My life is and always has been a long and strange journey.

When I was very young I lived in a few shotgun houses, then a trailer (mobile home) before joining the US Navy at the age of seventeen.

Growing up I always enjoyed being outside, hunting, fishing hiking and all else. I learned early on how to survive on my own in almost any conditions imaginable.

How to get by just fine with very little, and be happy doing it too.

When I was in the Navy, the first almost four years, I lived aboard ship. All I personally had was a bunk, and two lockers (including the coffin locker under my mattress) and I was just fine with that.

In later years as I got into trucking, I had the sleeper berth and cab space of the trucks I drove and that was it for weeks at a time away from home. I found it to be quite comfortable, overall and once I got a “condo” I had more than enough space.

Even during our marriage my wife and I have had some small homes at times. That includes a year we lived on board a 39 foot boat we owned, another year we lived in a 35 foot travel trailer and almost a year that we lived in a tiny home/converted shed (12X16) as our main house was being gutted and renovated.

Small spaces are where I am most happy – especially when they are fully paid for -as all of ours were. There is much peace of mind when you have little costs associated with what most of the time is the biggest cost item for us all – housing.

Even beyond that, there are so many more benefits to living small or even tiny living – such as peace of mind from owning less crap to keep up with and maintain. When you live in something that is less than forty feet long and less than fourteen feet wide – and some times much less than that – then you must be very intentional about what items you choose to keep.

That results in the need to get rid of things that don’t really serve a current purpose. That is liberating. Its better.

I think that is why the idea for designing my own microtruck camper has long been a pastime and a hobby I have enjoyed. To try to figure out how to get everything that is needed – and wanted – but nothing more inside tiny dimensions is particularly challenging. And that is what makes it so much fun to me.

Imagine something that is approximately 5.5 feet wide, 5.5 feet high, and 6.5 feet long that has a bunk, a head (with sit-down shower), hot and cold running water, AC/DC power, desk/workspace, a galley area for cooking, a refrigerator, lighting, roof hatches and vents, rear window, fireplace for primary heat, AC and fans for air, and that fits in the bed of a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 – and weighs less than 1100 pounds dry.

That is what I will build this year.

It will serve as a mobile office for me, and a studio for filming my courses, YouTube videos, a writers studio for working on my books and occasionally a camper for some Adventure Recreation Group events, and just day camping fun at least once a week.

Construction Methods for My Tiny House – Micro Truckcamper

It has to be light yet strong.

It has to be affordable and easy enough to build that pretty much anyone could do it (I do intend to sell Plans, Manuals and a Course on how to build your own ; ) and do it well too.

After looking at all kinds of different ways to build the thing – what I have decided to do is use a modified composite method with parts of a few different things. For example I will use modified stitch and glue from boat building, and ripped down 2×2 framing from stick built RV and Aircraft construction methods – along with composite panels and foamy construction methods – all used together to create something that is incredibly strong, very light, and mostly impervious to water/rot issues.

The basic panels will be comprised of wood, foam insulation panels, overlayed with Luan on both sides and glued together, then epoxied at the joints inside and out with exterior fiberglass over the whole structure and over all interior major seams.

Additional structural strength will be obtained by mating interior walls, cabinets, and fixtures in the same way – which will greatly strengthen the overall structure with minimal additional weight.

By my own admission, this is way over built and much of the extra efforts are not really necessary – but I know how to do it, consider it to be fun, and it will give me a lot more peace of mind – so that’s how it will go together.

At this point I am just guessing – but I am thinking the completed shell will be around 250 to 300 or so pounds.

That’s before adding electrical, batteries, tanks, etc. etc. so the remainder to the weight will be from all those things along with the other systems and amenities being installed.. Even so it will still be far lighter and better than anything you can buy anywhere else.

My unit is being designed to be exactly how I personally want it.

Yours could be anyway you like so long as it fits inside the outer dimensions (and even those could be changed at your own risk!) and I will offer a few different potential layouts – including my own.

For those wanting to go even cheaper – you could use PMF (Poor Mans Fiberglass) instead of actual fiberglass and save a few bucks if you like. For mine I will use the real version though – because I am experienced with it from boat building and I know it works and how to do it – and the cost difference isn’t an issue for me – especially with such a small structure.

But PMF is an option, and I do intend to try that for myself on some future project just for the fun of it… but gotta get this one done first.

The beautiful thing about this project is that it can be built in phases, simply buying materials as you need them and  as you can afford it.

You could probably build the shell and get it weather tight in a single long three day weekend and onboard your truck – all for under $1000 or so in materials. Give or take a couple hundred bucks.

While the completely finished version I have in mind will probably be about 10 X that amount when its fully completed with all amenities fully installed. A commercial version (if you could find one – would be another 5 to 7 X that amount ($50 to $70K). Before you scoff at that – go look up what truck campers cost – even the very small ones and ones without all the amenities and features I have mentioned and have in mind.

For those who want just a basic model (which could still be added to and improved over time as desired and able to afford to do so!) it could probably be built start to finish for well under $4 or 5 K and well under 1000 pounds dry. It can also be custom built for ANY size truck of any year.

Micro Truckcamper Build Time Frame

I will start mine in January 2024 and hope to have it finished by Christmas of 2024.

I’m not in any hurry and intend to enjoy every step of the process – and create a lot of content for this blog, my YT channels and for a course and set of plans as I build it.

Hopefully I will have it weather tight, functional and aboard my truck by the end of April 2024 (hey I said I am taking my time!). That’s another key feature I want – to make it quick and easy to be loaded aboard the truck – or removed from it solo.

It is going to be a great project, and I cant wait to get started.

This is the first in this series of posts which will cover my Micro Truckcamper Project start to finish. In the next post I will share some hand drawn sketches and more thoughts on the design, along with some pictures of other campers that serve as inspiration. While I have never found one that is near exactly what I want to build – I have found many that have some elements I am interested in.

I’ll try to find a few to include in the next post here too.


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