The best selling vehicle in America for over 40 years, the Ford F150 is an outstanding choice when it comes to hauling a light truck camper on a half-ton pickup truck. But before you buy, it’s extremely important to know what the truck is rated for when it comes to payload. Why is the payload rating so important when buying a truck camper? Because the payload rating tells you how much weight you can safely carry without overloading your truck. The weight rating includes passengers, your camper, and cargo—basically everything not permanently attached to your truck.
Unfortunately, finding Ford’s payload and GVWR ratings online can be a chore and very time consuming. Sure, you can quickly find the maximum payload rating for an Ford F150 regular cab long-bed model, but very few consumers go that route. Most go with the short-bed super cab or crew cab model. Fortunately, Truck Camper Adventure has done the research for you. Now you can find all of these ratings in one, easy-to-read location. In order to streamline the payload information presented in our chart, only Ford’s XLT trim is presented with one engine choice though various options including drivetrain (2WD, 4WD, and AWD) and bed-size are presented to help buyers make the right choice.
2023 Ford F150
Ford offers a smorgasbord of engine choices in 2023. The choices include a twin-turbocharged 2.7L V8, a 3.3L V6, a 5.0L V8, a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 with a hybrid option, and a 3.0L V6 diesel. Ford also offers an EV version called the Lightning. These power plants are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission with your choice of one of four rear axles, including a 3:15, a 3:31, a 3:55, or a 3:73. Even though we’re intrigued with the new 3.5L V6 hybrid that offers a 700-mile driving range per tank and a 7,200 watt onboard generator to keep the lights in your camper on, we recommend the 5.0L V8 that generates 395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque to haul a truck camper.
Due to the excessive weight of the F150, Ford’s payload ratings are a mixed bag. A crew cab XLT model with 4WD and 6.75-foot bed gets you a lowly 1,731-pound payload, while a regular cab XLT with 2WD and an 8-foot bed nets a class-leading 3,325 pounds of payload. For off-road excursions in a light truck camper, we recommend going with the Tremor rather than the Raptor because of the latter’s awful payload rating. In comparison, the Tremor offers a much-better, 2,102-pound payload that still includes size-33 all-terrain tires, an upgraded suspension, and a locking rear differential. Of course, the only negative going with a Ford is the taller cab that requires some kind of riser in the bed to keep the camper from touching the top of the cab.
- Base price: $38,310
- Powertrain: 5.0L V8, 10-speed automatic transmission
- Max payload: 3,325 pounds
- Max towing: 14,000 pounds w/3.5L V6 and max tow package
A Warning About Options
When it comes to payload, options can either hurt or help a truck’s rating. As a truck camper owner, you should always opt for the “maximum payload” or “max tow package” as this maximizes payload. As for other options, however, choose wisely. Yes, having a diesel engine is great for climbing mountains and raising your testosterone, but it’s also heavier. This means less payload—not to mention more emission hassles—for you. Ditto for 4WD. That feature, while great for driving on rough roads, sand, and snow, isn’t so great for your payload rating—the typical 4WD drivetrain weighs 300 pounds more that the 2WD version. Think twice about getting that spacious crew cab as well. That larger cab outweighs a standard cab by roughly 350 pounds. For a half-ton truck, that increase in weight is huge. Oh, and if you’re thinking about buying a Ford F150 Lightning to haul a truck camper, DON’T. Even though the EV truck offers a surprisingly high payload rating, the range is simply too limited when hauling a heavy load like a truck camper. You’ll be spending several hours a day just to keep your truck charged.