Turn Your SUV Into the Perfect Car Camper with These 15 Tips

An SUV camper has a lot of advantages, including AWD or 4WD and hybrid models. Here are camper conversion ideas to get out sleeping in your SUV in no time.

An SUV camper offers a simple entry point into camping, especially if you’re not keen on the traditional tent setup. Simply tossing a mattress in the back, installing a sleeping platform, or opting for a conversion kit or rooftop tent can transform your vehicle into a cozy mobile campsite.

SUVs, often equipped with AWD or 4WD, are ideal for navigating rugged dirt roads or tackling challenging terrains like sand and snow. What’s more, the latest SUV models often feature hybrid technology, which can be a real gas-saver.

So, if you’ve got an SUV parked in your driveway or garage, now might be the perfect time to consider converting it into your very own camper. Here are our 15 best tips!

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1. Rav4 SUV Camper Conversion

Photo Credit: @rvyoursuv

The most affordable way to create an SUV for SUV camping is to do it yourself. This RAV4 has a simple bed platform with storage beneath. It’s easy to make a platform like this out of plywood or wooden beams. Then, just place a memory foam or air mattress on top and you’re good to go.

2. Honda Element SUV Camper Conversion

Image Credit: @nosummitnoparty

This Honda Element Camper is built out to maximize a small space. We love the single bed, the storage, and the back hatch. The hatch in this “down” position is the perfect spot to create your campervan kitchen.

Emily Mannisto built this SUV camper conversion and said her memory foam mattress folds away when not in use. She also suggests having a big multi-gallon jug for water (we recommend this collapsible jug), window blockers for privacy and curtains that go over the front seats.

This is a super simple DIY SUV camper that anyone can build.

3. Honda CRV SUV Camper

Photo Credit: @arimorrone

Here’s an example of a simple Honda CRV SUV camper conversion with a platform bed and storage beneath for SUV camping! As you can see, an SUV camper doesn’t have to be fancy.

Just a cozy, comfortable bed and some storage are the most important parts.

We also love the twinkle lights on the roof, which gives this SUV camper conversion a really homey feel.

4. Subaru Forester Camper

Photo Credit: @wildmoonrise

If you think a Subaru Forester is too small for SUV camping, think again! Subarus can be converted into super comfy, off-grid camper.

I just love how she set out a table and chairs to create a mobile, outdoor “office.”

5. Jeep Grand Cherokee Camper

Photo Credit: Jennifer Vegvari

Jennifer Vegvari lives in this 1989 Jeep Grand Cherokee camper. It has a simple bed platform with pull-out plastic bins.

6. 4- Runner SUV Camper

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/SirWilliamAdams

A Toyota 4-Runner camper is a great SUV for off-road boondocking and adventures. Sir William chose this red 4-Runner for its dependability and its off-road performance.

He told The Wayward Home his favorite components are his bed platform and his 12-volt refrigerator.

7. Nissan 2003 X-Trail T30 SUV Camper

Photo Credit: @Shona.X.Sunshine

A Nissan is another rig you can easily turn into an SUV Camper.

This one has a plywood platform with a cotton rug and foam mattress. The van’s owner, Shona, did a lot to make her SUV cozy.

The drawers were repurposed from a kitchen fit-out frame. She also has panels to cover the windows secured by Velcro dots. Also, she has mesh covers for the back windows so they can be open at night to let a breeze through.

A small ring light clip – one that’s made for selfies – creates light in the interior of the SUV camper at night.

8. Freeway Campers Bounty Hunter Compact SUV Sleeping Platform Kit

Photo Credit: Freeway Campers

If you don’t feel like investing the time and energy to construct your own sleeping platform in an SUV camper conversion, you can order this one from Freeway Campers.

Choose between a variety of wood finishes or no finish at all on this completed bed platform, made out of Baltic birch. You can also add on a 4″ memory foam mattress.

This SUV camper sleeping platform conversion kit features adjustable legs to create a bed of any level. It’s super easy to put together with zero tools. Take it out when you’re ready to transform your SUV back into a daily driver.

Kit includes a huge sliding work table in the back with a collapsible 9.5”(24 cm) x 13.5”(34 cm) container that can be used as a sink.

