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Custom Built Truck Bed Camper: Micro Cabin for Your Truck


One of our readers, Mark Lacroix designed and built his own micro cabin for his truck. Yesterday I showed you his off grid tiny/small cabin which you can see photos of.

His micro cabin though is basically a custom truck bed camper for his Toyota Tacoma. Recently he had to move out of his 16’x20′ cabin. And since a tiny house on a trailer is big and way more expensive he figured a camper for his truck would be better for his situation. I’ll let him tell the story, in his own words, below:

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Why a Micro Truck Cabin…

Micro Cabin for Tacoma Truck - Custom Truck Bed Camper

A little background first, I recently moved to Edmonton Alberta from Ottawa Ontario, 3600km’s 6 months ago. Right before I moved out here I had just completed building my off the grid cabin. I’ll attach a photo. Its 16x20feet and I designed the floor plan to use all spaces and made my feets 10 feet high so my loft would have more ceiling room. I think my cabin could possible be another story? or it may be considered to big for tiny houses.

So after moving out here I miss my cabin and thought to myself what would be the cheapest way to own a cabin out here without breaking the bank. I’ve always been a fan of tiny houses and spaces. Plus now that I’m out west there’s so many great places to road trip too and building a tiny house on a trailer isn’t ideal for dozen’s of trips each year. So I decided to build a camper cabin, a camper to fit on my truck and that looks like a cabin for my love of cabin’s and tiny houses. Plus there’s nothing else like that out there.

Custom Built Truck Camper that Looks like a Cabin

micro-cabin-for-tacoma-truck-2

I bought this run down camper for $100 in hopes of refurbishing it into a mini cabin. But shortly after taking off the metal siding I noticed it was all rioted and it would be impossible for me to work with that shell. Also seeing how easily campers are built I decided to scrap that one, take the windows and door off of it and build my own. So I measured my box of my truck and started from there. My box is 6 feet, and only 4’6″ wide. Campers are made out of plywood and that’s it! simple eh.

I built my shell with 3/4 inch plywood and 2×3’s for my roof. I wrapped the whole thing in thick vapor barrier to stop any water or moist from getting in. At home depot they sell 1/4 inch t&g pine v joint boards. I used that for my exterior siding and interior. It is very light and ideal. My roof is steel tin panels. can be easily cut with tin snaps. Gravity sink will be installed this weekend, and table turns into bed. Simple space and roomy for its size of 6×6. I made my ceiling just tall enough for me to stand up in.

micro-cabin-for-tacoma-truck-5

So far my cost of the camper plus the $100 I spent on the first one, which I did get the windows and door from which from a junk yard would cost that anyways. I would say I’m at $600-$650 to build it and will take another $200-$300 to finish the interior. So the whole project is under $1000 and is custom made to any truck which is pretty cool.

Everyone who has seen it is very impressed and find it’s neat looking. Not like you see this everyday.

I will be using it for road trips and traveling. Weekend trips to 1 or 2 week trips. It’s ideal to get around with and perfect for two people or small family.

My family loves it, and knowing me aren’t very surprised since I built my cabin back home.

micro-truck-camper-cabin2 micro-truck-camper-cabin3

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Interested in contacting Mark to purchase plans to build your own? Here’s his Facebook.

If you enjoyed Mark’s Micro Truck Cabin “Like” and share it using the buttons below then share what you liked best about it in the comments below. Including if you’re interested in plans so you can build your own. Thanks!

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 25 comments… add one }
  • LaMar Alexander LaMar
    March 9, 2013, 12:22 pm

    Nice camper- would have liked to see the inside.

    I built a shell camper for my Dodge S10 mini truck using just 4 sheets of 1/2 inch plywood and 2x2s. Insulated with foam board and installed a bed with storage under neath and a table for cooking and eating. I put two HF solar panels on the top to recharge a deep cycle batt and that runs my laptop and dvd player and recharges my phone.

    I do a lot of boondocking camping and spend most of my time outdoors so a small camper with a bed to get out of the weather is all I really need and I use it to keep my tools safe when I am working and it protects the dogs when we are on a trip.

    I have spent 3 months boondocking all over the western US with just that camper and it was very comfortable.

