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Beginners Guides

How To Build A Pickup Camper Shell



An image showcasing a step-by-step guide to building a pickup camper shell

As I gazed upon my reliable pickup truck, with its empty bed ready for a new purpose, a rush of excitement filled me. It was time to convert this modest vehicle into something remarkable – a pickup camper shell that would enable me to go on endless adventures.

Building a pickup camper shell is no small feat, but with the right tools, materials, and a little know-how, it can be a rewarding endeavor. In this article, I will guide you through the step-by-step process of creating your very own camper shell, designed to cater to your specific needs and preferences.

From assessing your pickup truck and gathering the necessary materials, to constructing the frame, installing insulation and wiring, and adding interior features and storage – I will leave no stone unturned.

Together, we will navigate the intricacies of installing exterior finishes and roofing, ensuring a durable and weather-resistant shell.

So, grab your tools and let’s embark on this journey together. Get ready to unlock the full potential of your pickup truck and enjoy the freedom of a homemade camper shell. Adventure awaits!

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Key Takeaways

  • Assess the dimensions and weight distribution of your pickup truck to determine the size and shape of the camper shell.
  • Gather materials and tools such as plywood, insulation, screws, hinges, circular saw, drill, and measuring tape.
  • Customize the layout to include a comfortable sleeping area, functional kitchenette, and ample storage space.
  • Use visually appealing and weather-resistant exterior finishes and roofing materials.

Assess Your Pickup Truck and Determine Your Needs

Take a look at your pickup truck and figure out what you’ll need for your camper shell. Assessing truck dimensions is crucial in determining the size and shape of the camper shell that will fit properly.

Measure the length, width, and height of your truck bed to ensure a snug fit. Additionally, consider the weight distribution of your truck. This is important because a camper shell adds extra weight to your vehicle, which can affect its performance and stability. Make sure your truck can safely handle the additional load.

Once you have assessed your truck and determined your needs, it’s time to gather the materials and tools necessary for building your camper shell. This includes plywood or a suitable alternative for the shell structure, insulation materials, screws, hinges, and a variety of tools such as a circular saw, drill, and measuring tape. Having all the necessary materials and tools will make the construction process smoother and more efficient.

With the truck dimensions assessed and materials and tools gathered, you are now ready to move on to the next step of building your pickup camper shell.

Gather Materials and Tools

To get started, you’ll need to round up all the necessary supplies and equipment for this project. Choosing the right materials is crucial to ensure the durability and functionality of your pickup camper shell.

For the shell’s framework, opt for strong and lightweight materials such as aluminum or fiberglass. These materials are resistant to rust and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

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Additionally, you’ll need plywood sheets for the walls, roof, and floor of the camper shell. Make sure to select plywood that’s sturdy and moisture-resistant.

Proper use of tools is essential to successfully build your camper shell. You’ll require a variety of tools, including a tape measure, circular saw, drill, jigsaw, and screwdriver. These tools will help you accurately measure and cut the materials, drill holes, and secure the components together.

Safety equipment such as goggles, gloves, and a dust mask should also be worn while working with these tools.

With all the necessary materials and tools gathered, you’re now ready to design your camper shell layout. This involves planning the interior layout, determining the size and placement of windows, and considering storage options.

Design Your Camper Shell Layout

Crafting the perfect layout for your dream adventure-on-wheels will ignite your imagination and leave you craving the freedom of the open road. When designing your camper shell layout, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and preferences.

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Here are three important factors to customize your layout and maximize space:

  1. Functionality: Plan the layout around your intended activities. Consider the need for a comfortable sleeping area, a functional kitchenette, and storage space for your gear. Ensure that each component is strategically placed to optimize efficiency and convenience.

  2. Ergonomics: Take into account the ergonomics of the space. Design the layout to provide ample headroom, legroom, and ease of movement. Utilize modular furniture and foldable components to create a versatile and adaptable living space.

  3. Storage Solutions: Incorporate clever storage solutions to make the most of the available space. Use overhead compartments, under-bed storage, and built-in shelving units to keep your belongings organized and easily accessible.

