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You can't buy a camper or topper like this, but you can build one, customized to suit your own rig and specific needs. Your camper can be fitted out with single or double doors and side windows can be screened sliding full length RV types, small non-opening marine deadlites or simple smoked Plexi or Lexan panels attached to the exterior surface. The overhead hatch can located forward or aft, on centerline or off to one side to allow opening the hatch while hauling a canoe, kayak or rocket box on the top racks. The top "escape hatch" can provide light, ventilation and handy access to items carried atop the camper. The racks are structural to provide support for hauling heavy loads.

The interior layout is optional and can be modular and removable for cargo hauling, or intricate with permanent furniture, insulation, battery lighting, sound system and porta-potty for self-contained camping. The Outdoor Life camper shown also has a 6 foot 2 inch long bed arranged crossways plus a small dinette. Exterior finish is optional and the camper can be finished natural as shown for a classy look or painted to match truck.

The camper as shown weighs 260 pounds empty. Four adults, one supporting each corner, can remove and replace the camper on the truck. Toppers, built to attach to truck bed sides and without a floor, usually weigh much less. The crawl-thru access hatch attached to the sliding window of the truck cab allows heat from the truck cab to warm the camper and contents.

Plans include a 33 page spiral-bound shop manual with photos, sketches, sources and step-by-step, with discussion of many options. Campers and toppers have been built in a variety of configerations, interior layouts and finishes, for small compact trucks to full size long and short bed rigs, and mostly by amateur builders. The plans also discuss square corner "economy" or utility versions, as well as the large radius corners shown in photos.

Hi Paul,

I purchased plans for the Maxi Mac some time ago and now it is close to be finished. I live in Patagonia Argentina and right now I have some troubles with low temperatures and extreme humidity.   I glassed the whole outside but 2 people can still easily lift it.  A lot of fun to build and should be very strong.

Now my questions are concerning 0ur  truck camper plan: I am wondering if the plans could be adapted to  make a cab over camper with sleeping capacity 2 adults and our 2 kids in the cab over.  I would like to have the cabin wide enough to sleep crosswise. Just good sitting height and a fold down table.  No kitchen or furniture but I would put an alcohol stove on the table (and sometimes it is even enough to put some alcohol on the table and forget about cooking).

The camper should fit on a japanese double cab pick-up, that are quite a bit smaller and way more fuel efficient than the american ones.   Some companies in Europe sucuessfully build campers with beds for 4 for these trucks but with a $30,000 US price tag.  Thanks a lot and best greeting.    

Thomas Pletzenauer


Paul Butler,

I have used your book, "Upgrading Your Small Sailboat For Cruising" to make my Cape Dory 25 into a better boat. When I found your article on making the Truck Camper I was giddy! My question is what form of payment will you except, check or credit card? Thanks for coming up with an alternative to all of the aluminum and fiberglass crap that's on the market. I have wanted something for my Dodge Dakota that would remind me of my boat, (now that it's gone).

Mike Ratkowski


Paul -

The plans for the camper arrived, and I surprised myself by waiting until after supper to read them. Nice job! The only thing you didn't tell me was how you arranged your kitchen or dinette. Could you give me a brief idea of what you did with the interior of the camper?




Mr Butler....I finished building my lightweight truck camper this last winter. After an extended bout with sickness I'm feeling much better now and can hardly wait for better weather to get "on the road" again, this time with my new camper. As you suggested I modified the design to suit my needs, including a couple of solar cells to charge a battery for lights and radio when backcountry camping without hookups. I also installed a big opening hatch in the top of the camper so I can stand up and stargaze on warm summer nights. I don't use a stove of any kind inside the camper, unless I am at a campground with 110 hookups for an electric heater, but I can heat it from the cab heater if the motors running and its all insulated so it holds heat really well. It was quite a project for an amateur builder and probably not as fancy as yours but i sure like it.

Lloyd Pederson


To Butler Projects.

I have enclosed a check for truck camper plans as seen in Outdoor Life magazine. On a personal note, I have long enjoyed your projects in Outdoor Life, and also have your Rodale book on Plywood Projects. Thank you.

Stewart Arth


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