The truck camper is known for being one of the most versatile RVs on the market. Their ability to go just about anywhere is unmatched, and these vehicles range from a minimal pop-up to luxury cab overs with multiple slides. Truck Campers also allow you to roam without the stress of towing a trailer or managing a massive RV.
Many of these campers’ designs focus on aerodynamics, making traveling with your truck camper similar to a drive around town in your unloaded truck. If backing into tight campsites, squeezing into a parking spot, or sharing the highway with fast-moving vehicles make you uncomfortable, then a truck camper may be just what you need.
What Exactly Is a Truck Camper?
A truck camper is a camper that fits in the bed of your truck. It’s often called a slide-in camper because it slides in and out of the truck bed. You’ll secure this camper to your truck frame or bed for travel. In addition, you can often remove it while at your destination.
Like many RVs, truck bed campers can be simple with limited features or elaborate with all the comforts of home and everything in between.
Simpler versions are lightweight, pop-up styles with a solid base that transitions to an extended soft wall canvas. When fully extended, it will look somewhat like a tent and be tall enough to stand in.
On more elaborate units, you’ll find slide-outs, full dry bathrooms, and kitchens. Both styles often feature a cab-over, where the camper extends over the cab of the truck.
The Benefits of Truck Campers
A truck camper can camp almost anywhere, which is a significant benefit. It will usually add height to your truck, but only minimal length (and often none at all). It’s highly versatile and great for those that like going off the beaten path. People often use them for bridging the gap between RVing and full-blown Overlanding.
A secondary benefit is that it becomes one with your truck. There are no other tires to consider, like with a tow behind. You aren’t worried about tail swing or sway as you navigate to your destination.
The ease of parking is one benefit that many overlook. Most truck bed campers can park in standard parking spaces. So overnights at a parking lot or truck stop are simple! When making long trips across the country, it’s nice to pull into a regular parking spot. You can jump in your truck camper for a short few hours of sleep with minimal, if any, setup.
How Much Do Truck Campers Cost?
With vastly different camper styles, features, and materials come varied price points. It all comes down to the features, size, and quality build you want. A small lightweight pop-up is wildly different from a three-slide, feature-heavy unit.
You can typically snag a basic truck camper for as low as $8,000. You could pay upwards of $60,000 for a premium truck bed camper on the higher end.
Can You Put Lithium Batteries In A Truck Camper?
Absolutely! Truck campers highlight some of the most significant benefits of switching from lead-acid batteries to lithium-ion batteries in an RV. With their limited and smaller storage/battery compartment space, lithium significantly increases the energy capacity for these RVs.
Where other RVs may add on more solar panels to their roof for more silent power generation, truck campers don’t typically have this luxury. These smaller roofs max out at a couple of hundred watts of solar panel capacity. This means upgrading the energy storage in the space available is your best bet for increasing off-grid exploration.
While lead-acid batteries typically last about two years, Battle Born Batteries can easily provide the average user with over ten years of use.
Our batteries can also supply two to three times more power than a lead-acid battery. This allows you to stay off the grid longer without having to hassle with that noisy generator. You can also charge Battle Born Lithium Batteries up to five times faster than a standard lead-acid battery.
Now you can put your battery anxieties to rest and focus on your next truck camper adventure!
Also, check out the Go North series on Amazon Prime to see our batteries power a truck camper all the way to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean.
Are Truck Campers Worth It?
Truck campers are worth it if they fit into your travel style. If you like going off-road and prefer to travel small, they’re ideal.
One of the most important aspects of a travel lifestyle (whether you’re a weekender or full-timer) is knowing what matters to you. If you like to “get out there and stay out there” as we do, a truck camper might be the perfect rig for you!
Truck Camper FAQs
Last 10 Times Longer than Lead Acid
Even after 3000 – 5000 life cycles Battle Born Batteries retain 75 – 80% of their original capacity. For most users, it will take 10 to 15 years to reach this amount of life cycles.
2 to 3 times more power
Our batteries will supply you with two to three times the power in the same physical space of a lead acid battery.
Charge 5 Times Faster
With a high charge rate of half of your total bank and short absorption times, your batteries will charge in a fraction of the time of a lead acid. This faster charge rate allows you to use your generator less which means less fuel consumption, less noise, and less pollution.
High Discharging Capabilities
Our 100 Ah batteries provide a continuous 100 amps of power, surge of up to 200 amps for 30 seconds and even higher loads for a ½ second.
