Share this article:
TopNotch Outdoor is independent – we research, test, and rate the top products to help you make the right buying choice. We sometimes use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on your purchase. Learn more…
Truck Campers: It’s not easy to choose a home. And it’s almost as hard to choose a home-away-from-home. That’s why we decided to list the best truck campers you can find on the market.
So in this article…
Let’s talk about truck campers – what they are, why and why not you should buy one for your next camping trip. Also:
- The best truck campers, their specifications, pros, and cons;
- My family and friends’ firsthand experiences with these truck campers;
- What made them unique; and
- Lots more!
You might still be undecided whether this is the right mobile home. But we don’t blame you because there are many RV types to choose from.
So, buckle up.
It’s going to be a bumpy ride…
Truck Camper vs. Travel Trailers
Travel trailers are towed or pulled behind a truck, SUV, or car with a high towing capacity.
On the other hand, truck campers are placed on top of a truck. You might have a standard or an extended cab. As long as it can take the weight, you better get a truck camper.
But there’s more to it than that…
Why Truck Campers?
As the driver, the most important thing for me is how easy it is to maneuver a truck camper. You can’t just back up or take a U-turn with travel trailers.
That means it’s easier to drive off-road. So there are a lot more choices of campsites. And it’s easier to park truck campers when you have to stop somewhere.
Truck campers are more secure than trailers. They’re built with heavier materials and aren’t easy to break into.
It’s also more comfortable, especially in rugged weather conditions. Controlling the temperature in a truck camper is like doing it at home.
Why Not Truck Campers?
Truck campers are more expensive than trailers. They’re also hard to attach and detach, so you can’t have a versatile camping experience.
And when the car breaks down, the whole thing breaks down. When the truck camper breaks down, the whole thing breaks down.
In other words…
Truck campers are in a single unit with the truck that carries it. Unlike trailers, where you can easily unhitch it and drive around while your mobile home awaits you at the campsite.
And there are fewer risks of mechanical deficiencies with tow-behind trailers.
If you think the pros outweigh the cons, then, by all means, get a truck camper! Here are the best ones to choose from…
1. Hallmark Ute 8.5
When popped down, the Hallmark Ute 8.5’s dimensions are 14 x 5.3 x 6.9 feet. But it extends to 14 x 7 x 6.9 feet when popped up.
Its dry weight is around 1643 pounds, but you can load up to 1000 more. And it has a 30-gallon freshwater capacity.
Those numbers don’t mean anything to some people. So I’ll tell you what to expect from this large truck camper.
The Hallmark Ute 8.5 is so spacious! Truck campers are known to be cramped up and small. But not this one.
It opens at the rear, so the hallway or walkway looks longer. That can already give you a spacious vibe, if only psychologically. But it goes beyond that.
Three to four of us could stand simultaneously in the hallway, unlike any other truck camper.
We also have lots of storage space for our gear. There’s a place for our inflatables, hunting and fishing tools, and bikes for the kids.
The Hallmark Ute is surprisingly lightweight for its size and capacity. As the designated driver of the family, that’s a huge plus for me.
It’s easier to maneuver than other pop-up truck campers of the same size. And it’s more stable on the off-roads.
Most truck campers are made to shelter you from any type of weather. But some of them fail at a certain temperature degree.
We once slept in a camper with great air conditioning but terrible cold protection. And it was the other way around for another trailer we tried.
But snow, rain, or shine, the Hallmark Ute protected my family! It’s well-insulated and has almost perfectly weatherproof.
On top of that…
Its large windows provided a scenic view for everyone. Whether in the bed or dining area, we could see as much of the outdoors as we liked.
I think Hallmark Ute is worth the money. It’s more expensive than other truck campers, but you can’t put a price on quality…
2. Lance 650
Based on my experience, it’s hard to find truck campers that would fit snugly on my short-bed pickup truck. Then, Lance 650 comes along…
This truck camper is specifically made for short-bed half-ton trucks. In other words, trucks usually can’t take the weight.
The Lance 650 camper is only 1694 pounds. But its wet weight can go up to 2463 pounds. It’s also smaller than most truck campers – 15.5 x 7.2 x 9.2 feet.
The Lance Camper Manufacturing Corporation used light yet sturdy materials like LitePly plywood. And its floorplan is space-efficient and functional.
The Lance 650 doesn’t have a cover over its cross-members. They’re completely exposed under the camper as part of the lightweight feature.
That’s why I won’t recommend it for winter camping. But at least the cross-members are made of durable aluminum, so you won’t have to worry about possible damage.
I still check it regularly, though. And in all the years I had it, I haven’t had any incidents except for the occasional need for cleaning.
As for the rest of its construction…
The wet bath is made of ABS plastic instead of fiberglass. Again, that’s for the sake of being lightweight.
In the bedroom, you can fit a queen-sized bed, and there’s a place for a TV. And there are enough cupboards and countertops for your supplies.
The best thing…
When we go camping in the summer, the interior is cool and cozy. It doesn’t heat up as much as other campers we’ve tried.
We didn’t even have to upgrade the A/C. So we don’t have a lot of complaints, except that it’s just enough for our family. We only take this out when we don’t have company.
The Lance 650 is worth every penny. Its size and weight are what make it unique.
It’s compact, but it has ample living and storage spaces. So if you want a camper but don’t want to buy a bigger truck, Lance 650 is your best bet.
3. KingStar Camino 88
If you’re planning on a winter adventure, you might want to consider the KingStar Camino 88.
This truck camper has wood framing and closed-cell foam insulation. It also has thermal pane windows, making it resistant to any weather.
Snow, rain, or sun, Camino 88 can keep you cozy or warm inside. This is a camper that you can use all year round!
This isn’t one of your lightweight truck campers. It falls on average at 2175 pounds dry weight. So it’s still okay for a short bed, depending on the condition of your truck.
The weight mostly comes from its stainless steel wet bath, twin lounge, powered footrests, and other features.
The manufacturer didn’t want to compromise your comfort and the camper’s durability. You can tell by the heavy-duty materials used to build Camino 88.
Most models are either good for the off-roads or only the glamping experience. But Camino 88 can withstand challenges on the way to the campsite. You may meet stubborn tree branches or rocky hillsides but come out with no major damage on your Camino.
Its center of gravity is also impressive. Your pickup truck will remain stable even if you drive through bumpy, muddy roads or sandy beaches.
That’s one of the most important things for four-wheel campers.
In the end…
It all boils down to whether or not you wasted your money. The KingStar Camino 88 is one of the expensive truck campers. But you won’t mind that because of its features.
There are budget truck campers that are great options too. But Camino 88’s overall durability and comfortability don’t come along that easy in the RV industry.
4. Northern Lite 8-11EX WET
The 8-11’s edge over the other Northern Lite truck campers is its roof reinforcement. It’s for the protection of the A/C.
And I have to say…
It’s also 8-11’s edge against other truck campers on the market!
Based on experience, the A/C unit is one of the first camper appliances to break down. It might be overworked, but most of the time, it’s because of being exposed to outdoor elements.
If you’re concerned about that, the Northern Lite 8-11 should be on your radar.
You’ll need the A/C because you and your camp companion would be super close inside the 8-11.
This 16.25 x 8.17 x 7.83-foot camper can sleep two people. But if you can fit more in a 6.5-foot bed, then, by all means! If guests cared to visit, they’d have a place at the table anyway.
Don’t let the size deceive you. The Northern Lite 8-11 is a little heavy for its dimensions.
Its dry weight is already 2650 pounds. And it can go up to 3645 pounds. So if you’re planning on getting this camper, you must ensure that your car or truck can handle it.
But that’s the cost of durability. Heavy-duty materials tend to weigh much too.
Another great thing…
This truck camper has a skylight. It’s located on the bedroom’s roof, perfect for natural lighting during the day and stargazing at night.
And that skylight is also an emergency exit! So, even if it’s a compact space, you’ll never feel trapped in it.
That’s the thing about the 8-11’s design…
You’ll find at least two purposes for everything in this truck camper. And there’s a function to every space.
This is one of the most efficient floorplans and interior layouts in the RV industry.
It’s one of the most expensive. But the features mentioned here barely scratched the surface.
If you experience it firsthand, you’ll find that the Northern Lite 8-11 is worth the money.
5. Outfitter Juno 8.5 Hybrid
The Outfitter Juno 8.5 Hybrid was designed for one-ton trucks with an 8-foot bed or shorter. It weighs only 2380 pounds dry weight, so it would be easy to carry and drive.
Its interior height is 6.75 feet, and its floor-length is 8.42 feet. That’s spacious enough, and people of average height can stand inside.
