Truck campers started out as little more than overgrown pickup truck toppers with a little bunk space.
Though they have certainly evolved over the decades to be a camping option that rivals even some of the best small travel trailers and teardrop campers.
Of course, this rich field has also made for a lot of diversification in style, design, materials, and special features.
All of which can affect the initial purchase price as well as the long-term cost of ownership.
If you are thinking about adding one to your pickup truck, then chances are you are wondering how much a truck camper costs?
Truck campers can cost between $5,000 and $60,000 and prices vary depending on the types and features and age.
On the low end, you might be able to find a small popup truck camper, with minimal features for as little as $5,000.
Though some of the larger models meant to fit on a three-quarter or one-ton pickup truck, loaded with luxury features, can cost as high as $50,000 to even $60,000.
There are clearly a lot of factors that go into these wide price fluctuations. This includes things like the type of truck camper you want, as well as the vehicle you are going to pair it with.
Not to mention things like depreciation that can affect the cost of a new versus a used truck camper.
It also includes things like the different types of truck campers, material build quality, special features, and amenities, as well as the type of pickup truck they are meant to pair with.
We found it’s best to start out by asking and answering a few key questions to help dial in the best truck camper for you.
What Is A Truck Camper?
A truck camper also known as slide-in camper is a special type of RV that has been carefully engineered to fit into the cargo box of a pickup truck.
Though the size of the cargo box, as well as the pickup truck’s payload capacity, can all influence the size and type of pickup camper your truck can accommodate.
Some truck campers are designated as soft-sided, whereas others are rigid hard-sided truck campers.
What Is The Difference Between a Hard Side & Soft Side Truck Campers?
As the name implies, a “Soft Sided” truck camper has canvas sides. When you are traveling down the road the fold down to make a more compact aerodynamic shell.
Once you are parked up at your campsite or RV park it pops up to its full size.
A hard-sided truck camper has rigid walls that do not collapse. This gives them a taller profile, while making them a little top heavy.
Both hard-sided and soft-sided truck campers have different baseline costs, and different optional extras that can influence their initial purchase price, as well as their cost of ownership, and potential long-term resale value.
How Much Does A Soft-Sided Truck Camper Cost?
On the average, a new standard trim level a soft-sided pop-up truck camper will cost around $15,000.
Though there are some stripped down, lightweight pop-up truck campers that can cost as low as $8,000.
On the other end of the spectrum there are some fully loaded soft-sided truck camper with tons of optional extras and special features that can cost as much as $27,000 to $30,000 new.
How Much Does A Hard Sided Truck Camper Cost?
Hard-sided truck campers can vary widely in price from as low as $20,000 to more than $50,000 for a new, standard trim level floor plan.
Hard sided truck campers have a lot more material and structural components built into them, which drives up the price.
Some can also be very large, which makes more room for other special features like a dry bath, an expanded kitchen or increased sleeping space.
What Are The Benefits Of A Soft-Sided Truck Camper?
There are a few things that make soft-sided truck campers popular as well as more economical than their hard-sided brethren.
The canvas walls of a soft-sided truck camper save on weight, which is handy if you want to pair one with a pickup truck that has a somewhat limited payload capacity in the cargo box.
The way soft-sided truck campers collapse down makes for a lower profile when traveling down the road.
This can be a major benefit on your pickup truck’s miles per gallon when driving at highway speeds. It can also be a little bit safer if you need to travel during a high wind advisory.
The initial purchase price of a soft-sided truck camper tends to be lower, as canvas tends to be less expensive than aluminum, wood, and other rigid structural materials used in the construction of hard-sided truck campers.
If you want to take your truck camper out of the box when you aren’t on vacation, soft-sided truck campers easier, and take less time to remove and install than larger, hard-sided truck campers.
What Are The Drawbacks Of A Soft-Sided Truck Camper?
Soft-sided truck campers tend to draw a few complaints from experience truck camper enthusiasts.
Premature Aging Of Canvas
Even the most heavy-duty, high-quality canvas material is still going to be prone to wear and tear.
The more you collapse and expand them the more prone they will be to cracking and leaking. This is only exacerbated by age.
