What is the Best Pop-Up Truck Camper? (9 Crowd Favorites)

what is the best pop up truck camper

Pop up truck campers allow anyone to change their truck into a mobile home that is ready for off-road adventures. With the ability to pop-down, they don’t kill gas mileage like so many RV options these days. In addition, the current industry is flooded with people ready to do custom builds, making it an exciting time to find the right pop up truck camper for you.

By pooling together a bit of personal experience, incredible customer reviews, industry endorsements, and my own knowledge of the materials used by these companies, here are my top picks for the best pop up truck campers…

9 Best Pop-Up Truck Campers:

1. Four Wheel Camper’s Hawk Model

 

Four Wheel Campers has changed ownership five times since its humble beginnings in 1972, but no matter who is in charge, it has stayed true to providing lightweight and durable campers for trucks to get out into the backcountry.

Made in Woodland, CA, the Hawk is made for full-sized trucks with a bed between 6 and 6.5 feet long. The shell model starts at $12,995, but the full camper starts at $19,395. Buyers have three set-up options to choose from, all include a slide-out cabover bed, fridge, sink, stove, storage, and an optional furnace:

  • Roll Over Couch (base price)
  • Includes couch
  • Side Dinette Upgrade (+$895)
  • Includes seating, table, and a porta potty
  • Front Dinette Upgrade (+$1895)
  • Includes cassette toilet, inside shower, and seating

This is a well-loved pop-up camper for its lightweight design, weighing just 1100 pounds. It can sleep three adults comfortably and has a 20-gallon freshwater tank. When popped up, the interior height is 6’6”, making it easy for many adults to call home. There are also plenty of ways to customize this camper to you and your truck.

2. BunduTecUSA’s Wild

 

Nestled in the heart of Iowa, Rory Willett, founder of BunduTecUSA, has created an incredible pop up camper. Having learned the ropes of the industry from his grandfather Tex, who ran Northstar, Willett now makes incredible products.

The Wild Pop Up Camper is a little bit heavier and pricier, but this means it is much more practical for long-term trips or inhabitation. The base weight is 1,630 pounds with a base price of $23,125.

Some of the favorite features of this pop up are:

  • MaxxAir Roof Vent
  • LED lighting
  • Interior Wet Bath
  • Cassette Toilet
  • Locking Exterior Storage
  • 11-Gallon Gray Water Holding Tank

BunduTec maximized storage in this camper, too, which makes all the difference on long trips. With a myriad of upgrade options to choose from, it is able to fit any lifestyle.

The BunduTecUSA Wild camper fits in truck beds 7-feet long, although the company custom-makes campers all the time and will work with you to produce one that fits your truck like a glove.

3. Alaskan 6.5’ Cabover

 

For a truly durable cabover, check out the Alaskan 6.5’. The company has been dedicated to producing exclusively hard-sided, telescopic truck campers for nearly 70 years. These designs allow for a bit more protection from the elements, as well as a longer life.

The 6.5’ Cabover has a dry weight of 1390 pounds with an interior standing height of 6’ 3.25” when popped up. Well insulated for – you guessed it – Alaskan adventures, you’ll be prepared for camping out with a stove, sink, fridge, water, and propane supply.

In contrast to many campers, these are made with not only quality materials, but beautiful materials as well. The insides are made with hand-sanded maple trip and hand-crafted cabinetry, giving users a glorious place to relax as they explore the country.

However, you will pay for all of the beauty and upgrades. The starting price for the 6.5’ Alaskan Cabover is $30,499. If you have more cash to spend, their cabover also comes in 7’, 8’, 8.5′, and 10’ sizes.

4. Hallmark Milner

 

For shorter-bed but still full-sized trucks, check out the Hallmark Milner pop up. It fits on either 5.5’ or 6.5’ beds and still has a dinette, seating area, and queen size bed. It weighs in at 1,212 pounds dry. That obviously goes up when you fill the 30-gallon freshwater tank and 30-pound propane tank.

With an interior standing height of 6’8”, there is a bit more vertical space in here than many other campers. While most higher-end campers choose aluminum siding, the Hallmark Milner sticks with the tried and true molded fiberglass exterior and roof.

Hallmark Milner pricing starts at $27,900, but the standard unit that most people choose starts at $32,995. If you truly want to make it your own, you can upgrade just about anything inside, although the base price for that is $36,995. But, for a camper that’s been perfected since 1969, it might just be worth it.

5. AT Overland Summit

 

Hands-down the most affordable on our list, the AT Overland Summit’s goal is to give you a home base for you to get outside. It’s still a pop-up camper, but it doesn’t have much inside except a place to sleep. But, with a base price of just $8,900, it’s well worth considering.

