EP59 | Do It Yourself! How to Build the Ultimate D.I.Y. Truck Camper w/Ambition Strikes
Have you ever considered taking all of that money you’d be spending on labor and using it to build your own custom truck camper? That’s exactly what Courtney and Riley Casey of the popular YouTube series, Ambition Strikes, set out to do–and did it.
Whether you’re ready to go all-in on a fully-built D.I.Y. truck camper or just looking to customize the camper you have with some ingenuity and sweat equity, this episode will both inspire you and help you to reach your goals with knowledge and insight into how to make the D.I.Y. dream a reality.
To realize their dream of spending a winter hitting up all of the major ski resorts throughout the U.S. with their “IKON” Ski Pass, creative couple Courtney & Riley Casey decided to sell their O.E.M. Lance Truck Camper and use the proceeds to buy materials to build their own custom design.
Thankfully for all of us, they put in the extra effort to film the entire process! This popular D.I.Y. truck camper build video now has 1.7 million views and Courtney and Riley’s YouTube Channel, Ambition Strikes, continues to grow in popularity (342k Subscribers) as the two venture into the world of off-the-grid living.
In this episode, we catch up with Courtney and Riley to reflect on their amazing truck camper build and see what we can learn from these two when it comes to “Doing It Yourself.”
Detailed Episode Summary
Part 1 (1:30-5:47) Welcome Courtney and Riley Casey of Ambition Strikes! We welcome Courtney and Riley Casey of Ambition Strikes onto the XOVERLAND Podcast and hear a little bit about their new life living off-the-grid in Idaho. Courtney explains the origin story for their successful YouTube channel, Ambition Strikes.
Part 2 (5:48-11:22) Taking a Close Look at Courtney and Riley’s Ultimate D.I.Y. Camper: Courtney and Riley share the inspiration for their D.I.Y. Camper build–a winter ski tour using their IKON Ski Pass–and the specific needs they had for their journey (including their desire to accommodate their beloved dogs!) that led to the innovation of their camper design and its unique custom features.
Part 3 (11:23-19:19) What Skill Sets Do You Need to Build Your Own Truck Camper? Courtney and Riley explain their educational background, how they met, and how their experiences led them to develop the skills and confidence they needed to build their custom D.I.Y. truck camper. As a mechanical engineer, Riley explains how Courtney’s influence helped him get started on their project and Riley and Courtney demonstrate the value of failure in their learning process.
Part 4 (19:20-25:08) Building a D.I.Y. EarthRoamer! Courtney and Riley lay out the specifics of building their D.I.Y. “EarthRoamer” and how they had to shift their design concept to match their skill sets. Riley explains why he and Courtney made the decision to build their truck camper out of aluminum rather than fiberglass.
Part 5 (25:08-28:31) The Joy of D.I.Y. and Building Your Own Truck Camper! Riley explains the joy of D.I.Y. projects and of sharing the project with others. Courtney explains why you don’t have to have your D.I.Y. build “finished” before setting out in it and the value of process when it comes to build projects like their camper.
Part 6 (28:32-41:45) Continuing with the Details of Building a D.I.Y. “EarthRoamer” – Interior Organization: Courtney & Riley identify at what point their build was ready for camping and the value of getting out and experiencing their camper before finishing the build. Riley highlights how they designed their camper to accommodate their two large dogs and the choices they made to emphasize gear storage vs. galley space.
Part 7 (41:46-47:38) Fixing It Yourself: Riley Shares his D.I.Y. Toolkit Strategy: When you’re a mechanical engineer who has built your truck camper yourself, what tools do you pack for maintenance and repair work? Riley explains the choices he made for his truck camper toolkit and why he has taken a reductionist approach to his toolkit. Courtney & Riley explain the issue of weight when building and outfitting your overland/adventure vehicle and their mindset when it comes to avoiding overloading a vehicle.
Extra Resources Mentioned in this Part of the Episode:
- XOVERLAND Podcast on Vehicle Building and Weight Issues
- XOVERLAND Blog Post on Best Practices for Overland/Adventure Vehicle Building
Part 8 (47:39-End) Building Your Vehicle to Suit the Trip and Experience You Want: We discuss Courtney and Riley’s philosophy of dreaming up a trip or desired experience first and then building your vehicle (Truck Camper/Overland Adventure Vehicle, ADV Bike, etc.) to suit your desired experience rather than building the vehicle first and then trying to make it fit the trip. Courtney and Riley share a little bit about their off-the-grid living experience and we brainstorm some future conversations we’d like to have with this amazing couple!
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