Truck Camping: Gear List of 17 Essential Items

Truck Camping Gear

If you haven’t already done it, check out my original article on Truck Camping.

Truck camping is a comfortable and inexpensive way to travel long term. It’s how I chose to take my road trip across America.  Here’s a list of everything I used to build and supply my Truck Camper:


1. Leer camper top

The camper top was the most expensive part of my build. LEER and ARE make very good tops, but are the most expensive. The cheapest model for my truck from LEER cost $1400. You can find used models online for significantly cheaper.

2. Scrap Wood

Truck Camper

There are many different ways to build out the inside of your camper. Most designs are a balance between sleeping space, headroom and storage space. I built a sleeping platform and storage cabinets using old pallet wood to save money.


Independent Electrical system

Off Grid Solar Schematic

While living in your truck, your going to need electricity. Having a separate electrical system is very important. Hooking directly in to your vehicle can drain your main battery and leave you without a working vehicle. The independent electrical system I built charges throughout the day and powers my fan, lights, cellphone, laptop and all of my personal electronics.

3. Solar panel and charge controller

I bought a relatively cheap 20 Watt solar panel and charge controller from It works well for my needs. Solar panels are rated by wattage. A 20 watt solar panel is enough for a few small electronics and lights, but if you often run something bigger like a laptop often, you might need more Watts. A 50 Watt Solar panel like this one would be better suited for heavier usage.

The charge controller is necessary in order to prevent your solar panel from discharging or overcharging your battery.

4. Deep cycle marine battery

You’re going to want to get a deep cycle Marine or RV battery. This is what’s going to store all of the electricity your solar panel makes. A regular car battery isn’t designed to work with solar panels. I would suggest finding a decent used battery on craigslist. A brand new marine battery can cost almost $200. Walmart also sells a few different ones for about $80 bucks.

5. Power Inverter

A power inverter converts the electricity from the battery to usable 120V household power. It allows you to charge and run most small household electronics.


Truck Camping



Food and Water

6. Aquatainer 7 Gallon

Water is the source of all life. This tank holds 7 gallons for washing, cleaning and drinking.

7. Yeti Cooler

YETI makes amazing coolers. They’re tough and keep your food chilled for up to a week. YETI coolers can be really expensive, but RTIC Coolers are supposed to be almost as good, at half the price. I’ve never used one but the reviews are good.

8. Coleman Propane stove

For all my cooking,  I use a Coleman single burner stove. The propane bottles are cheap and can be found at any Wal-Mart or outdoor store. Some people prefer a larger 2 burner model, but I like the smaller one to save space.

9. Cooking utensils

You can buy fancy camp utensils but I just use paper plates, a titanium spork and a small pot that I cook everything in. I don’t like doing dishes, and I can burn or recycle paper plates when I’m done with them.



10. Dude Shower Wipes

Taking a shower while on the road can be tricky. I have a small camp shower that’s great when I’m camping in the summer. However, in the winter and in the city I use DUDE Shower Body Wipes. They’re easy to use and leave me feeling clean. I still try to take showers as often as I can, but the Shower Wipes are good when no shower is available. 

11. Personal Toiletries

Your specific toiletries that you carry are personal preference. I like to keep it light, and not take too much.

Check out my post on Minimalist Travel for a complete list


Comfort and Miscellaneous

12. Memory foam Twin Mattress

A lot of “truck campers” just use sleeping bags and mats to sleep. I however prefer to keep all the comforts of home with a mattress, sheets, blankets and pillows. I bought a mattress from, that’s the cheapest memory foam mattress I could find. It also acts to insulate the bottom of the truck in the winter, keeping your home warmer. 

13. Fan

When it’s really hot I leave the windows open and run a small electric fan. Any 12 Volt fan that you can hook directly to your battery system will work.

14. Lights

Incandescent lights can use a lot of energy. LED lights are far more efficient. I use LED rope lights hooked up to my battery and stick on battery powered LED lights.  

15. Folding Chairs

Folding chairs can make your camp a lot more comfortable and feel like home. Sitting on the ground or on the tailgate can get old after a while.

16. Velcro and Fabric

I get a lot of questions about how I did my curtains like below:

Truck Camping

It is fairly simple. Most truck camper tops come with or have the add-on option of including a carpeted interior. And it just so happens that velcro sticks fantastically to it! Now, it’s not just any velcro, but industrial strength velcro brand strips are what I use. 

First, you need to buy some fabric from the fabric store and cut it to length. Any fabric will do, but I prefer black for the light blocking qualities. Once cut to size, fold over the edges of the fabric and sew them down. This prevents fraying and keeps clean edges. Then you take your velcro strips and sew them on as well, on all the corners and edges. You need a sewing machine for this, but if you don’t have one you can try some high strength fabric glue. I haven’t tried it myself but it’s worth a shot. 

17. Tarp

A tarp stretched over the back of your truck makes a good sunshade. Any old tarp will do. I use 550 cord to tie it down.

18. Everything else…

Don’t forget to pack all the basic necessities like toilet paper, personal items, food etc.

So that’s it! Happy Traveling!

Let me know in the comments below If I forgot anything, or if you have found something to be particularly useful.


Disclosure: Some of the links in my posts are affiliate links. If you purchase the products, I receive a small commission. However, I only recommend products or services I personally use and highly value.


    1. Hey steve,

      What you use for a bathroom, really depends on where you are. Theres almost always a Mcdonalds or other shop around with a public bathroom. When it’s time to take a shower you have several options. Many truck stops have showers that you can pay for. Also, you can stop by any gym or YMCA and pay a fee to get a workout and shower. When there is no other option, I use DUDE shower wipes to clean up and stay fresh in between showers. When you’re on the road, you have to adopt a new standard of “clean”. For me this means getting a shower at least once every 3 days. Hope this helps!

  1. Hey so you just cook in the back of your truck on the propane stove? I’m assuming if you open to back up it’s totally safe, right?

    1. Hey Cole,

      In order to use the stove I put down the tailgate with the back completely open, and use the tailgate as a cooking and prep area. Propane burns fairly clean, but you need proper ventilation.

        1. Hey cole,

          The curtains are held up entirely by velcro. I cut the curtains to shape, and sewed on six velcro pads. Three on the top, and three on the bottom. It holds preety well to the carpeted ceiling.

    1. Hey Jack,

      The curtains are held up entirely by velcro. I cut the curtains to shape, and sewed on six velcro pads. Three on the top, and three on the bottom. It holds preety well to the carpeted ceiling.

  2. You mentioned leaving the windows open for ventilation when it’s hot, but how do you prevent bugs and mosquitos getting in?

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