Sönke's hard-side popup camper


Expedition Leader
Many thanks to ExPo member "Mickldo" for bringing us information about this Toyota camper with pop-up roof.




The camper is owned by a fellow who posts using the name "Sönke" on the IH8MUD forum and elsewhere. Here's a link to the thread on 'MUD.


The camper cabin was designed by Sönke. The truck chassis, cab and cabin exterior were built by Marcus Haase, owner of the German firm Off-Road-Schmiede. Sönke finished the interior of the cabin.

Here's a link to the builder's web page for this project

The photos above and in following posts are from Sönke and from the offroad-schmiede.com web pages.

Chip Haven


Expedition Leader
The Land Cruiser chassis used in this project is a custom combination of a 1979 HJ47 pickup cab and front clip, mated to running gear from a 1993 HDJ 80 diesel.

Here's a photo of the chassis under construction at the Off-Road-Schmiede workshop. Note how much width was added to the fenders


A manual transmission is mated to the 1HD-T (12V) diesel engine. An HDJ 100 alternator and starter were added. The radiator is designed for for an HZJ5. The front axle is strengthened, and 4.88 diffs with OME lockers were added front and rear.

Wheels chosen for this project are 325/80R16 Cooper SST tires, mounted on Alcoa 8 inch forged rims. The tires are 36.5 inches (926 mm) tall, with a width of 12.75 in (325 mm).

The cab was lengthened 6 inches to provide more leg room. In finished form, the cab looks quite comfortable.


Vehicle weight, including the camper cabin and supplies, is about 7500 lbs.


Expedition Leader
Sönke has experience traveling in Africa using a Land Cruiser with fabric pop-up roof. This vehicle was designed for travel in the colder, wetter climate of northern Europe. So Sönke chose to use a hard-side pop-up roof.

Another design goal was to keep the truck's center of gravity low and the track wide. Sönke wanted a camper he could drive on side slopes with less concern about a roll-over.

The cabin frame is aluminum, and the walls are a fiber-reinforced plastic material that has insulation in the sandwich. The finished cabin weighs about 900 lbs (400 kg). Sönke figures he could have saved 200 lbs by using a fabric pop-up roof, but the comfort and security in foul weather made hard sides the right choice.

The roof of the camper is raised by a hydraulic ram at each corner. The pump that provides the hydrostatic pressure is 12V DC. In the event of a pump failure, the roof can be raised using a battery-operated drill.

The company that makes the hydraulic cyliners is Bansbach. Here's a web link

Sönke used the Bansbach "A" cylinders, custom modified to lift 28 inches (70 cm ). The system can lift 525 lbs (250 kg), more than enough for the weight of the roof, solar panels, and a couple of kayaks. That's not enough force to lift a snow-covered roof, however.

Chip Haven


Expedition Leader
The interior of the camper cabin is finished in plywood. The double bed fits sideways across the cabin next to the truck cab. An emergency exit into the cab is available


The interior has a table on a pivoting mount. The table can be lowered to extend the size of the bed. The large cabinet at the rear has space to hang wet clothing. Hot air from an Eberspächer heater can be routed into the closet. A Webasto water heater warms the truck cab, and can be used to warm up the engine coolant.


On the driver's side, the cabinetry conceals an Engel refrigerator


The small cook top is an Origo alcohol stove. A Katydin water filter helps sanitize the onboard water supply. An electric pump pulls water into the system. An outside shower is available, too.

There are lots more interior photos and text here


Chip Haven


No worries Chip. It is a wonderful camper isn't it.

I like the bed/table set up and the hard sided pop top. I think I'll be pinching a couple of ideas from this one for when I build mine.

Not to mention the forty series body looks so sweet.


Expedition Leader

I would love to have/build something like that. Too bad I don't have the money or skills.:ylsmoke:



Here's another example if I could only remember where I found it.


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I recognise that truck, got to be the smartest thing I've seen,

Infact, a mate took a picture of me trying to steal it as we were waiting in a ferry queue to leave Iceland.



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