DIY Flatbed Truck Camper Build


We built a Flat bed Camper this spring/summer. Needed something that could sleep a family of 5 without having to convert beds every night and fit on a short box truck frame.
Good luck finding anything to buy that wouldn't be a custom build and waaay to expensive.
Tossed around the idea of buying something and renovating it but just couldn't swing 3 permanent bunks in a box style camper.

So we started from scratch.

Sold the short box off the truck and built a flat deck that was 7 feet long.

Here's the info I can think of.... If i miss anything please ask, she's a labor of love, we had as much fun building it as we do exploring with it.

8 foot long on the floor, 5 feet over the cab
7 feet wide
6.6 foot high ceiling.
It weighed 1650lbs dry, and 2300 lbs loaded for a family of 5 to live out of it for a month.

Its framed with 2x4's ripped in half
1 5/8 insulation with reflective on both sides with vapor barrier.
1/4 marine plywood on both exterior and interior
Everything was glued and Screwed.
Before we insulated, the entire shell was painted with waterproofer on the inside and out, studs included.

The roof is truck bed liner, Made by Canadian Industrial coatings specifically meant to adhere to plywood, I put 3 coats on.

The exterior is 2 coats of waterproof deck stain tinted the same color as the 4 coats of Acrylic Enamel, really impressed how its standing up so far. We've been through some really tight trail, tree scratches are very minimal, seen a couple really bad hail storms, stood up well.....better than the hood of the truck....

Window is a double pane residential house window that opens

We built pretty much everything, even the light fixtures and the kitchen faucet, the sink came out of an old van I renovated and sold this winter.

Build time was 3 months of evenings and weekends.... late evenings and long weekends...

Cost was just under $4000.00 Canadian.

Only 12 volt electrical, one deep cycle group 31 battery charged off the truck, super simple.

Water system is super simple too, 20 liter water containers that I modified the spouts with stand pipes and air compressor fittings to make switching containers fast and easy. We used containers in stead of a tank so we can fill them anywhere. We've filled them at gas stations, rest stop sinks, park spigots, creeks, rivers, springs...... we don't drink the faucet water, thats what the container built into the counter is for, that one we'll fill at a grocery store or wherever we find potable water. RV diaphragm pump to the faucet, no hot water Yet, but its in the works.

Cassette style Chem toilet, we put it in thinking Meh... probably never use it, but just in case... Turned out to be one of the items we're glad we purchased, especially with 3 kids and one just getting potty trained.

Cubic Mini Wood stove is currently the only heat source, it works awesome. So far the coldest we've used it is at -5 deg Celsius, 6 1/2 hrs after I stopped putting wood in, camper was still at +18 deg Celsius. I do plan on installing a diesel air heater on a thermostat for the winter so I don't have to get my lazy butt out of bed to stoke the fire, but you really can't beat the wood heat.

We traveled with it for the whole month of August and a good portion of September, Mostly back roads of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba Canada. We've got some things we want to tweak but all in all we're really happy with how it turned out.

Its our little cabin at the Lake..... every lake we can find
and our cabin in the woods..... whatever woods we park in.




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Very nice build, love the colors inside, very much like home.

Some of us shudder at the price of new campers....a lot of us could never even afford to buy a factory unit....i guess that's why we build stuff!


New member
Beautiful! Love the lights. How did you attach the LED base to the copper pipe? Do you have more photos of the lights build? I might just steal this idea ;) The 'porch' is a great idea too... hmm...
Great job! It makes one wonder why they would consider purchasing a production camper for $30k+ when you have proven you can have something homey and serviceable for much much less money. Well done.


What a creative, practical and comfortable travel cabin you've built, the strong, light framing and marine ply inside and out with an insulation panel sandwich gives great strength whilst being light in weight.

With such a cosy and comfortable travel cabin you're really at home everywhere, and your wood stove makes such a difference in all weather exploring.

Outstanding work on the lights, too, they look really good.

Your lovely travel cabin is elegantly simple and simply elegant!