Customizing your layout and maximizing space is crucial when building a pickup camper shell. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a layout that perfectly suits your needs and enhances your travel experiences.

As you finalize your design, it’s time to move on to the next step of building the frame and structure.

Build the Frame and Structure

Investigate whether or not the theory holds true by constructing a sturdy frame and structure for your adventure-on-wheels. Building a pickup camper shell requires using the right building techniques and following a precise construction process.

To create a solid foundation, start by measuring and cutting the lumber according to your camper shell design. Use strong and durable materials such as plywood or aluminum to ensure the frame’s stability. Connect the pieces together using screws, bolts, or brackets, depending on your preference and the materials used. Reinforce the joints with metal brackets or corner braces for added strength.

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As you build the frame, pay attention to the angles and dimensions to ensure a proper fit. Use a level to ensure everything is straight and square. You may also need to add cross supports or additional framing for added stability, especially if you plan on adding heavy appliances or equipment inside the camper shell.

Once the frame is complete, you can move on to constructing the walls and roof. Attach the walls to the frame using screws or nails, making sure they are securely fastened. For the roof, consider using a lightweight yet durable material such as fiberglass or corrugated metal. Install the roof by attaching it to the frame and sealing any gaps to prevent water leakage.

With the frame and structure complete, you can now transition into the next section about installing insulation and wiring.

Install Insulation and Wiring

Now that I’ve completed the frame and structure, it’s time to focus on installing insulation and wiring to ensure a comfortable and functional interior for my adventure-on-wheels.

To start with the insulation, there are a few techniques that can help keep the inside temperature regulated. One popular option is using foam board insulation, which can be cut to fit the walls and ceiling of the camper shell. Another method is using spray foam insulation, which expands to fill in any gaps or crevices. This helps to prevent heat loss and keep the interior cozy during colder months.

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When it comes to wiring, safety should always be a top priority. I recommend starting by planning out the electrical system and creating a detailed diagram. This will help ensure that everything is properly connected and avoid any potential hazards. It’s also important to use the right gauge of wire for each circuit and to properly secure and protect all electrical connections.

Now that the insulation and wiring are taken care of, the next step is to add windows and ventilation. This will not only provide natural light and fresh air, but also enhance the overall aesthetic of the camper shell.

Add Windows and Ventilation

To create a breath of fresh air and a glimpse of the world outside, you’ll want to let the light in and let the wind whisper its stories by adding windows and ventilation. When it comes to window placement, it’s important to consider both aesthetics and functionality. Placing windows strategically will not only enhance the overall look of your pickup camper shell but also provide optimal views and natural light. To make your decision easier, refer to the table below for some popular window placement options.

Window Placement Benefits
Rear Window Offers a panoramic view and allows for easy ventilation.
Side Windows (Driver and Passenger) Provides privacy and allows fresh air to circulate throughout the camper.
Roof Ventilation Enhances airflow and reduces condensation inside the camper.
Overhead Windows Offers additional natural light and a sense of spaciousness.
Front Window Allows for a clear view while driving and adds to the overall aesthetics of the camper.

In addition to windows, incorporating ventilation options is crucial for a comfortable camping experience. Consider installing vents, such as roof vents or side vents, to ensure proper airflow inside the camper. This will help regulate temperature and minimize moisture buildup. By adding windows and ventilation, you are creating an inviting and refreshing atmosphere inside your pickup camper shell. Next, we will discuss how to construct interior features and storage, allowing you to optimize your space efficiently.

Construct Interior Features and Storage

Create a cozy and organized interior oasis by maximizing storage space and designing functional features inside your pickup camper. When it comes to a compact living space like a camper shell, every inch counts. Maximizing space is essential, and there are plenty of DIY storage solutions that can help you achieve this goal.

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One way to maximize space is by utilizing vertical storage. Install shelves or cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling, allowing you to store items that aren’t frequently used. You can also incorporate storage bins or baskets under the bed or seating areas to make the most of every nook and cranny.

Another great storage solution is to build in drawers or compartments underneath the kitchen counter or along the sides of the camper. These can be used to store kitchen utensils, toiletries, or any other small items that you need to keep organized.

