Of all the questions we get, the most commonly asked is can my half-ton pickup truck haul a hard-side truck camper with a wet bath? Most of the time we tell them, no. Why? Because most half-ton pickup trucks lack the requisite payload to haul a hard-side truck camper. In fact, if you were to look at the payload ratings for today’s Ford F150, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, and GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevy Silverado 1500 short-bed trucks, most would fall under 2,100 pounds. Sure, you might find an F150 4×4 with a payload rating around 2,800 pounds, but those are few and far between. To get anything around a 3,200-pound payload, you’ll need to get a Ford F150 long-bed, single cab pickup, one of the ugliest trucks in the market. Still, today’s half-ton trucks have fairly decent payload ratings, if you get the right options. In this article, we rank the 8 best truck campers for half-ton F150-1500 trucks.
Truth be told, when it comes to hauling a truck camper, we actually recommend doing it with a more capable one-ton truck, but this isn’t always practical. Many half-ton truck owners have already paid-off their trucks and don’t want to invest in something bigger, heavier, and more expensive. Fortunately, truck camper manufacturers know this and have done their homework by building a wide variety of campers that are both lightweight and capable. Remember, you saw this comprehensive, well-researched list here first, well before Internet copycats with nearly identical lists publish theirs. So without further adieu, and ranked in order, let’s take a look at the 8 best truck campers for half-ton Ford F150, Ram 1500, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra 1500, and Toyota Tundra pickups.
1. Lance 650
When it comes to luxury and comfort for today’s half-ton pickup, nothing compares with the Lance 650. Indeed, the F-150 and Lance 650 combination is so luxurious and easy to drive, it remains one of Cruise America’s most popular rental RVs. The Lance 650 is one of our favorites as well. Not only does it provide a north-south queen bed and a full size wet bath with a sink, but it also features a large kitchen and a dinette long enough to sleep an adult. With standard equipment, the Lance 650 weighs just 1,700 pounds dry and 1,903 pounds wet. It has a floor length of 6 feet 10 inches long and offers a spacious 6 feet 9 inches of interior height. The tank sizes of this short-bed camper are excellent with 22 gallons fresh, 15 gallons grey, and 16 gallons black. We’re also big fans of Lance’s new exterior one-piece TPO nose cap, which gives the camper a sleek and aerodynamic look, the on-demand tankless water heater, the Battle Born lithium battery upgrade, and Lance’s new Easy Charge exterior charging center for quick battery charging. Versatile enough to fit on both 6.5-foot and 5.5-foot pickup trucks and a great little camper, the Lance 650 offers everything you could possibly want except for the excessive weight. Still, many F-150s will need to have the suspension upgraded and have higher rated wheels and tires installed to haul this luxury hotel around—unless, of course, the truck is already equipped with the heavy-duty payload package. We also recommend getting the 5.0L V8 for extra climbing power. The base MSRP for the Lance 650 is $49,032. Available at top dealerships nationwide.
2. NuCamp Cirrus 620
NuCamp’s first attempt at building a true half-ton capable truck camper in 2019 failed with the company releasing the now defunct Cirrus 720 for 3/4-ton trucks instead. But where the Cirrus 720 failed, the brand-new Cirrus 620 succeeds. The Cirrus 620 weighs only 1,491 pounds dry making it an excellent payload match for most half-ton pickups. The floorplan features a refrigerator and a hideaway Thetford swivel cassette toilet on the driver side, a small kitchenette on the passenger side, and a small dinette and north-south queen size bed up front. The interior height is a shade over 6 feet 4 inches. Unfortunately, nuCamp designers were unable to shoe-horn a wetbath into the camper’s diminutive 5-foot 9-inch floorplan though you can take a shower outside using the company’s excellent Nautilus Water Management System. Standards include a 2.3 cubic foot DC compressor refrigerator, a 19-gallon fresh water holding tank, a 15-gallon grey water holding tank, the all-in-one Alde hydronic water heater and furnace, the Froli Modular Sleep System, one 5 gallon propane tank, a 210 watt solar power system, and a vented battery compartment large enough to hold two group-24 batteries. The general shape of the camper is very reminiscent of the popular and much larger Cirrus 820 model, though you won’t find anything like the 820’s rear bumper and entry steps on this model. Easily one of the 8 best truck campers for half-ton F150-1500 trucks. The nuCamp Cirrus 620 truck camper lists for a $44,014. Available at top dealerships nationwide.
