Building a Custom Camper


Custom Truck Camper Concept
Truck Campers are notorious for being heavier than they need to be and enormously shy on desired features. Typically, if you want bathroom facilities either the camper must be higher than practical to accomodate the plumbing or have an overhang out the back as in the picture above.
Previously, I built a truck custom deck with bins below. One of these bins was designed to function for draining a customized camper designed here. This means that I could build the camper as either permanent or as a removable style.

Using simple stud style construction with 2x3 replacing the standard 2x4 studs. A standard camper uses 2x2 studs which although makes the camper lighter, it also means it is colder on cold days, hotter on hot days, and not nearly as strong. Block styrofoam insulation is normal for campers but increasing the wall thickness by 1" means a far superior fiberglass pink insulation can be used.

The Floor with basement is shown above. Being a removable camper, the base is a 4ft x 8ft sheet of plywood with 2"x6" sides placed on edge lining across the front and down both sides such the they frame around the wheel well/bin covers.

So the basement is 4 feet wide at the front and extends down along the 74 inch wheel well enclosure and completes in a 22 inch by 93.5 inch structure at the back. The basement base on the drivers side will have an opening that aligns with the bin opening in the truck deck. This is for creating the plumbing drain system,

At the door entry step position a 2x6 frame goes on edge and extends into the basement to form a slight step up to the main floor.

A 5/8 inch plywood main floor is then mounted onto the basement 2x6 sides at a size of 93.5 inch by 96 inch such that it will protrude over the wheel well covers when the assembly is lifted onto the truck deck.  The Main floor will later be modified to allow placement of
fresh, grey, and black water tanks and associated plumbing. The bathroom and kitchen will be along the drivers side with electrical and furnace closet and dinette along passenger side. Power distribution will actually be in the basement under a panel in the closet.
The back wall is made the full height of the camper. In my design it has a height of 8ft and a width of 93.5" . It is full height because it also compensates for the 6" high basement. The main entrance doorway is offset from the left 36 inches so that the full bathroom can be placed along the drivers side. For strength, corners are done using box corner construction. The wall is framed in typical house framing fashion and secured through the floor into the basement framework.
The front of the deck wall only extends to just above the roof height of the truck. This is so that the overhang over the cab can be incorporated. Due the covering over the wheel wells and bins it needs to be notched on both sides. The basement is covered by this wall if making a permanent camper but in my design the camper would be removable so the wall would be straight across at the bottom rather the notched view to the right. The wall secures through the main floor into the basement 2x6 walls but is secured from underneath over the wheel well area's.
Overhang construction  shown above is a simple 48 inch x 87.5 inch frame that makes up the floor of the overhang. it will rest on the front half wall and secure to the upper side wall assemblies when constructed.
The camper sides construction consist of two half walls. the lower wall is to the same height as the front wall which comes just above the cab height. The upper wall made 12 feet long (so it extends over the truck roof) and 4 feet high. at the front it is structured to provide a sloped wind deflector.
The camper roof construction consists of several peak shaped 2x6 pieces that secure to either side wall.  when you build the roof you must make allowance for 2 roof vents such that one is in the bathroom and the other should be in the main dining / kitchen area. Each vent will be a standard 14 inch x 14 inch vent. Ideally, you would not put outside skins on until all electrical and plumbing are satisfied.

This concludes the primer for making the basic structure of your custom camper. Since I changed plans and went with a motorhome instead, the camper was disassembled and scrapped and the truck was sold so I can't document interior construction and finishing.
 
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