Can a Long Bed Camper be Installed on a Short Bed Truck?

Having a long bed camper be attached to a short bed of a truck is one of those things where you cannot help but do a double-take whenever you see it.

The reason? It looks quite strange but somehow it works. If you travel a lot or visit a lot of touristy spots then you have probably seen many RVs or you may have seen some trucks pull a travel trailer. Those are more common and most people do not blink an eye. However, there is just something about a long bed camper being on top of a short bed truck that makes me people wonder.

This is not just a wonder or a curious question for other drivers but it is also a common thought among drivers who own a truck with a short bed. You may have seen one and are curious if it would work or maybe you own a long bed camper and want to know if you need to get a truck with a longer bed or maybe, just maybe, the short bed of your truck will work.

Let’s find out!

Can a long bed camper be installed on a short bed truck?

So, can a long bed camper be installed on a short bed truck? A long bed camper can be installed on a short bed truck.

Is it ideal? Well, no. An ideal situation would require a bed camper that fits well or almost perfectly on a bed truck but sometimes we have to work with what we have right?

The more complicated answer to that is: It most likely will be able to fit but you will need to figure it out before you try installing your long bed camper to your short bed truck.

Even if you are an expert at installing bed campers, it will take more than just some simple guesses to figure out if your long bed camper will be able to fit on a short bed truck.

In order to ensure that you will be able to take care of this quickly and easily, we have created a non-hassle list of pointers to help you.

Note: we suggest you take care of this before you go on your trip. There is nothing like getting the whole family up, packed, and ready to go only to figure out that the bed camper does not fit well on your shorted bed truck.

If done wrong, this can cause many problems to not just your bed camper, and truck but it could also cause problems for other drivers on the road. If the bed camper is not installed properly or if you are “forcing” it to fit when it does not, then it can cause real danger on the road if it were to fall off. This is especially true and dangerous if the vehicles around you are smaller ones.

If you do not have a tape measure, then you need to get on as soon as possible. On a side note, tape measures are such a lifesaver and we can almost guarantee that you will be using it more often than not.

Back to the issue at hand, grab your tape measure or go out and buy one if you do not have one and measure the length of your bed camper and the length of your short bed truck. Do not guess! We cannot emphasize this enough.

There are many things in life that a rough estimate will suffice but this is not one of those situations. Even if you are a mere inch, it could make a world of difference. Save yourself some trouble and use your tape measure to get the exact estimate, not the rough estimate.

It is important to note that you have to pay special attention to the wheel wells of your truck. This means figuring out if they will allow you to pull the bed camper all the way forward or not.

Because if you think about it, the camper needs to be forward, or else how would you be able to access it at all? If the camper is pulled all the way forward, then you will be able to access the bed camper. If not, you might want to reconsider installing the bed camper to your short bed truck.

Now, if your bed camper has an extended end then that is a different story. Some campers have an extended section that is designed to sit at the back, below the back of the bed with the tailgate removed. If you own one of these campers, then we suggest not putting it on a long bed truck and/or pickup.

If you have one of these campers then know that it will have to sit very far back in order for the truck to accommodate the extra weight. However, having your bed camper sit too far back will upset the handling of the truck.

This means that there is too much truck in the back of the truck (to accommodate the longer bed camper) and there will not be enough weight in the forward and/or front of the truck. This in turn, not only looks strange but is also quite dangerous.


What Else You Should Know…

As mentioned above, it is very possible to have a long bed camper be installed on a short bed truck. However, if it will fit at all or how well the combination will work depends on the make and model.

This is important to note because you want to prevent excess overhang behind the rear wheel long bed trucks, especially those that have a longer wheelbase. See, this is why having a tape measure comes in handy.

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Another potential we wanted to address is the problem with the payload. Please keep in mind that any extra bed weight does come at the expense of the payload. To avoid this problem, some owners choose to have the pickup bed removed and have a flatbed installed instead.

If you are concerned with the payload, then this could be a solution that you might want to consider. Consider how much weight your truck can actually hold and do not push it too much or else you will start causing problems for your truck.


The Takeaway | Is it possible or it is unsafe?

The good news is, if you were thinking that you had to buy a new truck or buy a shorted bed camper then you are in luck! You do not need to spend any money because what you have will work. Not only will it work but most people prefer it that way, long bed campers, and short bed trucks because it is much easier to install and work with.

However, do keep in mind that just because something is “possible” or it is “fine” to do does not mean that it is 100 percent safe. This goes for many things in life though. So do keep in mind how far your travel is and if something were to happen, would you be able to handle the damages?

For example, if you are thinking of traveling for over five hours on a rustic road where the next town is a few hours from the next then maybe it is not such a good idea to take your long bed camper on this ride. It is mostly trial and error so take it on a short ride first.

It is much easier to work with that combination than the opposite/reverse-short bed camper and a long bed truck.

If you were wondering if this would be the ideal situation then the answer is…sort of. The ideal situation would be for the bed camper to be mounted as far forward of the back axle as possible. However, most of these models were made to hang out the rear axle with the tailgate removed.

If it is mounted even further back, then you could use the allocated space for lockable storage using a narrow box or even some propane bottles. 

This may be a weird look and you might even get some glances from fellow drivers but rest assured that this will work and who knows, you might inspire them to install their long bed camper to their short bed truck.

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