Tarzan’s Toyota Tacoma Truck Camper

Living in a camper isn’t for everyone. However, during recent times more and more people and their families have given thought to hitting the road on a long term trip. There are several ways to go about it. You can buy an RV, do a van conversion, or build a truck camper. For Chris ‘Tarzan’ Clemens, after much trial and error, a Toyota Tacoma truck camper build is what he chose for his home on wheels.

2001 Toyota Tacoma like this red one parked near the shore is the best used pickup truck to buy
2001 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Living in a Toyota Tacoma

Before endeavoring this amazing camper build, Tarzan lived in a Toyota Tacoma with a shell for a year. He learned a lot from both that and from the 3 years he spent living in a Volkswagen van. He took the knowledge he’s learned from life on the road and applied it to his custom built Toyota Tacoma pop-up camper.

It is a home on wheels suited perfectly for him and Lisa Jane, who jumped in when he drove through California and hit the road with Tarzan. But what is it that makes this truck camper so awesome? Here’s a tour.

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‘Terk’ the truck camper

Of course, Tarzan needs a name for the epic truck camper. In the video tour above, he lovingly calls the 2002 Toyota Tacoma ‘Terk,’ which seems fitting enough. When he took the video above, the Tacoma pickup truck had about 236,000 miles on the odometer. The Toyota base for this pop-up camper serves its purpose.

The living space inside Trazan's pop-up truck camper
Sunlite Truck Camper | Chris ‘Tarzan’ Clemens

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On the front of the pickup truck camper, there is an ARB with a Smittybilt winch. From the jawbone they found in Palmer, Alaska attached to the front bumper to the custom welded rock sliders, to the larger pickup truck tow mirrors that Tarzan attached himself. The snorkel, which some off-roaders say is mostly just for looks, actually came in handy when a river swelled over the hood of the truck camper during a fording adventure in Alaska.

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In the cab and the bed of the Toyota pickup truck and a custom rear bumper

The travelers make the most of every inch of space. Behind the front seats of the pickup truck cockpit, they store an inflatable kayak, a cooler, and camping gear. They also keep the necessary gear for recovery in case the truck gets stuck somewhere along the trail.

Though the camper fits right over the bed, there is access to all the negative space left after attaching the truck camper. From the inside of the pop-up truck camper, Tarzan and Lisa Jane have extra storage for shoes and other necessities. This is allowed for by the use of that extra bit of space leftover in the truck bed of the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

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The bumper of the Tacoma truck camper was custom welded with floodlights and hitch points mounted into it. The camper anchors to a reinforced steel frame. Additionally, the camper truck is set atop a sweet specially-built suspension designed for the added weight. The custom leaf packs are arched. All of it sits on load range BF Goodrich KO2 tires.

What about the inside?

In order to ensure that life on the road is as comfortable as possible, the Toyota Tacoma truck camper is built for comfort. Yet, it is still tiny. So, Tarzan was sure to pack as much storage into the build of the truck pop-up camper as possible. For instance, there is storage under the step up into the bed.

The entire camper runs power to its stove, outside shower, refrigerator––all the essentials–– with solar electricity. Additionally, propane powers many of its working parts as well. Overall, this pop-up truck camper is amazing and ready for almost anything. As you can see in the video above, it survived the famous Dalton Highway quite well.