So you have a Jeep you’d like to take on some cool wild camping adventures – driving through the desert, up steep mountains and into thick forests.
You’ve taken out your trusty 4×4 a few times already and loved it, but you can’t help thinking you could make the experience more comfortable with a Jeep camper. You could do with a little more space, a basic galley, or not sleeping on the ground with yet another stone sticking in your back.
Then why not turn your Jeep into a camper? There are many ways to do it.
In this article, we’ll look at the different kinds of conversions you can choose – from Jeep pop up campers and rooftop tents to Jeep camper trailers and camper tops.
To help you decide whether to turn your Jeep into a camper, we’ve outlined the positives and negatives about this set-up. Oh and we’ve also selected a number of Jeep campers you can buy right now.
Grab a cuppa and get ready to be blown away by a ton of Jeep camping inspiration.
What is a Jeep camper and why you might want one
A Jeep camper is a kit that can transform a Jeep into a camper.
Jeep campers are adventure vehicles designed to drive on the most unforgiving terrain and carry enough comforts to get you set up for a cozy night’s sleep in the wild. They can be as simple as a Jeep with a rooftop tent or as complex as a Jeep pop up camper.
Why turn your Jeep into a camper? In a nutshell, for improved comfort on longer wild camping expeditions.
You won’t have to sleep on the ground, take ages to set up your tent or find bugs in your sleeping bag. Some Jeep camper conversions feature a galley and table, so you don’t have to cook and eat outdoors when it’s raining or snowing.
Having more comforts on board means you can be on the road for longer, venture further into the wilderness and extend your much-awaited wild camping escapades.
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The types of Jeep campers out there
There are many ways to go about converting a Jeep into a camper. Each set-up suits different needs and budgets. The simpler you go, the cheaper it is. The more complex set-up you choose, the more comfortable the adventures you go on will be.
Let’s look at what options you have.
This is one of the simplest Jeep camper conversions you can go with. Just buy a rooftop tent, install it and you’re ready to drive off. By installing it, you essentially gain a bedroom above your cab, so you can store more gear in the Jeep or turn the cab into a relaxing area.
Oh, and did I mention that your 4×4 will look even cooler?
While a rooftop tent is only really a step up from a regular camping tent, it guarantees a comfortable, soft, elevated, bug-free spot to sleep in, which isn’t something to be dismissed. It’s also easier and faster to set up than a tent.
It’s comfortable enough for a long weekend, holiday and maybe even more. A couple lived a staggering 2.5 years in a rooftop tent, driving 80,000 miles to the four corners of the United States.
The best bit? They can be as cheap as $780 and you can opt for an easy DIY install.
If a rooftop tent is what you’re looking for, you should read this article on the best rooftop tents for sale.
Pop-top Jeep Camper
The pop-top is a great upgrade from a rooftop tent. The concept is the same, but instead of the permanently-installed external rooftop tent, the cab’s top pops up to reveal a built-in bed. This allows you to create extra headroom for living inside the Jeep camper when the bed isn’t in use and add a few comforts.
Jeep pop up campers feature a galley, small bathroom, and a seating area with a table. This set-up is perfect for going off-grid in colder, wetter areas, where you may need to spend a good deal of time inside your Jeep camper.
If you feel a Jeep pop up camper is the best option for your needs, you can hire a company to do a conversion for you or, if you’re handy, opt to do it DIY – you can buy a bolt-on conversion kit.
Jeep camper trailer
If you need an extra “room” for your boondocking escapades, why not opt for a Jeep camper trailer?
This is a compact trailer that unfolds to reveal a tent and few amenities, like a kitchenette and water tanks. The main advantage of this set-up is that you can keep your 4×4 as it is to carry all your gear, or you can add a rooftop tent to it and take the trailer on family camping adventures.
You can even leave the trailer set up for camp somewhere wild and go back to town to get more provisions on your Jeep. How handy is that?
Check out our post on the best off-road camper trailers.
Jeep camper shell / Jeep camper top
This is the real deal – a “proper” Jeep camper. It even looks like a camper.
A Jeep camper top is a camper top mounted on the back of a Jeep. The roof of the shell usually pops up to offer more headroom and a bed. The interior of the shell is set up for indoor living with the amenities typical of a small camper – a galley, a fridge or coolbox, a seating area with a table, a portable toilet and storage compartments.
The cabin communicates with the driving seats, so you don’t need to get out of the vehicle to get inside.
