Designing your own truck camper isn’t a challenge for the faint of heart. The zillion or so decisions necessary to craft a functional – and comfortable – camper without breaking the bank can befuddle almost any mind.
We recently received a submission from Alex, a DoItYourselfRV reader from Chile. He designed a modern-looking fiberglass truck camper to his own specifications.
And the Coati Camper as it’s called has become so popular, he’s now making them for others.
Computer sketch of the Coati Camper’s exterior.
The all-fiberglass shell creates a rounded interior space with plenty of windows – and even a skylight!
I have been a follower of your Facebook page for quite some time now and always have found it to be a great source of inspiration and new ideas.
Two years ago I embarked with my own self build project as I didn’t find any suitable product here in Chile. I was looking for a light weight fibreglass camper for smaller pickups (eg. tacoma) which I could take offroading and still live in comfort.
As the reactions to the camper have been great I have decided to go public and I am now producing them in small, exclusive numbers.
We asked him a few questions about his revolutionary truck camper design, and here’s what he had to say:
Could you describe the most challenging aspect of designing and building your own truck camper?
It was certainly a challenge designing a shape that looked compact, clean and visually appealing from the outside whilst still offering generous interior space that is comfortable to live in. Getting all the dimensions right from the beginning was a difficult task as you have no room for error when working with fiberglass moulds.
After a total of over 50 different versions simulated with a 3D rendering program, I built a 1:1 scale cardboard model of the complete unit to simulate the exterior and interior dimensions. This helped me get a feeling for the shape and the space we were working with.
During the production of the original shape the finishing of the surface, to a level of perfection, was very time consuming.
Why did you decide on a fiberglass shell, and were there any difficulties working with
the material as opposed to another form of construction?
I wanted an aerodynamic, seamless and lightweight construction that was strong and long lasting. As I use this unit off-road I wanted a surface that wouldn’t dent and that was easy to repair and clean. Fiberglass gave me the design freedom and improved esthetics I couldn’t achieve with other materials. It is resistant to corrosion, easy to maintain and has high durability.
What do you consider the most attractive features of the Coati Camper?
- Visually appealing high tech appearance without compromising interior comfort.
- Low weight.
- Low center of gravity.
- Doesn’t influence the off-road capabilities.
- The gas mileage decreases only slightly.
- It is a go-everywhere vehicle.
- Functional interior with minimal yacht-like design.
- Seamless monocoque construction with high grade finish.
- It can be taken off and mounted in only 15min and the jacks are stored inside the unit.
- Simple to use.
- Quality construction which is strong and long lasting.
Alex says his Coati Camper is, “Designed and built for the extreme off-road conditions in Chile and South America. It adapts to most double cab pickups including the Toyota Tacoma and Ford F150. Coati campers are manufactured in Chile and available for export. In Chile and Argentina they are also available for rent.”
For one thing, the aerodynamic shape of Alex’s truck camper should improve gas mileage considerably. And all the windows (plus a skylight) provide a lot more light than you’d normally expect in a traditional truck camper.