Gear Guide To Camping in the Back of a Truck
Camping is one of the most accessible forms of outdoor fun, loved by kids and adults of all ages. Whether you’re planning a solo camping trip or sharing the road, pickup truck camping is one of the most simple and secure ways to go.
The back of your truck gives you the option of taking all kinds of camping gear. No matter what the purpose of your trip, you have enough storage space for all your equipment and supplies.
Benefits of Truck Camping
Truck camping gives ultimate freedom when it comes to where you can stay. For off road camping trips, truck camping gives much more flexibility than a traditional camper. Some of the biggest benefits of truck camping include:
- Low cost - if you have your own truck, you won’t need to invest a lot.
- Freedom to go just about anywhere, any time
- Minimal environmental footprint
- Low maintenance
Your truck camper setup can be whatever you want it to be. In terms of comfort, it’s best to start simple and keep it low cost. Whether you’re heading on a camping trip for your first time, or you've had loads of camping experience - whether you're going for one night or you’re planning on living the camping lifestyle for a year or more, keeping the camping setup swift and simple is key to getting the most out of your truck.
Here are some camping tips to get you off the beaten path and under the stars.
Truck Sleeping Arrangements
If you’re taking a short overnight or weekend trip and don't need a lot of gear, a sleeping bag and a pillow are really all you’ll need to be comfortable and get a good night's sleep. Lay the seats back or throw a foam mattress or inflatable air mattress down in your pickup truck bed. Even a short bed truck will fit a full size mattress with the tailgate open.
For frequent or longer trips, you’ll want to consider a more comfortable sleeping area. You can carry all the gear you need and still maximize your truck bed area to sleep in. Consider our built in storage system for its dual purpose functionality.
- Installing a sleeping platform on top of easily accessible storage purpose built for camping might sound complicated, but the DECKED DRAWER SYSTEM makes it easy with secure, weather-proof storage options. The platform sits above the wheel wells, which maximizes the flat area giving you extra room to stretch out and get comfy. The area beneath the platform is customizable to suit your needs - and your vehicle.
With all your gear packed securely underneath, and an inflatable air mattress or foam mattress on top, you’re always good to go.
- A weatherproof truck bed tent or camper shell provides shelter and makes your sleeping area comfortable and cozy, offering protection from wildlife as well as the elements.
- A traditional tent is a good option if you like the idea of sleeping on the ground. The downside is that your storage space is taken up with your tent equipment and additional setup time. You’re also way more likely to find a snake in your sleeping bag.
- If you prefer to be more elevated, a rooftop tent on top of a roof rack is ideal. Most require ladder access and come with a sleeping pad for comfort and sleep two comfortably. They do cost more, but the elevation from weather and wildlife makes it worth it for many.
- Whichever sleeping arrangement you decide on, it’s worth taking your favorite pillow from home. It gives a familiar comfort and contributes to a good night’s sleep.
Truck Cooking Accessories
Even a quick overnight trip benefits from having a basic cooking setup. It’s worth investing in a few items to make hot food and drink easy to prepare. Most of this camping gear can be easily found on Amazon. Coleman is a popular brand that makes almost everything you need.
- Propane camping stove or portable grill - A single burner is fine; A double burner is better and offers more cooking options. You can rub sticks together to start a fire if you really want to, but with all the options for outdoor cooking...why would you want to?
- Cooler or Refrigerator - A cooler might be all you need if you only plan on short trips, but anything more than a day or two, and you’ll want a portable camping fridge for your perishables.
- Coffee maker - Because camping AND drinking your favorite coffee can make the world feel like a better place. A simple percolator is ideal. If you like to grind your own beans, don’t forget the grinder!
- Boxes - Weatherproof storage boxes are essential for keeping your non-perishables and your kitchen gear all together. The DECKED DRAWER SYSTEM can be customized with accessories, including the D-Box. This versatile box can be used for just about anything really! One of our favorite uses sees it holding all your kitchen equipment.
Because the DECKED drawer system is so easily pulled out, you can store your daily equipment boxes away under the truck bed when not in use and still have breakfast going in just a few minutes.
- Adding a piece of plywood to the truck’s inner tailgate creates an ideal flat food prep surface that is always useful.
- Outdoor dishes - Unbreakable camping dishes are a wise investment. They’re easy to clean, and you won’t have to carry around food garbage on paper plates. Who needs bugs in their truck? If you do have to use disposable, biodegradable paper products have less environmental impact.
