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Camping In A Pickup Truck Bed – Truck Bed Camping Accessories & Setup

camping in a pickup truck bed guide

Sometimes the easiest way to get outdoors is to just go camping in a pickup truck bed. You throw everything in your truck, find a place to park, take a few minutes to set up and boom, you’re camping. Today I wanted to give you some tips for setup and go over some essential accessories for camping in a pickup truck bed.

Camping In A Pickup Truck Bed: Intro

For some people it’s not just about the simplicity of camping in a truck bed but it’s also about being off the ground. My wife actually feels safer when we camp in the truck bed vs. camping in a normal tent on the ground. You’re off the ground and already in your truck. In an emergency you can climb in your truck through your back window.

The simplicity and feeling of safety are some reasons why some people would want to consider camping in a pickup truck bed. What most people don’t realize is that there are tons of accessories and essentials all around camping in your truck bed. From tents to air mattresses to other great accessories. Were going to talk all about how you can get fully equipped to make sure your truck bed camping experience is top notch!

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camping in a pickup truck bed

What You Need For Truck Bed Camping

Lets take some time and go over some of the essentials. When truck bed camping there are some things you’re going to want to consider buying if you do not already have. You could argue that some of these aren’t necessarily essential but they are things I wouldn’t truck bed camp without. I’ll go over them below and let you decide what you need and what you can live without. Also, if your looking for a great spot to camp, make sure to head on over to Recreation.gov to see some great places to park your truck!

Truck Bed Air Mattress

One way or another you are going to need some type of padding or cushion under your body. I strongly suggest you make that an air mattress designed for your truck bed. They actually make them so they go around your wheel wells, which is pretty cool. Some are self inflating and some are just pads. I’ll list a few below and let you decide which is best for you.

The reason I choose to use an actual truck bed mattress vs a normal mattress is the wheel wells force a normal air mattress to raise up on both sides. This is how I used to camp in my truck bed. If its just me, it was fine but if you are sleeping with a partner the raised sides force both of you to the middle and makes for a pretty uncomfortable nights sleep.

Make sure that you measure your truck bed and you know it’s size. It will be important when shopping for a truck bed air mattress. Most of the mattresses I show you below will come in different sizes for the more standard truck bed sizes.

Also, if you decide that you would rather just go with sleeping pads I did write an article all about the best budge sleeping pads, click here to check out best budget sleeping pads. 

Best Overall Truck Bed Air Mattress

Sale
Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Lite PPI PV202C Full Size, Short 6'-6.5' Truck Bed Air Mattress with DC Corded Pump (76"x63"x12" Inflated),Green,Full Size Beds
  • Air coils over wheel wells
  • High Grade PVC Construction
  • Portable DC Air Pump with 16' Cord Included for full sized 6'-8' long beds. This product will not fit the 5 feet beds
  • Comfort Coil System evenly distributes weight
  • Inflated Dimensions 76"x63"x12"

Last update on 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What We Like

We decided on making the Airbedz the best overall truck bed air mattress. They do have a version that has the built in pump but I’ve had those go out on me so I prefer the old fashioned pump it yourself. This truck bed air mattress does come with it’s own pump which is nice. It’s made out of strong material and shouldn’t have a problem holding up with a lot of weight on it. 

airbedz truck bed air mattress

It has the built in gaps to go around your wheel wells to ensure a proper fit. There are two different models for standard and short bed boxes. They actually have a chart that shows all the trucks this air mattress will fit over on Amazon, you can click below! The price is right and it will likely fit your truck. 

Check out dimensions, truck size chart and user reviews at Amazon below!

Best Self Inflating Truck Bed Air Mattress

Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Pro3 (PPI 302) Truck Bed Air Mattress for 6'-6.5' Full Sized Short Bed Trucks with Built-in DC Air Pump
  • Designed to fit around and over the wheel wells of your pick-up creating a sleep area that utilizes the entire truck bed, providing more room and comfort for outdoor enthusiasts
  • Plug into your 12V cigarette lighter and the integrated pump inflates and deflates the mattress at the flip of a switch.
  • Use the pump to blow up other inflatables you take camping: towable, beach toys, and floats
  • Comfort Fabric top for a soft feel and to keep linens from sliding
  • Pairs with our inflatable wheel well inserts (sold separately) for home use

Last update on 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What We Like

This version of the AirBedz truck bed air mattress actually comes with a 12V adaptor that you can plug right into your truck and use an internal pump to blow the air mattress up. This might put it above the other air mattress for some people but for me personally I’m not sure I trust the internal pumps. 

Maybe you have been using them your entire life and you have faith in them working it’s just not something I want to deal with. This is a great air mattress however, it has the same strong material and can hold up to 1,000 pounds. They have different sizes for different sized pickup beds. Check out the chart at Amazon to see if your truck bed will work. 

