We had a blast reading about all the fun things folks do in their truck campers when the sun goes down. What’s particularly fun is both the incredible variety of things fellow truck campers do, and the unexpected trends. Evidently there are some seriously competitive games of Scrabble, Yahtzee, and Cribbage throwing down in cabovers across the land. And not everyone goes to bed happy.
The responses are well worth the read to get ideas for your next truck camping trip. No matter where you go, night will fall. Here are about 100 ideas to keep the truck camping party going, long into the night.
This week’s Question of the Week was, “What do you enjoy doing in your camper after dark?”
“Most times after dark we are by a campfire till 9:00 or 10:00pm. It is usually quiet and peaceful. The campfire is just memorizing.
When we do call it a night, Andrea knits and reads blogs of campers. I read places to go on our trips. Truck Camper Magazine is a great source for that. The experience of others is a good way to get an adventure preview. On rainy nights we have popcorn and a good movie.” – Doug and Andrea Caruolo, 2001 Ford F-350, 2018 Cirrus 920
“We enjoy a wide variety of things from cards, reading, Dominos, Tenzi, and board games like Camping. I usually bring my guitar, but that is normally played around the campfire. We also plan our next day’s adventure – even if it is just hanging around the campsite.” – Mark Brown, 2004 Ford F350, 2015 Palomino HS-2902
“When it’s time to go into the camper at night, it’s usually time to go to sleep. So that’s what we do… sleep. Once in a while we actually do hang out in the camper in the evening. During those times, we read. My wife will read on her tablet and I will read a paperback. The books I read are about hiking or history or sometimes about both.” – Rich Bain, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2010 Adventurer 810WS
“I make music (currently researching small harps), read, play cards and board games, use my iPad, watch movies, make jewelry, and look at interesting opportunities in the area we are traveling.” – Stacie Link, 2016 Ram 2500, 2001 Four Wheel Grandby
Above: This video is one of Vince’s accordion buddies from Seattle.
“I’m an accomplished accordion (and button box) player. Sometimes I bring an accordion along. I play music from Germany, Austria, Ireland/Scotland, France, Italy, etc. It’s like taking a trip to Europe – only cheaper (but not by much).
Accordions are loud, so I usually play when the windows can be mostly closed if we have close neighbors. Most people don’t understand this kind of music anymore.
Sometimes I will also use the computer to review and edit pictures I have taken during the day.” – Vince Kurpan, 2014 Dodge, Custom Camper
“I read books on the Kindle app. I play games on my tablet and play Yahtzee with my wife. Sometimes I will watch television or play cribbage.” – Gordon Townsend, 2015 Silverado 2500, 2018 Cirrus 920
“If we’re not sitting around a campfire, we usually take an after dark hike and head back to the camper for a movie. We hardly ever watch a movie at home, but really enjoy making a nest in the cabover to watch a movie. We love our camper!
There has been lots of talk about front nose cabover windows. Our Bigfoot has a thermopane front nose window. After the lights go out, there’s nothing like laying in bed and watching the stars overhead. It makes waking up in the middle of the night worth it!” – Dave Miller, 2015 Ford F-350, 2003 Bigfoot 10.6E
“I shoot video all day in support of our YouTube channel. I usually shoot between 8 and 16 GB everyday spread between six cameras. I try to make a video documenting each day. At the end of each day I have to create a folder and download that day’s footage in order to properly and accurately store many Gigabytes of data. I then charge all the batteries.
Yoly enters all the expense receipts for the day and keeps her financial accounts updated. Then, she plays video games on her laptop. We have a PS4 with us to watch Bluray movies (from our own large collection). I also play racing video games religiously.
We also use the PS4 to play the 3,000 songs that I have stored on a flash drive when we just want to listen to music. We have over 1,000 vinyl records at home to pick music from.” – Neil and Yoly Mullen, 2016 Ram 2500, 2018 Eureka
“Sleep. We go dispersed camping all the time, so there are no neighbors or distractions. We stay up until well after sunset sitting outside listening to the sounds of the night around a campfire. When it’s bed time (usually around 9:30 or 10:00pm), we retire to the bunk and get a good night’s sleep, which always comes easily. We are usually up at 6:00 or 7:00am and making breakfast.
When bed time comes around, the only light is the dying embers in the fire. It’s so dark you cannot see your hand in front of your face. That’s just how we like it.
