posted on Sep, 29 2008 @ 03:48 AM
SELF BUILT CAMPERS AS BUG OUT VEHICLES
Currently growing in popularity in Europe, Australia and the USA is the trend for people to build and fit out their own campervans, not only is it far
cheaper to do than buying a factory built model (being as much as 70% cheaper in many cases) but the builders can also tailor the specific design of
the vehicle to exactly match their own requirements. All this is topped of with the fact that the self builders can also control 100% of the build
quality of the vehicle. Of equal importance is the fact that if you build the thing yourself you can do most of the maintenance and repairs yourself
Think about it for a minute, how often do survivalists and the preparedness community talk about wishing they could get a family vehicle that would
double up as a recreation vehicle and as a bug out vehicle. So if Ford, GM, Chevrolet , Land Rover, or whoever not produce a vehicle that best
suits your needs why not build your own ?.
To begin with you need a suitable base vehicle to meet your own personal criteria, for some folks it will be a panel van like a Ford Transit or Ford
Econoline, Other people will prefer the attributes of a four wheeled drive jeep type vehicle, others will prefer a motor home type base. In the US ex
school bus conversions are becoming popular, whilst in the UK panel van conversions dominate in a choice of two basic formats. First is to convert a
panel van into a custom built camper, fitting it out almost identically as a factory built camper with windows, air con, fancy stripes, etc but in
heavy duty format. The alternative is the “”Stealth Camper”“designed for wild camping. These stealth campers are plain panel vans externally,
but fitted out internally with the full range of fittings needed to support you and family. Toilet, Shower, Kitchen sink, H & C Water, Cooker and
Oven, Wardrobe and Storage space, Seating and Beds, Heating , Long range fuel tanks etc. Natural lighting is normally provided by fitting roof top
windows instead of glazing the sides of the van. Some vans are also laid out internally to be able to accommodate a motorcycle or quad bike whilst
still providing a full range of living facilities. In my humble opinion the stealth option gives the survivalist the best basic option to work with
because practicality is more important than pretty stripes and chrome wheel trims.
In a Bug Out Vehicle that you may need to possibly live in for up to six months you will need to carry more logistical support than Joe Q Public does
when he goes on vacation, So survivalists will need to plan far more storage capacity within their base vehicles than a conventional camper would.
The Survivalist primarily needs a large capacity engine supplied with fuel from extra large fuel tanks. The further he can go without refueling the
less vulnerable he is to meeting trouble in gas stations along the way. He is also less affected by localised or short term shortages of fuel that
could paralyze a conventional vehicle. Diesel is the preferred option in most European countries due to its cost and its safe handling
You may need large fresh water tanks (usually mounted under the floor between the chassis rails) usually in 250 or 400 litres sized tanks, they will
need to be insulated in northern climes
You may need dirty water receiving tanks so he does not foul your environment if you are stuck in one location.
You may need heating and hot water systems for cooking and hygiene
You may need cooking facilities, (Usually bottled gas fed cooker rings)
You may need seating that converts easily and readily into berths for his entire family group.
He / She will need storage for food, clothing, hygiene, tools, vehicle spares, weapons , books and maps, medical kit, recovery kit ( tow rope, axe,
jack, etc), Refrigeration is also required for fresh foods, most camping fridges run on all three primary power sources, IE 12V DC, Mains Electric,
and Bottled gas.
Many hot water systems also utilise all three power options.
In general you will benefit from a 12 volt electrical system, often supplied by a leisure battery, solar panel or micro turbine. A mains hook up is
also often fitted to connect up on camp sites.
Those are the basics and can be adapted, omitted or altered to suit your own needs and budgets.
Do ensure your vehicle has more and adequate fresh air ventilation so you do not kill yourself with carbon monoxide poisoning from your heaters if
they are diesel fuelled, and you can still also die from oxygen starvation from Butane / Propane heaters if a fresh air supply is not provided.
www.sbmcc.co.uk is a good place to start if you decide to convert your own vehicle. I strongly recommend a copy of John Speeds book called TRAVEL
VANS, it’s a great “How To” book on building your own Rugged RV.