Resources

Last update: July 8, 2018

Interesting destinations on the Interwebs. If you are new to overlanding and expedition vehicles, I highly encourage attending one of the Overland Expo’s.

Our Build

We built an expedition camper from a 15 foot Bliss Mobil camper unit mounted to a U.S. Army LMTV M1078A1. Couch Off-Road Engineering modified the LMTV platform. We also added a custom M1102 trailer from Access Manufacturing. You can get all the stats on our build from the deep dive stats post.

  • Bliss Mobil has a unique angle on manufacturing highly self-reliant living quarters that can be mounted to any suitable truck frame. They’re based in Breda, the Netherlands. Marlene, Eduard and Merten are good people. They and the Bliss Mobil team have many combined years of experience and it shows in their products.
  • C.O.R.E. is based in Denver, Colorado, USA. Jay Couch, owner, has deep and extensive experience in 4WD, especially big vehicles like Mogs.
  • Access Manuf (Expedition Supply provides sales and support) – Custom M1101/M1102 expedition trailers. As much as we love our M1102 trailer I’m considering eliminating it from our combo to make big truck offroad travel a tad easier.
  • Acela Truck Company has recently come on to the scene and offer several turn-key LMTV and FMTV models. I met the team and toured their production facility and am very impressed! Top-notch builds with extensive options for utility and comfort.

Inspiring Travel Blogs

  • Stephanie Lee – A reformed digital nomad. Great tips and sense of humor.
  • Explorking – Digital nomad couple combining exploring and working from an RV.
  • Technomadia – “We hit the road in 2006 and haven’t stopped since. We combine technology and perpetual travel (tech+nomad) to create a sustainable lifestyle on our own terms that we switch up as we feel called.”  Chris and Cherie also run the RV Mobile Internet site with unbiased information on connecting to the Internet on the road (subscription required).
  • White Acorn – These folks have been traveling since 2009.
  • live. work. dream. – These folks are living the dream! Good advice for nomadic workers/telecommuters.
  • Two If Overland – No longer full-timers but good info.
  • Nickname International – Another couple who quit their jobs, sold most of their stuff and are traveling around in a Unimog camper.
  • Blaine Voyage – Starting July 1, 2017, taking a year off to travel US/Canada and home-school the kids.

Forums, Information, etc.

  • Expedition Portal – Adventure and overland travel articles and forum.
  • Steel Soldiers – Anything and everything about military vehicles.
  • Total Escape – Getting off the beaten path in California.
  • Ride The World – Traveling the world by motorcycle.
  • Drive the Americas – Articles and forum regarding overland travel in North, Central and South America.
  • Horizons Unlimited – Great info and forum on RTW motorcycling. Much of the information is equally apropos to any sort of RTW type travel.
  • RV Mobile Internet – Staying connected to the Internet while living on the road (subscription required).

Vehicles – Stock, No Camper

Campers

  • Four Wheel Campers [USA] – Pop-up campers with all the essentials – just add truck.
  • XPCamper [USA] – Truck campers – turnkey or you add truck.
  • Uro-Camper [Spain] – Custom campers and turnkey solutions.

Roof-Top Tents

Off-Road Trailers

Vehicles – Turnkey Campers, Expedition and Overland

  • Bliss Mobil [Netherlands] – This is what we ended up choosing! We love the product and the people! I’ll dedicate much more space to Bliss Mobil in future posts.
  • Sportsmobile Custom Camper Vans [USA] – The first vehicle we seriously considered. The latest models on the Mercedes Sprinter are pretty cool…
  • EarthCruiser [USA] – Another one we considered. Expedition vehicle on the Fuso chassis with a relatively small profile.
  • EarthRoamer Xpedition Vehicles [USA] – Luxury accommodations on a F550 chassis.
  • Tiger Adventure Vehicles [USA] – A little less expensive (?) than the ER but still an awesome camper on a sturdy truck chassis.
  • Global Expedition Vehicles [USA] – Custom expedition vehicles.
  • All Terrain Warriors [USA] – Aussie made on a Fuso frame, SportsMobile as integrator/dealer. Similar profile and advantages of the EarthCruiser.
  • Bocklet [Germany] – Large expedition vehicles.
  • Hartmann [Germany] – Large, luxurious expedition vehicles built on Zetros and other large truck frames.

