How To Build A Lightweight Truck Camper Shell

 While camping is one of the most beautiful experiences a person can have, it may be costly for some campers. I needed a variety of things, including a camping tent. But, if I had access to the materials and equipment required to create my truck camper shell, I could save money on camping fees. It will function as a replacement for a regular camping tent. I searched beforehand how to build a lightweight truck camper shell.

​A car camper is an excellent option for people who like to do a lot of camping but don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up tents, sleeping on the ground, and having to dig out a spot in the dirt. They are also perfect for those who need more space than what you get from an RV or tent camping and are looking for something more compact than an RV. But Building your own camper shell can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to do. That’s why this detailed guide will show you ​how to build a lightweight truck camper shell and give you all of the information that you need!

For a long time, camping in truck campers has been a long-standing practice among campers since I could attach a camper shell to the rear of my car since I had to transport it for my necessity.

What Types of Truck Camper Shells Are Available to build a lightweight truck camper shell?

It was easier for me to load and park a truck camper than a larger vehicle like a recreational vehicle since they are so light. There are two types of truck camper shells: a fixed camper shell and a removable camper shell. The removable camper shells may be stored conveniently when not in use.

Understand Before Beginning lightweight truck camper shell Construction Project

It is essential to travel safely, and it may be somewhat risky to over-constructing your camper. Before beginning construction of your truck, I did establish the vehicle’s gross weight. My vehicle’s weight rating served as a guide for selecting the size of the camper shell you should create.

Thus, how can you determine the weight of your vehicle? Simply bring your car to a nearby dealership for an evaluation. A skilled dealer will also recommend the optimal camper shell size for your car and trailer combination.

Constructing Own Camper Truck

Constructing a do-it-yourself truck camper cover entails many steps. To begin, I chose a broad design idea. Additionally, I chose the materials to be used, the interior arrangement, and the roofing choices. If you want a more in-depth understanding of the technique, you may watch some instructional videos online as I did.

The primary step is to make a design.

Before I began constructing my new space, I decided on the amenities that would be included. To put the camper shell inside, a truck bed will be necessary. Additionally, you’ll need a complete roof to safeguard the camper. When planning your space, you should strive to cut unnecessary weight. The primary consideration I make the camper shell as light as workable.

how to build a lightweight truck camper shell

Constructing a Framework

After finishing a design plan, the following stage happens to be building the frame as per the design. Aluminum is the ideal frame material due to its lightweight and strength. It was a perfect option for me since it is robust and lightweight. There are two ways to design your camper construction. I built the frame as a standalone construction or as an essential element of my vehicle.

Installing Plywood Siding

After completing the framework, the shell’s side structure is formed. If you successfully construct a robust design, it will serve you well for an extended period. In this case, I did use plywood. The addition of plywood to the construction will increase strength. I used the crews and adhesives to fix the plywood to the frame. After finishing the siding, I continued to cut out your original pattern’s remaining door and window openings.

Electrical System (Optional)

If you suspect you will not need the power, you may omit this portion from the instructions. If you choose to hold a position of authority, this period is critical. Solar energy or battery storage would be your sole storage options. Additionally, you will need an alternating current power inverter, as I needed. If you lack a previous understanding of the automotive wiring system, you may choose to hire someone to do the job for you.

The sixth phase is insulation.

To have a more enjoyable camping experience, excess heat or cold must be kept out of the tent. This is a critical component of the design and operation of your camper. The most actual sort of insulation I used was foam panel boards. Fiberglass insulation is a good alternative since my camper shell walls are suitably thick.

Exterior Finishing

The roof of your camper is an integral part of the exterior finish. In certain instances, plywood may be used as a roofing material. On the other side, the building must be weatherproofed using aluminum or solid rubber sheets. Seal the container’s edges with waterproof tape to prevent leaks. Fortunately, I found a camping equipment store with a diverse selection of these things.

To give your camper a trendy look, you may pick between a metal or a wood treatment for the exterior siding. Your preferences will select the final style. Additionally, fiberglass panels may be utilized to produce a stunning finish. To secure them to the plywood surface, I used a strong adhesive.

Installing the Door and Windows

Windows and doors are critical in your truck camper shell. Along with fitting perfectly on the narrow walls, they should be sturdy enough to withstand the abuse they will get when driving the truck around the city. Prefabricated doors and windows are available. They are usually thin, light, and easy to assemble.

The door should be built of durable materials that can endure the elements. Caulking around the perimeters of doors and windows may help prevent leaks.

how to build a lightweight truck camper shell


After installing the doors and windows, my do-it-yourself truck camper shell was finally completed. You are now free to grab your possessions and make your way to camp. It was my first time building a truck camper shell. You may find the procedure exceedingly challenging. If you find yourself amid anything, do not surrender. There are several helpful video lessons accessible online. Many of them are supplied by seasoned campers. You may learn a great deal by just observing them.