While not the first person or the last to retrofit a truck bed camper (check out the build by River City Rods at Sema 2017,) Jacob Witzling, a school teacher and small cabin builder created something that is sure to stop traffic. It is largely made up of reclaimed materials, and this unique shaped camper has a ton of personality and functionality.
The project started with a 1970’s F250 that wasn’t quite up to the quality the previous owner had described it. This development brought Jacob to the garage of Donny, a colorful Bostonian mechanic. Donny had as much personality as Jacob’s camper design (on paper at this point.) Donny made some basic repairs but critical for their long road trip plans for this summer. A new head-gasket and a solid tune-up got them on their way back to their build location.
Jacob sets out to build something that had both form and function—with a rhinoceros like appearance/shape—the narrowed front noise of the camper breaks with decades of boxy designs and should offer less wind resistance. Inside it has many of the same basic necessities just like a traditional camper (minus a bathroom.) It does have a small kitchenette, lots of storage and a queen size bed. Again, keeping with the recycled/reclaimed theme—the recycled wood inside and outside of the camper offers a ton of character. The warm colors of the wood give it a luxurious mountains lodge feel. Even though, the space is small – there is a lot of well-crafted space, storage and windows to expand the view.
Jacob has been building small cabins since he was in College. He has an design esthetic that makes the cabins look like Mother Nature nurtured them into existence. He has a pension for using moss as insulation and also as an exterior design element (he even snuck a little into the cabin design). His use of reclaimed wood and his ability to treat the wood creates new structures with a deep sense of warmth and history. This summer, he took the time to teach, tease and encourage his partner, Sara, to co-build the camper with him. She played a very active role in both the structure and the finished work—at the end Sara was no stranger to the tools of the trade.
The back doors of the camper are stunning and can be used in 2 different ways. French doors (opening widely), and Dutch doors (leaving the base closed to let in light and air with some additional privacy.) The camper has six sun lights/windows in its design--sure to create a nice evening cross draft through the windows and the Dutch doors.
As Jacob and Sara head off into wanderlust adventures—follow him on his personal Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/jacobwitzling/?hl=en
To Jacob, thanks for creating an original piece of moving art, thanks for including your partner in the build, and thanks for being a teacher to our kids.