The payload wars between Ford, Chevy, and Ram have yielded impressive results for today’s consumer. Even the 3/4-ton pickup truck has benefited from these wars with much higher payload ratings. Indeed, most of the gasoline-powered, 3/4-ton trucks rolling off today’s assembly lines have payload ratings in excess of 3,300 pounds. Fortunately, truck camper manufacturers and consumers are reaping the benefits of these higher ratings. Many are building hard-side truck campers light enough to be safely hauled on 3/4-ton trucks like the Ram 2500, Chevy Silverado 2500, and Ford F-250. In this article, we rank the 8 best truck campers for Ford F250 and Ram Chevy GM 2500 trucks.
“Safely” is the key word here. Some truck camper manufacturers say that their hard-side campers can be hauled on a 3/4-ton, but honestly, that’s often not the case. Sure, the dry weight figures they quote in their pamphlets are low enough, but most people I know camp with their campers loaded. This means you have to take into account things like full tanks, batteries, gear, food, and options like air conditioners and solar that were installed after the camper was built. All of this extra “stuff” weighs anywhere between 800 and 1,000 pounds, so a camper with a dry weight of 2,100 pounds will actually weigh around 3,000 pounds fully loaded.
In this article, we rank the best truck campers that can safely be hauled on a 3/4-ton truck. So who makes the best truck camper for a 3/4-ton full-size truck? That’s a great question. We looked at several factors to determine our rankings—build quality, features, and tank capacities. In order to be ranked, each truck camper needed to meet two requirements. First, it needed to weigh less than 3,300 pounds, fully loaded, the maximum payload of most gasoline-powered 3/4-ton trucks. Second, it needed to have a wet bath, a feature desired by most consumers looking for a truck camper in this weight range.
Happily, the eight campers that made our final cut offer the consumer a wide range of choices. Some fit on short-bed trucks only, while others are versatile enough to fit on both short-bed and long-bed trucks. Some have basements, others don’t. Significant differences between the campers are noted here. Due to their excessive weight, truck campers with slide-outs were not included in this ranking. If you’re interested in a truck camper with a slide-out check out this article that ranks the best. Remember, you saw this comprehensive, well-researched list here first, well before Internet copycats with nearly identical lists publish theirs. So without further adieu, let’s take a look at the 8 best truck campers for Ford F250 and Ram Chevy GM 2500 trucks:
1. Lance 825
The hands-down winner and a steady seller at Lance, the Lance 825 provides all of the essentials needed to camp comfortably without the burden of hauling around scale-tipping slide-outs. The dry weight of this aluminum-framed, short-bed truck camper is a svelte 1,832 pounds, making it ideal for most 3/4-ton trucks, even when fully loaded, and some half-tons. The 8-foot 6-inch floor plan of the Lance 825 features a gorgeous interior with cherry-stained cabinets, a north-south queen size bed, a full-size dinette, a well-equipped kitchenette, a large wardrobe, and a small wet-bath with a shower. Standard features include a Dometic three-way 3-cubic foot refrigerator with stainless steel refrigerator panels, a two-burner stainless steel cook-top, an Atwood 18,000 BTU propane fired furnace, a 5-gallon propane tank, and an Atwood 6-gallon water heater. The tank capacities of the Lance 825 are fairly large with 30 gallons fresh, a 13 gallons grey, a 14 gallon black. The best options include a 100 watt roof top solar power system, rear and side awnings, a removable carpet kit, and Lance’s own roof rack system. We’re big fans of Lance’s new exterior one-piece TPO nose cap, which gives the camper a sleek and aerodynamic look, and Lance’s new Easy Charge exterior charging center that allows owners to hook up a portable solar panel or a generator for quick battery charging. Without a doubt, one of the 8 best truck campers for Ford F250 and Ram Chevy GM 2500 trucks. The camper comes with only one group-27 battery box, but the compartment can easily be modified to fit two larger group-31 batteries if desired. The MSRP for the base model is only $23,838. Available at top dealerships nationwide.
