A truck camper is a small trailer that fits in the bed of a pickup truck. You might think that it doesn’t weigh much, but you want to be sure before you tow one on your truck. How much does a truck camper weigh on average?
Truck campers weigh 1,000 to 4,000+ pounds. Factors such as whether the camper has soft walls or hard walls, as well as its size and the number of slide-outs all, affect how much the trailer weighs.
If you want to learn even more about truck camper weights, including examples from real camper models, you’ve come to the right place. This article will be your guide to what goes into a truck camper’s weight and what kind of truck it takes to pull a trailer like a truck camper!
How Much Does a Truck Camper Weigh?
At the very least, a truck camper is going to weigh 1,000 pounds. As we’ll talk more about in the next section, these lightweight truck campers are usually pop-up campers.
A pop-up truck camper has soft canvas walls that don’t weigh much.
The heaviest truck campers are 4,000 and sometimes even 5,000 pounds.
These campers will be hard-sided with no canvas or soft walls. They may also have slide-outs that add more space but increase the weight of the camper as well.
20 Examples of Real Truck Camper Weights
To give you a better idea of how much you can expect a truck camper to weigh, here are 20 examples of real truck campers on the market (that you could buy today if you wanted to) and how much each weighs.
- Northstar Laredo SC: 2,090 pounds
- Lance 1172 long-bed: 4,174 pounds
- Northstar Arrow 8.5 U short-bed: 2,480 pounds
- Host Campers Mammoth: 3,955 pounds
- Northwood Wolf Creek 890: 2,284 pounds
- Palomino HS-2910: 3,493 pounds
- Lance 865: 2,012 pounds
- Rugged Mountain Granite 11RL: 3,720 pounds
- Lance 995 long-bed: 3,354 pounds
- Bigfoot 25C9.4SB: 2,980 pounds
- Northstar 9.5 Igloo: 2,900 pounds
- Adventurer 910DB: 3,447 pounds
- Northern Lite 10-2EXCD: 3,265 pounds
- NuCamp Cirrus 820: 2,540 pounds
- Palomino HS-2902: 3,261 pounds
- Adventurer 80RB: 1,762 pounds
- Travel Lite Rayzr Fb: 1,070 pounds
- Outfitter Apex 8: 2,130 pounds
- Lance 650: 1,700 pounds
- Scout Yoho: 958 pounds
The Factors That Determine How Much a Truck Camper Weighs
How is it that some truck campers like the Scout Yoho can weigh so little (just under 1,000 pounds) when the Lance 1172 long-bed is over 4,000 pounds? Let’s now examine the factors that dictate how heavy a truck camper is.
Soft or Hard Walls
One of the biggest determining factors by far is what the walls of a truck camper are constructed from.
As we discussed in the last section, a truck camper can have soft or hard walls.
Soft walls are most frequently seen in tent campers, which are named that because it’s like sitting in a camper with a tent over your head. Truck campers might have pliable walls as well.
The soft canvas walls usually feature mesh windows for airflow and ventilation. Insects can’t get in, yet you can still feel the soft breeze.
The retractable canvas walls are very lightweight. Perhaps if you had a bigger truck camper with canvas walls, then it might weigh more, but you can generally rely on soft-walled truck campers to be fairly lightweight.
Hard-walled campers have no retractable abilities (unless they feature slide-outs; more to come on those in a minute). In exchange, you have a much more durable material for the walls and the roof of your truck camper.
You won’t quite hear the pitter-patter of the rain at night the same way in a hard-walled truck camper, but that additional feeling of security sure is nice.
Hard-walled truck campers are usually built from the material that’s used to construct the rest of the camper’s shell, be that fiberglass, carbon fiber, or metal such as steel or aluminum.
Naturally, this weighs more than canvas, hence the heavier weight of a truck camper with hard walls.
Slide-outs or Lack Thereof
Only hard-walled campers are eligible for slide-outs.
A slide-out is a feature seen in RVs and trailers. You can extend the width of the walls and sometimes even the height of the ceiling to gain more space.
You typically use a camper’s electrical system to control the slide-outs rather than moving them manually, but that all depends on the make and model.
Although you should never tow a truck camper with slide-outs extended, they’re a great feature nevertheless, which is why you see them in everything from toy haulers to fifth wheels.
These are naturally smaller trailers by default, much as is the case with truck campers. It’s more than having the illusion of more space; a slide-out actually delivers more space. You’ll feel capable of stretching out and enjoying some breathing room.
The other benefit of a slide-out is that it creates a sense of privacy, something which can be sorely lacking in smaller trailers like fifth wheels and truck campers.
As advantageous as slide-outs are, for each one your camper is equipped with, the truck camper becomes exponentially heavier.
The walls and ceiling are but two parts of many that comprise your truck camper overall.
There’s the skeleton or the frame as well, which might be built from heavy-duty aluminum tubing. The doors add weight, as do the windows, the wheels, and the features of the camper therein (which we’ll discuss more in just a moment).
The average size of a truck camper is between eight and 20 feet. That’s the difference between being able to bring a buddy or two to up to six people.
Larger campers are certainly great since you have lots of room. Slide-outs are usually more common to create privacy and more space, so you don’t feel like you’re constantly on top of your passengers.
