Flatbed DC Taco and a baby... Camper Suggestions?


This past winter my wife and I acquired a 1st gen flatbed double cab Tacoma and more importantly a super rad baby boy, now 7 months old.

I’m trying to figure out our best options for family camping and would love some advice. Summers are super busy for us so ease of use, low hassle, and the ability to set up camp quickly and potentially after dark is important. A warm-ish space to duck inside for shoulder season camping up in the Colorado mountains where we live is also important.

We have a 97 4Runner and a 2002 Tacoma, both of which serve as daily drivers. The Tacoma has a 5 1/2 x 6 foot flatbed courtesy of the previous owner, but I do also have the stock shortbed. Thinking the taco would be the primary camping vehicle.

What do you guys suggest...?
-Put a bed rack and RTT on the Taco (or 4Runner)
-Pick up a cheap pop-up (or possibly a-frame/aliner camper)
-Traditional camper trailer or small Burro/Casita
-Flippac or AT Habitat either with some sort of custom mount on the flatbed or reinstall the short bed
-Search for a used FWC or other pop up, again either modify the flatbed or reinstall the shortbed
-Suck it up and just use a ground tent (We are both very used to sleeping on the ground and backpacking, but seems more challenging with the little guy)

Our budget is certainly limited, but we haven’t really decided what that means just

For reference, here’s the Taco...



There’s some cool campers out there for a flatbed like 4 Wheel Campers Overland Explorer. For the regular bed you’ve already mentioned the Habitat but there’s also the Khaya camper.


Find an older Four Wheel Camper that fits ( Finch, Eagle) then fill the underside with some boxes. You get the best of both worlds!

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I know this won't be the expo cool answer, but my suggestion is to rent a cabin in the remote areas you want to explore. I don't know if you have used hipcamp but you can choose any level of amenities in all kinds of interesting places. I have a two year old and a four year old. I desperately wanted to get a camper of some sort to make it easier to get out. With the amount of use I would get out of it, I couldn't make the math work on paying for it. I kept coming out way ahead by renting a place a few times a year when we have the time to get out. If you are able use a camper all the time, than go for it. You said that your summer is very busy however, so maybe the simplest thing to do is rent a place that is already set up for you when you arrive. Anyway, just food for thought.


@al_burpe That‘s great advice and I have (and continue) to consider the same thing. However, I also have this idea that maybe we’ll be able to take advantage of some quick one or two night camp trips, even leaving right after work and possibly coming back right before. We live in a small mountain town in CO and have an abundance of local USFS and BLM land right from our backdoor. Trying to increase our ratio of nights under the stars to nights in front of Netflix.
I’m kinda thinking a dirt cheap pop up might be the answer, but I would like to get up some of the forest service roads. Worried about the quality and lifespan of said ‘dirt cheap pop up’.