If you’re looking for inspiration to create your own dream overlanding home on wheels, look no further than Chris and Michelle, a couple who clearly know their stuff when it comes to building adventure vehicles. They share their tips and tricks for turning an ambulance into a fully-functional and impressive camper. From the clever insulation to the efficient use of space, you’ll be blown away by what they’ve created.
Turning an Ambulance into an Overlanding Home on Wheels
When Chris and Michelle purchased their ambulance, they didn’t envision turning it into an overland camper. They originally bought it to use for electrical work and had plans to swap out the box. However, after coming across pictures and videos of other ambulance campers and overland vehicles, they decided to give it a try themselves. They chose the ambulance due to its heavy-duty structure and it being a safe and solid aluminum vehicle. Additionally, it had low mileage – only 50,000 miles – and a 7-3 engine.
After converting it into 4×4 over the last year, they can now go even further into the mountains. Their 2003 e450 ambulance, named Tanya, has become their home on wheels. They’ve completed two builds – the first build had a bench bed and original ambulance cabinets, which were too bulky and eventually removed for their second build.
The main feature of their second build was their queen-size bed, which was mounted at the perfect height to leave adequate space underneath. They used wolf mat underneath to prevent mold and moisture issues. It’s a great solution for an RV bed, which often experiences moisture issues. The bed opens up to their living area, which features a three-burner propane stove, oven, and a garbage and recycling drawer/cleaning area.
They wanted a big sink, so they went with an undermount sink with an impressive depth and a poly stain sealer and three-quarter-inch pine countertops that are heavy-duty. They insulated the ambulance well using two inches of foam insulation behind an inch and a quarter bead board. They wanted to enjoy nature and hit the road, so they rented out their house and took off during summers. They’ve spent a total of $40,000 for the ambulance, two builds, and 4×4 conversion.
The front area of the ambulance has been revamped, and they’ve added swivel seats, which allow them to look back into the living space. They have an expanded closet area with an IKEA shelf bookcase drilled with holes and added elastic to keep their clothes in place. Furthermore, they have a TV and an on-demand hot water heater to make their travels comfortable.
Designing the Perfect Layout for Your Camper
When , it’s important to consider the structure and features of your vehicle. In the case of this couple featured in the video, they started with an ambulance as their build-out rig, which provided them with a sturdy, heavy-duty structure to work with.
As they began their build-out process, they made several adjustments to their original layout to improve functionality and convenience. They added a window for more natural light, removed bulky cabinets, and installed a queen-size bed that did not need to be put up and down each day.
They also paid attention to the materials they used in their build-out. For instance, they used foam insulation to keep the space warm and dry, and they installed heavy-duty appliances like a three-burner stove and a Dometic fridge.
Another important factor is storage. In their design, these campers utilized original ambulance cabinets, built custom cabinetry, and even repurposed an IKEA bookshelf to create extra closet space.
Ultimately, is about finding the right balance between structure, materials, and function. With a little creativity and attention to detail, you can create a space that’s comfortable, efficient, and perfect for your travel needs.
Insulate Your Rig: Tips for Staying Warm in the Snow
To stay warm in the snow, insulating your rig is key. Even though it may not look like it, an ambulance is a great option for an overland camper because they are built to be heavy-duty and safe. To make sure the ambulance-turned-camper stays cozy, two inches of insulation were used behind the bead board covering all the walls and the ceiling. Foam was also placed on the walls and inside the cabinets.
However, even with insulation, there are other ways to ensure warmth inside the camper. Having a good quality propane heater and a good ventilation system is important; the heater will keep the interior warm, and the ventilation will prevent moisture and carbon monoxide build-up. Also, having a moisture barrier between the bed and the garage floor is crucial to avoid moisture, mold, and mildew issues. In the camper featured in the video, this was achieved with a “wolf mat,” which keeps the bed off the ground and allows for air to circulate underneath it.
Another way to stay warm is to dress appropriately, which means layering up and having good quality gear. When it comes to sleeping gear, invest in a good quality sleeping bag and make sure to have extra blankets on hand. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have a hot water bottle or hand-warming packs to use during the night.
Overall, insulating your rig properly and having the right gear will make a huge difference when it comes to staying warm in the snow. Just remember to stay safe and keep the propane heater well-ventilated.
