Who needs a kitchen and bathroom when you're snowboarding?
We come across quite a few cool motorhomes in our daily perusal of the #vanlife scene. Often times we encounter nondescript vans or trucks that appear strictly business on the outside, only to find all the comforts of home packaged beneath the skin in a mind-boggling use of available space. This time around, it’s pretty much the exact opposite.
What you’re looking at here is a 1953 GMC heavy-duty rig that used to be a firetruck. Obviously it’s been repurposed since then, notably with a tiny house that even has its own porch on the back. It’s owned by professional snowboarder Austin Smith, who wanted to create a home-away-from-home that he could literally park anywhere and go snowboarding. After all, why stay at a warm hotel when you can sink into a sleeping bag in the back of your chilly firetruck? And folks, that's exactly what he did for an entire winter.
Gallery: GMC Firetruck Camper Conversion
Whereas we usually wax poetic about creature comforts in custom campers, this build is rather barebones. That’s not to say it isn’t awesome – it houses two beds, counter space and cabinets to prepare meals and store food, and there’s a canister for storing drinking water. A small wood-burning stove (yes, a wood-burning stove) provides a bit of warmth as well as a surface to heat up water, and again, there’s that cool porch at the rear that looks downright cozy. What you won’t find is a dining area, kitchen, complex electrical systems, or any bathroom. And you know what? We’re okay with that. Sometimes, what you leave behind for over-the-road adventures is more important than what you take with you.
And this truck is capable of adventure. It has a modern powertrain with four-wheel drive and a Cummins diesel for power, and as such, it can handle deep snow. Apparently it is a tad heavy though – exactly how much we don’t know – but at one point in the video the old rig needs help getting unstuck from … a parking space?
Still, it’s vintage and unique, and its rustic exterior houses a truly sizable living space that’s cheap on amenities, but rich on charm. If we were embarking on an extended snowboarding adventure, this is a rig we wouldn't spending time in. Though a better heating solution might be a welcome upgrade.