You generally don’t see a lot of creature comforts in soft-sided truck campers. Things like showers and large kitchens are rare in this niche.
Lower Resale Value
The premature aging and wear & tear suffered by a lot of soft-sided truck campers also tends to impact their resale value.
Even the best soft-sided truck campers will depreciate faster than a hard-sided truck camper of relatively the same size.
What Are The Benefits Of A Hard-Sided Truck Camper?
Hard-sided truck campers are very popular with three-quarter and one-ton truck owners that have the payload capacity to accommodate them.
A lot of hard-sided truck campers have more headroom than a soft-sided truck camper of the same size. This makes them preferable for taller individuals.
Hard-sided truck campers are better able to accommodate plumbing and other structural components that make it easier to support wet bath showers, larger RV refrigerators, and cabinets.
This can also translate into larger sleeping space, especially in the over cab bunk.
The structural walls of a hard-sided camper tend to have a greater insulation quality than a soft-sided truck camper of the same size.
This can be a factor if you want to use your truck camper for fall hunting or camping in the mountains.
Better Resale Value
Hard-sided truck campers tend to depreciate slower than soft-sided campers of the same relative size.
They are less prone to wear and tear as well as less likely to suffer annoying water leaks that compromise the truck camper’s interior and exterior materials.
What Are The Drawbacks Of A Hard-Sided Truck Camper?
Despite all their benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to hard-sided truck campers, that might make them less ideal for the way you want to travel and camp.
Hard-sided truck campers tend to weigh more than a similar size soft-sided truck camper.
This makes them more common for three-quarter and one-ton pickup trucks as opposed to half-ton pickup trucks that tend to lack the payload capacity to handle a heavy hard-sided truck camper.
The materials and engineering that goes into producing the best hard-sided truck campers also tend to drive up the initial purchase price.
Though you do tend to see this coming back to you in the long run as they tend to depreciate slower and have a better resale value.
Hard-sided truck campers tend to be tall and even a little bit top-heavy. This can be a potential safety issue if you need to travel at highway speeds during a strong storm or during a high wind warning.
If at all possible, you should strongly consider staying put with a hard-sided truck camper if the national weather service happens to issue a strong wind warning for high-profile vehicles.
Hard-sided truck campers are heavier and bulkier than their soft-sided kin, which makes them more of a challenge to install before a trip, and takes more time to remove once you return home.
Depending on the dimensions and overall weight of the hard-sided camper, you might need special equipment, which can increase the overall cost of ownership for a hard-sided truck camper compared to a soft-sided model.
What Is A Hybrid Truck Camper?
Hybrid truck campers are a somewhat new innovation in the world of RVs. They utilize the “Pop Up” convenience of a soft-sided truck camper, except they have solid walls instead of canvas.
This represents a best of both worlds concept that is still growing in popularity throughout the truck camper niche.
What Are The Benefits Of A Hybrid Truck Camper?
There are a few things that make a hybrid truck camper a better option than a soft or hard-sided truck camper.
As you might expect a hybrid truck camper tends to cost more than a canvas soft-sided truck camper, but less than a rigid hard-sided truck camper.
Since they don’t use potentially vulnerable canvas a hybrid truck camper tends to experience slower depreciation due to wear and tear compared to a soft-sided truck camper of relatively the same size. This then translates into a better resale value in the long run.
Since they collapse down like a soft-sided truck camper, hybrid truck campers enjoy better aerodynamics when driving down the road.
This translates into better fuel efficiency for the pickup truck. They also tend to be less vulnerable to high winds compared to a tall hard-sided truck camper of a similar relative size.
Easier Installation & Removal
Most of the best hybrid truck campers are just as easy to remove as a soft-sided truck camper of the same size.
This translates into a faster install and removal, which might also reduce the need for special equipment or having to pay a professional to handle the install.
What Are Some Of The Features That Can Affect The Price Of A Truck Camper?
There are a few upgraded features and popular optional extras that can drive up the cost of soft-sided, hard-sided, or hybrid truck campers.
A Wet Bath
A wet bath that combines the shower and the toilet into one small compartment. This tends to be the standard bathroom in a lot of truck campers and saves on weight as well as price.
