The Kia Sedona minivan camper conversion is a great idea for those wanting to start van life on a budget. This small mini van can easily be converted into a camper van, has good gas mileage, and provides a great driving experience.
You might never have considered a Kia Sedona minivan for your camper conversion needs, but we’re here to tell you it could take you on the road trip of your dreams!
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What is a Kia Sedona Minivan?
The short answer is that a Kia Sedona Minivan is a small van that is less expensive than other luxury vans like the Grand Caravan. If you’re looking to convert a mini van into a camper, you might as well save money and buy a Kia Sedona Mini Van!
The back seats are easily removable, allowing you to convert the van into a camper van. You will have room to include a bed to sleep on, a small table, and maybe even a small porta potty.
Kia Sedona Camper Conversion Kits
If you’re not sure how to turn your Kia Sedona mini van into a minivan camper, you don’t need to worry. There are multiple kits out there specifically for a Kia Sedona camper conversion.
Roadloft Kia Sedona Camper Conversion Kit
Roadloft does it right with an entire camper conversion kit designed just for your Kia Sedona. They have models compatible with makes between 20o5 through 2021, and even one to fit the 2018-200 “SXL” model.
Their Kia Sedona minivan camper conversion kit comes with a bed platform that includes a mattress, a collapsable table, and drawers underneath with 200lb slides so you can load them up with all the gear.
Once your rear seats are easily removed, the installation takes about 5 minutes, and the only tool you need is a flathead screwdriver. How amazing is that? You could literally be starting van life a few hours after receiving your camper conversion kit!
Freeway universal minivan camper conversion kits
Freeway Camper Kits has a variety of minivan camper conversion kits available for all different types of minivans. This Nomad Camper Conversion Kit fits right in a Kia Sedona.
This camper conversion kit has two different bed size setup options and is best for someone traveling solo. It has a sink and optional refrigerator in the back, water storage, a gray water container, a folding table, bed-to-bench options, a butane stove, and tons of storage underneath the bed.
You can choose from multiple styles and colors depending on your personal preferences. Additional upgrades include a solar generator and a custom mattress.
Is a Kia Sedona Camper Conversion Right For You?
This all sounds great, but how can you determine if a Kia Sedona van is right for you? We’ve listed some pros and cons of using a Kia Sedona for your van life adventures to help you with your decision.
Pros of a Kia Sedona minivan camper conversion
- Less expensive than other minivans, such as the Grand Caravan or the Honda Odyssey
- Better gas mileage than a larger cargo van (2021 models ranked at 24mpg on highways)
- Easy to drive
- Great for stealth camping in cities
- Easily fits through drive-throughs and in regular parking spaces
- Easier to get insurance for than a converted cargo van
Cons of a Kia Sedona minivan camper conversion
- Small size doesn’t offer much living space
- Campervan conversion layout may not work well with two people
- Will need good window coverings to keep out light at night
- Limited storage space
- Low clearance and 2wd only
- Not insulated, so inside may get hot in summer and cold in winter
Is a Kia Sedona Camper Conversion Popular for Van Life?
It might not be as popular as a Mercedes Sprinter or a Ford Transit Connect, but many people have used the Kia Sedona as a starting point for van life. If you want to save money and still be able to take a tiny home out on the open road, this is a great option for a minivan camper conversion.
Curious to see someone living van life in a Kia minivan camper? We’re a big fan of Tamara and Chris from Nomads with a Van. They converted their own Kia Sedona so they could travel the country while camping out of their van.
We’ve featured their story below, so read on to learn how you can turn a mini van into a minivan camper so you can start living van life.
The $700 minivan camper conversion built to travel the US
In 2013, Tamara Murray and Chris Trenchel started to feel sick of their life in San Francisco. They started to consider a new way of life that involved a minivan camper conversion rather than a high-end city apartment.
Tamara worked for a public relations firm, and Chris for the city, and both felt like they had to work too hard to pay the bills in the most expensive city in the United States.
“We felt like we were wasting our youth,” Tamara said. “We saw this TED talk about a guy who said to take five years of your retirement and spread them throughout your working years. So we decided to take a sabbatical.”
They planned to take one year off and toured Latin America. After their whirlwind tour of South American countries, they’d become addicted to a life of freedom and couldn’t imagine returning to a 9-5 job.
So, they bought a used minivan, a Kia Sedona, with plans to do a minivan camper conversion and travel the United States.
How they built their Kia Sedona camper conversion on the cheap
The couple bought a cheap used minivan, a Kia Sedona, with plans to turn the car into a minivan camper conversion. They chose a minivan camper over a small RV because it was more fuel-efficient, easier to maneuver, less conspicuous, and cheaper.
But the couple found a couple of downsides to the minivan….mostly that it’s not as spacious and has no built-in storage as some larger campervans.
