News Home & Design This Ambulance Conversion Is a 4x4 Overland Rig With Shower, Toilet, and Hot Tub Ingenious features make this ambulance conversion an all-terrain home on wheels. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Updated September 2, 2021 02:23PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Tiny Home Tours Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Bus conversions are making quite a splash in the tiny house movement—and no wonder, as they are often seen as a more affordable and mobile alternative to the usual tiny house built on a wheeled trailer base. A fascinating subset of this phenomenon is the converted ambulance, which is chosen for certain advantages, like being quite heavy-duty and having lots of sturdy storage cabinets already built in. Ambulances can also be repurposed and jacked up as all-terrain vehicles, as this impressive project by American couple Chris and Michelle demonstrates. Not only has it become an affordable, self-built version of a rugged overland rig, it also has awesome features like an indoor shower and toilet, plus little luxuries like a portable hot tub. We get a great tour of the pair's conversion journey via Tiny Home Tours: As the couple recounts, they originally bought the 2003 E450 ambulance for $8,500 from the Skykomish, Washington, fire department, and initially converted it with a simple layout for a couple thousand dollars. Michelle was working as a full-time high school teacher at the time, and Chris continues to work remotely, which allowed them to travel during school holidays in the summer. After traveling extensively for the first summer, the couple fell in love with the lifestyle, prompting Michelle to quit teaching and rent out their house, so that they could continue traveling. The couple then also decided they wanted to refine their scheme further, and embarked on a second, more intensive redesign of the interior, exterior, plumbing, and electricity, so that it permits them to camp comfortably even in the coldest weather. Nicknamed Tanya The Ambulance, the well-insulated vehicle now has been redone in gray paint, and is outfitted with all manner of equipment—like two WiFi booster antennae and off-road recovery kits—which allows the couple to reach and work from remote areas. The plumbing and heating systems have been done in a way that ensures nothing freezes, even during the winter. Tiny Home Tours Inside, the ambulance's layout is simple and open. The kitchen dominates one side of the interior, and it includes a three-burner propane stovetop, range hood, and undermount sink. The couple added an extra window here for more natural lighting. Tiny Home Tours The backsplash is made with a material that imitates embossed bronze metal tile and gives the otherwise deep blue and wood-colored kitchen a shiny, retro feel. Tiny Home Tours Off to the side of the kitchen, we have a removable panel that hides all the electrical wiring of the vehicle. As Chris explains, the whole system was rewired during the second build to centralize everything in one easy-to-control spot. Tiny Home Tours Toward the rear of the ambulance, we have the elevated bed platform, which not only serves as a sleeping area, but also as a place to sit and eat. Tiny Home Tours The table is hidden under the bed, and it slides out when it's needed. There is a built-in bench on one side of the table. Tiny Home Tours The Dometic refrigerator and freezer pulls out and also functions as a seat. Tiny Home Tours Above the bed and bench, the original glass-front ambulance cabinets have been retained, as they are convenient to use for storing books, board games, and liquor. Tiny Home Tours To prevent the growth of mold and mildew underneath, the bed is placed on top of a mat that promotes air flow. The couple also installed a top-mounted screen here for watching movies, made especially for cars and vans. Tiny Home Tours Here is the ambulance home's shower and toilet room, which is located near the entry door. The door is made from bent aluminum, and the walls inside are made with waterproof FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic). There is a roof vent that goes directly outside to prevent condensation. There is a cassette toilet, which takes up less space, while the shower water temperature can be programmed electronically with the push of a button. Tiny Home Tours Nearer to the front, we have the couple's closet on both sides of the home. One side is for hanging up coats and organizing shoes, while the other side features a hacked IKEA shelf that provides storage for folded clothes. To add extra sofa-like seating, the couple installed two swivel seats. Tiny Home Tours To keep the interior warm, a reinforced cellular blind has been installed here, which Chris says has a relatively high insulative R-value. Tiny Home Tours Perhaps the most impressive feature is the couple's collapsible hot tub, which is a simple, flatpack affair made from plywood sheets and trailer brackets, a tarp lining, and a military surplus M67 immersion heater, which heats many gallons of water in a few hours. It's gas-powered, but it does allow the couple to have a hot soak in the most stunning of locations. Tiny Home Tours All told, the couple spent about $40,000 to buy and convert their ambulance home—twice! The couple continues to travel to beautiful nature destinations, especially during winter, as they prefer living in the ambulance during cold weather, rather than in the heat. Tanya is an outstanding example of how creative people can get, especially if they are open to redoing things, if necessary. To see more, visit Tanya The Ambulance on Instagram.