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Key Takeaways

  • Retrofitted service vehicles provide unique travel experiences.
  • Custom RVs merge original charm with modern comforts.
  • Conversions showcase creativity and engineering expertise.

Imagine hitting the road with the siren blaring and lights flashing.

While you can't do that legally, you can roam in a piece of history reinvented as mobile living spaces.

From retired fire trucks to quirky ambulances, the trend of converting service vehicles into recreational vehicles (RVs) allows adventure-seekers to travel in style without forgoing the comforts of home.

Turning a robust fire truck chassis, a decommissioned school bus, or even a grounded airplane fuselage into a bespoke camper has become a unique and viable way for travelers to see the world.

These retrofits blend the rugged charm of their original uses with modern amenities, crafting one-of-a-kind RVs that are as eye-catching as they are functional.

With a wealth of hands-on experience and a keen eye for design, those who undertake these conversions transform utilitarian vehicles into cozy, road-worthy homes.

Each RV conversion tells a story of creativity and engineering prowess, offering insights into the practical challenges and innovative solutions that make mobile living possible.



Fire Truck RV Conversion

Have you ever gazed at a fire truck and pictured yourself hitting the open road with one?

It's not just a fantasy!

Some RV lovers are taking retired fire trucks and turning them into one-of-a-kind homes on wheels.

Why a fire truck?

Well, they're sturdy, spacious, and have a certain cool factor that you just can't get with a standard RV.

Let's look at how these big red rigs are getting second lives:

  • Purchase and Conversion Costs: Generally, the cost of acquiring a fire truck for RV conversion can be quite reasonable. One individual grabbed a 25-year-old engine for $12,500. Another family managed an entire project, including purchasing a truck, for about £10,000 (roughly $13,700).
  • Interior Makeover: Behind the big red doors, these rigs are getting full makeovers. From custom cabinetry to cozy sleeping quarters, these RV conversions are both comfortable and functional. For example, an Amish-crafted interior might be found behind those fire truck doors!
  • Size and Insulation: Size does matter when it comes to living on the road, and these fire truck RVs often offer ample space. One audacious build features 6-inch thick walls, an 8-inch roof, and an 8-inch floor for superior insulation — intact in a 28-foot-long cube camper.
  • Adaptation for Life on the Road: Conversions also include the essentials for living off-grid. This means solar panels, water storage, and sometimes even self-contained wastewater treatment systems.

Are you looking for an unconventional adventure and the whistle of freedom?

Then maybe it's time to consider a fire truck RV conversion.

It's about creating a home that is as unique as you and your travel dreams.

With some ingenuity and a sense of adventure, you could be steering your very own fire truck to your next grand destination!

School Bus (Skoolie) Conversion

Have you ever daydreamed about hitting the road with all the comforts of home tagging along?

Enter skoolie conversions, where the charm of an old school bus meets the creativity of eager nomads like you.

These buses aren't just for field trips anymore!

  • Finding Your Bus: You've probably scrolled past these retired yellow giants on Facebook Marketplace or other sales platforms. Like Timothy and Meryl Miller, many have snagged buses for a steal, some priced as low as $5,500 without a seat in sight!
  • Conversion Costs: Surely, the budget matters, right? Well, a skoolie project can be quite the investment. While initial bus costs range from $2,500 to $7,500, total conversion costs can add up — the Millers dropped an additional $15,216 into their mobile dream home.

Here's a quick sneak peek into the process:

  • Gutting: Rolling up your sleeves yet? The first step is often tearing out the old seats — the blank canvas stage.
  • Designing: Whether it's cozy nooks or a studio space, now's the time to let your imagination run wild.
  • Installing Essentials: Think plumbing, insulation, and power. Solar panels and waste vegetable oil (WVO) systems are favorites for the eco-conscious traveler.

Consider this: some fire trucks have been known to sell for similar prices as buses, with much fewer miles on them.

However, this section isn't about them, is it?

It's about your skoolie dreams.

If you're puzzling over GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and other specs, you're not alone.

Class B RV, which varies by state, often includes these conversions, as skoolies redefine 'home on the road.' Just remember, the best bus for conversion is the one that matches both your budget and vision!

