The Half Shell Camper - Tiny House Blog

The Half Shell Camper

half shell

by Peter Paviowich

The Half Shell is a new non-cabover design for Casual Turtle Campers. Meant to be even lower profile and lighter weight than the original CTC design, this model can be outfitted any way you like – from a simple shell to fit the smallest pickups to full-size, fully-furnished campers with finished interiors. Its signature domed roof gives headroom where needed and creates a comfortable space, especially for its size. The Half Shell design is full of potential for simple, lightweight truck campers intended for those not interested in what is available at the RV dealer.

Currently Available:

This particular build was designed to best fit a Ford Ranger or first generation Toyota Tacoma sized truck, though it will fit some others. The utilitarian, minimalist interior features a three-piece, removable, queen size bed platform (shown with a full size mattress). When not in use as a camper/sleeper, this Half Shell can be used as a dry, secure, and very capable cargo hauler. Its upper door is 50″ wide, accommodating panel products and sheet-goods. All connections to the truck bed take place within the bed rails, resulting in a clean installation.

Somewhere between a traditional topper and a small truck camper, this Half Shell is for the adventurous lot.

  • Ultimate dimensions: 7’2″ long, 5’7″ wide, 40.5″ wide at base
  • 455 lbs
  • 25 cubic feet of storage below bed
  • Three opening windows
  • $3,700
  • Reasonable delivery options available.

For more pictures and info, check out

Please email Peter at to discuss this particular camper or something similar/different for your truck. We are currently taking orders.

storage space and bed


wide angle of bed

close up of shell

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Lisa - November 1, 2013 Reply

Very impressive. Does it come in a full size? If so, please share those pics, too.

    Isaias Bayus - November 17, 2019 Reply

    The primary advantage compared to traditional camping is that truck canopy camping gets you off the ground and they can be easier to erect when the camping ground is difficult to insert stakes into.

    Kira Vonstaden - May 17, 2021 Reply

    Some tents can comfortably accommodate three sleepers, so long as the truck bed is wide enough. Some people like the added protection of a solid truck bed cover and, fortunately, there are truck bed tents designed to work with those.

Virginia - November 1, 2013 Reply

That is one sweet little camper. Love the little basement below and the sleeping loft on top. I am in the market for an RV/camper myself although I do not own a pickup anymore, just a Subaru Outback Wagon.

    John in Brisbane - November 2, 2013 Reply

    Ha! Go the Subaru! I just got an 07 Forester. I’m thinking about some sort of funky trailer. Not your standard Aussie-style fold out camping trailer (although they’re pretty nice), but something a little bigger and cooler. The forester can tow 1400kg (3000 pounds?) but I’m thinking no more than 2/3rds of that as being a realistic proposition. Good luck!

      Sally - November 6, 2013 Reply

      Subarus seems to be indestructible work-horses. Congrats on getting one, perfect for camping if you want to unhitch and explore. Knew three rural mail carriers who ran 100-mile routes for years, and would sell the old one to a new person for HER route, and get themselves a newer one.

Myra Kemna - November 1, 2013 Reply

How the heck do you get in and out of there?

    Bill Thompson - November 1, 2013 Reply

    Ha cousin, you remain young and nimble 🙂

      Anne - November 1, 2013 Reply

      Yes – I couldn’t make the first step! It’s great though.

ET - November 1, 2013 Reply


Sally - November 1, 2013 Reply

I’m with Myra about heaving myself up into it, but otherwise it’s a great idea, especially the weight. Also, with this being self-contained, it avoids the leaks that are so common with the acrylic toppers. We’ve had so much stuff ruined, and had to pull over to the side of the road in a storm to wrap up stuff in tarps, because it is almost impossible to make and keep a tight seal on a truck after a few years. I also like that it isn’t obtrusive or testing the height limits. A bit claustrophobic, but I like the mobility and ease of parking. Spent one week in a clunky RV on vacation in small towns and vowed never again. Looks like I could go to Moab or Maine in this. Pretty, too.
Thanks for sharing with us.

Dee - November 1, 2013 Reply

Needs a porta-potty before it excites me

debbycollier - November 1, 2013 Reply

It could be 2′ wider and a little longer. It could have a potty and a little cooking area.

Scott - November 2, 2013 Reply

It needs more of a “people” door that is easier to use, and they should include some bumper mount steps. That would also secure the storage area underneath. Looks nice, but it needs more refining.

Tom - November 2, 2013 Reply

I visited and the new half shell has three removable bed floor sections to make entry and exit very doable. (is that a word?)

    Scott - November 2, 2013 Reply

    Not good enough. I don’t want to have to do anything other than open a door and get in. If I’m tired, I don’t want to have to take the flooring up just to get in ‘easier’, and then have to put it back again to go to sleep. They should just change the door style to one that is more accomodating.
    Perhaps I’ll build my own. 🙂

    John in Brisbane - November 2, 2013 Reply

    That’s better English than a lot of what I say lol

Doris - November 4, 2013 Reply

Please note all of you requesting porta-potties and special doorways and showers and kitchens: the man said this was for the more adventuresome, not the RV set. It’s bare bones, only much safer and weatherwise than tent camping, and quite aesthetic. Haven’t you ever peed in a bucket? You don’t know how to create your own outdoor shower, or cooked on a small grill? I’m surprised no one screamed “but where’s the TV?” Oh for the days of my childhood when people truly camped and enjoyed their surroundings. Your poor kids 🙂

    Sally - November 6, 2013 Reply

    Sounds like the word “simplify” has changed over the years. They have obviously never been in the back of a Ranger, either, ha ha. A cooking area? In the middle of summer in a truck bed? You’re right, we used to call those grills and they were always on the outside of the vehicle, preferably with a picnic table and lawn chairs. As for two feet wider, there goes the conventional side mirrors and ease of parking. I suppose, Doris, we have lived too long, or through too many natural disasters where we had to “make do” and quibbling served no purpose.

    Scott - November 7, 2013 Reply

    I’m not looking for a “special” doorway, but if I wanted a doorway that was a pain to use, I’d just get a shell, and for a whole lot cheaper too. One simple door would cover the sleeping area AND the storage area. How hard is that? I already have an RV. I don’t need porta potties, TV, and cooking areas. I want something I can get into with MINIMUM fuss and bother, so I can get out of the rain quickly if needed. Is that too hard of a concept to grasp?

Scott - November 7, 2013 Reply

And besides… those hydraulic door lifts wear oout quickly. Ever tried to climb in and out ot a shell while having to hold the door up? Not a lot of fun having the door bang you on the head multiple times.

Jerzy - February 15, 2014 Reply

How does it attach to the bed of the truck?

Lauren - March 12, 2015 Reply

It’s always fun to read the comments of those who just don’t get it. Don’t like it? Don’t get one. I think it’s nicely done, and a “in-the-bed” version of a mini teardrop trailer. That you don’t have to tow. Minus the rear kitchen, of course, but a small folding table stashed below would work fine. I do agree that a simple door would work well. Not a “special door”. Just a regular door hinged on the side. And for those of you put off by it’s size/features/etc, they have larger models. No one is making you get one.

RON - May 9, 2016 Reply

can you show more detail on the camper tie downs is it able to slide in and out easy?

    Kent Griswold - May 9, 2016 Reply

    Hi Ron, You need to contact the website above as this is just a blog post about them and he may not answer your question here.

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