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

what is the lightest pop up truck camper

A lightweight pop up truck camper is an amazing option for backcountry camping and off-roading. While standard truck bed campers can easily weigh in excess of 1,000 pounds, the newest generation pop up campers range from just 275-350 pounds, which allows you to explore even the most rugged terrain without killing your gas mileage or your suspension.

In this article, we’ll explore the eight lightest pop up truck campers on the market today and get some insight from several owners. So, here are the eight lightest pop up truck campers in ascending order based on overall dry weight

The 8 lightest pop-up truck campers:

1. Go Fast Campers Platform

(photo: @bossamoto)

Website: gofastcampers.com

Weight: 275 lbs

Price: $6,450+

This is the absolute lightest pop up truck camper that I could find in my extensive research, weighing in at just 275 pounds. I talked with Bryo (@bossamoto) who owns a GFC Platform to get the scoop on this ultra-light option:

What made you choose a truck camper?

“It basically came down to an all-in-one package. The ability to have a wedge camper and lockable camper shell was a no-brainer. On many trips, I’ve always had to leave my belongings outside in the bed – I was fortunate enough to have never had an issue with someone stealing those items. However, I was always skeptical. That has completely changed for me and the people I travel with.”

How did you choose your camper over all others?

Go Fast Campers always had a strong presence in the Toyota community. If I’m not mistaken, their first platform was catered to a Tacoma. There were a few others in mind but something about it just looked right on a Tacoma. Plus being American-made and having an excuse to road trip to Montana for a second time was icing on the cake. Bozeman is too awesome.”

What are some pros and cons?

“Pros: I think the price point is really great. Especially after paying off the truck, it wasn’t hard to pull the trigger. After that I’d say the ease of use. As someone who usually camp-hops between locations every day, this setup is a joy compared to my previous two setups. And most importantly, residual value just like a Tacoma is a huge plus.

Cons: I’d say just a bit of dust intrusion – although if I’m being honest it’s mostly from the composite bed of the Tacoma. Also cleaning it is a PITA. One more con (for some) although it’s the nature of small businesses – you’re always going to have newer and better iterations of the product.

They have always improved the campers and will continue to do so. So there’s a chance it will get outdated. However, it seems like the modular factor would make it so you can upgrade components. For example, they just now started offering the three door/window option whereas before it was only two doors.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“It’s super quiet. Like, shockingly quiet at any speed. Not a single wind noise or whistle even at the 80 mph speed limit down Utah highways. Pretty awesome. Also be prepared for people approaching you and asking you about it and what the heck it does.”

(Featured image at top of article credit: @bossamoto)

2. OVRLND Pop Top

(photo: @emilyanding)

Website: campovrlnd.com

Weight: 300 lbs

Price: $7,200+

Next up is the OVRLND Pop Top camper, at just 300 pounds. I spoke with Emily (@emilyanding) and here are her insights:

What made you choose a truck camper?

“I went back and forth on going the van or truck topper route. I decided that the places I like to frequent are pretty remote and often are up rough 4×4 roads, and I realized a van couldn’t make it up. I also work remotely, so needed an option that allowed me to stand at my computer while on the road. So, I began to research truck pop ups.”

How did you choose your camper over all others?

“I chose OVRLND because they were unique to other pop up campers on the market, offering a super lightweight option that allowed for way more space (with a vertical pop rather than a wedge). Plus, it’s a non-corporate mom and pop shop run by Jay out of Flagstaff, and I wanted to support a small shop.

They’re incredibly lightweight and amazingly well-built. Jay and his team are also just amazing to work with, whether that’s including custom mods like fans or solar ports, or working with you if there’s an issue. I took more of a gas mileage hit than I was expecting, so they fabbed a custom add-on fairing (that was the first they’d ever tried) that gave me almost all the gas mileage back.”

What are some pros and cons?

“Pros: Really customizable, lightweight, super roomy inside, when popped can easily sleep four, fun lofted bed feel, awesome window options (comes with all-in-one blackout shades, windows, and screens), low effort to pop up and close quickly.

Cons: Not insulated, it’d be nice to crawl from the truck cab to the topper especially in the rain, but childbearing hips don’t allow that, but that’s not OVRLND’s fault.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“Another aspect I love is that they look more like a truck utility topper, which I think reduces the likelihood for a break-in. As a woman traveling alone, safety is front-of-mind for me, and I always feel secure inside. I installed an extra lock on the tailgate so both the barn doors and the tailgate all kind of lock in place together.”