Many things make it special…
I particularly loved its storage spaces. Slide-outs don’t usually have 11-inch under-bunk storage, but Juno 8.5 has!
That’s aside from the bedside cabinets and the 20K BTU furnace. And its 6-volt batteries – all four – have a separate space.
As for its rooms…
You’ll find a three-burner stove and a compressor refrigerator in the kitchen. The bed can fit a queen-sized cabover bed, and there’s a fold-down rent room at the rear. That makes it a three-person camper.
The bath is divided into two parts – the shower and the toilet. That’s the least common layout in the wet bath-dominated RV market. And we’re all for it!
But that’s not all…
Juno 8.5 has electric jacks everywhere, so you won’t have to fight over who gets to re-charge their gadgets first. And aside from the four batteries, this truck camper has a Go Power solar system.
You won’t have to worry about energy anymore. There’s a lot of it where it came from!
You might ask…
How’s the living experience? As far as camping goes, this is one of the most comfortable!
Juno 8.5’s truck frame is made of an insulated Weblon soft wall. The manufacturer also promises that it has a true composite foam core body and roof.
I haven’t dissected a Juno 8.5 truck camper before, so I couldn’t confirm it firsthand. But it shows in how cozy and weatherproof the interior is.
It has more features than I can squeeze into this article. So don’t be bothered by how much it costs. You’ll find that it’s worth it!
6. NuCamp Cirrus 820
Have you ever heard of the expression “dress to impress?” That’s what came to mind when I saw the NuCamp Cirrus 820.
It’s one of the best truck campers in terms of aesthetics!
Just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s dumb. It’s actually more comfortable than I thought it would be.
We had to pause along the way when we tried it because it rained pretty hard. My wife didn’t want to risk it with our kids in tow. So, we parked on the side of the highway and huddled together inside our Cirrus 820.
And I’m telling you…
It was like sheltering ourselves in a cute motel in the country! The interior feels homey, and the insulation kept us safe and snug.
There were no leaks even though it was a borrowed camper that my friend had used and abused over the years.
On top of that…
The Cirrus 820 has all the features you’ll see in any truck camper of great quality.
It has an 8-foot motorized awning and SeaFlo exterior doors. Also, you’ll find water heating, water management, sleep, and SmartCamp systems. All of those work excellently to give you a convenient camping experience.
Its electricity comes from the combined efforts of its 1500-watt inverter and 210-wat solar panel.
The Cirrus 820’s dimensions are about 9.67 x 17.42 x 8.25 feet. And it weighs 2916 pounds.
It’s not the smallest and lightest of all RV-type camper choices, but it’s also not the most expensive. If you’re looking for something in the middle of the price range, this might be your guy!
7. Alaskan Sportsman
“Compact” and “light” are commonly used to describe tools and small equipment. But you can also call an RV compact and light if it’s the Alaskan Sportsman!
Looking at its dimensions…
Imagine how easy and stable it is to carry a 1332-pound (dry weight) camper behind your pickup truck. It’s also only 6.33 x 7.33 x 6.71 feet.
And it has a super efficient floor plan. You’ll see that every inch has a purpose, and the layout is well thought of.
That provides ample storage and living spaces in a tiny camper!
You must not expect it to accommodate the whole gang. I usually bring this when it’s just my wife and me. Or when I take one of my kids out fishing.
It’s also not meant for full-timing. Maybe an overnight or one-weekend camping would do. The 15-gallon water tank might be enough, but there’s no gray or black tank.
As for the energy…
Alaskan Sportsman comes with a Group 31 AGM battery. It’s long-lasting, but I won’t risk seeing its limits.
There are more options from the manufacturer’s RV division, but I got this one for its compact perks. And it’s super affordable too!
8. Lance 960
Here’s another high-quality RV from Lance…
Their 960 model is almost like the 650, but it has unique talents too! Since it’s later in the model year, it’s more advanced in technology and design.
And you can say it’s an improved version of most Lance models because it’s a product of market surveys and customer feedback.
It’s heavier and bigger than the 650. It’s around 2970 pounds dry weight but can go as high as 4000 pounds at full capacity.
I just thought you might want to be ready for that. The advantage is that it can accommodate more people. And it will allow you to have a longer camping trip.
As for its features…
A queen-sized bed would fit in the bedroom. Then there’s a sink in the wet bath and a three-way fridge in the kitchen. Those are the stuff that I found most important.