A Dry Bath
This is a little bit of a misnomer, as the term “Dry Bath” simply indicates that the shower and toilet are separate features in the bathroom, and the shower has a curtain or shower door that separates it.
While it is more convenient a dry bath can drive up the price of a truck camper by as much as $500 to $750.
An Upgraded Suspension System
A lot of truck campers push the payload capacity limits of even robust three-quarter-ton and one-ton pickup trucks.
Some truck owners will compensate for this by having the suspension system of their truck upgraded. This can cost upwards of $500 to $1,200.
When you park up your truck and set up your campsite the truck camper can lurch and bounce as the truck’s suspension system tries to compensate for the shifting weight as you move around inside.
This is why a lot of the heaviest truck campers come with hydraulic leveling jacks built-in.
Some lighter popup and hybrid camper dealerships will offer them as optional extras that boost the initial purchase price by as much as $350 to $700.
An RV Air Conditioner
Good airflow can be a challenge in even some of the best truck campers. While some high-end truck campers will come with an air conditioner as part of the standard trim level, this is not the case with all truck campers.
Especially lightweight popup and hybrid truck campers. A 13,500 BTU RV air conditioner will range between $550 to $850.
Though you might be able to get some small window RV air conditioners for as low as $150.
A Propane Furnace
Not all truck campers come with a propane furnace in the standard base model package. A compact propane furnace that produces a toasty 19,000 BTUs will cost between $450 to $650 installed.
Insulated Water Storage Tanks
The fresh, gray, and black water storage tanks on a truck camper tend to be small, which can put them at risk of freezing in prolonged cold conditions.
If you like to camp in the mountains, or you want to use your truck camper as a base camp during late fall hunting trips, then you might want to consider having the water storage tanks insulated.
This can cost anywhere from $250 to $500, depending on the size, location, and the type of insulation applied.
Rooftop solar panels and other solar power systems are increasingly popular. Especially if you plan to use your truck camper for days of boondocking off the grid.
While the tech supporting a solar panel can vary the price, you should be able to get a 100 Watt solar panel installed on your new truck camper for around $300 to $400.
How Fast Do Truck Campers Depreciate?
Just like all other types of RVs, a truck camper suffers from rapid depreciation as soon as you take it off the dealership’s lot.
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect a truck camper to depreciate by as much as 30% in the first year.
Then the depreciation curve gradually shallows out to around 50% of the original purchase price by around the end of the 6th year.
This could be an even steeper depreciation curve for a soft-sided truck camper that experiences a lot of excess wear and tear in the canvas.
Is It Better To Buy A New Or Used Truck Camper?
If you time it right in the depreciation curve it might be better to buy a gently used truck camper around six to seven years of age.
At this point, the asking price should be around 50% of the original purchase price, yet the camper itself might be in next-to-new condition.
You might also be able to get a little more wiggle room with a soft-sided truck camper that happens to show a little wear and tear in the canvas.
Though just bear in mind that as the canvas ages, you might end up on the hook for the replacement cost or you could suffer greater depreciation.
Are Truck Campers Required To Have A Title?
Most states don’t require a truck camper to carry a title. Though some require you to register it with the title.
This includes Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington.
This is a modest cost, but one that you should still factor into the overall cost of ownership if you are planning to buy and travel in one of these states.
What Are Some Of The Best New Truck Campers?
The first five or six years of a truck camper’s life is when it sees the most rapid depreciation. Though some of the best models hold their value better in the first few years.
So we reviewed some of the best new or recent truck campers help give you some good examples to consider.
The following models do a good job of holding their value in the early years and range from as low as $10,000 to over $40,000.
Here is the list of best new truck campers:
New Truck Campers With Example Prices
The following reviews give you a better look at the ballpark cost of these new or slightly pre-owned truck campers in their first few years of life. It includes things like some of the key features as well as niche needs they might meet.
1. The 2020 Palomino Backpack Edition Soft Side SS-1251
Palomino is one of the strongest names in the truck camper niche. The 2020 Palomino Backpack Edition with the SS-1251 floorplan enjoys a modest initial purchase price.
