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. Here are Truck Camper Adventure’s top 6:
1. Nimbl Vehicles Evolution
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 Battleborn 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. 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 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 Green 12 volt portable toilet, a dual battery box, 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 $25,995. Four Wheel Campers is also a partner and US distributor for Australia’s Norweld aluminum trays. A Norweld Weekender Edition tray with boxes, and shown here, can be purchased for only $11,999 for a full-size, short-bed truck.
3. Hallmark Nevada
Coming in at number three is another impressive flatbed, the Hallmark Nevada. Constructed of a rugged fiberglass composite exterior framed entirely with wood, the Nevada 8.5 was designed with long-term, off-road excursions in mind. It features an east-west 60×80-inch queen size bed, a large wet-bath with a Thetford cassette toilet, a massive dinette, and a large kitchen with plentiful amounts of storage. It’s also equipped with two 27 gallon fresh water tanks, a 12 gallon and a 14 gallon grey water tank, two 20-pound propane tanks, and a battery compartment large enough to house two or three group-27 batteries. We are particularly impressed with the top-quality cabinets, the molded fiberglass countertops, and the molded fiberglass storage area underneath the bed. We also like the desert tan, military-style soft wall fabric used in the pop-up. Hallmark campers come standard with Oak or Amber Bamboo cabinets. Cherry, Blond Bamboo, Maple, and Hickory cabinetry are also available for an additional $1,200. Coosa composite cabinetry is available for an additional $2,000 if it’s wanted. Weighs only 2,400 pounds. Hallmark campers come with a 5-year structural warranty, one of the best in the entire industry. Easily, one of the top 6 flatbed truck campers for overlanding, the base MSRP for the Hallmark Nevada 8.5 is $62,000.
4. 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 good number of Alaskan campers built-in the 1960s are still on the road today. The Alaskan 8.5-foot Flatbed Cabover model goes for $30,069.
5. Bundutec Odyssey
Interested in a semi-custom, flatbed camper with more interior space and storage? Well, Rory Willet at Bundutec builds perhaps the coolest looking flatbed pop-up campers in the industry. Featuring a side-entry and a 12-inch, 45 degree rear kick back, the Odyssey is a brand new design built originally for the Australian market. The 6-foot 9-inch floorplan features a compressor refrigerator in front, a north-south queen-size bed with lift up under-bed storage, a face-to-face dinette in the rear, a kitchenette on the driver’s side, and a Thetford cassette toilet on the passenger side. Standard features of this rugged, wood-framed camper include a 27-gallon fresh water tank, an exterior shower, an exterior slide-out storage tray in the rear, a Dometic 3-cubic foot compressor refrigerator, a stainless steel sink, and window and door screens fine enough to keep out annoying “no-see-ums.” Bundutec offers a host of options, including a Zamp 320 watt solar power system, a dual battery box, and the Truma Combi, the revolutionary water heater furnace that not only saves on weight and space, but is also whisper quiet when in operation. Without a doubt, one of the top 6 flatbed campers for overlanding. The BundutecUSA Odyssey lists for an amazing $24,680, a real bargain when you consider all that you get for the money.
6. Overland Explorer Camp-HBE
The only Canadian-built entry, the Overland Explorer Vehicles Camp-HBE 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 camper weighs 1,550 pounds dry, is 156 inches long, 84 inches wide, and 82 inches tall with the top open. Standard features of the Camp-HBE include a 35 gallon fresh water tank, a 15 gallon grey water waste tank, a Bullfinch outside shower, a glass top stainless steel sink, a 65L DC compressor refrigerator, a 170 watt solar panel, a Victron 12 volt AGM battery, a cassette toilet, and a Redarc 30 power management system. Buyers have the choice between either the Truma Combi water heater-furnace or the Truma Aqua Go and Truma Vario Heat. The camper can also be ordered with Overland Explorer Vehicle’s 400-pound aluminum tray which comes with four under-deck locking cabinets, a set of folding stairs, a rear bumper, and DOT LED lighting. Pricing starts at $59,995, which includes the custom aluminum camper tray and outfitting.
Honorable Mention: Phoenix Pop-Up
Phoenix Pop-up Campers is one of the top builders in the industry. Why not give them a ranking? Because they don’t offer a specific flatbed model to rank. Phoenix Pop-Up Campers is a completely custom builder. Owned by Rob and Cari Rowe, Phoenix Campers has built pop-up (and hard-side) truck campers for every type of truck from German Unimogs and Ford F-550s to Japanese Fusos and Jeep Wranglers. This particular 4×4 flatbed camper, called Terra Ops II, was built for a Ram 2500. The camper was outfitted with a slide-out room for the RV style couch, a 400 watt solar power system, four 6 volt batteries, a 3,000 watt pure sine wave inverter, a microwave, side entry door, a bunk bed, interior shower and cassette toilet, and a crawl through from the cab of the truck to the camper. As you can see, some of these features can’t be found in other makes and models of flatbed truck campers. That’s what makes the company unique. Phoenix Pop-Up Campers deals factory direct from Commerce City, Colorado only. The process starts with an email and a simple wish list. After solidifying the size and features, a purchase order is sent to the prospective buyer. If the buyer is happy with the camper (on paper), the buyer signs the purchase order and delivers a down payment.
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. SherpTek sells one of the best flatbeds in today’s market. 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 basic SherpTek truck bed with a fuel fill, lighting, and flanks for around $10,000.