Pickup Truck Amusement Park Camping - Any Thoughts

I am about to downsize from full size pick up to a new smaller one.

One of the optional accessories that is offered blew my mind. A tent for the bed.

I was thinking that this might work for Knobles...but i wasn't sure if it was feasible.

Have any of you ever seen or done this? Do campsites near parks have outlets to plug into? Do people who camp near parks get eaten by bears...or picked apart by mosquitoes? This is all new to me so I just wanted to get a sense of any experiences you might have . (Air mattresses?? Public showers????)

Also...i realize that I am asking in pandemic times...i was thinking about perhaps next year.


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eightdotthree's avatar

Ha ha. Have you never been camping before?

Power depends on the campground. Portable batteries are plenty for a night or two. Use bug spray, wear pants and long sleeves if it's cool enough, burn citronella candles, etc. Keep your tent closed and it's not an issue when sleeping. Wear sandals in the shower, they are private. You won't get eaten by a bear but your food might depending on the campground. Keep it in the cab.

Have a link to the tent accessory?

hambone's avatar

If you do encounter a bear, it's apparently bad form to sacrifice your friends.


What about acquaintances?

hambone's avatar

If they go on about SteVe and Maggie and Millie, it's allowed.

Thank you for the comments...I thought it would be...you know...crickets...

Eightdotthree - - - > No! I never went camping before. I went to sleep-a-way camp once for three weeks that was not good experience for me...but that was over 4 decades ago. Times have changed since then, but the camp was poorly run and not adjacent to an amusement park.

This is a link to a youtube video about setting up the tent for the truck:

Eightdotthree and Hambone - The eaten by a bear remark was directly lifted from the Alan Sherman song "Hello Muddah...Hello Faddah" a parody of the classic "Dance of the Hours." The song is about a kid sent to sleepaway camp and he's having a lousy time. It was popular in 1963:

I do not know your references to SteVe, Maggie and Millie.

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hambone's avatar

re: SteVe, etc. there was another thread somewhere here about encountering an enthusiast who insisted on calling the big rides at Cedar Point by their nicknames, which some here find irritating, I guess.

The truck is kind of a cool idea and would keep you off the ground, which will have its advantages, I guess, but it also seems more complicated (and maybe more expensive?) than a regular tent.

As for gear / power, the video refers to access to an "inverter" in the back. Do Ridgelines have a power inverter built into the bed? If so, that's a pretty cool feature. And if not, that would be one piece of gear I might pick up, since it would let you power anything you might need for a little while. Although the Knoebels campground webpage says there are outlets at every site.

eightdotthree's avatar

That tent looks like more trouble than it's worth. The thing about a "normal" tent is you can just drive away and do things with your truck like go to the store for the thing you forgot, or drive to Dorney Park. With this thing you're sort of stuck at the campground until you're ready to leave and you can pack it up.

They make soft tops for the Ridgeline. You could buy one of those and just throw an inflatable mattress in the back? You lose out on the headroom and probably some ventilation.... but that's all you really need.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I'm not sure I could sleep in a soft top like that. It gets super stuffy in my Coleman tent unless I have all the vents and the main door open. Then I freeze my ass off and have to bundle up in a sleeping bag.

My experience is that pitching our tents (somehow the three kids ended up in the six person and my wife and I ended up in the two person) is pretty quick and painless - maybe 45 minutes including inflating the air mattresses. It's taking them down and storing them that eats half a day.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

99er's avatar

Agreed that this setup looks more trouble than what its worth. My Marmot tent can be set up in about 3 minutes and that includes the footprint and rainfly.

If you really want to use your truck to its fullest abilities while camping, buy yourself a cap for the back and sleep in the bed. There are lots of options out there and plenty of Youtube/Instagram videos on tips and tricks for truck camping. Plus if you get serious enough with it you can install a solar panel on the roof to power anything you might want to have with you, including A/C. And depending on what park you are at, it wouldn't require a campground as you can just use a parking lot if you just want to catch some sleep after a long day at a park and don't want to drive. I have been looking into either something like this or buying a used sprinter style van and doing a conversion for camping.


OhioStater's avatar

ApolloAndy said:

My experience is that pitching our tents is pretty quick and painless...

Especially in the morning.

Last edited by OhioStater,

Promoter of fog.

Thank you! I really appreciate your (honest) responses.

Apparently, I need to research tents and not just get hooked on the one that can be purchased from the auto manufacturer for this particular truck.

Camping is a foreign world to me. I never really did it, but the idea of trying it is appealing.

Thanks again!

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

99er's avatar

One of the best things you can do to learn more is to visit your local REI. Not sure if they are currently offering but typically they have free classes on everything you need to know about camping. Highly recommend using them as a starter.


eightdotthree's avatar

I would suggest REI as well. If you join the co-op for like $20 you can return anything within the first year no questions asked.

You might also look into a small camper trailer, although that would be a much more expensive option. It would offer more security and comfort (air conditioning!) and set up might actually be bit quicker if the campground spot is somewhat level.

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