Efficient and High Performance
Our batteries have virtually no internal resistance and will not heat up or swell when charging or discharging. We also have a real power rating so whether you’re using 1 amp for 100 hours or 100 amps for one hour, you will receive the full amount of power your batteries are rated for. With a very flat discharge curve, power remains much more consistent with Battle Born Batteries even at a low state of charge.
Environmentally Safe and Non-Toxic
One lead acid battery can contaminate acres of municipal waste, but Battle Born Batteries are not toxic and are made with the safest lithium chemistry on the market. This allows you to place them anywhere in your rig whether it’s under a bed, a dinette, or even a small enclosed area without the fear of our batteries “off gassing” like lead acid.
Our batteries are ½ to ⅔ the weight of a standard lead acid battery with more deliverable power.
Battle Born Batteries have a built-in management system to help protect you and your investment in the batteries in any strenuous situations such as high/low temperatures, high/low voltages, current surges, and short circuits. They also can be placed in your system with zero maintenance, so you no longer have to worry about adding water to your batteries or cleaning corroded terminals. Our batteries also have a very slow self-discharge rate so they can be left in storage for over a year without requiring you to hook them up to a trickle charger.
Designed and Assembled in the USA
Our batteries are designed and assembled in Sparks, Nevada. This makes it easier to receive support for your battery system and makes returns hassle-free.
We employ a team of experts at Battle Born Batteries to help with your customer service, sales and technical needs. Our industry-leading team utilizes clear communication via phone and email, along with product knowledge and problem-solving skills to assist with any questions you may have along the way. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your batteries, a complete power system or anything in between our team can provide the expertise needed to guide you through a lithium conversion. Feel free to contact our team at (855) 292-2831 or [email protected].
We believe in our batteries and we want you to believe in them too. That’s why we ship every battery out with a 10-year warranty. If you have a problem, we want to fix it as quickly as possible so you can go on your next adventure!
Excellent Solar Systems
Battle Born Batteries allow you to take full advantage of solar by creating fast charging and fully sustainable power systems with a variety of applications.
In some cases, you might have to replace the current converter/charger that come stock in the application due to the output voltage of 13.6 V. Some very common WFCO and Progressive Dynamics converters will rarely get to their higher boost of 14.4 volts when a lithium battery is connected.
Although these converters will charge your Battle Born Batteries (very slowly), they may never get to a 100% state of charge and will not trigger the passive balancing effect that starts at over 14 volts.
In addition to their standard models, many converter manufacturers now offer LiFePO4 chargers and most are highly compatible with Battle Born Batteries.
Our charging parameters consist of the following:
- Bulk/absorb = 14.2 – 14.6 V
- Float = 13.6 V or lower
- No equalization (or set it to 14.4 V)
- No temperature compensation
- Absorption time is 20 minutes per battery (if it’s an option)
Bulk/absorb 14.2 – 14.6 Volts (we usually recommend 14.4) float 13.6 Volts or lower
No equalization (or set it to 14.4 V), no temperature compensation and absorption time is 20-30 minutes per battery (if it’s an option).
Bulk/absorb 28.4 – 29.2 V (we usually recommend 28.8 V) float 27.2 V or lower
No equalization (or set it to 28.8 V), no temperature compensation and absorption time is 20 minutes per battery (if it’s an option).
To view the chargers in our Battle Born Shop, please click here.
If you need assistance with charging parameters or settings for a certain device, give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or email us at [email protected]
When considering cable sizing there are a few factors to consider.
First, what is the size of the load you are powering with the battery bank?
Second, how far away from the battery is the load? You can do voltage drop calculations to see if you need to step up your cable size.
Here is an easy reference chart:
As a rule of thumb, you can use these numbers as a guideline.
-4 AWG wire approximate max rating is 157 amps DC
-1/0 AWT wire approximate max rating is 291 amps DC
-4/0 AWT wire approximate max rating is 456 amps DC
Many RVer’s run into trouble in deciding which solar charge controller to choose and there are many specific models with different voltage and amperage ratings. Which one is right for your application?
Victron’s standard “Blue Solar” model is a set and forget controller without readouts or internal Bluetooth. If you would like a Bluetooth version with all viewable information via the “Victron Connect” application from your mobile device, then the “Smart Solar” version is your best choice.
Second, decide how many watts of panels you want in your solar array and take a look at our compatibility table to determine the product that best fits your system, here.
Upon request we will program your Victron solar charge controller for the number of Battle Born Batteries in your bank at no charge.
