10 Best Flatbed Truck Campers for Overlanding and Off-Road Exploration

A Ram 3500-Four Wheel Camper Flatbed Hawk maneuvering off-road. (courtesy Gary Matos)

There’s no doubt about it. The flatbed truck camper is here to stay. Not only is the flatbed truck camper larger and more spacious than the standard slide-in truck camper, but it also offers more interior floor space and storage. Towing and entry in a flatbed camper with a side entry is much easier too. Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is the aluminum or steel flatbed tray upon which the camper rests. This custom tray can include all kinds of implements like lockable storage boxes, additional batteries, a spare tire mount, an air compressor, and extra holding tanks to increase the range of your rig even more. The choices and options are almost limitless. Because of these benefits, the flatbed camper has experienced an explosion in popularity recently with several companies offering their own unique model for overlanding. The choices and costs of these flatbed campers vary quite a bit. Remember, you saw this comprehensive, well-researched list here first, well before Internet copycats with nearly identical lists publish theirs. So without further adieu, here are the 10 best flatbed truck campers for overlanding and for off-road exploration:

[Updated: March 2024]

1. Nimbl Vehicles Evolution

The best of the best. Originally sold under the XPCamper V1 name, this cutting-edge camper was upgraded and recently relaunched as the Nimbl Vehicles Evolution. With its carbon fiber reinforced monocoque clam-shell structure and hydraulic roof lift, the Evolution isn’t your typical flatbed pop-up. The layout features an east-west 60×77-inch queen-size bed with underbed storage, a large kitchen, a wet-bath with a Thetford cassette toilet, a large dinette, and 6 feet 6 inches of headroom. Standards include a diesel furnace and diesel water heater, an 80-gallon fresh water holding tank, a 24-gallon grey water waste tank, a Battle Born 200 amp hour LiFePO4 battery system, a dual-burner induction cooktop, a 2,000 watt inverter/charger, a DC compressor refrigerator, a two-stage water filtration system, and a 380 watt solar power system. Options of the 2,500-pound camper include an 8,000 BTU DC air conditioner, an additional 190 watt solar panel for a total of 570 watts of solar, a composting toilet, an LED UV water sterilizer system, a 2,200 watt auxiliary generator, roof storage racks, an exterior shower, and a 400 amp hour LiFePO4 battery system. Using Nimbl’s very own aluminum tray, the Evolution can be mounted either on your one-ton chassis or an a brand-new Ford F-350 chassis equipped with the 7.3L V8 “Godzilla” gasoline engine. The Nimbl Vehicles Evolution lists for $269,000, which includes the custom tray and Ford chassis, or for $199,000 using your own chassis.

2. Four Wheel Camper Flatbed Hawk

Based out of Woodland, California, Four Wheel Campers builds one of the best, most durable pop-up campers in the industry. With its narrow girth and angled rear kick back, the Flatbed Hawk is completely at home in the extreme off-road environment. The camper is only 59 inches high with the pop-up down, weighs a paltry 1,325 pounds dry, and only 2,100 pounds fully loaded. Highlights include an east-west 72×78-inch bed, a small kitchenette, an Isotherm 1.7 cubic foot three-way refrigerator, and a large dinette in the rear. Popular options include a Wrappon 12 volt portable toilet, a dual battery box with Battle Born lithium batteries, an indoor shower, an Isotherm 65, 85, or 130 liter DC compressor refrigerator, several exterior color choices, and an excellent 320 watt solar power option to extend your time off-grid. The only real negative with the Flatbed Hawk is the small size of the fresh water holding tank—it’s only 20 gallons—but this capacity can easily be expanded by installing another fresh water tank in the flatbed. Can be ordered in numerous colors in either ribbed or smooth aluminum. Pricing for the Flatbed Hawk starts at a very affordable $37,900. Four Wheel Campers is also a partner and US distributor for Australia’s Norweld aluminum trays. Without a doubt, one of the 10 best flatbed truck campers for overlanding and off-road exploration. A Norweld Weekender Edition tray with boxes, and shown here, can be purchased for only $12,199 for a full-size, short-bed truck.

