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In the past, we've discussed the potential merits and drawbacks of RVs in bug-out scenarios. On one hand, they're comfortable and convenient — it's like rolling around in your own personal hotel room, with plenty of storage for all the gear, food, and water you need for a long journey. On the other hand, they're often very expensive to own and maintain. Also, traditional RVs have one especially substantial drawback: they're conspicuous.
While you might feel right at home in a cushy $250,000 RV, in an emergency situation, there will undoubtedly be those who want to take it from you. Since huge motorhomes don't exactly blend in with traffic, it wouldn't be hard for someone malicious to follow you to your destination and jack your home on wheels at gunpoint. In these situations, it's worthwhile to consider the “gray man” philosophy and choose a vehicle that's less ostentatious.
One enterprising DIYer from Minnesota decided to build his own stealth RV from a vehicle that's easy to overlook: a plain white box truck. The platform he used is a 1994 International 4900, with a turbo diesel motor and automatic transmission. It's reportedly small enough to be driven legally without a special commercial driver's license (CDL), and the side door and rear power liftgate make it easy to load up the interior.
The inside of the truck isn't as polished as a professionally-built RV, but it includes the comforts of home. There's a stowable bed, shower, chemical toilet, a table that converts into a couch or desk, and even a projector for watching movies. The full kitchen includes a sink, stovetop, oven, fridge/freezer, and lots of counter and storage space.
The box truck's water and air heating systems run on propane, and it also has digital air conditioning and 4-inch wall insulation to maintain a comfortable living space year-round. Its electrical system is powered by six golf cart batteries that are charged by the engine, and connected to a 1000-watt inverter. The haphazard wiring under the hood isn't the most confidence-inspiring, but it appears to get the job done.
We could see the merit of sticking a weathered logo on the side to make it less appealing to thieves — even the most desperate criminals will probably ignore a truck that says “waste disposal” on the side. But even in its current form, this International box truck looks nowhere near as conspicuous as a shiny and expensive motorhome.