Quarantine Project: F-150 Camper Build

I always appreciate anyone who documents their build, and I took a lot of inspiration from everybody else, so when I started my build I was determined to post a log of my progress. I meant to post this much earlier, but life got in the way. (And I was having too much fun out in the woods)

Early last year, I found myself looking for a new daily driver, but I also wanted something that would be ready for an overnight or week-long trip at a moment's notice. (And with minimal set-up once I arrived in camp) I was originally looking for a mid-size truck like a Tacoma, but after test-driving one on a whim I fell for the added size, comfort and technology of a full-size F-150.

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COVID hit shortly after buying the truck, and I found myself with the time to start the camper project immediately. The next major step was acquiring a shell. I went with a Leer mid-rise topper.

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Next, I set out to make a platform for a bed:

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I cut UHMW plastic to use as slides for the drawer:

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On the other side of the bed, I wanted to have a dresser/desk of sorts for clothes, gear, and space to to set my laptop:

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Here's both pieces installed in the truck:

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After a couple of trial runs at local state parks, I set off on some real voyages to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah.

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Technically speaking, I don't know if this is really an "overland" rig. But it has served me great in the last year for road trips across the west, and has proven comfortable and capable on both highways and fire roads. I can keep all of my gear, kitchen, and bed ready to go at a moment's notice, and I don't have to worry about setting up a tent after rolling into camp after a long day driving.

This project is far from finished, and I still have plans to upgrade the suspension, go with bigger tires, and add a roof rack and a light bar. I'll update when I finish those projects, and until then I'll fill in with some small upgrades I've done since building out the back.
 
A couple of small additions:

I had to settle for a truck without the off-road package, but I did pick up a set of the skid plates that would come with the FX4 package. IMG_20200308_131614.jpg

I grew tired of the tailgate slamming open on me when I opened the back, so I installed a gas strut that lets the tailgate drop slowly:

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I found myself really reaching to get into the back, so I installed a quick and easy step to help me get in and out quicker.

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Technically speaking, I don't know if this is really an "overland" rig. But it has served me great in the last year for 1road trips across the west, and has proven comfortable and capable on both highways and fire roads. I can keep all of my gear, kitchen, and bed ready to go at a moment's notice, and I don't have to worry about setting up a tent after rolling into camp after a long day driving.
If it got you out on adventures in the woods and to Wyoming and Colorado, it is way more an overland vehicle than if you had spent all year bolting stuff on and never left the house, that’s for sure.

I really like your functional drawer set-up. Are you able to sit up on the bed with the mid-height shell (and if yes how tall are you)?
 

MG99

Member
Nice build so far. I’ll be following. The founders of this very forum often refer to “overlanding” as vehicle based travel. Therefore, you indeed have an overland rig.
Have you seen the topper lift?
I’m very intrigued by this system and think it would suit your needs. Just a suggestion. I don’t have a bed cap yet or have any experience with this lift system yet but am considering a similar set up for solo camping. Unfortunately, a cap and the topper is expensive ( $4,000+ ) and wouldn’t work when I bring my kids along. Good luck with your build.
 
If it got you out on adventures in the woods and to Wyoming and Colorado, it is way more an overland vehicle than if you had spent all year bolting stuff on and never left the house, that’s for sure.

I really like your functional drawer set-up. Are you able to sit up on the bed with the mid-height shell (and if yes how tall are you)?
I'm able to sit up, but not quite all the way. I'm still hunched over, but it's enough to set up to read a book, or put my shoes down on the floor to and sit to tie them. I'm 5'10"

In my initial plans, the platform was 2 or 3 inches shorter, resting right above the wheel well, but at the last second I changed it to have more room in the drawer. I now wish I had gone as low as possible to give me the extra inches of head room.
 
Nice build so far. I’ll be following. The founders of this very forum often refer to “overlanding” as vehicle based travel. Therefore, you indeed have an overland rig.
Have you seen the topper lift?
I’m very intrigued by this system and think it would suit your needs. Just a suggestion. I don’t have a bed cap yet or have any experience with this lift system yet but am considering a similar set up for solo camping. Unfortunately, a cap and the topper is expensive ( $4,000+ ) and wouldn’t work when I bring my kids along. Good luck with your build.
Thanks. I've seen that lift. Very cool concept, but quite pricey.