Of course, you know that the larger your truck camper is, the more it’s going to weigh. Even soft walls wouldn’t bring down the weight of a large, 20-foot truck camper all that much.
A smaller truck camper might not be able to fit that many passengers, but you’ll enjoy easier towing due to the lightweight size of your truck camper.
The last factor that affects how much your truck camper weighs is the amenities.
At first glance, you might assume that a truck camper can’t fit much of anything in the amenities department due to its shape and size, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While it very much depends on the make and model of truck camper we’re talking about, the layouts of these vehicles are so inventive that some truck campers even have bathrooms.
It’s not a big bathroom, of course, and you get a shower or a toilet and not both, but hey, it’s a bathroom!
You can also enjoy separate sleeping areas, a small kitchen, and a living space.
Some people in the market for a camper love having all the creature comforts of home (or as many of them as possible, at least) in their trailer since it makes it easier to acclimate to life on the road.
If you’re in that boat, then be prepared that the greater the number of amenities included with your truck camper, the more the trailer will weigh.
For those who don’t mind scaling back when camping and truly roughing it, reducing the amenities in your truck camper will also lower its overall weight.
How to Determine If Your Truck Can Pull a Truck Camper
Are you in the market for a truck camper, and you’re wondering if your pickup truck is up to the task of hauling it? You don’t want to just guess.
If your pickup tries to pull a load that exceeds its towing capacity, you can cause a lot of damage to your truck.
That includes warping the chassis, wrecking the tires, wearing down the brakes, and potentially ruining the transmission and even the engine.
You’d be looking at thousands of dollars in costly repairs. At that point, you might as well just buy another pickup truck.
Without further ado, then, here’s how to ascertain how much weight your pickup truck can tow.
Know Your Acronyms
When it comes to determining your truck’s towing capacity, you’ll see a lot of similar-looking acronyms like GAWR and GVWR. It can all be a little confusing to the uninitiated, so allow us to explain.
- GAWR: First is the gross axle weight rating or GAWR. The manufacturer of your pickup truck determines the GAWR by determining how much load the truck’s single-axle system can withstand. The rear and front axles will each have their own separate GAWR ratings.
- GVWR: Next is the GVWR, which is short for gross vehicle weight rating. This is how much loaded weight your pickup truck can safely handle. Once again, the GVWR is determined by your truck’s manufacturer.
- CGVWR: The last acronym is quite a doozy, and it’s the CGVWR or combined gross vehicle weight rating. In other words, this is the weight of your loaded pickup truck plus the weight of your truck camper when it’s loaded as well. As has been the case the entire time, the truck manufacturer sets the CGVWR.
Weigh Your Truck
Okay, now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the pertinent acronyms, it’s time to get started. That will require you to find a certified weight scale such as a Certified Automatic Truck Scale or CAT scale.
CAT scales are heavy-duty, professional-grade equipment, so it’s nothing you can purchase for home use. What we recommend is typing in “CAT scales near me” in your search engine of choice and seeing what your options are.
You do have to pay to use a CAT scale, but the fees aren’t typically exorbitant. The first weigh might cost you around $15. If you have to go back to the same CAT scale within 24 hours and reweigh for any reason, then you’d pay a little more than $20 to do it.
Once you’ve measured your pickup truck on the CAT scale, take that weight and subtract it from the GVWR of your truck. This will give you the payload capacity of your pickup.
The first measurement you’ll take is to determine what your truck camper’s center of gravity will be.
To do this, park your truck camper. You don’t need a CAT scale anymore, so bring it on home.
From the front wall of your truck bed all the way to the middle of your rear axle, take a measuring tape and determine the distance. Convert the number to inches if need be, and that’s the truck camper’s center of gravity.
Next, to determine if your truck camper will even fit on your pickup truck (fun fact, not all truck campers fit every make and model of the truck), you’ll have to take some more measurements.
Measure the pickup truck’s bumper length, tailgate opening, cab height, rail height, bed width, and bed length. Then compare those numbers against the specs of the truck camper.
If even one or two measurements are coming up as incompatible between the pickup truck and the truck camper, then you have to keep looking for another camper. This one will not fit your truck properly.
You’d struggle to affix the camper to your pickup truck. Even with the right hitch, the setup wouldn’t be very secure. Your truck camper could jackknife or otherwise move uncontrollably, causing traffic accidents.
It’s not worth it!
Buy a Truck Camper That Fits Your Pickup Truck
Besides matching the specs of your pickup truck, remember that your new truck camper also has to have a center of gravity that’s compatible according to the measurements you took. That too will make your setup more secure.
If you can, it’s always better to have a towing vehicle first and then buy a camper than it is to buy a camper without a towing vehicle.
When it comes to truck campers especially, you’ll spend a lot more money on a pickup truck than a camper!
Truck campers are a small type of camper compatible with pickup trucks that are between 1,000 and 5,000 pounds. Features such as hard or soft walls and slide-outs will dictate how much a truck camper weighs, as does its size and amenities.
If you’re in the market for a new truck camper, we hope this article tells you everything you need to know to make a purchasing decision you’re happy with! Click here for information on how much a truck camper cost.