Yet the superior material quality gives it a modest depreciation curve for a soft-sided canvas truck camper.
With proper care, you should be able to see a nice resale value whether you are buying it new or used.
2. The 2020 AT Overland Equipment Summit
The 2020 AT Overland Equipment Summit is an exceptionally lightweight soft-sided truck camper that fits neatly in the box of most half-ton pickup trucks.
With this soft-sided popup truck camper, the roof area merely rises in the rear over the topper base to increase the available space.
It ends up being lightweight as well as low in price. While this model is relatively new it does have a great resale value and low cost of ownership.
It’s also worth noting that 2020 AT Overland Equipment Summit is available from the manufacturer or an affiliated dealership with a lot of customizable options.
Each of which will increase the price. This includes a wide range of door and screening options as well as special interior lighting and even an insulation package for people who like to camp in cold-weather locales.
3. The 2021 Lance – TC 1062
The 2021 Lance – TC 1062 is one of the best, and higher-priced hard-sided truck campers on the new market today.
The 1062 floorplan, in particular, stands out with its aft slide-out section to accommodate the spacious dinette.
It also has a large bathroom, with the waste and fresh water storage tanks needed to accommodate a family of four.
There are even a powerful air conditioner and propane furnace to give you climate control anywhere you camp.
There are a few minor tradeoffs with all these creature comforts and luxury accommodations.
The price can dent your budget by as much as $35,000 to $45,000 depending on the optional extras you choose.
With a dry weight of over 3,000-pounds, you also will need a one-tone pickup truck to properly accommodate its girth.
If you don’t already have such a robust vehicle in your garage, it can also be another major budget factor to keep in mind before making this major investment.
4. The 2020 Real-Lite Truck Camper HS-1910 by Palomino
The Real Lite Truck Camper HS-1910 by Palomino is one of their more popular models.
Depending on the features and options you choose the price can vary from as little as $18,000 to as much as $25,000.
With a dry weight of 3,037-pounds, this great value truck camper can fit most three-quarter-ton pickup trucks.
Though it does require at least a 6’ 6” cargo bed and fits best in an 8-foot cargo box.
5. The 2020 Northwood – Arctic Fox Camper 1150
The 2020 Northwood – Arctic Fox Camper 1150 is another highly popular hard-sided truck camper that’s meant for a three-quarter to one-ton pickup truck.
It can range in price from as low as $32,000 to as high as $35,000 or $40,000 depending on the options extras and special features you choose via the manufacturer.
The 2020 Northwood – Arctic Fox Camper 1150 has a few features that cater to families who like to camp in the mountains or during the colder months of the year.
This includes superior insulation in the walls and ceiling to help retain the heat produced by the warm 20,000 BTU propane furnace.
You also have to like the fact that when you fully convert the bed space that you can sleep four to five people comfortably.
When you also consider the large fresh water and wastewater storage tanks, the dry bath that separates the toilet from the shower, and the available sleeping space the 2020 Northwood – Arctic Fox Camper 1150 might be one of the best cold weather campers for boondocking families. All for under $40,000.
6. The 2020 NuCamp Cirrus 920
The 2020 NuCamp Cirrus 920 is another popular hard-sided camper with a sleek look and a lot of material build quality infused into its roughly $40,000 price tag.
The cab-over bed area is set up to keep the sleeping space distinctly separate, which is nice for maximizing the living area and kitchen, as well as the tidy wet bath.
The dinette converts into ample sleeping space for a small child or a teenager, which makes the 2020 NuCamp Cirrus 920 one of the best truck campers for a small family. All for under $45,000.
Used Truck Campers With Example Prices
After the first five or six years of life a truck camper starts to depreciate to the point where it can lose 30 to 60-perecent of it’s original value.
Though high quality truck campers, like the ones on this list, that are well maintained by a previous owner, can be a great value, while still retaining a lot of the appeal they had when they were new.
You can find a lot of these gently pre-owned truck camper models from as low as $8,000 to as high as $25,000.
Here is the list of best used truck campers:
1. The 2014 Northwood – Wolf Creek 850
The 2014 Northwood – Wolf Creek 850 is a slightly older truck camper that can be had for as little as $5,000.
