Advice for Extended Truck Camping

From a 4chan thread about living in your pickup truck.


  • It gets cold. Real cold. Insulate your truck bed and camper shell as well as you can. Get a really good mattress to lay on.
  • You will want to install privacy curtains in your shell. You can do without for a few days but you will need some privacy. Velcro and cheap cloth will work.
  • You will want a way to heat up food and make a cup of coffee. Eating out all the time will destroy any savings you are achieving by living in a truck. I recommend a propane stove because butane doesn’t work well below 32F and white gas is too messy in an enclosed environment.
  • You will probably want a weapon. There’s no telling who is going to come rattle the door handles of your truck in the middle of the night. Being armed with something more effective than strong language is advised.
  • You will need a mailing address. There are a few options for this, but you will need to have one. Maybe you can receive mail at work. Maybe you have a friend in the area willing to receive your mail. Maybe you need a PO Box.
  • You will want electricity. Not much, but you will want it. You can wire a deep-cycle marine battery into your trucks’ 12V charging system and then run an inverter to power a laptop, or charge a cell phone, or power a reading light.
  • You will want a lockbox or safe. Burglary from automobiles is very common compared to home burglary. You don’t want to be worried about your valuables any time you’re away from your truck. A strongbox can be bolted to your truck bed and will give you a semi-safe place to store cash, IDs, passport, weapon, camera, etc.
  • You will need of a reliable way to dispose of waste. Have a plan for disposing of garbage, 3am piss, and emergency shit or vomit. Somewhere secluded. Your boss won’t want you tossing piss bottles in the company dumpster. A 5-gallon bucket makes a good trash can and can double as an emergency shit bucket.
  • You will want at least minor water storage and disposal. Cooking, sponge baths, dish washing… all require a little water. Expect to use 1 gallon per day. I used a 6 gallon “Jerry can” for my primary storage and then had some 1L canteens I used for my daily washing. I topped it off every 3 or 4 days with plain old tap water.
  • Disposing of used water involved another 5 gallon bucket. I’d dump waste water in it until it was nearly full then dispose of it somewhere out of sight – an alley or the roadside at night.
  • Last but not least you need to have SEVERAL parking locations mapped out. Staying in the same spot for night after night is a great way to find yourself talking to the cops. 4 or 5 good private parking spots should be considered the minimum. Wal-Mart is generally very accommodating to overnights in their parking lot, so that’s a good back up. You won’t want a bunch of HOA type neighborhood watch people talking about your truck and jotting down your licence plate. Stick to blue-collar neighborhoods, or park along fencelines where you’re not within easy view of anyone’s house. I live in a low-rent area. It’s safe but it’s not prim and proper. There’s a guy who lives out of his van 3 doors down. He’s nice to everyone. Doesn’t put anyone on edge. Nice guy, just down on his luck. No one cares. But if he tried to set up shop in a richer area he’d be fucked.

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