Tires, respectively.
Doorstep Adventure’s Jeep Gladiator Camper
Doorstep Adventure’s camper setup includes a Warn 12,000-pound VR winch, a Rugged Ridge front bumper upgrade, a 2.5-inch AEV lift, 37-inch Cooper tires, an AT Overland Habitat truck topper, a slide-in hitch mounted spare tire carrier, 300 watts of solar capacity, and more.
TNToverlander’s Jeep Gladiator Camper
TNToverlander went for a four-season camper with their build-out. It features a Mount Shasta Extended RTT from CVT, the Gullwing bed rack from Trail Rax, a Tazer mini camera kit from Z Automotive, a two-inch Mojave lift from AEV Conversions, and much more.
The Ultimate Jeep Gladiator Camper From Off Road N Chill
This all-aluminum Alu Cab camper went on a 2020 Jeep Gladiator with a Clayton Offroad 2.5-3.5 inch overland kit, Falcon 3.3 adjustable shocks, an ARB full-width front bumper with a winch and off-road lighting package, and a roof-mounted solar package. The interior of the camper features MOLLE panels on the interior of the side doors for extra storage, a 12-volt refrigerator, a full-width flip-down table on the rear access door, and much more.
Matt Plonk’s Jeep Gladiator Camper
Matt’s camper is equipped with a slide in Decked drawer system for better storage and access to everything in the back. It’s also got a tent from Hills Offroad Gear, Rock Krawler Pro-X 3″ suspension, a MOPAR LED lighting package, and much more.
Jeep Gladiator Camper by RGS_Overland
This camper starts with a custom-built bed rack from Modifications Contreras. The exterior features an ARB aluminum hardshell awning, X Bull recovery tracks, fog lights from Baja Designs, a 3.8-gallon water tank from The Waterport, and V800 storage cases from Pelican. The interior and cab boast a Goal Zero 150 power station, a dash kit from Ram Mounts, and the all-important Gaia GPS navigation app.
Why Off-Road in a Jeep Gladiator Camper
There are loads of options for all-terrain camping vehicles like lightweight Tacomas and Ford F Series trucks out there these days. Here are a few reasons why Jeep Gladiators are awesome for overland camping:
Low Profile Benefits
Many of the best truck campers increase the height of your truck considerably. That can make your vehicle top-heavy and will require you to drive more carefully, especially avoiding taking tight turns at high speeds.
Tall truck campers will also reduce your fuel economy and can make it difficult to navigate into campsites with low-hanging branches. That’s why companies like Four Wheel Campers make pop-up truck bed campers that can be expanded while you’re in camp and retracted to improve fuel economy when you’re driving.
Most Jeep Gladiator camper options maintain a low profile so that you can go further on a single tank of gas and worry less about roads with low height clearance. They also make it safer to drive on rugged dirt roads without worrying about your truck camper’s higher center of gravity increasing your vehicle’s chances of rolling on particularly uneven terrain.
One of the coolest things about the Jeep Gladiator, in my opinion, is that it comes with a six-speed manual transmission. In an age when most vehicle manufacturers have seemingly gone to automatic everything, the control you’ll get with a manual is still preferable for optimal control, provided you know how to drive stick.
Aside from that, the Gladiator is built with a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 285 horsepower and the ability to produce up to 260 pound-feet of torque. It also boasts up to 11.1 inches of ground clearance and excellent off-road features like electronic front and rear locking differentials, a transfer case for improved crawl ratio, and a sway bar disconnect that increases front wheel articulation by as much as 30 percent.
There are also options for trail-rated or desert-rated performance upgrades so you know you’ll have the best capability on the specific terrain you want to conquer. To learn more about the Jeep Gladiator and its all-terrain capabilities, click here.
Cool Jeep Gladiator Conversion Kits
If you already own a Jeep Gladiator and you don’t want to do all the work to customize the bed, finding the right conversion kit is a great all-in-one solution. Here are a few to consider:
Alu Cab Canopy Camper
The all-aluminum Alu Cab canopy camper is one of the coolest conversions for your Jeep truck camper. There are a variety of modular canopy options under the Alu Cab canopy camper umbrella, such as front and rear utility modules, bulkhead panels, sleep decks for one or two, and more. Organizing the bed is the best way to keep the front seats open for passengers.
All Alu Cab modules require the Goose Gear Alu Cab Canopy Camper plate and the Alu Cab double-drawer model (one of their most popular) requires a new Alu Cab top plate with extended rear attachment points to tie into the Alu Cab canopy camper proprietary extrusions. The Alu Cab proprietary extrusions allow for a drill-free installation when fitting the Alu Cab Canopy Camper to your Gladiator.
The Alu Cab Canopy Camper is equipped with a tent on the roof made with a dual-layer canvas for excellent thermal insulation. Alu Cab manufactures this canopy camper with an easy-access vertical door at the rear on heavy-duty hinges. This canopy camper also comes with side-access doors on gas struts that make it super easy to grab gear out of the bed without climbing in awkwardly.
Finally, the Alu Cab Canopy Camper is designed with a flip-away bed that offers ample headroom and more spacious living quarters than you’ll find on most campers. Alu Cab really does provide an amazing canopy camper option for your Jeep Gladiator.
Special fitment notes: The Alu Cab Canopy Camper modules are designed to fit Jeep Gladiator JT models from 2019 to the present.
Get more information here about Alu Cab Canopy Camper Modules from Goose Gear!
Leitner Designs Active Cargo Rack System
The Active Cargo System from Leitner Designs is best for experienced overlanders interested in fully customizing their camper. The system itself simply provides a framework over the bed to make the installation of overlanding gear and accessories easier.
