Used Ambulances For Sale

The Ultimate Guide to Converting an Ambulance into an Off-Grid Tiny Home

The tiny home movement and van life culture continue to gain momentum as more people seek a minimalist lifestyle, a deeper connection with nature, and the freedom to travel on a whim. One unconventional yet increasingly popular option among those looking to embrace this lifestyle is converting an ambulance into a tiny home. With a solid foundation, ample space, and unique features, an ambulance conversion offers the perfect blend of functionality, style, and off-grid living. In this detailed guide, we will walk you through the process of converting an ambulance into a cozy, off-grid tiny home on wheels.

Converting an Ambulance

  1. Choosing the Right Ambulance for Your Tiny Home Conversion

The first step in any conversion project is selecting the right base vehicle. For an ambulance conversion, you have a few options:

  • Type I ambulances have a truck chassis with a modular ambulance body. They offer a sturdy build and ample space for a tiny home conversion. Popular brands include Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge.
  • Type II ambulances are built on a van chassis with an integrated body. These vehicles provide a compact yet comfortable space for a smaller tiny home. Ford and Mercedes-Benz are common choices for Type II ambulances.
  • Type III ambulances have a cutaway van chassis with a modular ambulance body. They offer the most room for customization and are ideal for those seeking a spacious tiny home on wheels. Horton is a well-known manufacturer of Type III ambulances.

Consider factors such as size, budget, mileage, and maintenance history when choosing your ambulance. Additionally, research local regulations and restrictions regarding RVs and campers to ensure compliance with the law.

  1. Planning Your Ambulance Conversion Layout

Once you’ve selected your ambulance, it’s time to plan the layout of your new tiny home. Consider the following elements when designing your space:

  • Sleeping area: Plan a comfortable sleeping space, such as a foldable bed, a convertible sofa bed, or a lofted bed, to maximize space.
  • Kitchen: A compact kitchenette with a sink, stove, and refrigerator is essential for preparing meals on the go.
  • Bathroom: Incorporate a small bathroom with a toilet and shower, or opt for a portable toilet and solar shower to save space.
  • Storage: Utilize the ambulance’s existing storage compartments and built-in cabinetry, or install custom storage solutions to accommodate your belongings.
  • Seating and dining: Create a cozy seating area that can double as a dining space, such as a foldable table with bench seating or a convertible dinette.
  • Power and utilities: Plan for solar panels, batteries, and electrical wiring to power your tiny home, as well as a freshwater tank and plumbing system for water supply.
  • Off-grid amenities: Consider incorporating off-grid features such as a composting toilet, solar panels, a rainwater collection system, or a wood-burning stove.
  1. Stripping and Prepping the Ambulance

Before beginning the conversion, you’ll need to strip the ambulance of its existing medical equipment and fixtures. This may include removing the stretcher, medical cabinets, oxygen tanks, and other emergency equipment. Additionally, remove any decals or markings identifying the vehicle as an ambulance.

Next, clean and inspect the vehicle for any damage, rust, or mold. Repair any issues and treat the surfaces with rust inhibitors or mold-resistant products to prevent future problems. Insulating the walls, floor, and ceiling with high-quality insulation materials will ensure your tiny home stays warm in winter and cool in summer. Reflective insulation, such as Reflectix, and spray foam insulation are popular choices for vehicle conversions.

  1. Installing the Essentials for Converting an Ambulance

With the ambulance prepped, it’s time to install the essential elements of your tiny home. Start by framing out the interior spaces according to your layout plan. Install flooring, walls, and ceiling materials suitable for an RV or camper environment, such as lightweight plywood, moisture-resistant materials, or decorative wall panels.

Incorporate a compact kitchenette, complete with a sink, stove, and refrigerator. A propane stove, an induction cooktop, or a portable camping stove are popular options for tiny home kitchens. For countertops, consider using lightweight materials such as butcher block, laminate, or solid surface countertops. Opt for compact appliances specifically designed for RVs and campers to save space and energy.

For your bathroom, install a compact toilet and shower, or opt for portable alternatives. Composting toilets and cassette toilets are great choices for off-grid living, as they do not require a sewer connection. For the shower, consider a wet bath design, which combines the toilet and shower in a single space, or a separate shower stall with a waterproof curtain or door. A tankless water heater or a solar water heater can provide hot water for your shower and sink.

