The Jeep Wrangler is well-known for its fantastic off-road performance, so if you love going on boondocking adventures in remote locations, using yours as a camper is a great idea.
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.
Want to see a cool example? This Jeep Wrangler camper kit can transform your Jeep into a mini RV.
In this post, we share 6 options to transform a Jeep Wrangler into a camper, take a look at 4 clever DIY conversions, and offer inspiration for some useful overlanding gear to take with you.
But first let’s look at why a Jeep Wrangler makes for a good camper.
Why You Might Want a Jeep Camper Conversion
In a nutshell, a camper conversion offers 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 even 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 wild camping escapades.
The Advantages of a Jeep Camper Conversion
(Check out Venture4WD’s YouTube channel. He’s a guy living in a Jeep camper!)
Turning your Jeep into a boondocking vehicle could be the best idea you’ve ever had. Here’s why.
- the 4×4 drive offers complete freedom – drive it anywhere
- it’s versatile – you can use it both off-road and at the campground
- it provides the perfect balance between outdoor and indoor space, encouraging you to hang out outside and take in the views
- it’s easy to store and park, thanks to the modest size
- it’s cheaper to by and maintain than a big campervan or RV because it’s simpler.
DIY Jeep Wrangler Camper Conversions
Before we delve into professional conversion kits, let’s look at what a DIY conversion looks like.
Currently Hannah’s DIY Camper Conversion For Jeep Camping
To set off and live the van life full-time in Japan, Hannah self-converted her Jeep into a camper by creating a plywood module that goes inside the back of the truck. It’s a simple design with a platform bed and slide-out drawers at the back. This budget conversion is effective, easy-to-build, and doesn’t add any bulk to the vehicle.
Drew Simms’s Jeep Roof Top Tent Set-up
Drew started off his off-road adventures carrying just the essential and slowly upgraded his Jeep to become the ultimate off-road camper over the course of three years.
Outside, he added tons of amazing gear, like a snorkel, a light bar and much more. On the roof he fixed a big roof top tent, a solar panel and an awning which opens on three sides. Inside, he built storage drawers he can access from all sides of the car and a bench he can sit on to work inside. At the back, he installed a slide-out kitchen and a pressurised water system he can use to shower.
Joshav’s Jeep Camper Conversion
Josh converted his 2018 Wrangler into a camper DIY by removing the back seats and creating a platform bed. The platform isn’t long enough to accommodate him, so he extended one side of it behind the passenger seat.
Josh also added a safari top to the roof, which didn’t add much height to the vehicle. The top adds lots of extra storage space to his Jeep, which he finds extra useful. This is another simple rig which is cost-effective to create.
Sebastian and Line are nature guides running the company Off The Path from Mallorca, Spain. They tour the island aboard their Jeep Wrangler using a roof top tent, a portable cooler, and a fire pit. This set-up is simple and a lot of fun.
Types of Jeep Wrangler Campers You Can Add to Your Rig
There are many ways to go about converting a Jeep Wrangler into a camper. Each set-up suits different needs and budgets.
Let’s look at what options you have.
1) Pop Top Jeep Wrangler Camper
The pop top is a permanently installed bedroom, which folds down onto the roof when it’s not in use. It virtually takes no extra space, but it creates standing room and allows you to use the back of the truck for storage. Jeep pop up campers typically feature a galley, small bathroom, and a seating area with a table.
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 buy a DIY conversion kit. Here are some examples of conversions available on the market.
Pop Top Jeep Wrangler Camper By Ursa Minor – From $10,300
Sleeps: Two adults
Features: Removable, access to sleeping loft from inside or outside the vehicle, 6ft 9in headroom when open, 7′ x 4′ foam mattress with washable covers, LED lights near the bed.
The J30 is a pop-top Jeep Wrangler Camper made by Ursa Minor for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It essentially adds a pop-up 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.
The hard top on this Jeep camper brings peace of mind in stormy weathers, and you can add optional racks to haul kayaks, bikes, skis or snowboards.
Durable SunBrella fabric makes up the sides of the pop-top tent, which are fade and water resistant.
Ursa Minor ships Jeep campers 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.
Find out more about the Ursa Minor Jeep campers.
Hatchet Overland Pop Top Camper – From $8,500
Weight: 200 lbs
Features: overhead sleeping area, side awnings,
If you like the idea of getting a pop top for your Jeep but you feel like you could do with a little more space, take a look at the Hatchet Overland.
This pop up roof features a comfortable bed space, which is 10″ tall, and two side awnings which create nice outdoor areas where to relax. When open, the pop top adds enough headroom to sit inside your truck.