2. Bigfoot 15C8.2FR
A superb fiberglass, clam-shell camper built by our Canadian friends up north. Weighing only 2,061 pounds dry, the Bigfoot 15C8.2FR is the company’s smallest and lightest truck camper. But that doesn’t mean this camper is built cheap, quite the opposite, the build quality and fit and finish are top notch, exactly what you’d expect to see in a Bigfoot camper. The 15C8.2FR’s stylish interior features a north-south queen-size bed; a large U-shaped dinette; a well-equipped kitchenette with loads of storage; a massive, two-way 6-cubic foot refrigerator, 6 feet 5 inches of headroom, and a floor length of 8 feet 6 inches. Notable features include a porcelain toilet, an 11,000 BTU air conditioner, a 16,000 BTU propane-fired furnace, two 20-pound propane tanks with an auto change over, a rear awning, and a three-burner propane cooktop. The camper also comes with a number of upgrades, including a battery disconnect switch, an integrated stereo system with interior and exterior speakers, a black tank rinse, accordion-style day-night shades, and thermal pane windows. Easily one of the 8 best truck campers for Ford F250 and Ram Chevy GM 2500 trucks. However, the tank sizes in this camper are a bit on the small side with only a 32-gallon fresh water holding tank, an 11-gallon grey water holding tank, and a 14-gallon black water holding tank. The MSRP of the Bigfoot 15C8.2FR is $30,185.
3. Northstar Laredo SC
When it comes to quality, features, and capacities, the Northstar Laredo SC is a winner. With a dry weight of 2,090 pounds, a floor length of 8.5 feet, and a width of 7 feet, the camper is a perfect match for today’s 3/4-ton truck. The construction features a wood frame with all joints glued and screwed for extra strength. The Laredo’s floorplan features a U-shaped dinette forward, a large and spacious kitchen, a small bathroom, a massive wardrobe, and a north-south queen size bed. Standouts include the Lagun swing away table, a three-way 3.7-cubic foot refrigerator, four thermal pane windows, a 26-inch wide entry door, and a 5-gallon Thetford cassette toilet, a feature we love here at Truck Camper Adventure. Rex Willet, the owner of Northstar Campers, calls the Laredo the “best boondocking camper on the planet.” Hyperbole? Sure, but the Laredo does have excellent tank capacities with a big 39-gallon fresh water tank, a 14-gallon gray water tank, and a compartment large enough to house two 5-gallon propane tanks. The best options include Northstar’s extra insulation package, the heated grey tank, the Dometic 3.7 cubic foot compressor refrigerator, and a 160 watt solar power system. Available for both short-bed and long-bed trucks. The only real negative with the Northstar Laredo SC is its dated oak interior—a facelift is badly needed in all Northstar campers. The MSRP for the base model is only $24,485.
4. Bundutec BunduVry
Truck camper guru, Rory Willett, the owner of the BundutecUSA, likes his campers to stand out in a crowd and this one does. Like all Bundutec truck campers, the BunduVry is constructed of wood and overlayed with a smooth .040-inch aluminum that not only looks great, but also holds up better than standard fiberglass siding. The BunduVry’s 8-foot 3-inch floorplan features a north-south 56×74-inch bed, a large, L-shape dinette and a wardrobe on the driver’s side, and a wetbath and a large kitchenette on the passenger side. Standard features include a 20-gallon fresh water tank, a 7-gallon grey water holding tank, a Thetford cassette toilet, an exterior shower, Dometic Seitz windows, a Dometic 3 cubic foot compressor refrigerator, and window and door screens fine enough to keep out annoying “no-see-ums.” Bundutec offers a plethora of options, including a Zamp 320 watt solar power system, a dual battery compartment, the En-Suite Exterior Shower Enclosure, 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. With a dry weight of 1,900 pounds, the BunduVry fits well on most 3/4-ton trucks and works on either a short-bed or a long-bed. The camper can also be ordered in either grey or white. Easily one of the 8 best truck campers for Ford F250 and Ram Chevy GM 2500 trucks. The list price is only $18,313, a real bargain when you consider all that you get for the money.
