Is It Legal to Ride in the Back of a Truck With a Camper Shell in California?

When it comes to the legality of riding in the back of a truck with a camper shell in California, there is no straightforward answer. The law is not clear-cut, and there are several factors to consider before deciding whether it is acceptable. The best way to ensure that you are following the law is to understand the regulations and any applicable exceptions.

First, it is important to note that it is generally illegal in California for people to ride in the open bed of a pickup truck on public roads. However, if the truck has an enclosed camper shell, then this may be allowed depending on its design. If the camper shell has windows, doors, and other safety features designed to protect passengers from falling out or being injured by road debris, then it may be permissible.

Second, there are specific regulations governing the size of a camper shell allowed on a truck. The maximum size for a camper shell in California is 8 feet wide and 6 feet tall when measured from ground level.

Anything larger than this must be approved by the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Additionally, any camper shell must have secure locking mechanisms that can be locked from both inside and outside.

Third, all passengers riding in the back of a truck with a camper shell must be wearing proper safety restraints such as seat belts or harnesses at all times. Additionally, all passengers should remain seated while riding in order to prevent injury due to sudden stops or turns.


In summary, while it may be possible for people to ride in the back of a pickup truck with an enclosed camper shell in California, there are several restrictions and safety considerations that must be taken into account before doing so. It is important for everyone involved to understand and follow these regulations in order to ensure their own safety as well as others’ on public roads.

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Stephen Dunn