When weighing up a truck camper vs travel trailer, which should you choose? We explain the pros and cons of each to help you decide.

Truck Camper vs Travel Trailer: Which Is Right for You?

If you’re one of the 9.6 million people planning to buy an RV in the next five years, you might be struggling with the vast number of RVs and campers to choose from these days.

Truck owners often find themselves caught in deciding between two of the more popular options out there – truck camper vs travel trailer. Which one is right for you depends a lot on where you plan to travel and what your priorities are for getting there.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each and whether a travel trailer or truck camper is the right choice for you.


Pros and Cons of a Truck Camper

Truck campers are about the smallest RV you can get. It’s basically an RV that has been made portable and small enough to throw into the bed of your truck.

It isn’t even counted as an RV in most states, which means you don’t have to register it or get separate insurance for it. They categorize it as cargo instead!

Truck campers can be a good option if you have a small family or group and minimal needs when it comes to camping. Finding the best truck camper for you involves weighing these pros and cons, however.

The small size of a truck camper offers a lot of great benefits. It means you can camp in smaller and more rustic places where a larger vehicle might not be able to access. It can easily be parked in your driveway when not being used, and when you’re out and about, it can fit into regular parking lots without too much issue.

Because of the size, it can be less intimidating to drive around with. It’s just your truck with a large piece of cargo in the bed. Despite that, you can pack a lot into the small space — a large kitchenette, dry bath, and queen-sized bed.

You need minimal modifications to add a camper to your truck, and it leaves your hitch open to tow a toy trailer for a boat or dirt bike.

Truck campers hold their value incredibly well if taken care of properly. You’ll be able to sell your used one easily at a place like Leisureland RV and get closer to your original price than some other options.


The flip side of the small size is that you might be pushing it if you want more than two adults in the camper. Any more than that, and you probably want to consider adding a tent to the gear.

You also won’t have a lot of luxuries or amenities. Most don’t have plumbing inside and are limited by small holding tanks. Storage and cargo space are at a premium, and you give up the cargo space of your truck bed when you put the camper in it.

While you can ride in the camper, the cab and camper are separate so you can’t freely move between the living space and the driving area. You’ll have to stop any time you want to move between the two.

Truck campers can be as tall as semis, which means you have to watch for branches, bridges, and the like while driving and parking. That height is also a disadvantage in windy weather thanks to the higher center of gravity.

You’re also at a disadvantage when you reach a campsite because you can’t leave the camper there. You can’t take it off to drive around and go about your day, which means every time you leave, you have to make sure everything is put away and tied down.

Pros and Cons of a Travel Trailer

A lot of different RV options fall in the category of travel trailer. You might think of a pop-up camper, but a lightweight RV falls into the group as well. Basically, a travel trailer is an adventure vehicle that gets attached to a car or truck with a ball hitch for transport.

The key part of the definition is the fact that the vehicle is being towed, which means you need to know your vehicle’s towing capacity when you start shopping to buy a travel trailer.


Your space options can vary depending on the type of trailer you get, but on the whole, you’ll have a lot more room than with a truck camper. It’s a far better option for longer trips, full-time RVing, and families.

You’ll have a lot more variety and diversity in terms of the trailer type, but also in the styling and amenities available. Most will have a full bathroom and plenty of onboard storage.

The nice thing about trailers is you can easily attach and unhitch them. This means you can leave the trailer at the campsite and use your towing vehicle to get groceries or for a day trip.


Driving with a travel trailer isn’t always a problem. It’s when you have to park or camp that things get tricky. It can be harder to maneuver around camp spaces, and the need for room can cut down your options for places to camp.

Setting up and tearing down camp takes more time as well. You have to hook up the vehicle and get all the wires and chains connected in the right places.

When you’re not on the road, you need a place to store the trailer. Most are too big for parking in your driveway or on the street.

While you have all that space back in the trailer, you can’t ride in the trailer while out on the road. Which you might not want to be doing anyway. You can’t run the AC or heat in the trailer while you’re driving, so the trailer is prone to getting really hot or cold by the time you arrive.

Truck Camper vs Travel Trailer – Which RV Type Is Better?

When you’re ready to hit the road, your truck camper vs travel trailer choice should be easier now that you know more about how the choices better fit your style. Truck campers are great for shorter trips, rough terrain, and getting through towns. Travel trailers are better for longer trips down smooth roads and extra space.

If you found this article helpful, check out others on the site covering auto, travel, and health.

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