Montana Man Transforms Former Ambulance into an Overlander

What do you do if you want to go camping far away from any crowds, but are disappointed by the quality or cost of current off-road vehicles? You build your own.

A physician’s assistant built out this former ambulance into a rugged overlander.

Overland vehicles are specifically built for off-road adventure travel around the world. They are usually self-reliant and contain everything needed for long journeys. Overlanding vehicles can range from Unimogs to motorcycles, but this particular rig has a little bit of everything. 

The ambulance had been kept in covered storage for years.

In the May issue of Tiny House Magazine, we had the privilege of profiling medical worker Paul MacMillan, and his converted overlander vehicle. The medium duty truck was once an ambulance built from a 1989 International Harvester. MacMillan took about two years to transform it into an off-road camper complete with plenty of storage, a diesel heater, and a tiny interior kitchen.

The new (and washable) interior features a tiny kitchen, storage, and a bench seat bed.

MacMillan sourced many of the items locally in his Montana town, and was able to obtain a few of them for free. They include the water pump, holding tank, propane tanks, and some LED lights from a high-end RV that had been wrecked.

The ambulance was actually decommissioned because it had a manual transmission.

The distinctive exterior paint was needed to cover the bright red ambulance colors. MacMillan painted the truck with a spray coating called Raptor Liner. The paint stands up to weather and being scraped by tree limbs. The wheels are 22.5 inch wheels similar to 18-wheeler truck tires and can go easily over both rocky and smooth roads.

MacMillan built out several gear storage units on the exterior.

Multiple storage compartments are built in on the exterior of the coach box. They are aluminum and weather-tight. They can also be hosed out if they get dirty. MacMillan also added an insulated double pane window in the side that tilts up like an awning against any rain. The rear doors can be swung open to let in the Montana views.

For the complete interview with MacMillan and additional photos, order issue #101 of  Tiny House Magazine for only $5.

The rear doors offer easy access and great views.

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

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