There’s no doubt about it. Living full-time in a truck camper is now more popular than ever. Thousands are migrating from ponderous RVs to truck camper life. Lindsey, who goes by the moniker “Girl Gone Glamping” on social media, is one such person. Lindsey grew up in a farm town outside of Buffalo, New York and spent six years living in New York City and Chicago, until she got sick of the city life and decided to hit the road. What started out as a one-year trip in an Airstream then an EarthRoamer quickly became a lifestyle. She’s now approaching half a decade on the road, with no signs of letting up.
Her choice in truck camper is an Overland Explorer Vehicles X-10. For the time being, Overland Explorer Vehicles is concentrating on building pop-up campers like the Camp-X and Camp-M, but will soon be coming out with a new and improved X-10 in 2022. Lindsey’s X-10 truck camper rig allows her to live out all of her dreams and hobbies, which includes skiing, hiking, exploring national parks, and riding dirt bikes. To learn more about her and about life on the road, Lindsey was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Hi, Lindsey. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We admire your lifestyle, what do you do for a living?
Lindsey: I started a logistics Brokerage 11 years ago, and have been running it full-time from the road. This fall will be five years of traveling full-time, solo on the road.
You’ve owned and rented other types of rigs? Why did you decide to buy an Overland Explorer Vehicle X-10 truck camper?
Lindsey: I started out of an Airstream, which I truly loved! Eventually I got sick of towing, and setting everything up by myself. I didn’t have solar or lithium, so I was always dependent on campgrounds, which became expensive, and felt a little limiting. Also, Airstreams, while they are great travel trailers, they are not good in the winter and I do a ton of winter camping, and skiing! So I started looking for true four-season rigs. I stumbled upon EarthRoamer, and fell in love quickly! I spent weeks and weeks trying to figure out how to rent one, and finally something clicked. I rented an EarthRoamer and set off on a five-month winter trek to hit every Ikon Pass Ski Resort west of the Mississippi. Two weeks into this incredible trip, I knew I was over towing a trailer, and wanted an all-in-one type set up. While EarthRoamer price tags were a little out of my reach, I started Googling “poor man’s EarthRoamer.” That’s how I stumbled upon OEV’s X-10 flatbed campers. They only made five of these flatbed campers and mine was the prototype. With internal tanks, and a few other key components, I knew I could make this work all year long. I bought it sight unseen and then spent a few months making modifications and upgrades to it!
How long have you owned it?
Lindsey: Two years!
Can you tell us about your Overland Explorer Vehicles X-10 truck camper and why you chose that particular make and model?
Lindsey: I loved the fact that my OEV X-10 can be dismounted. I thought that was genius, and also really good for resale. The diesel Espar furnace was a big plus (for winter RV’ing). The camper honestly met a lot of my “must haves.” I was dead set on having a toilet and shower that I can fully stand up in—I’m 5-foot 10-inches tall—I also wanted the sleeping bunk to have a decent head clearance, so I could sit up in there, watch a movie, etc. The EarthRoamer did not have much head room, and it made me feel claustrophobic. I liked having a separate dining table/work set up, I didn’t want to convert my bed to a table each day. I loved that the over all size of the rig wasn’t too monstrous. Yes, it’s tall, but it really only sticks out of a regular parking space by only 1 to 2 feet. It’s still manageable to park in cities, etc, and the overall build quality is truly top notch! It’s entirely a composite camper, no wood except the wood storage shelf I added.
You mentioned that you made several mods and upgrades to your camper. What exactly did you do to it?
Lindsey: I had the hot water system re-done, using VanLifeTech’s on-demand hot water system. I wanted to set my camper up to be as close to “home” as possible, for long-term success. I added solar, new batteries, a very cool 12 volt air conditioner by Cruise-N-Comfort USA with 8,000 BTUs! In the low-speed, whisper mode the air conditioner only consumes 42 amps. My Dad is a welder and helped engineer an exterior ski box that goes on the rear of the truck, also a folding step to get in and out of the camper with ease, a metal shelf for storage inside the camper as well. I also added an extra strip of rear brake lights, to be more visible on the road. I added in two very large windows as well, one on the nose of the camper, and one on the side wall. We also made an extension to convert my table to a standing desk.
Can you tell us more about your camper’s electrical system?
Lindsey: I invested a ton in solar and batteries! I am running three 330 watt solar panels, four 100 amp hour Lion lithium batteries, and I use Victron’s equipment for my solar charger, inverter, etc.
Nice! We love your truck. Can you tell us more about it? Did you need to make any modifications to it to haul your camper?