The rack system is available in Forged or Classic models. The Classic boasts a dry weight of just 81 pounds while the Forged model comes in at 85 pounds. The installation of both models requires drilling into the rails of your truck bed and they say installation requires 2-3 hours on average.
It’s best to have a friend help you lift the weight as you set this cargo system in place. They recommend measuring twice to get drilling positions precise when installing this cargo system for your truck topper.
Once the frame is secure, Leitner Designs offers a variety of extras to finish your build. This includes lightweight gear pods, mounting kits for a roof-mounted tent or awning, a shower kit, traction boards, jerry gas cans, and more.
50Ten Mid-Range Camper Solution
The 50Ten camper options are designed for Jeep vehicles with a flat-bed modification. Their mid-size camper system is a popular choice for Gladiators and it is comparable to the flatbed camper from Four Wheel Campers.
50Ten’s Jeep Gladiator camper is designed for easy setup. With the simple opening of a security hook, you can go from having the roof closed to having the roof open (and your rooftop tent set up) in seconds. Inside that tent, you’ll find a comfortable 3.15-inch mattress and a Froli spring system so you can get great sleep wherever you camp.
If you’re not using the tent for a while, you can even remove the fabric and keep it in your garage so it doesn’t wear unnecessarily. You’ll find three doors to easily access the interior of this camper. The side access doors measure 41″ wide x 32.25″ tall while the rear access door measures 36.25″ wide x 31.5″ tall.
The exterior of this camper measures 63″ wide by 63″ long and 43.25″ tall with the roof closed. With the roof open, the exterior height increases to 91″ from the top of the tray to the top of the camper. Please note that the interior dimensions of this camper will be slightly smaller depending on the modules or extra you mount inside.
Gear for Camping in a Jeep Gladiator
Sorting through Jeep Gladiator camper options is only the first step towards remote camping bliss. Once you’ve converted your truck bed, here are some overland gear ideas to help you stock your truck so you can camp anywhere:
A Rooftop Tent for Your Jeep Gladiator
The main bed section of the Gladiator is only five feet long. So most of you won’t want your actual bed to be back there. A lightweight roof-mounted tent is the best way to equip your Gladiator with spacious living quarters for sleeping while keeping the bed free for gear storage.
Shower Cube for Alu Cab Canopy Camper
If you go with the Alu Cab canopy camper for your Jeep, a shower cube is one of the best accessories for personal hygiene on your camping trips. It gives you privacy for showing and it’s built with durable aluminum and stainless steel construction so it’ll last. You’ll just need something like the Yakima RoadShower to store (and heat) water for your bathing needs!
Hood Solar Panels
Powering your camping gear with solar panels is the most efficient way to keep small electronics powered up when you’re off-grid. But Jeeps have the ability to install a panel right in the hood so you don’t have to worry about setting up and breaking down external panels or utilizing valuable roof space.
Roof Mount Awning
Especially if you’re taking your Jeep to desert areas like Death Valley, finding shade can be a struggle when overland camping. But you can create shade wherever you go with a roof-mounted awning. Just make sure your awning mounts are compatible with the roof rack unit already install on your vehicle.
Hitch-Mounted Spare Wheel Carrier
The spare tire on a Gladiator is usually tucked underneath the bed just behind the rear axle. But if you sink your truck deep into mud or soft sand and suffer a blowout at the same time, getting the spare off to change out the blown tire is going to be nearly impossible.
That’s why most serious off-roaders install a hitch-mounted spare wheel carrier so that access isn’t an issue when it’s needed. The best models swing out of the way so you can still access the back without completely removing them. Just be sure you won’t need to tow anything if you choose this option.
Jerry Gas Can Holder
Taking extra fuel is just as important as maintaining access to your spare tire. But storing flammable liquids in an enclosed truck topper can be dangerous. That’s why you should consider an externally-mounted jerry gas can holder and, of course, the accompanying jerry gas can that fits inside of it!
Whether you’re having a tough time in soft sand or on snow and ice, traction boards can help you get the grip you need to keep your adventure going instead of spending hours digging your camper out!
Get more info on these boards from ARB 4×4 Accessories!
Sticking on this self-rescue theme, a trail jack is a must-have overland accessory for truck campers. It’s especially important on rugged trails to help you navigate especially rocky terrain and it will also help you safely jack your Jeep up if you need to change a tire or address other broken components.
When you’re overlanding, self-reliance is a big part of the experience. Sure, you could stop into a gas station every now and then to add air to your tires. Or you could bring your own compressor and remain self-sufficient. One of the best parts of having an air compressor on board is the ability to quickly deflate tires when you hit sandy terrain and then refill to your desired level once you’re back on a paved roadway.
Sliding Cooler/Portable Fridge Mount
The ability to keep perishable foods fresh is key to enjoying delicious meals when you’re camping in rural areas. Whether you install one of the best 12-volt refrigerators or opt for a well-insulated cooler like this one from RTIC Coolers, a sliding mount makes it easy to load and unload ice and food without constantly having to lift and strain your back.
Hellwig Sway Bar Kit
All Jeeps come with factory-installed sway bars, but they aren’t always designed to handle the weight you’ll add as you customize your camper. Upgrading your sway bars will improve handling and minimize body roll once you add that extra weight to your Jeep.
Final Tip on Building a Jeep Gladiator Camper
If you really are building out the interior of your Jeep Gladiator truck camper from scratch, check out more truck accessories here. And you might want to research the next Overland Expo West event to see how others have built their ideal truck camper rig and get some tips for customizing everything from the bed to the cab on your Jeep!
Learning the truth about truck camping is one of those things that really requires trying it out for yourself. There’s only so much you can learn from even the best documentaries on truck camping. For those of you ready to head out on your next off-grid camping adventure, check out some ideas for finding free campsites that provide the ideal testing ground for your Jeep Gladiator camper!