Where we tend to camp there is no Internet or cell reception. We take our cell phones along, but no laptop. I have a SAT phone for emergencies, but the air time is expensive so it’s only for an emergency.” – Daryl Davis, 1997 Ford F350, 2014 Palomino Backpack SS-1500
“Being an old off-road motorcycle junky, with a helmet mounted video camera I spend my boondocking nights editing the ride of that day and posting it on YouTube or FOAT (Fastest Of All Times) websites. Google “gasser off road Hawaii” or “gasser off road Arizona” for my latest video’s to watch with a hot cup of cocoa on cold mountain nights or cold beers on hot desert days.” – Gaston Belanger, 2017 Ram 3500, 2017 Northern Lite 9-6 Q SE
“After dark for us is a very quiet time. During the daytime we’re busy with activities like hiking, canoeing, or kayaking. So when night comes, it’s an adult beverage and something to eat, reading or watching a movie, and getting some rest in preparation for the next day. If we have access to WIFI or a good connection to the internet, we may do some surfing, trip planning, or catch up on email.” – Dave Riddle, 2015 Chevrolet 3500HD, 2017 Host Mammoth
“Because we have an eight year old who goes to bed fairly early, our evening activities run on the quiet side; reading (actual books, ebooks or news reader) or playing crib.
We put the dinette down into a bed before our daughter goes to bed. Things that require a table go outside – which we often do. We have an easy-up screen tent so we can be outside and mostly bug-free. Without a fire it usually gets cold pretty quick in the mountains of Canada, so we’re usually inside by 10:00pm.” – Melissa Malejko, 2002 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 1981 Okanagan
“We like listening to books while we make pine needle baskets, do needlepoint or sew. Sometimes it is nice to turn off all the lights and listen until we drift off to sleep. It is not unusual to reboot the sections we have missed while napping. Truck camping is very relaxing.” – Laurel and Howard Wilson, 2018 Ford F 350, 2016 Four Wheel Camper Shell
“If the weather is nice we sit outside and watch the stars using a sky map. If it’s cold or bad we watch television, a movie, or read. If we can get WIFI, we go on the computer and check email.” – Erwin Greven, 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 2002 Lance 921
“Our after dark activities are also our rainy day activities. From playing Tri-Ominos (three sided dominoes), to cribbage, surfing the net, watching any of the 100+ videos we brought, reviewing photos taken during our journey, to sewing items for our camper or the grandkids.” – Chuck and Jodie Ramsey, 2012 Chevy Silverado, 2014 Adventurer 116DS
“It’s rare and the weather will have to be really bad. My wife, myself, and the kids (American Pit Bull and English Bull Dog) will sit inside and play cards and listen to music.“ – Robert Hirakis, 2015 Ford F350, 1993 Lance Squire 8000
“I always take my three-quarter size guitar, and now my violin, which I started learning last winter. I have a mute if there are neighbors who might be annoyed.
I also read. I am working on a goal to read all the Reader’s Digest condensed books, AKA Reader’s Digest Select editions, before I die. They’ve been continuously published since 1950, so that’s a lot of reading. They take me into new territory regularly; subjects I would never have chosen on my own. I read a volume every 7 to 10 days. Sometimes I don’t make my one-a-week goal).” – Doris Van Hoven, 2002 Ford F-250, 2001 Pastime FD
“Indoor activity is usually limited to reading books, browsing over topographical maps and planning activities for the next day.
When not doing those things we are playing Scrabble. One game of Scrabble can take us hours. We enjoy Scrabble the most because it’s good exercise for our older brains.
We are not often in an area that has WIFI because we camp mostly off-grid. If WIFI were available we would use the computer and our phones to stay updated. But, we don’t miss these things when we camp.
