Trip Prep

After months of internet research, Craigslist scouring, and pipe dreams of pimped out Volkswagen Westfalias and Landcruisers, we found the perfect overlanding vehicle right in our driveway; Ken’s Ford Ranger. Not only did it have 4 wheel drive and has been mostly meticulously maintained by Ken, we also stumbled on a rare Skamper pop up camper in Seward and sweet talked the owners into selling.

As anyone knows who has researched or has any knowledge of pop up truck campers, finding an affordable, light, durable camper to fit on the back of a Ford Ranger is extremely difficult.  We did not have the budget to spend $10,000 + on a new pop up with all the bells and whistles, so our affordable 1988 Skamper has and continues to need quite a few modifications.  Since I’m not the mechanically minded part of our duo, there will have to a separate post (click here) to satisfy the curiosities of all the gear heads out there, and my simple descriptions will have to suffice for now.

It turns out, after being outside during a record snow year coupled with a few tiny pinholes in the roof equals 200 lbs of wet, rotten plywood and insulation.  Ken and a few friends tore everything out, replaced the insulation and plywood, and expoxied the crap out of all the seams and holes.

Getting the nasty out, putting the new in

After the coldest July in the record books along with a lot of rain, the      repair has held strong.

Brand new ceiling, lighting, and cooling.

Ken acquired and mounted a solar panel and is rewiring and installing new LED lights and an oscillating ceiling fan as well as replumbing the leaky hand pump faucet in the sink.  Actually he is doing a lion’s share of the modifications to the camper and the truck including a long list of upgrades to the Ranger.

In an effort to update the dated 80’s interior which included faded tropical floral curtains, faux wood paneling and dusty rose pink upholstery, I tried my hand at craftiness.  I guess I am going to have to stick to cooking, nursing, reading, and drinking beer because I failed miserably at being crafty.  I managed to successfully coat the stove cover with flammable paint and unsuccessfully dye the cushion covers, albeit they are now very clean.  Despite my best efforts and because of Ken’s, Suzie Skamper will be the lean, mean driving machine she was supposed to be.


7 thoughts on “Trip Prep

    • Thanks James! He definitely kicked ass making the Skamper liveable. Been following your blog for a while, thanks for all the tips and the laughs. I can only hope that we have as many adventures as you guys are having.

  1. As far as prep goes, is there anything you packed that you can’t live without? Anything you packed that you found you could do without?

    • Hmmm…that is a difficult one. I am really, really glad we have a fridge, and a good set of camp chairs and tables. Our GPS is pretty key. We haven’t used any of our backpacking stuff yet, probably will in South America. Wish that we would packed an electric drill and hammocks. Random I know. Here is a useful thread on expeditionportal that might help you out.

      • What GPS are you using? Thanks for the advice! Would you recommend making all the copies of your documents before you go? I know there are a lot but would it help to have them all ready at each border rather than making the copies there?

      • We are using an old Garmin Nuvi with Cenrut and Opensource maps on it. It works for us, but we wish the screen was a little bigger.
        I would make copies before leaving, it cuts down on a lot of border crossing stress and are always good to have on hand.

  2. I just found your blog and I must say I am impressed with your dreams, goals and ambition. This is what life is all about! I am in my 60s now, but when I was younger than you I had crossed the Atlantic twice, solo on a sailboat. Never let the norm get in your way of enjoying life and the beauty of the world. My wife and I have down “intelligentcized” from a travel trailer to a pop-up camper and will begin our second long-distance camping trip in a few months. In 2012 we did 29 States and almost 12,000 miles, it was WONDERFUL! This spring we take “Caravanserai” (our 2007 Sun-Lite pop-up) back to the southwest for a few months. Way to go guys and keep it up, you will have these memories for all of your life!

    Dave and Regina (Max the Old Beagle says Hi, too)

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