Positives of a Jeep camper conversion
(Check out Venture4WD’s YouTube channel. He’s a guy living in a Jeep camper!)
We can all agree: a Jeep camper conversion is the ultimate minimalist adventure vehicle; but like anything in life, it has its drawbacks. Let’s look at the positives and negatives of this type of vehicle.
Here are the key benefits of turning your Jeep into a camper.
A jeep camper conversion is an extremely versatile vehicle – you can take it far off-road and off-grid but also use it in a campground. The less conspicuous models can even be used to commute to work.
A Jeep Wrangler camper is still a rather minimalist way of going wild camping, especially if you choose a rooftop tent or a pop-top.
It creates the perfect balance between outdoor and indoor space – there isn’t so much room inside that you’ll want to tuck in it all the time. This will give you a chance to spend more time outdoors and truly take in your surroundings. After all, don’t we venture into the wilderness to do just that?
Easy to store
If you turn your Jeep into a camper, rather than buying a big van or RV, you won’t need to come up with a new plan for storage, as the vehicle’s outer volume will stay more or less the same. You can still park wherever you do now.
Cheaper to buy and maintain than a camper
A Jeep camper is cheaper to buy and maintain than most campers because there aren’t as many complicated systems on the Jeep and you won’t need to store it in a special facility.
No terrain is too tough to conquer with the trusty, sturdy 4×4 drive of a Jeep camper. This means you’ll be able to journey virtually anywhere – into a rocky desert, up snow-covered mountain peaks, across muddy forests or down to a beach. No camper or RV will offer the same freedom as a Jeep camper.
Negatives of a Jeep camper conversion
It’s not all marshmallows on a campfire and starry nights. Here are the disadvantages of owning on a Jeep camper conversion.
Not suitable for stealth camping
Almost every type of Jeep camper isn’t discreet enough to stealth camp in. A pop up roof, camper shell, trailer or rooftop tent would easily give you away. Unless you can transform the interior of the cab into a second bed to use in cities, you won’t be able to stealth camp in your Jeep camper conversion.
Most Jeep campers don’t have a bathroom. There will be times, especially if it’s cold, when you’d rather take an indoor shower. This means that even though your Jeep can take you off-road into the deep wilderness, you may need to go to campsites every now and then.
Limited water storage
Water takes up a lot of storage. Unless you plan to camp near streams or rivers, this might be a problem, as it will restrict the amount of time you can be off-grid. Even the Jeep camper models featuring water tank can only carry a little water.
Limited living space
Unlike a standard camper, a Jeep camper doesn’t offer a huge living space. Even a Jeep camper shell in which you can stand won’t allow you to walk around and sitting inside will still feel somewhat cramped.
Where to take your Jeep camper
If you’re looking for some incredible places to go boondocking in your Jeep camper, you might want to check out these amazing boondocking guides.
These guides are written by frugal RVer Marianne Edwards and are a wealth of information. Marianne and her husband have been traveling by RV for eighteen years, and have scouted out most of these boondocking locations themselves.
The books give details on the elevation, view, cell phone service and how to get there. Plus, they won’t cost you more than a single night in a campsite.
So far, Marianne has written six boondocking guides, which are all updated on a regular basis. I’ve purchased the guide to Southwest Utah as I want to camp there soon, and am planning on buying more guides.
Here are the boondocking guides you can get:
- RV Boondocking in Arizona
- California Boondocking: The Sierra Nevada Mountains and Coast
- California Boondocking: The Desert and Eastern Sierra
- Boondocking in Southern Utah
- RV Boondocking in Southern Texas
- Boondocking in New Mexico
Jeep campers you can buy right now
If you’re sold on the romantic idea of turning your Jeep into a camper (we certainly are!), here are the best ones currently on the market. We’ve carefully selected the coolest, most comfortable and best quality rides for you.
1) Jeep Wrangler Camper By Ursa Minor – From $7,050
Sleeps: Two adults
Features: Removable, 6ft 6in headroom when open, 87in x 51in foam mattress, LED lights near the bed.
The J30 is a pop-top made by Ursa Minor for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It essentially adds a pop-up tent roof to your Jeep, allowing you to use the space inside the cab as you please.
From the inside of the cab, you can reach the sleeping platform via a hatch, which means you won’t need to get out of the car in the rain or snow to go to bed. This incredible Jeep camper only adds 10 inches to the roof, which is great as it won’t restrict your parking and travels, or affect your fuel economy.
