Camper is 13 ft long, fits on long-bed full-size pickups, and is rugged enough to take the
beating of off-road trails - the kind of punishment that would reduce most campers to
rubble. The secret of Budget Camper's strength is in her unique construction method.
Campers are usually built up of many short lengths of 1 x 2 wood, which are held together
with staples. Budget Camper's frame is different. It is built with an integral truss-style
frame, cut from sheets of 4/3-inch plywood using a portable reciprocating saw. The framing
for each wall section is cut from a single sheet of plywood. This creates a structure that
is many times stronger, and it also means that there is nothing to come apart when the
going gets rough.
Budget Camper is designed with a removable kitchen module containing the sink and
stove. Anyone who has spent much time in a camper will appreciate the option of moving the
kitchen outside for outdoor cooking. With a conventional camper, for example, the heat and
moisture from cooking can make the air heavy and oppressive. And with the kitchen in the
middle of the bedroom, someone is invariable in the wrong place at the wrong time, or
worse, ends up with mashed potatoes between the sheets. With Budget Camper you are not
confined to indoor cooking. The kitchen module can be lifted from its bay along the left
side, carried outdoors, and set up on legs that slip into fittings underneath. A water
supply plugs into a fixture under the module near the sink.
Cost to build is about $1200, depending on how you shop and what type of equipment you
install. Click on the bottom image in the left margin to see a cutaway rendering of how
it's built. It was featured on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated
Magazine as "MI's Budget Camper".
Length: 156 inches
Width: 84 inches
Height: 80 inches