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Gear Guide To Camping in the Back of a Truck

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Camping is one of the most accessible forms of outdoor fun, loved by kids and adults of all ages. And it’s no wonder why. It’s an affordable alternative to some lavish resort, and better yet, it’s probably way more up our alley. With opportunities to fish, hunt, or just enjoy a cold one around a warm fire, camping is a great way to unwind and get more in touch with nature. 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. But just because you’re camping, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for a sleeping bag on the floor.

The back of your truck gives you the option of taking all kinds of camping gear. No matter the purpose of your trip, you have enough storage space for all your equipment and supplies and we got your back. Let’s review some of the essential gear for camping out of your truck. Gather ‘round our campfire, folks. Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  • Benefits of Truck Camping
  • Sleeping Arrangements
  • Cooking Gear
  • Entertainment Essentials
  • Storage Solutions
  • A Camping Checklist

 

Benefits of Truck Camping

best truck camping accessory benefits

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 most significant benefits of truck camping include:

  • Low cost – If you have your own truck, you won’t need to invest a lot. There’s no need to turn your wallet inside out to book some fancy hotel room. Your truck is your fancy hotel room. There might not be any room service, but you got the river and a roarin’ fire.
  • Freedom to go just about anywhere, any time – You can decide to pack up for the night and hit another location. Maybe this time you want to sleep near the ocean, or maybe you want to set up somewhere with a nice vantage point overlooking the forest. Because you’re in your truck, you’re not chained to any old boring place.
  • Minimal environmental footprint – You’re not hopping on a plane; you’re just taking yourself and your truck to a beautiful mountain-side. Camping is a good way to shed all the high-maintenance hoopla.
  • Low maintenance – Let us say that again. Low maintenance. That’s the best benefit of anything, isn’t it?

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, 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.

 

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Truck Sleeping Arrangements

truck camping tent for sleeping

If you’re taking a short overnight or weekend trip and don’t need a lot of gear, a sleeping bag and pillow are really all you’ll need to be comfortable and get a good night’s sleep. If you want to upgrade that by just a bit, considering laying the seats back and throwing a foam mattress down. Or, you can always place an inflatable air mattress 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, however, 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. Here are some other options you can go with for ultimate comfort:

  • Installing a sleeping platform on top of easily accessible storage 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. It also offers protection from wildlife and 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 there’s that factor of 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 but come with a sleeping pad for comfort. It’ll also 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. If that means you have to bring your secret Spiderman or Looney Tunes pillow, you bring that thing with pride, sir.

Cooking Gear

truck camping 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 that are easy to prepare. Sure, you can go full-on Tom Hanks in Cast Away and spearfish your dinner, but what happens if you’re sh*t outta luck and don’t catch anything? Better to be prepared and fed, we always say! Most of this camping gear can be easily found on Amazon. You can also check out Coleman since they’re a popular brand that makes almost everything you need to camp. Here are a few of our cooking gear favorites for any camping trip:

  • Propane camping stove or a 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 small 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 altogether. The DECKED drawer system can be customized with accessories, including the D-Box. This versatile box can be used for just about anything. It’s not just for holding screwdrivers; bring along that silverware and salad tongs! We’ve really thought of it all.

And 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. Get your Iron Chef goin’ on.
  • 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 options, consider biodegradable paper products that have less environmental impact.

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Entertainment Essentials

You’re camping, so that likely means there’s no massive surround-sound TV system to watch the big game or play some Halo on. But you know what, you’re camping, which means there’s a ton of other ways to be entertained. Ways that you even get some exercise or meals out of! Let’s take a look at some of our essential items for entertainment in the great outdoors.

 

  • 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.

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.

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Check it, Pack it, and Get Out There!

Need a camping checklist to get you started? Take a look at our list below. Feel free to read it and print it to ensure your camping experience is everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Now, you don’t need everything on this list, but you’ll be living like a king in the forest if you do. Take what you want, leave what you couldn’t care less about. Then get out there.

Camping in the back of a truck - chart

Tent? Check. Boots? Check. Brew? Check.

Now that you’ve got all the essentials, it’s time to pack it up. Your gym bag ain’t gonna cut it. Check out our accessories or the entire DECKED drawer system to get you ready for the great outdoors. You know you want to.

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