How to build a DIY cowboy camper?

In this blog post, we will answer the question: “How to build a DIY cowboy camper?” We will discuss the steps and procedures to build a DIY cowboy camper successfully. We will discuss the essentials and important materials required for this project. At the end of this post, you will learn how to build a DIY cowboy camper from scratch.

How to build a DIY cowboy camper?

To build a DIY cowboy camper, you need to follow the steps described below.

  • Create a plan
  • Gather the required materials
  • Build the frame
  • Install the walls
  • Install the roof
  • Add insulation
  • Cut out the door and windows
  • Add a carpet
  • Install a bed
  • Add the required accessories
  • Paint the camper

Create a plan

  • You will first need to create a plan to build a DIY cowboy camper. Once you have a plan, you can easily start the building process. Creating a plan will help you to get more organized and understand your requirements.
  • A DIY cowboy camper can be easily built on a truck bed. The most important part is to have a truck with a mid-sized truck bed. Choose a base vehicle to start building a DIY cowboy camper. Just be sure to have enough space at the back for your camper design. It is also important to consider how much weight the vehicle can carry.
  • Next, you need to get the dimensions of the truck bed to create a plan. Measure the length and width of the truck bed and note down the dimensions. You should be able to determine the size of the camper based on the dimensions. 
  • Make sure to consider the height and keep enough headroom. At the same time, do not go overboard and build a huge cowboy camper.

Gather the required materials

  • You can gather the required materials for the DIY cowboy camper based on the dimensions. You will need 2 by 4 wooden beams, plywood, insulation, aluminum siding, screws, and bolts.
  • You will also need to have the required tools to complete this project. While gathering the required materials, getting all the appliances you plan on installing inside the camper is advised. This includes all the equipment that is essential for camping.

Build the frame

  • Next, you need to build the frame of the cowboy camper. Build the frame based on the measurements of the camper. Use 2 by 4s to construct a wooden frame for the camper. You can also use 2 x 6 lumber based on your preference. The frame should be like a rectangular box that can be placed on the camper’s bed.
  • Secure the frame to the camper bed properly by using bolts and nuts. The frame should form the basis of the camper’s structure. Use bolts to secure the frame properly and ensure it is sturdy.

Install the walls

  • The next step is to install the walls. Once you have the frame in place, this becomes an easy process. Install the walls with the help of plywood panels. Make sure to cut the panels according to the dimensions of the frame.
  • Installing the panels is pretty easy and can be completed in just a few hours. Use a driller to drill holes in the frame and fix the panels to the frame with the help of bolts. You can also screw the panels to the frame if necessary. Use a bonding agent on the frame before using bolts or screws.

Install the roof

  • One of the best options for the roof would be to consider installing an aluminum roof. Before installing the aluminum sheeting, you must add enough wooden crossbars to the roof. This works as a base structure to fix the aluminum frame.
  • Cut the aluminum sheets according to the measurements and fix them onto the frame with the help of screws. Drill the sheets properly and make sure that there is no gap in between. Another tip will be to install plywood sheets on top and fix the aluminum frame to the plywood sheets.

Add insulation

  • It is also important to add insulation to the DIY cowboy camper. However, this is just an option. Some people choose not to add insulation. You can apply insulation to the camper’s walls, floor, and ceiling.
  • Insulation will help to keep you warm during winter and cool during summer. There are plenty of insulation options to consider. Use materials like foam boards or fiberglass insulation. Using sheep’s wool is also another option.
  • For the floor, you can simply add the insulation boards on the truck bed and attach plywood sheets over the insulation. Make sure to use crossbeams on the truck bed and secure them properly. Crossbeams will make it easier to fix the plywood on top.

Cut out the door and windows

  • Next, you need to cut out the door and windows on the walls. You can either cut out the door or windows on the panel before installing them or fix the panels to the frame and cut out the windows.
  • Either way, ensure the door has enough space to bring in all the required materials. Try to keep the windows small but have a minimum of two windows on either side to get proper cross ventilation.

Add a carpet

  • Adding a carpet to the camper’s floor will enhance the appearance. This will provide a rich look for your cowboy camper. Make sure to cover the areas with carpet that are exposed. However, you should get this done after installing the bed.

Install a bed

  • A cowboy camper must have a bed. Hence, it is required you to create a platform for your bed. Use 2 by 4s to build the bed frame and cover the frame with plywood to create a platform. Ensure to secure the frame is properly to the camper floor.
  • Add a mattress or cushion on top of the bed. The bed should be comfortable enough to accommodate one person. Get a customized bed according to the measurements of the bed frame.

Add the required accessories

  • The next step is to add the required accessories. Make a note of all the essentials that you need for camping. For example, you must have storage shelves to keep all your camping gear. Ensure build enough storage shelves with plywood.
  • Add a portable sink connected to a small 25-gallon freshwater tank. You can easily add a 50-gallon freshwater tank if there is enough space. Attach a pump to the sink to pump up the water. You can also add a small portable table and stove and build a small kitchen area.
  • An external shower will be the best option for a cowboy camper. Add a cassette toilet and make sure to have all the basic requirements.
  • Solar panels are one of the best options to power up your camper. Add a minimum of 200-watt solar panels to give you enough power. This is a huge advantage when it comes to off-grid camping or boondocking.
  • Add a couple of lights inside as per your requirement, and decorate the cowboy camper as much as possible. Add curtains for the windows to enhance the appearance.

Paint the camper

  • Finally, you must give your DIY cowboy camper a beautiful coat of paint. Some people stain the plywood, while some choose to paint it. Give your camper a combination of colors inside and outside to make it look beautiful. You can also paint the aluminum sheets on top.


In this blog post, we have answered the question: “How to build a DIY cowboy camper?” We discussed the steps and procedures to build a DIY cowboy camper successfully. We have discussed the essentials and important materials required for this project. At the end of this post, you will learn how to build a DIY cowboy camper from scratch.


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