9. Honda Element SUV Camper Conversion Kit by Freeway Campers

Photo Credit: Freeway Campers

The Honda Element SUV camper conversion kit is also an awesome offering by Freeway Campers.

This interlocking kit, made from Baltic birch panels, was made to fit Honda Elements from the years 2003-2011 but isn’t limited to that particular vehicle. You can easily slide this kit into other flat-bottomed vehicles like the Dodge Grand Caravan.

This incredible SUV camper conversion kit can be installed with zero tools and is easy to store if you want to remove it from your Element. Just order it online and Freeway Camper Kit sends it straight to your address!

You can choose between several styles of kits and can add a mattress, mattress cover, and 37-quart portable fridge for a few hundred more bucks.

10. Home On Wheels Furniture Kit by Camp N Car

Photo Credit: Camp ‘n Car

Looking for something functional you can customize yourself? This DIY kit by Camp N Car is a little different. It fits SUVs, truck, minivans, and more.

It features a bunk, which can extend to become a double bed, and an L-shaped piece of furniture for storage at the rear. Under the bunk, there are deep drawers which open towards the furniture. The furniture comprises eight shelves and half of these can be accessed from the back of your vehicle.

11. Trunk Bunk by Camp n Car

Photo Credit: Camp n Car

Do you like the look of the Home On Wheels Furniture Kit but prefer to travel light and sleep more comfortably? They also make a bunk-only kit. This is a modular sleeping platform that slides to become a double bed, which allows you to use the whole width of your vehicle. No drawers are under the bed, but you can still store your gear underneath.

This kit is very minimalistic and is easy to remove when you need the back seats of your vehicle.

12. Universal Aluminium Car Camper Bed Platform by Compass Camper

Photo Credit: Compass Campers

Want a lightweight, cheap, and super-fast-to-assemble kit? Look no further than this aluminum conversion kit by Compass Camper. It’s as simple as it gets – a low platform bed made out of aluminum with open storage underneath. This is lined with foam, so you don’t need to place a high mattress on top of it. Installation doesn’t require any drilling or screwing either – attach the frame to your vehicle’s tie-downs to keep it in place.

Assembly only takes a staggering 20 minutes! You can quickly build it and install it first thing in the morning and be wild camping somewhere rad on the same night.

13. Nestbox Camper by Egoe

Photo Credit: Egoe

Another really cool SUV camper kit we have our eye on is the Nestbox Camper by Egoe. This European company is beginning to debut its products in the U.S. at various expos and camper van shows.

The Nestbox Camper is one of Egoe’s smallest offerings, built for SUVs and offers a bed platform, outdoor kitchen, storage space and cooler.

14. Sleep’In Kit (VanPackers)

Photo Credit: Vanpackers

The Sleep’In Kit is a functional sleeping platform with storage underneath and a slide-out kitchen area at the back. One of the bed panels can be detached and used as an outdoor table – super clever.

The Sleep’In Kit comes with a retractable sink, a custom storage bag, an exterior leg support, and a 14″ table leg. Extras include a 2″ mattress, a cooler, a 2-burner camping stove, and custom-made curtains. The camper features a strap system, which allows you to fix the frame to the trunk of your car, so you won’t need to permanently attach it to it.

15. iCamper SkyCamp SUV Camping Tent

Photo Credit: Skycamp

The Skycamp 2X rooftop tent is a more expensive option for an SUV camper but comes with some added features and luxuries.

The biggest draw is the 60-second setup time, which means you can crawl up for a nap right after you park your SUV.

The aerodynamic design of this rooftop tent, its huge 4-person interior, and the inclusion of creature comforts like a thick memory foam mattress make this rooftop tent feel more like an oasis.

We also love the hard shell locks, the breathable poly-cotton canvas, and the aerodynamic, lightweight design.

17 Off-Road Vans for Epic Overlanding Adventures

Photo Credit: Winnebago Industries

Do you dream of exploring dirt roads and off-road trails in your campervan? Some of the best campsites are out in the middle of nowhere. You’ll want one of these off-road vans to get you there.

13 Reasons I Chose Van Life over House Life

Woman in a flannel standing in the doorway of a Sprinter van.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

Choosing van life over house life has been one of the best decisions I have made in my adult life. Here are the top reasons I did not follow the traditional path of purchasing a home and chose a life of adventure on the road instead.

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