Building an Efficient Electrical System
The Command Center is the heart of any efficient electrical system, including the one in this ambulance turned overland camper. The electrical cabinet houses all the important components, including the shore power charge controller, solar charge controller, and controllers for the electric locks. In addition, there’s an inverter for charging all the 120-watt tools, a big breaker, and a bus panel with fuses for all circuits throughout the rig. This is also where you’ll find the amp controller for the Bluetooth amp, which allows for switching between inside and outside music.
Another important item in the Command Center is the charge state controller. This little gadget provides information on how much power is being used, how much is remaining, as well as the volts being produced by the batteries. You’ll also find the controller for the on-demand hot water heater, which can be programmed to the exact temperature you prefer. Lastly, there’s the thermostat for the propane heater.
Having all these components in one place ensures that your electrical system is always running smoothly. With the Command Center in place, you have all the information and control you need at your fingertips. So, whether you’re on a long road trip or camping out in the great outdoors, you can rest assured that your electrical system will be keeping you connected, comfortable and safe.
5. Inside the Dream Overlanding Home: A Tour of Features and Appliances
The inside of this dream overlanding home is truly awe-inspiring! Originally an ambulance, Chris and Michelle transformed this heavy-duty structure into a spacious and comfortable camper. The layout has been thoughtfully designed to maximize their living space, including a queen-sized bed that has been mounted at just the right height to provide ample storage space underneath. The insulation is impressive, with foam inside all the walls and ceiling to keep everything insulated and warm during their ventures into the snow.
The kitchen is both functional and stylish, with a three-burner propane stove and oven that allows them to cook anything they want, just like in a regular house. There’s a big sink with great depth, and the pine countertop is both sturdy and aesthetically pleasing. We love the big drawer that is the catch-all for everything! The Dometic chest fridge is roomy and efficient and slides in and out on heavy-duty rollers, and the original ambulance cabinets have been repurposed to serve as a handy storage area.
The entertainment options include a flip-down TV that can play movies and stream content. The shower is fully functional, complete with a cassette toilet, while the screen door keeps out bugs while still letting in a nice breeze. Throughout the rig, the electrical wiring is neatly contained in a cabinet with a battery state controller, an amp, and thermostat for the propane heater. The swivel seats in the front allow for a comfortable lounge area, and the expanded closet area with an Ikea bookshelf provides ample storage for their clothes.
All in all, Chris and Michelle’s dream overlanding home, once an ambulance, is now a beautiful and efficient space for their adventures. We’re looking forward to seeing where this rig will take them!
Q: What inspired the couple in the YouTube video to turn their ambulance into an overland camper?
A: The couple didn’t originally plan to turn their ambulance into an overland camper. They bought the ambulance to use for electrical work, but after seeing pictures and videos online of other ambulance and overland campers, they decided to give it a go. They loved the ambulance because it was already structurally sound and designed for heavy-duty work.
Q: How did the couple insulate their ambulance for cold weather camping?
A: The couple added two inches of foam insulation behind bead board that was over an inch thick. They also added foam insulation inside all the walls and ceiling to keep the interior warm.
Q: How did the couple design their bed to not have to be set up and taken down every day?
A: The couple wanted a bed that they didn’t have to set up and take down every day, so they designed a queen size bed that is mounted high enough to have space underneath for storage. They also used a special mat called wolf mat to keep the bed above moisture and avoid mold or mildew issues.
Q: What type of stove and oven did the couple install?
A: The couple installed a three-burner propane stove and oven in their ambulance camper. They chose propane because they already had a water heater and heater that were powered by propane.
Q: What is the cost breakdown for the couple’s ambulance camper build?
A: The couple originally bought the ambulance for $8,500 and put around $15,000 into the second build, plus a couple thousand into the first build. They spent about $40,000 in total, including the cost of the 4×4 conversion.
It was fascinating to see how they used the original cabinets and drawer slides from the ambulance, while also making some significant changes to add more natural light, a bigger sink, and a shower. The level of detail they put into everything, including the insulation, electrical, and screen door, was really impressive. And who wouldn’t want a flip-down TV and a queen-size bed in their home on wheels?!