So, ready to roll up your sleeves and join the skoolie community?

Ambulance Camper

Have you ever imagined an ambulance turned into a cozy, adventure-ready RV?

Well, that's not just a quirky idea; it's a reality for many travel enthusiasts!

Ambulances are increasingly popular for camper conversions, and here's why: they're built like tanks.

With a solid foundation and a life-saving legacy, these vehicles are designed to handle stress, just like your hectic Mondays, only tougher.

Let's get inside an ambulance camper, shall we?

Forget the emergency gear; picture a neat, spacious interior with a comfy bed — often lofted to make room for storage underneath.

Sounds like a sweet deal for the road, right?

And there's more:

  • Sturdy Build: Ambulances have high-quality construction that withstands rough terrain.
  • Pre-installed Electrics: They come with an array of electrical systems perfect for off-grid life.
  • Customizable Space: The interior allows for creative layouts, including kitchen units with sinks and stoves tucked away in drawers.

For example, Chris and Michelle took a 2003 E-450, fondly named Tanya, and transformed it into an overlander to roam the states.

After road-testing its original build, they dived into a full-on conversion, adding personal touches.

Another adventurous soul, @scenic.sirins, chose a lifted Ford E350, perfect for all-terrain exploration, and equipped it with essentials like a fridge and a stove.

Now, let's talk numbers; you might want to sit down for this.

The cost to own and convert one of these beasts can vary, but typically you're looking at a sweet spot starting around $10,000 to $15,000 for a decommissioned ambulance vehicle.

Sure, there are cons, such as layout challenges and maintenance tasks.

But let's focus on the good stuff — after all, wouldn't you love to give a second life to these rescue vehicles and create countless stories of your own?

Next time you see an ambulance, you might just see your future home on wheels!

Box Truck Tiny Home

Have you ever imagined what it'd be like to hit the road with your home hitched to the back of your truck?

Box truck conversions are weaving this dream into reality, and here's how you can be a part of this innovative lifestyle.

Why a Box Truck?

You, the adventurer at heart, probably love the idea of a home that's as mobile as you are.

A box truck provides ample space without the bulkiness of traditional RVs.

It's like a cozy cabin on wheels!

  • Space Optimization: Your box truck can transform into an efficient tiny home. Think comfortable sleeping areas, a compact kitchen, and even a cozy living space to unwind. It's all about making smart use of the space you've got.
  • Durability: These trucks are designed for the long haul, often outlasting other vehicles on the road.
  • Customization: Personalize your tiny home with every amenity that shouts 'you'.

Let's Talk Numbers:

Weight Considerations: A typical box truck, ranging from 24 to 26 feet in length, can handle roughly 10,000 lbs.

Convert that into a tiny home and you're looking at an average weight of 3,000 to 14,000 lbs, depending on your chosen luxuries.

Designing Your Tiny Home:

Sketch out your design to maximize each inch of your box truck.

Whether it’s a bookshelf to house your travel guides or a foldable desk for those road-side inspiration spills, your home should suit your lifestyle down to the last detail.

Now, imagine waking up to sunrise views from your skylight, USB ports charging your gadgets by your bedside, and a warm cup of coffee from your mini-kitchen.

You've got everything you need, and it’s all tidily fitted in your box truck tiny home.

Ready to join the trend?

Your great escape awaits!

Military Vehicle Overlander

Ever fantasized about trekking through untamed wilderness in a vehicle that laughs in the face of rough terrain?

Well, buckle up!

Military surplus vehicles—think along the lines of the robust Unimog or the versatile M934 6x6 truck—are being transformed into the ultimate RVs.

These beasts were born for battle but now they're geared up for peaceful adventure.

Bailey Cooper saw potential in a retired M934 6x6 military truck, once an expandable military command center.

He introduced his creation to the world at the 2019 Overland Expo in Flagstaff, AZ.

Imagine this: Your own military vehicle-turned-overlander with features like:

  • Solar roof for energy independence
  • Full water treatment system for clean water anywhere
  • Locking differentials ensuring you keep a grip on challenging terrains

Curious about the specs?

