We always used a small commercial van as our mini camper. Except for a tentlike extension on the barn doors on the rear and some storage space above the foot end, it was quite a stock car. But when we bought our Volkswagen Caddy, we were ready for some more comfortable conditions, and spend some time making a mini camper van conversion.
To see the different parts in more detail follow the links in the list:
- The removable compact camper unit
- The sleeping stuff
- Window covers and insulation
- A bit of ventilation
- The bicycle stand
We have a model 2011 (Volkswagen Caddy), where the benches are easily removed from the car, with some quick-locking mechanism. This gives plenty of space to work with.
We are travelling like this for over 18 years now, so we had a clear list of requirements for our new mini camper:
- It should be fast and easy to install or remove.
- Loads of storage space. No more moving stuff to the front seats, if you want to make the bed. We already have a lot of 30 litres Euroboxes (240 x 350 x 430 mm) and like to use them again.
- It should be compact when not in use. An IKEA flat-pack concept for storage would be nice.
- Getting a nice, comfortable and warm bed. We do like a real mattress and get rid of the inflatable mattress. The inflatable mattress was cheap but it had a tendency to develop leaks on the welds, which were not repairable and always occurred on the least opportune moments, like midnights or in the rain. It provided also little insulation against the cold.
- An easy way to transport our bicycles, in a safe and compact manner. We would like to take our bicycles, in an upright position with only the front wheels removed.
The pages show the end results of our labour. It is not a full how-to description of the build. Remember those car manufacturers give loads of options and not all Caddy’s have the same dimensions. We also liked to use a lot of reclaimed materials, which influenced our design decisions. But it might give you the inspiration and ideas to start building your own.