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How to build a camper body on a truck

Updated February 21, 2019

Do-it-yourself truck campers run the gamut of quality and price, from the ultra-simple plywood box to the planned-out fibreglass unit that could pass for store-bought. If you have some time and a steady source of income to dedicate toward your homemade camper, you could create something quite sophisticated. So, before you plan your camper, decide what type of budget you have to work with. Basic carpentry skills are required.

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  1. Find out the towing capacity of your truck and measure the size of your truck bed. You'll need to know how much it can haul so you can plan for materials of the appropriate weight.

  2. Assemble the frame, beginning with the frames of the two side walls. Connect them by installing the roof joists and the floor section. The back wall, typically only slightly more than a foot wide on either side of the door, is assembled last. Be sure to use rustproof screws (such as deck screws) for the construction.

  3. Install insulation and siding. For simple camper plans, your siding may consist only of plywood, with a plywood interior. Other more elaborate plans call for aluminium or fibreglass siding, which can be significantly more expensive. Often, opting for the lightest-weight materials can be the more expensive option. If you plan to have windows and a top vent (which most camper plans do) be sure to cut the holes for these features before installing the siding.

  4. Install the windows, door and top vents, taking care to seal them for leaks using caulk or any other weatherproofing material.

  5. Secure the corners of the camper body. If you decided upon aluminium or fibreglass siding, sealing the corners will involve caulking and installing some type of matching corner moulding made of aluminium. If you're doing a strictly-plywood construction, you'll need to seal the top with a paint-on roofing tar, and seal the corners with weatherproofing. For plywood, you may also want to spend a little extra and install aluminium moulding on the corners of the frame.

  6. Tip

    You can purchase camper body plans from websites such as Butler Projects, Glen-L or RQ Riley. With many different types of trucks come many different plans, so you should be able to find one with measurements that match your truck size. When you get the plans, study them carefully, reading them from beginning to end.

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Drill
  • Sabre saw
  • Level
  • Building materials

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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