For many people, owning a recreational vehicle or motorhome is well out of financial reach, with the average cost of an RV coming in between $35,000 and $300,000, depending on a multitude of factors.

However, there are plenty of people who own or can afford trucks, which can also be great for camping as they provide much more cargo space than your average car.

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That said, packing a truck for a camping trip requires a good bit of forethought. For instance, if you decide to purchase hard coolers for the trip, should this be kept in the backseat or the bed of the truck? And if it is kept in the bed, where will it be stored?

There are many such considerations that must be tackled. If you are currently wrestling with this issue, we are here to help. Here is how to pack your truck bed for a camping trip.

Getting Your Truck Packed to Go Camping

When it comes to packing your truck bed for a camping trip, you need to consider everything from what will be packed to how you will pack it all into your truck.

That said, here are some things you will need to think about.

Consider Different Truck Camping Styles

When you go truck camping, there are different ways to approach your sleeping situation, much of which will depend on your means and length of time you will spend off-grid.

For instance, you might opt to get a hard side or pop-up camper, or just pack a sleeping bag and a tent. Alternatively, you might go the middle road and decide to get a truck bed tent.

get a truck bed tent

The choice you make will have an impact on how you pack your truck and how much you can pack into the bed.

Establish Your Truck’s Cargo Capacity

In addition to your camping style affecting how you will pack your truck, so too will the limits of your truck’s cargo capacity.

For those who are unfamiliar, cargo capacity refers to the space available in the truck’s bed to haul gear and other items. In contrast, payload capacity is the max weight that your truck can safely haul.

Understanding your truck’s cargo capacity will be quite helpful in determining how much you can bring on a camping trip, as certain items can take up a considerable amount of space.

List Out the Essentials First

Given that you will be many miles away from the nearest grocery store, it is wise to start by listing out the items you will absolutely need for your camping trip.

When going on an exciting trip, people will often forget to bring essential items. This isn’t such a big deal if you are visiting New York. It is a big deal if you are in the middle of the forest.

With the essentials outlined, you can then make a list of nice-to-have that you can bring along for the ride, assuming that there is room.

Plan Prior to Loading

When you go to pack your truck bed, it is important to pack things in an order that makes sense. Therefore, you will want to make items that you will need more frequently (i.e., cooking items, hygiene products, etc.) easily accessible.

Small yet important items like high-performance LED flashlights are best stored in your truck’s glovebox.

Likewise, items that you may not need so often, such as a toolbox, can be placed in less accessible locations.

Pack Heavy Items on the Bottom

While it should seem obvious, it is important to put your heaviest items on bottom to form a foundation and not crush your more fragile gear.

Additionally, since you will be driving on unpaved pathways, dirt roads and other sorts of uneven terrain, it is best to secure heavy items with straps to prevent them from shifting.

Ensure Safety Items Are Easily Accessible

Much like you want commonly used items to be easy to get to, it is critical that your safety and emergency gear also be easily accessible.

Source: https://www.pelican.com/

When you are miles away from civilization, safety must be your top priority. Therefore, things like first aid kits, fire extinguishers, whistles and similar items do not need to be dug out of your truck bed. They need to be placed where they can be grabbed quickly, should an emergency arise.

Don’t Pack What You Don’t Need

While it can be tempting to bring all the latest gadgets and gizmos with you, if you find that there isn’t space for them after packing essential supplies and equipment, leave them at home instead of reconfiguring your gear in a suboptimal way that lets you bring fun but non-essential items along for the ride.

Packing Your Truck for a Camping Trip

While you are surely excited to get out of the city and into nature, it is important that you take the time to pack your truck correctly. Doing so will help to ensure a safe and stress-free camping adventure.

Follow the tips outlined above next time you are getting ready to pack your truck bed for a weekend in the woods.

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