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Truck Bed Camping Hacks

Do you want to turn your pickup truck into your home away from home? Get ready because camping in your pickup truck is one of the most unique, liberating, and fun camping experiences. Whether you’re going fishing, hunting, hiking, or just looking to hit the open road, pickup truck camping will let you spend time in nature without breaking the bank. We’ve got some tips and tricks to help you all become happy campers, so read on!

Why Truck Bed Camping Is Great

Why would you opt to camp in your pickup truck versus springing for a luxurious RV, a vacation rental, or a hotel stay? None of those choices can deliver the excitement and freedom that comes with truck bed camping.

There’s so much flexibility when you camp in your truck bed. With truck camping, you have the freedom to move around, to discover more remote locales (you’re not limited by the availability of accommodations or hampered by rough terrain), and to determine your own schedule.

In addition to the freedom afforded when truck camping, this can also be a relatively low-cost vacation – you already have your truck (or, in this case, hotel-on-wheels) and how you modify it for camping (be it with a truck bed tent, canopy, or truck topper) can be your only one-time cost. More comfortable than traditional camping where you can get rain-soaked or must deal with jutting rocks, and much less expensive than an RV, it’s time to get your truck bed ready for your four-wheel adventure.

Getting Started

Choose Your Shelter

While sleeping under the stars can sound romantic, the elements can quickly dampen that notion. Of all the sleeping options, we recommend truck bed tents because they make camping easy, and they’re affordable and portable. For those looking to invest, there are more permanent and expensive options such as truck bed canopies and pop-up campers.

Choose your shelter

Get Your Truck Bed Ready

One of the most important things you can do to prepare is ensure that your truck bed will be clean and protected. Made from 100% high-density vulcanized recycled rubber, the non-porous Black Armour Truck Bed Mats are extremely durable, provide protection from mold and mildew, and with an anti-skid surface, stop cargo from shifting. Keeping this space clean while camping – rain, dusty roads – can be a challenge and having a truck bed mat that can easily be wiped down makes the job that much easier.

For sleeping and storage, consider building a sleep platform a couple feet above your truck bed liner, keeping containers of food and supplies underneath. Place an air mattress on top of the platform and you’ve created comfortable sleeping quarters.

Do Your Research

While you want to be footloose and fancy free in your pickup truck, it’s important to do some thoughtful planning so that you’re well prepared. Some things to consider include:
-The weather – will there be heavy rains followed by muddy conditions or will the sun be blaring and the bugs biting? The weather will determine the type of supplies you should have on hand.
-Essential services – how deep are you going to go into the wild? If you’re venturing far off the beaten path, make sure to carry enough supplies, such as gas and non-perishable food.
-Camping grounds – if you’re going to use the amenities of camping grounds, check online for reviews and costs associated with it.

What You Need

Space is limited when you go camping in your pickup truck, so you want to make sure that you pack with purpose and that all your gear is well-organized in waterproof totes or dry bags. Here’s a list of some of the essentials:

Truck Bed Tent

Pick a high quality, water-resistant truck bed tent. These are easy to carry, store, and put up and take down in minutes. As well, they’re cost-effective and give the camping experience off the ground!

Truck bed tent

Camping Gear

Air mattress, down sleeping bag, bug netting, compact camping chair

Cooking Items

Small propane gas stove, portable cooler, utensils, water jugs

Cooking items

Personal Items

Weather-ready clothing, sunscreen, bug repellant, portable shower, biodegradable wet wipes

Personal Items

Camping Survival Kit

First aid supplies, pocketknife, rechargeable flashlight, matches, duct tape, bear spray, fire extinguisher, headlamp, map


Portable power station, truck bed heater, phone charger

Truck Repair Kit

Jumper cables, flares, engine oil, coolant, screwdriver, portable air compressor, spare tire, vehicle jack, tire iron.

Best Tips

Finally, here are some of the best tips we’ve gotten from truck bed camping experts:

Truck bed tents aren’t always 100% waterproof, so when you go to sleep, store your electronics and a spare set of clothing in the cab – you never know if unexpected weather will hit.

Cook meals in advance, store them frozen in a cooler, and make cooking while camping the simple act of thawing and reheating.

Stash a spare set of truck keys somewhere in your pickup truck – you don’t want to remember that your only set of keys is in your pocket as you dive into the lake.

Keep your food in sealed containers and away from where you’re sleeping. Animals will smell the food and if you aren’t looking for any visitors while you sleep, store it away from the truck, and even better, hang it in a tree to keep it from bears.

Truck bed camping is an easy, flexible, affordable, and fun way to camp comfortably. What are you waiting for? It’s time to hit the road and answer the call of the wild(erness) in your pickup truck, no reservations required!

To discover how you can rest easy and protect your truck bed, click here to learn more about Black Armour Truck Bed Mats.

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