*This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.
The Mini Cooper is a beloved small economy car across the world. It’s zippy yet fuel-efficient, easy to maneuver and unique-looking. Plus, it’s got a lot of personality. That’s why more and more people have decided to turn theirs into a camper. Why change vehicles or upgrade to a bigger van, when you already love yours so much?
When it comes to Mini Cooper Campers, there are a number of options you can explore. We’ll look at each of these below.
But first, let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of turning your Mini into a camper.
Table of Contents
Pros and Cons Of Mini Cooper Campers
If you’re considering turning your Mini Cooper into a camper, you need to be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of this kind of camping setup. There are compromises to be made, of course.
- The Mini is versatile – you can use it as a car during the week
- It has a nippy engine, which allows you to zip around
- Maneuvering it in tight spaces is very easy
- You can take it anywhere – from an Ikea to a busy city – and park wherever you like
- It has a distinctive style.
- The vehicle is very small – even the Clubman model is short and narrow
- Many models have small engines, so you can’t go up steep uphills or tow a heavy trailer
- The suspension system isn’t up to scratch, so it’s not suitable for driving off road
- There’s no toilet
- A DIY Mini Cooper camper only fits one person
- It’s suitable for short trips only – living in it would be too cramped.
DIY Mini Cooper Campers
Building a DIY camper for your Mini Cooper allows you to save quite a lot of cash and to set it up exactly how you want it. You don’t necessarily need to have any DIY skills, as you can opt for a no-build rig.
Take inspiration from the Mini Camper – Mini’s own official version on a Clubman. This features a single bed and a pull-out kitchenette for cooking outdoors. The kitchenette has enough storage space to fit a cooler and stove. This version also includes a TV, a heater, a shower, and a glass roof. Mini also added a roof mount, so you can transport surf boards, kayaks, or a roof top box. As you can see, you can make your Mini into a cozy RV, if you wish.
Beware: the interior length is about 63 inches long. Taller people can’t sleep inside.
Let’s look at some DIY rigs.
Emily’s DIY rig
Emily built a ply frame which fits the whole surface at the back of the car. To do this, she removed the back seats. She placed a single mattress on top of it to create a comfortable bed.
While there’s no storage in the back of the car, Emily retained the trunk space, which she can access via two fold-up pieces which are part of the sleeping platform. Being quite short, she was able to leave the space originally taken up by the passenger seat space untouched, so she can use it as storage.
Emily really made the most out of the space available; however she can’t really take any passengers with her. She used the Mini Cooper camper to tour the UK solo.
No-build 2Door Mini Camper
This solo female traveler converted her 2-door Mini Cooper into a camper without building anything. She simply removed the seats and placed a mattress and cooler in the back of the car. The rest of the space is used as storage. Simple and cheap!
This camper used a steel frame that lifts up and extends to create storage under the platform bed. Very clever. Part of the platform slides up to the front of the vehicle, so the bed can extend with the front seats pulled forward. Removing the frame is really easy.
Mini Cooper Rooftop Tents
This is one of the most popular options for turning your Mini into a camper. It creates a decent bedroom above the car, allowing you to use the rear of the vehicle for storage. It’s like old school camping, without having to sleep on the ground, on top of twigs and rocks.
If you need to travel fast or take the Mini to the office, you can take the tent off and store it your garage.
Mini created their own Mini Countryman All4Camp – a hardshell roof top tent which fits a Mini Cooper SE and a Countryman All4 Hybrid. The All4Camp features two roll-up windows and gas-actuated springs and an eight-rung fold-out ladder. It’s still available to buy at the time of writing.
However, you don’t have to get Mini’s official tent. There are lots of great options, including budget ones.
Before you start window shopping for tents, make sure you check if your model supports the installation of a roof rack and what’s the roof load limit (when stationary).
Everyone knows Skycamp tents for their quality and durability. The Mini 2.0 and 3.0 versions easily fit on top of a Mini Cooper. The Skycap mini has a small hard shell, but it opens sideways to create a pretty big bedroom. iKamper makes lots of accessories you can use to organize your gear, such as hanging shoe bags.
If you’d prefer having a tent that fits perfectly above your car’s roof and simply pops up vertically, check out the LOFT™ Rooftop Tent. It sets up and packs away very simply in under one minute. You won’t need to be as careful about where you set up camp, as the tent is only as large as your car is.