Some people have reported that the motor didn’t work but that seems to be more of a defective product rather than the standard. This one is a little more expensive but if you have the money to spare the ease of filling it up just might be worth it for you. Head on over to Amazon to check it out!

Truck Bed Tents

Getting a decent truck bed tent is definitely important. It’s debatable whether or not it’s essential but I will not go truck bed camping without one. That could be because I’m from the Northwest and have serious weather trust issues. I’ve seen plenty of rain and lightning storms with all sun in the forecast. I really don’t like being caught out camping without a good truck bed tent. 

The other pros can be keeping the bugs out and keeping you a little warmer at night while your trying to sleep. If it’s during a colder month you can even get canvas style tents and bring in a portable heater to keep you warm at night. Having a truck bed tent will definitely enhance camping in a pickup truck bed. 

I wanted to give you our best truck tent recommendations below. We really look at quality, price and what they bring to the table. I’m going to talk about three different truck bed tents below, hopefully you will find the right truck bed tent so you have the best truck bed camping experience! 

If you already have a canopy or shell for the back of your truck you can decide whether or not that works for you. The tent gives you a lot more head room but the shell doesn’t require any setup or take down. It’s totally up to you on what you prefer. 

Best Overall Truck Bed Tent

Napier Backroadz Truck Tent

Napier Backroadz Truck Tent - Full Size Regular Bed (6'4" - 6'7")
  • Napier offers the only truck tents on the market with a full floor, keeping you clean from your truck and dry from the elements
  • Designed to fit most pick-up trucks (see sizing chart), even trucks equipped with a toolbox or bedliner
  • Full rainfly provides ultimate weather protection
  • Color-coded pole and sleeve assembly, makes setup a breeze
  • Large interior area with over 5.6’ of headroom

Last update on 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What We Like

The Napier Backroadz truck bed tent is definitely our top pick. The price is pretty good for what it offers in terms of quality. It has 4 different sizes to ensure that you can find one that fits your truck bed. Make sure to click the link above or below to see the size chart. 

It’s really easy to set up with a nice color coded pole and sleeve assembly system. It’s pretty big on the inside for a truck bed tent there is actually 5.6 feet of head room. It also has a full rain fly to make sure you can keep out the elements. 

Inside the napier truck tent

The Napier Backroadz is also one of the only truck bed tents on the market that offers a full floor. Which is nice because if you do get rain it’s hard to keep it out of the bed of your truck. If you don’t have the floor you might get wet.  It’s also designed to be able to fit over most tool boxes or bed liners. 

The reviews over on Amazon are raving over this tent and I have to agree with everyone. The tent is probably your best option if your camping in a pickup truck bed. Head on over at the link below to see price, different sizes and user reviews! 

Best Budget Truck Bed Tent

Rightline Gear Truck Bed Tent

Sale
Rightline Gear 110730 Full-Size Standard Truck Bed Tent 6.5'
  • UNIQUE FLOORLESS DESIGN: Cut down on set up time; the Truck Tent's floorless design allows for set up without removing gear from the bed.
  • 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY: Shop confidently; our service team is based in the USA & skillfully trained to help you with any questions or concerns.
  • QUALITY WEATHERPROOF CONSTRUCTION: Water resistant fabric with tape sealed seams (PU 2000mm) keeps you dry, while the Tent's heavy duty straps and nylon buckles won’t damage your truck's finish.
  • SLEEP UNDER THE STARS: Sky view vent allows for more light, better views and ventilation.
  • ROOM FOR TWO: All truck tents comfortably sleep (2) adults; turn any spot into a comfortable campsite!

Last update on 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What We Like

The Rightline Gear truck bed tent is a great option, especially if your on a budget. Personally, I’d rather pay a little more and get the Napier but thats a personal preference. This is a great tent and should serve you well.

One of the biggest differences is that it doesn’t have a floor. This can be a pro as it makes it easier to set up and take down for when your on the fly. The con is that you have a higher chance of getting wet with rain as there is no floor.

I really like that it has a sky view at the top that lets you see the stars at night. You can fit two people pretty comfortably in this tent as it has a lot of room. The Rightline also has a color coded system with the poles to make it fairly easy to set up.  

truck bed tent

The weather proof construction does guarantee you sill stay dry which is very important. It does come in different sizes to fit different bed sizes. I’ve ready tons of user reviews over on Amazon and they are very positive. It seems the people complaining may have not set it up correctly. Check out the reviews, price and sizes available below! 

