8 Best Truck Campers for 1/2-Ton F150-1500 Trucks

Truck Camper Adventure Ranks the Best!

Wrapped Lance 650 mounted on a Nissan Frontier.

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, Nissan Frontier, 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 F150-1500 trucks:

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 $23,738. Available at top dealerships nationwide.

2. Loki Icarus 6

A brand-new entry from a relative new company. The Icarus 6 is built by Loki Basecamp, a Canadian manufacturer. This is a quality camper that features an amazing attention to detail and true four-season capability. Loki offers two sizes: the Icarus 6 for short-bed full-size trucks and the Icarus 8 for long-bed full-size trucks. The Icarus 6 floorplan offers a complete kitchen on the driver side and a bench dinette on the passenger side, including a storage compartment for a portable toilet. The 6.5-foot camper offers Loki’s trademark rear double-door with a pull-down screen to keep the bugs out, R16 insulation, overhead storage, an air compressor, a DC compressor refrigerator, insulated walls, heated floors, and a Webasto furnace and water heater. The holding tanks are decent too with a 15-gallon fresh tank, a 4.2-gallon water heater, and a 13-gallon grey tank. The camper uses a portable toilet so no black tank is included. The electrical system in the Icarus 6 is practically identical to the Icarus 8. We were blown away with the off-grid electrical system in the Icarus 8 and feared that Loki’s might downsize the system, but fortunately, that didn’t happen. The 6.5-foot floorplan of the Icarus 6 offers the same 600 amp hour lithium battery bank, 2,000 watt inverter, 270 watt solar power system, Redarc RedVision Total Management System, and Autoclima 12 volt air conditioner as the Icarus 8. Like the Icarus 8, the smaller Icarus still offers a quality, space-age interior with a Tern Overland roof hatch and insulated side windows plus front cabover windows reminiscent of something you’d see in Star Wars. Weighs 2,000 pounds fully loaded. The Loki Basecamp Icarus 6 lists for $69,000.

3. NuCamp Cirrus 620

NuCamp’s first attempt at building a true half-ton capable truck camper in 2019 failed with the company releasing the excellent 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 $38,591. Available at top dealerships nationwide.

4. Scout Olympic 6.5

A revolutionary approach to truck camper design by Yakima, Washington-based Adventurer Manufacturing, the Scout Olympic incorporates a number of industry-first add-ons to save on weight. These removable add-ons include a roof-top pop-up tent, that increases the sleeping capacity by two, a 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 Renogy 160 watt 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. With a dry weight of only 1,133 pounds, the Scout Olympic 6.5 was designed for today’s half-ton pickup truck, including the Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra, Chevy Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500. The Olympic supports four-season travel with an optional Newport Real Flame 4,500 BTU propane fireplace and standard robust insulation. The camper will last for generations thanks to the camper’s rugged aluminum, exo-skeleton framing and no-wood composite structural panels that will never rot. Particularly noteworthy, is that the Scout Olympic can sleep up to six people when you include the roof-top tent, an unheard of number for a truck camper let alone a camper built for a half-ton truck. Interested in a long-bed model for a half-ton truck like the Ford F150? The company has that angle covered too with the Scout Kenai, which features a floor length of 7.6 feet, a dry weight of 1,370 pounds, and a Thetford cassette toilet. The starting price for the Scout Olympic base model is only $19,980.

5. 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 a tremendous amount of 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.

6. Northstar Liberty

Northstar Liberty - Half-ton truck camper - Truck Camper Adventure

Designed to fit on both regular short-bed and mini short-bed half-ton pickup trucks, and loaded with features, the Northstar Liberty is a winner. According to Northstar, the Liberty is basically a whittled down version of the company’s popular Arrow 8.5 model without the rear overhang. The Liberty floorplan features an L-shape dinette forward, a large and spacious kitchen, a wet bath with a Thetford cassette toilet, and a north-south queen size bed. This low profile camper, with 6 feet 4 inches of headroom, provides a surprising amount of storage for a half-ton camper, including the capacity for two 5-gallon propane tanks and two AGM batteries. With a 20-gallon fresh water tank, a 13-gallon gray water tank, a 6-gallon water heater, and a removable 5-gallon cassette for the black water, the holding tanks are fairly large, too. In an industry first, the Liberty can now be ordered with a flip-out top bunk that extends partially into the cabover. Even with all that the Liberty offers, the camper still weighs only 1,775 pounds dry and is a consistent top seller for the company. Like all Northstar truck campers, the Liberty’s frame and walls are constructed entirely of wood. One of the 8 best truck campers for half-ton F150-1500 trucks. The only real negative is the Liberty’s dated oak interior—a interior facelift is badly needed in all Northstar campers. MSRP for the base unit is $24,115.

7. Capri Retreat

Based out of Bluff Dale, Texas, Capri Campers makes an excellent, lightweight, no-frills style of truck camper that’s ideal for today’s half-ton pickup. Built entirely of wood and wrapped in aluminum, Capri campers can be ordered as either a lightweight shell with a bed, or completely decked out. One of the Capri’s most popular options it what the company calls “The Works,” which includes a Polar Cub 9,200 air conditioner, a shower, a 30-gallon fresh water holding tank, a two-way Dometic 3-cubic foot refrigerator, 4-gallon DSI water heater, a microwave, a cooktop, a sink and faucet, an audio/video package, a 12 volt electrical system, a dinette table, manual jacks, and blackout shades. Single options can also be ordered, including a Fantastic Vent Fan, a furnace, porta pottie, remote operated electric jacks, and a large dinette window. All Capri campers feature an attractive, diamond pattern aluminum exterior that can be ordered in 10 different base colors with different colored accents and stripes. The company also offers four different interior wood paneling options—Cypress, Weathered Cedar, Ridge Pine, and Pecan—and can be ordered in different bed lengths, including 8-foot, 6.5-foot, and 5.5-foot truck bed lengths. Overall, an excellent, well-built camper. Easily one of the 8 best truck campers for half-ton F150-1500 trucks. A Capri Retreat with the options listed above, including “The Works,” retails for $21,845 and weighs 1,750 pounds dry.

8. Capri Cowboy

The only 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 $7,995 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.

About Mello Mike 728 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, he retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, worked in project management, 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. - KK7TCA

5 Comments

  1. My wife and I just bought a 2022 Dodge Ram Big Foot. The max load weight is 1700 lbs. My wife wants a wet bath in the slide in we will buy. Which one do you recommend and will we need air lifts?

  2. You completely left off a whole segment of truck campers that would fit your criteria …pop up truck campers like Hallmark, Four Wheel Campers to mention just a couple…

    • Because they don’t make a camper light enough for a half-ton pickup. They used to, but not anymore. Check out next week’s article, you’ll be very interested.

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