12 more reader submitted dream floor plans including raw concepts, wild ideas, and subtle refinements. And the winner of the first ever dream truck camper floor plan contest is…
Just last week we visited a prominent truck camper manufacturer and the subject of our dream camper floor plan contest came up. We talked with great excitement about the variety of ideas our readers were presenting, and encouraged them to study the plans when they debuted. No, we didn’t give them a sneak peak. It’s more fun to tease.
None of the submitted designs, including mine, are anywhere near production ready. That was never the intention or spirit of this contest, nor is it possible without delving into details like plumbing, electrical, and code compliance.
The true potential of this contest is to give truck camper users from around the United States, Canada, and the world the opportunity to directly inspire professional truck camper design teams. You know, the folks responsible for the truck campers you see debut here on Truck Camper Magazine, at RV shows, and dealer lots? This was your shot to show them your big idea, and possibly change the course of truck camper design history.
I know, crazy talk. Then again, crazier things have happened. I’m going to lobby the industry to take your designs and ideas seriously, as I do with our bi-annual truck camper survey coming up this fall. Together, we will change the course of campers.
Far be it for us to determine who should win the best dream camper floor plan, except that’s exactly what we had to do. This is, after all, a contest, and we are the big cheese, cheesette, and cheese-cat for this electron-only magazine. After considerable review, and a tail gesture we interpreted as positive, we have a winner.
Above: Click to enlarge this floor plan and the others below to see them bigger.
Although I don’t currently own a truck camper, I would like to in the future. I often think of what an ideal floor plan would be so this was a fun exercise. I first did the layout in a program that was to scale. The dimensions should be pretty accurate.
The floor length is 11-feet. The total length is 19-feet, 9-inches. The width is 8-feet. It’s a single-slide, dry bath, flatbed model.
Although there are a few flatbed model campers on the market, I think there is a great deal of room for more. Specifically, I think there is room for a larger model that takes full advantage of the ability to place the door anywhere.
To this end, I created a floor plan layout that places the door towards the front of the curb side of the camper. This allows for greater flexibility in the placement of the bathroom, which I put across the entire rear of the camper.
The slide allows space for both a dinette and a small couch that can turn into a bed. Placement of the kitchen towards the front, along with the heaviest components such as the fresh water tank, battery bank, and propane tanks, will help in keeping the center of gravity as close to the front as possible.
The placement of the entertainment center allows for viewing either on the main floor or the cabover. There is overhead storage above the kitchen and couch that makes up for the lack of floor cabinets. There is also ample windows allowing light in from either side of the camper as well as views. I think this would make an ideal camper for a family with the potential to sleep up to six people without the use of a bunk.
#16 – David Miller, Branson, Missouri – Honorable Mention
My camper is designed with the premise that the most important things about a truck camper use are (1) the nice, soft, queen bed for sleeping, and (2) the nice bathroom for showering; not a wet bath.
The dining aspect needs less emphasis because, typically, the meals are simple and small. In most cases, weather dependent, we eat outside at the picnic table. Thus there is no need for a large dining table.
There is also no need to accommodate guests for sleeping. If the grandkids are camping with us, they will sleep in a tent outside. The concept of having the table convert to a bed is unnecessary, and a waste of space for us.
The attached drawing is for a non-slide design to fit a full-size short bed pickup. I figure this camper will hang over the back of a 6’6” truck bed by approximately 27-inches.
Here are the wonderful features of my perfect truck camper:
It has a dry bath and shower. This is extremely important.
The dining area has been reduced in size to only seat two adults. The table is curved and the back of the seat cushion is curved to give the feeling and seating of a corner booth in a restaurant. The only slight difficulty is that the person who sits down first will have to slide in and cannot get back out until the other person stands up, but, that is just like a corner booth in a restaurant and won’t be too much of a hassle.
There is a closet on both sides of the bed in addition to the foot lockers. The television is mounted above the table, on the wall of the dry shower.
As you can see, the bed and the dry shower get the most emphasis, and the dining facilities are minimized. It’s the perfect camper for two adults who want to shower every day after a good nights sleep.
#17 – Jake Schultz, Washington – Honorable Mention
A Folding Camper for the Ford Ranger
This camper is designed to be less than 780 pounds to work within the payload limit of a Ford Ranger. It’s also designed to be 64-inches wide, with a maximum travel height of 82-inches. These dimensions allow the camper to fit into a standard 84-inch garage in the folded configuration.
The camper features a full stand-up heigh interior of 76-inches, as shown. A sun-dome could be added for an additional three-inches of interior height.
The camper has a double-pivot folding hard wall roof and sides with an open and panoramic cabin.
The camper can be used in one of four configurations:
1. Wide open with magnificent panoramic views to the aft sides and back.
2. Open to the aft sides and back, with screen netting in place.
3. Polycarbonate window panels in place (inboard of netting) for inclement weather.
4. Window panels in place and privacy curtains on the interior.
There would be comfortable seating for two at the dinette with the cushions angled slightly inward to account for the wheel well.