To make your camper even more functional, consider adding features like a fold-out table or a built-in desk. These can be used for dining, working, or even as a multipurpose surface.

With these DIY storage solutions and functional features in place, your pickup camper will become a well-organized and efficient space.

In the next section, we’ll discuss how to install exterior finishes and roofing to complete the construction process.

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Install Exterior Finishes and Roofing

With the installation of exterior finishes and roofing, your personalized pickup camper will take on a polished and weather-resistant appearance, perfect for your adventurous journeys ahead.

When it comes to the exterior finishes, it’s important to select materials that are not only visually appealing but also durable and capable of withstanding various weather conditions. One crucial aspect to consider is waterproofing techniques to ensure that your camper remains dry even during heavy rain or snowfall.

To achieve optimal waterproofing, it’s recommended to apply a high-quality sealant to all exterior seams, joints, and gaps. This will prevent water from seeping into the camper and causing damage. Additionally, consider using weather-resistant paint or coatings to protect the exterior surfaces from UV rays and other environmental factors.

When choosing roofing materials, it’s essential to prioritize durability and longevity. Common options include fiberglass, aluminum, or even rubber roofing. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to research and select the one that best suits your needs.

Once the exterior finishes and roofing are installed, it’s time to test and make adjustments as necessary. This will ensure that your pickup camper is fully functional and ready for your upcoming adventures.

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Test and Make Adjustments

Explore the functionality and adaptability of your personalized adventure rig by thoroughly testing and fine-tuning its components and features. To ensure a successful build, follow these testing methods and make necessary adjustments:

  1. Water Leak Test: Apply a hose to the exterior of the camper shell and inspect for any signs of water penetration. Check all seams, joints, and corners for potential leaks. Use a sealant to fix any problem areas.

  2. Weight Distribution Test: Load your camper shell with the necessary gear and supplies. Drive over various terrains to assess how the weight is distributed. Make adjustments by repositioning items or adding weight to achieve optimal balance.

  3. Wind Resistance Test: Take your pickup camper shell to an open area with strong winds. Observe how it handles the wind forces. Make modifications to the design or add reinforcements if needed to improve stability.

  4. Interior Space Optimization Test: Spend a night or two inside the camper shell to evaluate its comfort and functionality. Identify areas that can be improved for better organization and storage.

By thoroughly testing and making adjustments, you can ensure that your pickup camper shell is reliable and tailored to your specific needs. Now, let’s move on to the next section and learn how to fully enjoy your homemade creation.

Enjoy Your Homemade Pickup Camper Shell

Now that I’ve perfected my personalized adventure rig, it’s time to fully immerse myself in the joy of my homemade getaway haven.

There are so many benefits to building your own camper shell. Not only do you save money, but you also have the freedom to customize it exactly to your liking.

Here are some tips for making the most out of your DIY camper shell.

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First and foremost, think about the layout of your camper shell. Consider how you’ll use the space and what features are important to you. Will you need a bed, storage compartments, or a kitchenette? Plan accordingly and make sure to measure everything accurately before starting the construction process.

Next, think about the materials you’ll use. Lightweight and durable materials like aluminum or fiberglass are popular choices. Make sure to use quality materials that can withstand the elements and provide proper insulation.

When customizing your camper shell, don’t forget about functionality. Think about adding features like solar panels for power, a ventilation system for airflow, and windows for natural light. Also, consider adding hooks, shelves, and storage compartments to maximize the use of space.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to get creative with the design. Add personal touches like artwork, curtains, or a cozy seating area. This is your own little home on wheels, so make it reflect your style and personality.

By following these tips, you can create a camper shell that’s not only functional but also a reflection of your personal taste. Enjoy the freedom and convenience of your homemade getaway haven!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much weight can my pickup truck support with a camper shell?

My pickup truck can handle an astonishing amount of weight with a camper shell! The weight capacity of a pickup truck varies depending on several factors. These include the truck’s make, model, and year, as well as the suspension system and tires.

