A Complete Guide To Build a Truck Bed Camper?

Truck Bed Camper gives the feeling of adventure travel. To get the best truck bed camper with all the desired design and all features is impossible. With a lot of research and market study, we found that camper with all inbuilt features is not budget friendly. So we decide to build a truck bed camper with our own design and needs. With simple DIY we have created a beautiful truck bed camper for all the truck camping lovers. Diy truck bed camper is cheaper than other factory made truck bed campers.

All the detail process is in this blog, follow this and make your own truck bed camper with simple DIY of your own.

Required Materials:

The Tools and supplies needed for the DIY of bed camper are all listed below, you can purchase all the tools and supplies from Anmazon.com

  1. Emergency roadside kit
  2. BedRug
  3. Mexican Serape Blanket
  4. Fabric tac glue
  5. Velcro ( industrial strength)
  6. Fabric mounting tape
  7. Neoprene stripping tape
  8. Sewing needles
  9. Heavy thread
  10. Measuring tape
  11. Undercover swing case
  12. Portable power station
  13. Led string strap
  14. Usb extension code
  15. Fiberglass screening
  16. Dehumidifier
  17. Phone car mount
  18. Tailor scissor
  19. Gloves
  20. Hardware tools
  21. Glasses for protection
  22. Painters tape
  23. Hammer drill
  24. Sharpie
  25. Hand saw
  26. Non-fabric cutting scissor

Step 01: Truck Preparation

Wash and dry your truck’s bed and tailgate areas thoroughly. Clean bed and tail glued with adhesive tape holds tightly the rug. Get a place where you can work for hours without any disturbance. Buy all the things you will need for this project. Purchase a good brand of truck cap. While purchasing keep three things in mind. The first one is the storage or the toolbox for storage. Second side access doors, as this features, is more convenient as it opens up for air ventilation and for view. The third feature should be aluminum framing, it may be a little high in price, but spending once and take the great advantage of it for the long run.

Step 02: Weatherproofing truck cap

Before Camping, make sure to weatherproof your truck. Weathering and securing the cap of the truck came first in the list of DIY. Campers need a place to sleep peacefully, without any hassle. Rains bugs and insects are the major problems while camping anywhere. To protect yourself from them and to protect your truck bed weatherproofing is a must to do. When we purchase the truck cap, we didn’t provide by all the materials to secure it to our truck’s bed. Mainly what is done is the utility cap is placed over the truck bed, and with two clamps from the passenger side is secure and screwed in a bolt on the driver side. But this is not it. Converting a truck into a living space needs some extra effort.

For weathering you will need, washers for bolts, camper mounting tape, 0.3’’ threading with 1.5’’ bolts, locking nuts, hammer drill with socket, wrench, and your safety measures aids. Start this by applying adhesive tape to your truck cap. Lay the truck cap in a clean surface upside down to apply adhesive truck bed insulation tape. Start applying the around the entire bottom of the truck cap, except the rear end. Because if you cover the rear area then you won’t be able to open and close your tailgate. And add some layers of tape to the bulkhead to ensure nothing gets in or out.

Fix with bolts:

After that mount truck cap on the truck bed. You may need a helping hand here, ask for help to someone while doing this. Flip the truck cap with the right side up and place it onto the pickup truck bed carefully. Fit the truck cap evenly on both sides of the truck bed, and secure truck cap with bolts. For this, you will need two aluminum hardware clamps. Climb up into the back of the truck and apply the clamps between the truck bed cap and rail. If you have a toolbox on the driver side then you could only clamp the passenger side down.

Now drill to fix it:

If your truck bed length is 6.5’’ than You need to drill three holes and if bigger than that then four holes. Drill on both sides of the truck cap. Maintaining the distance of 25’’ to 30” apart. Some pickup trucks have default holes. If your truck doesn’t then don’t fear to get the new holes. Place the bolts with washers in the holes. Once all bolts are in place, screw all of them to secure the truck cap in its place. In the tail part near the rear light find the hole to the assembly for the wiring of the truck cap tail light. If there is no hole then drill a small hole for further use. As you read on this blog you will get to know many things, here the hole, basically, it is for brake lighting.

Lastly, remove the tailgate assembly from the truck cap to locate the wiring. Take the wire and make a cut. And mount the brake light. The wiring may cause a little puzzle for the new users. Now connect the high mount stop light wire with the truck’s brake wire. After wiring is done correctly, your process of weathering is complete. And the truck is weatherproofed.

