My Truck Camper Project

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I’ve been working on this for a little while now, but I’ve only shown a couple people the work in progress. For those who don’t know, I drive a Ford Ranger. Actually, I’ve always driven a Ford Ranger. I can’t really picture driving anything else at this point despite being capable of buying pretty much anything else.

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This is what my truck has looked like since I got it. When I got my first Ranger I remember telling my father that I didn’t want to keep the cap on the back because caps are for old men. I ditched the cap and got a roll-up tonneau cover. It made it easy to keep people from throwing trash into the back of my truck, (yes that really used to happen to me!) and it was just as easy to toss my kayaks or SUP boards in the back. Of course, things change. I decided I wanted to take a camping road trip and began planning out how to make a tiny home, nay, micro home, out of my truck bed.

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This is now what my truck looks like from the outside. It’s not 100% done yet, but I think I’m at a point where I can show the world my progress. You might be surprised at just how much I’ve been able to do for nearly nothing. Or at least, I’m surprised I’ve been able to do so much for nearly nothing so I’m going to tell you about it.

This is the rundown of my costs:

  • Truck cap = Free
  • Lexan for replacement windows = $35
  • Replacement window screen = $1
  • Replacement seals = $15
  • Spray paint = $18
  • Interior paint = Free
  • Bed = Free
  • Table = Free
  • Chair = $20
  • Water jug = $12
  • Decal = $3
  • Carpet = Free
  • Solar panel setup = $115
  • New locks = $35
  • Extra locks = $12

So if you’re adding this all up I’ve got a grand total of $266 for this truck camper micro home. Please keep that in mind when you see the inside… Let me also explain some of these free items. My family is a bunch of savvy problem-solving types. My dad in particular knows how to find good materials and use them for amazing project results. The truck cap was a gift from one of his friends who’s as enthusiastic about Ford Rangers as I am. It was white and I wanted a black cap so my minimal investment into spray paint was totally worth it.

One of the windows was broken and the other was replaced with plexi glass, which scratches real bad, so I decided to get a sheet of lexan to cover that. I painted the inside with some paint that my parents had left over from something or another. That was mostly to keep myself from getting a million fiberglass slivers, but it also made it easier to hang my ceiling decal.

The bed and table were made out of reclaimed barn wood. My dad saved some from a barn that he helped take down not too long ago. It’s also certainly in vogue to use reclaimed barn wood. (I watch too much HGTV.) The stain used on the wood was again, just some leftovers from a past project.

I think the only other free item I didn’t clarify was the carpet. These were carpets that a local business was getting rid of. They are nice durable carpets that people throw down in the winter to pick up salt and work perfect for my needs.

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Tahdah! I know it’s a bit small, but yes I can sleep on the bed and yes I can sit in the chair. I’m planning to add a bit more tech to this to make it even more comfortable (wifi, cooking stove, and some better organization).

You might be able to see that there is a good amount of storage under the bed and table. I’ve actually already got my SUP paddles, lifejackets, kites, snorkel, and a bunch of other fun things packed under the bed. I’ll be adding more too! Under the table is where my clothes and personal hygiene stuff will go. Food and snacks will go up front. (I’ve already started making tons of dehydrated food.) Can you tell I’ve been thinking about this for a while?

It’s crazy, and I know that, but I’ve been thinking about how you could live comfortably out of a vehicle for nearly almost all my life. I used to ride the school bus and think about what seats I would remove and how I would reorganize everything to turn it into a camper. This is obviously on a much smaller scale than that, but the challenge has been a lot of fun. (And at 25 mpg this might be a bit more economical than a bus camper!) When I put the finishing touches on I’ll be sure to post again!

7 Comments

  1. Sarah

    April 28, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Haha okay, even Google has their doubts about my living space it seems…

    • How much juice do you get from the solar panel? And does it have a battery that stores electricity to use at night or do you have a hand crank to supplement it? Can it run a laptop, wifi, and other personal electronic items pretty comfortably?

      • Sarah

        April 30, 2016 at 12:46 am

        There is a battery that the panels charge. The plan is for it to power my laptop, router, phone, and tablet. I’ve picked fairly low power devices so it should last for about 20 hours running all of that. I don’t plan to use it all that often, just to work mostly. I don’t have a hand crank for it but I suppose that would have been a good idea.

  2. Very inventive, clever you! I don’t think the bed looks very comfortable but everything else is terrific. Bon voyage x

    • Sarah

      May 2, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Yeah, I have a weird stomach issue that requires me to sleep at kind of an angle so it makes for a slightly weird “bed” by normal people standards. Oh, and this thing is about the width of my shoulders 😛 It’s a “space saving” solution.

  3. This is great! And the term micro home describes it perfectly.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    This a pretty interesting idea! To be honest, I would never be able to live in a truck. If that makes you happy just go for it!

    Zaria

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