The camper opens up quickly and easily and the bed platform cleverly slides forward to create a nice, solid patio at the back of the car.
The best bit? The pop top is tall enough that you can leave your bed set up with winter sleeping bags and big pillows while you drive!
Find out more on the Hatchet Overland website.
Pop Top Red River Rigs Jeep Wrangler Camper – 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 Wrangler camper by Red River Rigs for the Jeep Wrangler JKU.
It’s not just a simple pop up roof like the Ursa Minor jeep camper – 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.
This Jeep Wrangler camper adds 15″ of usable space to a Jeep Wrangler JKU so you can customize it for additional cargo, camping and overlanding.
Each Jeep camper conversion kit is custom 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 and estimate weight.
Find out more about the American Safari JXL.
2) Jeep Wrangler Rooftop Tent
This is one of the simplest 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? Rooftop tents 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. Here are a few examples.
Weight: 155 lbs
The Roofnest Sparrow XL Rooftop Tent is a redesign of the older Roofnest Eagle.
This rooftop tent is perfect for taking your Jeep out into the middle of nowhere. It features a built-in gear storage area, a solar panel mountain area, 40″ max headroom when open and three larger doors and windows.
You’ll also find ladder mounts on three sides and the ability to store all your bedding inside the Jeep rooftop tent when you’re driving.
This Jeep rooftop tent is easy to install and waterproof, perfect for expeditions in your rugged rig.
Sleeps: 2 adults and 2 children
Weight: 160 lbs
The Skycamp 2.0 is another great rooftop tent for turning your Jeep into a camper.
The biggest draw of this rooftop tent is probably its 60-second setup time. That’s right. Imagine driving 12+ hours and finally pulling up to your campsite close to midnight, exhausted and probably more than a little cranky.
You put the car in park, get out, and in less than one minute you have a pretty dang comfortable bed waiting for you to fall into. It’s king size!
The aerodynamic design of this Jeep camper rooftop tent, huge interior, and the inclusion of creature comforts like a thick memory foam mattress make this tent feel more like an oasis. There’s even a skylight that allows you to do some romantic stargazing.
If the price tag doesn’t scare you too much, the iCamper Skycamp is an awesome option.
3) Jeep Camper Shell
This is the real deal – a “proper” Jeep camper. It even looks like a camper.
A Jeep camper shell 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.
Example: Backwoods Camper Co Shell – Price Available On Request
Sleeps: Up to six adults
Features: California King size bed space, jack system for mounting, bench seat, countertop and cabinets.
The Backwoods Camper Co is a camper shell that fits most SUVs. It’s made of structural fiberglass over foam-core panels, so it’s both lightweight and durable.
You don’t have to permanently mount it on your Wrangler – just use the jack system to install it and remove it when you need to.
Inside the shell you’ll find a California kind size bed, a bench seat, and a a galley area consisting of a countertop and cabinets.
To get inside, you’ll have to get off the car, but this clever camper allows you to use the whole of your vehicle for storage, which is pretty neat!
You can find more information on the Backwoods Camper Co Website.
4) Jeep Wrangler Off-Road Pop Up 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.
Example: Turtleback Expedition Jeep Camper Trailer – Pricing available on request
Sleeps: Up to six adults
Features: 42-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 camper 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 Jeep camper trailer also features an impressive 50 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. It’s available in two packages: the T2 and the T3.
Example: XVENTURE XV-3 Jeep Camper Trailer – From $17,925
Weight: not specified
Sleeps: Two adults
Features: double bed, 22-gallon water tank, galley.
Want a Jeep camper 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 like.
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.
Find out more about Xventure trailers.
Example: Opus OP Lite Camper Trailer- Pricing Available On Request
Sleeps: 2 adults and 2 kids
Features: full kitchen, fridge, queen bed, lounge, AC.
The Opus OP Lite pops up to create sleeping space for four. This trailer is great for families who want to travel light while having the option to hang out indoors.
There are a galley, a table with bench seats which turns into a double bed, lots of storage and two suspended bunk beds.
The trailer comes with all-terrain tires, quad stabiliser jacks, a 16gal water tank and much more.
More details are available on the Opus Camper website.
5) Jeep Off-road Travel Trailer
An off road travel trailer has four walls – it doesn’t pop up – so it’s taller. It’s always set up for camping, and you can sleep and relax inside it without worrying about the elements. It offers a little more comfort and coziness than a pop up cargo trailer.