  • Base Curb Weight: ~23,000 lbs
  • Chassis: 5-ton, 6×6 (common for the MTV variant)

What about an ex-Navy fire truck, itching for a second life?

Full of potential, it waits for someone with the vision to convert it into an expedition overland motorhome.

It's basically a blank canvas on wheels, ready for a creative touch to make it an off-road haven.

Have you ever laid eyes on a 10x10 overland behemoth?

Talking about a Caterpillar (C15) diesel I6 engine, rolling out a solid 600 horsepower—matched with an Allison 5-speed automatic transmission.

It's the kind of power that can transform an old Oshkosh ARFF truck into an RV unlike anything you've camped in before.

So, why settle for the usual when you can steer off the beaten path in your military-grade home-on-the-go?

Have fun out there, it's a wild ride!

Horse Trailer with Living Quarters

Ever imagined hitting the road with your horses and not having to say goodbye to the comforts of home?

Well, with modern horse trailers boasting living quarters, you don't have to!

These cleverly designed spaces offer the perfect blend of practicality and comfort.

You can literally bring your stable and home with you wherever you go.

Imagine a space where style meets convenience.

Your horses have their space, and just a door away, so do you.

It's like having a mobile mini-apartment hitched to the back of your truck!

  1. Length Options: Need a cozy setup or a bit more elbow room? You'll find floorplans featuring lengths of 8’ or 10’, depending on the model.
  2. Horse Capacity: Whether you've got a lone star or a full quartet, models are available to transport 2, 3, or 4 horses.
  3. Design Packages: Feeling chic with Glacier Ash or is Urban Saddle more your vibe? You’ve got decor options.
  4. Special Features:
  1. Equiflex Flooring for your horse’s comfort.
  2. Fully Insulated quarters for temperature control.
  3. Diesel Generator for all your power needs.
  4. Side or Rear Load choices, because it's the little things that matter.

Stats at a Glance:

Feature Description
Max Height 10'-6" to keep even the tallest of horses comfortable.
Weight A sturdy 35,000 lb for a structure that lasts.
Amenities Full back tack, slide-out bathroom, drop-down head and butt doors.
Signature Interiors Custom designs like the Elite 4 Horse Signature Living Quarters Trailer.
Price Point From functional value models to bespoke luxury reaching $575,000.

Eager for that added layer of luxury on your equestrian adventures?

You're definitely not short on options.

From affordable functional designs to the pinnacle of luxury that once sold for a cool half a million dollars, there's a horse trailer with living quarters to tickle your fancy—and secure your steeds!

Vintage Train Carriage

Ever fancied stepping back in time?

Imagine this: you are whisked away to a bygone era as soon as you step into your home away from home—a vintage train carriage transformed into an RV.

These carriages capture the romance of the rails with an added twist of modern comfort.

Let's explore what makes these retrofitted beauties a unique choice for your next adventure.

  1. Exterior: The exteriors remain faithful to their historical splendor. Picture those elegant, ornate designs you've seen in old movies!
  2. Interior: Inside, it’s a different story. You'll find the spaces have been refurbished to offer all the amenities of a contemporary RV.
  1. Luxury fixtures and fittings align with stylish, comfortable furnishings.

Here’s what you might discover inside:

Area Amenities
Living Space Lounge areas with plush seating, flat-screen TVs, and ambient lighting
Kitchen Modern appliances, including full-sized refrigerators and gourmet stoves
Bathroom Spa-like features such as rain showers and eco-friendly toilets
Sleeping Quarters Cozy bedrooms with top-notch mattresses ensure a restful night’s sleep

Isn’t that something?

You're preserving a piece of history while cutting no corners on present-day luxury.

These train carriages, once the epitome of first-class travel, are being adventurer-friendly by balancing old-world charm with modern living needs.

Could the rhythmic chug of a train be the lullaby on your next vacation?

Now that's railway nostalgia redefined for the nomadic soul.

Rolling across the countryside or nestled in a scenic spot, your vintage train carriage RV is sure to be both a conversation piece and a serene retreat.

How about a nod to the past with a modern twist for your next road trip?

Would you give these charming carriages a go?

Double-Decker Bus RV

Ever fancied the charm of a London bus and the freedom of the open road?

