Skip to main content

Traveler converts a humble Ford truck into the ultimate road trip vehicle

RVs are a popular way to see the country, but they can be pretty expensive. But one enterprising customizer created a low-budget alternative.

When Mark decided to take a yearlong, cross-country road trip, he set out to build a vehicle that would accommodate all of his needs. As Age of Awesome shows in the above video, the result is a cleverly designed truck that allows him to live off the grid without spending a fortune.

The basis for this improvised RV is a humble 1996 Ford Econoline 350 box truck, complete with roll-up rear door and ramp. That ramp was one of the main reasons why Mark chose this truck, because it allows him to get his motorcycle in and out easily. While it may not be glamorous, the Ford provided Mark with everything he needed to build his dream road-trip vehicle. That is, except good fuel economy: The Triton V10 engine is quite the gas guzzler, Mark said.

The truck’s cargo box was converted house all of the supplies Mark might need, and serve as living quarters. Everything is packed into this space, including a bed, a kitchenette with a sink made from a salad bowl purchased at Goodwill, a hutch and other storage compartments, and tie downs for the motorcycle at the foot of the bed. He even installed a shower head and drain at the rear of the cargo box.

Propane tanks provide heat for cooking, while hot water is provided by a small Coleman water heater. Interior lighting is all LED, and an array of batteries can power some small appliances like a blender or drill. The cargo box connects to the cab via a door in its forward wall, so Mark doesn’t have to get out of the truck to access his living quarters.

Mark plans to take his creation on a yearlong road trip, stopping to camp out and ride his motorcycle along the way. How does that sound to you? Would you make a trip like that in a vehicle like this?

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Looking for a road trip? Campanda is the Airbnb for RVs and campers
campanda rv camper rental 1

For any great road trip, there is something special about an RV or camper. They aren't very practical for everyday use, but in the right situation, they are a dream come true. Due to their hefty price tags, most people can't afford to experience a trip in such luxury. Whether people have invested in a camper or are looking for a weekend getaway, though, Campanda has found a way for both to save some money.

For most owners, an RV, van, or pull-behind camper spends most of its time in the driveway. After spending so much money to get one, leaving it there feels like a waste. Just as Airbnb does with homes, Campanda allows owners to earn some extra cash by renting out their RVs and campers. At the same time, those on a budget can pay a relatively small fee to rent a camper when they need one. It's a win-win situation.

Read more
Here's the most efficient route for a road trip through the lower 48 states
Road trip America: 3 of the best scenic drives in the U.S.

Squeezing the most fun possible into your vacation days is a challenge for anyone. If you’re a computer science researcher, however, it’s a challenge that comes with an answer.

Randy Olson is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, whose work involves biologically-inspired artificial intelligence. Recently he decided to merge his love of travel and algorithms by creating  formula to plan the most efficient U.S. road trip ever.

Read more
Flipping through The Manual: Epic hammocks, road trips and surf tips
Hammocks to help you and Mother Nature take a load off

Burned out on apps, keys and screens? Improve your analog life this weekend! Digital Trends’ brother site The Manual exists to give men straight-up advice, from unspoken suit rules you need to know, to the latest in fashion, food, drink, travel, grooming and culture. Here are a few of our favorite stories to appear on The Manual lately.

Hammocks to help you and Mother Nature take a load off

Read more