Example: TAB 400 Teardrop Jeep Camper – Pricing available on request
Sleeps: 3-4 people
Features: queen-size bed, wet bath, dinette, kitchen, hidden bunk bed, solar system.
This super cool teardrop trailer by nuCamp offers all the comforts of home while you’re boondocking off-road.
You can cook, eat, and relax inside in bad weather, which is great if you like to explore the Northern states.
The chunky off-road tyres allow you to tow it anywhere.
Like the sound of it? Check it out here.
Example: TCTeardrop Off-Road Expedition – From $9,100
Sleeps: Two adults
Features: double bed, galley shelves and slide-out table, detachable rear table.
Looking for a trailer with a solid bedroom? Check this off road teardrop trailer out.
The TCTeardrop ORE features two doors, two windows, a decent amount of storage space, and an outdoor kitchen.
There are also plenty of upgrades to choose from, such as aluminium alloy wheels, articulating hitch and Jeep-style HD XL fenders.
The other cool thing is that it comes in 200 colors, which means you’re definitely able to color match your vehicle. How cool is that?
You’ll find more info on the TCTeardrop ORE here.
6) Tailgate Tent
Are you on a tight budget? You can go wild camping with your Jeep Wrangler for cheap by attaching a tailgate tent to the back of the car. It’s not going to be as comfy as sleeping in a camper shell or pop top roof, but you can order one today and go camping in it next week.
The key difference between a traditional tent and a tailgate tent is that you always have access to the interior of your car while you sleep.
Example: Rightline Gear SUV Tent – From $260
Sleeps: Four adults
Features: two gear pockets, lantern hook, easy set up.
The Rightline Gear SUV Tent is a lightweight tent that fits any SUV and sleeps up to four adults. It hardly takes up any space while you travel, but it creates an extra room for camping in. Get changed, sleep, and cook inside it while having full access to the back of your Jeep.
If you’re staying in the same spot for more than one night, simply detach the tent from your tailgate and leave it set up for the night.
Cool Gear for Your Jeep Wrangler Camper
Once you’ve chosen the kind of camper or tent you’d like to add to your Wrangler, you’ll probably want to buy a few bits of equipment to make your wild camping experience even more fun. Here are a few ideas.
Portable Solar Generators
An easy solution to generate power on the road is to get a portable solar power generator, like a Jackery. You can choose between the kind that charges at home and via your car engine or the kind that comes with portable solar panels. Either kit is a great way to stay off grid for longer. We have put together a list of good quality solar generators here.
Fridge Freezers or Coolers
Even the most hardcore campers enjoy eating some fresh food (or drinking a cold beer!) every now and then. If you don’t want to be stuck eating freeze-dried meals every day, invest is a cooler or fridge freezer. These come in a variety of sizes; some even feature a rugged box, which is ideal for driving off-road. Check out our favorite coolers here.
Overland Storage Boxes
If you plan to do a lot of miles off-road, you’ll want to get yourself some overland storage boxes. These will keep any delicate equipment safe while you drive. Storage boxes come in a variety of materials and sizes. Take a look at the best overland storage boxes for sale here.
Overland Water Tanks
Storing water properly while you head off-road is essential. Standard water tanks can easily break on a rough ride. Overland water storage solutions need to be secured both inside and outside your Jeep to avoid leaking. Here are our top picks for overland water tanks.
Not a fan of a slide-out galley? Opt for a BBQ kit instead. If you bring a fridge freezer to keep some steaks and burgers cool, you can have a nice relaxing cookout in the evenings.
If you opt for an interior conversion, you can add a roof rack to your camper to take solar panels, kayaks and other adventure gear.
No matter what type of Jeep Wrangler camper you own, awnings can make your set-up feel bigger. Cook and eat outside under an awning in good and bad weather to take in the views around you.
Even if you don’t plan to drive in the dark, you might need to every now and then. Plans don’t always work out and standard beam lights simply aren’t good enough to navigate the wilderness. A light bar will improve your range of view for slow off-road driving.
Those of you who plan to drive to remote locations on rough terrain should always carry a good recovery kit, although it’s crucial you also know how to use it! Don’t wait to learn until you need to.
These are just some ideas for equipment you can add to your Jeep Wrangler camper. There’s plenty more! Here’s a more extensive list.There are some good overland stores online with lots of gear for sale.
Ready to Set off on Your Jeep Wrangler 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.
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 camperto make up your mind.
However, if what you’re really itching for an overland vehicle with good indoor space and comforts to take off-grid for longer periods, you may want to consider an off-road adventure van.