Lindsey: It’s a 2014 RAM 3500, 6.4L HEMI, Tradesmen flatbed, SRW, crew-cab. I added a back-up camera, Bluetooth, security dash cam, new front bumper, fender flairs, and a removable ski box on the rear. Some running boards as well.
The truck’s GVWR from the factory was rated for 11,400 pounds with the stock parts. Any vehicle can be modified (professionally) to change these capacities. Having added a Dana 60 Rear Axle, additional leaf springs, a Timbren Rear Suspension System, as well as Yokohoma Geolander 10 Ply E-rated tires rated Max Load Single 4,080 pounds (which means 16,320 pounds total) and a 1.25-inch sway bar. The rig honestly handles really well! Loaded up with gear, fully wet, and me in it, I think I was at 13,400 pounds last time I took it over a CAT Scale. It doesn’t squat at all!
We love your front bumper. Who made it?
Lindsey: I took off the original bumper, and added a Trail-FX bumper and guard. I used Plastidip to cover the original chrome that was on the grill, and then put some fender flairs on the front wheel hubs. I want to add a light bar on the front still!
Do you have any regrets in any of your truck and camper choices? Anything you wished that you had done differently?
Lindsey: Coming from living in an Airstream, then traveling in an EarthRoamer, I really have figured out what works best for me over the years, and took my time with this build. It’s almost exactly how I want it! A few things I would change/add: I’d prefer a rear booth dining area (with my furnace pointing towards the nose of the camper). I would have loved heated floors, and I also want to redo the outside graphics to more of a mountain scene. Other than that, I really wouldn’t change a thing!
Where have you taken your truck camper so far?
Lindsey: All over the United States, and into Western Canada. I want to driver it to Alaska next summer!
What kind of mileage are you getting with your setup?
Lindsey: 9.5 mpg with my Ram 6.4L HEMI, gas engine.
What kind of places are you planning to visit in your truck camper rig?
Lindsey: I love the mountains, British Columbia is one of my faves. I’m planning to do some heli-skiing up there this winter! I do hope to travel to Alaska next summer as well!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your rig?
Lindsey: Overland Explorer Vehicles made five of these X-10 campers, mine was the prototype. It really is such a great fit for me. I spend four-plus months in freezing temps, at altitude skiing and hiking. It’s the perfect house to come home to. It can take me to a lot of off-the-beaten paths spots too. Being a totally composite camper, even if I left the sky light open and it got drenched inside, I could just wipe it out and it would be fine! It’s made like a boat! Also, WAY less likely to leak! I also have a Wallas Diesel Cooktop that doubles as a spare furnace too. This way I don’t have any propane on board. I can carry 42 gallons of fresh water (all tanks are internal) and it has a Thetford 5 gallon cassette toilet. The camper also has five outside weather proof storage bins—I can carry a lot of gear with me, including a High-Lift Jack.
What have been the biggest challenges working on the road?
Lindsey: I think the biggest challenge, for me, has been balancing work and play. There are days where I’m in the middle of nowhere, and could work 13 hours straight because there is not much else to do, and other days I’m tempted to work only three hours and then go ski the rest of the day. So I try to check-in with myself weekly to make sure I’m at least aiming for that balance.
Being a full-timer, do you have any tips for our readers on how to stay organized in such a small space?
Lindsey: Organization is so essential. Finding the right system that works for you is key. I use compression bags for alternate season clothing. In the summer, I have all my winter clothes packed into compression bags and stored in my back seat of my truck, come winter I swap them out for my summer clothes, etc. Every change of season or two, I try to go through and take a bag of things I haven’t used or no longer need to Goodwill as well.
Do you have any advice for others thinking about truck camper life?
Lindsey: When I first bought my Airstream, truck campers were not even on my radar. Now I don’t think I would ever go back! The ease of having everything you own with you all in one, is so freeing! I always tell people to make a list of what they absolutely need in a camper and go from there. Worrying about storage isn’t that big of deal to me, you learn to live with less!
Do you have a website and/or social media channels that our readers can follow?
Lindsey: I do. I’m happy to try and answer any other questions folks may have! Feel free to reach out to me either on my website, on Instagram, or on YouTube.
I don’t get the Dana 60 axle since Dana 70 was used in the older 3/4 ton and 80 in one ton trucks and the AAM 11.5 is the modern axle similar to the Dana 80. The 60 was only a 6500 lb axle and the 80 is 11k rated. Big question, does the truck actually have a recertification on the door post or some document?
The gross rating of 4 tires doesn’t mean too much, the gross rating and load of the rear 2 are the deciding factor.