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Can You Put a Camper on a Short Bed Truck?

Can You Put a Camper on a Short Bed Truck?

Having a camper is a great way to travel when you are going on a vacation, but if you only have a short bed truck, will you be able to tow it? We took a look at the details and found out the answer. 

You can put a camper on a short bed truck as long as you stay within the total weight limit and capacity of the truck. If you want to be able to put a bigger camper on your truck, upgrading the suspension will ensure that your vehicle can handle it. 

So, what to know more about why short bed trucks can handle carrying a camper? Then read this article to find out how this is possible and how big of a camper you’ll be able to fit on your truck. 

What is a Camper? 

As you can probably assume from the name, this is a type of recreational vehicle that allows you to go camping while having a place to sleep, cook, and use the restroom. These are ideal for long camping trips and come in a variety of sizes. 

Some types of RVs can fit onto the bed of the truck, which typically comes with a much smaller living area and many do not have a bathroom. However, there are some that you can choose to tow behind your truck, which usually comes with all facilities and have a more spacious interior.

Some campers come with a full-size body and a cab that allows you to drive the vehicle itself without needing another vehicle to tow it. 

Can You Put a Long Bed Camper in a Short Bed?

Though this might not seem possible, you can put a long bed camper on the back of a short bed truck. However, you will likely need to make some adjustments to allow this to work.

So, you will need to keep the tailgate on the truck and down. The camper’s body will reach passed the bed of the truck and right over the tailgate.

With the tailgate of the truck down, this may cause your turning radius to be lower. However, this should not affect your turning abilities too much. 

With the heavier weight of the camper on the truck, you will need to have an upgraded suspension to allow your truck to handle it.

This is especially true for half-ton trucks because they often come with suspensions that could be damaged if you attempt to put a camper on the short truck bed. 

How Big of a Camper Can I Put on My Truck?

If you want to find out which campers will be able to fit safely onto your truck bed, then you need to take a good look at the towing capacity or weight limit of your truck.

You do not want to attempt to go over that limit or else you could cause some damage to your vehicle. 

That towing capacity applies even when you are putting the camper onto the truck bed itself. So, know the weight limit that your vehicle comes with by looking at the owner’s manual for the suggested weight. 

If you do not have your owner’s manual, or can’t find it, then you will likely be able to find an online version if you look up your make and model. Whatever the weight limit is, stay well under that. 

What is Included in the Weight Limit? 

If your truck has a weight limit of 5,000 pounds, you might think that getting a camper that weighs 4,800 pounds is right for you. However, you need to include all of the items that will be in your truck and the camper too. 

If you don’t and end up getting the 4,800-pound camper, when you add your supplies and suitcases for travel, you will likely go over the 5,000 mark and put too much weight on your vehicle. 

If this happens, not only will your truck be more difficult to drive, but it will also put extra pressure on your vehicle and cause several issues. This raises your chances of getting into an accident, so you want to avoid this at all costs. 

Instead, think about the supplies that you will bring and estimate how much weight this will add. If there are about 200 pounds of supplies, then you will want to stick with a camper that is closer to 4,000 or 4,500 pounds.

This will give you some extra wiggle room when adding more supplies and ensure that you are well under the weight limit of the truck. 

How Big of a Camper Can I Put on My Truck?

With this in mind, you can get a larger camper if you can put more weight onto your vehicle. It all depends on the weight.

The average weight of a truck bed camper can be anywhere between 1,000 to 5,000 pounds. So, depending on your truck’s weight limit, you will likely be able to get a larger camper if your limit is higher. 

If the camper you want is close to 4,000 pounds and your weight limit is 5,000, then you will likely be able to fit the camper and all of your equipment. If you want something bigger than that, you will have to use a larger truck.

So, just remember, you need to leave room for extra equipment in case you forget something. If you don’t do this, then you will run into trouble when driving and possibly cause issues with your truck. 

How Long is a Short Bed Pickup Truck?

If you are not sure whether the type of truck you own is a short bed, then you should look at the length of the truck bed itself. With an average truck being around 8 feet long, the bed of the truck will account for about 6 ½ feet of that length. 

However, with a short bed truck, the truck bed will account for about 5 ½ feet. This means that you will have around 1 foot less space in the truck bed to carry your camper with. 

This doesn’t seem like that much of a difference, but when you are hauling materials, you will see that the length matters a lot. So, with that typical short bed truck length, you will need to ensure that the camper you get can fit on your bed.

As mentioned before, the camper will sit on the truck with the tailgate down. This will help extend the reach of the truck bed so that you can fit a camper that you might not have been able to with the truck bed alone.

Though, you need to make sure that you are not getting something that is too big and will difficult to drive with it connected. If there is no issue with steering, and the weigh of the camper is within the limit, then you should have no problems. 

How to Drive with a Camper on Your Truck Bed 

When you are driving with lots of extra weight, you will need to adjust your driving so that you are safe on the road. This means that you will need to keep track of your speed and maneuvers more than usual. 

In a smaller car, you have better visibility all around. When you have a camper on your truck bed, then you will not be able to see out of the back window at all. 

This means that you will need to get used to looking at your side mirrors consistently to ensure that you see what is going on with the cars behind you. This is especially important when you are making a turn or switching lanes. 

You need to see if a car is coming up where you want to go. If not, then you could end up hitting someone. 

Also, you will need to drive slower with that much weight much on your truck bed. Staying in the slow lane is a must, and you should drive an average speed of 60 or fewer miles per hour.

This will allow you to stay in the lines easier, even with the wind, and keep your load from moving around. Doing all of these things will help keep yourself and those around you safe while you can take your camper on your next trip.

Final Words on Putting a Camper on a Short Bed Truck

Putting a camper on the truck bed of a short bed truck might seem like someone that you are not able to do. However, you can do it with a few adjustments to your truck and some safer driving. 

As long as you keep the weight of the camper well within the truck’s capacity, you will be able to fit it onto the truck bed with the tailgate down. And, with a few safe driving tips, you can make it to your destination safely. 

So, if you were thinking about trying to put a camper on your short truck bed, you know that you can do it with these tips. 

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!