Over the years I’ve spent nights in everything from ultralight backpacking tents to 24-foot Airstreams, and can say without a doubt that the Skinny Guy Camper (from $15,625) is the one of the most unique and innovative shelters I’ve seen in that time.
Most manufacturers give midsize truck owners a camper light and low profile enough for their rigs by combining a shell with a rooftop tent, creating a spartan cabana in the back of a pickup that owners are free to outfit (or not) however they’d like. SkinnyGuy took the opposite approach and designed a low-profile camper that comes with everything you’d find in a standard RV—an electrical system, running hot water, lighting, a furnace, a shower, and even a flushing toilet—that also gives you access to your truck bed.
Rather than sliding into the bed like a Four Wheel Camper, it sits on top of your truck’s bed rails and is secured to proprietary mounts that help distribute the camper’s 800- to 1,000-pound weight. The initial install is a chore, but once the mounts are in place, the camper comes on and off via three removable jacks in about 10 minutes. Since it’s only cab-high when folded up, you won’t see a big impact on your truck’s fuel economy and you’ll still be able to park your truck in the garage, which isn’t the case with virtually anything else on the market.
The camper’s design also means you’ve still got space in your bed underneath it for hauling things, or running a drawer system. That’s also not something you can do with other full-featured slide-ins. Those campers may offer a bit more protection from the elements given their hard sides, but I tested the SkinnyGuy in below-freezing temps and was able to keep the temperature near 70 thanks to the Truma Combi furnace.
SkinnyGuy makes six different sizes of their camper to fit nearly every truck bed on the market, and offers four different trim levels, with a shell model starting around $15,000 and the fully specced out model coming in at a whopping $36,000. At first glance, that may seem expensive for what looks like a tent—but when you consider the compact footprint, the top-of-the-line systems, fuel economy, storage benefits, off-road capability, and the use of your truck bed while the camper is on, it’s competitively priced, if not a downright deal. For the overland enthusiast who wants a truly full-featured camper that won’t hold them back off road, the SkinnyGuy is hard to beat.