The camper would feature a modified full-size bed available at all times. There would be a 24-inch cabinet for hanging clothes under the foot of the bed.
To save weight, the roof would be built for structure and snow loads only, not to stand on. The floor would be to stand on only if the camper is on the ground or in the bed of the truck, again to save weight.
There would be no jack stands. The camper is suspended from the owner’s home garage root trusses to remove and store.
There would be an ice chest under one seat and Porta-Potti under the other. There would be no refrigeration systems or black water tank.
All systems are in one four-foot module along the right side for minimum weight and system run lengths. The module contains the propane tank, propane heater, two-burner stove, sink, fresh water tank, grey water tank, battery, converter, inverter, and small item storage.
#18 – Mark Larson, Phoenix, Arizona – Honorable Mention
This is my drawing for one of my dream campers. Please excuse the poor scale on the toilet, lavatory, and kitchen sink.
I know this would be better as a flatbed model because of the side aisle going to the cabover and the location of the shower. It could also be an above the bed rail model. I’m with you wanting a camper with no slide outs. You had a great design of your own.
#19 – Kari Miller, Branson, Missouri – Honorable Mention
My truck camper is the best design ever. Here are the great features:
1. There is actually a solid wall between the over cab bedroom and the rest of the camper. This creates total privacy, similar to a fifth wheel with an isolated separate bedroom.
2. The step to the bedroom is offset so there is not direct line of sight into the private bedroom.
3. There is room at the foot of the queen-size bed to access the closet and a real two-drawer dresser, which is what is needed for storing clothes in a camper.
4. A narrow, but deep and tall closet is behind the refrigerator is accessed from the step.
5. Instead of wasting room on a full table top and a table that converts to an unnecessary bed, this camper has a bar top for dining. The seating consists of two bar stools which can be clamped down for traveling. People spend many hours sitting on a bar stool so, obviously, these would be comfortable. Plus, for most eating situations, people will either sit outside at the picnic table, or go out to eat at a restaurant. There is a big window over the bar top so it would be pleasant sitting.
6. There is a slide-out pantry between the bar top and the range
7. The bathroom has a dry shower, which is important.
8. This camper should fit in a full-size short-bed pickup. There are no slides, and it is
#20 – Mike Cianci, Loveland, Colorado
Here’s my plan. It’s fairly basic. I chose a wet bath because it’s easier to clean. Put it in the forward section near the wardrobe with a privacy curtain so nobody has to see your business. And it’s easier to keep the bed/bath/dressing area cleaner.
I chose wardrobes with shelves or drawers which is more practical than hanging closets. Who is bringing their tux and ball gown while truck camping? There are overhead bins throughout where practical.
There would be LED lights, two batteries on a movable tray, and a small solar setup. Only simple shades are necessary; no cornice, or valance boxes around the windows.
There would be 12-volt and 110 AC throughout, two Fantastic fans – one in the bedroom and kitchen – and an air conditioner There would be a full-size skylight/dome in the bath with a side wall exhaust vent.
The sofa could be a jack knife-style, or have storage underneath. And it would have two pull-out tray tables mounted in or adjacent to the armrest. Plus it would pivot for easy egress from the sofa while eating or using computer, similar to tray tables on airliners in first class.
The television would be on standard pivot for bedroom and living room viewing, and would recess in a cabinet above the slide out pantry. The rear exit door would have a platform deck for easy entry/egress.
#21 – Kevin Pinassi, New York, New York
#22 – John Wells, Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania
My design is a modification of the Chalet Ascent S100F, a limited production model (six total!) that Chalet discontinued to pursue production of their more profitable double and triple-slide models. We love ours because it is completely usable with the slide in or out.
It has huge floorspace when the slide is out for entertaining friends and for ladies to dress in Civil War hoops (don’t ask). The front bath allows a full height pleated curtain immediately behind the dinette to be drawn across to create a dressing room with access to bath, bed, and wardrobe.
There are no appliances in the slide, minimizing slide-out weight, and wear and tear on electrical and gas connections while maximizing efficiency of the refrigerator. While we love our camper, please allow me to debut … drum roll… The Wellspring S110F.
My modifications to Chalet’s original design are as follows:
There would be 10-inches of increased length in the main cabin. On the slide-out side, this extra wall space at the junction of the overcab and cabin strengthens the exterior at the crucial front corner tie-down. We have already noticed flexing at this point and have taken steps to greatly reinforce this important structural location. On the kitchen side, this extra 10-inches allows an increase in much-needed counter space, as well as under and over cabinetry.
I would also add about four to five inches to the side-to-side width of the wet bath. The wardrobe doors and bathroom door would still function even with the slide in.
Additionally, I’d add half-penguin cabinets to the night stands at either side of the bed in the nose of the overcab. These units would be open-shelved on the sides, half-depth and about 3/4 height, with a small rail or lip on the shelves and top edge to keep books, phones, clock, etc from falling out during travel.