I did have to buy the topper new from the dealer because I couldn't find a used one that fit my needs. That was quite expensive itself. (Around $3k)
 
I always appreciate anyone who documents their build, and I took a lot of inspiration from everybody else, so when I started my build I was determined to post a log of my progress. I meant to post this much earlier, but life got in the way. (And I was having too much fun out in the woods)

Early last year, I found myself looking for a new daily driver, but I also wanted something that would be ready for an overnight or week-long trip at a moment's notice. (And with minimal set-up once I arrived in camp) I was originally looking for a mid-size truck like a Tacoma, but after test-driving one on a whim I fell for the added size, comfort and technology of a full-size F-150.

View attachment 646050

COVID hit shortly after buying the truck, and I found myself with the time to start the camper project immediately. The next major step was acquiring a shell. I went with a Leer mid-rise topper.

View attachment 646053

Next, I set out to make a platform for a bed:

View attachment 646055

I cut UHMW plastic to use as slides for the drawer:

View attachment 646056

On the other side of the bed, I wanted to have a dresser/desk of sorts for clothes, gear, and space to to set my laptop:

View attachment 646057

Here's both pieces installed in the truck:

View attachment 646059

After a couple of trial runs at local state parks, I set off on some real voyages to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah.

View attachment 646063

View attachment 646064

View attachment 646065

Technically speaking, I don't know if this is really an "overland" rig. But it has served me great in the last year for road trips across the west, and has proven comfortable and capable on both highways and fire roads. I can keep all of my gear, kitchen, and bed ready to go at a moment's notice, and I don't have to worry about setting up a tent after rolling into camp after a long day driving.

This project is far from finished, and I still have plans to upgrade the suspension, go with bigger tires, and add a roof rack and a light bar. I'll update when I finish those projects, and until then I'll fill in with some small upgrades I've done since building out the back.
Which model mid rise 180 is that, XR, XL? What options did you get? Is your front window a slider and the removable one?
 
Last edited:

Jupiter58

Active member
Nice! What mpg and tank size do you have?
I have the 3.5 and a 36 gallon tank. I easily get 700 miles between refuels, 800 on my 70 mile round trip commute to work on secondary roads. What else out there has that range?
I don’t understand why these f150s don’t get more love. Price, economy, technology size and comfort is hard to beat. Unless you are scraping narrow trails why would anyone want a Tacoma?
Now Ford puts a built in generator. Crazy.
I will follow this as I am curious about lift and tires. I just got a set of narrow 35s (35 x 10.5 x17) for my Jeep but haven’t mounted them yet. Thinking a narrow 35 (measures just over 34) should fit without a crazy lift.
Keep the ideas coming!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Which model mid rise 180 is that, XR, XL? What options did you get? Is your front window a slider and the removable one?
180XL, as it was the only option to allow the rear glass to unlock with my key fob.

Front window has slider and it is hinged/removable. I also have a inflatable tube creating a seal to make a pass-through to the cab.

Side windows have sliders with netting and they also pop out. I'm working on making mosquito netting with a velcro seal so I can pop the windows completely open but still keep the bugs out.

Other options included were roof tracks, carpet lining, and dome light with prop switch. I wired LED lights myself with a switch.
 
Nice! What mpg and tank size do you have?
I have the 3.5 and a 36 gallon tank. I easily get 700 miles between refuels, 800 on my 70 mile round trip commute to work on secondary roads. What else out there has that range?
I don’t understand why these f150s don’t get more love. Price, economy, technology size and comfort is hard to beat. Unless you are scraping narrow trails why would anyone want a Tacoma?
Now Ford puts a built in generator. Crazy.
I will follow this as I am curious about lift and tires. I just got a set of narrow 35s (35 x 10.5 x17) for my Jeep but haven’t mounted them yet. Thinking a narrow 35 (measures just over 34) should fit without a crazy lift.
Keep the ideas coming!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
23 gallon tank. Definitely jealous of the larger tank, as I only have around a 400 mile range. I also was interested in the 3.5l, but I bought used so I fell into the 2.7 instead. Still a great engine.

I get around 19mpg on average. It used to be more like 20-21 before adding the topper and camper build. I imagine the weight and added drag are to blame for the loss of mpg.

Agree that these trucks hit a sweet spot of comfort, fuel economy, and drivability. And they're not unreasonable on the secondary market, especially compared to all the mid-size trucks that go for almost as much as new!
 
That’s what I have in my f-150. Very happy with it

What suspension and tire size are you thinking about?
Really not sure. I threw on a quick leveling kit when I bought it just to gain a little extra clearance in the front. Long-term, I'm considering Fox and Icon systems but not sold on anything yet.

As for tires, I'd like to get some good AT's that are a bit bigger than stock, but the tires that were on it still have plenty of tread, so I'm going to wear those down before pulling the trigger on a new set.
 
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