Are you looking for a go-anywhere, one-of-a-kind overlanding vehicle? Then this F-550 chassis, with its custom, pop-up, flatbed-mounted cabin could be your new off-grid home. Expedition Portal forum member Scott designed the living quarters of this rig in Solidworks and molded the composite cabin for this project himself. The main pop-up roof provides 6’10” of standing room when extended. With the pop-top stowed, the vehicle measures less than 10 feet tall.
“We started off on this journey with the goal of creating a smaller, more capable, and higher performing EarthRoamer. We’d been in one before and liked many aspects of it, but we felt like it was much too big for true off-grid exploration. My wife refuses to camp within five miles of anyone, so we wanted something that was really comfortable but small enough to get to the out-of-the-way spots we love to visit. We also needed something that would fit me (I’m 6’6”), the family, and two enormous dogs. So, we had some design challenges right from the start.
Our second design goal was reliability and comfort. We designed all of the major systems to run off of solar with backups for each. The truck has 1,300 watts of solar. Heating and cooling is accomplished via a rebuilt-for-off-road-use mini split air conditioner which draws around 350 watts, with an Espar gas furnace as a backup. Keeping cool while parked in the full sun of Baja is pretty glorious. Cooking and hot water are accomplished with two induction cooktops, an electric BBQ (the latter two are in a pull-out for outdoor use), and a dual fuel water heater.
The truck has a huge lithium battery array: 800 ah of Victrons and an auxiliary alternator and voltage regulator which allows the truck’s engine to act as a generator. We’ve never had to turn on the alternator between the batteries and the solar, and we can heat and cool nearly indefinitely in most locations.
The other big design goals were range and the ability to stay parked for a long period of time. We love going to Baja in the rig, and if the surf is good, we want to stay at the break as long as we can. So, in addition to the solar, which allows limitless heating, cooling, and cooking, we have 100 gallons of fresh water and 40 gallons of graywater storage. We can usually last two to three weeks without watching our water consumption much at all. The truck also carries 70 gallons of fuel so we can explore more remote regions.
While it isn’t a Tacoma, we have taken this truck through some very tight, technical tracks and it has performed flawlessly. It did spectacular all throughout Baja, and was wonderful on our trip to the northern reaches of Alberta in Canada.
We love this rig. It is very comfortable for the whole family with an (almost) king-sized bed, a convertible dinette (a kid-sized bed), and there is still room for our dogs. Our favorite feature is still the articulating front wall. I lower it every morning while everyone is still in bed so we can take in the early morning views.
I’m equal parts designer and adventurer, and after several years of using it, I’ve got the itch to start building another. So we are reluctantly selling her to make room for our next big project.”
Scott’s 2015 Ford F-550 custom overland build is listed for $225K and currently located in Southern California. You can check out the full vehicle specs or contact Scott with questions/offers via the original Expedition Portal forum post here.