Best Truck Bed Tent For Cold Weather

Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent

Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent
  • Made with Hydra-Shield, 100% cotton duck canvas that is durable, watertight and breathable. Compatible models include the Ford F Series, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan.
  • Tunnel shaped design maximizes interior space tall 5 ft. ceiling height.Tailgate down design expands useable space
  • Large D-shaped door with top of the line YKK zippers.Covered entry.Two convenient gear pockets
  • Sturdy, 3/4-inch, steel tube frame connect to the clamp-on rails that easily mount on truck bed for secure fit.All-season use year-round, but not designed for heavy snow accumulations
  • Five windows provide excellent ventilation and openness, includes cab access window

Last update on 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What We Like

If you are going to be facing lower temperatures on your adventure the Kodiak Canvas truck bed tent is the way to go. This is actually the best overall truck bed tent on the list but is priced a little higher which is why it wasn’t our highest recommendation. If you aren’t facing cold or super windy weather the Kodiak is probably not necessary. 

If you plan on camping in the fall or winter the Kodiak is what your looking for. The canvas will do a much better job of keeping the inside of your tent warm and comfy. You can pair it with a portable heater (we will talk more about those below) like the Mr Heater Portable Buddy, click to check it out on Amazon! 

kodiak canvas pickup truck tent

The Kodiak does not have a floor but I trust it’s build to make sure no weather gets on the inside. It uses a steel frame and canvas is considerably more weather proof than the materials the other tents are made of. Since you don’t have a floor you are also getting more interior space so it can feel a little roomier. 

It has five windows that can provide great ventilation if it is warm outside. It has a few different sizes designed to fit most truck beds. One of the complaints is that it can be difficult to set up for one person. Not impossible but it will be harder. 

There is some great information given by the reviewers of this tent with tips and tricks for setting up, if you are interested in buying it definitely check them out on Amazon. Check out the price, user reviews and videos over on Amazon by clicking below. 

Pickup Truck Bed Camping Accessories & Gear

I think the only things that are truly necessary for truck bed camping are the air mattress, tent and the truck. If you have those things, you can figure it out. If you want to make sure you have a good experience I’m going to talk about some of the optional stuff you can get below to make sure you have fun camping in a pickup truck bed on your next trip. 

Some of these things are borderline necessary but some are more for fun. I’ll let you decide which you think you need vs which you think is just for luxury or fun. It’s a pretty long list of stuff so I hope you find some things you will need and maybe some pickup truck bed camping accessories you didn’t even think about! 

Best Sleeping Bags For Truck Bed Camping

I’m going to go over sleeping bags below. Honestly, not a lot changes from sleeping bag to sleep bag other than how they are rated in low temperatures. It’s super important that you get a good sleeping bag so I don’t recommend getting the cheapest available. There are plenty of cheap sleeping bags out there but I recommend spending at least $40 – $50 for a 3 season sleeping bag that will be rated at least at 35 degrees. 

When picking out a sleeping bag, you need to decide if you need something to just keep you a little warm at night or if you need something that will keep you really warm. Maybe your camping in the late fall and it gets to 30 degrees outside, you will need a higher rated sleeping bag. If it’s mid summer and only gets to 60 degrees you probably don’t need anything too high end. 

Weather is unpredictable however. You should always be prepared for colder temperatures. Like with clothes, you can always take layers off but you can’t add layers you don’t have. If you decided to go the cheaper route on a sleeping bag always make sure to pack extra blankets for those surprise low temperatures. 

I also didn’t really take weight or portability into account for this list. I’m assuming you are bringing your truck camping and weight really isn’t an object. If I were recommending a list of sleeping bags to take backpacking it would look really different. Lets take a look at some great pickup truck bed sleeping bag options below. 

Keep in mind, you can click through and read real user reviews, see more photos and see the most current price information on Amazon. Below the list I do give a little blurp on each sleeping bag, make sure to check that out!  

Best Sleeping Bag For Truck Bed Camping Comparison Chart

PhotoBrandPriceTempSizeRecommendation
Teton Sports Celsius XLUpdated Price & User Reviews-25°F / 0°F / 20F°90 X 36 InchBest Overall
REDCAMP Cotton FlannelUpdated Price & User Reviews23°F / 32°F / 41°F91 X 35 InchHighly Recommended
SOULOUT 4 SeasonUpdated Price & User Reviews32°F86.7 X 33 InchBest Budget
Coleman Brazos Cold WeatherUpdated Price & User Reviews20°F 75 X 33 InchGreat Budget
Tough Outdoors All Season XLUpdated Price & User Reviews15°F88 X 34 InchHighly Recommended

Teton Sports Celcius Sleeping Bags

TETON Sports Celsius XL 0F Sleeping Bag; Great for Family Camping; Free Compression Sack

The Teton Sports is by far the best option here. The price is right and they have a few different options depending on what camping you are doing. The least expensive 20°F option will probably be suitable unless your doing some cold winter truck bed camping. These are large and roomy and can combine with each other for a 2 person over-sized sleeping bag. Make sure to get a left and a right zip for this feature. It’s hard not to go with this option! Check out current price, photos and user reviews below. 