This is a lightweight soft-shell tent, which mounts in seconds without using any poles. It only weighs 90lbs and is only 12in high when closed. It’s ideal for anyone who wants to be active until sundown.
The Thule Tepui Foothill has an A-frame shape and takes up very little space on the roof of your car when closed. The tent opens sideways to expand the bedroom size, so you sleep parallel with your vehicle, rather than perpendicularly.
This fabric lightweight tent takes two to five minutes to set up. It sits on top of your Mini in a compact shell, but opens up to reveal a double bedroom, inside which you’ll find a skylight.
Mini Cooper Camping Trailers
Finally, if you’d rather avoid installing roof rails, you can opt for a small and lightweight travel trailer. It’s not a cheap options, but you’ll be able to carry your camping gear in the back of the Mini, while leaving your bed made up in the trailer.
There’s a variety of ultra light camping trailers to choose from. Just make sure you check the towing ability of your Mini Cooper model – the bigger the engine, the more weight it can haul. For example, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine Mini Cooper can tow trailers up to 2,425lbs. However, the Mini Countryman only pulls 1,565lbs. It’s a huge difference, so make sure to check before you start shopping.
Mini even designed its own tear drop trailer – the Mini Cowley Caravan – in 2013 (it was never for sale, just for inspiration). Their version features a double bed and a permanent kitchenette at the back of the trailer. The trailer weighs 2,205lbs and includes a stove, water tank, and sink.
There’s a wide range of light travel trailers to choose from.
This 13ft-long trailer only weighs 1,100 pounds. The vintage exterior matches the Mini Cooper look very well. The interior is fully customizable with modular furniture, including a kitchenette, table, and cabinets.
The Timberleaf is slightly longer at 14ft long and weighs 1,500 pounds. The vintage design makes it cool, but the low profile increases your aerodynamics on the road. Inside, there’s a double bed and a kitchenette. We love the big skylight, which allows you to watch the stars st night.
This A-frame trailer only weighs 990 pounds and provides a maximum of 8ft of head space. The trailer features hard-sided dormer pop-outs, which can expand the room inside it by a lot.
At only 1,360 pounds, the Taxa Tiger Moth offers the benefits of a teardrop trailer, without the space compromises. The camper has a rectangular shape, allowing for more headroom. The Taxa Tiger Moth features a pull-out kitchen, an awning, and hatches and doors which unfold.
If you Mini has a smaller engine, pick the lighter version of the Quicksilver, which comes in just under 700lbs. While being super light, this pop up trailer offers a lot of living space and decent headroom.
Mini Cooper Camper Gear
Want to increase comfort o your Mini Cooper camper? The more of this gear you invest in, the longer you’ll be able to stay on the road in your Mini Cooper.
Unless you’re happy to rely on campgrounds, service stations, and gyms to travel for more than a weekend, you’ll need a portable shower. You can get a solar shower or a manual pressurised garden spray bottle. You can fill the spray bottle up with warm water, rather than leaving it out in the sun for hours. Simply warm some water on your camping stove and mix it with lukewarm water.
No matter what type of Mini Cooper camper you opt for, adding a side awning will extend your chilling out space by a lot. Sitting inside the car, trailer, or rooftop tent for more than a couple of hours can feel claustrophobic. Add a non-permanent awning to create a sheltered area where to read, eat, and relax.
Not in love with the idea of going to the bathroom in the woods all the time? Just take a portable toilet with you for extra comfort. Opt for a lined bucket or a Porta Potti for convenience.
Rechargeable battery bank
Having a battery bank with you will allow you to spend more time in rad wild camping spots – you won’t need to drive somewhere every time you need to charge your phone or get some cold beer. Make sure you understand how much energy the battery can store before you purchase it – smaller ones don’t stow much.
Portable solar panels
No need to install a complicated solar energy system on your little car. Simply get a solar panel or two, pop them by the car, and hook them up to a battery bank.
We also recommend getting:
- USB fans
- a cooler or fridge
- a camping table and chairs
- solar lights
- a travel hammock
- a propane heater
- bluetooth speakers
- a portable laundry system
- a hand vacuum
- hanging mesh pockets
- a double-burner camping stove.
Conclusion on Mini Cooper Campers
If you love your Mini Cooper and want to take it on short fun outdoor adventures and road trips, you can easily turn it into a camper. Choose between a DIY camper build, a rooftop tent, or a small travel trailer. You’ll have to compromise on space and comfort, but you’ll be able to nip in and out of cities and travel light.