3. Vagabond Outdoors The Drifter

(photo: @bcmedellin)

Website: vagabondoutdoors.com

Weight: 315 lbs

Price: $7,250+

Coming in third at 315 pounds is The Drifter from Vagabond Outdoors. I talked with Blake (@bcmedellin) about his experience with the Drifter:

What made you choose a truck camper?

“I got tired of dealing with an RTT. I had a Tepui and putting it away in wet or snowy conditions sucked. I wanted something easier and made to handle all the conditions better.”

How did you choose your camper over all others?

“The Drifter is plain and simple the best option out there for a wedge camper in my opinion. All around better design overall. They have so many options available compared to other competitors. Fan, insulation, different door/windows, lighting…you name it, they thought of it.

The solid ⅛-inch one-piece insulated roof was huge too so no worry of leaking in wet rainy conditions. Also it seals up great. The tent fabric is attached with a keder system rather than snaps or whatever so again no leaks or bugs.”

What are some pros and cons?

“So many pros! A few listed above. I love it! It makes camping so easy. Setup and teardown take less than a minute. The ability to sit up in bed as well as slide the bed portion forward and be able to have standing area in the entire truck bed is awesome for dressing or hanging out or whatever.

The only con I have is that when I got it, powdercoat wasn’t available and I would have definitely gotten that. It’s available now and my new one definitely will have it. Seriously nothing negative to say about it. Big fan.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“After looking at all the other campers out there and actually spending time checking them out in person, I definitely made the right decision. The Drifter checks all the boxes whereas the others were lacking things here and there.”

4. Camp King Industries Outback Series

(photo: sloopimports.com)

Website: sloopimports.com

Weight: 325 lbs

Price: $12,500

The Outback Series from Camp King Industries is fourth on our list at 325 pounds. Camp King Industries is an Australian company, but these pop up campers are sold in the United States by Sloop Imports. The Outback Series camper was developed using CAD and has a 3mm aluminum body. The one-piece roof is TIG welded and connected to the body with orlock rivets. 

(photo: sloopimports.com)

This camper uses hydraulic struts for super easy setup and teardown and it comes fully powder coated. Camp King Industries created a turnkey camper that is ready to hit even the gnarliest trails.

5. AT Overland Habitat

(photos: @bcoverlandtaco)

Website: atoverland.com

Weight: 340 lbs

Price: $8,900+

Next up we have a three-way tie at 340 pounds between the AT Overland Habitat camper and the following two campers on the list. The Habitat has a very unique fold-out design that bridges the gap between RTT and pop up truck camper to provide an absolutely massive internal space. Dave and Marina (@bcoverlandtaco) gave their insider perspective:

What made you choose a truck camper?

“Lightweight and convenient. Easier to get into off-road destinations.”

How did you choose your camper over all others?

“We saw one in person at our local AT dealer and found it to be a good fit for what we were going to be doing with it. I was looking at 4-wheel campers as well but the weight difference made that decision easier.”

What are some pros and cons?

“Pros: Definitely it being lightweight. It is low-profile when it’s all packed away. Very spacious inside, enough room to stand up with tons of room to spare. Setup and takedown is very simple. AT Overland is a great company with great people. We met them at the BC overland rally in 2018 and they were super knowledgeable about the product, they knew every spec of every nut and bolt used to assemble it.

Cons: Can’t really think of many here, if I had to say anything maybe accessibility of getting in and out but I feel all of these small campers have the same issue, you just get used to it. Even a 4-wheel camper only has a half-sized door. Other than that, I really can’t think of anything bad about it.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“AT Overland is a great company to deal with and produce a very good quality product, I would recommend them to anybody.”

6. AT Overland Summit

(photo: atoverland.com)

Website: atoverland.com

Weight: 340 lbs

Price: $8,900+

Next up at 340 pounds is the Summit camper from AT Overland. This is a traditional wedge pop up design that is insulated and customizable. It is built with the same heavy-duty materials as the Habitat camper but it has a hard top instead of the vast tent top the Habitat features.

The Summit has a bed platform that pivots up to lie along the popped ceiling on gas springs so that it’s out of the way during the day, and then it easily pulls down into place when you are ready to sleep. You can leave your bedding in place while the bed is pushed up out of the way so no need to make it every day.

The tent portion of this camper is made of fire-retardant canvas that is breathable and waterproof. You can also add an optional liner that blocks light and insulates the tent for very cold weather.