3. AT Overland Aterra XL

Engineered by David Soza of Tern Overland and collaboratively built by AT Overland, the Aterra XL features an innovative, lightweight fiber reinforced thermoplastic honeycomb composite construction as well as Tern Overland acrylic windows and hatches and doors. With a dry weight of only 1,100 pounds dry, the AT Overland Aterra XL was designed specifically for full-size trucks with the requisite payload rating including, half-ton, 3/4-ton, and one-ton pickup and cab chassis trucks with 6.5-foot and 8-foot or longer flatbed trays. With a floorlength of 6-feet 5-inches, the Aterra will universally fit any 80×80-inch tray, including those made by SherpTek, Overland Explorer Vehicles, and Alum-lite. The flatbed camper features a side-door on the passenger side with a rear dinette, a driver side kitchenette, and a 78×60-inch queen-size mattress cushioned with the excellent Froli Travel Sleep System. The features a comfortable living space with convenient and practical storage solutions that include 10 Step 22 Stingray Cabinet Storage Cubes, two Step 22 Stingray Cabinet Storage Half Cubes, three under-bed storage drawers, three hidden under-bed compartments, a wardrobe closet, and dinette seat storage. Standard features of this full-size flatbed include a 20-pound propane tank, a 30 gallon fresh water holding tank, a Wrappon waterless toilet, inside and outside showers, a 105 amp hour lithium battery, a 400 watt solar power system, and a National Luna NLDC 40 amp DC to DC charging system with an integrated MPPT solar charge controller. Without a doubt, one of the 10 best flatbed truck campers for overlanding and off-road exploration. Pricing for the AT Overland Aterra XL starts at $76,000.

4. OEV Hudson Bay 6.75

A quality pop-up from our friends at Overland Explorer Vehicles. The Hudson Bay 6.75 offers a rock solid build using high-quality components and materials. The exterior features composite 1.5 inch panels with steel edging for extra strength and durability while the interior cabinets are made of a durable, powder coated aluminum with attractive polymer doors. The soft walls are fire-rated and insulated for four-season use. The Hudson Bay 6.75 weighs 1,780 pounds dry, is 156 inches long, 84 inches wide, and 82 inches tall with the top open. Standard features of the Hudson Bay include a 38 gallons fresh, a 15 gallon grey water waste tank, a Bullfinch outside shower, a glass top stainless steel sink, a massive 164L DC compressor refrigerator/freezer, a 220 watt solar panel, a Victron 12 volt AGM battery, a cassette toilet, and a Redarc 30 power management system with a DC to DC alternator charger. Buyers have the choice between either the Truma Combi water heater-furnace or the Truma Aqua Go and Truma Vario Heat. The Canadian camper can also be ordered with Overland Explorer Vehicle’s Aluma Tray which comes with four under-deck locking cabinets, a set of folding stairs, a rear bumper, and DOT LED lighting. Without a doubt, one of the 10 best flatbed truck campers for overlanding and off-road exploration. Pricing starts at $70,595, which includes the custom aluminum camper tray and outfitting, while the longer OEV Hudson Bay 8 sells for $71,495.

5. Phoenix Level 2 Flatbed

Colorado-based Phoenix Pop-Up Campers has long been known as a custom truck camper manufacturer, but not anymore. The company has changed its business model to offer specific models instead. The Level 2 Flatbed is the Phoenix’ best flatbed truck camper. The camper features double welded aluminum cage frame, fiberglass siding, a molded aerodynamic front end cap, vinyl flooring, R5 insulation, an electric roof lift, and a queen-size, 5-inch thick mattress with under-bed storage. For those who prefer to camp off-grid, all Phoenix Pop-Up Campers now come with a 100 amp hour lithium battery with a nearly 100 percent usable capacity, a 175 watt solar power system, a a 30 amp converter-charger. Additional features of the Level 2 Flatbed include a 20 gallon fresh water holding tank, a 2.3 cubic foot two-way refrigerator freezer, an internal shower with a Thetford Cassette Toilet, a 20,000 BTU forced-air furnace, a 6-gallon water heater, and three-speed Fantastic Vent 12 volt fan. Ordering a camper from Phoenix Pop-Up Campers has been streamlined. The process starts by using the company’s new “build a camper” feature that makes the process of ordering your camper quick and easy. Phoenix Pop-Up Campers sells factory direct from Commerce City, Colorado only. The company has been building truck campers for five decades. As a matter of fact, the family started Four Wheel Campers in 1972. The Phoenix Pop-Up Camper Level 2 Flatbed starts at $56,025.