3. Scout Olympic 6.5
A revolutionary truck camper design by Washington-based Adventurer Manufacturing, the Scout Olympic 6.5 incorporates a number of portables to save on weight. These portables include a removable Dometic CFX3 75L refrigerator-freezer with WiFi, a 4.9-gallon removable water tank, a removable dining table, a Yeti Goal Zero 1500x lithium battery pack, and a removable propane cooktop. Standard features include a 175 watt flexible solar panel, a moon roof with a screen and solar reflective shade, a four-person dinette with sleeper conversion, and dual 5-pound propane bottles. The best options include a Thetford Cassette Toilet, a Newport Real Flame 4,500 BTU propane fireplace, and a Rhino Rack Batwing Awning. Particularly noteworthy, is that the Scout Olympic can sleep up to six people when you include the optional roof-top tent, an unheard of number for a truck camper let alone a camper this size. With a dry weight of only 1,081 pounds and an floor length of 6 feet 2 inches, the Scout Olympic works well with any short-bed, half-ton truck. Interested in a long-bed model? The company has that angle covered too with the Scout Kenai, which features a floor length of 7 feet 7 inches and a dry weight of 1,265 pounds. The starting price for the Scout Olympic base model is an affordable $23,990.
4. Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XL
A super lightweight hard-side from a brand new company, Soaring Eagle. The Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XL weighs only 1,200 pounds dry (1,700 pounds wet) and is made especially for half-ton trucks like the Toyota Tundra. Featuring an aluminum frame and fiberglass walls, the shape of the Adlar 6.5XL is aerodynamic, and this, along with the low weight, means the camper with acheive excellent fuel mileage on the highways. The “XL” variant of the Adlar features a roomy cab-over bed area and increased ceiling height offering more living space. Standards include a 30-inch wide dinette, a 44×80″ cabover sleeping area, passenger side and driver side counter tops, and a large wardrobe, while additional storage can be found in the dinette seats as well as in the passenger-side overhead cabinet. Additional features of the Soaring Eagle Adlar 6.5XL, include a portable toilet, durable diamond vinyl flooring, a microwave, underfloor storage, window blinds, and LED ceiling lights. Options include a north-south pull-out bed which expands the main bed to 80-inces in length, a low-amp draw air conditioner, a MaxxAir 12 volt fan with rain sensor, a Blackstone Griddle, 160 watt and 320 watt solar power packages, a 100 amp hour lithium battery, a Dometic CFF35 DC compressor refrigerator, electric jacks, quick-detach jacks and more. The camper features the bare essentials to camp comfortably off-grid, meaning no fresh or grey water holding tanks nor a wet-bath, just a portable toilet. Sold from select dealerships nationwide for an incredibly low MSRP of $19,500.
5. Adventurer 80RB by Adventurer Mfg
The Adventurer 80RB is unique in that it’s the only camper in this survey that fits on both short-bed and long-bed pickup trucks. While the holding tanks in the 80RB are fairly small with 15 gallons fresh, 6 gallons gray, and 6 gallons black, this low-profile, wood-framed camper has everything else you need to boondock comfortably, including a nicely equipped wet bath and a kitchen with a 4-cubic foot refrigerator. Perhaps the most striking aspect about this 1,762-pound camper is its attractive and roomy interior. The cherry cabinets with the fully radiused corners and the stainless steel appliances and accents give the interior a modern, residential feel. We’re also fans of the 42×68-inch dinette, which features a flip-out sofa that can be converted into a full-length bed. However, there are some issues with the camper’s design and 8-foot floor length, the biggest being the rear overhang when mounted on a short-bed truck. A rear wrap with side storage boxes would solve the problem with the looks and increase the storage capacity of the camper, but unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer side storage boxes as an option. Obviously, the 8-foot floor length and center of gravity of the Adventurer 80RB precludes it from being mounted on a 5-foot 5-inch mini short-bed truck. A great little camper, the MSRP for the Adventurer 80RB is only $29,470. Sold at select dealerships nationwide.
