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Mobile Vacation Home Plans
Build a Vintage Movable Bugout Cabin

Cover of plans for building mobile vacation home.
Mobile Vacation Home Plans
Build a Vintage Movable Bugout Cabin
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Mobile Vacation Home
Mounted on a truck chassis, the removable rolling home can be taken right to your favorite vacation spot or bug out location.
Having dinner outside the removable mobile cabin.
Mounted on a truck chassis (above),
The rolling home can be taken
right to your favorite vacation spot.
Wherever the open road
may take you, this
compact home-on-wheels
provides comfortable
lodging for two after a
long day's driving.
By Ken Hore
Figure 1. Mobile Vacation Home Interior Details and Dimensions.
Figure 1. Mobile Vacation Home Interior Details and Dimensions.
I WANTED a two-person, dual-purpose cabin. It had to be mobile for trips anywhere in Canada, the United States and Mexico, and adaptable for use as a semi-permanent vacation home and bug out cabin in the woods. Since I'm a retired bookseller, not a craftsman, I needed a simple project that could be built by anyone, so I worked up plan accordingly.

I built the cabin and mounted it on the chassis of a 3/4-ton pickup truck. Then I took it on a five-month, 17,000 mile trip. Soon it will be set on concrete blocks for a vacation retreat. Maybe it'll prove to be of interest to you. If so, you can easily build it by following these instructions and studying the photos and drawings.

The first step it to check the location of the wheels of your truck to be sure that they will fit the wheel-wells, as shown on the framing plan for the bottom. Of course, all plan dimensions can be altered to suit your individual needs, size of truck, etc.
 

The simple stud-wall, box-type construction of the the cabin is completed before tackling the cabinet work. Plywood is used for the walls, ceiling and flooring.
The simple stud-wall, box-type construction of the the cabin is completed before tackling the cabinet work. Plywood is used for the walls,
ceiling and flooring.
When the floor frame is completed, nail and glue 1/2-in. sheet plywood to it to make the floor. This should be trimmed flush at the edges and the corners beveled, as shown in the drawing. The molded portion of the corner posts will be cut to cover this bevel. Turn the floor section over, attach the insulation, and then nail and glue the 3/8-in. plywood sheeting to the bottom.
Figure 2. Mobile Vacation Home Framing, Sheathing, and Roof to Wall Joint Details.
Figure 2. Mobile Vacation Home Framing, Sheathing, and Roof to Wall Joint Details.
The floor section should now be turned right side up, set on small blocks and leveled. Considerable care should be taken to get it level so that the rest of construction will be true.

The walls and top are framed next, using the lumber sizes specified on the plans.

Quarter-inch plywood is then nailed and glued to the inside of the wall framing and the bottom of the roof. The plywood extends beyond the wall-framing on each end so as to fasten to the corner posts. Extend it to 1 3/4-in. on the sides and 1 1/2-in. on the front and back walls. The plywood ceiling is set flush with the rabbeted edge formers. Countersink all nail heads and cover with plastic wood to make a smooth surface.

When the entire unit is assembled, including nailing and gluing the corner posts, the cabinet work is begun. Material cut from the corner posts and molded roof framing need not be wasted, for it can be utilized in the concealed framing of the counters and wall cupboards.

At this point the wheel wells can be boxed in. Cut the well arcs from 3/4-in. plywood. These arcs are fastened to the floor and then the wells are covered with galvanized sheeting. Then lay down Fiberglass batting and bend a piece of 1/4-in. plywood over this

Figure 3. Mobile Bug Out Cabin Left and Right Side, Front and Back Wall, Floor and Roof Layout and Dimensions.
Figure 3. Left and Right Side, Front and Back Wall, Floor and Roof Layout and Dimensions.
The corner posts for the counters and clothes-closet are 2x2's, rabbeted to take the 3/8-in. plywood ends. Rounding the exposed comers gives a finished look.

Use great care in cutting the openings over the stove and sink in the counter top. These pieces can be covered with linoleum in such a manner as to give an unbroken appearance when the stove and sink are not in use.

The cupboard doors, closet door, and drawer fronts are made of 3/4-in. plywood, rabbeted 3/8 x 1/2-in. Holes are used in the doors instead of knobs. The drawer fronts are routed to a depth 1/2-in. producing drawer pulls. If the drawer slides are notched in front, as shown in the detail drawing, they will not slide open when the truck is speeding around a corner.

The hinged edge of the upper bunk rests on a 1-in. strip along the front wall. It is fastened to this by three hinges. Under each end, near the outer edge, is a 1 x 3-in. oak lever. It is loosely bolted to the bunk near the inside end. A slot to receive it is cut in the wall and block, as shown in the wall-framing plan. The lever turns in and out of this slot. This proves to be a simple and effective means of holding the bunk in a horizontal position.

The top of the lower bunk is 3/8-in. plywood, hinged about four inches from the cabin wall to give access to the water tank, in the center, and stowage space on each end.

Notching the drawer slides at the front will keep them from sliding open when the truck is in motion.
Notching the drawer slides at the front will keep them from sliding open when the truck is in motion.
The bunks form a settee when the upper one is lowered to a near-vertical position to serve as a back. The table is set up immediately before the bunk. It is made by cutting a piece of 1/2-in. plywood, 24 x 32-in. The top edges of the two middle drawers are just 29 1/4-in. from the floor. When each of these is pulled out about two inches, the table may be laid across them at standard table height.

Wiring and piping are installed next. All wiring is run inside the side walls and roof.

Interior view shows sink, closet and lower bunk before finishing. Note refrigerator under stove.
Interior view shows sink, closet and lower bunk before finishing. Note refrigerator under stove.
The piping runs along the right side. A fresh water intake and a waste water drain are both cut in through the base, directly under the sink. The electric power inlet is located in the forward end, using a block and hole, as shown in drawing. It connects with a switch box.

At this point of construction, install the water tank. It is coated with auto body underseal to prevent sweating. Set it on heavy felt and hold in place by notched frames, screwed In. This will enable the tank to be removed rather easily, if the necessity should arise.

Now the roof can be finished. The top should be covered with good canvas cement, and the canvas covering, preferably in one piece, is stretched and worked down carefully. Staple or tack it in the center at one end and stretch tightly, fastening at the other end. Work similarly from the side centers. Stretch the canvas as tight as possible, and make a series of small folds around the corners.

When the canvas adheres firmly to the top and is fastened on the ends and sides, install the aluminum drip gutter, beginning in the middle of one end. Set this in a good bedding compound. When it is completely installed, trim off any surplus canvas below it.

Painting is next. Be sure to use plenty of sealer. Counting sealer, prime and finish coats, the original dual-purpose cabin had five coats outside and four inside. Give the canvas top three coats of aluminum paint.

Bunk Mattresses and linoleum on the floor and counter give the painted cabin an attractive appearance.
Bunk Mattresses and linoleum on the floor and counter give the painted cabin an attractive appearance.
Now the linoleum can be laid on the floor and counter tops, adding metal trim around the counter as the final touch. A 1/2 x 5/8-in. bead should be installed around the inner part of the door frame. Weather stripping should be added to it, to keep out dust.

The windows (with drip trough), door and ventilator are installed and cabin a ready for mounting on the chassis of your truck.

Mobile Vacation Home Bill of Materials
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