5. NuCamp Cirrus 720
The Cirrus 720 continues the NuCamp tradition of building quality, innovative campers with modern, European-styling elements. Made specifically for today’s 3/4-ton truck, the Cirrus 720 is the company’s newest camper. Like all Cirrus campers, the 720 features the Alde hydronic heating system, a whisper-quiet water heater furnace combination unit that saves not only on weight, but also space, and the Froli modular sleep system, an innovative RV mattress spring system that increases comfort and eliminates under mattress condensation. The camper’s 8-foot 3-inch floorplan features a comfortable split dinette in front, a wet-bath with a refrigerator on the driver side, and a kitchen and a large wardrobe on the passenger side. Highlights include a spacious cabover with a queen-size bed, an innovative sliding Tambour door in the bathroom, a Norcold three-way 3.7 cubic foot refrigerator, lots of overhead storage, a glass-top stove and sink, a Lagun swing-away table, and a full walk-on fiberglass roof. The camper features holding tank sizes of 20 gallons fresh, 22 gallons grey, and 5 gallons black, and comes with a single 20-pound propane tank, and a single Group-27 battery. Customers have numerous color options when ordering a NuCamp Cirrus camper, including a silver or white exterior with 10 different color accents to match the color of your truck. Weighs only 1,875 pounds dry. Easily one of the 8 best truck campers for Ford F250 and Ram Chevy GM 2500 trucks, the only real negative is the wetbath’s low-profile shower pan that encroaches upon the entryway. The MSRP of the Cirrus 720 is about $28,000. Available at top dealerships nationwide.
6. Wolf Creek 850 by Northwood Mfg.
In response to complaints about its Arctic Fox campers being too heavy, Northwood Manufacturing expanded its catalog in 2011 by offering a lightweight line of campers called the Wolf Creek. The Wolf Creek 850 is the company’s most popular model. The dry weight is only 2,008 pounds, a figure that puts it well within the payload ratings of most 3/4-ton trucks, but not half-ton trucks which the company erroneously claims. The 8-foot 8-inch floorplan features a north-south queen bed, a dinette long enough (78 inches) to sleep an adult; an excellent one-piece, molded wet-bath with a sink; a large kitchen with a 5-cubic foot refrigerator; and a sizable wardrobe. Noteworthy options for the Wolf Creek 850 include a 2,500-watt Onan generator (the only camper in this list to offer one), Hehr thermal pane windows, a curbside wardrobe in the cabover, and the excellent Fox Landing folding step made by our friends at Torklift. The camper also features a dual battery compartment and a basement, which houses fairly large holding tanks—27 gallons of fresh water, 19 gallons of grey, and 20 gallons of black. The camper also features two 5-gallon propane cylinders. Available for both short-bed and long-bed trucks. If this floorplan, doesn’t appeal, Northwood Manufacturing makes an Wolf Creek 840 model, which locates the bathroom forward on the opposite side. MSRP the Wolf Creek 850 is $26,475.
7. Capri Retreat
Based out of Bluff Dale, Texas, Capri makes a superb, lightweight, no-frills style of truck camper that’s ideal for today’s 3/4-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 option packages is 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. Individual 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. Easily one of the 8 best truck campers for Ford F250 and Ram Chevy GM 2500 trucks. A Capri Retreat with the options listed above, including “The Works,” retails for $21,845 and weighs only 1,750 pounds dry.
8. Travel Lite 840SBRX
Based out of New Paris, Indiana, Travel Lite is a relatively new company that has been producing truck campers since 1998. Travel Lite makes campers the old fashioned way using 2×2-inch and 2×4-inch solid wood with R7 insulated walls, .024-inch thick aluminum siding, and double plywood insulated flooring. With a dry weight of 1,965 pounds, the Travel Lite 840 fits well on most 3/4-ton trucks and some better half-ton trucks as well. The 8-foot 4-inch floorplan features a 60×74-inch north-south bed, a wet-bath with a shower and a toilet, attractive cherry cabinets, lots of overhead storage, a small kitchen, and a large, L-shaped dinette. The camper is equipped with a three-way 4-cubic foot refrigerator, one 20-pound propane tank, an 18,000 BTU propane-fired furnace, a three-burner cooktop, a 6-gallon DSI water heater, and a single group-27 battery. Popular options include a 5-cubic foot refrigerator upgrade, an 80 watt portable solar panel, a fiberglass front nose cap, and a 5-foot rear awning. Unfortunately, the tank sizes in the Travel Lite 840SBRX are substandard for a 3/4-ton camper with only 25 gallons fresh, 8 gallons grey, and 5 gallon black. Travel Lite’s quality has also been called into question over the years with leaks being the most common complaint, though there are signs of improvement as of late. The MSRP for the Travel Lite 840SBRX is $20,540.