fbpx

This woman crafts jewelry out of her truck camper

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.

One of my favorite things about running The Wayward Home is learning how people make money traveling, and Madison Hampton, 26, is no exception. Madison, who runs Vancrafted Studio, makes beautiful, handcrafted jewelry from the back of her truck camper. Each collection of jewelry represents somewhere she’s traveled, or her current state of being.

I asked Madison a series of questions about why she chose a truck camper, how she balances traveling and work, and just how she manages a business out of a truck camper.

This story is part of a series about how people make money on the road. If you missed the other two articles in the series, you can check them out here:

How Madison got started living a life on the road

Madison poses with some of her hand made jewelry
C: Amber L. Photography

When Madison and her fiance Gage, graduated from college back in 2014, they already felt sick of the rat race. They wanted more than jam-packed schedules, endless classes, high rent bills and the daily grind of life. So, they decided to travel across the country, starting out in a Chevy Express.

But soon, the couple noticed the van wasn’t getting the best gas mileage, they couldn’t make it down some roads, and they were holding onto too much stuff.

“The Chevy Express allowed me to bring a lot of things with me,” said Madison “I had decorations in the van, extra clothes……we brought a bunch of stuff with us, and it defeated the whole purpose of what we were doing.”

[Related: How to work remotely from your van, RV or sailboat]

So, she and Gage decided to go even more minimalist and moved to a Toyota Tacoma topped with Go Fast platform camper.

“I have a lot of trouble with van life on Instagram, where photos show a rug out on the ground, beautiful pillows and lights, and I think, seriously? The have that in their van? How much stuff and clutter is there? It gives me anxiety. We get up in the morning and we go do something, or I work. We are accomplishing our mission of having less stuff. It’s better for clarity,” said Madison.

How to work remotely FREE email course!

Ditch your desk job and work from anywhere with my free 5-day course. You'll learn about the top remote work jobs, online skills you need, and what employers are looking for.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. (*You'll also be subscribed to The Wayward Home's email list, all about van life, RVing, sailing and living smaller. Welcome aboard!) Powered by ConvertKit

How they store stuff in a truck camper

Madison puts the finishing touches on her truck camper
@andyaustinphoto

Madison and Gage get by with a lot less space than a traditional van. Their truck camper does pop up to 9 feet when they want to sleep, but otherwise, folds down flat.

During the day, it looks like a regular truck topper and is basically an empty shell that can be built out as you wish.

[Related: Santa Rosa wildfire victim rebuilds with van life]

“Underneath, we have room for six bins,” said Madison. “We each have a clothing bin, then a food and utensils bins, and a bin with packing materials for my jewelry business. When we want to go to bed, we just crawl in the topper, unlatch a few latches to pop it up, and crawl into bed.”

They don’t have a kitchen or a bathroom or any amenities, so use a two burner Colman propane stove to cook their meals.

“Keeping stuff in the camper isn’t challenging,” said Madison. “I bought a toolbox from Home Depot and that’s filled to the brim with my supplies.”

How she started a jewelry business from a truck camper

Madison in the back of her truck camper
C:instagram.com/vancraftedstudio/

Madison went to college for jewelry making and knew she wanted to follow her passion when traveling. So Gage helped build a mini studio in the back of the truck.

“Gage drilled a bench pin into a wooden board for me,” said Madison. “This is something jewelry makers used to saw on and set silver parts – it’s basically our workspace. Then, we c-clamp everything onto the pickup”.

What she’ll do is finish her collection of jewelry, then create a preview on VancraftedStudio.com and on Etsy, with a time people can log on and buy.

[Related: 30+ ways to make money from your campervan]

“One time I released a collection when we were in a campground outside Grand Teton National Park,” Madison said. “I was working for hours to upload all the photos and my phone was dying. I had to plug it into the solar system to get the photos up in time, but I did it!”

She also deals with the struggle of ordering parts and picking them up when on the move.

“I always need new silver, stones and materials, so I try to stock up,” said Madison. “I’ll buy five times the amount than I normally would purchase if I lived in a home. We have friends spread out across the U.S., so I just ship supplies to their house.”

Carting around supplies for a business isn’t always easy, but Madison said anyone can do it.

“If you want to do it badly enough you’ll find a way, whether that be a bin in the back dedicated to it or a small trailer!”

Madison works on jewelry from the back of her truck camper
C: Amber L. Photography

The couple’s plans for the future

Madison and Gage have been nomadic for years, sometimes traveling in the truck camper, sometimes settling down for a few months in a particular town.

That way, Gage can pursue his own career building and managing trail systems.

“For example, we’ll stop and he’ll get a job because we don’t want his resume to dry up,” said Madison. “When we lived in Milwaukie, Wisconsin, he was the director of the trail system there. We’ve also stopped in Massachusetts and Montana.”

Now, the couple is in Bozeman, where they plan to spend the winter, or maybe even longer.

“We are at a new stage in our lives where we’ve been so transient for the last few years, so we’re wanting to settle down a little in Bozeman,” said Madison. “We feel okay with that because there’s a lot to do and it’s so beautiful.”

She said she and Gage learned a lot while on the road.

“As a unit, it taught us how to be a stronger couple, constructively argue, compromise and love,” she said. “You think you know someone, then you go live in an 8×5 space and are together every second of the day. It leads you to get to know them even deeper than you ever thought possible. Our first trip in 2014 was a learning curve but now we’ve got it pretty locked down!”

To follow along with Madison and Gage’s adventures catch them on Instagram: VanCrafted Studio.

How to work remotely FREE email course!

Ditch your desk job and work from anywhere with my free 5-day course. You'll learn about the top remote work jobs, online skills you need, and what employers are looking for.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. (*You'll also be subscribed to The Wayward Home's email list, all about van life, RVing, sailing and living smaller. Welcome aboard!) Powered by ConvertKit

5 thoughts on “This woman crafts jewelry out of her truck camper”

  1. Madison, you are not just another pretty face. I love your spirit. Stay strong. Blessings.

    Reply
  2. Hi Folks, Madison What is holding up the raised floor in your GFC? It looks like you have some kind of black boxes, blocks in the front corner. I just placed my GFC order
    Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I make jewelry too & wondered about having room for my tools & supplies. Not to mention room to work. Wish there was a picture of your toolbox full of supplies. Your jewelry is gorgeous, btw.

    Reply

Leave a Comment