truck topper as a place to camp?

I have a friend with a Silverado interested in maybe adding a topper and using it for a camping set up for he and his girlfriend. Any resources or pictures of builds anyone has done would be helpful for me to pass along. I have seen a few with a bed, drawers, etc.

what would you advise a budget conscious person to do who wanted a set up like that?

thanks for the help!
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
Lets see. Cold, can't stand up, no hygiene facilities and so forth. Don't bother, he won't have a girlfriend long.
 
Lets see. Cold, can't stand up, no hygiene facilities and so forth. Don't bother, he won't have a girlfriend long.
currently they have been tent camping and occasionally just sleeping in the car when the weather gets bad and they don't wish to set up camp, so, they just want to take the next step and have a place to stretch out, etc. they only camp in warm weather.
 

nhlakes

New member
I have a travel trailer for camping but considered using just a cap for overnights when it's just me fishing and towing the boat. After a couple months considering this I realized that, since I'm on the east coast and may not be in campgrounds (and not out on BLM land), if I were to overnight in a parking lot, it'd probably feel more like being homeless. I'm now leaning more in this direction. https://snapoutfitters.com/
 
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javajoe79

Fabricator
This can be a really great setup when done right. Very cozy too. I would search around on here as there are quite a few threads about this.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
For one person a topper works great. For two it can be a little bit tight. Consider, for example, that unless you are able to stow all your gear underneath the sleeping platform, that gear is going to have to go somewhere at bedtime. The higher the sleeping platform the less headroom.

At least with a Silverado they'd have a bigger bed than in a mini truck. For a simple sleeping setup it can certainly work as long as the GF is OK with camping in primitive conditions.

The comment about lack of sanitary facilities makes no sense - if she needed a bathroom they wouldn't be camping in a tent either.

The key is not to think of it as an alternative to a motor home, think of it as a tent that has hard sides, doesn't have to be put up or taken down in the rain, and won't fall down in the middle of the night.

When I was single I spent many nights in the back of a mini truck (Ford Ranger, then Toyota Tacoma) and even though I'm 6'1", it worked for me. What I liked most about it was that it was SIMPLE.

Simple is good because simple means quick, easy setup and teardown of camp.

Wife and I have been camping in a trailer for the last 7 years. First it was a homebuilt teardrop, then a T@B Clamshell, and now an R-Pod. Our trailer is roomy and comfortable, has a nice comfy bed, a 3 way fridge, heat in the winter and AC in the summer (as long as we have shore power) and even a bathroom.

But it absolutely restricts where we can go and how we camp, and I'm OK with that - all relationships require some compromise. But if I were single I'd be camping in a pickup with a shell.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Mid height or tall roof toppers have plenty of room in them to sleep. I had something similar on my Tacoma and even in a smallish truck it was enough to kneel upright in. If you put a platform in it would still be enough to sit up comfortably. This approach isn't great for a week-long base camp without more stuff, an awning, a way to spread out a little. But to get warm and dry once in a while, totally functional.

MX-series-521.jpg
 

JPR4LFE

Adventurer
In my Power Wagon, for the first round I started with a full width platform with an air mattress. For the second round I had the following goals:
-Maximize head room. Keep it as low to the wheel wells as possible. Ditch the air mat for a foam mat
-Easily removable. The best feature of the Power Wagon is the versatility. Hauling hay and horses, 4 wheelers, camping, etc.
-Have the ability to use a foot well. Great for sitting up, changing clothes, storing shoes.
-Modular. Full platform for sleeping, partial platform for when pulling the camper.
-Full width of the bed platform

A mid-rise topper would be much nicer if I were to use the topper as may main sleeping arrangement and not for the occasional use.

Here is mine:

https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/power-wagon-sleeping-platform.193201/

and another thread I found useful:

https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/lets-see-some-set-up-regular-camper-shells.23272/
 

JPR4LFE

Adventurer
One more link, there is a very short clip of the interior of the topper with me and my two boys in it to show space at the 1:17 mark. Even with making the platform flush with the wheel wells and 3" thick foam mattress, there is not quite enough room for me to sit up all the way in a standard height topper. Having one section of the floor removable as a foot well has made a big difference for me for getting dressed, storing shoes, and a little more added comfort. The use of a little buddy heater during waking hours has also added to the comfort.

https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/fall-overnight-into-the-montana-wilderness.198537/
 

Smileyshaun

Observer
i think it matters more on the woman , spent most of my younger days with my ex sleeping in the bed of a 1st gen Toyota pu everything from hot summer days to camping in 4' of snow . all your gear can go in containers and sit under the truck when you sleep . It's just camping don't over complicate it , just think how many people backpack comfortably for weeks with just the stuff they carry on thier back .
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
A nice topper, with some creature comforts added, ends up costing half as much as a Capri's Cowboy sometimes. I think the ARE for my truck was $3800 for the shell alone!

Not judging, just mentioning the option. $10.5k with AC and a fan.
https://capricamper.com/models/cowboy/
 

deserteagle56

Adventurer
Been there, done that.

Just one recommendation if your friend drives dusty dirt roads. Seal off the bed of the truck! My experience has been that adding a camper shell or even a tonneau cover to the bed of a truck seems to create a vacuum in the bed and sucks in dust. Nothing worse than opening up the camper shell at the end of a long drive and finding everything covered with dust - especially if the bed has a rug type liner.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Not sure I would characterize a fiberglass topper for a full size truck as "easily removable."

Removable? Yes. Easy? Not really. I noticed at the local topper shop they use fork lifts with extended tines to move toppers around and to install them on trucks. Unless you have a forklift or 3 muscular friends I don't think you'd find it "easy" to remove or reinstall a topper on a full size truck. IMO that's one of the drawbacks of fiberglass toppers.

If I replace my Suburban with a truck I'd consider an aluminum topper over a fiberglass one. Yes, the 'glass ones look nicer and are probably better built. But the chief advantage of the aluminum topper is that they weigh considerably less and generally speaking, two healthy adults can pick one up for removal or reinstallation.

I thought about rigging up some kind of hoist to remove the topper on my Tacoma when I first got it. It's too bad someone doesn't make a kind of modular topper that can easily be installed or removed by one person. I'm thinking something similar to the modular top on a JK jeep.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Been there, done that.

Just one recommendation if your friend drives dusty dirt roads. Seal off the bed of the truck! My experience has been that adding a camper shell or even a tonneau cover to the bed of a truck seems to create a vacuum in the bed and sucks in dust. Nothing worse than opening up the camper shell at the end of a long drive and finding everything covered with dust - especially if the bed has a rug type liner.
Not just the bed either. My Ranger had drain/vent holes towards the forward end of the bed that would let in dust as well.
 
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