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I love truck camping. It’s like car camping, only you can go more places and you can bring a more comfortable camping setup. If you are trying to decide between taking a car camping or taking a truck camping, let me remind you of these five things you probably won’t have room for if you go car camping.

1. A truck bed mattress

Shot of a Tacoma pickup truck parked in the mountains, a tent set up next to it and a bonfire behind its tailgate.
Truck camping | Dusty Barnes via Unsplash

One luxurious aspect of camping with your truck is using the truck bed as a bed. Sleeping directly on your bed-liner is not very comfortable, so I’d suggest bringing an air mattress. If you’d rather have a folding mattress, the folks at recommend the Milliard Tri-fold memory foam mattress. Cushy!

Some folks go all the way with a slide-in truck bed camper. I definitely see the appeal. Cost and weight are both an issue. But if you want to throw a mattress in your truck bed, at least consider a truck canopy. Otherwise, if it rains you might find yourself sleeping underneath your truck instead of in the bed.

2. Fire ring

I have a confession: Solo sells metal fire rings but sent me a free one. I took it out truck camping and liked it enough that I was inspired to write this article. Even a portable ring is large enough to throw a couple of logs in and to get a good campfire going. Check local guidelines, but these are often safer and easier than digging your own pit.

I have seen folks build their own fire rings too, cutting the top of a metal drum. If you want to go wild, you can even have a welder attach a cooking grate across half of the opening!

3. Outdoor toys

Ethan Dow via Unsplash

Is your outdoor passion mountain biking? How about boating? Maybe its even riding ATVs. You’ll have a lot more room for outdoor toys if you take the truck camping. Would you rather have the entire family sitting around the camp all day, bored? Or would you rather everyone bring their mountain bike and spend the day exploring local trails?

4. Awning and Camping Table

Jay Miller via Unsplash

You can make your campsite as comfortable as a living room if you’re truck camping. There’s a range of camping awnings you can mount to a truck’s ladder rack or rooftop tent. They can offer shelter in a rain storm or just a break from the midday sun. Real camping pros also bring mosquito netting to box in their awning and create a safe haven free from pesky bugs.

Why stop at an awning? A folding camp table or two and folding chairs for the whole family turn your awning room into a hangout area. You might be able to slide an undersized folding table into the trunk of your car, but the table you can fit in your truck will give you a lot more room.


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