Step 03: Installation of Bedrug LIner

While choosing the liner, go for bedrug liner. For truck bed campers Bedrug liners are easily available in online stores with accurate measurements. Bedrug liners are comfortable in comparison with any other liner. It comes with three to four inch cushioning.  These are the best comfortable truck bed floors. This comes with many features other than this. It works like a carpet yet is super tough and can withstand any harsh elements. It doesn’t absorb any liquid, easy to clean and maintain.

For the installation of bedrug liner materials you will need, bedrug good manufacturer and Bedliner kit. Tools needed for this are hammer drill, tie-down hooks, and an awl. Start the installation by removing the existing liner of the truck bed if any. After uninstalling the previous liner. Clean the truck bed. Start assembling, place bedrug in a clean floor facing down. There are two main parts (side wall and bed) of the bedrug liner. Align the sides of the bedrug. To fix the two main parts manufacturers provide zip lock, once properly aligned, zip sides into place.

Note here:

Do not place velcro down until you’re sure the Bedrug is in the correct place. After assembling, take the bedrug liner and place it on your truck bed facing upward. Bedrug position front to rear and left to right by aligning all edges and tucking corners into place. Take rubbing alcohol and clean attachment areas thoroughly and allow them to dry.

Note two things here first if your truck bed has a bed rail cargo management system installed, trim off sections in the corners of the bulkhead. If not proceed. Second, do not cut or put slits through any seams or sewn areas of the Bedrug, unless specifically detailed in the instructions.  Or else this will cause the seam to come completely apart.

Step 04: Install Velcro Fasteners

Apply 60’’ piece and one 63.5’’ piece of hook fastener to the underside of the bulkhead panel as shown leaving the adhesive side out and backing in place.  Note here-Do not remove adhesive protective film at this time. Apply five-piece of 2’’ hook fastener to the loop side at the bottom of bulkhead panel. Now cut pieces of the 2’’ wide hook fastener without adhesive tape and attach to the bulkhead panel. Leaving 1″ of 2″ wide Hook Fastener exposed for future attachment to front edges of side panels.

Middle 1’’ * 2’’ row of hook fastener is not applicable on some models. Attach Hook Fasteners to BedTred Sidewall Panels. Find the 3, 10″ long Hook Fasteners and apply above wheel well and upper tier loading areas. Do Not Locate in wheel well itself.  At 45° angles apply 6 pieces outside of each end of the wheel well. After that apply 2″ pieces on top and rear edges as needed.

You will get extra adhesive strips in the kit for future use or if the installer deems more fasteners are necessary for better fit/appearance.

Step 05: Bedrug floor and Bulkhead Installation

First roll the bed rug floor towards you, exposing the 1’’* 36’’ fastener located on the Bedrug bottom. Remove the film of the velcro fastener and roll the bedrug floor and sidewalls back in place. Now firmly press the bedrug top surface for 10 seconds to ensure velcro adhesive attachment. Repeat the same way on the other side. To determine the best location, fit the top Erde of bedrug bulkhead to the top edge of the body panel.

While attaching clean attachments areas thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and allow to dry. Now remove the film working from bottom to top and center of part outboard. and roll the top edge back in place. Press firmly the bed rug top surface for 10 seconds to ensure adhesive attachment.

Other optional features for beds with tie-down hooks:

Some beds are equipped with load extenders, some hooks may found and other functional equipment anywhere located on the floor. So for these, the installer is a little different. Create a cut mark or cut a small slit in the appropriate area allowing the equipment to pass through the surface of the bedrug. And do not through any seams or sewn lines.

Remove the equipment before the bedrug installation, and then reinstall the equipment on top of the bedrug after once the installation of the bedrug is complete. Too easily locate fastener holes use an awl after bedrug is positioned for best fit, and make sure to re-torque tie down fasteners to the OEM  specifications.

Step 06: Installing BedRug sidewalls and Tailgate:

The rear vertical corner of the bedrug should be positioned to match the pillar surface. Start from the front and working reward begin removing the film from fasteners bottom to top and from back to front. As told beforehand press the bedrug side walls for 10seconds to ensure adhesive attachment. And repeat the same to the other side. Note here if you are using the bedrug in conjunction with a bed extender, cut the slits of the D pillar area to allow access to attachment holes. Now come to tailgate, rotate the bedrug up to access tailgate fasteners. Take rubbing alcohol and clean attachment areas thoroughly and allow them to dry. Use adhesive promoter to plastic cap if applicable. For truck bed camper bedrug is the best liner.

