CubeVan Stealth Camper Conversion

This build filled its purposes. The design requirements for a stealth camper were:

  • something cheap and easy to maintain
  • simple and cheap to purchase and customize
  • able to slip in places campers aren’t allowed to park overnite such as truck stops, rest areas, shopping center parking lots, etc.
  • able to live off the grid for long periods of time
  • easy to remove everything and sell as a used commercial truck later

It started out life as a Penske Rental truck. When the 2007 GMC 6.0L gas powered cube van had finished its duty and put up for sale, it was purchased and turned into a stealth camper.

The build was kept simple and rustic – there is no plumbing, no A/C and no heater. It is basically a big metal tent, and after living in it for three years, the builder still loves it.

It is basically a big, comfortable metal tent, but I love it.

GMC CubeVan Stealth Camper

Inside the truck, a large wood frame was built to hold a full size queen mattress. It’s up off the ground to allow plenty of space underneath for storage, and for a kayak.

Since it’s a 1.5 ton GMC van, the front wall of the box and the rear wall of the cab are the same wall. That made cutting a whole for access very easy – no gap to close and no sealing up that gap to worry about. The location was marked, and a circular saw was used to cut through the fiberglass impregnated plywood.

A small table on the side wall provides space for cooking, eating, and relaxing. In the front corner you can see the red bucket that is used as a toilet. The fresh water supply comes from the blue 5 gallon jug on the left hand side. A few hooks on the side rails provide a place for a bike to be carried. Notice the thin fiberglass roof that lets light through. By parking near or under a streetlight, he never needs to use lights inside.

Another shot of the interior of this stealth camper shows the large amount of storage space underneath the bed. Notice the extension cord hanging under the bed, should the truck be parked in a place that has access to A/C power.

2 RV style roof cents were added to assist in ventilation while sleeping in the back. A screen attaches with velcro across the whole rear door to allow bug-free views of the outdoors. The truck’s very thin fiberglass roof made it a little difficult, so support was added inside to help keep out the leaks.

Some dust does come in through the rear roll-up door, especially on dirt roads in Alaska. A simple and cheap solution was to put up a sheet of plastic with magnets to seal the roll-up door during driving. The owner isn’t crazy about the roll up door, but he does love the views out the back, like this one while camping along a river in Alaska.


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