I’d also add a three drawer cabinet with open top shelf and top rail at the foot of the bed on the bathroom side. I’ve avoided the side hampers as I feel they add significantly to the difficulty of changing the bedclothes, though they could be added quite easily as an option.
Attached is my submission for the dream floor plan contest. It is based off an EarthRoamer layout modified with a fore/aft dinette and an undercover slide-out compressor refrigerator chest. I chose the slide-out compressor fridge since they are more efficient than a three-way refrigerator, and it allows for additional counter space.
One of my favorite features of the EarthRoamer plan is how the closet and bathroom doors can be opened and secured to provide a changing area outside the wet bath with access to the closet. The wet bath has a wooded floor grate to provide a cleaner surface for the bath when the shower isn’t being used.
Access to the toilet cassette is through the rear storage door which drops down and can be used as a counter when cooking outside. Another door above the horizontal door to the left of the spare tire can be used to store chairs and other lighter items out of the weather.
I prefer the side entry design as it allows the entire back wall to be used for storage and it allows access to the camper from the curbside when parked without having to remove bikes/trailers from the back of the camper.
The pantry to the left of the closet would be a bank of drawers with a window air conditioner unit above to provide for cool air without the expense and height of a roof mounted unit. The dinette would be a little under three feet wide and can convert to a single bed if needed.
Large awning windows on either side provide lots of light and views with storage cabinets above them (not shown). The overcab queen bed runs north/south to allow for getting out of bed without having to climb over your significant other, and has windows on both sides along with a skylight/Fantastic fan for good ventilation while sleeping.
Another feature I don’t see included on many campers any more is a pass through. I would like the ability to stealth camp and having the pass through allows one to enter and exit the camper without having to go outside.
#24 – Floyd Schotel, Williams Lake, British Columbia
I’ve been dreaming up my ideal truck camper for a little while now, so you’re design contest is a great opportunity to share my napkin sketches!
For fuel efficiency, handling, and stealthiness, my ideal truck camper would be a low profile pop-up design to fit a 6.5-foot bed, full-size pickup.
The camper body extends past the bumper, dropping down for a low step-in side door. Inside steps lead to the floor height. This way the back of the camper is open to mount bikes, fuel, spares etc. Also, the side door is a natural access to the curb or side picnic area.
Most of the windows are in the soft sides of the pop-up. That way the camper will be more secure when in the locked down position. In fact, the camper may look more like a service truck than a camper when in travel mode.
I’d keep the camper as small and tight to the truck as possible. To keep things simple, I can do without a toilet/black tank, but a collapsable shower would be nice.
This camper is designed for boondocking and overland excursions as well as urban stealth camping. I love the idea of taking my bed and a hot shower with me in a compact camper for a road trip. No need to stress about finding a hotel, and a meal can be fixed anywhere, pronto!
#25 – Glenn Yauney, Milwaukie, Oregon
Here is an idea of a dream truck camper floor plan. We started with the floor plan of a 1140 Arctic Fox. We added a rear slide-out and side entry.
We would prefer a camper with both a rear and a side slide-out. When towing a trailer, a rear door entry is awkward, thus we prefer a side entry into the camper rather than a rear entry design. We added a large closet in the rear slide-out opposite the entry door for boots, outdoor clothes, etc.
Storage space is also at a premium, so I propose one that has both ample wardrobe closets and storage space equipped with larger drawers. You can’t have too much storage space.
Exterior storage isn’t shown, but basement and exterior storage are also a must.
#26 – TJ and Kelly Kretschmar, Kansas City, Kansas
I am a mechanical engineer and have the ability to convert .pdf’s to CAD. The Unimog part of the drawing can be found in the technical manual from Mercedes Benz website. I printed the drawing to .pdf, then converted it to CAD. I then printed the drawing for the Pangea concept and converted the drawing to CAD.
The reason I choose to draw this concept in CAD was to see if it was physically possible to put a garage bay in an expedition vehicle, and to incorporate my own ideas into the same space that would fit on a Unimog chassis with a single rear axle.
I deleted the interior of the lower living area so I could insert my own concept. The items that I used from the original GXV drawing are the exterior walls, entry door, cassette toilet, and spare tires. The loft area and access stairway is also GXV’s design, only with one bed instead of the two indicated in their drawing.
I used the Unimog drawing to make sure the entry door, center of gravity, and departure angle were going to work with the design.
We like the Pangea Lifting roof on a Unimog concept, but wanted it to double as a toy hauler. We put one bed in the loft area to give the dinette area a sense of a vaulted ceiling. The unit can be used in the down position for extreme cold weather. The garage door folds down allowing access to spare tires. The ATV slide out is similar to a Tommy Lift gate.
The camper would be able to detach with its own hydraulic jacks and allow for the installation of a dump bed.
This, of course, is just a dream. For now our 1994 Hallmark Ute and 2006 Nissan Titan will have to suffice.