I’ve been circulating various ideas recently about how to set up my Ford Ranger for camping. Currently, it’s looking like the most simple and cost effective option would be to convert the bed of the pickup into a camper for shorter trips. It would have a sleeping and storage area – most likely with side bins and perhaps a small platform, depending on the height of the canopy.
My first step is to find a canopy to go with the truck. Craigslist is the main source for this, as a used canopy from a dealer (and there are not that many that sell used ones, oddly enough) runs from $400 to $800 depending on features, whereas a used one on Craigslist is more in the $100-$300 range.
Some of the resources I’ve come across for this sort of setup are as follows:
A simple how to details some of the things you need to turn your truck into a camper.
Tacoma Based Truck Bed Camper: This page discusses one truck’s modifications to becoming a camper.
Desk to Dirtbag is a really helpful page. The author walks you through the process of choosing a canopy, setup, and why he has his truck setup with a transformer style bed.
“The Office Hobo” provides an inside look at one person’s truck living in the city. I particularly liked their sleeping setup with raised side bins for storage and the lowered sleeping area for maximum headroom. Theoretically, if you’re not a super tall person then you wouldn’t even need a high top canopy for this kind of setup.
Strategies for Living in a Truck as a Couple highlights the experience of a younger couple living in the back of their Toyota Tacoma. Not a lot of space for two people, but their bed design helps.
A basic truck bed setup involves simply putting a board across the back of living/sleeping space to be used as a shelf, storage, kitchen, or whatever is needed. The rest of the items are then organized in bins along the side, allowing for room to sleep and store things with minimal build out.
Steph Davis‘s truck camper is set up in a similar way with a board across the back. It works well for her in that she can easily use the cargo area to haul things or to sleep in, depending on need.
It won’t be the fanciest of setups, but it will be good for shorter trips and saving on gas by not driving a larger rig.