When Anna and Sebastian Schlüter decided to take a break from working in Berlin to embark on their long-awaited trip around Europe, traveling via fire truck wasn’t the first thing on their minds. But on the advice of Sebastian’s father, and after coming across a deal on a 1987 Mercedes-Benz fire truck, the duo found themselves in a year-long conversion project that turned the vehicle into a cozy travel camper. Nicknamed ‘Bombero’ (Spanish for “fireman”), the converted fire truck took about a year to complete and has provided the perfect travel wheels for Anna and Sebastian, who have visited 19 countries and counting thus far.
Purchased for approximately $14,700 USD, the 30-year-old Mercedes Benz fire truck conversion involved a gut-renovation that decreased the 11-ton vehicle to a weight of 7.5 tons. The couple initially parked the vehicle on the Schlüter family farm in Nottuln, Germany, where it was worked on with help from Sebastian’s brother and father, who has experience with converting a Unimog into a camper. Thanks to Sebastian’s father’s experience and many helping hands, the project was relatively low-cost. Sebastian handled the engineering and construction, while Anna led the interior design. The cost of materials, some of which were gifted or found in secondhand shops, is estimated at around $29,520.
In addition to emptying out the interior, the Schlüters made the fire truck more livable by lifting up the roof to add extra windows and inserting insulation and wiring. Custom-made upholstery, a mix of birch, oak and spruce as well as decorative elements like porcelain door knobs make the space cozy and inviting. The fire truck was outfitted with all the necessities, such as a full-size bed, closet, dining area, a bathroom and a full kitchen with an oven and electrical appliances. The off-grid home is also equipped with a gas tank, fresh water and gray water tanks and rooftop solar panels.
“Many decisions were very deliberately led by quality over price — keeping in mind that anything that keeps you from having to fix it while on the road will give you peace of mind and let you enjoy traveling rather than being stressed out and having to find solutions while in a foreign country,” explained the couple. “This decision paid off very well — no items, besides the brake lights, has broken down during the last 11 months! Not one thing!” Anna and Sebastian hit the road with their dog, Lotta, in June 2017 and have clocked more than 10,000 miles in their ongoing trip around Europe. You can follow the Bombero Travel adventure here.
Conversion image copyright Anna Schlüter, all others copyright Seraia Photography