Remove film and align the edge of the bedrug tailgate section to the top edge of the tailgate. If you get a 4298 adhesion promoter pack in the hardware kit then do not adhere the hook fasteners to the factory plastic tailgate cap. Note here most models are designed to adhere to sheet metal just below plastic tailgate cap. Place the bedrug tailgate. Press the bedrug tailgate for 10 seconds to ensure adhesive attachment. Your installation is complete, then tuck BedRug material between the tailgate and truck bed.

Step 07: Installing a wood wall

To install a multifunctional wood wall you will need timberchic to cover the bulkhead and toolbox, thick sponge neoprene stripping, saw blade to cut the woods, painters tape to make straight lines and cuts, the sheet of printer paper to make the angle. Start installing from the toolbox, peel and stick plank at a time to cover the flat toolbox surface. Once you complete then go to the bulkhead, cut the timberchic in the same measurement to match the tailgate end. Use painters tape to cut in a straight line. After that install timberchic on the bulkhead.

Step 08: Installing curtains and ceiling cover

It requires more time as compared to other installation, for this you will need curtains, Four bottles of Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive, Four boxes–or 60 feet–of black industrial Strength VELCRO. Fabric cutting shears, non-fabric cutting shears, gloves, measuring tape. start by measuring the interior of the truck cap.

Clean the interior of the truck cap, before applying velcro the surface must be cleaned, the velcro will cover all ceiling rails as well as curved side rails leading up to the access door. Cut the velcro strips and install them in the truck cap. With the previously taken measurements cut the velcro strip. Cut the velcro according to each area it will be applied.

Cutting of Curtains:

As you have the measurements, use them and mark it on the curtain sheet, which needs to be cut to make the curtains. Apply velcro to the loop side to attach the blanket to the hook side. Note here the side you mark up is the side that will be facing the ceiling.  Be extra careful while cutting the edges. Use the fabric-tac to glue your seams. To get a longer-lasting bond between the velcro and the curtains, spread out the fabric tac glue on the adhesive side of the velcro. This will strengthen the bond between the blanket and velcro. Once all the glue is applied, let it sit for up to 48 hours. Once dried, tug on all the areas of the VELCRO and make sure it’s on there to stay.  

Now install the curtains cutouts. Start by installing your bulkhead blanket.  Attach the blanket’s VELCRO to its counterpart at the top of the bulkhead. Next, install the ceiling cover. Start by attaching the VELCRO to its counterpart on the toolbox-side strip that extends from the bulkhead to the tailgate. Lastly, install the tailgate curtain. Start by connecting the blanket ends where the VELCRO hook and loop meet to complete the ceiling cover. Connect the blanket to the aluminum framing above the tailgate. Make sure the blanket is nice and tight from the adjoining ceiling-to-tailgate connection.

Step 09: Installing off-grid electrical system

while camping you need to recharge your electrical gadgets. Hence you will need an electrical system. Adding more benefits like whenever you need to jump-start your dead truck battery, it will help.  To make a simple electrical system you will need, USB extensions, USB power strip with switches, LED light string, LED light bulbs, car power inverter with AC and USB outlet, velcro, multi-function mini car vehicle jump starter, cutting shears, sewing needle and black thread. First of all install power inverter, cut a strip of velcro about 5’’. Attach the hook sided velcro to a flat surface under the lighter port and lopsided velcro to a flat side of the power inverter.

Step 10: Install the USB power strip

Cut 0.75” strip loop and hook sided industrial strength velcro and attach it to the USB power switch hub and place it next to the mobile power bank. Connect the USB extension cord; get a 3’ USB extension cord and run it from the mobile power bank to the side wall. While it reaches the ceiling cover’s location, run it alongside the velcro line on the outside rail until it reaches the USB led light bulb. This will make a beautiful view and cover the ceiling nicely.

Step 11: Led lighting

Start arranging the lights in your truck bed camper by the sequence you want to install. The instruction kit includes a plan or schematic way for the ideal placement of each led light pod. As you have determined the locations you want to mount your leads, then start mounting each pod light I the clean surface of your truck bed. Attach pods and press firmly on each pod to secure it. If you want to secure it with the strongest bond, use adhesion promoter tap. You have to get it separately from your kit.  The power wire will be connected from the cab, create a path for the power wire from both light strands through the existing holes. Attach a rubber grommet while routing.

Wires connection:

Start connecting the wires, first connect the 18 gauge automotive grade wiring to a positive 12-volt source. Connect the wire to the positive terminal of the battery or you connect any 12volt source in the fuse box using the expandable circuit, though you have to get in separately, as it is not included in the kit. Using the supplied female spade connector, attach the wire which you connected to the positive 12-volt source to the right post on the on/off switch.

