Jade Small
Jade Small
January 31, 2024 ·  3 min read

Two Buses Are Merged Together To Create One Incredibly Awesome ‘Peacemaker’ Camper

There is a group who calls themselves ‘The Twelve Tribes.’ Perhaps from the name they chose, they might sound a little ‘strange,‘ but they are just a group of free-thinking hippies who are talented and bright. This is pretty clear when you look at their creation that came from fusing two buses to invent a super cool peacemaker camper.[1]

The creation of the peacemaker camper

In brief, The Twelve Tribes, also known as ‘The Community,’ was founded by Elbert Eugene Spriggs in 1972. They have their headquarters based in Vermont. The Twelve Tribes operate several hostels, organic health food stores or markets, restaurants, delis, and gift shops. They have three Vermont-based communities, farms in Cambridge and Ithaca, New York, plus a large ranch in California. Their affiliation spreads amongst dozens of smaller communities with similar principles worldwide.[1]

Peacemaker 1 was constructed in 1986 as an outreach to Grateful Dead concert-goers, and not only has one been developed, but two! The original Peacemaker camper was built from parts of a 1961 GMC coach and a 1950 Aerocoach.  This unconventional camper van has clocked more than 500,000 miles since it first hit the road after the conversion in 1987. Accordingly, 15 years of traveling the roads and many tires and coats of paint over the years shows the care and pride this group has in the peacemaker camper. It even had its’ own ‘bus barn’ when it needed a bit of TLC.[1]

Read: Man Converts Ambulance Into Tiny Home on Wheels for $13,000

The peacemaker camper on tour

When the Grateful Dead were still on tour in the mid-’80s, this group of travelers would bring their peacemaker camper to a number of their shows.  Afterward, in April 1989, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this group was offering free medical care to the festival-goers via onboard EMTs.  Apart from the Grateful Dead revelers (Deadheads – named for their love of the Grateful Dead), they would also offer this service at other concerts that these festival-goers would normally go to. These included performers like Phish, My Morning Jacker, Dark Star, Ratdog, and The Other Ones; even Bob Dylan, Bob Weir, and Mickey Hart, to name a few more! All these miles of travel took a toll on the original Peacemaker camper (Peacemaker 1). And so, a replacement was on the cards.[2]

Peacemaker 11 was then built in 2004 using a 1955 GMC Sceniccuiser and a 1949 General American Aerocoach. As a matter of fact, it was built in a small auto body shop in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Basically, after gaining much experience from Peacemaker 1, the group created a considerably more improved camper. It was longer, taller, and could carry more people. Styling was also improved, basing the design on a wooden ship with cherry, ash, and mahogany hardwoods for the finishes inside. Convertible bunks sleeping 24 people, 2 overhead lofts, and even a bathroom with a shower and a kitchenette. Air conditioning and a generator were also new additions to the newly improved peacemaker camper.[2]

A long road

Apart from the inside being beautifully finished and showing off all the bells and whistles for more comfort for the travelers, the exterior had to be just as good.  Two-tone maroon and cream paint finish and the name Peacemaker emblazoned on the front. Gratefully, for those interested in the construction and development of these creations, the group documented the construction in a series of photographs.[1]

Finally, Peacemaker 11 was on the road in April 2007. It was then joined by Peacemaker 1 for a West Coast Tour. They crossed the country through the Twelve Tribes Midwest communities and then onto an East Coast tour.  Peacemaker 11 even was present at Bob Dylan’s 2012 – 2013 tour. These unique peacemaker camper vans traveled afar and, of course, attract many onlookers with their extraordinary design and appeal!  No matter your thoughts on ‘The Twelve Tribes, ’ these peacemaker camper vans are pretty cool![2]

Keep Reading: Bike Chair for Special Needs – allows you to take someone with limited mobility for a ride


  1. Peacemaker I, 1987-present; Vermont; Peacemaker II, 2005-present; New Hampshire.Awesome Jelly
  2. Two Buses Are Merged Together To Create One Incredibly Awesome Peacemaker Camper.Coachbuilt