For a long time I was looking at camper vans, build logs and made up plans – until I noticed something peculiar: As tiny as they are I didn’t really know what to do with all the space.
I know that a couple square feet of metal box do not exactly seem spacious and by comparison to the regular apartment camper vans are indeed tiny. But then no one really expects to fit a bathroom, pool and Billard table in there or they would a bendy bus instead.
For me a camper van will always be just a hobby machine, a weekend warrior and something that I roam the streets with whenever I need some time alone and away from everything – a friend for hard times.
And that means that all I really need is a place long enough to sleep in – which I built as a quite nifty double-purpose tool storage in the rear part of my double-cap work truck. It folds up to reveal some pretty serious storage space – and it folds down to make for improvised, not exactly legal emergency seats and of course a surprisingly spacious sleeping area.
With this clever use of space I quickly found that I had more than enough space for everything I would usually do with a van – and there’s always the front row with three seats and the huge bed of the truck that are both downright luxurious.
I can transport six people – tried and tested – and still carry the average household’s worth of furniture in a trip or two. It is a real fun machine and I enjoy my time with it greatly – and so naturally I decided to stuff a little more capability in there.
I am an avid crafter, tinkerer and own a little more power tools than the average programmer truly needs – the only thing I don’t have is a proper workshop. Or any workshop really, I live in a third floor city apartment and neither the stale-aired basement nor the fire-proof wooden attic make for great workspaces – neighbors don’t matter to me so I’ll take them out of the equation.
To be honest this idea of turning a flatbed truck into a rolling workbench had always been in the back of my head – I just hadn’t known whether I could pull it off. But it turned out that it worked just admirably, the bed height was perfect and I got some free outdoor ready laminated wood to build a little workbench.
The result is surprisingly sturdy and useful, I have built a lot of things using it somewhere out in nature or just on the industrial parking lot where I park it.
It was the first time I could really start using my tools, skills and ideas like I wanted to – and subsequently I started crafting and building a lot more. Started camping out a lot more, now that I had ample time, project ideas and the means to build stuff.
So to draw a slightly early conclusion: I have gotten a whole lot of value out of this truck even though I remain just a hobbyist, just a weekend warrior. When you take into consideration how many people I could help out, how many nights I spent camped by a lake staring at the stars and how much cool stuff I built over time I have easily made up for the 3,000€ that I spent on the little yellow cutie.