custom pop up camper
Photo from TylerThompson21 on Imgur

DIY Dream: Build This Amazing Custom Camper

Rooftop tents are cool. Tiny homes custom built for your truck are sensational.

custom pop up camper
Photo from TylerThompson21 on Imgur

Erin Sofinowski and Tyler Thompson are especially good at two things: Custom building adventure gear for their truck and posting pictures of it on the internet.

Yesterday, the duo updated their Imgur (then Instagram, then Reddit) with a jaw-dropping gif.

The animated loop above represents the culmination of three months of labor. And, according to their posts, a dedication to a “dream setup” the couple share.

Sofinowski and Thompson documented the entire process of building the “Adventure Truck 2.0” in painstaking detail. And the full video of the hard-sided, pop-up camper in action somehow manages to do justice to the work the couple put into building it.

pop-up camper building
Erin Sofinowski at work on Adventure Truck 2.0. Photo from TylerThompson21 on Imgur

Adventure Truck 2.0: Hard-Side Pop-Up Camper

finished pop up camper
Adventure Truck 2.0 from the inside. Photo from TylerThompson21 on Imgur

According to their post in the DIY subreddit, the duo took a year off from working to travel. And to make their adventures truly special, they decided to dedicate a quarter of that time to building this custom camper.

They estimate the build cost them about $6,000, which they had saved. That’s hefty for a topper, but totally reasonable for a live-in recreational vehicle.

The couple – affectionately dubbed “get.the.truck.out” on Instagram – meticulously outlined the steps to build this pop-top in a string of more than 50 captioned process photos.

The two used a friend’s garage to house the initial phase of the build. There, they chopped a standard aluminum topper fit for a mid-size pickup. They then extended the topper to be cabover length. And the key to the build was increasing the height of the topper by giving it hinged, folding walls.

pop up camper topper chopped
Tyler Thompson removing modifying the original topper. Photo from TylerThompson21 on Imgur

But it doesn’t end there. The pair go on to outline every single step that followed – from welding the frame to insulating the topper, installing plumbing, and wiring the living quarters.

truck topper custom
Double-decker topper frame. Photo from TylerThompson21 on Imgur

Along the way, they detail all the space-saving hacks often seen in tiny homes. For example, the storage cupboard doubles as a work station. And the sleeping platform is retractable.

There’s a small kitchen with plumbed sink and propane stove, optional outboard galley, mattress for two, bench seating, and hideaway gear compartments. The only thing the build lacks is a bathroom.

custom pop up camper
Roll-out sleeping quarters. Photo by TylerThompson21 on Imgur

But as many commenters noted, and the couple reiterated, they will take this on outdoor adventures and camping getaways. The same rules would apply to Adventure Truck 2.0 that apply to any camper – cat holes, park restrooms, or, you know, Walmart.

Adventure Truck 1.0

It’s worth noting this isn’t the first time Thompson – and the white Tacoma – have made waves in the adventure rig world. In 2015, before meeting Sofinowski, he built a custom sliding sleep and storage system that grabbed headlines in the San Francisco Globe.

truck canyon camper
Folded down, Thompson’s custom pop-up camper looks like any other truck. Photo from TylerThompson21 on Imgur

That original design allowed them to organize gear using a sliding compartmentalized storage bay. Above it was a simple plywood platform for a futon mattress.

And while that paved the way for AT2.0, the pair had to bid it farewell.

sliding storage sleep camper truck
The original Adventure Truck build by Tyler Thompson. Photo from Imgur

“After three years of service, we realized the original adventure truck was ready for an upgrade. We disassembled the drawer and sold the canopy to start fresh,” they wrote.

And you might wonder how they heck they knew how to pull this off. For one, they told us, Sofinowski saved religiously for both the build and the trip. And Thompson has a degree in industrial design and a background as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. Together, they have the skills, resources, and lust for adventure.

Friends, Family, Adventure (Truck)

And for those who think this project is just about roughing it, the couple added an important qualifier: It was a labor of love and support.

“The initial phase – metal work – was made possible by our friends Dennis and Nancy, who graciously let use their metal shop,” the couple told us from the road. “And the second phase – wood working and interior – was made possible by the use of Tyler’s parents’ wood shop… and their support!”

Of course, they also acknowledged the help they provided one another.

“We’d both like to take a moment to say how fortunate we are to have found a partner who was interested in sharing and pursuing this dream.”

pop-up camper truck canyon
Photo from TylerThompson21 on Imgur

Just as we published this story, the couple reached out. They told us they are currently on a North American road trip, en route to El Portero Chico in Mexico. Along the way they intend to backpack, ski, splitboard, and most importantly, climb.

If you want to learn more or follow along on Adventure Truck 2.0’s journeys, check it out on Imgur, Instagram, and the DIY subreddit.

Looking for a little help building your dream truck? Check out the lightweight Leentu camper shell:

Meet Leentu, the 150-Pound Pop-Up Camper
Meet Leentu, the 150-Pound Pop-Up Camper
Move over Sprinter Van, there's a new adventure-mobile in town. The Leentu pop-up camper will transform your truck into a road trip machine. Read more…

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.