Softshell Truck? This Snowboarder Built One

What do you get when you combine a 1953 GMC chassis and a duffel bag? This camper.

Austin Smith, a snowboarder from Oregon, spent half of 2018 living out of his converted ’53 GMC firetruck. But this isn’t any old truck. Smith’s built-out campervan is made with duffel bag materials (i.e., waterproof ballistic nylon), giving it that signature soft shell. 

“Pretty much everyone I asked thought a softshell camper was a bad idea. I spent years rigorously testing the durability of duffel bags,” said Smith. (Specifically, The North Face’s Base Camp duffel, the same material Smith used for his truck.)

Cue footage of Smith dropping a duffel out a second-story window, dragging it across a pinecone-studded field, and spraying it with a high-pressure hose.

In addition to the soft shell, the camper is also equipped with 1,000 W of solar power and a few other cool features. And this short video is just a sneak peek. To get the full scoop, check out Smith’s Instagram for more behind-the-scenes footage of the softshell camper in action.

Who knows? It might inspire your own unique camper build.

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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