The Ultimate Camper Upgrade
Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
Athlete and photographer Andrew Muse, 26, spent his lifesavings remodeling a 1976 Dynacruiser camper and outfitting it on a 2008 Nissan. His plan: to embark on the adventure of a lifetime in the 100-square-foot adventure vehicle.
The camper only cost $500, but it needed some work before hitting the road. Four months, 360 hours, and $4,000 later, here are the DIY upgrades he made.
Dirt Bag Seat Cover
My dog, Booter, loves to get as dirty as possible. So the RuffWear Dirt Bag seat cover is an essential piece of equipment for any adventure: Booter can still have fun, and my truck isn’t absolutely destroyed. Win!
Tung and Groove
I used a Tung and Groove ceiling, with planks that lock into one another, in my camper: it’s lightweight and flexes with the contours of the ceiling, which is great because the roof isn’t level. I stained the cedar with Amish oil, and finished it with a coat of polyurethane to make the wood shine.
Hard Wood Floor
Yes, my camper has a real wood floor. First, it looks great. Second, it makes cleanup a breeze. And it was surprisingly easy to install.
Gear, Gear, And More Gear
Kites, speakers, BB guns, climbing gear, flashlights, headlamps, a tent, chairs, a table, skateboard, longboard, snowboard, spiltboard, kite board, wetsuits, surfboard, flags, sunglasses, fishing pole, backpacks, protein…You get the idea. All this packed into a space smaller than 100 square feet.
Dog Is My Co-Pilot
Booter never complains about music choice and is a great navigator (or at least he doesn’t mind getting lost).
Without GPS, I would be hopelessly lost. This mount lets me display directions without having to fiddle with a phone while driving.
Two Goal Zero Boulder 90-watt solar panels on the camper’s roof provide more than enough electricity to charge all my electronics (including a MacBook Pro, Cannon 5D, and several GoPros).
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generator powers the camper. It stores the energy from the two 90-watt panels, and keeps the LEDs, fridge, heater, and speakers powered up.
LEDs require very little electricity but easily light the camper. I recommend buying them online and not from an RV store, where they can be up to ten times more expensive. I like Gold Star LEDs: the color is more natural than that of some of its competitors.
In a 100-square-foot tiny home, you need efficient storage solutions. I turned the bathroom into a closet, built a dresser at the end of the bed for clothes, increased the shelving over the dining room table, and added even more storage under the bed.
And it still wasn’t enough! This Yakima roof box housed everything that didn’t fit inside.
Oh yeah, I also have a rack for the bike and surfboard.
Most of my time in the camper is spent sleeping, and I wanted a comfortable bed. Hence the eight-inch-thick foam mattress.
The camper came with a three-burner stove and sink, which makes life easy. The stove even doubles as a heater on extremely cold nights. I replaced the old dilapidated countertop with a piece of sanded oak that I stained. Cheap, easy, and looks great.
The fridge runs primarily on propane rather than electricity. The only thing to remember: Park on a level surface or else it won’t run smoothly.
The dining room got a major upgrade. I reupholstered the cushions, made a new tabletop, and added a flush-mount removable table. This also converts into a second bed for guests.
You need special mounts to attach a camper to the truck bed. I used Torklift frame mounts, which were easy to install and have worked brilliantly.