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Buying a cheap camper in 2023 is nearly impossible. COVID kicked off an unprecedented demand for campers, RVs, camper vans, and any other kind of rolling home you could imagine. As the demand has risen, so have the prices by a lot. However, one builder turned a crusty old box truck and $700 into a simple yet effective camper van. Good luck trying to get a DIY camper cheaper than that. 

How to build a cheap camper?

The YouTube Channel Smpl Builds, is all about building cool custom vehicles simply and cheaply. He has built cars, trucks, campers, and more using his creativity and simple building skills. 

This camper build starts as a dirty old work truck that the builder’s dad used for work for years. Our intrepid builder started by cleaning the truck out. Once cleaned out, he began his $700, 4-day build. 

This might not impress you if you are used to seeing six-figure camper van/truck builds. The DIY camper build build is simple and cheap. While not a luxury Airstream, this camper is rad because it is available to everyone. He measures and cuts 2x4s and screws them together for the bed frame. He then takes those scraps and some other lumber and builds a shelf/storage rack. White spray paint coats on the inside walls of the conversion camper. He then paints the wooden floor of the camper truck with regular brown house paint. 

The kitchen is a bit more complicated, as you might imagine. In an effort to keep things simple, he basically mounted a plastic bucket into the table he made. He admits the galley kitchen isn’t exactly useful without plumbing, but that will come later. The finished product isn’t overly pretty, stylish, or anything other than practical and cheap. The entire build took four days and $700. 

What is the cheapest camper on the market? 

Aside from building your own camper, there aren’t many cheap new campers outside of micro camper trailers. Some of those can be under $10k, but they require a vehicle and are extremely small. 

The Free Bird is usually the first brand to pop for being the cheapest camper brand. Starting at $37,665, the Caravan Outfitter’s Free Bird is the cheapest new camper in America right now. While this camper is exponentially nicer than this DIY box truck camper conversion, the cost reflects that. 

Is a DIY camper worth it? 

The inside of the finished box truck camper
Finished box truck camper | Smpl Builds

The beauty of a DIY camper is that it can be as beautiful and well-kitted as your skills and budget will allow. That spectrum covers everything from this extremely bare-bones camper to this DIY Toyota Tacoma camper build. The options are endless but can be as simple and easy as you like. Thanks to the current market, DIY campers could be the answer to getting out there into the wild regardless of your budget. Do you think a DIY camper is worth it? Let us know in the comments section below!