Vehicle Accessories & Mods

Accessories – Glamping and Otherwise

Maps, Routes, Etc.

Training

Health & Exercise

Body-weight Exercise (Calisthenics)

  • THENX – Our current routine. It’s tough!
  • Mark Lauren, You Are Your Own Gym – I’ve been following Mark’s routines for about 5 years and, when I’m sticking with it, I feel great! You can do these exercises any place and any time.

Carnivore / Ketogenic Diet

Lily and I follow a modified carnivore / keto diet. What is that? In a nutshell it’s a low-carb, high-fat diet that is mostly meat.

  • Keto for Cancer – Miriam Kalamian helps you to tailor a ketogenic diet specific to those battling cancer. This was an important part of my battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2015.
  • Dr Georgia Ede MD – She breaks it all down.
  • Amber O’Hearn – good science and discussion on carnivore / keto.

Feel free to drop a comment if you have suggestions or to report broken links.

26 comments

  1. Hello ,

    I’m from the Netherlands. I also own a ST & ST M1078 here in the Netherlands and would like to ad a locker to it. Where did you get your rear locker and how much did it cos t?

    Thanks

    1. Greetings Berend! I bought my truck from an individual who had already added in the locker. But I did hear of someone who has these – I’ll send the info to your email.

  2. Hello! You’re blog is very interesting! We are interested in both GXV and Bliss, but are also based in the US and are having a hard time figuring​ out the logistics of buying just the cabin internationally. Is Couch building the pass through and then you are shipping the cabin directly to Couch in Colorado? Do you have to pay a lot in duties to get the cabin into the US from Holland? Thanks!

    1. Greetings! I replied in more detail privately but the duties seemed pretty reasonable (I.e. not at all shocking). The pass-through was coordinated between Bliss Mobil and Couch. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Howdy, welcome to Texas. I saw your rig in the parking lot by Costco and Whole Foods in Austin yesterday. So I decided to check out the blog. We RV in the west 4 or 5 months a year (too hot in Texas). We are originally from Oregon. If you ever decide to head up that way I can give ya all kinds of tips after camping/boondocking up there for 30 years. Look forward to reading about your adventure.
    Happy Travels!

    1. Thanks! I’m (Darrell) originally from TX, born in Houston and raised in Austin. We enjoyed the hospitality, and more importantly, the BBQ!

  4. Hi, we saw your rig at Expo, and loved it. So much in fact, that we are seriously considering buying an LMTV and putting a BlissMobil box (or some other box) on it.
    Aside from the expense (!!), our overriding concerns are:
    QUIET — how noisy is it riding on top of the engine? Is your LMTV sound-proofed okay?
    POWER — what highway speeds can you maintain, including hills? Do you have the 3.07 axles?
    RELIABILITY — any breakdowns or problems yet?

    thanks in advance for your thoughts,
    G.

    1. Glad you liked the rig! We love it. Sorry I missed you but I was enjoying the courses and exhibits most of the weekend.

      1. We did not add any soundproofing and our LMTV is loud. I’d recommend sound-proofing and it’s on our todo list.
      2. I can maintain 65 mph if I want to but the truck seems to like 55-60. I did install the faster gears.
      3. Our starter failed out of the gate but was a relatively inexpensive and easy repair (although the starter is HEAVY). I might stock an alternator, anticipating a failure there. I don’t have any worries with the drivetrain.

      1. Hey Darrel,
        Thanks for the quick response. How do you like the power on the Hills? Will it still hold that 55 to 60 even with your big box and trailer? Or does it bog down to a lower gear? I’m talking about maybe 6% grades not the monster eight or 10% grades.

        1. It does slow down on hills, even low grades. I’m not sure of the grade (it was decent) but the slowest I’ve seen was around 35-40. On most of the interstate grades in New Mexico & Arizona it’ll slow to 50-55 most of them and 45 once in a while. I hit the emergency flashers if I’m below 55.

