Truck bed campers are becoming common nowadays because of their portable nature, and they are easy to move from one place to another.
What Size Truck Camper For 6.5 Foot Bed? All truck campers, having floor lengths in the range of 6.5 to 9 feet, are compatible with 6.5-ft truck beds. They have an overall length from 15 to 18 feet. However, the camper’s overall weight, including accessories and passengers, should be within the truck’s payload capacity. Moreover, you should install it in such a way as to have the center of gravity balanced in the center of the truck bed for safe driving.
According to the added camper weight, you will need to upgrade the truck hardware, including the suspension system, brakes, and tires.
They are available in various sizes compatible with 5′ short bed, 6.5′ standard bed, or 8′ long bed trucks. However, it depends on several other factors besides its bed size to find its compatible pickup.
We will discuss other requirements, safe installation instructions, and any upgrade regarding supporting hardware required to ensure safety.
What is the size of a truck camper?
Truck campers come in various sizes compatible with long, short, and standard size truck beds. Their floor-length varies from 6.5-feet to 12-feet and overall length in the range of 15.5 to 21 feet.
Furthermore, they have the top front extended above its cabin to balance and utilize maximum space.
They have all the basic facilities of an RV and offer a good compromise between comfortability and affordability.
Requirements of placing a Truck camper on 6.5 feet bed
There are a few basic requirements regarding installing a truck camper on a 6.5 feet truck bed. Some of the requirements regarding size, weight, and a balanced center of gravity are essential for a safe journey.
While the rest of them, including the upgraded suspension system, airbags, brakes, and tires, are for reliable and easy driving conditions.
A 6.5 feet truck bed can easily accommodate a camper having a floor length of the same size. However, you can extend it up to 9 feet.
Beyond that size, you will not be able to drive safely due to payload shifting towards the backside of the vehicle.
They have extended cab-overs having a length of 8.5-9 feet. Therefore, you will get the overall length of the camper in the range of 15-18 feet.
These sizes are standard by various manufacturers and are compatible with any pickups by Ford, Nissan, Chevy, or others having standard bed length. You should also know the difference between the truck camper and Class C.
The payload capacity of the truck
The second important aspect of placing a camper on a pickup is its weight. Manufacturers use lightweight materials like aluminum and fiberglass to match the payload ratings of the carrier vehicle.
Two imperative quantities mentioned by the camper manufacturer are dry and wet weights. Dry weight is the camper’s weight without any fluids like fuel, Propane, and freshwater. Wet weight includes all these quantities.
These ratings should be within the payload capacity of the vehicle. Typical wet weights of camper compatible with 6.5 feet bed are 1900-3000 pounds with standard equipment including dinette, bed, microwave oven, and refrigerator.
Center of gravity of camper
When loading a trailer on a truck, its center of gravity should be in front of the rear axle; otherwise, it will result in dropping your vehicle on the backside with a lifted front.
Most manufacturers provide the center of gravity point measured from both the front and rear sides.
Therefore, you only need to ensure it is in front of the rear axle. It will keep the vehicle balanced and facilitate easy driving.
Secure the truck camper
It is essential to secure the camper on the bed to ensure a safe journey. The recommended procedure for safe installation is using turnbuckles and a frame-mounted tie-down system of the truck.
Install 4 numbers of tie-down or anchor points with its frame on all corners of the bed. Connect the tie-down and campers with the help of turnbuckles.
Apply appropriate pressure by tightening its screw until you feel a secure link between the bed and camper. Recommended pressure from the manufacturers is 290-310 lbs.
Upgraded suspension system
Most manufacturers recommend support equipment to improve a truck camper’s handling, stability, and safety.
The suspension system is one piece of equipment to reduce extra stress on the truck chassis and prevent damage to your camper equipment due to jerks.
In addition, they recommend using good quality shocks, additional shocks under cab-over, and air springs to support its weight.
Tires play a vital role regarding handling and road grip of truck campers in all kinds of terrains. Selected tires should have the appropriate size and load rating.
Load rating means the capacity of the tire to withstand the wet weight of the camper. I will recommend E class rating for use with your pickup.
Air pressure must be within described limits by the manufacturer. Tires should be compatible with all kinds of terrains and have excellent road grip on snow-covered or hilly areas.
I strongly recommend having a 4-wheel drive configuration for a truck camper. It becomes essential in situations where you need traction due to carrying a payload equal to the maximum rating of the pickup truck.
In the absence of 4WD, you will need to tow your vehicle to cross mountains or other off-road conditions like snowy areas.
However, if you have to travel on paved roads most of the time and no snowy or other low traction surfaces are involved, 2WD is also an economical option to provide better fuel mileage and less maintenance cost.
Brakes play an essential role on campers while traversing long steep downhill grades or climbing a hilly area.
If not designed to withstand such worst conditions, you will get your brakes heated up or fail in certain situations.
Therefore use upgraded brake pads and braking equipment to have the capability to stop such heavy loads.
Moreover, I suggest keeping the truck in the lowest gear while going downhill to put less strain on the brakes.
It is better to replace the brake pads regularly after covering a specific distance as recommended by the manufacturer.
Sometimes you have undergone a situation when your vehicle has a lifted front and a dropped back side due to excessive weight behind its rear axle.
Airbags come in handy in such situations to keep the weight balanced on both truck axles. Such airbags are different from conventional airbags for safety inside the cabin. Instead, they are part of a suspension system known as pneumatic or air suspension.
When handling truck campers, you will require them to provide a stable bed by increasing air pressure to elevate its rear side. You can deflate it when not loading or towing.
The second option is to use a Timbren suspension enhancement system that uses a rubber bump stop between its chassis and rear axle. It prevents the rear sag, provides sway control and better truck handling during the journey.
Do you need to remove the tailgate to add a truck camper in a 6.5 feet bed?
You need to open the tailgate and keep it in the down position while loading a camper on your pickup.
However, it is risky as some stone or other sharp objects can damage the hanging tailgate. Therefore, it is a better option to remove the tailgate.
It will also relieve some pounds of weight on the rear axle. Keeping in view the above situation, it is up to you to keep the tailgate on or off as both conditions are acceptable.
Do truck campers affect the maneuverability of the truck?
By adding a camper, it increases the overall height of your pickup. As a result, it moves the center of gravity away from the ground.
Therefore, your pickup is not as stable as without the camper. Consequently, be careful at sharp turns or road corners while driving to prevent accidents.
You will not be as maneuverable as with an unloaded truck. Moreover, there are chances of sway and increased air turbulence due to increased weight and height.
Therefore, you should drive with reduced speed and more control than with an empty truck.
Truck models for 6.5 feet bed truck campers
Short bed truck campers are compatible with most medium-duty half-ton pickups with short or standard bed configurations.
Their physical dimensions and weight ratings are compatible with each other. Examples of such trucks are Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra, and Ford F-250.