Even though you don’t see many around on the road, box truck camper conversions make for the ideal RV for the van lifer on a budget.
Box trucks are cheap and easy to obtain, as they are used by professionals, such a plumbers and movers, and you can even buy retired service vehicles, like ambulances, at your local town office. The box of truck campers tends to be 14 to 17ft long.
Thanks to their rectangular shape, box trucks are also highly customizable, leaving you plenty of freedom for the floor plan design.
For an in-depth look on box truck campers, check out my podcast interview with Kurt Bradler of Contravans on the pros and cons of a box truck conversion:
Table of Contents
Tegan’s Modern Rustic Box Truck Camper Conversion ‘Marcel’
When you enter Tegan’s 92 GMC Vandura, you will feel the hygge-filled design’s warm hug all around you. The whole box truck camper conversion interior is lined with wooden panels, giving the interior a rustic, scandi feel.
The floor plan includes a couch bed and a kitchenette with an oven, hob, sink and cooler.
To aid ventilation, already provided by a hatch in the roof, there is a small window by the hob. This allows Tegan to cook while admiring the wild landscapes she travels to.
There are also some clever features on board, such as the slide-out table and the ceiling jar rack.
There is even a window at the rear of the box truck camper conversion, from which Tegan can look outside while chilling on her couch bed.
The access door is super cute and matches perfectly the surrounding walls.
While there may not be a ton of space inside Marcel, Tegan managed to fit decent cabinets and shelves around the box truck conversion, so she can store her gear and food for longer trips.
Tegan found Marcel on Craiglist after months of searching.
She did all the build DIY, with a little help from friends. She wanted to learn how to do it all by herself.
After all her hard work, she and Marcel set off on new exciting adventures around the USA. You’ll find them anywhere with good mountain biking trails, wild swimming spots, deserts and mountains.
Check out Tegan’s Instagram account, Stormynorma, to keep up to date with her outdoorsy adventures and to see more of Marcel.
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Jem’s Adventure Box Truck Camper Conversion
Jamie, Eric and Mayla the cat have refitted a Ford E350 box truck to travel the world together. The van used to be employed for a gutter and exterior business, but they snapped it up to make it into a home on wheels.
Their box truck camper conversion interior design looks luxurious, thanks to their choice of components – they are all borrowed from home furnishing.
The galley of this box truck conversion looks like a regular home kitchen with a gas hob and oven, sleek surfaces and hidden-away fridges. The ceiling is simply stunning with its wooden slats.
Jamie and Eric even managed to squeeze a composting toilet in a separate mini room, so they can camp in the wild without a problem.
The door that separates the cab from the living space matches the wall panels around it and the couches turn into a double bed.
The rugs and paintings add the final touch, making this van a true home away from home.
There are four big solar panels on the roof to provide the couple and their furry child with enough power to stay gone for long periods of time.
We are so impressed with this box truck camper conversion. If you want to find out more and look at more pictures, have a peek at Jem’s Adventure Box Instagram profile.
Camping off grid? See the best solar generators for van life and Rving.
Luke And Sarah’s Box Truck Camper Conversion
Luke and Sarah opted for the DIY box truck conversion route, too. And what a tiny home they have built for themselves and their pooch!
Thanks to their clever use of space and the roomy interior offered by their 14ft Ford E350 from ’94, they have been able to fit both a permanent bed and couch inside their box truck camper conversion.
Shall we even mention the flat screen TV by the bed? Next to the bed, there’s a small cubicle with a composting toilet and a shower.
The kitchen of their box truck conversion has plenty of surface space and storage, as well as a regular hob, oven and refrigerator. The cabinets on the opposite side of the vehicle, where the couch is, match those of the kitchen.
Want to find out more about this box truck camper conversion? Have a look at Luke and Sarah’s Instagram account – Escaping The Midwest.
Betsy The Box Truck Camper Conversion
Betsy is possibly one of the cutest box truck camper conversions we could find – her exterior looks so charmingly retro, it’s hard not to turn around when you see her on the road.
The box truck conversion interior, with the leather and wooden details is simply stunning.
On the roof of the vehicle, there is a lovely sundeck made of wooden slats. The ladder that leads up to it looks solid and sleek, making a solarium session seem easy to organize.
In the back of the box truck conversion, the living space design is practical and modern.
The kitchen sink is huge and features a stunning industrial style tap. The regular oven and camper stove also doubles as surface space, thanks to the glass cover on top.
On the left-hand side of the box truck conversion, there is a decent size couch, big enough to have a nap on. The foam is thick and comfortable, so it will last a good amount of time.
The bed is right at the front of the vehicle. It’s a platform bed with storage space underneath. There is also a toilet (a Nature’s Head) and a shower in a separate cubicle. There is an outdoor shower stuffed away.
The lighting by the bed is incredibly clever, as it creates a lovely mood for reading, watching TV or Netflix, and relaxing. On the roof, there are 400W of solar power, which feed into the 400aH of batteries and a 2000W inverter.
Nick, the owner, has refitted Betsy, a Ford E-350 Boxtruck, all alone in Michigan. He is now travelling around the USA, looking for the perfect mid-sized city to settle down in, with his partner and puppy.
If you’d like to find out more about this box truck camper conversion or Nick’s travels, check out Betsy The Box Truck’s Instagram account.
Eric’s Ultimate DIY Budget Stealth Box Truck Conversion
If you’re on a tight budget, Eric’s story will inspire you. He bought this box truck for only $1,500 and refitted it DIY. The result is incredible.
The truck still looks like a working van on the outside, to keep it extra stealth, but the interior turns it into a colorful, gipsy-style camper.
