Rijden met een offroad camper

Fire truck as the basis for an offroad camper

Fire trucks are increasingly used as the basis for building an off-road camper. Traveling to remote, often hard to reach places on our globe is becoming increasingly popular. For many people it has even become a way of life. Tell yourself, how great must it be to wake up in your own bed among the wild animals or with the most beautiful views on earth?

In this blog article you’ll read:

Traveling to remote, often hard-to-reach places on our globe is becoming increasingly popular. Photo taken from Basecamp.2


In our digital age, it’s becoming possible for an increasing number of people to work wherever they want. You’re less and less dependent on a ‘fixed’ workplace because you can arrange most things online.

You no longer need to be physically present in an office to get your work done, which is why employees are increasingly choosing to work from home for one or more days.

Imagine that your work is no longer tied to a specific location. Then the idea of combining work and travel becomes very attractive. Swapping the Dutch climate for a slightly more tropical climate will be reason enough for many to start the camper.

Fire truck as a base

But why are so many fire engines being converted to off-road campers anyway?

In most (western) European countries fire engines are replaced for a new one after a certain number of years of service. The reason for this is that the construction of the vehicles is outdated and doesn’t meet the current requirements of the fire departments.

A large proportion of these obsolete vehicles will be exported to second and third world countries. In these countries they can still be used as fire engines for many years, because they are always perfectly maintained.

It’s not unusual for fire trucks to be offered on TrucksNL with less than 50,000 km on the clock! Another advantage is that the vehicles have always been inside the barracks. Because of this, weather conditions have not had a chance to affect the bodywork, and the vehicles are often still flawless.

Outdated technology

Another advantage of an old fire engine is that the technology is often still simple and mechanical.

If you become stranded in a second or third world country with a hypermodern camper equipped with all the latest electronic gadgets, there’s a good chance that there’s nothing they can do for you.

You can still do a lot yourself on a vehicle with outdated (mostly mechanical) technology. Should you, for example, have a breakdown on the African continent, there’s a good chance that you can continue your journey with local help.

In Gambia, a few years ago, I was able to see for myself how trucks are kept running with a lot of skill and effort. Many of these trucks still had the advertising of previous Western European owners.


The Dutch Arjan and Patricia have also built a beautiful off-road camper from a fire truck. They bought a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 1619 4×4 which they named ‘basecamp.2’. This robust all-rounder had only driven 49,000 km, so it was actually still in new condition.

First of all, the fire truck body was removed from the chassis to make room for the new camper body. Then the original tires and rims were replaced by much larger off-road tires. These tires have much more grip on uneven terrain. In addition, the load capacity of these tires is also much higher, so you no longer need a double mount on the rear axle.

In addition, a dual tire mount isn’t completely without danger in off-road conditions. Stones or other sharp objects can easily get stuck between the tires resulting in broken tires. Because of this alone, most off-road camper owners opt for a single tire mount on all axles.

Converting a fire truck into an off-road camper, in the second photo the body has been removed and the large tires mounted. Photos taken from Basecamp.2


Don’t think that you can leave almost immediately for the sun after purchasing a fire truck. Fire trucks are equipped to put out fires, not to live in.

The superstructure will have to be removed in whole or in part before you can start your project.

Arjan and Patricia have chosen to build a new superstructure of insulated sandwich panels themselves. Because of their low weight and high insulation value, these are perfect panels for a camper body.

The fire engine red cabin was first given a nice silver-grey look before the construction of their second home could begin.

Before construction began on their second home, the Mercedes cab was painted silver gray. Photo taken from Basecamp.2

Building up your camper is of course enormously satisfying when you do it yourself. You can save a lot of money if you (partly) take care of the rebuilding yourself.

TrucksNL offers a wide range of bucket truck parts and containers that can serve as the basis for your superstructure.

What will you do with the removed parts such as pumps, hose reels and spray guns? You can, of course, very easily put them up for sale again on TrucksNL. There’s certainly a demand for such parts for export.

Sprengelmeijer Trucks

So where do you start your search if you’re looking for your perfect base for an off-road camper? Right, on TrucksNL! Arjan and Patricia found this beautiful fire truck in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel at Sprengelmeijer Trucks.

Sprengelmeijer specializes in the import and export of used commercial vehicles and transport equipment. They regularly have fire trucks in their rapidly changing stock.

Wil je nu weten of zij die mooie brandweerwagen van jouw keuze in het actuele bestand hebben zitten? Door op TrucksNL naar de bedrijfspagina van Sprengelmeijer te gaan zie je het aanbod in één oogopslag.

Would you like to know now whether they have that beautiful fire truck of your choice in their current stock? By going to the Sprengelmeijer company page on TrucksNL, you can see their offer at a glance.

Social media

Are you curious where Arjan and Patricia’s next journey with Basecamp.2 will take them? On their Instagram account ‘Basecamp.2’ they show you what it’s like to travel with such a big camper through the beautiful nature of a.o. Iceland and Scotland.

An impression of Iceland

The ultimate base for an off-road camper

The ultimate foundation for an ofroad camper? Of course, opinions differ considerably on this.

Your personal wishes and circumstances are an important leading factor in this. Consider:

  • How many people will you be traveling with?
  • Will you be taking pets with you?
  • Do you need a lot of personal space?
  • What facilities do you want on board?
  • Where do you want to go?

These are all things to consider before you decide to buy your dream camper. Also consider the fuel consumption and higher toll costs for larger vehicles in certain countries.

When you want to travel with a larger group, this is of course a very nice basis for a tough off-road camper. Photo courtesy of Truckcenter Apeldoorn