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Van life came in hot during 2020. It makes sense; we had to isolate ourselves, and many people got to work remotely. This is perfect van life stuff. Now that the world is back to some strange version of “normal,” the van lifers are slowing down. However, before it slowed down, camper vans grew in popularity and price. So much so that many would-be campers began to wonder if covering a pickup truck into a camper would be better. Here are five ways pickup truck campers are fighting back against camper vans. 

Direct Cars Co Toyota Hilux Camper
Direct Cars BR75 | Direct Cars co Ltd

Are truck campers better than camper vans? 

In many ways, campers are apples and oranges. Many campers simply have to buy whichever rig suits their needs best. However, if you want to build or buy an overland camper that might need to do some heavy off-roading, more trucks can handle that job than vans. 

Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can decide between a truck camper and a camper van.

Are camper trucks better for off-roading? 

Direct Cars Toyota Hilux Camper splashing through a river
Direct Cars BR75 | Direct Cars co Ltd

Generally speaking, most pickup trucks will be better off-roaders than vans. More pickup trucks come with AWD or 4×4 than vans do. Trucks almost always come from the factory with more ground clearance than factory vans. 

Trucks often have more powerful drivetrains too. This matters in off-roading because camper rigs are heavy by nature. The more weight you have, the more power you’ll need to pull that weight up a hill or over boulders. 

Camper trucks are practical

This is a Toyota Land Cruiser truck with an aluminum aftermarket Australian-style utility or ute bed made by NorWeld.
Land Cruiser with Ute bed | NorWeld

One of the biggest benefits of having a truck camper is that many modular campers can be taken on and off the truck. For these campers, you don’t have to buy another vehicle to have a camper. You can take the camper shell off your truck when you know you aren’t going for a while. 

How much is camper van insurance?

A New Ram ProMaster cargo van with a ladder on top.
Ram ProMaster | Stellantis

Obviously, insurance can vary from driver to driver and state to state. Nomadic News states that it’s cheaper to insure a camper truck than a camper van in many states. In some cases, the DIY conversion camper vans can be difficult to get coverage at all. 

Trucks require less maintenance 

This is largely dependent on the type of camper truck you have, but camper trucks can be simpler than the camper vans. There are usually fewer parts to maintain since the majority of what you have is a fiberglass shell. Also, since pickup trucks are more common than most vans used for conversion, you’ll more than likely have an easier time finding a mechanic to service your vehicle than with a camper van. 

Truck campers are often bigger

While truck beds are usually pretty small, many truck camper conversions use shells that often offer more interior room than your average camper van conversion. Truck campers can offer taller ceilings than most camper vans. Trucks usually offer space over the cockpit, which is a designated sleeping area making more room in the main cabin. 

Should you get a camper van or truck camper?

Both camper vans and truck campers are a great way to get out there to wilder places in the world. The best choice you can make is to get an idea of what kind of camping you plan to do, and build or buy the rig that makes the most sense for that style of camping. Van life is a captivating idea, but truck life has a bit of an edge that might be satisfying too.