6. Cube Series Hard-Side Pop-Up
A cabless model and another hybrid design from Cube Series RV, a brand-new company based out of Oregon. What sets the Cube Series camper apart from most, is that it’s both a hard-side AND a pop-up. Collapsed, the camper is only 52 inches high, meaning it will fit in most garages even while mounted on the truck. One thing that sets the Cube Series apart from the competition is the basement where the furnace, the holding tanks, and most of the electronics can be found. This approach saves of topside space and keeps the weight down low, thus improving the off-road handling characteristics of the camper even more. Depending on options, the dry weight of the Cube Series camper varies between 1,206 to 1,750 pounds, meaning it can be hauled on a half-ton truck like the Ford F150 with no problem. The camper features an automated, 12 volt roof lift system that makes setup quick and easy. The entire set-up process takes about 60 seconds and provides 6 feet 5 inches of height inside. The Cube Series camper features 100 percent aluminum cabinetry, thermo-foil counter tops, synthetic leather upholstery, an opposing dinette that converts into a 75-inch sleeper, a two-burner range and sink with a glass top, LED lighting, and 110 volt outlets and 12 volt USB ports. Amenities include 21 gallons of fresh water, 10 gallons grey, a 1.7 gallon 12 volt water heater, a 16,000 BTU furnace, Torklift Stow N- Go Steps, an AGM battery, an electric water pump, and a battery monitoring system. Pricing starts at $43,090.
7. Travel Lite Up Country 775
Travel Lite RV recently revamped its entire lineup by offering two new truck camper brands: the Up Country for full-size trucks and the Atom for mid-size trucks. Travel Lite also upped the game by eliminating wood and staples and going with a composite structure and aluminum trussed roof. The Travel Lite Up Country 775 is probably the best-equipped model for a half-ton with a floor length of 7 feet 4 inches and a dry weight of only 1,722 pounds. The 775 floor plan features a front dinette with a kitchen on the driver side and a wet-bath and refrigerator on the driver side. Standard features include a 13 gallon fresh water holding tank, one group-27 battery, a 200 watt solar power system, one 20 pound propane tanks, a stainless steel sink, a free standing table, a Shur-Flo water pump, a 40 amp converter, and a DC compressor refrigerator. Additional standards include a two-burner stainless steel stove, a stainless steel microwave, a 20,000 BTU furnace, an outdoor spray port, and detachable electric jacks. Only one option is offered, a 13.5k BTU air conditioner, but, hey, for a small camper as well equipped as this one, you don’t need much more. Easily one of the 10 best truck campers for half-ton trucks, the MSRP for the Travel Lite Up Country 775 is $34,993.
8. Capri Lone Star
With a dry weight of only 1,235 pounds, Texas-based Capri took a page out of Scout Camper’s design book, by building its own modular truck camper called the Lone Star. This modular approach to truck camper construction saves on weight through nine optional add-ons that can be used either inside or outside the camper. These modular add-ons include a Dometic CFX3 55L refrigerator-freezer, a Yeti Goal Zero 1500x lithium battery pack, a Camco Wave-3 catalytic heater, a Duxtop 1,800 watt induction cooktop, a RinseKit 3.5 gallon fresh water tank, a Geek Aire Portable Fan, Rieco-Titan manual jacks, and a Dometic 976 Porta Pottie. Standard features include a four dual pane thermal windows with screens, a Renogy 175 watt solar panel, a Lagun rotating table, a 5-gallon propane canister, R11 insulation, a fiberglass-lined storage locker that can be accessed either inside or outside the camper, and a dinette that can be converted into a 43×80-inch bed. The Lone Star features a “universal” fit that allows it to fit on any short-bed half-ton pickup truck. Like all Capri Campers, the Lone Star is constructed of wood and features Capri’s trademarked diamond pattern aluminum exterior that can be ordered in grey only. Available only from the Capri factory with no additional changes, modifications, or add-ons allowed. A terrific little camper with the right amount of weight, the Capri Lone Star lists for a very affordable $15,995 for the base model. Add-ons cost extra.
