With RV and camper van prices soaring, you might be looking for an alternative to getting out on the open road. Ambulance conversions haven’t gained much traction and might work well for you.
Keep reading to find out why we think this is a fun way to create something custom and unique for yourself.
What Is An Ambulance Conversion?
An ambulance conversion is essentially an out-of-service ambulance that you convert into an RV. You can think of a repurposed ambulance as a cross between a Class B and a Class C motorhome. You must remove all decals that identify it as a legal ambulance.
What Are the Benefits of an Ambulance Conversion?
An ambulance conversion might seem like a crazy idea at first, but we promise it has some great benefits. Here are some of our favorite aspects of taking an ambulance conversion on an adventure.
Used Ambulances Are Cheap
While many people flock to renovate camper vans and older RVs, used ambulances haven’t crossed the masses’ radar yet.
The demand for ambulance conversions isn’t nearly as high as you’d expect, keeping your purchase price low. Your cost will go down if no one has converted it yet. You’ll have to do the work, but you’ll get a great price.
➡ Don’t pay more than you need to for an RV! Learn How to Buy an Awesome RV Without Breaking the Bank.
Used Ambulances Are Well-Built and (Can Be) Well-Maintained
Ambulances are made to be safe. They are meant to handle well, even in less than ideal conditions. One of the crucial jobs of an ambulance is to get patients to the hospital safely and sometimes at high speeds.
Hospitals and agencies maintain these well-built machines for safety. Because ambulances have an essential job, the last thing anyone wants is for it to break down in the middle of an emergency. This means they have had routine maintenance done and it’s likely well documented.
Used Ambulances Already Have Living Space Amenities
While it might not look pretty, used ambulances come equipped with some great living space amenities. Some benches feature amazing hidden storage and seating.
They have an abundance of cabinets from all the various supplies that rescue workers require. Thankfully ambulances even have electricity made to power machines.
Tons of Storage
Used ambulance conversions have fantastic storage. Medical workers have a lot of supplies, and they need a place to store them.
It seems like everywhere you turn, there is a cabinet, drawer, or shelf, wasting very little space. You’ll have plenty of storage inside plus lots of outside compartments.
Tons of Space
Converted ambulances have a lot of space. Medics need to stand up fully and have room to work. This means you will have plenty of room to move around while still in a smaller-sized vehicle.
Ambulances are almost as wide as you can get legally, and even though it’s compact, you likely won’t feel claustrophobic.
Decent Off-Road Capabilities
Many ambulances have four-wheel drive which is something that is harder to find on Class B camper vans and Class C RVs. Many ambulance conversion enthusiasts love building out their rigs for off-grid boondocking and off-road adventuring.
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Cons of Ambulance Conversions
If we’ve made an ambulance conversion sound like the perfect solution for travelers, we might be overselling it, as it has some cons as well. Here are a few challenges you might face should you tackle this project.
Complex Electrical System
The electrical system that comes with an ambulance is not typically what you’d look for in a camper. You’ll likely need to make significant upgrades to your electrical system, including upgrading batteries, installing an inverter, and even a generator to make this an off-grid camping machine.
Pro Tip: If you plan to upgrade your batteries, we recommend Battle Born’s Lithium-Ion batteries. Here’s why: Batteries Tested! What Is The Best RV Battery For The Money?
You’ll want to dig into the wiring in your ambulance to confirm it can handle the load you plan to put on it. Overloading wiring can cause a dangerous situation and have you calling for an actual ambulance at your campsite.
Difficult to Remove Built-In Structures
You don’t want ambulances falling apart while medics try to save lives. They have bolted-in structures and sturdy construction.
If you hope to remove some of the built-in features, it will take quite a bit of work. This might make it harder to customize it exactly how you’d envisioned.
Ambulance Conversions Aren’t Stealthy
You aren’t likely to go unnoticed in your cool ambulance conversion. While you have to remove all decals that could identify you as a working ambulance, the shape will remain.
At first glance, you may still look like an ambulance while parked, which may draw attention to yourself. Security might take notice if you attempt to stealth camp, whereas they may not have noticed a standard van that blends in.
Do Ambulance Conversions Make Good Campers?
We think ambulance conversions make great campers if you can get past the few cons. You get an affordable project to make your own, but you’ll also have a unique rig. Plus, you’ll have great storage, which we all know is important when it comes to camping.
Would you consider traveling in a converted ambulance? Drop a comment below.
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