Answering this question can depend on the amount of space you have on your vehicle and how fast you want your bank to charge.
As a general guideline we recommend 200 to 250 watts of solar per 100 amp-hours of battery. This will give you the ability to charge from nearly empty to full in a six to eight-hour time frame.
Many factors can change this calculation and you are invited to call at (855) 292-2831 or email us at [email protected] if you would like to discuss in greater detail.
To determine whether your devices are compatible with BB batteries, take a look at the manual for each component and look at the specifications. If the specs in the manual match up with the Charging voltage: 14.2-14.6 V and the Float voltage: 13.6 V or lower, they are compatible with our batteries.
If you can adjust settings (such as a custom profile) on your devices to various charging and float voltages, then simply change the settings to match ours.
You are also more than welcome to give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or contact us at [email protected].
A few years ago, it was very difficult and unlikely to run your air conditioner from a measure of batteries and inverter in an RV. Today it’s no longer a possibility but a reality, and many customers are experiencing the convenience that lithium batteries bring to your power system.
If you plan on running your air conditioner, Battle Born always recommends an EasyStart. The EasyStart can reduce start the current by 65-75% compared to a compressor’s LRA (locked-rotor amperage). These devices offer a solution that allows an air conditioner to operate on a generator, inverter, or limited utility power when it would otherwise not have functioned.
Alternator Charging for a Lithium Bank
Before discussing this topic please note that when connecting to a towable trailer (such as by a 7-pin connector) you typically get a low amount of charge into your lithium (aux) battery bank and an isolator or current regulating device is usually not necessary.
In motorized RVs, vans and skoolies, very often the alternator will charge lithium batteries at the proper voltage (14.2 to 14.6 V), but we recommend not to exceed a 50% charge rate, this means a max of 50 amps for each 100 Ah battery.
An example would be a high 220 amp alternator putting out its full charge to the electrical system. An alternator charging the starter battery, running the electronics in the vehicle, and if wired with thick enough cables, might have around 150 amps leftover to charge your Battle Born Batteries. In this instance, three of our batteries would be a good match for the alternator’s charge.
Some things to consider when connecting a starter (lead acid) battery to a lithium battery bank:
- 2 lithium batteries or less, you will probably want to use a battery to battery charger such as the Sterling product on our website:
- Higher amp units charge the batteries faster. These devices will not only regulate the charging current but also replace your existing isolator.
- For 3 or more lithium batteries connected to a starter battery we recommend our Li-BIM.
These are generalities, but if you give us the amperage of your alternator, the model of your isolator, and how many lithium batteries you are planning to use, we can give you a better suggestion as to what you may need. Call us at (855) 292-2831 or contact us at [email protected].
Battery Isolation Manager
The battery isolation manager (BIM) is typically used in motorized systems with 3 or more Battle Born Batteries. Lithium batteries tend to pull a lot of power off your alternator, which over time could cause it to overheat.
The BIM works on a duty cycle. It charges your house battery bank for 15 minutes, then taking 20 minutes to rest so your alternator can take a break and never has the opportunity to overheat.
Battery to Battery Charger
Battery to battery chargers are typically used in applications where you have 1 or 2 Battle Born Batteries. This is because our batteries have a recommended 50 amps charge rate per battery. If your alternator is applying a higher amperage to your batteries than the recommended charge rate, you will need to limit the amperage.
The battery to battery charger will limit the amperage coming off your alternator and will apply a safe charge to your batteries.
Both devices will properly isolate your lithium batteries from your starting battery.
The Current Surge Limiter CSL500 is a field-effect transistor (FET)-based current limiting device. The device is to be used with Battle Born Batteries LiFePO4 battery packs when they are used in conjunction with large (4 KW or larger) inverter chargers.
The device is mounted permanently in series between the negative pole of the battery bank and the negative (direct current) DC input terminal of the inverter charger. The device protects the battery management system (BMS) from damage caused by the initial current spike that is created when connecting directly to the large capacitors (>5 milliFarads) that are typically on the DC input side of the inverter chargers.
The device allows the batteries to slowly charge the capacitors (within 1 ms). This soft start avoids the high-current shutoff inherent to the BMS of the batteries.
Sizing a battery bank for an off-grid or mobile power system can get complicated if you don’t have all the information you need to make the right calculations. You will need some basic information to get started.
You will need the maximum and continuous draw – in amps or watts – of the devices you want to power. These are usually found somewhere on the device on a sticker or plate that shows the amps and volts of that device or the power in watts.
