Why are truck campers so expensive?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Why are truck campers so expensive? We will review the price for the most popular truck campers on the market and discuss the pros and cons of camping with a truck camper. 

Why are truck campers so expensive?

The main reason why truck campers are so expensive is that they are very heavy and require expensive materials to be built. Other than that, there are several unique advantages that only a truck camper can bring:

  • Truck campers are ideal for off-road experiences, short trips or vacations.
  • They are easy to drive and manoeuvre.
  • Maintenance and insurance are not expensive compared to travel trailers or pop-up campers.
  • It can be removed when not in use. Your pickup then becomes an automobile (or utility, depending on how you use it).
  • It embeds a real arrangement including beds, a kitchen, and sometimes a real bathroom with a shower.
  • They provide a very flexible travel experience both in remote areas and in the city
  • It is much more comfortable and better insulated than most campers.

How much do truck campers cost?

In the table below we review the prices of the most popular (and highest-quality) truck campers currently on the market.

Truck Camper ModelMSRP
Host Mammoth 11.5$68,999
Hallmark Ute 8.5$52,995
Northern Lite 8-11EX WET$44,110
Lance 825$26,729
Outfitter Apex 8$42,995
NuCamp Cirrus 920$40,296
Alaskan 7 Cabover$34,190
Arctic Fox 811$46,271
Four-Wheel Camper Flatbed Hawk$20,995
Bundutec Wild$18,600
Rugged Mountain 9RL$38,270
Capri Retreat$16,495

What are truck campers and why are they so popular?

Truck campers are caravans that are placed on the bed of a truck or pickup. This RV class typically seats two or three people and offers basic sleeping, cooking and eating facilities. The newer and more luxurious models have extensions that greatly expand and improve the living space.

There are two main types of truck campers:

  • Fixed truck campers
  • Removable truck campers.

The fixed truck campers are permanently attached in place of the bucket directly to the frame or via what is called an approved “Australian” type platform. In this configuration, the truck camper becomes one with the carrier. It is in fact a subframe that attaches to the chassis of the carrier. 

Normally with such a system, the vehicle registration card does not have to be changed to VASP (Specialized Self-propelled Vehicle with GVW <or = 3.5 tonnes). This mention is attributed to leisure vehicles (eg: motorhome weighing less than 3.5 tonnes).

The removable truck campers, as their name suggests, are designed to be placed in the pick-up bed, sometimes even without removing the tailgate. The major advantage of this system lies in the fact that you can use the pick-up in utility mode when you are not travelling, or even for some models leave the truck camper on its feet and go for a ride with the vehicle without worrying about height.

Disadvantages of Truck Campers

  • Very small living and storage space.
  • Limited services, especially on the lighter models.
  • Most do not have a full bathroom. Some, not even a half bath.
  • Requires specific truck or pickup models that match the type of caravan.
  • The most luxurious and spacious models can be as expensive as a fifth-wheel and require expensive and sturdy trucks or pickups that can support their weight.

Common problems when camping in a truck camper

The next issues are totally preventable with truck maintenance and care! But still, we have to mention them just so you are prepared. 

  • Broken water pipes and leaks. Let’s start with what is scary. Few things can ruin a truck camper faster than water damage. This does not only apply to truck campers. A house, regardless of the structure, can become uninhabitable due to water damage.

All the pipes and water pipes in your truck camper need your utmost care year after year or season to season. When these pipes are old or visibly damaged, don’t tell yourself that a change or repair can wait until the following season. The pipes run through your entire truck camper, and if one bursts, the whole camper can be flooded.

  • Electrical damage. The electrical damage is almost as severe. Most electrical problems start in the low season when the truck camper is put into winter storage, possibly without a cover. Since your truck camper is wide open, there is a risk of rodents such as mice or rats creeping in all over the place and literally gobbling up electrical cables. 

Even if you cover your truck camper with a special cover, this does not mean that it is protected against electrical surges. This can happen if you leave your truck camper plugged in at all times, even when you are not using it, or during a thunderstorm.

  • Wastewater tanks. Some truck campers have a toilet, maybe even a shower. Ideal when you are cutting the road for an indefinite period of time. But you are also subject to sewage leaks.

You should not use just any kind of toilet paper onboard a truck camper, but paper suitable for motorhomes. Beyond the type of paper you use, quantity also matters. (By the way, it may be appropriate to think about going to the dry toilet …).

How to remove a truck camper?

Here are steps to follow if you need to remove a truck camper:

Step 1: Find a level place to park: You don’t want the truck or the camper to shake when trying to separate the two. 

Step 2: Release tie-downs from the truck camper mounting brackets: be careful so as not to scratch or damage them in any way at this point. 

Step 3: Check the jacks/stabilizers: make sure you know how to use them. Read our article on how to stabilize a camper for instructions. 

Step 4: Deploy the stabilizers: Ask someone to help you lift the truck camper from the bed. Be careful to deploy the jacks until they touch the camper (all in sync). 

Step 5: Carefully move the truck straight forward about three ft: You must go straight ahead and lift the camper more if necessary.  

Step 6: Unplug the cable to the truck: This is the cable responsible for recharging your camper batteries. Remove it now. 

Step 7: Carefully drive the truck forward again: Make sure there is no other cable connected to the camper beforehand. Drive enough to be able to lift the front side of the truck camper. 

Step 8: Lower the truck camper to desired height & level: Make sure you keep the camper level and that you lower it slowly and with precision. 

​​Which is better: a truck camper or a travel trailer?

When deciding which is better for you: a truck camper or a travel trailer, you must first understand the main differences between the two. 

Truck campers are caravans that are placed on the bed of a truck or pickup. This RV class typically seats two or three people and offers basic sleeping, cooking and eating facilities. The newer and more luxurious models have extensions that greatly expand and improve the living space.

Obviously, if you want to travel as a family, you must choose a travel trailer that can comfortably accommodate all of its members. Precisely, did you know that there are not only travel trailers or fifth-wheel type travel trailers that can accommodate up to 10 people? Several configurations of trailers and even tent trailers could also accommodate you on this site.

FAQ on Why are truck campers so expensive?

Are truck campers hard on trucks?

Yes, truck campers can be hard to load and unload. You must make sure you respect the towing capacity of your truck and properly load the weight of the camper. 

How long do truck campers last?

Truck campers last approximately 155,000 miles (about 250,000 kilometres), which corresponds to approximately 25 years. Factors such as how often your camper is used, the quality of maintenance and cleaning all have an impact on the life of the vehicle in one way or another.

Are truck campers easy to remove?

The good news is that truck campers are easy to remove, once you get used to how to do it. The bad news is that if you do not reattach the truck camper properly, you risk damaging both the camper and the pick-up truck. 

Are truck campers top-heavy?

Truck campers can be top-heavy, which means they require extra care while driving off-road or in strong winds. It happens rarely, but yes, a truck camper can tip over. 


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