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Old German Army Truck Built Into Overland Camper, Now He’s Telling How He Did It

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For over 20 years, Ulrich Dolde had dreamed of traveling the world in his own, self-built motorhome.

He finally turned that goal into reality at the age of 44. After quitting his job, he took the money he had saved for his pension and bought an old army truck.

As a windsurfer und kiteboarder I yearned for all the windy spots around the world to try them out. I thought I would never be able to afford it until I had the idea of building a truck on my own.

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With no experience (but a strong will), he relied on his friend’s know-how and his wife’s support to create an expedition vehicle from the ground up.

Ulrich’s dream started with an old German Army Mercedes 914 truck.

German Army truck

He repainted the exterior and stripped the chassis.

Repainted army truck chassis

This German Army Zeppelin FM 2 shelter would fit on the back of the truck and serve as the new living area.

Zeppelin FM 2 shelter from the German army

Once installed and with some new paint on the shelter, the truck took shape!

Box on truck

Ulrich created a detailed interior plan for his new homemade expedition vehicle.

Detailed interior plan

He had to drill nearly 2,000 rivets to remove the old rails from the interior walls.

Drilling rivets

Once completed, they applied an adhesive for glass fiber wall paper.

Rolling adhesive

And cut out openings for the windows.

Cutting out window opening

Skylight covers and solar panels on the roof.

Skylight and solar panels

These two Mastervolt Ultra 2500 lithium-ion batteries provide 180 Ah each and power all the necessities while off-grid.

Lithium ion batteries

The new 300 liter gas tank waiting to be installed.

300 liter gas tank

The potable water tanks are inside the vehicle, under the bed.

Three large potable water tanks

A heavy-duty water pump from Shurflo and a Famous Water filter system keep the potable water running smoothly.

Potable water pump

Exterior shot.

Outside of expedition vehicle

The retractable rear carrier can carry two complete spare wheels and a motorcycle.

Motorbike carrier

Exterior of camping machine

Army truck in field

Off-road camper

And the gorgeous interior!

Interior of off grid truck

He’s written a book (in German) detailing how others can build their own off-road adventure vehicle. And he wants your help to translate it into English!

Ulrich adventure vehicle book

Once he and his wife returned from their first eight month trip to Morocco, he wrote a book in German about how to build a camper van, motorhome, or overland truck.

Two years later, after much prodding from readers of his original book, Ulrich wrote another book, now in its third edition. He wants to translate the book into English. He’s started a Kickstarter campaign to make this happen!

Ulrich wants to translate his popular German book for English readers.

Some of the options to back his project include live coaching via Skype, copies of the translated book, and even help in turning off-road camper building into a business.

For more information about the Kickstarter campaign, visit his page here.

To learn more about his converted army truck, visit his website at this link.