Post Spinal Reconstruction Reality


Hi All
It's been a long time since I was active, and had everything in place, ready to assemble. I've had a few bumps in the road, and a lot of work done, to keep me upright. Ceramics, and Titanium, hold me together. Thankfully I've had a Neuro stimulator installed, a game changer, though a work in progress. With a little luck, I'll be able to walk a couple of miles a day, hopefully a bit more. Have been able to get out a bit, and see what works these days. It's painfully obvious, that some of the equipment I've previously used, will need to be changed. Roof top anything, is not now possible, without risking injury. Storage wise, the size, and weight, will need to pared down, by about half. No more portable battery/solar set up, and a built in fridge, will eliminate moving those heavy items around. Now I need to figure out what vehicle works best, for a stand up/sleep in arrangement. More to come....


Im a little shorter now, at 5'10", my son is 6'3". Will need to see what vans, have this kind of interior height.


Well-known member
If your son is willing to keep his knees bent enough to be at your height, or duck, whenever standing inside, there will be more vans that will work for you than if he is standing up straight, especially if you will be insulating the floor and roof. The bending of his knees would be better than ducking, although many people aren't used to standing that way for any length of time, and some conditioning might be required.

A 6'3" person, plus a few inches of clearance, and roof+floor insulation, might require cutting and raising a roof the way it was often done on full size vans.

Maybe a pop-up top operated with a cordless tool to get the height desired?

Or perhaps a pickup truck with a homemade camper tall enough for him to stand in?

I'm just a bit taller than your son and I often find myself wanting to cut holes in the roof of a vehicle and/or strangle the designers that only accounted for "the average height" (rather than the range of human beings).


Supporting Sponsor
I too have been a very active supporter of Ortho and Neurosuregeon Docs- rods/fusions/several joint replacements/spinal cord stimulator/etc. My stimulator is only 8 mo old and getting it dialed in can be a bit frustrating, but it can make a huge difference!!
We've tried most every scenario from ground tent to Tent-Cot to Kimberly to Conqueror and even the Navion, so if you want to discuss rule in/out, advantages/disadvatages via our experience, feel free to contact me and we can exchange numbers.
As they say, motion is the lotion, so stay active as long as you can, and all the best on your search!


If I may, just some comments about overall design, features, and constraints....

My physical limitations and assumed aging related complications played a large part in my custom camper build.
I have back/spine problems, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis up and down, etc, all complicated by fibromyalgia, arthritis, and migraines.
I'm extremely active considering the issues, but I have found that activity is the best medicine. Often feel like I'm running to stay ahead of the pain.
But how I sit/sleep, etc (especially in a cramped camper) is extremely important in determining day to day pain.

So there were some keystone design requirements that had to be met in hopes of reducing potential problems, as well as future proofing.
The term with regards to aging is "aging in place"
Since we plan on early retirement and hitting the road full time, a few features are designed in such a way to meet that criteria.

*Full size legit mattress. Considering the thickness of a proper mattress, this dictated the height of the cabover section of our camper.
There is ample room to move around, access upper cabinets (for clothing), and even enough for some seated stretches, all with an 8" isolated coil mattress

*No needed conversions. While our rear dinette is designed to break down into a bed, having a proper bed in the overhead means it isnt needed with just the two of us.
So the dinette is always a dinette, and being in the rear it is never an obstruction to get past. And as needed, it IS convertible in the even one of us needs a second bed.
Be it sickness, injury, etc. And back to conversions, those with back problems know just how awkward and testing these changes can be.
This is also one large reason why my original designs of a hard-side popup camper were curbed. Ours is fixed, zero conversions needed.
When stopping we turn the key, fold out the stairs, and jump in. Its that easy.

*Everything accessible, and everything has its place. Nothing in our camper is tough to get to.
So you will never feel like you are standing on your head or twisted into a pretzel to access.
Again, those with back problems know the risks with tough to access places. Its playing with fire.
Same goes for organization. Never are you digging for something you need. Everything (for the most part) has its place.

*Egress and height. My criteria pushed us towards a truck camper (instead of a van) for the above reasons, but also for inside ceiling height.
With a bad back, the worst thing I can do is remain bent over to fit into a space, without the ability to straighten out. So height was a keystone.
It had to be tall enough for me to stand up, with boots on. Egress into and out of the camper is just as important. It kills me to see so many fancy big $$
campers on the road (and on this forum) that use flimsy fold out stairs of some kind. Its a massive safety point for me, as it should be.
One slip and its a serious fall. Myself with a temperamental back/spine, a solid fall could be the end of life as I know it.
So no shortcuts made for the stairs/steps. Ours are integrated into the truck bed, and are as solid as you will find.

Again, just some thoughts from one that has considered the ramifications of a camper/rig that doesnt adequately accommodate certain physical limitations.
You are on the right track asking these questions before jumping into a rig that doesnt fit. Ours fits us, you just need to find what fits your needs. (y)


New member
Im a little shorter now, at 5'10", my son is 6'3". Will need to see what vans, have this kind of interior height.
If it helps, I’ve rented a couple of vans to try them out, with headroom being a key concern. I’m 6’6” tall and have found enough headroom in the Ford Transit high roof van.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Wow, thanks to all, for replying. This has been a roller coaster ride I started in the l a te 70's. Now that I'm getting up there age wise, I just want to enjoy the time out, nothing more. Dale, I'll contact you, have some information on neuro stim.


Well-known member
I’ve had back problems since my 20s with varying degrees of functional difficulty ranging from mild to can’t do **** at all. At 70 now I have some lumbar degenerative disc disease and stenosis that can cause problems if I don’t rigidly keep up with my PT exercises. Been lucky to avoid surgery … so far.

I need a camper that allows both headroom and floor space for my PT exercises. After looking at a lot of things and nearly buying a FWC, I settled on an Ovrlnd poptop on a ‘21 Tundra, largely for the immense headroom and full use of the 6.5’ truck bed, plus the ability to make it what I want inside. Plus I know and trust Toyotas

I had real qualms about my back handling the popping up, as well as the physical nature of the the build out, but minor issues aside I’ve been fine and the work and movement has actually helped strengthen my back. My wife does travel with me and it helps, but I can still pop it up and down myself — the top is very light. Much moreso than a FWC, which really screwed me up when I tried one.

I’m 6’3” and can stretch my arms over my head with my elbows bent at 90° when its popped up. I can sit up straight in bed and the pullout bed is 65”x81”. The Ovrlnds are semi-custom and I opted for 2” additional height for a total of 10” in the cabover closed.

I realize you may not want as minimalist solution as this, but I mention all this to say there ARE other solutions that can accommodate your physical space needs, especially if you’re traveling with a companion.

There’s a thread here on Ovrlnds with various builds and good info if you want to check this approach out further.
You can see that they can be built out fairly comfortably— moreso than is shown on the website. And Jay, the owner, is a great guy and willing to do interior customization too, up to a point.
Good luck, and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have!


So much has changed now, little flexibility, and issues with balance. There is a lot of work to do, and see how much stronger I can get. Getting in, and out, are big factors. High Top Van, or Truck camper most likely the best option. Will need to rent a few, and see what works best.

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