The Summit weighs just 340 pounds and pops up at an angle, creating 8-feet of headroom at its highest point and 6-feet at its lowest. It pops up in just 30 seconds even when there is up to 100 pounds of cargo – or snow – on the roof.

Yes, this is a bare-bones camper. The mattress is only 2.5” thick, but at least you’ll be warm and able to stargaze with the double-pane acrylic windows and skylights. The canvas on top is fire-resistant, and a Thinsulate liner is available if needed. There is standing space for one, but most users of this end up cooking and hanging out outside.

The Overland Summit is designed for off-roading on even the most rugged 4×4 trails. It fits on the following trucks and bed sizes:

  • 2019+ Jeep Gladiator, 5’
  • 1995+ Toyota Tacoma, 5’ & 6’
  • Toyota Tundra, 5.5’, 6.5’, 8’
  • GMC Colorado and Canyon, 5′ & 6’
  • Ram 1500 and 2500, 5.5’, 6.5’, and 8’; Ram 3500 8’
  • Ford F150, 5.5’, 6.5’, and 8’
  • Ford Raptor, 5.5’
  • Ford F250 and F350, 6.75’, and 8’

6. Northstar 650

 

Northstar was founded by Ralph – or Tex – Willett. Yes, he is related to BunduTecUSA’s Rory Willett. Tex and his son Chuck started the company in 1955 in Cedar Falls, Iowa before it was taken over by Rex in the 1980s. This is truly a family business.

Overtime, Northstar has been known for both its durability and quality. Unlike many of the best pop up campers on our list, Northstar is sold at dealers making it a bit more accessible and able to see before you buy.

The new 2021 TC650 fits a full-size truck with a bed lengths between 5’6” and 6’10”. The interior height is 6’7” and has a 6’8” floor length. It starts at just $20,230 and has a dry base weight of 1,405 pounds. This price, while just above many others, includes a Dometic 3.7-cubic foot fridge and glass stovetop, sink, 30-gallon fresh water tank, insulated floor, 6” mattress, screen door, and more.

Overall, the Northstar 650 is one of the most tried and true campers where you get the most bang for your buck.

7. Four Wheel Camper’s Swift Model

 

Four Wheel Camper made our list twice because they are just that good. The Swift model, in particular, is the best for small trucks, like the Ford Ranger Crew Cab or the Nissan Frontier, with a 5-foot bed. Perfect for solo adventurers, the built-out Swift model starts at $19,395 and weighs a mere 935 pounds. If you just want the shell, it’s just $12,995.

It has a 20-gallon freshwater tank, fridge, sink, stove, furnace, roll-over couch, seat, and storage. Just about anything you would need while roaming the backcountry! Users can customize the fabric and choose between Mesa White Aluminum Siding, Mesa Silver Spur Aluminum Siding, or my favorite, the Metallic Charcoal Smooth Aluminum Siding.

The low-profile maximizes fuel efficiency and the one-piece aluminum roof can handle decades of use. All in all, anyone wanting to hit the road in a small space, even if there’s two of you, should strongly consider the Swift.

8. Outfitter MFG’s Juno 8.5’

 

A list of the best pop up truck campers wouldn’t be complete without one that had all the bells and whistles you could hope for. Outfitter MFG has smaller models well worth checking out, but their Juno 8.5’ is simply amazing. It will put you out a minimum of $45,995 and weigh at least 2,105 pounds, but hear me out.

The Juno 8.5’ fits on full-size (¾ ton) and 1-ton short bed trucks, such as the Ford F-250 and F-350, although their other versions will fit on other trucks. This camper can easily sleep 3 and has a queen bed, three-burner stove, dinette seating area, closet, bathroom with shower, basement, and an expandable tent room. Consider this if you’re hoping for a roomy home away from home.

There are all the other amenities you’d expect for this price, like maple cabinetry, a porcelain toilet, a 44-gallon freshwater tank, and a 100-watt Solar panel. There are multitudes of upgrades and options to choose from as well.

Once you submit your build to the company in Longmont, Co, they will contact you to work out the details. They’ve been doing this in various capacities and with various companies since 1959. With truly lifetimes of experiences, Outfitter MFG has incredible customer service and insight into what users want.

9. Phoenix Custom Slide-In

 

I mentioned earlier that Four Wheel Campers went through many ownership changes over the years. Well, the same family that started FWC back in the early 70s left in the late 80s and started Phoenix. They are now devoted to entirely customizing campers for their customer, producing some of the most stunning and practical pop up campers in existence.

