Exploring the Incredible World of Box Truck Camper Conversions
One of the best parts of the van life community is the amount of support everyone gives each other, especially when it comes to admiring each other’s builds! It’s fascinating to see the amount of creativity and individuality that goes into them – even more so when the vehicle being built out isn’t as common. That’s why we’re here to talk about box truck camper builds!
Box truck campers are essentially tiny homes made out of box trucks. This can include moving trucks, mail trucks, ambulances, and more. These builds are some of the most innovative campers out there. So, we wanted to share a few of our favorites! But first, let’s go over a few ways box truck campers differ from the typical van camper.
How Are Box Truck Campers Different From Vans?
Box trucks have a lot more cargo space than vans typically do. They specifically provide wider and taller measurements in the cargo area. This gives you more space for additions to your build while maintaining a comfortable living space!
Easier to Build
A lot of vans out there have curved walls and ceilings. This can make it pretty difficult to get proper measurements for DIY builds. However, box trucks have completely straight edges, so you don’t need to drive yourself crazy with strange and custom cuts!
While vans nowadays are very often used as campers, box truck campers are far less identifiable. If you refrain from decking out the outside, you can almost always pass as a moving truck or another commercial vehicle. This gives you better access to a lot more stealth camping spots!
More Perks of Living in a Box Truck Camper
- Cheaper – Box trucks are usually cheaper to find since they are mostly used vehicles. (However, this can also be considered a con as this means they likely have high mileage on them already.)
- Higher Weight Limit – You don’t need to worry about the weight you’re putting on it since that’s what they’re designed for withholding. While van lifers often have to keep track of the weight they’re putting in their vehicle, that isn’t as important for box truck campers.
- Long-Lasting – Since they’re meant for transporting goods, they’re built to last for the road! This means they are pretty mechanically sound and can handle constant driving. So, you don’t need to worry as much about putting too many miles on the vehicle.
5 Amazing Box Truck Camper Builds
Now that we’ve covered a little bit about box truck campers, let’s get into 5 amazing box truck campers out there!
The Perfect Blend of Stealth and Luxury
This box truck camper by Epic Skoolies is one of the most popular and impressive builds out there! This truck is a 1999 Ford Econoline E350 and maintains the perfect blend of stealth and luxury.
To keep it stealthy, they tried to avoid adding anything to the exterior. When installing a window on the truck for some natural lighting, they made sure to place a vent over it to keep it hidden! The only other additions to the exterior of the truck were solar panels on the roof, a skylight for more natural lighting, and tanks underneath. They removed the roll-up door on the back and replaced it with a flat metal backing for security reasons, without making the camper obvious.
Regardless of how bare this truck looks on the outside, it is an absolute luxury on the inside. This truck is completely off-grid capable, with elements such as 800W solar power, a 75-gallon freshwater tank, heat and A/C systems, a three-burner stove, a full luxury shower, a toilet with an electrical flush – you name it, they have it! What an amazing build!
Army veteran John impressively self-converted this FedEx truck into his own tiny home! This is a much more budget-friendly build, with accessories like a $10 backsplash in his kitchen area. Regardless of the price, it looks AMAZING!
However, just because it’s budget-friendly doesn’t mean it’s lacking any necessities. This build includes a mini-fridge, microwave, full shower, 90 gallons of fresh water, 400W solar power, and so much more. It also fits stealth requirements, as he kept the FedEx logo on the outside of the truck. He also made sure his entry door was made out of the same metal as the rest of the truck to avoid any suspicion.
A key feature of this build is that he has both a seating area and a fixed bed. The catch is – the fixed bed actually lifts up to expose massive garage storage space! We love this incredibly creative and personalized box truck camper build!
Creative Box Truck Camper
This self-converted ambulance is one of the most creative box truck campers we’ve come across! This is a 2003 Ford E450 ambulance with a 6-inch lift in the front and a 5-inch lift in the back for off-roading. The purchase of the ambulance AND the entire build only cost this power couple approximately $40k!
One perk of building out an ambulance is that it was already structured with solid aluminum, which was very helpful for the foundation of their build. Another perk is that they have two very strong alternators – enough to charge up their entire battery system within an hour! That means they don’t need a full solar panel setup and can fly by with only portable panels.
Ambulances specifically have a lot of outside storage, and this couple used that to their benefit. They also attached a few items to the exterior of their truck, such as an awning, cellular antennas, and a hitch for their motorcycle. While this build does not pass the stealth test, it is still super impressive!
Most Unique We’ve Come Across
Ray and Ashley’s box truck camper build is probably one of the most unique we’ve come across. They personally built out their 1997 Ford E450 almost entirely using recycled materials!
Most of the wood used for this build was reclaimed and reused. They only have 42 gallons of fresh water, but they conserve it well enough to last them several weeks at a time. Some of the coolest features of their build include a medical cart as their kitchenette, a collapsible standing desk, and a wireless electric foot pump for their sink! They also made sure to build out a doghouse in their camper so their two pups could have their own space.
They have screens located at the back of the truck, so they can enjoy the fresh air. However, when the back door is shut, you would have no idea that there was anybody inside. This is definitely the perfect build for those who enjoy minimalist lifestyles and reducing waste!
Joe took the non-traditional box truck camper route by placing a built-out custom box on a 2016 Izuku flatbed! Interestingly enough, a divorce led him to this lifestyle!
A key feature of this build is his incredibly impressive solar power system. This camper has 1064 amp hours of lithium battery storage with 600W solar panels! He shares that he once ran his A/C for 7 hours straight and didn’t run out of battery power.
Regardless of the amount of electricity he has, he made sure to include energy-efficient features. This includes an induction stove that uses very little electricity and a fridge that keeps temperatures cold with minimal power. Some other cool features of this build include a closet with a rack for hanging and a dining table that converts to a full lounge area.
There are a lot of windows throughout the camper, letting in a ton of natural light. Also, the only entrance is from the back with retractable stairs. These two features make this camper slightly less stealthy. However, with window shades down and the stairs up, it can still pass as a work truck!
What Do You Think?
We are SO impressed by these incredible builds. What do you think? Would you try a box truck camper conversion? Let us know! And if you love reading about van and box truck camper conversions? Sign up for the Vanlifers newsletter below to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox!