Our New Tiny Demountable Camper Home!
Our Demountable Camper Home
So, here is our new nomadic home: it’s tiny but it is everything we want from life!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll have seen my old home on wheels, well this is something very different indeed!
This is a demountable camper, aka truck bed camper. It sits on/in our 4wd pickup, and we will continue to live vagabondly in it.
After scrapping our old van last autumn we’ve been looking to replace it, ideally with something much more reliable mechanically and also something much warmer to live in.
We went down the well-trodden path of viewing small mobile homes, we wanted a van that was well insulated and still fairly compact in size. Then, during one of Chris’s endless online searches, he came across a demountable camper on Gumtree. Yes, that looked the home for us!
We’d never seen one before (we don’t remember seeing one anyway) and the combination of a 4wd truck and a camper unit we could remove seemed the absolute ideal for the life we lead.
That particular vehicle wasn’t right for us, but it gave us a focus for our searching, although it soon became very apparent that this wasn’t going to be easy!
Demountable campers, while fairly common over on the continent, haven’t really taken off over here in Blighty yet; they’re a bit of a rarity!
For our budget, our only option was to throw our net wider, Europe wider. We got even pickier, narrowing down our desired camper unit to two brands, and for our price bracket we wanted a Swedish-built S.Karosser/Nordstar camper because they come with a central heating system that will keep us toasty.
We figured a Swedish camper company would know a bit about keeping warm in the freezing temperatures, our unit is well insulated and the wet (as opposed to air) central heating system should keep us warm in temperatures down to -20ºC. No more shivering in bed during frozen Scottish winters!
Chris ended up driving out to Austria to pick one up, purchasing a secondhand S.Karosser/Nordstar from a well-travelled couple in the north-east of the country. I couldn’t go with him as I was house sitting in Scotland so he went on a boy’s road trip across Europe with a friend. We had to get some bolts fitted to the truck bed beforehand so that the camper could be attached.
Let me show you around!
As you can see in the photo above, the demountable camper unit has 4 legs which jack up and down, leaving the camper free-standing when not on the vehicle. The camper unit can be used/slept in without it being on the truck.
On the back we have a bicycle rack and the back door splits in two like a stable door which is a super cute touch! The steps fold up flat onto the door when not in use.
Inside there is seating (cosily) for four around a table that can convert to become a second bed.
The kitchen area is compact and neat, I have a little sink and a two-ring gas burner, the only thing I will probably miss is a gas grill. It doesn’t come with an oven, my electric toaster oven from out of the old van doesn’t fit in the cupboard under the sink so I won’t have an oven for a while!
There is a fold up, extension of the work surface and also a chopping board pulls out for even more space. Around the top, on both sides, there is plenty of cupboard space.
The tall cupboard by the door is a wardrobe, I may convert it to hanging space but at the moment it is shelved.
As you can see, the cupboards are well designed for life on the road; the previous owners have made a beer cupboard in one of them!
Behind the excellent mirror is a 3 way fridge/freezer, i.e. it can be powered by 12v, 240v and by gas, and under it is yet more cupboard space.
Next to the fridge is a tiny bathroom, it should be a shower room but the previous owners removed the shower and sink and fitted a cupboard, we shall be removing that and returning it to a proper bathroom.
Above the pickup cab is the huge double bed, and a curtain pulls across to close the bedroom off from the rest of the room. I love that it has windows!
All the windows have integrated blinds and insect screens, and we have an abundance of plug sockets, both 240v for when we’re plugged into the mains and 12v for when we aren’t. There is a solar panel on the roof so on sunny days we should be able to generate a little bit of free power.
The plugs are all two pin European sockets but as a well-travelled couple, we have plenty of plug adapters plus all our camera battery chargers are 2 pin anyway! We could of course switch them for British plug sockets but I bet we never do!
There are things we do need to change though. The previous owners fitted a 12v portable freezer on one of the seats, shortening the upholstery: they went on fishing trips so needed to preserve their catch. We definitely don’t need it so we’ll remove it and sell it. We’ll have to replace the seating cushions which could be a bit of a faff.
I like the upholstery in general but I’d like to freshen up the look and give it a bit more of a homely feel. I am planning to make a new curtains to close off the bed, then I’ll use the old curtain fabric to extend the cover on the seating that has been shortened, replacing the foam, hopefully it won’t be too noticeable. I’ll use the same new curtain fabric to replace the plain blue valances over the windows in the seating area.
The table has a chunk taken out of it for the freezer to fit, we’ll need a new table as it looks a bit untidy. Also, the wood panel on the edge of the bed has been cut for the freezer so we’ll replace that too.
Then there is also the bathroom that needs work to get it back to its original full purpose.
I’ll write another post once the changes have been made, and once we’ve moved in for real!
We are currently house sitting, so this should give us time to kit it out. We have to be a lot more thoughtful about what we carry as the weight limit (payload) of the truck has to be considered, no heavy book shelf in this van! I will have to seriously think about what amounts of flour and sugar I can carry too, those ingredients are heavy!
Our first camping trip in it will be as soon as we finish this house sit, we are off back to Scotland for a May bank holiday camping weekend with friends.
Try these posts:
6 Ways I’ve Made My Truck Camper More Homely Changing the look of the interior and tweaking things.
Homes With Wheels my life in camper vans!
Saying Goodbye to Our Nomadic Home Goodbye Juan the Transit van!
The Adventure Overland Show 2015 an event field full of awesome campers!
What do you think of our new home on wheels? Demountable camper owners, any tips for us?