This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy.

Basic Truck Top Camper Built From Lumber Yard Materials

Arguably the simplest dedicated RV – other than using van space to camp in – is the truck back camper. Commercially made versions sell for thousands, even used. If you are looking for a DIY camper build project, this might be the right one. We have seen a few, but this example by imgur user nomadichabitat1234 promises affordability and simplicity of build. The entire camper is built from materials readily available at just about any lumber yard or home improvement center.

Here is the finished product complete with vinyl siding – yep, vinyl siding!

finished camper
Imgur

The frame was first, built from two-by lumber. Nomadic chose to build his frame in sections, starting with the sides of the camper. The front end was designed for a sleeping loft that extends out over the cab of the truck, and so was built from heavier lumber, including two-by-six and two-by-ten, to ensure this cantilevered section maintained its stability.

Side frame sections ready for installation.

side frame sections
Imgur

Frame in the truck bed and assembled.

truck bed frame
Imgur

Inside the bed, a framed leg system positions the sides correctly in relation to the side rails and wheel wells. This will give the builder something to attach the heavy side sections to. The interior frame also has framing for a bench seat as well. Once this frame is in place, spars are added between the sides of the camper to build out the roof and stabilize the sides.

Sign up for the newsletter today!

Please enter a valid email address.

An error occurred. Please try again later.

× logo

Thank you for subscribing to the Do It Yourself RV newsletter, keep your eye on your inbox for updates.

Profile view, with and without skin and house wrap.

side view without skin
Imgur
side view with housewrap
Imgur

Insulation was the next factor and sheet Styrofoam was the product of choice. It’s simple to work with, easy to come by and relatively inexpensive. The foam not only makes the interior temperature more stable, allowing for effective climate control, it also deadens sound, helping to isolate the camper from outside noise. For windows, Nomadic chose simple, small, vinyl frame windows. They allow excellent ventilation, and are relatively cheap and easy to install.

Window installed with insulation in the frame.

window inside camper
Imgur

The sub-exterior was then wrapped with chipboard and plastic house wrap. The interior is coated with a thin layer of paneling to seal in the insulation and provide an interior wall surface. Frinally, the outside is covered with inexpensive vinyl siding planks. You will need to make sure you install these securely, since wind at highway speeds amounts to over 70 mph, enough to do damage to most houses.

Completed interior frame with plywood.

interior frame
Imgur

This provides you with an excellent shell with a room interior that can be built out to your specifications. Nomadic doesn’t provide much detail on the interior. Small, lightweight cabinets and RV components and appliances work well for building out RV interiors. You will also want to find out what kind of marker lights and reflectors are required to make your camper street legal.

Enjoying a job well done.

finished bunk with campers




Leave a Comment

Welcome! Please follow these guidelines:

  • Be kind and respectful.
  • Keep comments relevant to the article.
  • Avoid insults, threats, profanity, and offensive remarks.
  • Refrain from discussing gun rights, politics, or religion.
  • Do not post misleading information, personal details, or spam.

We may hide or remove comments at our discretion.