Northwoods is known for producing truck campers that hold their value.
It also has he sleeping space for up to five people, and the water storage tank capacity to accommodate a medium-sized family’s needs.
2. The 2013 Palomino – Maverick M-2910 Max Series
When it was brand new the 2013 Palomino – Maverick M-2910 was very popular for boondocking RV travelers who needed a truck camper that could support them during off the grid adventures.
This also means that the superior material build quality of this hard-sided truck camper helps it hold its value even to this day.
To that point, you can find a well-cared-for model running between $15,000 to $20,000.
3. The 2015 Lance – TC 995
Lance has always had a strong presence in the truck camper marketplace, and the 2015 Lance – TC 995 is one of their models known for holding its value.
With a keen eye and a little bit of patience, you should be able to find a gently pre-owned one for $12,000 to $15,000.
It has a dry bath, with large water storage tanks to support a family of four.
This particular floor plan also has a slide-out section which gives you more floor space in the main living area.
4. The 2017 Northwood – Arctic Fox 1150
The 2017 Northwood – Arctic Fox 1150 was very popular when it came out, and is still very popular to this day.
Especially for cold weather campers, late fall hunters, and people who camp in the mountains who prioritize a truck camper that holds its value.
This pre-owned hard-sided camper can be found for as low as $12,000 to as much as $20,000 depending on the special features.
Upgraded RV insulation can drive up the price of this truck camper with a solid reputation for being able to whatever the weather can throw at it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many People Can You Sleep In A Truck Camper?
When it comes to sleeping space most truck campers are on par with teardrop campers and small travel trailers.
Some of the smaller soft-sided campers can only sleep a maximum of two adults and perhaps a small child.
On the other end of the spectrum, some of the larger hard-sided truck campers can comfortably sleep four or perhaps even five people.
What Is The Difference Between A Wet And Dry Bath?
The debate between wet and dry baths takes on a little more emphasis on the limited space of a truck camper, and can also influence the price, as well as the class of truck it takes to support it.
A wet bath combines the shower and toilet in one. This saves on weight, space and in some models will lower the price.
A dry bath has a separate shower and toilet, with a definitive curtain or shower door separating them.
Though a dry bath takes up more space and typically increases the price of the truck camper.
Is It Better To Buy A New Or Used Truck Camper?
Like a lot of other RVs and vehicles, truck campers experience steep depreciation from the minute they drive off the dealership lot.
This continues for the first five to six years before leveling off. The depreciation curve tends to be a little steeper for soft-sided truck campers that show excessive wear and tear in the canvas material.
If possible, you will typically find the best deal from buying a gently used truck camper that’s around five years old.
This is generally the point where the original owner has eaten the depreciation costs for you, yet the truck camper is still likely to be in good shape.
The truck camper marketplace is rich with a lot of great value options. Finding the best truck camper value for you often starts by filtering down by the overall size, as well as the number of people you need to sleep.
If you have a half-ton or a three-quarter-ton pickup truck already, you might want to stick to lighter and more compact soft-sided truck campers.
Just bear in mind that their depreciation curve is steeper than a hard-sided truck camper.
You can then contemplate the interior amenities that can affect the price like choosing between a wet bath or a dry bath.
This will give you a baseline for deciding just how much of your budget you are willing to move into special features like solar panels, updated lighting, and other interior creature comforts.
If you have a half-ton pickup truck and you are just looking for a way to enjoy life out in the bush, then the 2020 AT Overland Equipment Summit might be the best truck camper for you.
It’s light, as well as compact, and can be had for a relatively low price tag. Yet it’s still rugged enough to take care of you for days of camping off the grid.
On the far other end of the spectrum is the 2020 Northwood – Arctic Fox Camper 1150. It has a reputation for being able to handle extreme temperatures with comfort and ease.
Yet it’s also large enough to sleep up to five people comfortably, which might make the 2020 Northwood – Arctic Fox Camper 1150 the best truck camper for a medium-size family that likes to camp even in the colder months of the year.
Regardless of the size of your truck or your budget, chances are good that the best truck camper to meet your needs can be found somewhere on this list.