Which States Require Truck Campers to be Registered and Titled?

So you’re thinking about buying a truck camper, but aren’t sure if you need to register it in your state. You’ve come to the right place. Rather than spending hours researching your state’s motor vehicle department website, you can look right here. You may need to do additional research on your state’s laws, but at least you’ll be able to see at a glance what your state does or doesn’t require. If you see something here that is incorrect or if your state has recently made a change in state laws, please let us know so we can keep this listing up to date. We consider this post a public service to the truck camper community.

At present, eight states require the slide-in truck camper to be registered with their motor vehicle department. Some states require that it be done annually, while others require that it be done just once upon purchase. You’ll need to pay a sales tax for your camper as well. Why these states require slide-in truck campers to be registered isn’t a big mystery. It comes down to one thing—revenue. Some cash-strapped states will look for any way to generate income. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. It makes sense to register motorhomes, fifth-wheels, and travel trailers because they have axles, wheels, and tires, but not the truck camper. It has none of those things. Indeed, most truck campers don’t even have a vehicle identification number (VIN) like other types of RVs. Because of this, and the fact they don’t have an axle, the truck camper really should be considered cargo. Fortunately, 42 states agree with this line of reasoning.

At this point you might be wondering about titling. The states that require you to title your truck camper differs, in some cases, from the states that require registration. At present, there are 11 states that require you to title your truck camper. What proof do you have that you own a truck camper in those states that have no title requirement? That’s a great question. Every slide-in truck camper manufacturer will create a Certificate of Origin when they build a truck camper. The camper’s VIN or an equivalent identification number will be on this form. This will be signed over to you when you purchase your truck camper from the dealership. This certificate is used just like a title if you ever decide to sell your truck camper sometime in the future, so don’t lose it.

Note: The requirement to register a truck camper only applies to residents of those states. So if you’re a resident of Arizona traveling to, say, Utah, you do NOT need to register your truck camper in Utah just to visit there.

I. States that Require the Slide-in Truck Camper to be Registered:

  1. Idaho
  2. Mississippi
  3. Nebraska
  4. Oregon
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Tennessee
  7. Utah
  8. Washington

II. States that Require the Slide-in Truck Camper to be Titled:

  1. Idaho
  2. Kentucky
  3. Michigan
  4. Mississippi
  5. Montana
  6. Nevada
  7. Ohio
  8. Oregon
  9. Tennessee
  10. Washington
  11. Wisconsin

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About Mello Mike 337 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure Magazine. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a Jeep and truck camper enthusiast, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. He currently drives a 2013 Ram 3500 with a 2016 Northstar Laredo solar powered truck camper mounted on top. He enjoys college football, hiking, travel, off-roading, photography, and fishing. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years and now works as a project manager for a major banking and security firm. He also does some RV consulting and RV inspections on the side.

35 Comments

  1. Correction to your listing – Montana requires pickup camper title but NOT registration. Here’s an excerpt from the state of MT website:

    Registration: General Information
    Under state law, all motor vehicles including motor homes; motorcycles and quadricycles; travel trailers; utility trailers; all-terrain vehicles; sailboats over 12 feet in length; motorboats, jet skis and other motorized vessels; and snowmobiles must be registered with the state. Pickup campers are an exception—they must be titled, but are not registered.

      • Hi Mike, I have lived in WA ST. most of my life. I bought my first used camper in 1990. It came with no license, but had a title of ownership. Used it on my truck for 5 years. My second camper, I bought at a lot used, it too had a title of ownership, it had no license. I had this on my truck for ver ten years. My third camper came with a title and license. I bought from a private party as I did my first camper. The license had tabs and were good for another six months.

        When the tabs expired I went to the DMV to ask if having a license and tabs were optional. Afer all I drove around with my last two camper without tabs or license for over fifteen years and nothing was ever said! I not only got a song and dance, but was threatened with mayhem, all sorts of license violation, prison and fines up the ying-yang. I might be slightly exaggerating, but you get the point. Not only that, I need to display both plate on my camper, because it hangs over the truck plate.

        Case-in-point; I have never seen another Truck and Camper with two plates on the camper even though the truck plate was not visible. I had always assumed the plate on the rear of the camper was that of the truck. I have never seen a plate on a camper that fit completely in the truck bed, only the truck plate.

        Because my truck is high and the legs of the camper will not reach the ground I can not get to the truck plate. I just put the new truck tabs in the glove compartment. Now I need to figure out a way to remove the truck plate and mount it on my camper. I took it to an RV lot, they wanted $120 an hour to get the plate. Any suggestions?

  2. Kentucky has always required a title for TC, but that law was never enforced. Unfortunately, I found out in May of 2017 that they will begin to enforce this law in the state of Kentucky. You will have to title, but not tag or register, if you are a Kentucky resident. According to the DMV in Frankfurt, they are not backdating this, but only enforcing it going forward.

  3. Indiana does not require, nor can you get a tag for your truck camper. Either you must move the plate back and forth or you can follow Doyle Crews suggestion and duplicate a copy. You can obtain a voluntary registration/title for your TC, but, it comes without a plate. I ran into this a couple of years ago when trading in my previous TC. I have re-verified this information with both the Indiana Bureau of motor vehicles and the Indiana state police.
    Steve

  4. Hi Mike;
    I have a Calif registered truck with old TC (1970’s) no reg, no title…How safe is it to travel thru states where
    Reg and/or Title is required???

    Thanx Joe

  5. My husband purchased a truck camper years ago in a state where titles are not required, however we now live in Michigan and apparently one is needed here. Does anyone know how you obtain a new one? We would like to trade/sell but not having a title seems to be causing an issue.

  6. Dear Mike, congratulations for your nice truck camper site.
    My name is Takashi, I live in Brazil.
    I'm planningo to go to Central and North América and travel in the USA during one year.
    I would like to know if I must register may pop up Truck Camper in all States where I'll go.
    Thanks so much.

  7. After seeing Missouri needs registration for truck campers on your list I called the state DMV & I can tell you that there is no titling or registration on a truck camper in Missouri. For extra measure I called the state highway patrol & he came up w/nothing specifically on truck campers in the statutes just travel trailers/5th wheels. This draws the conclusion that Missouri doesn't recognize a truck camper as an rv but rather cargo in the truck bed.

  8. there is one big fall back with campers when you trade it in to a dealer in a state that requires a tiltle you have to have the original mso so it can be resold and titled so be careful with used campers in states that do not title them

  9. I am new to truck campers. What do you do in the situation if you live in none of these states and travel there or through them? Does this only apply if your truck is registered in the particular state requiring registration?

  10. Kentucky does not require you to license or register a truck camper. You do not have to license a travel trailer either unless you pull out of state.
    Only thing (camper related) you have to license in KY is a motor home, as it moves under its own power. Again unless you pull out of state, but even then a truck camper does not require anything as its the same as a truck topper…

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