When you own a truck, you own something more than just a vehicle. You own a vehicle that does things that smaller vehicles can’t. You have a tool that can do a good deal of things for you.
Your truck hauls things. Its weight makes it safer on snowy and slippery roads. And it gives you an alternate way to go camping.
Yes, you read that right. You don’t even need to invest in a pricey pop-up camper anymore. Now there are truck bed tents. These are more affordable and they take up less space when traveling.
What Is a Truck Bed Tent?
In the 70s and 80s truck bed campers were all the rage. They were hard box campers that fit snug onto the bed of a truck. They usually added some height and some length. You could just pack all your camping gear inside for hauling.
Now, you don’t need to have such a bulky attachment in order to use your truck bed for camping. They make truck bed tents now and they set up right in the bed of your truck when you want them up. You don’t have to drive around with them already set up. That leaves more space for hauling the rest of your camping gear.
Some truck bed tents attach to your truck and also extend to the ground. That means that you can have more than a one-room tent and sleep more than just two people. Larger tents like this are ideal for families.
Making Your Own Truck Bed Tent
While truck tents may be affordable to some, they do run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over one thousand dollars. If you have a truck and want to do some truck bed camping you can make your own DIY truck bed tent.
You might be able to find a way to use a normal cheap camping tent in the bed of your truck. You’d want to find a way to anchor it to your vehicle so you don’t slide out or get blown out of it on a rainy or windy night.
For something more sturdy and made specifically to replace a pickup truck tent you might buy, here are some instructions for making your own tent. All you need is a piece of carpet and/or slab of plywood, some PVC pipe, a tarp, and some rope. Of course, you need a saw and scissors to cut everything to specification. The details are as follows:
- Start with flooring for your truck. This can be cut from plywood or a rug (or both for something flatter and more comfortable). You can keep the rug rolled or keep both out flat for traveling.
- You will be using two-inch PVC pipe to make your tent poles. You’ll need 4 of them, about five-feet long (depending on how tall you want your tent to sit). They should fit snug in your truck bed for traveling.
- You’ll place the PVC pipes standing in each of the four corners of the truck bed. You’ll want to attach them to the truck to make it a sturdy frame. You can do this with some zip ties.
- Once the poles are secure, you’ll put on the tarp. You need to make sure the tarp is big enough to cover the roof of your tent and go all the way down the sides of the truck. This is your tent, so you want to be safe from the elements. You can secure the parts of the tarp that hang off the back of the truck as a tent door.
- You’ll use ropes to secure the tarp to the ground, with some tent stakes. This keeps everything attached and secured.
Once you set this up a couple of times it will become second nature. You can make this DIY truck bed tent for a fraction of the cost of a pre-made one from a camping store.
Best Places to Go Truck Camping
You can go truck camping anywhere you go tent camping. You can rent a spot at the campgrounds and set up your truck bed tent. It keeps you up off the ground and away from some of the critters you might run into in the woods.
You could camp in someone’s yard, and this takes up less space because your truck and your camping space are one. Basically, you can camp anywhere with your truck tent that you can with a tent, as long as there’s a place to park your truck.
Upgrade your camping skills and get off the ground. Give your truck another use. You can even toss in an air mattress and not worry about it getting poked with a stick on the ground.