Where there's space, there's wood to make it more functional. At least, that seems to be the ethos at customization shop Solid Wood Worx. The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based company has turned vehicles such as the Ram ProMaster, Nissan XTerra, Toyota 4Runner, and Ford F-250 into small, livable mobile homes. The most recent project is a Subaru Outback, which uses a unique series of cabinets to meet a fairly complex checklist of asks.
Noticed by Motor1, the Outback belongs to an adventurer named Sean who is setting out on a six-month climbing trip. She reached out to Brian, a woodworker and former cabinet builder, at Solid Wood Worx with her vision of the Outback as a sleep-in camper. She wanted a flat place where she and her 80-pound dog could sleep, a slide-out kitchen with stove and fridge, storage for climbing gear, storage for clothes, and a designated space for a water supply. Possibly the biggest ask was an integrated solar panel with a battery and inverter for off-the-grid living. Brian made it all work.
With the solar panel and spare tire hitched to the Thule roof rack and out of the way, Brian built an interior platform that stretched from the rear hatch to the back of the front seats. Since this eliminated any use of the rear seats, they were taken out. The platform itself has built-in drawers, and the upper portion is split into two functional spaces. The right side has just enough room to fit a small mattress, but Sean looks small, so it should work perfectly. Beneath the bed is the sliding drawer that stows the camp stove. On the left side is a massive amount of storage that doubles as secondary kitchen prep space. On top of that is a small fridge that opens on top like a cooler.
With the kitchen area in its "out" position, a secondary panel opens up to the space where the spare tire used to be. Inside that, Brian's team fitted the wiring, fuses and equipment for the solar panel's battery storage. For this project, Brian used a 100 amp-hour battery and a 100-watt solar kit from Renogy. That power feeds an inverter, a few USB plugs, and the small fridge.
Looking through the rear passenger door, there are even more storage spaces for things such as clothes, bedding, shoes, and a laptop. The water tank slides in behind the front seat.
In most of his builds, Brian uses three-quarter-inch nine-ply pine plywood that he gets from Home Depot. It costs roughly $35 for a 4x8 sheet, and each piece weighs about 60 pounds. He says he uses it because it is almost always readily available and because it generally has less marks, a nicer finish, and is more often a straight piece of wood. Other plywoods are also more likely to chip or cut poorly, which is an obvious issue for quality control. For lighter builds or saving space, he occasionally uses five-ply boards.
In some of his videos, Brian even lays out some plans and instructions on how to build your own drawers or start a van build of your own. For more information on this and other cool projects, check out Solid Wood Worx on Instagram or YouTube.
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The finished Subaru Outback from last weeks project. Still amazes me by the ideas people have to fit in there vehicles and this one was definitely creative. Glad we brought it to life and the customer was beyond happy! . . . . . . #conversion #subaru #outback #suv drawers #storage #bed #fridge #12v #inverter #solar #battery #wiring