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History of Truck Campers

History of Truck Campers

The truck camper is gaining some attention along with many RVs, thanks to the rising cost of living and the pandemic. Those wondering where these camper designs came from have come to the right place. The following will help you understand the truck camper a little better.

The Origins

The reality is the truck camper wasn’t invented by one person.

The first models showed up in the mid 50s. One was built by a man named Howard Cree. It was called the Cree Truck Coach at the time, but he wasn’t the only one cooking up that idea. There was also a man named Walter King who introduced his version of the truck camper. King is credited for building the first cab-over camper, which has become the thing most people think of when they hear someone talk about truck campers.

The idea seems so obvious now since trucks are quite powerful, and they have a lot of space back there. Still, it only takes one good idea to create something lasting, and that’s what these folks were able to do when they introduced their truck campers to the world.

Moving On

The truck camper didn’t take off when it was first introduced. People seemed interested, but it didn’t get too far. It took a few decades before these campers were everywhere.

At some point, camping became popular. It was almost a family tradition to travel across the country. People had disposable income and hungered to travel. This was difficult to do with families, but campers allowed people to travel luxuriously.

This hunger to travel urged companies like the ones creating truck campers to push these vehicles. Almost every car company you can think of introduced a version of the truck camper by the late 50s and 60s.

Jeep built a truck exclusively for campers. This vehicle was the Gladiator, and it advertised the truck as a truck camper. The company believed in their vehicle this much. Many companies did the same thing.

The truck camper began to slowly pick up speed, thanks to all of these advertising efforts. The push involved all automakers, and it helped convince people to start making the switch to the truck camper.

It helps that the truck camper is pretty versatile. If you want to go off the beaten path, the truck camper will get you there because a truck offers more flexibility than other types of campers. The truck camper became the vehicle for folks who wanted to travel where others didn’t.

The 70s and 80s Craze

By the time the 70s and 80s came around, the advertising had worked like a charm. It took about 10 years of advertising, but the truck camper started shattering all expectations.

Everyone wanted this type of vehicle. It was a truck, but it was also a camper. You didn’t have to worry about having a big RV in your driveway that you rarely used because the truck was useful even when you weren’t camping.

Another reason truck campers became so popular around this time is because Toyota and Datsuns took everything to the next level. The two companies started to create compact trucks designed for campers. These smaller trucks served their purpose but were also easy to use every day because they were so compact.

The Modern Truck Camper

Long gone are the days when car manufacturers catered to campers. No truck company creates vehicles specifically for truck campers.

Back in those days, people must have felt pretty pampered. Today, most of these campers are mounted on full-sized trucks, unless you are a truck aficionado who has a classic truck instead of the ones today.

The campers today have a number of new features that people didn’t need back in those days, like solar panel kits, a generator, or an inverter. You’ll find highly efficient AC systems in today’s truck campers and much more.

It’s a good time to start exploring some of these campers, especially if you’re the kind of person who loves having a truck, too. While the truck camper can go anywhere, it’s especially suited for folks who love to go off-road, so keep that in mind.


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