May 21, 2021
Unlike conventional Knapheide users who utilize our truck beds and bodies on jobsites across America, Nate Kruse is flipping the script, using his Knapheide for the purpose of recreation.
A few years ago, Kruse became interested in “overlanding,” a popular hobby involving on-road and off-road “adventure travel” utilizing four-wheel drive vehicles.
“I was really getting into the scene,” Kruse recalls. “I had a Jeep Cherokee and we would take it to southern Utah and the national parks. We tried tent camping in Moab and it just didn’t work out for us. We needed something that better met our needs.”
In an effort to help he and his wife, Kristin, more easily enjoy the overlanding lifestyle, Kruse set out to create a custom truck that would meet their needs. He began by purchasing a 2019 Ram 5500 chassis and, shortly thereafter, began researching flatbed bodies with specific requirements in mind. The process of researching took quite a while, with Kruse contacting multiple manufacturers, but coming up with no solutions with which he was fully satisfied.
“I called about six different flatbed makers across the country,” Kruse recalls of his search. “Some were very expensive and backed up for many, many months for production. Some companies just didn’t offer the right size or materials I was looking for.”
His search for the perfect platform led him to Knapheide.
“When I came across Knapheide, I saw a long history of making flatbeds that worked,” Kruse says. “Knapheide offers aluminum beds, which I wanted because it would give me a rust-free flatbed without adding a bunch of weight to my overall truck build. The prices were competitive and the delivery would only take two months as opposed to the much longer times I was quoted by other companies.”
Most importantly, the aluminum platform checks several boxes for Kruse, both aesthetically and from a functional perspective.
“I love the PGNB bed for many reasons,” Kruse offers. “I like the look and function of the flatbed with multiple tie downs, the wide headache rack, and the integrated gooseneck hitch, which was ideal for my application. I love the way it looks and finishes my truck. And it’s a great body for connecting my Host Mammoth truck camper.”
For Kruse, “The Boss” (which he dubbed the truck) is his “ultimate overland setup,” providing a practical vehicle that serves a dual purpose as both a recreational rig and a head-turning daily driver.
“It’s funny, but most people have never seen a Ram 5500 with an aluminum flatbed combination before,” Kruse explains. “Then, to see one that is a single-wheel conversion with 41-inch tires, they can hardly believe it. They ask where I came up with the idea and how long it took to build. The whole process took only about nine months.”
Nate and Kristin plan to utilize the truck for the foreseeable future, all while documenting their adventures on their “Kruse and Views” social media platforms, which showcase their adventures on and off-road as well as other facets of their lives. It’s a journey that takes them to some of the most scenic locations in America.
Wherever they take “The Boss,” the Kruse family is getting the most out of the Knapheide Aluminum PGNB.
“I love taking this truck to the thrift stores or just running errands around town,” Kruse says. “But, we also travel the US and go way off the beaten path on public land and get into nature.”
No matter the terrain this truck conquers each day, it successfully handles whatever is thrown its way thanks to all the right components that Kruse diligently researched during the build process, including the installation of his Knapheide bed.
“This Knapheide platform has been excellent at carrying around a 6,000 pound truck camper, 70 gallons of extra fuel, and a 350 pound spare tire,” he offers. “Again, it really is the ultimate overland truck for me.”
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PHOTOS COURTESY OF NATE KRUSE/KRUSE AND VIEWS