Additionally, the truck’s overall condition and any modifications made can affect its weight capacity. It’s crucial to consult your vehicle’s manual or contact the manufacturer to determine the specific weight capacity of your pickup truck.

Can I use a camper shell on a truck with a short bed?

Yes, a camper shell can be used on a truck with a short bed. However, it’s important to be aware of the limitations that come with a short bed. Due to the reduced length, the space inside the camper shell may be limited, affecting comfort and storage capacity. An alternative option for trucks with short beds is to consider a slide-in truck camper, which is specifically designed to fit shorter bed lengths.

What kind of tools do I need to build a pickup camper shell?

To build a pickup camper shell, you’ll need a set of essential tools. These include a measuring tape, circular saw, jigsaw, drill, screwdriver, hammer, level, and a staple gun.

Additionally, you’ll require materials such as plywood, insulation, screws, hinges, and sealant.

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The construction process involves measuring the truck bed, cutting the plywood to size, assembling the walls and roof, installing windows and doors, and sealing all joints to ensure a watertight camper shell.

How long does it typically take to build a pickup camper shell?

Typically, it takes about two to three weeks to build a pickup camper shell, depending on your skill level and the complexity of the design. However, this timeline can vary.

When insulating a pickup camper shell, it’s essential to choose the right materials and ensure proper installation to prevent condensation and maintain a comfortable temperature inside. Common mistakes to avoid include using inadequate insulation and not sealing all gaps and seams effectively.

Are there any regulations or permits required for using a homemade pickup camper shell on public roads?

Yes, there are regulations and permits required for using a homemade pickup camper shell on public roads. These regulations vary by location, but typically involve safety standards such as proper lighting, reflectors, and secure attachment to the pickup truck.

Additionally, some areas may require permits for oversized or modified vehicles. It’s important to research and comply with the specific regulations and permits in your jurisdiction to ensure legal and safe use of a homemade pickup camper shell on public roads.

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Well, folks, we’ve reached the end of this epic journey of building a pickup camper shell. I must say, it’s been quite the adventure!

From assessing our trusty pickup truck to gathering materials and tools, we’ve been through it all. And let’s not forget the heart-pounding moments of constructing the frame and installing insulation and wiring.

But now, my friends, we can proudly bask in the glory of our homemade masterpiece. So go ahead, hop in and hit the road, ’cause you’re now the proud owner of the ultimate pickup camper shell!

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Beginners Guides

Things to Do For Kids in Calabria




san nicola arcella riviera dei cedri calabria italy

Looking for enjoyable activities for kids in Calabria? You’ve come to the right place. Aspromonte National Park and the Monti Aspromonte Albanian Villages provide perfect adventures for your children.

Things to Do For Kids in Calabria

Aspromonte national park

For an outdoor vacation, Aspromonte national park is perfect. The park includes several watercourses and mountain summits that reach close to 2 000 meters. The area is home to a variety of plants and animals, including the rare Bonelli’s eagle. Kids can enjoy hiking, biking, and picnicking in this pristine natural setting.

Polino national park

The Pollino national Park is a great place to take your kids to Calabria. This beautiful area is home of some of the highest mountain peaks throughout Southern Italy. Popular mountains include Monte Alpi, Serra di Crispo, and Monte Caramolo. This park is home to rare flora and fauna. You can spot a peregrine falcon, Italian wolf, and golden eagle in the area.

Monti Aspromonte

Monti Aspromonte is an ideal place to take your children to see the natural beauty of the region. They can also enjoy outdoor activities like rafting and canyoning in the national park. The national park is located near Reggio Calabria and the town of Bova. There are plenty of hiking trails and picnic areas for you to enjoy with your children.

Aspromonte’s Albanian villages

Albania is a great place for families to get out of town. Albania has a wonderful climate with plenty of activities for children. Summer is the most popular time to visit and it is warm and sunny for most of the month. The rainiest months are April and May, but the weather is generally pleasant from then until the end of the summer. Temperatures can reach the high 30s during these months.

