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Makeshift RV From Family Van Takes Minutes To Setup

Even the smallest campers can be cost prohibitive for many would-be travelers. Vehicles, like SUVs and minivans, can be used in lieu of expensive motorhomes if you are willing to work around a few things.

An original solution: serviceable and elegant.

original solution
Utom Jording

Imgur user Utomjording found a way to satisfy his passion for travel by adding a custom-built plywood platform to his van. The platform sleeps two and has plenty of room underneath for stowing gear.

original left seats in
Utom Jording

Both rear seats remain in place, with lumber legs providing support near the back hatch. While you might think Utom would be quite pleased with his camper conversion – he didn’t stop here. Rather than build a more extensive conversion kit, Utom found an even simpler fix.

Not satisfied with his first try at making a camper conversion, he set out to do it again!

seats out ready for bed
Utom Jording

The space inside the van, without seats, made a perfect foundation for a metal bedframe complete with wooden spring slats. This meant that the two passenger seats were no longer available, but the frame was a near perfect fit!

He found just the right bed frame for a near perfect fit.

bed frame in place
Utom Jording

A small amount of engineering was required, with the spring slat boards receiving a trim to make them easier to get in and out, while the IKEA mattress had to be removed from its cover, cut to fit and reinstalled.

Mattress cut to fit and slats adjusted for easy setup.

Bed slat adjustment
Utom Jording

Privacy screens that double as solar blockers were cut from a flexible mat, with foil backing to fit each window. These provide excellent black out coverage for the rear windows, while hiding campers inside from view.

Making privacy screens for rear windows from foil board.

Cutting window covers
Utom Jording
covers in place
Utom Jording

Inside the camper, small luxuries like battery-operated hanging lights and a door-back shoe holder make the space more usable.

Outside a roof top luggage carrier makes up for the lost space under the bed, and provides enough room for a folding table and chairs and other essentials. A canopy is used to extend living space into the outdoors, since the cramped quarters inside the van make entertaining impossible.

An after-market roof storage unit helps declutter the interior.

extra storage on top
Utom Jording

Up top one small innovation makes life even more bearable – a hot water shower! The van is tall enough to make use of a gravity fed camp shower fitted with an extra long hose for freshening up after a long hike. Two liter coke bottles painted black ride bungee corded to the roof rack for plenty of hot water!

Improvised hot shower hung from van roof.

Improvised shower
Utom Jording

Utom has added one piece of tech in the form of a rechargeable power pack. While on the road, the battery pack sits between the front seats and charges off of the car’s 12 volt system. In camp, it powers various devices, including a laptop and smart phone chargers.


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