Kimbo Is the Airstream of Truck-Mounted Turtle Shells: Solid and Cheap Camper Living

Truck campers come in all shapes and sizes, but every once in a while, I come across a machine that stands apart from the rest. This is the case with Kimbo Campers and their hand-crafted aluminum habitats. Oh, and just so we're on the same page here, you're sure to be interested once you see how much one of these babies costs.
Kimbo Camper 16 photos
Photo: Kimbo Campers LLC
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Sure, they've been in the news quite a bit in the past, but Kimbo Campers are so darned different that it still deserves some more attention. After all, this camper manufacturer could very well be considered the Airstream of the truck-mounted camper world, mainly because of all that aluminum, but then again, just read on folks.

Now, Kimbo Campers is one of those crews that doesn't belong to any conglomerate of brands, so this means that they're able to work outside preset industry standards. As a result, each owner of a Kimbo will receive a one-of-a-kind unit. After all, doing things by hand reflects in the final product.

For starters, let me point out that the manufacturer's website states that a 6 ft Kimbo camper starts off with a price tag of $23,000 (€21,500 at current exchange rates), and once you're done adding everything you need, you can very well be looking at a unit priced at $41K. This, of course, depends on just how raw you'd like your off-grid experience to be.

Kimbo Camper
Photo: Kimbo Campers LLC
But do not be mistaken; the Kimbo campers are not built for the sort of outdoor lovers who are looking for utter luxury. No, sir; this one is for those of us who want to explore without bounds, enveloped with all the basics we need and maybe a touch of technology so that we can tap into the powers of the natural world.

All this raw goodness starts off with a frameless aluminum shell that's been welded, riveted, and sealed to prevent the elements from tampering with your turtle shell. A brushed finish is also in place, and so is R5 insulation. Interior panels are brushed fabric and have that soft-touch feel.

Now, $23K only gets your hands on a rather bare unit, with just basics in place, such as dual-pane windows, MaxxAir 4500, and bamboo entrance/mudroom. Some dimmable LEDs, jack lifts, and tie-downs. A side ladder for access to your roof and solar outdoor lights are also included in your purchase.

Inside, on the other hand, two cushioned benches and a loft bed with a full-size mattress are in place. One feature I was surprised to see was the EcoFlow River Pro battery, offering 110 V outlets and USB ports for charging. But did you know that EcoFlow products rely on the power of the sun to recharge, among other means?

Kimbo Camper
Photo: Kimbo Campers LLC
For everything else, there's Mastercard or whatever means of payment you like to use, and frankly, you're going to need to invest a few thousand dollars to get this bugger read for just about anything your adventures throw at you. Luckily, there's plenty of wiggle room because a Kimbo camper comes in with a dry weight between 900 lbs (408 kg) and 1,188 lbs (539 kg).

Also, be sure to dive deeper into the size of trucks that can fit a Kimbo. Why? The base unit is fit for 6 ft (1.8 m) beds or greater, so full-size trucks are on the list too. You will, however, need to modify your bed, as is true for most campers of this nature.

From here, there are two ways you can go about things: you either bring the gear you already own and find ways to make it all fit, or you can sit back and let Kimbo handle the entire process. All you have to do is tell them what you want, maybe even where you want it, pay for everything, sign the receipt, and watch the magic happen.

As you do, you'll see a galley module come to life, a solar-powered system and fridge, too, and a bathroom setup inside and away from the elements. To maximize space, you ask for a folding bed setup, floor storage, and roof tracks and mounts for the gear that can take a beating.

Kimbo Camper
Photo: Kimbo Campers LLC
By the time you're done maxing out your Kimbo with everything the manufacturer offers, you'll hit that $41K mark, but the results will be the likes of what you see in the image gallery. I urge you to check that section of this article; it'll help you understand what's possible.

For the next few moments or so, I want you to try a little exercise in imagination. Picture yourself in the middle of a Kimbo mounted on the back of your favorite truck. You may see yourself at the base of some mountains, on the edge of a forest treeline, or on a beach.

As you do, you look around and realize that a life worth living isn't based on square footage and luxury; it's based on pushing your boundaries, tested by the world that made you in the first place. Can you resist? Of course, you can!

You'll even end up smiling through the whole process, with a hard drive full of photos of where you've been, texts on how the world made you feel, and where you might be going from here. What are you doing with $23K?
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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