They wanted to make a functional Kia Sedona camper conversion but didn’t necessarily want to make any permanent changes. They also wanted to keep the back row of seats to seat more people legally and didn’t build out a bed or storage to preserve fuel efficiency.
“We took out the middle seats and folded the back bench seat into the floor. We put a foam mattress that makes a bed where we sleep when it’s cold,” Chris said. “At the foot of the bed, there’s enough space for us to have storage, so we put milk crates that act as drawers. We put our clothes on one side, and the other side is our kitchen stuff. There’s also space for chairs and a table we bring out to the campsite.
Their costs to convert the minivan were crazy low, just $200 for the full-sized foam mattress, dairy crates for storage, curtains, and a sunshade.
The bike rack tripled their conversion cost, which ended up being a little under $700.
Other Examples of DIY Kia Sedona Camper Conversions
Tamara and Chris certainly aren’t the only ones to understand the value and ease of converting a Kia Sedona into a campervan.
Here are some other great ideas for DIY minivan conversions to get your DIY juices flowing!
Paul’s self-converted 2011 Kia Sedona campervan
Paul decided to convert his 2011 Kia Sedona into a camper van so he could travel the lower 48.
He’s sharing all about his travels on Instagram @seekingnewhorizons.tv and YouTube.
The van conversion is documented on his YouTube channel, so you can get some great ideas there for your own DIY minivan camper conversion.
Hayley and Kevin exploring our National Parks
Hayley and Kevin built their own Kia Sedona into a simple campervan conversion that met their adventuring needs. They traveled the country seeing many of our National Parks, although recently have shifted to a life off the road, for the time being.
Minivan Lee – fashionista minivan life
If you ever wondered if fashion and van life can go together, Minivan Lee seems to have it figured out!
Minivan Lee is retired and has been living full-time in her self-converted Kia Sedona. She chose a simple “no build” that anyone could do! You can see her full setup on her YouTube channel.
Simply removing the seats and using some totes and collapsible cubes, she’s made a cozy little home that works well for both urban stealth parking and boondocking.
See Minivan Lee’s Kia Sedona camper van setup here.
Vanlife Rox with another no-build minivan camper
Rox Revenharte started vanlife in a no-build conversion for his Kia Sedona. He only used recycled and repurposed items for the interior. There’s even a mini recording studio inside so he could work from the minivan. He included a battery bank in the console to power his laptop and other electronics.
He opted to leave the seats in the van to utilize the seats for other things. There’s a basic cooler in the back, and has additional storage in the roof box on top of the van.
Rox has since transitioned into a larger shuttle bus van conversion that he’s made into an off-grid party bus.
Ashley and Marcus – world travelers starting with a Kia Sedona
Ashley and Marcus travel the world, but they also traveled from Florida to Utah in their 2007 DIY Kia Sedona camper conversion. They even brought their dog, Bella!
Their simple conversion with a bed platform for two was only meant for a three-week trip, but someone looking to start van life full-time could easily take the first step with a similar build.
Watch their video on how they built their bed platform here.
The Kia Sedona Campervan Conversion Could be Your Ticket to Van Life!
Summing up, you don’t need a fancy minivan camper conversion to be able to start van life.
Whether you’re in it for the long haul and want to purchase a campervan conversion kit or decide to go with a “no-build” to test the waters, there’s no right or wrong way to complete your minivan conversion.
Let us know if you decide to go with a minivan camper conversion! We’d love to hear your story and any tips you might have for others looking for a simpler, less expensive way to get out and start exploring!
Very cool lifestyle! I don’t think I’d be able to do it since I have a little guy, but I’m a big fan of living more simply.
Totally! I wrote one story about a couple who lives in a Sprinter van with a baby – amazing!
This is a really cool story. My boyfriend and I have actually thought of transforming a basic van into a home and living in it full-time to save money and pay off our student loans while traveling.
That’s a great idea! There are so many amazing van conversion ideas out there.
Inspirational!! I am just beginning to get my Grand Caravan converted. Goal is to be rent free by August.
I have been inspired by your article here. Have been wanting this. I have PTSD, not being able to settle down, always wanting to move. Constantly. J will m look into this more before up and leaving “it all behind”…..I would hope this is partly the answer. Along with meds.
Hey Kristin! My boyfriend and I have a ford transit connect and we have kind of converted it to fit our surfing camping lifestyle! But it is very beginner and we are wanting to do it right so it can last a while. We dont have a bunch of money to go to a buissnes to get an instalation set up. We are trying to find a kind soul who would be willing to help us create our dream van for cheap! We are located in San clemente, california! If you know anyone in the area or anyone at all who would want to help us we would be so thankful.
Kristin Hanes says
I honestly don’t know anyone who builds vans out for cheap, sadly 🙁 You might be able to hire a local carpenter or electrician, or put out requests in van life forums to see if anyone can help you build. I think there’s even a Van Life California Facebook group. Also, check out this article: https://www.thewaywardhome.com/ford-transit-connect-camper/