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DIY Dodge Diesel Truck Camper: One Man’s Story
This is my small camper I made 42 years ago.
How time flies! Basically it is a topper that is bolted to the top of a standard eight foot truck box. I built it for my first truck, a 1969 Dodge that I bought for $1100 in 1974. It has served me well for solo camping all these years. If I would add up all the nights I have spent in it, I would give my best approximation to be two years! ….
The only thing I had to buy was the siding and windows. The rest of the material was salvaged from construction site scrap piles, or mooched of my Dad. The 12V lights and switches inside came from a 1954 Dodge car….
In the fall of 1974 I got a good job in the electrical industry. In 1976 , I decided to buy a new 1976 Dodge Truck. The camper migrated over to the new truck with minor modifications. At this time I decided to add heat.
I used a standard in car heater, controlled by a 120 VAC thermostat. My freezing days are over!! ( Well as long as I get a campsite with power).
I think it was around this time I added a second 12V battery so I did not have to worry about running the main battery down. Also I made the bed permanently in the down position. No more folding stuff !!!
In 2008 , my 1976 Dodge decided it was time to go to the big Parking Lot in the Sky. So my wife and I decide to go truck shopping…A 2004 Dodge Diesel was at an out of town dealer and that was the truck we ended up getting.
Of course the camper migrated over to the 2004 with some major modifications, but it made it!! The panes for the box walls would not fit, but I found that pieces of carpet, salvaged of course, worked just as well. A bit of painting and repairs to the inside and all ready to go for some more years!!
My cooking has always been done outside, with a 2 burner propane stove using a refillable propane tank. My little cupboard holds my utensils and pots and pans. Of course the cupboard is made of salvaged material as well.
I look forward to many more nice relaxing trips in this unit. Yes my wife lets me go out on my own!!
- Walls and roof framed with 2 x 2 Lumber, with the odd 2 x 4 thrown in for extra strength.
- Sheathing: 3/8 plywood, covered with standard aluminum RV siding.
- Standard RV windows.
- Insulated with R7 fibreglass insulation.
- 1/8 panelling to finishing.
- Insulated side panels for the truck box.
- Camper floor is 3/8 plywood sheet with carpet.
- Bench with storage
- Counter with storage
- Bed with storage
- Homemade cooler
Our big thanks to Paul for sharing!
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Natalie C. McKee
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