REDCAMP Cotton Flannel Sleeping Bags

REDCAMP Flannel Sleeping Bag for Adults, Large Cotton Sleeping Bags for Camping with Detachable Hood, Red Plaid with 3lbs Filling (91'x33')

This sleeping bag is also highly recommended. If you want some of the same comfort and features as the Teton but a little less of the price this might be your bag. It’s actually an inch longer but isn’t rated as high for cold temperatures. If your 100% sure you won’t face anything cold this one might make a little more sense. You can also get the two different zipper options to zip these together. The blue and grey options are great. As long as it’s not getting too cold, this will be a great option! See updated price, user reviews and photos/videos on Amazon below. 

SOULOUT Sleeping Bag 4 Season

Envelope Sleeping Bag - 4 Seasons Warm Cold Weather Lightweight, Portable, Waterproof with Compression Sack for Adults & Kids - Indoor & Outdoor Activities: Traveling, Camping, Backpacking, Hiking

If you are 100% sure you will not see temperatures below the 40-30 degree mark then you might be able to get away with our best pick for budget sleeping bag. This is actually a nice little sleeping bag clocking in at under $40. It’s rated down to 32°F which is solid for the price point. It’s a little smaller and won’t be as roomy as the others but this is why it’s cheaper. It comes in a few different colors and if you’re trying hard not to break the bank this just might be the choice that’s right for you. Check out updated price, user reviews and photos/videos below on Amazon. 

Tough Outdoors All Season XL Sleeping Bag

All Season XL Hooded Sleeping Bag with Compression Sack - Perfect for Camping, Backpacking, Hiking. Temperature Range 32-60°F. Fits Adults up to 6'6. Tough Ripstop Waterproof Shell & High-Loft Fill

Okay, there is something about flannel that just makes you want to go out and get cozy. Aside from the flannel design, this is a great sleeping bag rated all the way down to 15°F. They do have a less expensive option that’s rated at 40°F but it’s not flannel, who wants that? They have some other options too that are larger and more cozey but the price goes up. This sleeping bag will keep you warm and you will be super comfortable. It’s also pretty long and wide enough to have some space. Check out updated price info, user reviews and photos/videos on Amazon below!

Coleman Brazos Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

Coleman Sleeping Bag | Cold-Weather 20°F Brazos Sleeping Bag, Navy

The Coleman Brazos comes from one of the most trust brands in camping. You can also get this great warm sleeping bag for under $40. Keep in mind that if you get temps below 30°F it’s not going to keep you very warm. It’s also not as long as the others at only 75 inches which may be hard for the taller people out there. If you want to go with the trusted brand and don’t want to spend a ton of money then the Coleman Brazos could be the bag for you! Check out updated price, user reviews and photos/videos below!

Best Portable Generator For Camping

Okay, yes. This is 100% a luxury, I totally get that. I really like taking photos with my SLR camera and my cell phone. I don’t like buying tons of batteries, especially for my phone (which I can’t even take out). The resolution to this is a great portable generator for camping. I held off on pulling the trigger on one of these for years because they are a bit pricey, what a mistake.

rightline gear truck bed tent

I finally stopped being a cheapskate and bought one, I’m so happy I did. I can keep all my electronics (photo equipment) charged without turning my vehicle on. This isn’t essential but I promise you will be happy you purchased one. Some things you can use it for below. 

  • Phone
  • Camera Equipment
  •  Ipad
  • Laptop
  • Lights
  • Portable Heater
  • CPAP
  • TV
  • And More
As long as your not trying to plug anything in thats too powerful like a microwave or a snow blower. Let’s take a look at a few that I will recommend below! 

Paxcess 330W/78000mAh Portable Generator

Portable Camping Generator, 330W/78000mAh Portable Power Station, CPAP Battery Power Supply,Solar Generator with110V AC, 12V/10A DC,QC3.0 &TypeC, Wireless Charger,SOS Light (Renewed)

As you can see from the image to the left there are so many uses for this incredible little portable generator. This is the one that I eventually landed on to buy for myself personally and it makes such a big difference camping. Being able to charge my video and photo equipment over and over has been priceless for me. I bring a Gopro, video camera, SLR camera and my phone. I’m able to keep them all charged and ready to go! This particular model even lets you do wireless fast charging on the top, for your mobile device. 

The price tag on this is a little steep but for what you get out of it it’s truly worth it. You can also consider how valuable it could be to have at your ho me in the event of a power outage. This can keep a little heater going, give you lights and keep your devices charged in case of emergencies. You can watch TV or play video games while camping. If your willing to grab the extra solar panel and hookup you can also use solar power to keep this charged. You can check out the updated price, tons of user reviews and user photos/videos to see if this is something you would like! 

Jackery Portable Power Station 100W

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency

I wanted to make sure and present an option that is half the price but can still do a really good job keeping your devices charged on a camping trip. The Paxcess is much more powerful but if you just need to be able to keep phones and cameras charged this might be a good option. 

You won’t be able to power as many different kinds of devices as the wattage output is quite a bit lower. But it will be able to keep most devices charged and ready to go. You can head over to their product page for an entire list of things that it will charge and things it won’t charge. 

If you are on a budget but want something that will keep your smaller electronics charged this is likely the better option for you. If you have been camping without a portable power station even the Jackery option is going to really change the way you camp. Head on over to Amazon to see current price, user reviews and more videos and photos! 

Best Portable Heater For Truck Bed Tent Camping​

Often times when we go camping it’s nice during the day but it gets cold at night. You can get good portable heater to make sure you stay nice and toasty at night. If you  combine this with the Kodiak Canvas truck tent we talked about earlier you will definitely stay warm! Check out the portable heaters we recommend below. 

Mr. Buddy Indoor Safe Portable Heater

mr buddy portable heater for camping in truck bed

The Mr. Buddy Heater is a safe and excellent solution for your portable heater needs. This heater actually runs on the small propane tanks you can get at a local big box store or on Amazon, click here!

If you run the heater on it’s max setting a single propane tank can keep it running for about 3 hours. It does have an automatic shut off for anything above 7,000 feet so if your going to a high altitude this probably won’t work. The reviews over on Amazon are really good as this appears to be a super dependable and effective portable heater. Make sure to click below to see current price, user reviews and photos/videos on Amazon!

Mr. Buddy Indoor Safe Portable Heater

mr buddy portable heater for camping in truck bed

The little buddy heater is a smaller version of the Mr. Buddy heater above. This heater also runs on the small propane tanks you can get at a local big box store or on Amazon, click here!

The heaters basically work the same way as they hook up to a propane can and produce heat. This little heater won’t produce quite as much heat but will run longer. With the 1 pound propane tank it will run 5.6 hours. It has a low oxygen sensor and will automatically turn off if tipped over. This may not work above 7,000 feet. There is a button you push to ignite the burner to produce the heat. Check out the price, user reviews and photo/videos over on Amazon below!

Best Portable Tent Fan For Camping

It’s a lot more common to be hot while your camping than cold. I have done a lot of research and the tent fan below is one of the best you can get and under $30 it’s more than worth it. Tent’s can get really stuff, especially at night. It’s really nice to have a flow of air with a nice tent fan. Having a good tent fan can make or break a good nights sleep. Having that constant flow of air can make a warm summer night tolerable. 

Opolar 5000mAh Clip On Tent Fan

hanging tent fan for pickup bed camping

It can get pretty stuffy in the summer time, it’s nice to have a little extra air flow. The OPOLAR hanging or clipping tent fan can be the ceiling fan you need for your tent. 

It has a fold down clip on the top so you can hang it from any of the straps on your tent. If you don’t have an accessible strap to hang it from it also comes with a large clip. This will make it so you can clip or hang in your tent or on a branch while your hanging out in your hammock. It’s pretty versitile and can really make a hot camping trip more enjoyable. Check it out on Amazon below, see current price, user reviews and more! 

General Truck Bed Camping Accessories

I covered some of my favorite and almost necessary items above to take with you when you go camping in a pickup truck bed. I wanted to highlight some more stuff here and show you by section what things you shouldn’t forget. I’m sure you already bring or have most of this stuff but just think of this as a nice reminder. 

Most of this stuff is good for camping and truck bed camping. I’ve forgot everything on this list at least once and it’s always frustrating. I’m hoping I can give you a nice list of stuff to help enhance your truck bed camping experience. Let’s take a look at some of the more general truck bed camping accessories and gear below! 

ARB 4X4 Retractable Awning

ARB Truck awning for pickup bed camping

You will be covered at night, but have you thought about how you will cover yourself during the day? Whether it’s from the hot sun or a surprise rain storm don’t be caught off guard with a little shelter. The ARB retractable awning is fantastic. It comes in the size shown and a larger size. It rolls up pretty small and is easy to tuck away and store. 

If your’re gonna sleep in your truck you might as well take it to the next level and use your truck for shade and shelter as well. This will turn your truck into a camping machine. Sitting in the truck bed tent all day will be a drag if you encounter rain. Get out in the elements and enjoy your time outdoors! 

ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair

alps mountaineering king kong camping chair

One of the worst things you can forget is a comfy chair. Notice I said comfy, like comfortable. I realize this chair is a little pricey but I had been buying cheap camping chairs for years, when I purchased the Alps King Kong, I was forever changed. This chair is fantastic. It’s a little over-sized and super comfortable. It has some extra cushion that other camping chair do not have.

It has dual cup holders one on each arm and a few different storage pouches to stash stuff. The bag it comes with has a nice shoulder strap to make them easy to tote around. If you have been buying cheap camping chairs I promise this will make a big difference when your sitting around your camp fire. Head on over to Amazon below to see the price, user reviews and more photos and colors. 

Foxelli Rechargeable Headlamp 180 Lumen

foxelli headlamp rechargeable

Flashlights are great and you should bring one. But… Once you start using a headlamp over a flashlight you may consider leaving the flashlight at home. Considering our phones are flashlights now too, it just doesn’t seem necessary to bring one. Having hands free light that you get with a good headlamp is something you just can’t beat. You can get some nice headlamps on Amazon for under $15. The Foxelli falls in that category and is an amazing small and light weight head lamp. It’s pretty bright at 180 Lumen and can be recharged with USB. It can give you up to 40 hours of continuous light with one charge. If you have your portable charging station or battery pack, this thing can go forever!

I bought one of these for my camping trip last year and can’t believe I waited so long to get a good little head lamp. I’ve been a flash light truther but I’m fully converted now. Head on over to Amazon to see all the great reviews and make sure to get you one of these cool little camping necessities. 

Camp & Truck Bed Tent Lighting

hanging tent LED light

Lighting is super important. You need it to be easy and hands free. You also need it to be dependable and long lasting. I prefer not to rely on batteries but look for something that is rechargeable. Make sure you have your power station with you and you can keep your lights charged for your entire camping trip! This little guy can hang from your tent and make lighting the inside of your tent really easy and hands free. Combine this with the head lamp above and you will have everything you need! This little guy has 3 different light modes and can stay lit for up to 5-11 hours before needing to be charged again.

It can be recharged with a USB cable and is small and super compact. Another feature I really like is the built in magents on the bottom. This allows you to attach it to anything metal and be hands free. If you are truck bed camping, this little guy might stick right to the side of your truck (inside of your tent). It’s a great little camping light and I strongly recommend it. Check it out below!

Truck Bed Camping Kitchen Accessories

Food always tastes so much better when your camping. One of the worst things is not having enough food or not having a way to prepare a hot meal or a hot cup of coffee. Check out some of the kitchen accessories below that you won’t want to go truck camping without. Forgetting any of the items below could be a disaster for your truck bed camping trip. 

Coleman Propane Classic 2 Burner Stove

coleman classic 2 burner propane stove

You will definitely want a nice stove to cook on. Coming from the trusted name of Coleman this camping stove has served my family for years and years. It’s reliable and gets the job done. It has 2 burners and will serve to cook up your food and heat up water for tea or coffee. You really can’t go wrong with this camp stove, make sure to check the price and reviews on Amazon below!

AeroPress Coffee And Espresso Maker

aeropress coffee and espresso maker

There is nothing like a fresh brewed cup of coffee when your camping. Just something about it that touches your soul, even more than when your at home or on the road. This little travel press makes it super easy to get a hot cup of coffee ready. It’s light weight and portable so it won’t take up much room. It comes with a travel bag and a bunch of accessories, it’s a must have for coffee drinkers! Make sure to grab an insulated coffee mug here as well, no microwaves to reheat your coffee in the woods! Check it out the Aeropress below. 

OXO Good Grips Non Stick 8 Inch Pan

Non stick 8 inch pan for cooking

This one almost seems silly but the difference between having a good non stick pan and a bad one can really change your cooking experience while camping. If you have a bad pan that sticks and makes a huge mess it can be very inconvenient to clean the pan. This depends on your water situation but having a good non stick pan that you can just wipe out with a paper towel can help you keep your sanity and save more time for camping R&R. Check out the OXO good grip non stick pan on Amazon below. 

Reliance Aqua-Trainer 7 Gallon Water Jug

7 gallon water container

Making sure you have plenty of water is really important for camping. Whether it’s drinking water or just water for washing your hands and doing your dishes, make sure you bring enough water. This Reliance 7 gallon water jug is great. It has a handle on the top for easy carrying and moving. It has a nice big lid making it easy to open and close. It’s also BPA free so you can use it for drinking water as well. Not too much more to say, just a great water container, check it out below!