After that connect both power wires to the center post on the switch, using the supplied female spade connector. Take both solid black ground wires to the left brass pin through the hole on the on/off switch. To the ground, source attaches a ground wire and connect this wire to both of the kit’s ground wires. To the left brass, pin post connect on the on/off switch using the supplied spade connector. As doing so this will provide illumination to the switch when turned on. using zip ties secure all the excess wire. As the installation part completed, to ensure all of the wires connected properly and lights are functioning properly power on the system.

Step 12: INSTALLING A FLEXIBLE RIP-AWAY SCREEN

A rip-away screen must have for a camper to live comfortably in the truck camper. No matter the weather, it provides ventilation and allows fresh air to come inside the truck. While keeping insects away. For this, you will need Black cloth hockey tape, One bottle Fabri-Tac permanent adhesive glue, 9’ of black, industrial strength VELCRO and One roll of Fiberglass screening. Tools needed for this are; Fabric-cutting shears; used to cut fiberglass screen, Non-fabric-cutting shears; used to cut VELCRO strips.

Start from measuring the access door, the access door is measured by means of length and width where you will place the rip away screen. It will provide you a pattern which will help you to cut your screen. To be in a safer position, it’s advisable to take the measure of the top, bottom, left and right. Measure the sides which are parallel, because parallel sides are not the same in measurement. As well as take measurements of all truck cap element as that will impact the screen cutout.

Outlining the access door with velcro:

Now the next step is to outline the access door with velcro. After establishing the screen placement, put velcro strips. While putting velcro make sure to use the non-fabric shears for this.  Note here while applying velcro to the aluminum surface, everything is clean and dry. As this will help velcro to stick easily and last long.

Now come cutting of the door screen, take your measurements and patterns and cut the area of your screen. Once you cut out of the screen, lay it on a flat surface. Based on that cut the velcro strips that measure the border of the screen. While working with velcro use the loop side as those are soft side and won’t stick to the bedrug. Apply fabric tac to the adhesive side of the velcro strip and spread it out. Then apply the adhesive side of the velcro strips to the screen.  Let it sit for a minimum of 24 hours, without the screen touch. Once everything is fixed and dry you can apply the backing tape.

Step 13: Mini dehumidifier for new living space:

Without a dehumidifier camping experience is incomplete. Living in a small space needs air circulation. While sleeping at night many campers leave the side access door open for air circulation, as a result in the next morning, all the bedrug surface is damp or wet. This happens due to the moisture which straps inside the bedrug. Moisture can damage things kept inside. To get rid of this situation mini dehumidifier installation is a must.

Mini dehumidifier for Truck bed camper comes with other features and benefits also, it mainly comes as wireless, powered by crystals that absorb moisture, you can place it anywhere inside the truck bed. It covers a space up to 500 cubic feet.

Step 14: Installation of an undercover swing case

Installing an undercover swing case is a wise option. You can keep tools supplies, personal items, anything you want to keep.  This storage area can only be accessed from the outside. Camping with truck means you definitely sleep inside it, then you are going to need storage inside the truck as well.  It tucks away to the side of the truck bed next to the wheel well. The swing cover has a lever that when pulled swings out the case. It doubles as a cooler and can be removed easily to carry around. The capacity of the swing case is 80 pounds.

To install it you will need an undercover swing case kit and tools like an electric screw gun with a 7/16 inch socket.  First of all, connect the mounting brackets. Screw the brackets together like making a capital T shape on its side. After that mounting bracket to the side of trucks. As you already install a bedrug of thickness 4 inch. The swing case locks don’t catch the brackets. To solve this you have to apply some extra pressure to get it done. Push the locks against the back of the tail light and the floor and screw in the top and bottom screws. Do not install all screws in one go as you will need later positioning it.

Adjust positioning:

After that bend out the base of the mounting bracket. Now ensure swing case locks in the closed position. Under the wheel well mount the swing case on the bracket and test shutting in the locked position. You may need to apply some pressure as to secure the swing case, were shutting your tailgate.

Finish screwing in mounting bolts, once you are assured with the setting in its locked position, remove it from its mount and screw in the remaining base screws. Here your truck bed camper is ready now.

Related Question

Is truck camper worth the money?

Truck camping is now famous as this is cost-effective or can say worth the money. You have your own personalized living space for your camping. Long duration trips can be traveled in it without any hassle. No need to take on debt to finance travel costs.

How much does a truck bed camper cost?

A standard truck camper cost between $2,800 to $ 16,000. A truck camper is a self-contained recreational camping unit that fits into the bed of a pickup. The personalized truck camper is must have, for all camping lovers and truck owners.

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