You’ll also want to have these essential items ready in your camping supplies box:
- Can opener
- Wooden or nylon cooking spoon/spatula
- Cup/drinking bottle
- 1 or 2 nonstick pans
- Cutting board
- Food storage tubs with lids
- Dish soap
- Microfiber towels
- Toilet paper
- First aid kit
- Biodegradable body soap
- Depending on where you’re going, clean drinking water
- Flashlights and camping lanterns
- Fishing equipment - If you’re going somewhere near water, fishing might be in the cards. Be sure to bring everything you need; poles, hooks, bait, replacement line, a net, bucket, and whatever else you’ll need.
- Hunting - Truck camping is a great solution for a hunting trip. You can park anywhere and get up as early as you need to be in a position before dawn. When you’re outfitted with a DECKED system, you won’t have to worry about your guns while you’re hiking or fishing. They’ll be locked away, safe from hikers, weather, and sticky-fingered raccoons.
- Kayaks, paddling boards, or a canoe. You’re going to want to get out on the water, right?
- Bicycles or hiking boots for hitting the trails. Or maybe a couple of ATVs are more your style?
- For stargazing or a romantic weekend, how about a telescope? Remote areas with no city lights provide a spectacular view of the sky. To really wow a date or the kids, check the meteor shower calendar for the next big show.
- Power Inverter - Even if you’re on a social media break, you’ll still want to have access to power. Whether for lighting, a heater, or charging your laptop and cell phone, an inverter transforms your car battery into a form of power usable by household items. Make sure you get one with enough sockets and check that you can use multiple sockets at the same time. Dedicated USB points are also useful.
- Foldable Camp chairs - A sturdy and comfortable seat that is easy to fold and store is a must. Sitting on the ground is all very well if the ground is dry but if it’s not, or it’s uneven and uncomfortable, the luxury of a comfy seat can’t be beaten!
- Hammock - They take up almost no space, and they give hours and hours of comfort and rest. There’s just something extra restful about floating between trees when you’re living out of the back of a truck, off the beaten path, with amazing views to fill your soul. Consider taking an old fashioned book to read in the tree shade.
- Awning/Canopy - You’ll want some access to shade, so a canopy or awning is an important piece to incorporate into your truck setup. A waterproof canopy can make the back of your truck a proper cozy place to sleep. There are many variations, and each has its benefits. The size of your awning or canopy will of course affect the price, and new ones can be expensive. That said, new ones are covered by warranties and are guaranteed to have all the parts needed for safe setup. If you’re careful, and take the time to try it on your truck to be sure it fits, you can get some really serious bargains from second hand selling sites like craigslist.
- Portable shower - Ok, so it’s not strictly relaxing, but even if you’re planning on going off grid you’ll probably want to shower at some point. Regardless of where you’re going on this road trip, you’ll want to have a water tank that can hold at least a gallon of drinking water per camper, per day as well as around 5 gallons per shower.
Truck Storage Accessories
How are you going to carry all of that? Incorporating storage space into your truck without taking up the entire back of the truck requires some serious thought. How much of the space gets wasted by being inaccessible? What things do you need to have quick access to as opposed to regular access? Keeping the storage area organized is crucial to minimize wasted space and keep items easy to find. Bigger, bulkier items that are accessed less often, like bikes or surfboards, can go towards the back while your cooking essentials and first aid kit need to be upfront and easy to get to. Storage also needs to be weatherproof.
This is where roller drawer systems and boxes with dividers come into their own.
DECKED has all you need for adding under bed storage to your truck and a full range of boxes and accessories to keep your belongings organized and secure.
It’s essentially a toolbox that can carry heavy loads (up to 40lb) and fits snugly into the Drawer system. Ideally suited to use as a first aid kit, it is about half the size of the D-Box with dimensions of 17.5" x 10.75" x 7.75"
A larger box with dimensions of 20.5" x 17.5" x 8", the D-Box can carry up to 50 lb.
These boxes are ideal for your kitchen essentials or your hunting and fishing equipment, or for larger tools.
A full range of organizing and dividing systems that all work together in whatever way you choose.
Our boxes and bags make it easy to pull your truck camping gear out and put your work equipment in. Convert from a camping truck to a work truck in minutes, and be packed and ready to go for the next off-road trip.
The DECKED DRAWER SYSTEM is customizable to your specific needs as well as to your vehicle. Most trucks don’t even need any drilling for installation, and the system can be removed and reinstalled in minutes.
The DECKED truck bed can take a 2000lb payload and has cubby holes installed in the corners around the wheels for easy top access to smaller items making full use of the entire space underneath. It's perfect for truck bed camping. There's plenty of room on top, and you can sleep easy with all your gear locked away.