Truck Bed Camping Emergency Gear & Electronics

A lot of the stuff above is fun and you get to use often. This stuff you don’t get to use as often but when the time comes and you need it you will be so glad you pulled the trigger. These items can help you get out of a jam and even save your life in certain situations. It’s not the most fun to buy these items since you don’t get to use them as often but that moment you need them and you did buy them, you will be relieved. 

If you are going camping away from it all and you don’t have cell phone service these items can be extremely important and help get you out of a tough situation. I strongly recommend going through these items and consider picking some of them up for your next truck camping trip. They just might save you! 

TACKLIFE T6 Peak Car Jump Starter

Tacklife T6 Car Jump Starter

You didn’t quite shut your truck door and now your battery is dead. You don’t have any cell phone service. Your next option is to walk to town (who knows how far that is) or find someone else camping and ask for a jump or ride to town. But wait, you decided to be smart and purchase the TACKLIFE T6 Car Jump Starter. This bad boy will jump vehicles up to 7.0L Gas and 5.5L Diesel engine. You won’t use this often for recharging your truck battery but when you need it you will be so happy you have it. 

You can actually jump start a vehicle up to 30 times on just one charge. It’s actually pretty small at 6.3 X 3 X 1.6 inches and stores away nicely. It also has USB 3.0 so you can charge your phone or other electronics in a pinch. It doubles as a power station. It also has 12V output that can power anything you have with that attachment. It automatically shuts off when not in use and can hold a charge for up to 12 months, which is super nice. It also has a built in light to help in dark situations. This is a definitely have if your going to go camping in your truck. It’s so easy to kill a battery, this little guy can literally save the day! Check out the price and user reviews below. 

FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor

Fortem Digital Tire Inflater Truck bed camping

Getting a flat tire while your camping is a huge bummer. I had one a few years ago and it turned out I didn’t check my back up tire as it was flat as well. I didn’t have one of these, but I have one now. Even if your tire doesn’t stay 100% inflated it can help you get to your destination to get a new tire or get it repaired. 

It also has connections so you can blow up your floating tubes. Maybe your child brought a bicycle and their tire needs air. Or possibly your 4 wheeler or side by need to have one of their tires inflated. It’s a good idea to have this a portable air compressor around for those times when you need it. Even if you just have it to blow up your tubes, you will be happy you have one. 

This one in particular is the FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator and it plus right in to a 12V outlet which is usually supplied by your vehicle. It’s actually pretty small and doesn’t take up a lot of room. It also has a nice bright light for those night time situations. It’s really not that expensive at under $40 but it’s something you will be extremely happy you bought when you need it. Check it out below. 

HUYOSEN Gas Powered Chain Saw

HUYOSEN Gas Powered Chain Saw

This isn’t something a lot of people think about but having a gas powered chain saw with you can really save the day. Say there is a crazy wind storm no one predicted or expected. You are on your way home and there is a tree down across the road. Sure, you can wack it with an axe (click here for one of those) but it’s not the most effective way to get a tree out of the road. Having a gas powered chain saw in the back can make for a quick chop and remove so you can be back on your way home or to your camping spot. 

Also, if you packed the wrong amount of firewood having a chain saw with you can help you get more wood to make sure you can have long camp fires. I stopped going camping without a chain saw years ago. It almost seems silly to be camping up in the woods without one. I strongly suggest you get a gas powered so you don’t have to have any high powered power source to run it. You can check out the Huyosen below! 

Garmin DriveSmart 55 GPS Navigator

Garmin Drivesmart 55 GPS Navigator

Having a GPS to either help you get to your destination to to assist you in getting back home is just super smart. I like this one because it goes in your vehicle. I can use my phone for when I’m away from my vehicle but having a hands free version that sits in the car is the best way to go when traveling. This one has a ton of features that are great. It has wi fi so it will update without being connected to a computer. 

Honestly, you will probably love this in your everyday life, not just for camping directions. It has simple built in maps and gives you driver alerts when there are red light camera’s or traffic congestion. It also has some cool features like a National Park directory and shows sites from the History Network. You won’t be disappointed with this great little Garmin GPS. 

M2 Basics 200 Piece Emergency Survival First Aid Kit

M2 First Ait Kit For Pickup Truck Bed Camping

A first aid kit can seem like a no brainer but you would be surprised how many people go camping without even basic first aid supplies. It’s extremely important to be prepared in the event of a serious or even non serious medical emergencies. Whether your child gets a small cut that needs a band aid or someone gets a large cut that needs to be bandaged until you can get to a hospital. It’s a good idea to have a nice emergency kit with you while camping in your pickup truck bed. 

This is a great 200 piece kit that comes with many different bandage types, tapes, pads and sterilization. Everything you need to keep most minor emergencies under control are here. It’s pretty compact at 3.5 x 5.5 x 7 inches so it won’t take up a lot of room. An emergency kit is one of those things you will be relieved you have when it’s needed. Check it out below! 