Among the options, you can choose a 60watt solar charging system, a side or rear awning, USB ports and more. Ursa Minor ship worldwide, but you need to get on their waiting list. If you’re not comfortable installing the camper yourself, you can request installation in San Diego or Portland.
Keep in mind that right now Ursa Minor is the only company actively creating and selling Jeep campers right now!
Find out more about the Ursa Minor Jeep campers.
2) Jeep Wrangler Camper by Red River Rigs – Pricing available on request
Weight: Not specified
Sleeps: Two adults, two children
Features: Mattress, seating area, cooking surface, small toilet, sink, and shower system.
The American Safari JLX is a Jeep camper by Red River Rigs for the Jeep Wrangler JKU. It’s not just a simple roof top extension – the kit comes with a dining table and seating, a cooking surface and a small bathroom. The living area also transforms into a second bed, so you can take your kids with you.
Each conversion kit is designed to suit your specific needs, so there is no “standard package.” You will need to get in touch with Red River Rigs to ask for a quote. We can’t find any prices on the website and we’re not sure if Red River Rigs is actively constructing its Jeep campers yet.
Find out more about the American Safari JXL.
3) Turtleback Expedition Trailer – From $26,995
Sleeps: Up to six adults
Features: 48-gallon water tank, water heater, kitchenette with burner and sink, 2 fold-down tables, shower, electric breaks, 55+ cubic ft of storage.
If you’re looking for a Jeep trailer to add to your base-camping adventures, the Expedition Trailer by Turtleback is a great option. It has been designed by outdoor enthusiasts to withstand the varied weather conditions of North America.
The exterior frame is made in steel and once open, it reveals a galley with sink, a shower, an elevated tent and 2 fold-down tables. That’s a lot of amenities packed in such a small space.
The trailer also features an impressive 55 cubic feet of storage. Among the options, you can add solar power, a fridge, an inverter, extra tents and awnings and more. You could really be gone for weeks on this beast of a trailer!
Find out more about the Turtleback Expedition Trailer here.
4) XVENTURE XV-3 Trailer – From $10,995
Sleeps: Two adults
Features: 59in x 89in bed, 22-gallon water tank, 49in x 65in elevated cargo bed.
Want a trailer that is tough enough for the army? Then look no further than the Xventure models by Schutt Industries. The company builds trailers for both military, commercial and private use. Our favorite is the XV-3, which is set up on two levels – one for carrying your gear and one for sleeping in.
You can add a slide-out galley, fridge and a water heater, if you fancy. The XV-3 is essentially a pop up camper trailer. It’s designed for going off-road thanks to the independent torsion axle, electric drum brakes and multi-axis max coupler hitch. You could take it anywhere on your Jeep.
5) Jeep Action Camper JKU – (Not currently in production)
Sleeps: Up to six adults
Features: 3 windows, 6ft 8in headroom when open, queen size bed (79in x 59in), kitchenette with burner, sink and fridge, dining area, 8-gallon freshwater tank, 5-gallon greywater tank.
We know this rig isn’t currently in production, but we wanted to add it anyway so you can see what a Jeep camper can be. We’ll keep you posted as to when this is being made again.
The Action Camper is a cool shell that transforms the Jeep Unlimited into an off-road adventure camper. It is surprisingly lightweight but offers all the typical amenities of a small camper: a dining area, a kitchenette with a stove, sink and fridge, various cabinets and a comfortable bed with a mattress.
The top pops up to offer additional headroom and ventilation.
Each camper is custom made, so you can add almost anything you wish for, as long as the company can source it and thinks it’s suitable for installation. Among the standard options they offer solar power, a second water tank, a spare diesel tank, entertainment and navigation systems.
Find out more about the Jeep Action Camper. Remember, it’s not currently in production, but you can go look at photos!
Ready to turn your Jeep into a camper?
If you want to travel further with a few comforts in your 4×4, you can turn your Jeep into a camper quite easily and for a reasonable price.
This will allow you to sleep in a more comfortable, elevated bed and carry more gear, without the financial implications of owning a big camper, van or RV.
Just imagine setting up camp, eating dinner under the Milky Way, washing your dishes in a mountain stream and falling into a soft bed.
You can even rent a Jeep camper to make up your mind.
However, if what you’re really itching for an overland vehicle with decent indoor space and comforts to take off-grid for longer periods, you may want to consider an off-road adventure van.
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Learn all about how to find free campsites with my list of 9 apps and websites to get you started boondocking in no time.