Midsize Overland Pickup Trucks are Popping Up Everywhere!

With small, lightweight roof-tents and popup campers available, midsize overland trucks are becoming popular.

At the 2019 Overland Expo in Flagstaff, Arizona, we noticed a lot of midsize overland pickup trucks. With payload number ranging from 1,100 to 1,800 lbs, slapping a heavy camper in the bed was always an iffy proposition. Fortunately, with these new lightweight sleeping accommodations available, midsize trucks are now compelling overlanding options.

We know that there are larger campers out there. Some that have large kitchens, bathrooms and accommodations for four or more. They are extremely heavy and take away from off-road ability, efficiency and overall driving dynamics.

Here are a few midsize overland pickup campers that stood out (to us) at the 2019 Overland Expo.

The Hallmark La Veta. Photo: Hallmark

Hallmark makes a lightweight camper called the La Veta. It has a dry weight of 1,012 lbs. Base price, $27,900. It’s pricey, but the quality and amenities are impressive/

We liked the Hallmark EXC for its price and lightweight construction.

With a base price of $19,995.00 for 6.5′ foot & $20,995.00 for 8′ foot the Hallmark EXC is the lightest of their campers starting at 995 pounds (795 lbs. shell weight). Photo: Hallmark
Small and lightweight like this Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. An ideal setup for those who seek efficiency, affordability and maneuverability. (Photo: TFLtruck)

We saw several Chevrolet Colorado ZR2s setup for overlanding. That includes a special prototype from AEV.

That special bed can easily accommodate a variety of different campers. (Photo: TFLtruck)
This is the Hallmark EXC’s floor plan. Photo: Hallmark

Another popular camper we noticed was the Four Wheel Pop-Up Camper company’s Swift Model. It starts at $18,995 and it has a dry weight of 935-lbs.

Photo: Four Wheel Campers

The Swift Model is very light weight. If you opt to get it with just the shell with no appliances or fabrics, prices start at $10,995 .

Northstar’s 600SS has a 6′ 3″ floor length and is meant for midsize trucks with long beds. It’s a bit heavier, with a dry weight of 1,258-lbs, but it’s very roomy by comparison.

A Northstar 660SS camper mounted on a Nissan Frontier with a long bed. Photo: Northstar
This is the Northstar 660SS floor plan. Base price, $17,695
Photo: Northstar

There are other setups that many overlander fans are gravitating towards. Rooftop tents are all the rage. With their light weight and fairly inexpensive prices, they are a viable alternative. They are also finding their way on to nifty speciality vehicles.

This is the Nissan Destination Frontier overland concept that we drove. It comes with about $8,000 of additions, making it an affordable overlanding build. That includes the CVT rooftop tent. (Photo: TFLtruck)

Yes, you are correct, small trucks like these are not so small. Compared with trucks built less than 20-years ago, their sizes and capacities are remarkably close. They are not cheap either. A Jeep Gladiator can cost in upwards of $60,000 – if you get the right model. Still, if you are careful with the bottom line, it’s very possible to get a whole package (new truck with lots of overlanding components) for under $40,000.

The Jeep Gladiator makes for a hell of a midsize pickup overlanding platform.

There’s more! We even saw a few Ford Rangers in the mix and we expect to see more soon. While all of these trucks represent different philosophies in design, they are all ideally suited for difficult terrain and narrow spaces.

2019 Ranger James Lipman for Ford Motor Company

All in all, we were pleased to see a real effort in building midsize overland pickup trucks. They represent a more logical and affordable way to get into overlanding. Hopefully, next year will yield even more innovative products for these trucks.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.