Camping is a popular pastime for those wishing to enjoy the wonderful outdoors. But let’s be honest, not everyone has (or wants!) a large three-quarter or one-ton truck to pull a travel trailer or fifth wheel. And not everyone wants to tent camp either! This trend towards using lighter trucks and camping with more luxuries has lead camper manufacturers to introduce half-ton truck campers.
Learn more about these adventure RVs below.
Truck campers fit into the truck’s bed and essentially become an extension of the vehicle. When it’s in place, traveling and parking are more or less unchanged. You can go to remote places that you could never take a motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel. Truck campers are also easy to remove, so you can use your truck as you normally would while not camping.
Like their larger cousins on wheels, truck campers come in many floor plans, trim levels, and sizes. Additionally, some are designed explicitly for light-duty pickups, like half-ton truck campers that are lightweight and made to fit snugly in 5.5ft to 8ft truck beds.
Half-ton trucks are abundant. Examples of half-ton trucks are the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan.
When considering a half-ton truck camper, pay attention to the unit’s weight. Matching the trailer to the available truck payload capacity (how much cargo weight you can carry in the truck cab and bed) is crucial. Overloading the vehicle can cause drivability and handling issues that can be hazardous.
Payload capacity can vary significantly, even within a particular make and model. Packages, options, cab style, and engine are some of the factors that determine payload capacity. Some newer half-ton trucks can have a payload of over 3,300lbs.
You can find payload capacity on a sticker inside the driver’s front door jamb in most cases. Keep in mind the payload also includes all passengers and any cargo in the cab, bed, or camper.
With a decent picture of a half-ton truck camper in mind, you might be ready to start shopping. Here are some of our favorite trailers that fit the bill.
The 2021 Northstar Liberty is compatible with 5ft 6in to 6ft 10in short bed trucks and weighs 1,775 lbs dry. It packs many features into a small footprint, like a 3.7 cu-ft three-way refrigerator, two-burner LP stove, auto-ignition furnace, and insulated windows.
You’ll enjoy the indoor shower with a cassette toilet after a long day exploring. Once the day is over and it’s time to catch some z’s, the north/south queen memory foam mattress will have you sleeping in no time. Options include a roof-mounted AC, a microwave oven, and a pre-wired stereo, to name a few.
The Liberty’s floor length is 7ft with an overall length of 14ft 5in, and an exterior height of 8ft with the optional AC unit installed. The tank capacities are 20-gallons for fresh water and 13 gallons for gray water. The cassette toilet uses a separate fresh water tank that holds 4 gallons, and it has a 5-gallon black water tank.
The Capri Retreat for 2021 offers three different floor plans based on bed size. The three designs fit 5ft 5in to 8ft bed lengths. The Retreat has a unique retro look and can be ordered and custom-built directly from the factory. Direct ordering means ample customization, from exterior accents to interior finishes.
The base-level Retreat includes a queen size bed up top with a 48in by 80in lower bed for friends or family. The base unit does not have amenities such as a table, refrigerator, sink, stove, or shower; however, these can be added as an option separately or in prebuilt packages.
It’s rare to see a full standup one-piece fiberglass shower in a truck camper; it’s practically unheard of in a half-ton truck camper. Yet, this is one of many incredible optional add-ons for the Retreat.
The floor ranges from 6ft to 8ft 5in long, and the exterior ranges from 11ft to 13ft 5in. All three models share an interior standing height of 6ft 4in. Dry weight begins at 1,050 lbs for a base model that will fit a 5ft 5in bed length. It goes up to 1,760 lbs for a fully-loaded 8ft bed model.
The feature-packed 2021 Adventurer 80RB truck camper fits popular half-ton trucks with 5ft 5in to 8ft truck beds. It has excellent standard features like a wet bath, foot-flush toilet, tinted safety glass windows, exclusive 72in roll-over sofa, and 16k BTU furnace.
The sofa converts to a 40in by 72in bed in addition to the generous queen bed above. Also standard are the two-burner cooktop, 4cu-ft refrigerator, and stainless steel sink in the galley. A low-profile air conditioner, awning, and microwave are just a few of the options available on the Adventurer 80RB.
Specs for this rig show an overall height (including AC) of 7ft 8in and a length of 15ft 10in, making it the longest of the half-ton truck campers shown here. It weighs in at 1,762lbs dry and is on par with other loaded units in the half-ton category.
The floor length is 8ft 4in, which provides ample space to move around. Three water tanks are standard, with the fresh water coming in at 15 gallons and the black and gray holding 5 gallons each.
The durable 2021 770RSL Super Lite from Travel Lite is well-appointed with standard features making it a very comfortable option for half-ton truck campers. It features a three-way refrigerator, two-burner stainless steel stovetop, 12k BTU furnace, and solar prep as standard options.