At the rear of the van, there are two couch benches, which turn into a small double bed. For eating, Eric carries a foldable table that he can use both inside and outside.
At the back of the left couch, there is a big flat screen TV.
Next to the couch, there’s a decent size galley with a regular sink, a fridge, a cooler, and a portable gas hob.
In front of the kitchenette, there’s a toilet cubicle with a composting toilet and space to shower.
Eric takes a portable shower with him on the road so he can have indoor and outdoor showers alike.
He also has plenty of storage spaces, such as cabinets and drawers.
Professional Box Truck Camper Conversions
If DIY isn’t your thing, don’t worry – you can hire a conversion company.
Contravans Box Truck Camper Conversions
If you’d rather let a professional handle your box truck conversion interior, Contravans, based in Colorado, offer great conversion packages based around your needs.
A typical box truck conversion includes a platform bed with a memory foam mattress, a kitchen area (excluding a hob or oven), walls and ceiling with insulation, LED interior lighting, and lots of storage.
Additionally, each conversion comes with an auxiliary electrical system with batteries, solar panels, an inverter, and USB charging stations.
Going down the professional conversion path will save you a lot of time, research and work on your box truck camper conversions.
All you have to do is get in touch with the company, discuss your needs, agree on a floor plan, take your box truck camper over, and drive it to their HQ. Within a few weeks, you will be able to pick up your brand new conversion.
If you’d like to find out more about Contravans’ box van camper conversions, check out their website here.
Check out campervan conversion kits here.
Colorado Adventure Vans
CAV are based in Golden, Colorado. Check out this ambulance conversion they created. The interior features a huge kitchen, a swivel table, two benches, a big refrigerator, a shower, and lots of storage cabinets.
Colorado Adventure Vans love to build completely custom vans, so whatever rig you have, they’ll be happy to convert it. If you can’t afford their services, they also offer DIY consultations.
Custom Coach Creations
Based in Florida, Custom Coach Creations convert any truck or van into a camper. They convert bigger vehicles into RVs, as well as smaller vans. Custom Coach Creations build every piece of furniture to fit perfectly in your camper.
Check out this super luxurious conversion of theirs. It features a washing machine, microwave, TV, electric stove, huge modern shower, a leather sofa, and more. It looks like it comes from the future. Their packages start from $25,0000 and they offer financing.
Another Colorado-based business, Colorado Campervan don’t just convert the interior of vans and trucks. They also add pop tops to any vehicle, even to box trucks. This is the only company which does it, to our knowledge. This is a fantastic solution for big families.
Colorado Campervan insulate, sound dampen, add windows, cabinetry, convertible bed and seating, heat, power, solar, kitchens, and toilets. Check out their Instagram account to see pictures of their box truck conversions
Pros And Cons Of Box Truck Camper Conversions
Thinking of getting a box truck camper? Here are some advantages and disadvantages we heard on the podcast.
- The interior is a lot bigger; it’s 8ft wide, rather than 6ft wide, like that of a van
- The box is square, so a conversion is a lot easier to envision and create
- Truck rental companies resell lots of them every year, so it’s easy to find them
- They’re cheap, especially compared to lots of bigger vans
- You can fit a bathroom with a shower even in the smaller ones
- They’re suitable for a family
- The headroom is great throughout
- They’re very stealthy; they still look like delivery vans.
- They’re less manoeuvrable than a Sprinter or minivan, especially around parking lots
- The gas mileage tends to be lower, as they’re larger, heavier vehicles than vans
- Most trucks don’t allow you to step into the back from the cabin
- The conversion requires more materials, such as flooring, so it’s more expensive
- There’re not very popular yet, so there isn’t much information about them out there
- Most of them come in two-wheel drive only
- It’s easy to exceed your budget because there’s so much space to play with
- They’re taller to step onto, which isn’t ideal for older folks
- Larger trucks won’t fit in some RV parks and won’t be admitted into some National Parks.
Top Tips For Converting Your Box Truck
Here are some helpful tips for converting a box truck.
Buying A Box Truck
Go to a local commercial dealership or browse websites such as trucksales.com. Have a good look around, don’t rush: there’s always a good deal around the corner.
Don’t buy anything with a box over 17ft long – bigger trucks become less manoeuvrable, higher to step onto, and possibly require a commercial drivers license.
Get Your Priorities Right
When designing the floor plan, “Focus on what you need 80 to 90% of the time” explains Kurt Bradler. “What are your primary goals for creating this conversion? Then weigh those pros and cons.” Rank each factor based on your needs to come up with the right solution.
Place windows carefully
If your main objective is to keep the vehicle as stealthy as possible, Kurt recommends not adding any windows to the box. You’ll have an easier time while visiting places like San Francisco or Florida, where van dwellers aren’t welcome. Opt for roof vent fans, air con, and a heater.
If you’d rather have windows to eat dinner with a view, you can add them on one side only, so you can park strategically.
Insulation and wiring
To install the wiring, go about it as you would with a house. “Because there are no cavities in the walls, there’s no place to run wiring or anything else behind them” says Kurt. “We start off with a frame of 2in by 4in. This creates a cavity in which we fit lots of insulation and wiring. Then we put the walls on and place everything up in front of them.” Because of this, a box truck is better insulated than a van.
Now let’s look at some DIY box truck campers.
Conclusion On Box Truck Camper Conversions
In conclusion, while box trucks don’t look extra cute to begin with, as you can see, you can totally transform them into a cozy home on wheels.
Meaning if you are considering a box truck for an RV conversion, there’s plenty of inspiration out there, which will help you shape one into the tiny house of your dreams.