Double-decker bus RVs have become quite the trend, combining the nostalgia of iconic British transportation with the roving spirit of an RV enthusiast.

Imagine sipping your tea on the top level while parked by a serene lakeside!

What's Inside?

Typically, the lower floor of these behemoths is transformed into a cozy living space, complete with:

  • Kitchen: Fully equipped with the essentials
  • Living Area: A comfy place to unwind
  • Bathroom: Some even boast a full tub!

The upper deck is where the magic happens, often designed as a snug sleeping haven.

Picture this: gazing at the stars through the skylight right above your bed.

Isn't that a dream come true?

Costs and Conversions

  • Purchase: One adventurous family snagged a 2009 Van Hool TD925 for $59,500.
  • Renovation: Outfitting this vehicle into a home on wheels can be quite an investment, with this family spending an additional $120,000 on renovations.

These RVs aren't just for couples or solo travelers.

There's room for the whole gang!

One family of eight managed to create a functional and stylish space in their double-decker bus.

You're thinking, "That sounds like the ultimate road trip machine." And you're absolutely right!

With the right vision and budget, a double-decker bus can be your ticket to a whole new level of traveling—literally.

Just imagine rolling into your next campsite; you'll be the talk of the town with your towering, red, two-story abode on wheels.

Now, who's ready to hit the road in style?

Cargo Van Conversion

Have you ever dreamed of hitting the road with all the comforts of home in tow?

Well, a cargo van conversion might just be your ticket to freedom!

Picture yourself weaving through city streets or parked discreetly in a beautiful natural locale—all possible with the versatility of a converted cargo van.

Why a Cargo Van?

  • Stealth: You blend into urban environments with ease.
  • Size: Ideal for you if you're flying solo or as a couple.
  • Maneuverability: Navigate through tight spaces sans the stress.

With conversions, creativity is your only limit.

Here's how you can transform a simple cargo van into your dream RV.

The Kitchen Set-Up

  • Functional: Think foldable or multi-use fixtures.
  • Portable: A unit with a sink, water tank, and cooker can be used both inside and outside the van.

Sleeping Quarters

  • Convertible: Seats that turn into a cozy bed for two.
  • Pop-Up Roof: For that extra space and comfort.

Cost Involved

  • Budget-friendly: Starting at around $2,665 for basic kitchen setups.
  • Total Conversion: You might spend $13,700 including the vehicle purchase.

Examples of families and van lifers have shown that with some ingenuity, a cargo van can be converted into an unassuming yet fully functional home on wheels.

Some have achieved this on a modest budget, proving you don't need to break the bank for a slice of the nomadic life.

So, have you got a cargo van just waiting to be your next DIY project?

It's time to roll up your sleeves and make that dream of the ultimate road trip a reality!

Airplane Fuselage RV

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to take a road trip in an aircraft?

Some creative minds have taken aircraft fuselages and magically transformed them into road-ready RVs!

Gino Lucci, an Air Force veteran, took an old Douglas R4D airplane damaged by a tornado and saw not wreckage, but potential.

For the price of a used car, he scooped it up in 2019 and set forth on a journey to give it a second life as a luxury RV.

The process of converting a plane to an RV is no small feat.

Here's a quick glimpse of what Lucci did to create his 300-square-foot sky-high haven:

  • Parts Acquisition: Sourced from places like Bontrager's Surplus, he gathered all the necessary components.
  • Construction Time: Dedicated a year of his time to cut, weld, and bolt his dream into reality.

The interior of Lucci's creation can make anyone's jaw drop.

Amidst the marvels of modern RVs, this World War II-era navy airplane stands out with its:

  • Vintage Intercom: Chatting through a pilot intercom adds to the authenticity.
  • Functional Spaces: Kitchen, beds, and lounging areas provide all the comforts of home.

The end result is not just a vehicle but a testament to history and innovation — a full-on luxury RV with a story to tell.

Most importantly, it is the kind of home-on-the-go that gets people talking.

Could you see yourself in such a retrofitted plane turned RV?

It sure would make your next adventure an unforgettable tale!

Just picture pulling into a campsite and witnessing the crowd that forms around this unique piece of craftsmanship.

Who says the sky's the limit?