‘Stealth Studio’ One-Ups Van Life Trend With Apartment Truck

Designed as an affordable, in-city option, the converted Ford E-350 box truck contains a study, standard shower, kitchen, gear garage, and patio.

At the start of 2021, a grad student named Jason was at the start of a big transition. Already several years into his career, he decided to change gears and pursue a master’s degree in urban planning. However, applying for graduate programs, juggling gigs, and keeping within his budget would require something affordable and flexible.

So, he picked up a shelled-out 2004 Ford E-350 box truck off Craigslist and tapped his friend, Matt Erickson of Stealth Studio, to help with the build-out. The two morphed the mini-freighter into a fully functional studio apartment, complete with a gear garage and fold-out patio.

In this tour, Jason takes us through the 125 square-foot space and its many clever innovations. The design’s functional aspects include a standard 32 x 32-inch shower, composting toilet, and full-size study. He fitted the urban studio with rooftop solar and a lithium battery setup which, considering the array of appliances and tech going on within the truck, is necessary.

“Think about your goals,” Jason said. “Then build something that works for you.” Aspiring van lifers, this one’s for you.

Runtime: 15 minutes

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Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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