7. Snap! Outfitters Treehouse

(photo: @popping2tops)

Website: snapoutfitters.com

Weight: 340 lbs

Price: $10,500+

Next is the Treehouse from Snap! Outfitters, also weighing in at 340 pounds. Paula (@popping2tops) shared her experience with the Treehouse:

What made you choose a truck camper?

“We wanted the versatility of having our ‘house’ with us when we went backcountry camping and NOT have to deal with a ground tent.”

How did you choose your camper over all others?

“When we were out west during the summer of 2019 we saw a few 4-wheel campers, GoFast and Vagabond style campers. At the time we were pulling a converted cargo trailer and we knew then we did not want to tow a camper anymore.

After seeing the different styles of lightweight truck bed campers, we knew we had to investigate our options. We looked at all the options and realized for our truck (Toyota Tundra), the Snap! Treehouse was lightweight enough for our truck.”

What are some pros and cons?

“Pros: Wherever the truck can go, we can camp. It has 6 feet of standing room and it has a full sized bed. We are off the ground and out of the weather with a hard top. We can customize the bed for living any way we want as the shell is bare bones. It’s light, it was reasonably priced, and can be customized in many areas of the build.

Cons: The barn door style is not great for getting out the truck in the morning. Snap! will make a different style door but we chose the wrong option. The mattress is 3 inches but that is too thin for me. We added a Klimit sleeping pad, so it’s okay now.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“This camper has changed our camping game. We are having so much fun finding different off-road areas to camp, hike, drive, etc. Since it’s a blank slate, it’s easily customizable by yourself or Snap! if you desire. Snap! Outfitters are awesome in terms of customer service and really know their business! Plus they are veteran-owned and only have a 10-12 week turnaround rather than 1.5-2 years to get the camper.”

8. Four Wheel Pop Up Campers Project M

(photo: fourwheelcampers.com)

Website: fourwheelcampers.com

Weight: 350 lbs

Price: $8,995+

Last on our list is the Project M camper from Four Wheel Pop Up Campers, which weighs in at 350 pounds. This camper has a vertical pop design for maximum interior space, rugged vinyl walls, and insulated roof and walls. It has 13-inch shelves running down each side on the interior of the camper so you can store items off the ground and out of your way.

The interior height is a lofty 6 feet 6 inches, so even tall individuals can stand comfortably inside. It also comes standard with a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide alarm so you can sleep worry-free.

(photo: fourwheelcampers.com)

Four Wheel Pop Up Campers offers a ton of add-on options, from a Dometic refrigerator to roof vent fans to portable toilets. You can also opt to have the camper pre-wired for solar power or go for a fully powered camper that comes with a battery bank, USB ports, an inverter, and a solar power controller, as well as the pre-wired features. Solar panels are sold separately.

So, Why Should You Choose a Lightweight Pop Up Truck Camper?

As many of the owners mentioned above, a pop up truck camper is an excellent option if you enjoy backcountry camping or off-roading, because the camper does not significantly change the capability of your truck but it provides you a safe and sturdy home wherever you might want to camp.

The Biggest Benefits

Besides being lightweight and allowing you to camp anywhere, pop up campers are generally lockable so you can leave your belongings inside without worrying, they are easy and quick to set up and pack away, they are much more comfortable and secure than ground tents, and you can stand up inside them.

Important Considerations

The most important consideration when choosing a pop up truck bed camper is to obviously make sure that the model you want comes in the appropriate size and configuration for your truck. Some camper manufacturers only make units for certain models and years of trucks, while others have a more universal fit based on the length of your truck bed. 

The next biggest consideration is whether you want a wedge pop top or a vertical pop top, or a 180-degree pop top like with the Habitat. Each style has its own unique pros and cons, but the main difference is how much interior space you want.

And finally, decide whether you want an insulated camper or just a shell. If you plan to use it throughout the year in cold or very warm weather, insulation will be critical for your comfort.

Final Thoughts

The lightweight pop up truck campers on this list have revolutionized the game, since they are roughly a quarter of the weight of traditional truck bed campers. They allow you to camp anywhere that your truck can drive without having a huge impact on your fuel economy or the handling of your vehicle.

 

Read Next:

Can You Live Full Time in a Truck Camper?

Toyota Tundra For Overlanding: Pros/Cons and Owner QnA

How do People Make a Living on the Road?

Best Hard Shell Roof Top Tents? (10 Crowd Favorites)

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