We do our cooking, dishwashing and showering outdoors. Normally we will stay outside with a campfire for an hour or so after dark depending on the weather, and pesky mosquitoes.” – Grant Smith, 2018 Four Wheel Hawk
“I often edit the photos I shot that day. My wife will contact family. We study maps to plan the next leg of the journey. The stereo is on and CDs are playing. Books need to be read. And of course, we’re eating and drinking coffee.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050
“My husband and I enjoy playing cards. I also use this time to catch up on my travel journal. He works from home, so he works a little. We also enjoy watching television. If the weather is nice, we walk around the campground after dark and do some sky watching.” – Patrick and Pem Richardson, 2016 Ram 3500, 2017 Adventurer 86FB
“Nothing overly imaginative for us. We enjoy reading paper as well as our Kindles. We don’t worry about television requiring a signal, but we do have movies or videos recorded on our laptop as well audiobooks. We also always have different card games we play. But, if it’s a nice night we prefer a campfire (if permitted) and Roby’s battery powered keyboard. Then we hit the sack.” – David Pracht, 2015 GMC Sierra K3500, 1987 Lance LC900
“I love to tie flies while my wife reads her latest favorite book. Being a pilot, I also spend some time reading of bush flying adventures from the past. We like relaxing and doing things we normally don’t have time to do.” – Bill Londry, 2011 Chevrolet 2500 HD, 2017 Adventurer 86FB
“Except when a campfire is roaring, I’m in the sack right after dark. I read until I’m sleepy.” – Chuck Cox, 2005 Ford F-150, Range Rider Cap
“We play games like Yahtzee and Rummy Cube, to name a few. We also read or watch movies.” – Shannon O’Brien, 2009 GMC Sierra 3500, 2005 Lance 1125
“We like to paint from the day’s inspirations using acrylic and watercolor basic sets. We will play Yahtzee, write in our trip journal, read and surf the net all while listening to the Rolling Stones, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Oh and crank up Chicago!” – Mike Woods, 2016 F-350 Lariat, 2017 Arctic Fox 811
“The truck camper is about the only place I find time to read. I really enjoy the ‘after dark’ aspect of camping because I can read until I can barely stay awake. At home there are too many distractions. Yes, we have a television in the camper, but I enjoy the simplicity of a good book.” – Mark Joslin, 2006 Ram 3500, 2005 Lance 1181
“My wife and I almost always curl up in the bed to read and plan the next leg of our trip. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, we invite the tent trash to come in and play Cards Against Humanity, or some other game.” – Johnny Schmid, 2018 Ford F350, 2018 Cirrus 920
“Sleep. We stay outside until we’re ready to go to bed. We play corn hole, washers, sit around campfire with friends, go walk around and visit other campers. That’s why we have a truck camper. We don’t need a big camper.” – Jeffrey Wallin, 2013 Ford F-350, 2013 Lance 1050s
“Seriously? You don’t want to hear about our spin the bottle nights? Or our variations on poker games? Haha – so be it.
The main indoor games we play are Cribbage and Yahtzee. We also talk a lot to each other. Things we do separately are read, and solve sudoku and other word type puzzles.
Since most of our camping is boondocking in the woods, we normally can’t get on the internet to do any surfing or posting. The lack of outside communication is very relaxing.
With fire bans over most of Colorado this year, we’re spending a lot more evenings and nights inside the camper than we do in normal years. The games are getting a lot more workout than usual.” – John Bailey, 2001 Ford F250, 1999 Lance
“Usually I am knitting or reading and listening to classical music. Sometimes I am watching television. Or I have fellow camper friends over and we are gabbing and visiting.” – Cheryl E. Lane, 2006 Bornfree Motorhome
“Watch movies.” – Margaret Clark, GMC 2010, 2905 Lance 845
“Bill reads on his iPad or watches movies. Since I can’t take along my spinning wheel I take a bag of wool and a hand spindle. That way I can spin yarn at nights while listening to audiobooks with my headphones. I also take along a folding weaving loom so I can weave while I’m on the road!” – Evelyn Roseberry, 2092 Ford F350, 2005 Arctic Fox 860
“If we are visiting or with friends and family, we often have happy hour in the camper. For some reason folks seem to really like the coziness and intimacy of a camper table. The beer, wine, and snacks might have something to do with it too.
When it’s just me and my wife, we read, watch DVDs (movies and TV shows), or have a cut throat game of Scrabble. This always ends badly because one of us ends up going to bed happy and the other one goes to bed pissed off.” – Marc Wilde, 2017 Ford F250, 2017 Adventurer 89RBS
“We read. Our goal is a book a day. We travel with between 50 and 100 books; swapping at campground book exchanges and giving away the rest once we finish a read.” – Tom Scholtens, 2010 Chevy 2500HD, 2013 Bigfoot 25c10.4
“Janice loves to crochet afghans and always brings the her newest project along. As for me I like to get out the VCR tapes and we watch old movies and eat munchies. Before lights out we play a few hands of Rummy. The same game has been going on for years.” – Jerry and Janice Bonneau, 1995 Ford F350SD, 2002 Lance 1061
“My husband surfs the internet and researches antiques on eBay. I read, journal, crotchet and do English Paper Piecing (a style of hand quilting).” – Susan Bates, 2018 Ford F450, 2015 Arctic Fox 1140
“I have no television in my camper and I don’t want one. I am not sure how to work the radio or stereo system. I am not sure I need to learn.
When the day is done, I have had a shower. I enjoy sitting at the table and reading a good non-fiction history book while sipping on a glass of apple pie flavored moonshine. Lots of times friends will come in to visit and I will of course, share the moonshine.” – George Randall, 2012 Ford F350, 2016 Arctic Fox 865
“We stay outside as long as we can around the fire. After it’s usually late, we go to sleep. When the weather is bad, we go inside.