  • Avatar Karen
    March 9, 2013, 12:24 pm

    Yes! I’m interested in plans and a materials list that will enable me to build my own micro truck camper. Love it!

  • Avatar billy
    March 9, 2013, 1:41 pm

    smooth idea on salvaging the windows and the door. if bought new they could be several hundred . there are 3 slide in beaters on blocks and pallets down the street. billy

  • Avatar charlotte mcalister
    March 9, 2013, 2:08 pm

    The micro truck camper is the bomb. When will plans and building materials list to build be available to purchase.

  • Avatar jerryd
    March 9, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Nice in many ways except the gasoline it’ll use. It’ll make the trucks already bad mileage probably 10-25% worse on the freeway or any speed above 50 mph.

    I suggest anyone who plans any mileage traveling to do a more aero one. And I’d build the shell with 1/4” ply as it’s plenty strong for that.
    3/8” for bed/etc and 1/2” for floor is all that is needed.

    Done well with high quality ply and epoxy you could do it in 1/2 those sizes
    and save more weight as I do.

  • Avatar TomLeeM
    March 9, 2013, 6:53 pm

    I think that is really nice.

    Could the part that goes over the cab be extended so it could be a sleeping area like a loft in a tiny house?

  • Avatar Nora
    March 9, 2013, 9:17 pm

    What a great idea I would love a copy of your plans and material list and any other information you wouldn’t mind sharing.

    • Avatar jerryd
      March 12, 2013, 10:15 pm

      Nora there are many such free camper plans online. Just put that into image search and browse until one you like shows up. But please make it aero or you’ll regret it later in much high gasoline/diesel bills.

  • Avatar Mary
    March 9, 2013, 10:00 pm

    Great idea. Salvaging the old canopy windows is priceless. I want to do something similar for my aluminum utility trailer. I like the idea that it could slide on and off or have jacks, then I could use the trailer for other things.

  • Avatar Jerry
    March 9, 2013, 11:44 pm

    Nice work. Would love to see some interior pictures. I’m curious about the layout.

  • Avatar Glenn
    March 10, 2013, 7:03 am

    Good job ..will you please show us some inside pictures ??????????

  • Avatar Marty Reilly
    March 10, 2013, 11:45 am

    Mark great job!!! I would love to get a set of building instructions and I hope you can put up interior pics as well. Love to see the inside and how it’s laid out. God Bless

  • Avatar Jared
    March 11, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Love the slide in, seems very handy.

    I wanted to talk about some stuff and not trying to hijack just unsure where to post so here I am.

    The liquidity of tiny houses on trailers. .. Or house trucks.
    To me the big draw for tiny houses is not just difference in price and monthly bills but mainly the inherent ability to stay off the radar, value wise that is. Compare the ordeal of buying or even renting a brick and
    mortar residence to the relative ease and lessened expense of a tiny house on wheels. You’re just buying a utility trailer. Nobody has to know that it’s actually a complete and self sustained home. Or the value of said property.

    To me this is the true value of the tiny house movement. To opt out of all the official bs that makes home ownership virtually impossible.

    Thx
    Jared

    Alex do you think this facet of our passion is worthy of a writeup?

  • Avatar Carolyn B
    March 12, 2013, 11:49 am

    Pino, Pino, Pino…….. why oh why do your commenters still have to beg for interior shots? Please tell your guest contributors you need interior photos even if it is unfinished or terribly cluttered. We don’t care…..we love to see all aspects of any tiny home. Thanks. 🙂

    • Avatar Alex
      August 27, 2014, 5:11 pm

      I’ll do better Carolyn 😀

  • Avatar Dave
    March 12, 2013, 11:17 pm

    I applaud the original thinking here and, like other commenters, would like to see inside pics. I’d consider making somekind of a baffle, even a “fake” front to direct the air flow over the top of camper. Your gas mileage will take a huge hit otherwise. Also, the truck plus camper will have a very high center of gravity, and as such be suscpetible to being blown off the road with a strong side wind. Never forget too that with the extra weight in the back of the truck (hope you got extra springs or air bags), you will need more time to stop. Like, a lot more time.

