Truck Canopy Camping Survival Tips


Adding a truck canopy to my truck has been a game changer in terms of having a base camp, especially for winter ski trips.  I wanted something stealthy, low maintenance and wouldn’t create any storage issues for me, this was the way to go.  For tips on building up your own canopy space check out my post on How to build your own canopy camper.

Surviving in a small space certainly has its challenges and here are some of the the things I do to ensure my living quarters stay cozy, clean and comfortable.

Staying Warm

I get asked “How do you stay warm?” more often than anything so I will start here. Having a warm sleeping pad and sleeping bag is probably stating the obvious. In addition to this I have a small portable propane heater.  For me this is a must, I can crank the heat, and read a book while laying on top of my sleeping bag.  Also there is nothing better than heating things up in the morning when you wake up in a freezing truck.

While I am using the propane heater I crack a window and I never sleep with the thing running.  I generally run the heater on a low setting and this gives me about 3 hours of heat from a 1lb propane bottle.  There are adapters if you are inclined to set your heater up to a 20lb propane tank.  For me the little green cylinders cost about $6.00/day when it is chilly and the heat is worth every penny. They can also be refilled with the purchase of an adapter.

Also while the heater is running I lay out my damp clothing I need to dry out for the next day.  I plan to install a line to be able to hang clothing while I am relaxing in the evening.

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Staying warm with a Mr. Buddy Portable Propane heater


Organization is key

Organize your stuff into various small containers as such:

  • Food – a cooler for the perishables and a small plastic container for the dry goods
  • Kitchen (Stove, pot, pan, utensils)
  • Tools – Misc things you might need – multi tool, duct tape, extra light, scissors
  • Clothing should be organized – soft mid and base layers in one bag, rigid cold and possibly wet other layers in another bag.
  • I like using plastic containers that are opaque or clear so it is easy to see what is inside.

Be a neat freak about keeping everything organized, everything has its place. It’s amazing how annoying and easy it is to misplace things in a small space.

On another note, be sure to keep any food or anything that has an odour sealed up in a plastic container, including matches.  Talking from experience here I had a mouse chew threw my ski touring bag to have a delicious energy bar feast.

Keeping your space clean and dry

Re-usable dish rags, paper towels and a quick dry towel are your new best friends. Trust me on this, snow and water will drip into your home when the canopy is open or melt off your boots or gear. With only a little effort you can keep you and all your gear dry.


You need to brighten up your accommodations. I chose string lights that I can run off a USB cord plugged into a small battery pack. Works fantastic, I charge the battery off my truck battery during the day.  The lights last a few hours on a small portable battery, consider getting a second battery as backup.


I can’t sit straight up in my setup whilst on top of my sleeping platform.  This presents its challenges when the weather outside is unfavorable and I am cabin bound for the night. One thing I noticed is I simply got used to it and gradually learned the best movements. The best advice I can give though is to take your time doing everything, chances are you are in your cocoon because it’s cold and dark out. Simply take your time doing everything and don’t sweat it.  Whether it is getting dressed or preparing food or prepping your sleeping bag, accept that it takes a little extra time and acknowledge you have this time.

Once I am settled in I love stretching out on my sleeping pad with snacks and a book!

If you have any of your own tips and tricks for surviving a small space I would love to hear!

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4 thoughts on “Truck Canopy Camping Survival Tips

  1. Test Test Test
    Greetings, just ran into your posting and felt compelled to reply even though this posting is a couple of years old not. I have a 2012 Tundra with a Leer top. I have been Canopy/Camping in this rig now for quite some time. Maybe we can exchange info.


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