6. Alaskan 8.5 Flatbed

The Alaskan 8.5 Cabover is a superb example of a great all-season, overland expedition pop-up. Unlike the traditional pop-up, which has canvas sides, the patented pop-top on an Alaskan camper features a “solid wall” design with a hydraulic mechanism that raises and lowers the entire top of the camper. Inside this well-insulated, long-bed camper you’ll find a gorgeous leather dinette, a wood-paneled ceiling, and attractive maple cabinets. You’ll also find a generous amount of overhead storage and counter top space inside—more than many hard-side models. Standard features in this 1,805-pound camper include a large, 2.5 cubic foot three-way refrigerator, a 5-gallon propane tank, and a 27-gallon fresh water tank. One group-24 battery comes standard, but as many as two can be added as an option. Popular options include a Thetford C-200 swivel cassette toilet, a Zamp 170 watt solar power system, a Truma Combi water heater-furnace, a Suburban 20,000 BTU furnace, and LED lighting. When you buy an Alaskan camper, you’re getting a well-built camper that’s made to last. A classic that only gets better with age, a good number of Alaskan campers built-in the 1960s are still on the road today. The Alaskan 8.5-foot Cabover model goes for $42,700 (additional cost for a flatbed applies). Either a side or rear entry door can be ordered.

7. Rugged Mountain X14

We got a peek at the Rugged Mountain X14 prototype at the Truck Camper Adventure Quartzsite Rally, and to say we were impressed with this palatial flatbed would be an understatement. The X14 borrows much from it’s larger cousin, the Rugged Mountain Denali 3S, with identical tank capacities of 80 gallons fresh, 77 gallons grey, and 35 gallons. It also boasts an electrical system that is just as capable with eight 175-watt solar panels, a 3,000 watt inverter and three Expion360 360 amp hour “Cube” batteries. Unlike the Rugged Mountain Denali 3S, however, you won’t find any slide-outs in this expedition camper. Though with a dry weight reportedly of 4,950 pounds, you’ll still need a Class 5 truck to haul it, meaning you’ll need a Ford F-550/Ram or Chevy 5500. The X14’s layout offers everything you need and nothing you don’t, including a massive rear dinette with a folding coffee table, a large kitchen and shower on the driver side, and an 8 cubic foot refrigerator and dry bath on the passenger side. As you’d expect, storage is also plentiful throughout this expedition camper with loads of interior and exterior compartments and cabinets. Standards include a one-piece molded front cap, residential-quality cabinets, your choice in either an AC or a DC air conditioner, and a residential size four-burner stove/oven with an induction cooktop option. With future showings at the Overland Expos, we fully expect the Rugged Mountain X14 to be a big seller. Look for a detailed story on this StableCamper build soon here at Truck Camper Adventure.

8. OEV High Country Hard-Side

When it comes to overlanding, the Overland Explorer Vehicles (OEV) High Country is our favorite. The construction consists of composite walls and roof, aluminum extrusions for extra strength and durability, dual thermopane acrylic windows with blinds and screens, and powder-coated aluminum cabinets, and R8 insulation. The 9-foot, 5-inch floorplan features a spacious wet-bath, a 51 x 39-inch U-shaped rear dinette with 4-inch cushions, a large kitchen with an induction cooktop and microwave, a large wet-bath, and a north-south queen-size cab over bed. Standards include 38 gallons of fresh water, 15 gallons grey, a C223CS cassette toilet, a 6-inch thick queen-size bed, a bamboo table top, and a stainless steel kitchen sink with W/J-handle faucet. If you’re looking for power, this Canadian import has it all with 640 amp hours of batteries (two Lithonics 320 amp hour batteries), 800 watts of solar, a 2,000 watt inverter, and a DC-DC charger. The climate in the hard-side camper is controlled using a Nomadic 1000 roof-top DC air conditioner and a Truma Combi water heater-furnace. Options of this four-season camper include an OEV rear ladder, OEV Molle racks, a 700 x 500mm roof hatch over the bed, and Reico Titan camper jacks. Without a doubt, one of the 10 best flatbed truck campers for overlanding and off-road exploration. Pricing for the OEV High Country (Fixed Removable) starts at $122,995, which includes the custom aluminum camper tray and outfitting. The High Country (Fixed) sells for $146,175. Sold factory direct.