  1. Customizing Your Ambulance Tiny Home

Your ambulance conversion should reflect your personal style and meet your specific needs. Consider the following customization options to make your tiny home unique and functional:

  • Lighting: Install energy-efficient LED lighting, such as recessed ceiling lights, under-cabinet lighting, or decorative string lights, to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Window treatments: Add curtains, blinds, or shades for privacy and insulation. Consider installing insulated window coverings or reflective window film to help regulate temperature inside your tiny home.
  • Ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining a healthy living environment. Install roof vents, windows, or a ventilation fan to ensure fresh air circulation.
  • Heating and cooling: A compact heater, such as a propane or diesel heater, can keep your tiny home warm in colder months, while a portable air conditioner or a roof-mounted AC unit can provide cooling during hot weather. Alternatively, consider a wood-burning stove for off-grid heating.
  • Furniture: Choose multi-functional furniture that can serve multiple purposes, such as a convertible sofa bed, a foldable table, or storage benches.
  • Decor: Add personal touches to your tiny home with artwork, decorative pillows, rugs, or plants. Choose lightweight and durable decor items to minimize added weight and ensure they stay in place while on the move.
  1. Setting Up Off-Grid Systems
Converting an Ambulance
Converting an Ambulance

To embrace off-grid living, you’ll need to equip your ambulance tiny home with systems that enable self-sufficiency. Consider the following off-grid systems:

  • Solar power: Install solar panels on the roof of your ambulance, along with a charge controller, batteries, and an inverter, to provide electricity for your appliances, lights, and devices.
  • Rainwater collection: Set up a rainwater collection system with gutters, downspouts, and storage tanks to harvest water for non-potable uses, such as showering or flushing the toilet.
  • Water filtration: Install a water filtration system or use portable water filters to ensure your drinking water is safe and clean.
  • Propane or diesel systems: Use propane or diesel fuel for heating, cooking, and hot water to reduce reliance on electricity.
  • Communication: Equip your tiny home with a mobile hotspot, a signal booster, or a satellite internet system to stay connected while off the grid.
  1. Safety Considerations

Safety should always be a priority when converting and living in an ambulance tiny home. Keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to alert you to potential hazards.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit readily accessible.
  • Ensure proper ventilation when using propane or diesel appliances to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain your vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems to prevent potential issues.
  • Make sure all furniture and appliances are securely fastened to prevent movement while driving.
  • When designing your layout, ensure there are clear pathways for escape in case of an emergency.
  • Familiarize yourself with the locations of nearby hospitals, emergency services, and towing services when traveling off-grid.
  • Keep an emergency supply kit with essentials such as non-perishable food, water, medications, and a portable radio.
  • Follow local laws and regulations regarding parking, waste disposal, and campfires to minimize risk and stay in compliance.
  1. Insurance, Registration, and Legalities

When converting an ambulance into a tiny home, it’s essential to address the legal aspects of owning and operating an RV or camper. Consider the following:

  • Insurance: Consult with an insurance agent experienced in RV and camper conversions to find appropriate coverage for your ambulance tiny home. Provide documentation of the conversion process, including receipts for materials and labor, to help secure proper insurance coverage.
  • Registration: Depending on your location, you may need to re-register your ambulance as an RV or camper. Research your local laws and regulations to determine the necessary steps for registration.
  • Licensing: In some regions, driving a converted ambulance may require a special driver’s license, such as a Class B license for larger vehicles. Check with your local licensing agency for specific requirements.
  • Parking and camping: Familiarize yourself with local laws regarding overnight parking and camping in your ambulance tiny home. Many cities and towns have restrictions on where RVs and campers can park overnight, so plan accordingly to avoid fines or towing.
  1. Enjoying Your Ambulance Tiny Home

With your ambulance conversion complete, it’s time to hit the road and enjoy the freedom of tiny home living. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your new off-grid lifestyle:

  • Join online communities and social media groups dedicated to van life and tiny home living for support, inspiration, and advice.
  • Attend tiny home festivals, van life gatherings, or RV shows to connect with fellow enthusiasts and share your experiences.
  • Research and plan your travel routes, considering factors such as climate, elevation, and availability of resources like water, fuel, and groceries.
  • Practice responsible camping and leave-no-trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment and maintain good relations with local communities.
  • Embrace the challenges and rewards of off-grid living, such as conserving resources, adapting to changing circumstances, and learning new skills.


Converting an ambulance into an off-grid tiny home is an exciting and rewarding journey. With careful planning, customization, and attention to detail, you can create a unique and comfortable living space that allows you to explore the world on your terms. Embrace the freedom and adventure of van life while enjoying the comforts and amenities of your very own tiny home on wheels.

One comment

Stores Directory

Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the last part. I searched for such educational information for ages. Thank you and best of luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *