The All-Wood "Original Cabover" Slide-In Camper Was the Bee's Knees and Cost Under $6K

Back in the day, only one primary material was used to build just about everything: wood. However, as the ages went by, this eco-friendly and renewable resource began being outshined by all sorts of composite materials. Yet, some manufacturers still see value in timeless lumber.
Original Cabover Truck Camper 11 photos
Photo: Casual Turtle Campers
Original Cabover Roof MembraneOriginal Cabover Truck CamperOriginal Cabover InteriorOriginal Cabover BeddingOriginal Cabover InteriorOriginal Cabover BeddingOriginal Cabover BeddingOriginal CaboverOriginal Cabover InteriorOriginal Cabover Interior
One such team is Casual Turtle Campers. If you've never heard of this crew from Colorado, it's time. Why show you another RV or camper manufacturer? Simply because Casual Turtle is the sort of crew that stands out from others on the market, and guided by the images in the gallery, you can clearly see how they're different.

This brings us to the truck camper before us today. Dubbed the Original Cabover, it's the construction that really kicked things off for this team; it's the one that started it all. Before starting Casual Turtle, CEO Peter Pavlowich noticed that most truck campers on the market lacked a certain something, "variety and style," and that's how this flagship took flight.

Now, Casual Turtle is clearly a family-owned business, and because of this, they're able to create campers that are indeed as unique as their future owners. But, considering that each one is hand built, they can take up to about 12 weeks to complete.

Original Cabover Bedding
Photo: Casual Turtle Campers
Each camper, the Original included, is built with Western Red Cedar, a wood reported to feature a "low rate of shrinkage, and superior resistance to decay, moisture, and insects." Now, I'm not sure how resistant any wood can be to the elements, but this stuff is treated to withstand use, and integrated into the construction is a signature roofing system that uses a PVC membrane and a dome-like shape to create a top that naturally moves rain and snow away from the habitat. An added benefit of this shape is more headroom.

Suppose you call Casual Turtle after this article and want to adopt this sort of habitat for your own truck. Once you've slid it in, secured it to your bed, and finally hit the road, you'll stand out like a sore thumb in whatever glamping circles you decide to rest for the night; the truth is that very few folks still use a completely wooden camper. Be ready for lots of questions, including how much you paid for this bugger.

Speaking of pricing, I don't mean to alarm you in any way, but if you're looking to get an Original for something like an F-150 truck, you're looking at a starting price tag of no more than $5,900 (€5,800 at current exchange rates). That has to be the most affordable camper I've ever written about, and that says something.

Original Cabover Interior
Photo: Casual Turtle Campers
Sure, for this sort of cash, you won't be accessing any built-in bathrooms or galleys, but then again, this is the sort of unit that's meant to simply offer a warm place for sleeping, clean dining, and if you want to take on some cooking. With some basic utensils and supplies, a portable toilet, an outdoor shower, and a way to heat that water, you should still be able to unlock a glamping experience for under $10K. While the inside offers nothing more than a bed, dinette, and some storage space, it's all you need. After all, what did you expect for this sort of cash?

At the end of the day, it's not the largest or most capable off-grid camper you will ever meet, but it doesn't have to be. This one is for those folks that just want to get to explore without having to drop their life savings on a unit that offers the luxuries of a mansion. This is the authentic way to enjoy the outdoors. Sadly, while coming Casual Turtle's website, I noticed a little disclaimer that states they ceased production back in 2016. No motives, nothing. Just an iota of hope saying, "This may not be for good." Fingers crossed for the future.
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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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