Both of us read a lot. On weekend trips, we read books and magazines. On road trips, we read about the places we are visiting; history books, guides, etc. Also, we play little table games. My sweet half is a killer at Sudoku.
I manage our photo album and, finally, we try to plan the next days of our trip with room for spontaneity and adventure!” – Roch Nadon, 2008 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 2007 Okanagan 89WS
“Since we’re mainly camping at vintage motocross races (I ride), we’re setting up camp and bikes for the next day’s races, or cooking something tasty. We love to hang out with fellow racers, sipping on a cold brew, looking at the stars or sitting around a campfire doing a little bench racing. There is no television or other technology going on. Camping is its own escape.” – Bob Vannerson, 2018 Ford F350, 2018 Northstar 850SC
“My wife, Bonnie, and I love to play card games when we are in for the night. UNO is usually the go to game.” – Shawn Gaspar, 2007 Ford F350, 2014 Northern Lite 9-6
“We both like to read, mainly fiction. We are using our tablets more and more since we can download eBooks from our library system at home anywhere we have internet service.
However. to say that is it would be wrong. We also enjoy cribbage and dominoes, the Mexican Train version. There is also some television, but only what we can get over the air as we do not have a satellite dish with us.” – Bill and Sue Billyard, 2000 Dodge Ram 3500, 2008 Palomino Winter Creek 115RS
“Read, watch old movies, and keep a daily log.” – Neil Womack, 2018 Ram 3500, 2014 CampLite 11
“We like to make some popcorn and just talk with each other. It’s something we don’t do as much at home when the television or electronic devices are on.
I like to play the Ukelele when camping. It takes up much less room than a guitar. We both like to read and listen to old time radio shows.
Of course we also give our eight month old Blue Heeler (Nikki) the attention she demands in the evening to get her calmed down for the night.” – Mike and Barb Henderson, 2000 Dodge 2500, 2004 Alaskan 10ft cabover
“Most of what I do is pretty routine; read, log today’s fun, plan the next day’s adventures, make and enjoy a nice dinner. But last October, with early darkness and sketchy internet at the Grand Canyon, I spent several evenings following World Series games as patient family members in the outside world texted updates to me.” – Anne Stauffer, 2017 Ford F-350, 2017 Alaskan 8.5
“Usually a typical evening in the camper includes one or more of the following; (1) planning for the next day whether it be hiking, sightseeing, what my next destination will be and where I might camp, (2) surfing the web if internet is available, (3) reading, (4) catching up on my journal entries.
If I happen to be in a remote location I may sit outside after dark and take in the night sky. That can send the mind off into its own remote locations if one is not careful!” – Wanda Myers, 1999 Dodge 2500, 2003 Hallmark Cuchara
“We work on our laptops. I edit the 100-200 pictures that I likely took during the day and my wife journals for the day. We usually tether off my phone and check email (and some miscellaneous research – often regarding trails or places of interest in the vicinity). Sometimes we read stories and often we read some Bible scripture and pray.” – Rick Adams, 2006 Silverado 3500, 2001 Northern Lite
“We usually play cards or dominos.” – Dave Treece, 2011 GMC Sierra 3500HD, 2014 Arctic Fox 990
“I am a woodcarver. I find the light at the dinette to be a very good light source without shadows. The wood chips fly, but are easy to vacuumed up. My husband is a woodworker so the camper is too small for his tools. He checks out woodworking magazines and draws his next project on graph paper.” – Rochelle Berg, 2013 GMC 3500, 2013 Arctic Fox
“When and if there is cable television, we like to keep up with what’s going on by listening to Fox News. We enjoy taking time to get outside and look at the stars. Where we live it’s hard to see the night sky because of the city lights. The best place to watch the stars that I have found is upstate Maine and Vermont.
