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Ambulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed Interior

There are various vehicles you can choose from to build a tiny home on wheels. The most popular choices are vans, but you can also go for a school bus, a step van, a box truck, and others. But one of my favorite base vehicles for a camper is an ambulance. Today, I'm covering a well-equipped 4x4 ambulance build that serves as a comfortable mobile home.
Ambulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed Interior 23 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Brandon Gross
Ambulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed InteriorAmbulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off-Roading Beast With a Well-Designed Interior
So, what are the pros and cons of making an ambulance camper conversion? First, since they're emergency vehicles, they're very durable. Even better, they're typically maintained well throughout the years, so even if you find an older model with many miles, chances are you'll have little to no issues with it.

Another significant factor influencing many people looking to build a camper is price. When dealing with ambulances, you'll discover they're affordable, as the demand for used ambulances is relatively low. And lastly, you get a bunch of storage compartments in ambulances, both inside and outside.

On the other hand, converting an ambulance comes with its challenges. The main ones are devising the layout and maintaining it. Because it comes with a pre-built layout, you're a bit limited in designing your ideal setup. It's doable, but taking it apart is quite tricky due to its sturdy build.

Another thing to consider is stealthiness – ambulances will stick out like a sore thumb wherever you are. Some people enjoy the attention, but if you're looking to do stealth camping, it will make it close to impossible.

Ambulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off\-Roading Beast With a Well\-Designed Interior
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Brandon Gross
Regarding maintenance, even if it still runs and has been well maintained, they're still old vehicles, so you can expect frequent repairs. But this pretty much applies to all older vehicles.

And lastly, you have to keep in mind the legal side of things. You're not legally allowed to keep any feature that suggests it's an active ambulance, such as emergency lights or decals.

What we have here today is a 2011 Chevy Express 4500 that operated as an ambulance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It sports a diesel 6.6-liter Duramax engine. Brandon was the owner of this rig, and he converted it into a tiny home on wheels. It has since been sold for quite a pretty penny. Brandon listed his mobile home for a hefty $95,000 (€86,578). It's up to you to decide if the cost was worth it – at least someone out there (the current owner) thought it was a fair price to pay.

Brandon has been living full-time on the road for more than five years. He used to live in a much roomier skoolie conversion, but he ended up downsizing and converting this ambulance into an off-roading machine.

Ambulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off\-Roading Beast With a Well\-Designed Interior
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Brandon Gross
Originally, the rig had a two-wheel drive, but he converted it to 4x4 with the help of AJ's 4x4 Vans in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company also added an 8-inch lift and fully custom front bumper with two recovery points and a Smittybilt winch, as well as a Dana 60 front axle and coil springs.

The vehicle rides on 33-inch wheels with BF Goodrich KM3s with a dually setup in the rear. Due to the rig's weight, the only way he could ride on single tires was if he opted for 41-inch tires, which he didn't want because of the lower MPG. Currently, he gets around 11-12 MPG (19-21 L/100km).

There are a bunch of exterior features on this rig. On the passenger's side, you'll discover a storage compartment holding two starting batteries, a slide-out drawer, and two other compartments, one of which is massive. Move to the opposite side of the rig, and you'll discover many other storage compartments that are way bigger than the ones I've already mentioned. There's even a long one that holds Brandon's gear, such as a wet suit, a snowboard, a parachute, and more.

Two of them house part of the electrical system. It consists of four 100 Ah lithium batteries, a DC/DC charger, and a 3,000 W inverter. One other compartment hides the rig's plumbing system, featuring a 30-gallon (114-liter) freshwater tank, a grey water tank, and a 5-gallon (19-liter) water heater powered by a propane tank. Other notable elements include a diesel heater and a dual air compressor system, which is especially useful to have if you plan on going off the beaten path.

Ambulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off\-Roading Beast With a Well\-Designed Interior
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Brandon Gross
And lastly, at the rear, Brandon added a swing-away bumper rack where he stores his dirtbike, a 2015 Suzuki RMZ 450.

You can access the roof by climbing on a rear ladder. The rear area up top is flat because Brandon wanted to have as much space as possible to run off the ambulance because he likes cliff diving. And that's why he also put some grip tapes on the roof; the last thing you want is slipping and falling from there. The roof also houses a 9,500-BTU, 120 V A/C unit, a Maxxair fan, and four 100 W solar panels.

The cool thing about ambulances is that they don't require additional reinforcement or a roof rack to support the weight of multiple people. Brandon explained that he had around 9-10 people on it without any issues. Furthermore, that also means that if you go off-roading in it, it will be able to withstand the bumps and scratches you won't be able to avoid.

As soon as you step inside, you'll find a well-designed space with many useful features. Brandon gutted the whole interior to make room for his ideal setup, and he custom-built everything that you'll see inside.

Ambulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off\-Roading Beast With a Well\-Designed Interior
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Brandon Gross
You have the kitchen dead ahead – it boasts a decently sized countertop, a two-burner stove, a sink, a microwave, and a flip-up table for additional counter space. The fridge is integrated right by the entrance and comes with a sizable freezer area. For storage, Brandon uses various drawers and cabinets.

Near the kitchen, toward the front of the interior, you'll notice a tall cabinet. Open its door, and you'll discover the ambulance's original motherboard, an electrical compartment that seems impossible to decipher, given the many wires, fuses, and all that jazz. Brandon removed as much as he could from there, but he was still left with many components because he still uses the rig's factory A/C.

Right beside, you'll see the driver's cabin, which is accessible through a pass-through door, making it easy for Brandon to simply drive away whenever he wants without needing to exit the vehicle like in other builds. The driver's cabin is pretty much stock, except for a backup camera and switches for exterior lights. Bandon uses the spaces behind the seats for storage, where he also has a portable power station.

And lastly, we have the lounge area/ bedroom. A twin-size bed is set up on linear actuators, so he can lower it whenever he wants to sleep and bring it back up in the day setup. It's a great way of maximizing the available space.

Ambulance Turned Tiny Home on Wheels Is an Off\-Roading Beast With a Well\-Designed Interior
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Brandon Gross
Underneath it, you'll notice Brandon's e-bike, a Talaria Sting, which takes up a lot of room. By the way, the Sting is a solid option for an e-bike - check out my review of it. Some of you might not understand his wish to carry both an e-bike and a motorcycle on this rig, but being an e-bike and motorbike rider myself, I understand it. Moreover, these two-wheelers make shorter trips much more fun and quick.

In the lounge area, you'll discover a hanging closet and some other spacious storage compartments, two benches, one double the size of the other, and a dinette table. The area can be turned into an extra bedroom in case he wants to house guests.

All in all, Brandon's rig is very well-equipped, and it's impressive how much storage he has onboard. Of course, $95K is a lot, but given the amount of work poured into this build, the off-road capabilities, and its aesthetically pleasing design, I'd say it's mostly justifiable.

One thing that’s lacking is a bathroom – there's no toilet on this camper, and the only way to wash yourself is an outdoor shower.

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About the author: Mircea Mazuru
Mircea Mazuru profile photo

Starting out with a motorcycle permit just because he could get one two years earlier than a driver's license, Mircea keeps his passion for bikes (motor or no motor) alive to this day. His lifelong dream is to build his own custom camper van.
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