How to Set Up a Pickup Truck for Camping

If you're lucky enough to own a truck, you'd be surprised to know that it is easy to learn how to set up a pickup truck for camping. Camping in the bed of a pickup has many advantages. When truck camping, you are able to sleep off the ground and avoid bugs and other pests and your gear can sit in a tent or shelter outside, so you have more sleeping space, and the major advantage is how mobile it is, so  you can move your camp easily to be in the shade or sun.

Things You Need

  • Traditional camping gear such as sleeping bags, sleeping mat or air mattress, cooler, food prep and storage
  • Hand broom
  • Large blanket or mat
  • Shelter or tent for gear
  • Truck tent or small dome tent
  1. Once you've found a good location for your camp, unpack all of your gear. Set up an old tent or shelter and place your cooler, backpacks and other non-sleeping gear inside. 
  2. Sweep the floor of the truck bed with the hand broom to remove any debris, dust or small rocks to get the pickup truck ready for camping. Lay out the large blanket or mat to pad the pickup truck for sleeping.
  3. Set up the small tent or truck tent according to the manufacturer's instructions. For truck tents, be sure to stake down the portion of the tent that touches the ground.
  4. Air up your air mattress or lay out the sleeping mat inside the bed of the truck and make the bed.
  5. Place important and expensive gear inside the truck's cab and lock it, as the most important step to set up a pickup truck for camping is keeping your gear safe and sound.


  • Camping in a regular tent, not a truck tent, is great but will require more steps to set up a pickup truck for camping. You'll need to secure the tent within the bed of the truck using clips on the tent's stake rings and around the truck's tie-down hooks, or bungee cords to prevent the tent from slipping.
  • You may not need to assemble a tent for your gear if you have ample space in the truck's cab for gear. Clean the cab and remove unnecessary items such as consoles, trash and knick-knacks to provide set up a pickup truck for camping.
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