Converting a pickup truck bed into a camper can be accomplished for a fraction of the cost of a new camper. The truck must have a shell to remain watertight and the camper can be constructed using basic materials and tools. The camper will have a bed and storage for gear. Plastic tubs and duffel bags can be used to store equipment and custom features can be added if desired. The camper will be basic, but it will not stand out and it will be functional.
Measure the interior width of the camper shell. The measurement will be just above the lip of the camper shell. Also measure the interior length of the camper shell.
Use a skill saw to cut several 2-by-4s to match the width of the shell. Use one 2-by-4 for every foot of length in the shell.
Drill a pilot hole through each end of every 2-by-4 with a 1/16-inch bit. Use a marker to mark the placement of each 2-by-4 along the lip of the camper shell. Lay the 2-by-4s in the marked positions. Drill through the pilot hole and through the camper shell lip to create matching holes. Drill a 3-inch wood screw through the holes to stabilize the boards.
Cut a piece of 1/4-inch plywood to fit the back half of the bed. Lay the plywood on the bed and use 1/2-inch wood screws to secure the plywood. Repeat the process for the front half of the bed.
Measure the depth and height of the area beneath the bed. Use plastic storage containers to arrange gear beneath the camper bed. Also place a soft sleeping pad on top of the bed to add comfort.
Items you will need
- Skill saw
- 2-by-4 lumber
- Drill with 1/16 inch bit
- 3 inch wood screws
- 1/4 inch plywood
- 1/2 inch wood screws
- Install battery operated lights to the top of the interior shell for reading at night. Also, crack a window while sleeping to prevent condensation from gathering inside the camper.
- The camper shell can become extremely cold during the winter. Use extra sleeping bags and catalytic heater for cold weather comfort.
- pickup 4x4 car from above image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com