When we find those areas that we can see the stars there is (most of the time) no cell or WIFI coverage. It is great for us, but it drives our kids crazy!” – RJ Bickford, 2007 Dodge Ram 2500, 2003 Palomino Mustang 1000
“We listen to the old time radio programs; Fort Laramie, Dragnet, The Green Hornet, Sherlock Holmes, etc. We make some homemade ice cream and pie and top it off with a good cup of coffee.” – Richard Osman, GMC K3500, Lance 1130
“We download some movies from Netflix. After fishing or hunting, we watch movies. It’s paradise after 14-hours outside. We did that after hunting last week. We also came back with twenty-one rainbow trout.” – Luc Vaillancourt, Ford F150, 2014 Travel Lite
“I will watch DVDs and listen to CDs. My favorite thing to do after dark is stargazing.” – Bob Chan, 1989 Ford F-250, 1988 Lance 780
“My wife and I enjoy reading our Kindles, surfing the net on our iPhones, or putting in a DVD to watch a movie in our cozy nest.” – Larry Power, 2014 Ford F-350, 2009 Northland Polar 860
“Most of the time we talk about what we are going to do the following day. We also lay out our clothes. I know, pretty boring.” – Bruce Erickson, 2006 Dodge, 2016 Adventurer 86FB
“We are very early risers, so mostly we just hit the sack when it gets dark. Prior to that we play some really spirited games of cribbage. It’s not too exciting, but we do see some spectacular sunrises.” – Frank and Polly Foley, 2016 Ford F-350, 2016 Northstar 8.5 Arrow U
“I am a knitting addict and have been known to even knit outside in the rain. Evenings are a little dryer as I knit inside. Joe reads. We have been known to have fiercely competitive games of Scrabble.” – Anne Brown, 2013 Ford F450, 2019 Host Mammoth
“Most of my camping is in the fall. Almost all of it is boondocking. So weather conditions permitting and no neighbors, I love to have a small campfire and turn the outside speakers to the baseball play-offs or any football game that happens to be on.
If the weather chases me inside, it’s the same story, but I try to remember to shut the external speakers off. I will also have a book going at the same time.
While camping, I prefer a book series if I can find one that suites my interest. I will go through more books in the month or so of my fall trip than just about the rest of the year.
I always have a selection of DVDs just in case, but I rarely watch any. It’s kind of my special time away from television.” – Terry Gfeller, 2015 Ram 2500, 2013 Lance 865
“We often camp where there is no cell or internet reception. After getting settled in our sleeping bag, we turn on a reading light to enjoy a Louis L’amour book. My husband, Pres, reads aloud to me as we drift off into an adventure in the Old West with a classic villain and hero. If I read, he is asleep in two minutes, so he has to do the narrating.
We have been delighted to find some of our camping locations (eastern Sierras and the California desert) are places described in some of L’amour’s stories. That adds to making them come to life.
L’amour has written over 100 novels and 250 short stories. Even though we have been reading his work several years, it will take a while to read them all. Many of his novels have been made into movies such as Shadow Riders, Conagher and Hondo.” – Janice Meyers, 2004 Ford F350, 2004 Alaskan
“I read books on my Nook, try to tie flies, watch fly casting videos, talk with my wife, clean the camper, and read road maps, especially the very detailed recreation maps.
Sometimes I try to play a musical instrument like the harmonica. I’ve been trying for over 40 years, but still haven’t learned it.
Oh, yes if I can get the music machine working, I’ll try to listen to Celtic music. Now I have an iPhone, so I might learn something more about how to operate it.” – Harry Palmer, 2008 Dodge 2500, 2008 Lance 915
“I always read my Kindle and frequently watch something on my phone (Netflix or Amazon) . I also listen to the Red Sox on the radio or Sirius app if they are playing (likewise the Patriots). We will play checkers if my wife or son are with me or plan the next day.
If possible, the windows and roof vents are open, the shades are up, and the lights are down. I want this to be as close to tent camping as possible, but a bit more comfy.” – Kevin Jenckes, 1996 Ford F250, 2006 Lance 820
“There is the television station scanning hobby to see if it is necessary to indulge the satellite antenna pointing hobby. Then I pull out everything that has broken during the day to assess whether it can be fixed or if it needs replaced hobby.
This usually utilizes most of time that the television takes to complete the channel scanning function. If it can be fixed, I start. If it has to be replaced, a list is created so that I can work it into the next hobby, which is talking to my wife.
In the talking to my wife hobby, I understand what her next day destinations are, if they are geographically close, and then we negotiate options (to get repair parts). This particular hobby can lead to the Incommunicado hobby. This is why I like all of the different sleeping options in our truck camper.” – Brian Roark, 2015 F350, 2018 Lance 1172
“We travel year round, but are not full timers yet. We find that the long days of summer and early fall leaves little time for many indoor hobbies or activities. We crawl in and go to sleep after campfire chats and stargazing.
In the winter and spring, with long nights, our activities shift to editing our private travel videos, planning our next days activities, reading TCM and watching downloaded entertainment.” – Matt and Pam Foster, 2017 Ford F350, 2017 Arctic Fox 1150
“I love the peace and quiet usually near a river or mountain relaxing.” – Lee J Farrell, 2001 Ford F350, 2004 Arctic Fox