9. AT Overland Aterra Topper
A brand-new release by our friends at AT Overland and the only truck topper that made the cut. The Aterra Topper is unique in that it’s the only super lightweight topper shell that features a standing room, hard-top rather than a traditional canvas pop-top. The topper, of course, is based upon AT Overland’s popular Aterra XL flatbed camper. “Basically what we did was took our Aterra XL, sliced the bottom off, altered it up a bit, and turned it into a topper using our composite technology, and came out with a cool, sort of toyhauler with a garage scenario,” said Mario Donovan, AT Overland co-founder and CEO. “The idea was that if you’re a motorcyclist, like me, you can actually get your motorcycle into this space, but it’s also wide enough for an ATV.” The Aterra topper weighs only 510 pounds and will fit any full-size truck with a 6.5-foot bed like the Ford F150, Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra. Like the Aterra XL, the Aterra topper features a durable honeycomb composite shell with the classic Aterra shape. The topper’s large rear opening liftgate provides enough clearance to load a motorcycle or ATV into the truck bed. The lockable liftgate opens to 90 degrees and provides shading over the truck tailgate when open. The Aterra Topper also features a king-size bed with a 3-inch thick upholstery foam mattress, four Tern Overland double-pane windows each equipped with roller blinds and solar screens, LED strip lighting, USB and 12 volt power points, and a single 185 watt solar panel compatible with portable power stations like those made by National Luna and Jackery. The base price for the Aterra Topper starts at $20,500. For more information, visit the AT Overland website at www.atoverland.com.
10. Capri Cowboy
Another cabless model that made the list, Texas-based Capri Campers has carved a niche for itself by catering to the American rodeo circuit, which makes the Capri Cowboy name even more appropriate. But you don’t have to be a cowboy to like this particular camper. Standard features include a 48×80-inch east-west bed, a dedicated 12 volt battery system, a Fan-tastic Vent, three overhead cabinets, three windows, wood grain flooring, multiple interior and exterior 110 volt AC outlets, and a 12 volt charging station. One of Capri’s best options is what the company calls the “Cowboy Premium Package,” which includes a Polar Cub 9,200 air conditioner, an AC/DC compressor refrigerator, a hand-pump sink, manual jacks, and blackout shades. Other worthwhile options include an exterior shower, a furnace, and the “Sink and Faucet,” upgrade, which comes with a stainless steel sink with chrome faucet assembly, a 10 gallon fresh water holding tank, a 4-gallon DSI water heater, a 12 volt water pump, and 5-gallon propane tank. All Capri campers feature an attractive, diamond pattern aluminum exterior that can be ordered in 10 different exterior base colors with different colored accents and stripes. The company also offers three different interior wood paneling options for its campers—Weathered Cedar, Ridge Pine, and Pecan. A great little camper, the only real negative with the non-cabover design is its 5-foot interior height—meaning you’ll need to watch your head. One of the 8 best truck campers for half-ton F150-1500 trucks. Sold factory direct, the base model of the Capri Cowboy is only $11,995 and weighs only 750 pounds dry.
Read This Before You Buy
Before purchasing your camper, make sure your half-ton truck can handle the extra weight. When it comes to hauling a truck camper, the payload rating trumps all other performance numbers including horsepower, fuel-mileage, and torque. For a Ford F-150 with the heavy-duty payload package, this rating can be a low as 1,844 pounds or as high as 3,270 pounds. This means the camper you buy, plus passengers and gear, must be below this number. Determining the payload rating of your truck is easy. It can be found either on the driver side door jamb sticker (pictured here) or can be determined by taking the truck to the scales and subtracting the weight of the truck from the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). You’ll also need to ensure that the wheels and suspension are up to the task of hauling a camper. This is because only a small number of factory half-ton trucks are made to do it. One 4×2 Ford F-150 SuperCrew that we recently looked at illustrates this shortcoming with a mediocre 1,760-pound payload and ill-equipped p-spec (passenger-rated) tires (see photo). In order for this truck to carry more weight, light truck (LT) load range C or D wheels and tires and a set of Hellwig LP-25 Helper Springs at a minimum will be needed. Aftermarket suspension mods like these won’t officially increase your truck’s payload rating, but they will make hauling your camper easier and a whole lot safer. Of course, some of these changes might not be needed if your truck is already equipped with a “heavy-duty payload package.”
Interested in a pop-up truck camper for your half-ton truck instead? Then you’ll want to check out our top eight pop-up truck campers here.