Gypsy Truck

This is my home built camper. I have lived out of my truck for extended periods of time while working afield as an archaeologist. This project is a sort of homage to my Traveler ancestors. Between this and my cargo trailer, I hope to be fully mobile someday soon. Much of the inspiration for this comes from expedition vehicles I have seen on the web.  If you have an interest in this sort of thing, check out the forums over at the Expedition Portal or the the IH8MUD.com site.  The latter is focused heavily toward the Toyota crowd but still has some great information for the rest of us.

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The frame is welded from 1.5″ square steel. Steel provides a very sturdy frame and relatively light weight.

I kept the hardwood ribs very light weight, like an old time canoe.

3/8″ plywood makes up the roof. I had to run the ridge down the center to alleviate the outward pressure from the sprung wood. The steel flexed outwards substantially under the stress and I didn’t want a cross-bar to hit my head on.

Walls in place. I drove around like this for a while. It earned me many stares and questions.

I had to make a quick trip to wet country so I added the rear wall and door. A quick coat of paint made it look like an Amish milk wagon.

A peek inside.

Outside ribs in place. Exterior is nearly done here.

The bed up.

Partially unfolded.

Fully extended.

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Base coat of paint.  And a tractor/utility lamp that provides a huge amount of illumination for working or camp set-up.

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Siding in Metal.

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Roadrunner on the final paint job.  The sides are dark bronze and the roof is reflective “snow roof” to keep down the heat.

Its actually 16 gauge galvanized sheeting.  This should provide a low-budget protection from the elements.  The seams between sheets are covered with 1/8″ thick, 2″ wide aluminum strips sealed with flashing caulk.  The whole thing is primered with aluminum/galvanized primer and painted with Rustoleum enamel.  The bed is constructed at the same height as the tool box to provide plenty of space to spread out.  The spare tire and jack take a fair amount of the free space but it is handy to get to these when needed.  I went back to a dark color as the main color for the sides deciding to be a bit more incognito.

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11 Responses to Gypsy Truck

  1. My husband wants to know how much you spent on this, roughly. The rear window on his topper just fell out, again; time for a new truck topper.

  2. West Winds Loft says:

    Really kewl; I love it.
    Djanga

  3. The Pal Guy says:

    Ah yes the ultimate travelling machine. i know quite a few people who have done this to tour North America. It beats paying for hotels every night that your on the road.

    • Paleotool says:

      Ah yes. Its nice to just be able to undress and stretch out for a few hours sleep for free whenever you want. It was great when I used to travel more. Now I have the full on wagon for big trips.

  4. Keith Rogers says:

    I like this idea and am planning on building your “gypsy wagon” pretty soon. It’s terrific. But, I don’t have any idea where one can spend the night for free in your camper/gypsy truck camper. Info please!!!!! Thanks, great blog, by the way!

  5. Roger says:

    I am interested in the wood camper shell. I would like one for my truck. I have a little Toyota truck could you either tell me how to make one or build one and I’d buy it.

  6. Roger says:

    I’m out of San Luis obispo California

  7. Roger says:

    Ok cool thank you anyways

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