The Pullman Camper Project


The Beginning...

Click the Image for Full-size I came up with this project about two months after being in an auto accident involving my Plymouth Acclaim and a lifted Jeep. The tires on the Jeep won, and I wound up needing a new vehicle. About a month after the accident I found myself the lucky winner of a state auction on a 1990 Dodge D-150 3-speed automatic. Not too long after buying this truck, I became enamored with the idea of a slide-in camper for my truck like my parents had for theirs when I was a kid.

Click the Image for Full-Size Sadly, I work in a grocery store right now, even though I possess a Bachelors Degree in software Engineering and Design. Luckily, when my parents decided to do away with their 1979 3/4 Chevy camper special, they gave me the aging aluminum canopy they had purchased for it in 1985. Since it will be some time before I can afford to go and buy myself a nice new camper, I have decided to improve the "camper shell" I was given.

Click the Image for Full-Size The unit is about 18 years old, stands about 4' tall (peaks over the cab) made of alumnium tubing with a one-piece aluminum skin covering it. From the day it was new the camper shell has never had anything on the interior of it. My parents bought it from "Superior Canopy" because they were the only company at the time that gave them a quote of $500 for a canopy of that size. The camper shell has suffered from several leaks in the last 19 years, mostly from the original screw strip coverings rotting off and from the clear silicone caulk being either scrubbed off or just weathered off.

Click the Image for Full-Size Before I ever even started planning this project, I had to spend about a month sealing every water entrance point in the camper shell. During this time, I became more familiar with the crowd at, and was able to gleem a great deal of information from my fellow users for ideas in my design. Click the Image for Full-Size During my usual visits to the site, a thread popped up labled: "Antique Camper Interest?"
In the thread was a link to member Frank_EP's website where he had images of his 1965 GMC 3/4T V6 with 1965 Downey Pullman Deluxe Slide Roof that he had been using for camping for some time. I have dedicated a page to this unique camper for the inspiration it has given me, for many times during the creation of my own version I found myself going back to those images and pouring over every detail of design to find some new element I could add. You can find my page of Camper dedication here, "The Camper That Started it All". About two weeks into the project I decided to name it, "The Pullman Mini-Camper" after the original Downey Pullman.

The Plan

For this project I wanted to improve my bare shell to wannabe camper status by adding some some real basic camping comforts.

  • 12vlt Electrical System

      This will give me an outlet on either side and a double in the overhead console that is part of this project. The two sides will give me a place to plug in the 12vlt Ice chest I have and still have outlets left over for running things like the laptop, CD player, etc...

  • Interior lighting

      This light will be your standard camper interior light, purchased from our local RV dealer (Highway Trailer). It has a switch on the side of it for turning it on and off.

  • Cabinets for Storage

      There is a lot of wasted space in back where a couple of nice cabinets
      would be great for storing things like the dry foods, pots, pans, plates, etc when traveling or at camp when the day is done, and want them to remain clean. Also good for storing the posts for the eating area canopy, the propane hoses, propane tee, and other important items, odd tools, like a hammer, duct tape, etc.

  • Shelving

      I plan to add one shelf to the unit going over the top of the two rear cabinets to ultilize lost space back by the rear window for storing the camp stove, perhaps a folding camp chair or two, and a couple tents for when we have guests.

      Thanks to Netboy's showings of good ideas for shelving, I will be using a standard 6' x 12" wire shelf flipped upside down and screwed into the tops of the two cabinets.

  • Stereo speakers (Two up by the cab window, and two by the tailgate) for sound

      Speakers, along with a switching system to tie into the cab stereo, or use a second stereo in back independently

The Project

Since this project is fairly long and consists of a fair amount of graphics, I have broken it down into mutliple sections, each one detailing one of the four phases of the building process involved in creating my "Pullman Mini-Camper." Simply click on the Title of the phase you wish to view and you'll be taken directly there. When you're done with each phase, simply click the Next Phase button in the phase you're in it will take you to the next phase of the project.