THE TRUCK CAMPER
Kinda like a trailer, but it’s snuggled into the back of your pickup truck instead of being towed behind it. Do a Google search for “Truck Camper” images and see how diverse these things are. Some are as big as a luxury Class C camper, while others are little more than a cap over the truck bed.
The bigger ones have plenty of space for your stuff and your little luxuries. Some have pop-ups, some have slide-outs, some have bathrooms and kitchens and showers, all in the back of your pick-up.
The coolest thing – and the biggest advantage over the Class C – is that you can jettison the camper part. No, not while you’re driving. But once you’re settled into your campsite, you can deploy the retractable supports, slowwwwwly drive your truck out from underneath, and zoom-zoom off you go with all the conveniences of your around-town car.
So, that’s pretty cool, you gotta agree.
The downside, though – at least the way I looked at it – was that you can’t go from the cab of the truck to the camper without going outside. No big whoop on a nice day or evening, but that would kinda suck when it’s really cold, or, even worse, if it’s pouring rain, orrrrr, even worrrrse, if you’re in a place that is swarming with skeeters. Or bears. That would be worse still.
Those smaller bed-cap ones are probably fine for a camping trip or a short-to-medium road tour, but I think you’d go out of your freaking mind trying to live in one.
My friend Jim Rob moved outa Key West, hell-bent for Portland OR, in his small Nissan pickup with a standard workin’ man’s cap on the back. He had little more than an air mattress in the back, and he told me he’d just climb through the slide window into the back. Jim was 65 and a runner, so he was pretty fit, but I saw that window and thought, nuh-uh. That requires some serious agility. He claimed he could do a year living in that if he had to. I hope he didn’t have to.
Truck Campers seem to appeal to DIYers. Search online images and you’ll see a ton of homemade structures in the back of pickups. I gotta applaud the creativity, and the confidence that these guys have in their ability to build a frame sturdy enough to survive both highway speeds and backroads bumps.
Now, a small camper-style one mighta fit my budget, but the get-out-to-get-in aspect didn’t toast my marshmallows, and, when all is said and done, you’re driving a pick-up truck, and that just didn’t sing to me. It sings to a LOT of people, and more power to y’all, but, well, to each his own, Joan. It’s not like I already had a pickup just sitting around anyway.