Overland RAM 1500 Rebel EcoDiesel on a Next-Level Adventure
A RAM 1500 Rebel EcoDiesel takes a photographer roaming lost.
John Kingston, better known on social media as “Roaming Lost,” has spent his time traveling for the majority of his life. Born in New York and raised in New Hampshire, the professional photographer traveled around the country after a stint attending a fine arts school in Boston. Little did he know a RAM 1500 Rebel EcoDiesel would give him adventures of a lifetime.
In his earlier years, he took on odd jobs to get by while chasing after his photography dream job. His situation brought him to California, Idaho and places in between until he settled down back in California, which he currently calls home. This experience made him accustomed to a nomadic lifestyle. He finds himself deeply embedded in the overland community with constant moving and traveling.
While working for clients on the road, I needed something I could get some work done in, out of the elements, and also have plenty of room for all my gear. —John Kingston
Kingston began his career working with various streetwear brands, including Us vs. Them and Rebel8, for which he was the full-time photographer. He transitioned to shooting motorcycles and automobiles, working for a handful of brands as a freelance photographer. This led to working in the off-road and overland space, where he found his niche and has worked with notable brands and companies such as OnX, Redarc Electronics, Rigid and Super Pacific. Working with these brands allows him to spend more time doing what he loves—traveling and shooting photos.
His first taste of long-term travel wasn’t what might be expected. He was taking extended road trips behind the wheel of a Toyota Prius. Then, he drove across the country from Southern California up through the Pacific Northwest. He often slept in the car and grew accustomed to life on the road.
He then purchased a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, which was still quite small but more capable on the trails than his hybrid. Eventually, he sold the Jeep and transitioned to a Mitsubishi Montero, which was even more capable and built to his needs. This rig quickly helped him realize his calling was in the overland, off-road, outdoor world. After some time, he felt he’d maxed out the Montero and felt as if he’d hit a wall because he wanted more space, as well as more of a “home-on-wheels.”
Which Vehicle is Best?
Kingston explained, “While working for clients on the road, I needed something I could get some work done in, out of the elements, and also have plenty of room for all my gear.”
Kingston often found himself driving through remote destinations in search of new campsites. Rigid Industries lights were installed on the RAM to illuminate the surroundings. This included a Rigid 50-inch Adapt lightbar, a pair of D-XL Ditch lights, 6-inch 360 Series Spots, 360 Series SAE ambers and SR-L lights.
According to Kingston, one benefit of the new 3.0 EcoDiesel is its third-generation redesign. It has improvements for performance, efficiency and reliability; and so far, he hasn’t experienced any issues with it. After all, dependability is key for off-the-grid travel. And, despite the various modifications to the truck, when it comes to performance, Kingston has peace of mind.
The only upgrade he’s done to the motor is the addition of a Banks PedalMonster for better throttle response and adjustability.
Kingston has elected to keep the RAM clean, with minimal armor. The lone aftermarket protection is provided by a pair of White Knuckle Off Road sliders. This decision also helps eliminate extra weight so that his truck is more agile while traveling.
RAM 1500 Rebel EcoDiesel: The Build-Out
As a photographer, Kingston relies on the ability to work while on the road. This often means editing photos under a starry sky and through all sorts of weather conditions. It is necessary to have a dedicated workspace. He turned to the folks at Super Pacific to install the Switchback X1 camper shell. This system combines the comfort of a hard-shell rooftop tent with the versatility of an integrated gear-mounting system, along with the security of a commercial-grade truck canopy.
John Kingston, better known on social media as ‘Roaming Lost,’ has spent his time traveling for the majority of his life.
He worked with Goose Gear to integrate the camper build-out with the new camper shell. The company’s drawer and utility modules were installed to fit his ideal layout in the truck bed for organization and storage.
