Taking a box truck or tractor-trailer and converting it into a travel trailer is a long and arduous task. Not only do you have to worry about the cost of materials, labor, insurance, and others, you have to make sure it is not able to be used as a commercial vehicle.
The time it takes to convert one of these vehicles is equivalent to what you want it to be. A simple insulated camping trailer can take a few weeks, while more elaborate designs can take a year or more.
Here are a few custom mobile homes from around the world that gave trucks and trailers a second life.
Paul Battenally and Clara Trindall’s “Cola” mini mobile home
Mini-mobiles, tiny homes, stealth sleepers, whatever you want to call them, these tiny homes are usually built into work vans and smaller box trucks. Paul Battenally and Clara Trindall are friends that live together in “Cola,” their refurbished Izuzu curtain side vendor delivery truck.
The project started off as a way to live closer to nature and enjoy the Australian outdoors. They purchased the truck for $17,500 AUD, $11768 at the current exchange, and put $25,000 AUD more into refurbishing it.
On afternoons and weekends, Battenally, who is a carpenter, designed and built their compact apartment on wheels. It features a queen-sized bed, a kitchen, a bathroom, a dining area, and surfboard storage.
They are living in the mini home as they save up money for a dream trip. You can learn more about this project and adventure inside this Insider article about it.
Clayton and Teresa’s Nomad Monster Mobile Home
For those that want to literally take a house with them wherever they may roam, you might want to follow Clayton and Teresa’s idea and convert a race car trailer. The “Nomad Monster Home” is a refurbished tractor-trailer quite literally ripped about and rebuilt from the frame up.
The truck used to pull this monster home is a 2005 Volvo VNL with 700,000 miles on the dial. Clayton is a jack of all trades and rebuilt the truck after he purchased it at an auction in Texas.
He was able to drive the truck back to his home in Canada, where he set about refitting the truck to meet RV guidelines. That meant ripping out the interior and adding custom hoses and wiring into the “umbilical cord” now used to supply air, power, and control the blindspot cameras and lights on the trailer.
The race car trailer is actually two floors tall. The top of the trailer was naturally 14 feet, 6 inches tall, so Clayton had to devise a roof that could be lowered to 13’6 in order to meet height requirements.
Clayton stores his Honda Goldwing motorcycle, a jet ski, and an e-bike on the trailer, as the back hatch still operates. The rest of the trailer is as modern as any luxury home, including a balcony and a home theater.
The exterior is still the plain gray color of most race trailers but hosts a 5,000-watt solar power plant, including a full battery set, shore power hookups for backup power, and a retractable patio door to enable full-size furnishings to be brought in and out with ease.
You can watch this video from Tiny House Giant Journey on YouTube to learn more about what it took to bring this nomadic dream to life.
Kevin and his 1998 Freightliner MT45 step van turned stealth home
Stealth campers are those vehicles designed to blend in with their surroundings, both in urban and rural environments. You can find stealth campers everywhere, although most prefer not to be seen and just left alone.
Kevin built his stealth home out of a 1998 Freightliner MT45 work truck. The old construction truck look allows him to blend in, but still offers the full features of a modern home.
It features a parlor, a 32” shower bay, a toilet, a full kitchen, queen size bed, and a 600-watt solar plant on the roof. Under the floor, which is level with the cab area, there is a storage space for fishing poles and surfboards.
The project to build the truck began pre-COVID, with Kevin paying $10,000 for the truck and trying to stick to a $10,000 budget to build it out. With COVID-19 came the building materials price jump, so he had to up his budget to somewhere around $15,000.
Follow this link to YouTube where New Jersey Outdoor Adventures interviews Kevin and he talks about the mobile home and everything about his travels with it.
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