Their campers can be built to fit any truck, and have double-welded aluminum frames for a long-life. With incredible insulation for four-season camping and both aluminum and fiberglass exterior, they are ready for whatever you throw at it. Base features include:

  • LED lights
  • 5” queen-size bed
  • Front and side windows
  • Dinette/second bed
  • Fantastic Power Vent

The slide-in style starts at $22,450 and a flatbed style starts at $29,500. The interior is completely customizable, from extra cabinetry and storage to showers, air conditioning, and more. If there is an idea you have that isn’t listed, Phoenix wants to hear it and build it!

Part of the beauty of Phoenix’s custom-making is that a mid-size standard pop-up weighs only 725 pounds. This is incredibly lightweight and is a true testament to their attention to detail.

How to Choose a Pop-Up Truck Camper

Picking the right pop up truck camper can be incredibly difficult. So many of them are custom-built, so you’re not able to walk through or even stay a night in one before dropping a lot of money on it. So, here are a few tips for making the right choice.

Make Sure to Get the Right Size for Your Truck

Obviously you’ll need one that actually fits your truck. Small trucks will take smaller campers, and bigger trucks will usually cost a bit more and have bigger campers. Working with the dealer or company to ensure a glove-like fit is essential for maximizing space too.

While most manufacturers have the compatibility listed on the website, many are willing to customize it a bit depending on your truck.

Also read: What is the Best Vehicle for Overlanding?

Know How Much Weight You Can Carry

Every truck has its limits, even if its owner doesn’t think so. But, truck campers vary as little as 250 to over 2,000 pounds. The lighter ones may be bare-bones, probably lacking a stove and hard siding, but they will save enormously on fuel. But, the heavier ones will have so many more amenities, as long as your truck and its tires can handle it.

Make sure to consult your owner’s manual about how much loaded weight it can hold and remember you’ll be adding anywhere from 200 to 500 pounds on top of that – or even more – when it’s fully loaded.

Many people also want to still tow a boat or trailer with their truck and their camper. If you do, make sure the pop-up doesn’t block your hitch and won’t overload your suspension.

How Much Off-Roading Will You Do?

Like anything in life, there are quality differences in truck campers. Fiberglass is known for getting beaten up quicker than aluminum, which may not be ideal if you plan on bumping around frequently on backcountry trails.

If you’re offroading a lot, you’ll also need to ensure the drawers, storage, propane tank, and water tank are all incredibly sturdy and secure for the inevitable bumps and scrapes.

Lastly, companies whose campers are truly built for off-roading will advertise their center of gravity, giving you a better understanding of how far you can push your truck on the steep banks when there is a large weight in the back.

Will You Camp in the Winter or Summer?

The lightweight pop up truck campers keepsyou covered from the elements but don’t provide nearly as much insulation as hard-sided campers. But, if you’re mainly a three-season camper, you may not mind that.

However, if you think you’ll want to brave winter camping or a trip to Alaska, definitely look for campers with quality insulation, double-paned windows, and even a heater. This will make all the difference when you’re actually out and about.

On the flip side, some campers come with air vents at the top, or you can upgrade to AC, which is spectacular for full-time living or hot summer days.

Can You Boondock With It?

Boondocking means you get to go off-grid. Away from noisy city streets and often over-populated campsites. But, to do it, you’ll need fresh water and most people will want a smidge of electricity.

If you’re hoping to boondock, consider a solar panel or an extra battery that charges as you drive. This will give you just enough juice to go for a day or two without plugging in anywhere.

How Many People Do You Want it to Sleep?

If there’s just one or two of you hoping to hit the road, most pop up campers will work for you, as almost every single one has a full or queen bed above the cab. But, for those with more in tow, make sure your pop up has a bed, usually combined with the dinette or sometimes an extra pop-out tent in the back.

Final Thoughts…

All in all, a truck camper is a brilliant blend of practicality and functionality. With the healthy competition among companies, especially those doing custom builds, it is an incredible time to invest in a pop up.

If I had my way, I would definitely roll with Outfitter MFG’s Juno 8.5. After being spoiled in my Sprinter van, I don’t want to be lacking in space or amenities. That being said, my husband would opt for Four Wheel Camper’s Hawk Model and we’d all pile in. But, either way, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these incredible choices.

 

Up Next In Truck Campers:

Scout Truck Camper Reviews? (Pros, Cons and Verdict)

What is the Lightest Pop-Up Truck Camper? (8 Must-See Options)

Can You Live Full Time in a Truck Camper?

Overland Vehicle on a Budget: Under $7,500 Spent

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