Raising the Roof on an Ambulance Camper Conversion


The creativity of the van life community never ceases to amaze. An exciting, albeit complex modification that's gaining popularity is the act of raising the roof of an ambulance camper conversion. The concept might seem daunting, but the benefits it can offer may just outweigh the challenges for some ambitious adventurers.

Why Raise the Roof?

The thrill of life on the road can often be tempered by the cramped conditions in a camper conversion, particularly if you're on the taller side. The most common inside ceiling heights for Type 1 and Type 3 ambulance conversions are short (5'5" to 5'8") and tall (5'9" to 6'). If you stand above these ranges, living, cooking, and moving around in your new home can become a chore rather than a pleasure.

Raising the roof on your ambulance camper quite literally adds a new dimension to your living space. By increasing the headroom, you not only make your camper more comfortable for taller individuals, but you also open up a world of new possibilities for storage, layout, and overall design. It offers the chance to transform your camper into a more habitable and versatile living area. Considerations such as storage solutions, improved ventilation options, and unique sleeping arrangements become viable with a higher ceiling, turning the constraints of a compact living area into a spacious and creative project.

Benefits of a Roof Raise

A roof raise offers numerous benefits. More comfort is at the top of the list, as the increased headroom and living space can make time spent inside the camper more enjoyable. Enhanced functionality is another perk, with additional room for storage and the ability to include loft sleeping areas or higher cabinets. Plus, the aesthetic appeal of a higher roof can transform your camper into a more spacious and home-like environment.

Challenges of a Roof Raise

However, before you jump into a roof raise project, there are several potential challenges to consider:

Difficulty: A roof raise isn't a minor modification. It's a complex task requiring significant skill and expertise.

Cost: Depending on the method used and if professional assistance is needed, the cost can add up.

Legal and Insurance Considerations: Changes in vehicle height can affect its road legality and insurance status. It's crucial to check local laws and your insurance policy.

Potential for Structural Weakness: If the roof raise isn't executed correctly, it could compromise the structural integrity of the vehicle.

The Basic Process of a Roof Raise

Despite the challenges, if you feel up to the task, here's a basic overview of the steps involved in a roof raise:

  • Planning and Design: Take accurate measurements and plan the new layout. This step is critical for the success of the project.
  • Structural Modifications: Cut and raise the roof. This is a technical process requiring precise execution.
  • Reinforcement: Install new supports and reinforce the structure. This step ensures the modified vehicle remains safe and sturdy.
  • Finishing: Seal, insulate, and install the interior surfaces of the new raised roof area. This phase gives your project its final appearance.

Real-Life Roof Raise Examples

To help you visualize what a roof raise looks like in practice, we've compiled three different examples:

  • Example 1: Bob the Adventure Ambo. @bob.the.campulance 
    This is my personal rig. It was 5’7” inside originally which was about 5 inches short of being comfortable for me.  After months of planning it ended up being much easier than expected.  The roof raise was essentially done in a weekend and the majority of the sheet metal was done the next weekend.  The most challenging part was bending the corners to match the original curved corners. People are most surprised when they find out the new exterior panels are fastened with 3M VHB tape.

    In addition to my instagram you can see details of the roof raise on Expedition Portal at this

  • Example 2: Tristan @the.endless.bummer  Tristan was certainly a point of inspiration as he started his roof raise before I did.

  • Example 3: Jess & Alex @wherever.we.may.roam  Another great conversion.  Unlike Tristan and myself, Jess & Alex have a big shop.


Raising the roof on an ambulance camper conversion is a challenging yet rewarding project. It can transform a compact camper into a more spacious and comfortable living space. However, it's crucial to consider the complexity of the task, potential costs, legal considerations, and potential structural impacts. With careful planning, a bit of courage, and a lot of elbow grease, you can literally and figuratively elevate your ambulance camper conversion.