Pickup Camper Renovation – Update


I know a few of you are wondering what happened to the 1984 Six-pac pickup camper we bought last summer. No, we didn’t give up on it. Yes, it ended up being a much larger project than we anticipated. We had to put the camper on hold late last summer when we decided to buy a house. We had been going back and forth, trying to decide if we were going to give full-time RVing a go. We decided that as much as we would like to travel, we also wanted a stationary home. So the RVing is going to wait (though we are still saving for our large travel trailer so we can travel part-time).

Now that we’ve moved and we’re mostly settled (I say mostly because there is still a lot we’d like to do with the house), we’ve started on our camper again. Now, note: we bought this camper for a specific purpose, and that is for tiny camping spots and areas that you have to 4-wheel into. You just can’t do that in a thirty-foot travel trailer, and we don’t want to tent ever again.


Anyway, camping in Moab definitely gave us the shove we needed. Living for a weekend in a half-finished camper is…well, it’s messy and a little stressful. (But still better than a tent.)

Let me remind you what we started with:


Old but decent, right? I was very optimistic when we first checked it out and thought we’d just be doing some deep cleaning, making some new cushion covers, and adding a bit of paint. Well, here’s all the damage we found when we got home and began moving things around. These pictures were taken after Jake started ripping out the rotting wood:

Yuck. We’re working on what we’re calling “Phase One”, which basically means all the living area. After this summer, we’ll start on the “bedroom.” Here’s what we accomplished last summer (we were on a time crunch and didn’t get many pictures):

  • Jake reroofed the entire living area. New supports, new insulation, new everything. He rolled the aluminum back and rebuilt the entire roof.
  • We pulled out the folding bunk that doubles as a storage cabinet over the dinette, the upper cabinets in the kitchen, the heater, the stove, the interior panels on all exterior walls, and all the old, nasty insulation.
  • Jake replaced one beam on the passenger side of the camper. (My Uncle Jim helped with that while he was visiting last summer!)
  • We replaced the camper cushions, and I made new covers. I sewed about a zillion yards of piping:


  • I sewed new curtains.
  • We put up new foamboard insulation and replaced the side panels. (We were working on this the night before we left for Silverjack Reservoir. The night is a blur, but I remember constantly looking at the clock. We finally went to bed after midnight, and then we got up at six to finish the project before we had to leave at ten in the morning. We ended up pulling out of town at five in the afternoon. Better late than never.)
  • Jake sealed everything he put back in place.
  • We replaced the faulty door handle.
  • We cleaned and sanitized and cleaned some more.

What we’re working on and have planned now:

  • Jake is going to rewire the entire camper, install a 12-volt battery system, prep for eventual solar, and put in all new LED lights. He’s also going to update all the outlets.
  • We are repairing and fixing up the cabinets, and Jake is rebuilding all the drawer fronts and doors. To brighten up the tiny space, I am painting the cabinets white, and I’ve bought a very pale gray for the walls. We’re also updating all the cabinet hardware.
  • We are completely replacing the countertop and table, and we are going to buy a new support leg.
  • I’ve decided to add blinds to the windows. At this point, I’m not sure if I’m going to keep the curtains or leave them for decoration.
  • We are rebuilding the bunk above the dinette from scratch, and I’m going to sew a safety net so Chelsea doesn’t accidentally roll out of her “Camping Princess Hideaway.” (Sidenote: Jake and I both rolled out of high camper bunk beds when we were kids. Weird, right?)
  • The appliances are surprisingly in great shape, but we will be spraying the oven and heater cover with high-heat shiny black paint. The fridge panel will be updated as well, but I’m not sure what we’re doing with it yet. I want chalkboard paint. Jake does not.
  • We will pull out the badly-installed laminate floating floor, clean the original linoleum REALLY well, and lay peel-and-stick vinyl planks. Want to take a look at the ones we’ve picked out from Lowes? >>Click Here<<
  • Jake is going to check all the windows, doors, and seams for signs of new leaks. After that, he’s going to seal everything again.
  • We’re going to add aluminum plating to the rear of the camper where the original doors were damaged, and Jake’s adding another exterior storage cubby.
  • We are going to redo the interior roof panel. We used a flexible sheet of thick plastic paneling that looked like it would work well, but it’s already beginning to sag.

There’s probably more, but I’m writing this late at night, and my brain is done. We’ll take pictures as we go. I’m not sure how long all the new updates are going to take, but we’re hoping to have them finished in just a couple months.

Though the camper is the size of a postage stamp, I’m still thinking of some cute decor I can add. I designed this graphic for the wall over the dinette (cart before the horse and all that). You can check it out on Zazzle in our Bunny Trail shop. >>Click Here to View the Wall Sticker<<CanvaBunnyTrailAdventureThat’s about it for now! I’ll add more camper updates soon.

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