Pickup Truck Bed Camping Setup & Tips

If you are here there is a good chance that you are going camping in a pickup truck bed for the first time. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about set up and some tips to really help you have the best time. Camping in your truck bed is a little different than regular tent camping so it’s important for you to be prepared. 

Let talk a little bit about pickup truck bed camping setup and I’ll also give you some great tips to get the most out of your equipment and have as good of a time as possible. 

Test Everything Out First

It’s extremely important that you test all your equipment out first. Especially the things you are going to need. A big one is your air mattress. It’s very important to blow up your air mattress and make sure it doesn’t have any holes or defects. Not having your air mattress could really make it hard to be comfortable sleeping and no sleep usually makes camping less fun. 

You also should set up your tent. If you haven’t set up a truck bed tent before it’s good to set it up in your drive way and become familiar with it. Even if your not truck bed camping, you should always set up your tent and become familiar. Setting up a truck bed tent is a little different and it’s a really good idea to know how to do it rather than get stuck camping. At least at home you can jump on the internet for some help. Once you are out there, you’re all alone. You can also check for any serious defects your tent might have. 

This is also a good time to check all your electronics and emergency equipment. Make sure your jump starter has power, also make sure your power bank is charged. It’s just a good idea to never assume anything will just be ready to go. Always check and double check. 

Setup Your Air Mattress And Truck Bed Tent

It’s really important that you inflate your air mattress and fit it in the back of your truck while you are at home. Once you do that set up your tent and make sure your setup is going to be comfortable and work for your situation. If you have kids and you want to truck bed camp with your kids, make sure your air mattress has enough room for everyone to sleep comfortably. 

You might get your air mattress slid into the back of your truck and realize it doesn’t fit right or maybe it’s just not enough room in the pickup truck bed for you to sleep comfortably. It’s much better to find all this out now rather than when your laying down to go to sleep. 

 

Pickup Truck Bed Camping Setup

Personally, I keep it pretty simple. I have seen people that like to build custom platforms for their truck bed to help raise the platform they lay their air mattress or sleeping pad. This also raises them above the wheel wells so they can use a normal air mattress. There are pros to this but I wouldn’t recommend taking it that far unless your spending a lot of time camping in your truck bed. Maybe if your hunting for a month at a time or you plan on living in your truck for a while. 

I suggest getting a truck bed air mattress and some really warm sleeping bags. This way you are prepared for cold but can take the sleeping bag off if it’s warm at night. It’s always better to have too warm of equipment than not warm enough. 

From there you just want to make sure that the pickup truck bed tent you picked out will work for your truck. Make sure it fits the width and it’s something you will be comfortable in. Make sure and set all this up before you go on your camping trip. Take the time to learn what setup works best for you. This will also allow you to adjust for having a dog or children in the truck bed with you. Maybe you need to bring another tent for the kids to sleep in? You will know these things if you setup and test it out first. 

 

Keep Your Truck Bed Clean And Sealed

It can be kind of hard to clean a pickup truck bed ten once you have made a mess. It’s best to try and keep it clean. You can bring a little broom and dust pan to help you keep some of the dirt out that gets tracked in. 

You also want to make sure and keep everything sealed up tight. Mostly because of insects. Keeping the bugs out will save your lift at night time. Whether it’s the annoying sound of a fly or mosquitos that want to eat you alive. Keeping your tent and truck bead sealed will help keep it clean and keep the bugs out. 

Camping In A Pickup Truck Bed Conclusion

I really hope you were able to learn something today about truck bed camping. It’s something I really like to do when my wife and I go camping alone. It doesn’t always work when we take the rest of the crew but it’s a great option for just us two. 

Its nice to have less setup and for your tent to be on wheels. You can also get really good at breaking your tent down enough to still drive with it mostly intact. You will learn these things with experience and the setup you choose. 

Mostly I’m just glad that your getting out and enjoying the outdoors! Whether you camping, fishing or hiking just getting out is good for the soul. I hope you were able to learn some tips and I taught you about some valuable equipment to have while camping in a pickup truck bed. I hope your trip is a major success and you have the time of your life! 

Check out some of our adventures below!

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1 thought on “Camping In A Pickup Truck Bed – Truck Bed Camping Accessories & Setup”

  1. Very exhaustive guide on the essential camping gear. I am revamping my truck camping life, and this time I am looking forward to doing everything on a more serious levels and documenting my travel escapades. Just on the lookout to ensure I have bought everything, as I have been simply using a sleeping pad on my back seat. I will be buying a truck bed tent before I start the sleeping setup at the back. Thanks for the valuable info you provide here.

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