Pickup Truck Camping Gears & Tips for Camping in Pickup Truck

In this article, I will go over how to load a pickup truck with camping gear so that you can sleep in the back of your pickup truck and have all of your gear be close at hand.


Pickup Truck Camping Gears

1. Bedding

You should bring enough bedding to sleep warm and be comfortable. This probably means an air mattress, sleeping bag(s) with a couple of blankets, or quilt on top of your sleeping bags.

Pickup truck camping is not for everyone, I want to make sure that your experience is fun and memorable.

Some people will tell you that it’s okay to use a cheap air mattress or the underpadding from your camper shell to insulate the floor of your pickup truck.

However, it is one of the easiest ways to sink your truck into the ground. You will want to bring a full-sized bed with you for maximum comfort and security.

2. Cookware/Storage

You will need cooking equipment, an insulated cooler with ice, and other storage to place food inside your pickup truck bed. My favorite way to do this is using dry bags that can be zipped closed once they are filled with items inside them.

3. Food

You will need food to eat while you are out camping. If you are going to be staying for a couple of days, you will need more than just a few cans of food, but you can store them inside your pickup truck bed.

4. Clothing/Hygiene

You should bring enough clothing with you for the amount of time that you plan to camp in one trip. I would recommend that you bring a change of clothing per day and at the most 3 days’ worth if it’s hot out.

You will also want to bring toiletries like toothpaste and a toothbrush, soap, shampoo, and toilet paper. If you do not have an extra bathroom in the back of your pickup truck then this could be difficult to do without an organized system.

5. Pickup Truck Camping Gear Organizer (Optional)

One of the best tools that you can bring is a pickup truck organizer that will allow you to keep your gear together in one place so that it’s easy to get out when you need it.

So when you buy one of these organizers, make sure that it has all of the following features:

  • Internal dividers for easy organization and storage.
  • Rear pockets for loading food that you have in your back storage area.
  • The organizer should have (at least) one exterior pocket and one internal pocket for the sleeping bag and air mattress liners to be stored.
  • A removable clipboard that you can use as a dry erase board for keeping track of your schedule.

How do You Organize Camping Gear in a Truck?

Now that we have decided upon the gear that we will be bringing with us, let’s go over the steps to load a pickup truck bed with camping gear:

  • Put your liners in your own pocket and place them inside your pickup truck organizer. This will allow you to easily bring them out when you need to set up camp.
  • Place your bedding inside your pickup truck bed and zip it closed. Make sure that you have enough to cover everyone in the back of your truck.
  • Place all of your cooking equipment and food inside of your pickup truck organizer pocket. This will allow you to easily grab a few items for supper and leave the rest in the side where it’s easy to access when you need it.
  • Put your clothing inside your pickup truck organizer and use the rear pockets to store everything that you will need for the day. Make sure that you have enough clothing for everyone to wear during the day if they will be sleeping in the back of your truck.  You can also take out a few items of clothing that are not being worn at any given time, this way you can switch them out or keep them clean and dry ready to wear at a moment’s notice.
  • If you have things in your back storage area that are not being used, like food containers, wipe them clean with a towel and place them inside of your pickup truck organizer.
  • Make sure that you’ve covered your bedding with blankets and put air mattresses on top of it if needed. Make it as comfortable as possible for everyone so that they will be able to sleep in the back of your truck.
  • Try to keep everything as organized as possible. If you have food in a cooler, then place it in one of the side pockets on the organizer and zip it closed. This way you only need to pull out one pocket when preparing food or snacks for everyone.
  • Keep your personal hygiene items in a dry bag within the organizer pocket. This way they are easy to pull out and use without having to rummage through your other gear.  Make sure that the organizer you buy has a place for everything! Don’t agree with all of the organization’s options, make sure that it has a place for everything so that it will be easy to reach when you need it.

Pickup Truck Camping Safety Tips

If you will be sleeping in the back of your pickup truck when you camp, then you will need to also consider wheel chocks. Wheel chocks are handy items that help to prevent your vehicle from rolling forward or backward when you are parked on uneven terrain.

You can use wheel chocks to lock your tires in place which will give you more control over your vehicle, especially if you are camping somewhere that has a rougher road.

So how do you get them? A lot of people may be skeptical about what it takes to strap their truck bed with wheel chocks. It’s really easy!

Some people say that it’s best to call a wheel lock company and they will send them out to install them for you, but I haven’t found this to be the case. Instead, I have found that you can easily strap your vehicle with wheel chocks using nothing more than the straps on your pickup truck camping gear.

These types of straps come in a variety of sizes and designs, and they are really easy to install yourself. The straps are available in a variety of colors and sizes to fit almost every type of pickup truck.

The most common type of strap is a universal size strap that fits almost all the different types of trucks. If you are unsure of what type of strap you need, then there is a simple way that you can find out!

Take a soft strap that measures about 6 inches or so in length and place it around the bed of your truck. There are also some straps that are designed specifically for wheel chocks and I have found these to be the easiest to use.

Next, slide the wheel chock out through the strap and wrap it onto your tire. Tuck the chock into the strap and secure it with a locking pin.

When you shop for wheel chocks, make sure that you get a set that has been designed specifically for trucks; otherwise, they may not fit your truck well or may not work as smoothly as they should. It is also important to note that wheel chocks are designed for all types of trucks.

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