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Atomic Camper Is Still the World’s Coolest Handmade RV, Still on the Road

It would be difficult, if not downright impossible, to make a definitive list of the world’s coolest and most awesome recreational vehicles. But all attempts at it will include, without a doubt, the Atomic Camper.
The Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summer 33 photos
The Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summerThe Atomic Camper is a space-age-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summer
Atomic Camper is an older creation, one that first registered on the radar of international media in late 2014. This coincided with the RV’s official introduction, capping off two years of hard work by creator Bill Guernsey from Alaska. He designed and built it by himself, by hand, while recovering from severe injuries suffered in a plane crash. We’re talking about a back broken in three places-kind of injury, to be clear.

Guernsey comes from a family of builders – carpenters and steelworkers whose motto was “build it, make it, do it.” He has skill in his DNA, or rushing through his veins, and he’d already put it to use before the 2012 plane accident that sidelined him for two years: he had built another camper, restored a couple of cars, and fabricated most of the furniture he had around the house.

Being forced to recover from his injuries meant he had to keep himself occupied while home-confined, so he started working on the idea of a camper that would be inspired by his childhood, artsy yet perfectly capable to provide for two during extended trips. That RV became the Atomic Camper, unofficially the coolest, most awesome and impressive DIY camper trailer ever created. Proof that he’s done an excellent job with it comes from the fact that it’s still on the road as we speak, still visually striking and still functional.

The Atomic Camper is a space\-age\-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summer
It took Guernsey two full years to complete the Atomic Camper, working on it six hours a day, six days a week. After all, when you’re the active kind and you’re bedridden, you have no choice but to find another “job” to pass the time. In Guernsey’s case, that meant focusing on the details of the Atomic Camper that he could not yet build.

When he was able to get out of bed, he started the actual construction in his garage, approaching it as he would a canoe. He chose a 16-foot (4.9-meter) boat trailer as base, and built the RV with a plywood-ribbed frame, with thin wooden strips serving as lathes and giving it the football shape. Guernsey covered the wood with paper mache, fiberglass and filler.

The interior is also furnished in wood, some of it laminate, some exotic like jatoba and tigerwood, which offer a stark contrast to the more mundane walnut, holly, walnut, birch and ash. Even the backsplash in the kitchen, a very elegant and surprising harlequin pattern, is wood. Old photographs and magazine covers from the ‘50s and ‘60s, mostly from Popular Mechanics, form the wallpaper. There’s also copper and silver accents, steampunk elements, recycled stuff, and more wood art throughout, from the door handles on the furniture to the appliances, and the wall art.

Atomic Camper offers sleeping for two people, though probably three could squeeze in just as comfortably. The kitchen sits in the nose, and comes with a sink and a proper dual-burner propane oven, plenty of storage, hidden fridge, and decently-sized cooking space. The living is made up of two sofas on each side, and they extend to form a king-size bed. The wet bathroom is at the rear, and includes a sink, a toilet, shower and even storage for essential bath stuff.

The Atomic Camper is a space\-age\-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summer
With the Atomic Camper, Guernsey wanted to build his dream RV, but he also wanted it to be functional. To that end, he put solar panels on the roof, providing enough energy to run the lights and appliances for a few hours, a 20-gallon (76-liter) water tank that should be filled “only with Earth water,” a water pump, and a water heater. A propane grill is found outside, for those times when you’re not in the mood to do the cooking inside.

True to the theme, the Atomic Camper comes with its own ray gun and storm warning detectors, and features that come in handy on Earth, like power monitoring, exterior camera displays, and climate control. The porthole windows open halfway for better ventilation.

Guernsey once estimated he spent some $15,000 to build the Atomic Camper, but that obviously doesn’t include his skilled handiwork – just the supplies he bought from Habitat for Humanity “Re-store,” a shop that sells recycled and overstocked building materials to discourage waste. He and his wife used it for trips every summer for a while. In January 2016, the unique RV was shown in an episode of Extreme RV’s Travel Chanel and, soon afterward, listed for sale.

The Atomic Camper is a space\-age\-themed, homebuilt camper trailer that still roams Alaska every summer
It was bought by Victor and Carrie, who also inherited the Atomic Camper Facebook page, where they post photos and details about the rig. They also welcome visitors on board when they’re at camp, so if you’re ever in Alaska, this is one dream machine you won’t want to miss checking out.



Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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