Mirto Crosia beach

In the summer, families can spend the day at the nearby Mirto Crosia beach. The town’s beaches have a high percentage of Green Flags, which are awarded to beaches that are suitable for children. The Green Flag criteria include safe and shallow water, sand, and rescue services. Some beaches offer children’s activities. The town is located in the Riviera dei Cedri region.

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AcquaPark Odissea 2000 Activities

AcquaPark Odissea2000 is a great place to take your children to a water park. This Calabrian waterpark is a paradise for families. It has over 20 slides and rides and several pools to splash around in. There are also many water games and animations for children to keep them entertained.

Horseback riding

One of the most popular activities in Calabria is horseback riding. The region offers a variety of activities, including riding in the hills and along the sea. Every rider gets their own horse and even the youngest children can enjoy this activity.

What Kid-Friendly Activities Can I Find in Basilicata?

Looking for things for kids in basilicata? This region in southern Italy offers a variety of engaging activities. Take your little ones to the Archaeological National Museum in Metaponto to learn about ancient civilizations. Explore the stunning Pollino National Park, where kids can enjoy hiking and wildlife spotting. Don’t miss the Sassi of Matera, ancient cave dwellings that are sure to captivate young imaginations. Basilicata has plenty of kid-friendly options to keep your little adventurers entertained.

Boat trips

Boat trips in Calabria are a great way to spend a day with your kids. There are plenty of options, including a trip to the nearby Aeolian islands. A local boat trip can also be taken, which often includes snorkelling and swimming. You can even visit a local farm, where kids can see small farm animals and learn how to make cheese.

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Beginners Guides

Things to Do For Kids in Venice




view of canal in city

In Venice, there are numerous free activities for children to enjoy. Kids can visit Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ Macana, Mondo Novo, and the Natural History Museum without having to pay. Moreover, children under six years old can also climb the bell tower for free!

Things to Do For Kids in Venice

Ca’ Rezzonico

Ca’ Rezzonico is a palazzo and art museum located on the Grand Canal in Dorsoduro sestiere in Venice. It houses some of the most significant works of art in the area. Kids will love seeing the paintings of famous artists and learning about their life and work. This attraction is a must-see for families visiting Venice. This art museum is also suitable for those traveling with toddlers and younger kids.

The interior of Ca’ Rezzonico houses portraits and paintings from the 18th century. There are also exhibits on women’s lives and Venetian silk production. Kids will also enjoy the over-the-top costumes worn by fashionable ladies.

Ca’ Macana

One of the most exciting things to do for kids in Venice is a visit to Ca’ Macana, a museum dedicated to the art of making masks. This museum offers workshops where children can learn the history and techniques of making masks, and they’ll be able to take one home as a souvenir.

The Doge’s Palace is another must-see attraction in Venice. Children are sure to enjoy the treasure hunt and interactive tour of this Renaissance-style palace. If you’re traveling with older children, you can visit the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and the Punta della Dogana. Another great museum that is kid-friendly is the Accademia of Venice. Another popular destination for all ages is the Italian Naval History Museum. Visitors will learn about Venice’s seafaring past while getting to see boats of all types.

Mondo Novo

A ride on a Gondola is one of the most memorable experiences on a trip to Venice. Gondolas are slow moving water buses that travel along the Grand Canal. You can either sit in a window seat or enjoy the ride in the open air. The streets of Venice are a maze of tiny alleys and covered passageways, so it’s a great idea to get a vaporetto tour.

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Rialto Bridge is another popular attraction. It was built in 1591, and is one of Venice’s most famous symbols. Its architecture is a beautiful example of Venetian Renaissance. Take the time to stroll along the narrow alleyways of the bridge and gaze out over the Grand Canal. You can also stop at the Rialto Market to pick up some souvenirs or fresh foods.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is one of the most popular things to do in Venice for children. This museum is located inside a magnificent old city palace on the Canal Grande. The museum contains a seven-meter tall Ouranosaurus Skeleleton, fossils, and a whale Skeleleton. There are also a number of parks and playgrounds in Venice. Santa Croce district park is located near Piazzale Roma and has a playground, benches and lots of greenery.

