DIY: Truck Camper Build – Intro
About our lil’ Backpack
Welcome to the introduction to our home built truck camper series. From this series of post you will develop a firm know-how of what you can make, and what things to avoid.
We typically take at least two road trips each year of about 2000 miles. We have made this trip in a small 4 door car, A 28 foot travel trailer, A huge truck camper, A pop-up truck camper and good ole’ Backpack. During all of these adventures we learned many things about what we wanted with a travel camper.
We didn’t want something that was big and overloaded. Mrs. Adventure started this conversation with me one day as we loaded up our old 8 ft. long, 1200 lb monster of a truck camper. “Can you cut off some in the back so that we can put up the tailgate?”. This innocent question lead to two months of intensive work to build a suitable truck camper for our needs.
- Small enough to fit in the truck with the tailgate up: 6ft bed.
- Light enough not to over-load our Silverado 1500. (940lbs max weight)
- Small enough to fit into almost any parking spot that our truck fits.
- Place to sleep, cook, potty.
- Protected from the elements ( heat, cold, rain, snow)
- A fuel efficient rig that can handle multiple cross country trips from Texas to Washington State.
- Something that doesn’t leak!
- Something that looks nice and doesn’t scream, “Handmade!” hehe.
- A bit of headroom.
The Build Timeline
The overall project took two months from start to finish.
We started planning this build in May 2019 with a goal of mid July to be on the road. We have previously purchased older truck campers and had one that could be used for some parts. Harvesting parts from another camper is not required, but we had it on hand. I will provide a few links to where you can get parts new/refurbished as needed.
What you will need
Build Supply List
- 1/2 in plywood sheets (8 x 4) – Exterior plywood x 2
- 1/4 BC plywood (8 x 4) x 8
- U-POL Raptor Liner Kit with your chose of color. We went with white. – U-POL Raptor Tintable Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit w/FREE Custom Coat Spray Gun with Regulator, 8 Quart Kit
- 4 additional bottles of Raptor liner.
- Utility Plywood x 5 – For indoor surfaces.
- 1x1x8 sticks for indoor build structure/roof frame
- 1 x 4 x 8 sticks for top frame structure.
- 1 x 2 x 8 sticks for framing.
- 3 x camper jacks
- 1 x camper 30 amp unit
- 1 x instant hot sink faucet – We used the A.B Crew 110V 3sec Instant Tankless Electric Hot Water Heater Faucet Kitchen Fast Heating Tap Water Faucet with LED Digital Display
- 1 x bar sink – KINDRED Stainless Steel, Essentials All-in-One Kit 15 x 6-inch Deep Drop-in Bar or Utility Sink in Satin, FBFS602NKIT
- 1 x camper mattress
- 1 x camper vent with motor – HENG’S 14″ RV CAMPER TRAILER UNIVERSAL WHITE ROOF VENT W 12V 12 VOLT FAN 71112-C NO GARNISH RING INCLUDED
- 2 steel 90 degree brackets. 12 inch x 12 inch.
- Brad Nails
- Laminate Flooring – your choice of color.
- RV windows
- Elastomeric Roof Coating – We like the Henry’s brand
- 90 degree galvanized metal for trim. Pick your color.
- 12 volt LED Light
- Charge Controller
- Solar Panel
The entire project took working from 6pm – midnight most weekdays and 14 hours on Sat/Sun. Most of the work was physical. Tools required were a table saw, miter saw, nail gun and tape measure.
Blood, Sweat and Tears
Ole Backpack contains much sweat and blood from many oops. Be sure to wear protective gear and follow all safety measures. A few tears were shed when I did not measure twice and cut once.
This will be a series of posts that will detail the entire build process. This is just the introduction. Please check back for another post on this topic. If you have any questions about the build, please let me know!