A "Poor Man's" Earthroamer: 2017+ Ford F-250 and SpaceKap Diablo 8'

erstwild

Active member
This is a long overdue rig project posting of a 2017+ F250/SpaceKap Diablo 8’ camper conversion! I’m going to flesh this out more over time, but I wanted to start an initial project stub at least.

The genesis of the project was the desire to build a full-time luxury overland vehicle...on a reasonable budget and timeline! I previously owned a Jeep Patriot Trail Rated with Autohome Columbus RTT that I spent over 200+ nights in through a variety of conditions to see if I could make the lifestyle work on a part-time basis before deciding to take the plunge and building a suitable new full-time rig. There was a lot of background research and a variety of build budget projections on different platforms before I arrived at this build.

I initially was planning on doing a van conversion, but I was ultimately unwilling to give up 4x4 capability and was unimpressed by the available 4x4 van options (Sprinters were too expensive and Diesel emissions issues, Quigley conversions too expensive, and buying older 4x4 vans were not my speed and seemed overpriced). The Ursa Minor Jeep Wrangler pop top was intriguing, but after spending a lot of time in an RTT I realized that real thermal and sound insulation was going to be non-negotiable. There is also extremely limited payload and to make the interior space truly usable you would need to cut the roll bars which would void the warranty. I also understand the appeal of the new slew of light, soft-sided, pop-top truck campers which are a better first option/deal than most RTTs in my opinion, but I find them unsuitable for full-timing in my book. Vintage overland trucks and other more modern cabovers were very tempting in some cases but between modern safety standards and the availability of parts/maintenance, I had to pass on them.

For my needs, the only other realistic contender I might have considered if it had been available at the time might have been the forthcoming 2020 Ford Transit AWD with either the high-roof option or the cab chassis with Total Composites camper box and full pass-through. I think you would definitely sacrifice some more extreme capability and resilience with that option, but I think some of the efficiency gains and design features in some different areas might make up for that depending on your needs. No regrets though. I love my beastly F-250!

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Ford F-250 Super Duty Regular Cab 6.2L 4x4
-BDS Fox Shocks Back/Front and Sumo Springs Rebel for Rear (Stock shocks were shot at 5k, handles like a sport truck now!)
-LOD Front Bumper (DEER!)
-Blue Sea Systems Alternator Charger/Relay System (50 amp/hr)

SpaceKap Diablo 8'
-Bomar Roof Hatch
-MaxxAir Roof Fan
-K-Flex 0.5” White Clad ECO/Green Closed Cell Insulation (R3 or 4)
-Faux Teak EVA Foam Floor
-1” Baltic Birch Bed Platform, Froli Nemo Marine Innerspring, Exped Megamat Duo, Big Agnes Dream Island Bag
-5 x Lensun Solar Panels (270 watts total)
-Victron Solar Charge Controller
-ArkPak with 100 amp hour Battle Born LiFePO4 battery
-I upgraded and built my own 300ah battery pack system in same design vein as the ArkPak:
-National Luna Weekender Fridge
-Thetford Portapotty
-5 gallon water jerry can with pump (now stainless steel with electric pump)
-Fiberglass Magnet Bug Screen
-Luminoodle Basecamp LED lighting system
-Ergotron Desk Arm with Majestic 12 volt monitor/TV

I would like to thank the following specific folks in addition to all of those whose advice and guidance on here was great to focus my efforts:

Mike Hiscox and, his friend, Chris-Finding and selling the clean preowned basic SpaceKap
Leland’s Marine of Santa Clara-Fantastic help on installing roof fan, roof hatch, solar panels, heater, fiberglass repair, and amazing troubleshooting for unique project oddities, etc.
Brett of ArkPak-Countless messages back and forth for electrical system advice/troubleshooting
Andreas Schwall of Total Composites-Planar Heater advice/troubleshooting
 
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(none)

Adventurer
Great looking setup. I like the heater install on the back door. Do you leave it on there all the time?
 

ITTOG

Active member
Why is the bed not in the cab over. Do you just not need the space now.

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erstwild

Active member
Why is the bed not in the cab over. Do you just not need the space now.

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There honestly isn't the space for proper adult sized bed in the cabover in these, so you would need to devise some kind of folding overhang to accommodate an adequate bed platform lengthwise rather than how I have mine oriented width wise. I find the cabover is great for bulky/lighter storage items like clothes, etc. I just have a few large canvas duffle bags that fit up there nicely.
 

mobydick 11

Active member
That is a great looking rig ,very clean and simple . did you spray foam the insulation ? and how did you cover it for protection from punctures ? The spacecap I brought home last week is only made from fiberglass chop, i was thinking i need to put a layer of woven mat on to strengthen it up some . Do you think that is a wast of time ?
 

erstwild

Active member
That is a great looking rig ,very clean and simple . did you spray foam the insulation ? and how did you cover it for protection from punctures ? The spacecap I brought home last week is only made from fiberglass chop, i was thinking i need to put a layer of woven mat on to strengthen it up some . Do you think that is a wast of time ?
No, I used an engineered closed cell foam call K-Flex Clad WT:
It is a very nice product. Closed cell foam with nice white cladding layer and pressure sensitive adhesive backing. I cleaned all the fiberglass surfaces with alcohol and then I just measured and cut all the necessary panels and then taped all the seams and exposed ribs with the K-Flex Tape. Very pleased. Even more expensive than 3M Thinsulate and high grade wood paneling, but it weighs even less, takes up less space, takes less time to install, and I prefer the clean white surface. If ordering new, I would definitely have them do the spray foam option and glass and finish the interior to the same quality as the exterior.

If you have an actual SpaceKap, there is absolutely no need for additional structural reinforcement of any kind.
 

mobydick 11

Active member
thanks for the info . it is a Spacekap at least it has there decals and name on it . it is not the same model as yours ,no overhang on the cab and looks to be about a foot lower in height . there is one on KIJIJI in Ontario under f250 fords for some reason listed at $1,500 Canadian that's about 1150 US . also if some one is looking ,go to Windmill truck caps again in Ontario .they have about 20 of them used .If they need more information I can look it for them .
 

Nvbrian

New member
I've been thinking about getting a RCLB 6.2 F250 to put my spacekap on. Does the payload sticker match the 3830 lbs that the Ford brochure says it can carry? and what MPGs are you seeing? thanks.
 
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