There are so many cars that rank among the best cars to live in! If you want to go extra budget, you can sleep two people in a Toyota Prius to start living in a car. It’s small, but it works in a pinch.
Trust me – we lived in a Prius for four months!
Car campers are a great choice as they are more affordable, get better gas mileage, and fit in parking spaces. They are also better for stealth camping compared to larger, high-top vans.
Check out our favorite car camper conversion kits so you can start living and camping in your car.
Price: Starting at $798
Vehicle Types: Toyota 4-Runner, Subaru Forrester, Jeep Renegade and other SUVs
Weight: 100 pounds
The Contravans car camper kit was initially built to fit into a Toyota 4-runner but fits into all types of SUVs. With this campervan conversion kit, you can turn a Honda, Jeep, Subaru or Land Rover into a simple SUV camper.
This car camper system can be removed easily if you’re only using the camper for weekend trips. Please be aware that right now, the car camper conversion kit is only storage and a kitchen. Future models will include a fold-out bed, so stay tuned!
Here’s what you get with the SUV car camper kit, which is a robust storage and slide-out unit:
- Single or Dual-Burner Camping Stove
- 2.5-Gallon Water Tanks
- Cooler or Small Plug-in Refrigerator
- Compartments and Drawers
- Self-Closing Drawer Slides
Learn more about the Contravans Car Camper Kit.
Van Type: Many
Location: New U.S. dealer in Clovis, California (brand based in Europe)
QuQuQ‘s amazing little “van-in-a-box” car camper modules turn your car, van or SUV into a camper with barely any effort. The bed pulls out of the box, which also has several pull-out drawers with a stove, cooler and storage space.
For real, you can turn any car into a camper in just a few minutes with this unique van conversion kit.
QuQuQ started in Europe and is now expanding into the United States, appearing at several shows across the country in 2020.Photo: QUQUQ
The really cool thing about the Ququq car camper boxes is that it can turn almost any type of vehicle into a camper.
Just fold down the back and middle seats, put the box in your trunk and spread open the mattress. Ququq’s website shows the box in minivans, larger vans, and even a small Jeep.
Van Type: Minivan campers
Location: Quebec, Canada
Freeway Car Camper Kit is a Canadian company that wants to help get your car on the road – and fast. There are so many campervan conversion kits to choose from on the website, it’s mind-boggling.
You can get a simple bed frame and storage system for $1,000, up to the “Sleeping Giant” conversion kit for $3,800 and it can be installed in 30 minutes.
This largest kit is suitable for all long-wheelbase minivans, including the Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town&Country, Kia Sedona, etc.
The car camper conversion kit comes with a kitchen counter and sink, water pump, batteries, freshwater tank, grey water tank, thermoelectric cooler, foam mattress, and much more.
You get a lot of value for the price and it’s easy to pop this right in the back of your van.
Price: Starting at $3,995
Vehicle Types: Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odessey, Kia Sedona and more!
Weight: 200 pounds
Minivans, with their roomy interiors, are becoming popular for camper van conversions. Not only are minivan campers they more affordable and get better gas mileage than their bigger counterparts, they are also super stealth.
The minivan car camper conversion kits from Contravans are built from baltic birch. Just pop your back hatch and you’ll have storage and a kitchen.
The middle part of your minivan is turned into a convertible sitting area and a bed.
Here’s what you’ll get from a minivan camper conversion kit:
- Sink with a Tap & Drain
- 3 Gallon Water/Waste Tanks
- Single Burner Gas Stove
- Storage for Your Cooler, Cookware
- Foldaway Table
- Secondary Bench
- Double Bed
- Ample Storage
- Blackout Window Blinds Available
Learn more about Contravans minivan camper conversion kit.
Price: Starting at $8,995
Vehicle Types: Mercedes Metris, Ford Transit Connect, Ram ProMaster City, Nissan NV200
Weight: 400 pounds
This small cargo van camper conversion kit has everything you need for off-grid adventures. This camper interior kit features innovative slide-out drawers for a sleek outdoor campervan kitchen. These drawers store all your water, cutlery, pots & pans, dishware and more.
Plus, you’ll have a cozy bed inside your compact cargo van for resting and relaxing.
Here’s more of what you’ll get with the cargo van camper conversion kit:
- Single-Burner Butane Stove
- 5-Gallon Water Tank
- 24-Can Cooler
- Custom laser etched rear drawer panels available
- Maxxair Vent Fan with Remote & Rain Sensor
- Fixed Full-size Memory Foam Mattress
- 7 Cubic Foot Storage Drawer with Adjustable Dividers
- Storage Cupboard
- Dimmable LED Lighting System
- USB Charging Stations
- 400W Inverter to Charge Electronics
- Auxiliary House Battery & Charging System
Learn more about Contravans Cargo Van Conversion Kit.
6. DIY Prius Car Camper
You don’t have to buy an expensive car camper kit to turn your car into a camper. The Toyota Prius is a popular rig for camping and sleeping.
David Swanson of Luxury Living in a Prius has lived in a Prius for six years and removed the passenger seat to place a wooden board. He uses that area for cooking during the day and spreading out his sleeping bag at night.
As you can see, you can pretty much turn any car into a camper by folding down the back seats and adding either a camping pad or a comfy memory foam mattress!
Rent a campervan (40$ off coupon!)
Renting a van or even a car camper is a great way to test a system out before buying your own. Use the coupon code “wayward40” to get $40 off any rental with Outdoorsy.
Click below to browse campervans for rent near you!
Conclusion on the best car campers
A small car camper is a great way to start your van life journey. You might want to consider a minivan camper or a small cargo van, especially if you don’t need to stand up.
Small campers get better gas mileage, are more affordable and easier to drive than larger, high-top campervans.
Plus, you don’t need to do a full camper conversion to get started camping with your car. It can be as cheap as folding down your back seats and throwing down a mattress.
Much easier than a tent, right?
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Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.