Frugal Camper Converts Ford F550 into DIY Overland Vehicle
There’s no doubt about it, truck campers and RVs give people the freedom to explore America without the need for hotels and airplanes. There’s only one problem.
RVs are expensive!
That’s why we’re sharing Andrew Muse’s story today. He wanted a vehicle similar to an Earth Roamer (a super rugged overland vehicle). But, instead of forking over six-figures, Muse decided to build one himself.
In doing so, he only spent 1/10 of the cost of a new rig.
Below you’ll learn how Andrew did it, see the one-of-a-kind truck camper, and get his insight on how you can do the same!
Let’s meet Andrew.
An Introduction to Andrew Muse, a DIY Camping Legend
Andrew Muse is a professional content creator and athlete for brands like Ford, GoPro, Rossignol, Panasonic, & more. Muse started the YouTube series Tiny Home Adventure back when he was living out of a truck camper and traveling the west coast with my pup Booter.
Since then there have been a lot of ups and downs and changes in living situations, but his love for life on the road and sharing the experience with his pup (now Kicker) to give him the best life possible remains.
Andrew, How long have you been RVing?
I’ve been living on the road off and on for the last 15 years.
It all started with living out of a Volkswagen Gulf for two months while climbing, then an Astro Van, then a 1976 truck camper I renovated, then a 4×4 van I built out, and now we finally built our dream expedition vehicle to live full-time out of.
What type of RV are you currently traveling with?
Self-built Expedition Vehicle – I took a 2004 Ford F550 and pulled the work bed off to mount our custom shell we built out of a friend’s garage.
We call her the MUSEROAMER.
Why did you choose to renovate an RV? What inspirations did you draw from?
I chose to custom build our expedition vehicle instead of going with your typical truck camper or RV because I wanted to be able to have the most off-road capable vehicle possible while also having enough space for my girlfriend, my pup Kicker, and I to live and work comfortably out of it full-time for the foreseeable future and bring as many toys as possible.
I really liked the concept of an Earth Roamer, but had nowhere near the budget necessary to own one, so I decided to undertake building myself one for 1/10 of the cost.
Can you tell us a little bit about each of the following areas of your RV in terms of how you upgraded it…
Expedition Vehicle Living Area
I knew the layout I wanted from past experiences of living in vehicles. My editing bay is a huge must have for me with the countless hours I spend behind the computer. I have a desk space made out of the custom sycamore raw slab counter we installed from Red Point Woodworks.
Under the desk area is a shelf for all my camera equipment and below that is a comfortable bed for Kicker to sleep in.
I have a sound bar installed over my 32″ 4K monitor that makes editing and watching movies in bed a breeze. On the opposite side of the rig we have two benches and a custom sycamore table for eating and working at.
We have his and hers closets at the back of the rig and cabinets on both sides to store all our gear for our adventures.
Pro Tip: Here are 7 cheap RV storage hacks.
We have an over cab queen size bed with a foam mattress and the Froli system underneath to help combat moisture build up and provide extra comfort.
At the foot of the bed, we have two storage cabinets for laundry and extra camera gear.
There’s a window on either side to let air flow during warmer months.
Overlanding Bath Room
My girlfriend Ashley insisted on having a bathroom in our rig if we were going to live out of it full-time. Our wet bath has a shower with a Dometic cassette toilet that has an access hatch on the side of the vehicle.
We also have an outdoor shower where the access hatch is to make washing off a muddy Kicker Dog easier. T
he wet bath doubles as wetsuit storage in the summer months and ski gear storage in the winter.
Kitchen on the Road
The kitchen is Ashley’s favorite part about the rig since she loves cooking. Our Dometic propane fridge is actually bigger than the mini-fridge we used to have in our apartment and has a freezer compartment.
We have a stainless steel sink mounted into the raw slab counter and next to that is our Dometic 3-burner stove and oven. Having the oven has been great for meals on the road and treating ourselves to some of Ashley’s baked goods.
The Rugged Exterior
We have custom under-belly boxes mounted on each side and 2 custom boxes mounted on the back for the maximum amount of gear storage.
On the back, we have a 1Up bike rack and a custom ladder to access the roof where our spare tire, gear box, and 3 175 watt solar panels are mounted. We have an awning that extends over the right side of the vehicle as well as area lighting so we can easily set up base camp outside.
The front of the rig is lit up with Baja Designs lights and we have a 16,500 lb Warn Winch installed in our Buckstop Bumper.
What tips do you have for folks interested in renovating an RV?
Expect it to take about 3x longer than expected and be at least twice as expensive, but it will be so worth it in the end.
Life on the road at times can feel uncertain and lonely, but it’s also the most rewarding way I have ever lived on so many levels.
Pro Tip: We asked a RV mechanic what systems fail first,Here's what he said.
What was the most important tool while renovating?
My favorite tool while building the rig was a nice table saw.
Where can people follow you?
You can stay up to date with our latest adventures on Instagram at @andrew_muse and you can check out the MUSEROAMER Build Project which dives into the details of how we built our own expedition vehicle and our Tiny Home Adventure on my Youtube Channel!
We’re producing weekly episodes that range from our daily adventures in the rig to extreme sports to beautiful scenery and more!
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping.There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: