I'll start with the reasons why I have decided to build rather than buy.
My wife and I have been campers throughout our entire 25 years of marriage. Mostly dry camping as we are into ATV's fishing etc.
Together we have covered the gambit from small truck campers to 30' motor homes and everything in between.
For the last few years we have been without an rv as the kid is grown and off on her own .
We just lost interest I guess. Geez I've gotten fat.
Any way The kid meets this great young man who is hugely interested in everything out doors.
Back to camping...... I like this guy.
About 2 months ago ( maybe a bit more ) I asked my wife what she wanted in a camping rig , as we are likely going to start traveling again......
She ponders this question for a few days .( She has learned to be a careful thinker when I ask such questions ).
Now my wife is tight, very tight. She knows me very well .
I am a builder of toys. Big toys. Expensive toys.
It doesn't take much to get me started on a build.
Historically I'd rather build than buy.
My tastes tend to run more towards the vintage rather than the high tech. But I am a mechanical engineer.
So basically I'm conflicted and need to blend the old with the new.
She comes to me in early November with a plan.
I am informed that out of all our adventures and all of our various rv's the one she has the best memories of was our first. And that's exactly what she wants........
The first rv we ever owned was a 1985 Nissan 720 4x4 truck with a 7' Parris Valley camper .
We traveled all over the western United states and parts of Canada in that little rig.
It was cramped, it leaked , was crude by any standards.
It was also the rig we conceived our beautiful daughter in , had the most wonderful adventures in and the best memories.
It could literally go anywhere.
Best of all it was simple...
So we were off. I found a viable truck in Vernonia Oregon.
A 1985 Nissan King cab 4x4 ST with 12000 miles post restore.
Mechanically it was near new , adult owned and best of all had been a camper hauler in the past.
Cosmetically, it's pretty nice. No rust , fair paint , straight body. A good foundation for a build.
I took a few days shop time to go through the entire truck. Added a belly mount tie down system , suspension upgrades including air bags , heavy duty clutch , some well thought out hp upgrades and a quick paint job .
I now started to look for a small camper for the truck.
That's where the trouble started.
No one has manufactured a ( what I consider ) good hard side camper for an import truck for many years.
What was available on the used market was sketchy at best.
All were wood framed , waterlogged , poorly thought out campers.
Kind of like the Parris Valley I was trying to emulate.....
The only thing that was available were several brands of popup's.
I like to 4 season camp so a pop up is out.
One morning at coffee , the wife informs me that
" If I want a small camper , with my requirements I'm just going to have to design and build one ".
I think she was kidding, but what the hell...
4 days later I had a working shop drawing and the build was on....