    There are several brands of commericaly made pop up truck campers, such as Four Wheel and All Terrain (I have no affiliation), that have a much lower center of gravity, and are built with lightweight welded aluminum frames. The lightweight part makes them ideal for smaller pickups like a Tacoma. Aluminum framed campers also resist the tendency of wood frame campers to come apart when travelling off road. They are not cheap (about 10-15K for a new unit) but older units can be found on craigslist and ebay for much cheaper. This is particularly true in Colorado, where Four Wheel was based for years.

    Cheaprvliving dot com (again, no affiliation) also has many truly ingenious ideas for getting into a camper or van for a fraction of the price of a RV you buy off a lot.

  • Avatar Liz
    October 29, 2014, 8:01 pm

    I would like to know about insurance costs of a vehicle/camper like this. I currently drive a 2013 Mazda 3 and my insurance is about $100 per month. I have no idea how much it costs to insure a truck or camper. Let’s say I got an older truck, like the one pictured. Any guesses on a monthly insurance payment?

  • Avatar CLAUDIA LAJOIE
    January 21, 2015, 1:24 am

    Love these tiny homes. I am looking for a small cab-over for my 1999 Dodge Dakota P/U. Would like to find a link where they are already made and for sale. I am a singles, 66 yr old female and am ready to hit the road and travel. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Avatar Peter Pavlowich
      February 8, 2015, 8:25 pm

      Hi Claudia – I just happened to see your comment here on this cool little camper. I build small, simple truck campers in Fort Collins, Colorado – and I’d be happy to discuss putting something together for your Dakota.

      Have a look at casualturtlecampers.com sometime if you’d like, and feel free to email me.

  • Avatar billy hatcher
    March 4, 2015, 10:33 pm

    i’m wanting to build a a tiny house on my 800 acre prop. i’m wanting to build. out of three 18 wheel trailers. i’m wanting to put one upside down. the one upside down will have a cage in it.i’ll use a wench to pull the cage to the top like a elervater that way i’ll be able to see my hold farm. i’ll paint the trailers camfloge and in the other2 trailer will have a kitchen a bath a 2 bedrooms and a den. no window so no one can break in . will that work.

  • Avatar michael cavallaro
    March 18, 2015, 10:03 pm

    I love the look i would be highly interested in plans for the homemade camper.thank you

  • Avatar joseph
    June 13, 2015, 5:24 pm

    I’m interested in plans. Are they available. Thanks!

  • Avatar fentone
    March 21, 2017, 3:01 am

    I’m particularly impressed by the aerodynamics of that build. How much did save on gas after you added that streamlined beauty?

  • Avatar Jerry Blandford
    September 4, 2019, 1:23 am

    Liz, I live in an average 1700 square foot house in Las Cruces, New Mexico… about 40 miles North of El Paso. My house payments run a little over $1200 per month, electricity averages $190 per month, water and waste runs about $140, insurance for my Chevy Silverado, Honda CR-V, and 2015 Jayco 33 foot trailer with three slide out, two refrigerated air units, propane/120v refrigerator solar electric, same for water heater costs about $250 . We just spent 7 nights in a historical
    National Park with water, electricity, sewer dump, plus modern bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers. Total cost for space rent and utilities was $4 per night. So what if insurance cost you a little for a pickup slide in camper. New Mexico and other states have thousands of parks in Forest Service and BLM land. Quartzite, Arizona has a camp-in every year with entertainment, venders,
    You name it…they got it….. and 157,000 acres of it. For $1,000 you can build a pickup camper and cut out all of the above bills. I have built several and they only take a little ingenuity and a willingness to recognize bargains. I recently visited my brother-in-law and one of his neighbors offered me a fiberglass camper with four windows….. for forty dollars. An elderly neighbor offered to give me a overhead Travel Queen camper… complete with water tank, sink, stove with oven, a furnace, etc. There are several housing units going up in my neighborhood and workers haul a lot of good lumber to the dump every Monday morning. Go the foreman on Friday and he will let you dumpster dive to your content. Yeah, you may not like the idea of building with used materials but my brother and sons have built over 15,000 houses in the Phoenix area and the only difference in a good project and a bad one is the ability of a good carpenter to do a good job on the finish work.

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