Cooking and Power
A Dometic 45 CFX3 and Partner Steel 18-inch stove are tucked within one of the modules. They conveniently slide out at the campsite, ready for the next meal. An 11-pound propane tank is close. It is mounted with an Expedition Essentials propane mount. Kingston’s supplies are stored neatly and safely with this system. Additional storage is found on the exterior. Two A042 Aluboxes are mounted on the Front Runner custom camper roof rack above the truck’s cabin.
A Redarc RedVision Total Vehicle Management System serves as the brain for Kingston’s electronics. It provides total control and monitoring. An XPLOR by Sunflare 210w solar panel is mounted above his rooftop tent. A 1000w inverter helps convert the energy from the sun into usable power for all the devices. A Lion Energy 105ah lithium battery helps provide more power and performance.
An ARB twin compressor with the Rago Fabrication “Wifey” Air System allows him to simultaneously air up or down all four tires, thereby saving precious time on the trail.
Rounding Out the Build
A 67 Designs dash-mount system for his iPad mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max (used for navigation, along with the OnX trail map app) rounds out his interior modifications. Communication is provided by a Midland MXT275 two-way radio.
He was able to start a new initiative—the Our Land Project—with his fiancée and a couple of friends. The project provides kits to inspire people to help clean up the public lands they occupy when camping.
Kingston built his RAM to be a home-away-from-home, which means bringing some of the convenience and comfort of a house on the road. A diesel heater was installed to provide heat for frigid nights. A Joolca hot water heater was added to help heat 10 gallons of onboard water.
RAM 1500 Rebel EcoDiesel: The Next Chapter
He found one trip to Utah to be particularly memorable, after having traveled to many destinations over the years. During this trip, he spent close to three weeks exploring new locations and experiencing destinations such as Moab. He still loves trips up Highway 395 and longer trips to the Pacific Northwest. However, his longest trip to date will be later this year, when he plans to spend a majority of time on the East Coast to see the fall colors.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kingston got a chance to slow down and put things into perspective. He was able to start a new initiative—the Our Land Project—with his fiancée and a couple of friends. The project provides kits to inspire people to help clean up the public lands they occupy when camping. His deep respect for the public lands, along with the environmental impact from travelers, was the driving force for this new project.
While Kingston’s spent a good part of his life roaming and traveling the country, he’s definitely no longer ‘lost,’ because he’s settled into his new home within the overlanding and outdoor community.
“It’s frustrating to go out there and see the glass and trash everywhere,” Kingston says. He organized a few cleanups of popular camping locations in Joshua Tree in the last few years. Last year’s cleanups were postponed.
Kingston spent a good part of his life roaming and traveling the country. He is no longer “lost.” He found his new home within the overlanding and outdoor community. With a wedding planned in the near future and thoughts of starting a family, the next chapter will be more memorable for the photographer.
Platform: 2020 RAM 1500 Rebel
Engine: 3.0 EcoDiesel w/ Banks Pedal Monster
Suspension: (front) Bilstein 6112 with Total Chaos upper control arms; (rear) Falcon rear shocks
Wheels & Tires: (front and rear) Raceline Scout 18-inch with -12 backspacing; Cooper Tires St. Maxx 35.12.5
Interior Accessories: 67d Dash Mount System; iPhone Mini; iPhone 12 Pro Max; Midland MXT275; Lion Energy 105ah lithium battery; Goose Gear camper build-out; diesel heater; onboard water and Joolca hot water heater; Expedition Essentials propane mount with 11-lb. tank; Redarc RedVision system; Sunflare Xplor 210w solar panel; ARB twin compressor w/ Wifey air system; 1000w inverter; Dometic CFX3 45; Partner Steel 18-inch stove
Exterior Accessories: Rigid Chase Amber, 50” Adapt light bar; two D-XL Ditch lights, 6” 360s Spots, 4” 360s SAE Ambers. Additionally, two SR-L side camper lighting, White Knuckle Offroad sliders; Front Runner Outfitters custom camper rack; 2 A042 Aluboxes; and a Super Pacific Camper.
(Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in Tread May/June 2021.)