The museum also houses an aquarium and bookstore with books about animals, plants, and evolution. There are books to suit all ages and interests. There is also an aquarium, which is located on the ground floor, but there are fewer species of fish here than in other museums. The aquarium is not the main attraction of the museum.

St. Mark’s Clock Tower

The Clock Tower is a fantastic attraction for kids in Venice, Italy. It is a structure measuring 4.5 metres in diameter, divided into 24 hours. Concentric circles represent the positions of the sun and planets in a zodiac. Kids can climb the clock tower for free, and there are tours that teach the mechanics of the mechanism.

There are also four life-sized gilded copper horse. They were brought from Constantinople in the 13th century. Napoleon later returned them to Venice. Near the loggia, there is a museum for the gilded horses. Inside, kids can also admire the statues of Michelangelo and Muraro.

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Beginners Guides

Things to Do For Kids in Zion National Park Utah




paintings on shabby rock wall

Are you looking for fun things to do with your kids at Zion National Park? There are many options to choose from. You can enjoy activities like hiking, biking, swimming, and horseback riding. Make sure not to miss out on the park’s Junior Ranger program. Your children can earn a badge by participating in it.

Things to Do For Kids in Zion National Park  Utah
Things to Do For Kids in Zion National Park Utah 82


Hiking with kids in Zion National Park is a great way to experience the area’s natural beauty. There are several trails with easy elevation gains and shade. You can also hike to the top of Watchman mountain, which offers some great views. The trail begins at the south campground, near the visitor center. From here, the trail follows the east bank of the Virgin River, veering off in a more shady direction. It includes some sand, but is kid-friendly.

While the shuttle wait time can be long during the busiest times of year, it’s usually short. A junior ranger program is also offered at the park that is very popular with children. To participate, you’ll need to pick up a Junior Ranger booklet at the visitors center, where you’ll find a series of activities like animal bingo and answers to questions about the area.


If you are planning a family vacation with kids in tow, biking in Zion National Park may be just the activity for you. The park features a deep, winding canyon and soaring canyon walls. The park’s most famous feature is its Narrows. In 1909, the park was originally designated the Mukuntuweap National Monument. However, President Woodrow Wilson changed its name to Zion National Park in 1918. This became Utah’s first National Park.

It is also easy to bike with kids in Zion National Park. Try the Pa’rus Trail, which is paved and follows the Virgin River through the park. This is a great way to get through the park without using the crowded shuttle system. This trail can be used to connect to Springdale.

Horseback riding

Horseback riding in Zion National Park is a fun activity for all ages. The park’s trails take riders into remote areas that are less likely to be crowded with tourists. It’s a beautiful place to ride, and the mild climate makes it suitable all year long. From a different perspective, you’ll be able to see the landscape and wildlife in a new way. You’ll also be much less likely to spook the animals.

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If you’re planning a family vacation in Zion, you’ll want to plan the trip around the park’s trails. There are trails that range from flat and easy to long, rocky terrain. Even younger kids can get a good workout on these trails, and the best riding companies know how to accommodate children’s special needs. Whether you’re looking for a scenic horseback ride for two or a family outing, there’s a trail for everyone!

Tubing on the Virgin River

Tubing on the Virgin River is a great way for Zion to cool off. The river flows through tall sandstone cliffs, and tall cottonwood trees. There are sections that run both fast and calm in the river. To end the tubing trip, guests can walk their tubes back to the park and catch the shuttle. For younger tubers, tubing can be a fun way to cool down on a hot day.

Family can spend an afternoon in the Virgin River tubing in the cool waters. The river is shallow in parts, but it’s not impossible to find deeper sections. The Virgin River is close to many roads, which makes it easy to launch a tubing excursion.

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About us

Since 2012, Laienhaft has been your go-to source for all things camping and outdoor. With a carefully curated selection of top-quality gear, expert advice from our passionate team led by Olivia and Jason, and a thriving community of outdoor enthusiasts, we’re here to inspire and equip you for unforgettable adventures in the great outdoors. Explore and join us on this exciting journey of embracing nature and creating lasting memories.