  5. Hi Darrell,

    We too saw your rig at Expo too and are currently talking to Bliss & Acela. I would like to talk to you as well sometime any chance you could call me on my mobile? I am especially interested in the solar power situation. I will wait for your response and then send my number privately. If you need a place to stay in SoCal for a couple of days to ‘catch up on chores’ feel free to stay with me.

    1. I’ll email you with my number and we can chat any time I’m on grid and have decent cell service. Thanks for the SoCal offer!

  6. Darrell,

    Wow! I can’t believe I found your feed, completely random while doing my research for our GEV. I have come to your same conclusions about Stewart Stevenson and Bliss Mobil. We are several years out, but plan almost the same build as you. We are going with 6×6 and Bliss 18’ standard. I have already talked to Ross at Acela and we are saving our pennies. Are you by any chance attending the East Overland Expo in Ashville, NC in Nov. 2018? It would be huge and almost fate if you were arrending. We have done the research, but have so many questions. Would be great to pick your brain and meet you. I will follow you on your adventures and I think you are from Houston. We live in The Woodlands and if you are ever passing through, you would be welcome if we can ever help you.

    Hope to meet sometime.
    Doug & Amber
    The Woodlands, TX

    1. Greetings Doug! Unfortunately we are not planning to be in Ashville as we’ll be in Cali this winter. You are free to give me a call (I’ll DM the number) any time to pick my brain.

  7. Darrell,

    Congrats on the rig and successful lifestyle change. We have a cousin to your rig that we’re importing into the States (Excap Doka 12M25 + 15’ Bliss box). I was wondering if you could share your recommendations in completing the Bliss box set-up for N America. Specifically, the Bliss folks said you modified the GW and BW waste hoses. Can you provide me with the setup you used? Also, it’d be great to know what setup and cable(s) you’re using for your 230v shore power connection.

    Cheers,
    -wayne

    1. Greetings Wayne – Couch extended the BW and GW outlets to the back of the truck for easier access. The hoses and fittings are from the agriculture supply store Tractor Supply. I added ball valves to both of the BW (dump and drain) fittings to prevent accidents. The valves are high-pressure but obviously not necessary to be so. Here’s a photo:

      BW fittings

      Bliss outfitted our box with a 110v shore power connector in the control box.

  8. Wow. That’s quite a setup. Are you generally happy with the setup? I was thinking of replacing the hoses where they connect to the box with something more standard sized.

    1. I’m happy with it! I’ve looked at the standard RV sewer connectors/hoses and they seem to be more flimsy than the Ag fittings and hoses I cobbled together. I guess time will tell…

  9. Hi Doug, I’m also talking with Bliss and Acela. I’d love to chat with you about a couple things before I bug Darrell. Would you have a few min to chat?

  10. I want to buy a BlissMobil box, install it on a North American built vehicle, like a Freightliner or similar? Do CORE in Denver sell the BlissMobil box?

  11. I have contacted them, I am interested in a 13′ BlissMobil, what approximate cost would I expect to pay for the Blissmobil 13′??? I have also contacted Jason Couch, he responded right away (I like that), he normally uses ex USA military vehicles, of which you bought, I like them for many reasons (fairly inexpensive compared to other trucks, but comfort looks lacking, kind of “sparsely setup”, basic/utilitarian? We want something a little more comfortable in the truck cab area, I also want a passthrough from the cab to the Blissmobile Box (not sure if that is possible?

    1. For LMTV comfort, take a look at Acela Trucks (http://www.acelatruck.com/). They do a great job with creature comforts but I think their entry level price is $95k (don’t quote me on that). We installed a passthrough and had to redesign the air intake and move things around. For the Bliss, factor in exchange rate, shipping and import tax.

  12. Yes Acela Trucks is the company I contacted, I really like them, with options it’s going to be about $110,000, no tax in Montana, but I would have to pay tax here in Canada unfortunately, 11%, we definitely want a passthrough.

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