9. Rugged Mountain Denali 3S

Host’s triple-slide campers used to have the largest holding tanks in the industry, but not anymore. The Rugged Mountain Denali 3S’s holding tanks are even larger with 80 gallons fresh, 77 gallons grey, and 35 gallons black, great for boondocking. While the Denali 3S is a BIG camper, it’s incredibly well-balanced and handles exceptionally well on the road with all of the holding tanks located in the front the camper. Standards for the 5,538-pound camper include a one-piece fiberglass front cap, Rieco Titan remote controlled jacks, a massive exterior slide-out storage drawer, dual 20-pound LP tanks, smooth white interior wall paneling, crown molding and baseboards, acrylic windows with built-in screens and blackout shades, Corian countertops, an 8 cubic foot refrigerator freezer, and a whole lot more including a center island and an optional slide-out bunkbed. While the Denali 3S’s size and accommodations are impressive in their own right, what puts the Denali 3S over the top is the camper’s electrical system that boasts 1,080 amp hours of lithium batteries, six 175-watt solar panels, and a 3,000 watt inverter that can run the camper’s 13,500 BTU air conditioner. Due to the camper’s weight, you’ll want to go with a F-550/5500 outfitted with a heavy-duty flatbed like the one offered by StableCamper. Without a doubt, one of the 10 best flatbed truck campers, the list price for Rugged Mountain Denali 3S is a very affordable $74,900. Sold factory direct.

10. Total Composites Bobcat Shell

Looking for a DIY approach to building a flatbed truck camper? Then a Total Composites Bobcat shell might be just the ticket. The Total Composites catalog consists of two flatbed shell models: the Bobcat, a full-size flatbed for 6.5-foot and 8-foot beds; and the Wolverine, a flatbed with a rear kickback for full-size trucks. The two models can be purchased from a Total Composites build partner with the interior completely outfitted and built or as an empty shell for DIYers. The advantages of building-out your own interior using a camper shell are obvious, the most important being low cost and layout customization. Sure, cookie-cutter floorplans, like those offered by other companies, have their advantages, but being able to tweak a floorplan to make it even better cannot be overlooked. A DIYer can add or delete anything they like or dislike. Yet, Total Composites offers more than just a simple shell with four walls, a roof, and a floor. What really sets Total Composites campers apart from its competitors is its cutting-edge design that completely eliminates condensation. As anyone who has owned an RV or truck camper knows, condensation is an unavoidable part of RV ownership. In cooler weather, moisture forms on windows and walls, which can lead to mildew, mold, rot and corrosion. However, Total Composites has solved this problem with a unique technology that prevents the thermal transfer that causes these issues, keeping its campers dry and comfortable regardless of the temperature outside. Shown here is a Total Composites Bobcat Camper built by Overland Adventure Trucks (OAT). Click here to learn more about this amazing build.

Flatbed Service Tray Options

Your flatbed camper will, of course, require a service tray or flatbed to be mounted on your truck. A few companies, like Nimbl Vehicles and Overland Explorer Vehicles, offer their own service tray with their campers, but most owners will have to have a third party build a custom tray for them. The best of these include Aluma Tray, Bowen Customs, Stablecamper, and SherpTek. All SherpTek truck beds are made from aircraft-grade aluminum, using aerospace construction techniques for the strongest and lightest structure possible. Each bed is custom built to match a customer’s truck and lifestyle, and often weigh less than the OEM truck bed. Each bed is mounted within an 1/2-inch of stock bed height, and comes with modular structural attachment points on top and bottom, so accessories can be added, removed, and swapped at will. SherpTek beds come standard with DOT lighting and fuel fills, and can add up to 60 cubic feet of storage. Pricing, of course, depends on options, but you can get a SherpTek bed like the one used on the Truck Camper Adventure Rig for around $20,000.

About Mello Mike 880 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. A communications expert and licensed ham radio operator (KK7TCA), he retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, holds a BS degree, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side. He currently rolls in a 4WD Ram 3500 outfitted with a SherpTek truck bed with a Bundutec Roadrunner mounted on top.

1 Comment

  1. Would you stop writing about this new stuff? I’m happy with my 3500 dually and Bigfoot 10.4, but the Rugged Mtn. Flatbed and Total Composites box on say a 5500 SRW and liquid springs sound nice! So disappointed not to have won the lottery. My yacht will have to wait as well.

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