As an example, let’s just say that our system needs to run 10 amps at 120 volts for 3.5 hours.
10 amps x 120 volts = 1200 watts of power.
1200 watts x 3.5 hours = 4200 watt-hours of energy.
Next you need to convert 4200 watts-hours to direct current (DC) amp-hours. For our example, we will use a 12 volt battery bank.
4200 watts-hours / 12 volts = 350 DC amp-hours of battery energy needed for our sample application.
Also, the battery needs to be able to deliver 1200 watts/ 12 volts = 100 amps of power.
We will use the 100 amp-hour Battle Born battery to build this system.
350 amp-hours / 100 amp-hours = 3.5
We would need to use four 100 amp-hour LiFePO4 Battle Born batteries to power this system.
Yes, you can mount your battery in any position. There is no acid inside of the battery, and the small amount of liquid electrolyte is contained within each sealed cell.
You can decide what is best for your application. Our lithium technology gives you the flexibility to put the battery in places you normally would not have placed a lead acid battery.
Battle Born Batteries protect themselves from charging in cold temperatures and won’t accept a charge once the internal cell temperature drops to 24°F. At this point they will continue to discharge even down to -4°F. At this temperature we recommend no longer pulling power to avoid damaging the batteries.
Insulated battery boxes, heating blankets, and placing your battery bank inside your RV will help keep the temperature stable. On the high end of temperature range, the batteries will shut down once 135°F is reached.
Lead acid battery manufacturers will state: “do not mix old and new batteries. Doing so will reduce overall performance and may cause battery leakage or rupture.” They also recommend replacing all batteries within a bank at the same time.
A partially used lead acid battery will drain energy from a new one, reducing the total amount of battery power available.
This is not the case with Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries. You can add new batteries to your original Battle Born bank up to two years down the road without damaging, reducing lifespan, or harming them in any way.
Our batteries allow a charge rate of 50 amps for each 100 Ah battery. For more than one battery, you can simply take the entire Ah of the bank and cut the number in half.
For example, three 100 Ah Battle Born Batteries total 300 Ah. Cut this number in half and you have your maximum recommended charge rate of 150 amps.
Please watch the video above for more information on winterizing your Battle Born Batteries.
The storage temperature range is -10°F to 140°F (-23°C to 60°C). We recommend bringing the Battle Born Batteries to a 100% charge and then disconnecting them completely for storage. After six months in storage your batteries will remain 75 – 80% charged.
Storing batteries in subzero weather (-15°F or more) has the potential to crack the ABS plastic and more importantly could cause a faster loss of capacity, in some cases drastically more than the typical 2 – 4% per month loss.
The length of time it takes to charge a li-ion deep cycle battery depends on the type and size of your charging source.
Our recommended charge rate is 50 amps per 100 Ah battery in your system. For example, if your charger is 20 amps and you need to charge an empty battery, it will take 5 hours to reach 100%.
We don’t recommend you exceed this charge rate as it can lead to a shortened battery cycle life. In an emergency situation the battery can be charged at a quicker rate if needed.
Our Battery Monitoring System, or BMS is rated to 3 different levels.
- 100 amps continuous (1200 watts at 12 volts) – this means you can pull 100 amps out of the battery when you need it until the capacity is all used up.
- 200 amps for 30 seconds (2400 watts at 12 volts) – if your device has a surge an individual battery can deliver 2400 watts for 30 seconds.
- ½ second surge up to the max capacity of the battery. If you have a high momentary over 200 amps the battery will handle this for ½ second.
*Keep in mind that when you have two batteries in parallel you will double these surge numbers. With four batteries in parallel you will quadruple these figures.
If your battery registers between 0 to 5 volts this means that it’s in low voltage disconnect mode. This happens if the battery has been drained of capacity and is protecting itself from further discharge.
At this point you will need to apply a direct 12 V source such as the alternator via the starter battery or by connecting it to your starter battery with jumper cables until you see the voltage reaches 10-10.5 V.
Some inverter chargers will also bring the batteries out of low voltage disconnect.
Check out our Customer’s Systems!
Battle Born Systems
Tom and Cait are on the trek through Canada until they make it to the arctic ocean! Their current “Go North” series takes you on their adventures while being stress free about the power in their truck camper. Read more about Morton’s on the Move here!
Blake and Rachel of This is Nomadic take us to some of the most beautiful locations while they boondock stress-free. Their current system is cutting edge and continues to blow their expectations out of the water the more they use it! Read more about This is Nomadic here!