Not all of us can afford a fancy camper or pop up tent as a base camp for our adventures. Sometimes, sleeping in the car just is unappealing. Ok, sleeping in the car is always unappealing to me. Enjoy this brief how-to of how I turned my truck into a great camping machine for under $50. It is not the classiest option by a long shot, but it gets the job done. 

What you need:

What you do:

  1. Find a sweet spot to camp. Ideally one where your truck will not get stuck, that is in an area where camping is legal, and is somewhat flat.

  2. Pull out your sleeping pads, bags, blankets, pillows, etc. and place them in your bed.

  3. Get your tarp out. Drape one edge over the cab of your truck. Attach using 2-4 magnets.

  4. Pull tarp down over the tailgate. Attach along the sides using 2-3 magnets on each side. If you are in sand, and your tarp is long enough, bury the bottoms of the tarp for added wind protection. Leave some space along the side if you would like a private area to pee... or do other things.

  5. Lift up the end up of the tarp, open the tailgate, and enjoy your space.

 I used the door to help secure the tarp too. 

I used the door to help secure the tarp too. 

 Magnet placement.

Magnet placement.

Notes:

 Back view. I used the trailer hitch to hang the (overflowing) trash bag. Cause we are classy like that. 

Back view. I used the trailer hitch to hang the (overflowing) trash bag. Cause we are classy like that. 

This worked awesome in a low wind situation. More magnets are needed if you are in high wind. Setting this up in more than just a breeze is borderline infuriating. The tarp could also be secured under the truck using rope, tie downs, duct tape or string as an alternative. 

Overall, with the exception of the extreme difficulty to set it up in the wind by myself, wind, this was way faster and easier to set up and take down than a tent. Also, more spacious than my 2 man tent. 

Keep in mind the tarp won't breathe well. Or at all. The inside will get a little damp from condensation.

We had a large tarp and plenty of excess along the sides of the bed, which we used to pee in private with hundreds of people around on the beach. 

 

Return to Resources