A full wet bath with a flushable toilet in place of a shower-only bath is a new feature for the 2021 model. The 770RSL can sleep three with the 48in by 82in cabover bed and the dinette that converts to a bed. A few examples of optional equipment include an AM/FM stereo, microwave, 13.5k BTU AC, and a monitor panel.
The 770RSL has an overall exterior length of 12ft and a floor-length of 7ft 7in. It weighs in at 1,358lbs, making it one of the lighter full-featured units in the lineup. The holding tank capacities for the 770RSL are 9 gallons for the fresh water tank, 5 gallons for the gray, and 7 gallons for the black.
Lance is no stranger to the truck camper market, as they’ve been manufacturing them since 1965. The 2021 Lance 650 half-ton truck camper is built with the same DNA as larger models and is designed specifically for 5ft and 6ft short bed trucks.
An 18K BTU ducted furnace will keep you warm on those cold nights. The galley features a two-burner cooktop, 3 cu-ft refrigerator, and rectangular sink. Other standard features include a pillow top queen mattress and stereo with internal and external speakers.
The 650 also includes a wet bath, a marine foot pedal toilet, and an exterior wash station to keep your RV’s interior clean. Options include a microwave, roof-mounted AC, and exterior awning, to name a few.
The Lance 650 weighs in at 1,700 lbs dry, has a floor-length of 6ft 10in, and an overall length of 15ft 6in. The exterior height with optional AC is 8ft 1in, which gives ample headroom inside. It has the largest water tank capacities of all the truck campers shown here. Tank capacities come in at 22 gallons for fresh, 15 gallons for gray, and 16 for the black tank–perfect for those extended stays.
Like the Capri Retreat, the 2021 Scout Olympic 6.5 base unit is minimalistic with adventure in mind. While other half-ton truck campers include many options as standard, the Olympic 650 allows you to choose the options that match your lifestyle. Base options include a 175W solar panel and a Yeti 1500X lithium power station for those that prefer to stay off-grid.
Optional features include a stainless sink, a four-person dinette with sleeper conversion, and an XL full-size bed. A 4.9-gallon Jerry can with a charcoal filter and spray wand are also standard for all of your fresh water needs.
If you prefer a few more creature comforts, you can include a fridge/freezer combo, 4.5K BTU fireplace, portable toilet, and portable cooktop. A unique option is a rooftop tent that sleeps two with an access hatch to the inside.
The Olympic 650 has a dry weight of 1,161lbs, an overall height of 6ft 6in, a length of 10ft 7in, and a floor-length of 6ft 2 1/4in. The Olympic 650 does not offer black or gray water tanks.
The 2021 nuCamp Cirrus 620 is loaded with standard features, all in a compact package. Standard features include a galley with a two-burner cooktop alongside a single basin stainless steel sink and a two-way refrigerator. The 210W solar kit, a hide-a-way cassette toilet, backup camera, and Nautilus water system are also standard.
The sleeping arrangements are comfortable with a queen size bed up top and a dining table that converts to a second sleeping area. A few options are available, like a side awning, 9200 BTU AC, and microwave.
Weighing in at 1,500lbs, the Cirrus 620 is relatively light for the number of options included. The overall length is 12ft 8in while the height is 8ft 2in.
The water tanks hold 18 gallons of fresh water and 12 gallons of gray to reduce dump station trips. The toilet is a 5-gallon cassette.
Now we just threw a lot of information at you about sizes. To make these campers easier to compare and digest, we’ve created this half ton truck camper comparison table:
|Model||Dry Weight||Floor Length||Interior Height||Exterior Height||Width||Tanks||Toilet|
|Northstar Liberty||1,775 lbs||7′||6′ 4″||8′||84″||20 F / 13 G||Cassette|
4 F / 5 B
|Capri Retreat||1,050 – 1,150 lbs||6′ – 8’5″||6’4″||–||58″||0-40 Fresh, No Gray||Portable 2 F / 5 B|
|Adventurer 80RB||1,762 lbs||8’4″||78″||92″||90″||15 F / |
|Travel Lite 770RSL SuperLite||1,358 lbs||76″||78″||84″||87″||9 F / |
5 G /
|Lance 650||1,700 lbs||6′ 10″||8’1″||22 F / 15 G / 16 B||Pedal Flush|
|Scout Olympic 6.5||1,161 lbs||74.25″||78″||81″||83″||4.9 F / No Gray||Portable 2.6 gal|
|nuCamp Cirrus 620||1,500 lbs||–||6’4″||8’2″||8’2″||18 F / 12 G||Cassette 5 B|
The options for half-ton truck campers are plentiful. No matter if you’re a weekender, full-timer, off-grid explorer, or are entirely new to camping, there’s a truck camper for your needs and lifestyle. So hop in that half-ton truck, drop a camper in the bed, and cruise off into the sunset. Adventure awaits!
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