The interior looks posh and classy with its wood-stained cabinets. That gives a homey feeling to this truck camper.
And it’s also pretty convenient and comfortable in any weather.
There’s almost everything you need, but more efficient and technologically advanced. Also, it’s not that expensive compared to the older models.
It’s either the 650 or this 960 for me if you’re up for a Lance truck camper!
9. Bundutec Wild
We’ve been talking about slide-outs for a while now. Surely, you’re wondering if we have some pop-up campers on the list.
Yes, we do! And Bundutec Wild is a great and versatile RV choice!
First of all…
It’s super affordable, even compared to any other pop-up RV on the market. But like them, it’s also lightweight and designed for half-ton trucks.
Don’t even sweat over your 46.5-inch wheels. This truck camper is suited for that too!
It’s only 1630 pounds (dry weight). When closed, its dimensions are 4.83 x 7 x 12.67 feet. And it opens up to 6.5 x 7 x 12.67 feet.
You can fit a queen-sized mattress in this small thing! And you can bring 20 gallons of fresh water too. Plus, there’s a place for the waste water to go.
You wouldn’t think all those features – and more – are in the Bundutec Wild.
Not to mention…
The equipment, machinery, and furniture in this truck camper are high-quality too. They’re durable and perform well even in rugged conditions.
That’s more than expected from this price point!
10. Adventure 80RB
Here’s another lightweight option for those who have half-ton, short-bed trucks. It’s even compatible with super short-beds.
The Adventurer 80RB weighs only 1762 pounds. And its overall dimensions are 15.83 x 7.67 x 7.5 feet.
Would you believe it?
This truck camper can sleep up to four people! Its closed quarters don’t look like much, but the space is very efficient.
There’s ample kitchen countertop space, storage space, and a walkway.
The kitchen has a small fridge, and the bedroom can fit a queen-sized mattress. The other two people can sleep on the roll-out sofa.
The Adventurer 80RB has more limits than a large truck camper has.
Since it can only accommodate one battery, you’ll have to conserve energy. Its tanks also need constant checking, or you might run out before you know it.
You’ll be surprised by how comfortable the interior is. It’s not as claustrophobic as it looks from the outside.
My taller buddies can stand up freely inside the Adventurer 80RB. And we can all conveniently walk to different places without hurting each other.
Carrying this on my pickup was a breeze! It’s stable and light, so it’s easy to maneuver. That’s a huge advantage when it comes to four-wheel campers.
And it’s also lightweight on the pockets! You can’t go wrong with that…
11. Northern Lite 10-2 EX CD (Limited Edition)
This camper’s model year was 2019, so if you want this RV, you’ll probably have to buy it secondhand. Northern Lite only released a few units of this truck camper, and it was sold out quickly.
But no worries because…
Even after two years, this truck camper won’t lose its charm! It’s durable enough to survive rugged camping conditions in any weather.
And you’ll want to find at least one of these in your lifetime. Otherwise, you won’t experience such convenience and comfort.
Don’t get confused, though…
There’s a special edition and a limited edition. And I daresay that the upgrades are worth the extra bucks.
They’re almost the same in specs and floorplan. It weighs 3317 pounds dry weight and about 18.17 x 8.17 x 8.83 feet. It’s big and heavy, which is common in Northern Lite truck campers.
It’s for those who like to go camping with the whole gang. The driver won’t have a hard time with it, though. The center of gravity is centered, so it’s stable even in the off-roads.
And the best thing…
The 10-2 limited edition is unique in its materials. It’s built with clamshell fiberglass that would last for years and years. And its tables and countertops are made of Sapele hardwood.
And its brown-toned leatherette look is so classy and premium-looking. But people have different tastes, so that might not appeal to you.
I’d recommend this for those who like to feel more special. If you and your family are the only ones driving around in a limited edition 10-2, that has to count for something.
But the real advantage is in its reinforced durability and sturdiness. That’s what I paid for, and it paid off!
Conclusion: Best Overland Campers
The RV camping experience is only as good as your truck camper and the gear you brought with you.
Now that you have your pickup truck and the truck camper of your reams…
…it’s time to choose your gear!
Don’t miss out on the best ones. We have top lists with detailed reviews about the best tents, boots, kayaks, fishing and hunting gear, and everything under the outdoor sun!
You better get them to level up your adventures!