Camper Beast

David Rule’s DIY Camper Build

David Rule turns truck camper building into something between performance art, standup comedy, and pure genius. Fun, funny, and a phenomenal camper ahead. Brace yourself.

David Rule Builds A Light Weight Truck Camper

At first blush, (and second blush, third blush, fourth blush) David Rule is a young, fast-talking, unabashed, and undaunted individual bent on building a simple and affordable overland-style truck camper for his Toyota Tundra.

Beyond the knucklehead humor and antics (for which I might be able to identify) there’s also an undeniable tenacious, clever, and can-do spirit at play here.

Put another way, if every truck camper company had a David Rule on staff, there would be a new camper to announce every month from every brand, and Angela and I would probably quit inside six months from sheer overload. David’s energy and focus aren’t just off the charts, it’s off the walls.

Wood Camper. Fiberglass Roof.

What makes David’s creation Camper Beast worthy (other than the build itself and his unfiltered monologue) is the way he finished the camper roof. The roof starts as plywood with a stain, and then David adds a layer of fiberglass and resin for waterproofing.

That’s right; this 100 percent wood camper has a fiberglass roof. In theory, that means the roof needs less maintenance than nearly any truck camper roof on Earth. Not only is it fiberglass, but it also lacks any screwed down, cut-in, or otherwise sealed features; no vent, solar, or roof racks. This allows the entire roof to be fully sealed in a layer of fiberglass and resin.

Basic Electrical and Interior

For all you traditional truck camper folks out there (like us) looking for a dinette, bathroom, and cabover, keep in mind that David set out to build a simple, lightweight, overland-style camper. In the overland world, traditional RV features and comfort are almost universally purposefully avoided in favor of off-road and off-grid capability and durability.

Once David’s camper frame, structure, and skin were completed, he finished the unit with a very basic 12-volt electrical system consisting of DC-to-DC charging from his truck, a 100 Ah lithium battery, LED lighting, and USB charging ports.

For some degree of off-the-ground comfort, he added a basic cot bed, blanket, pillows, and seat cushions that double as a mattress extension. That’s It.

Weight, Cost, and MPG Hit

Here’s another area where David could inspire the truck camper industry. After his build, he took his camper directly to a weigh station and recorded the experience on camera. Imagine if we required every manufacturer to take their new campers to a weigh station and show the results on camera. Oh boy.

From that weigh-in, David’s rig came in at 5,100 pounds. Minus the weight of his truck (4,500 pounds) and his weight (190 pounds), the camper weight was 410 pounds (or 186 kg). That’s about the weight of a female grizzly.

This is the exact method we’ve used to weigh our truck camper and many others. Next time you’re in your truck without the camper loaded, weigh it. That way you can always get a camper weight when you’re near a scale. For more detail of that process, check out, “How To Match A Truck and Camper”.

David also breaks down the cost of his camper build; $1,271 for lumber, $479 for coatings, $222 for hardware, $801 for electrical, $355 for windows, and $212 for furnishings. His total build cost was $3,340. He states that most of the overland-style campers he would consider start at $10 to $20K, so he’s happy.

Then he did actual driving tests to find the full efficiency hit. Without his truck camper, his Toyota Tundra got 20 MPG. With his camper, it gets 16 MPG. Hopefully, David hand-calculated that data. The fuel mileage hit sounds right given his truck and camper.

Bravo, David!

David definitely impressed us at TCM HQ. His camper build is very basic, but it’s exactly what he set out to build, and achieves his objectives. We also admire David’s relentless positive attitude and creative verve. The video edit and narration are at least as compelling as the camper build itself. And anyone who makes us laugh in the truck camper world deserves another scoop of kudos. Well done, David. We’re fans.

Check out more of David’s videos on YouTube.


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