Camping with a car – options for expansion & Tips

A mobile vehicle in which you can also live and stay. Not necessarily it must be a classic motorhome. If you take a closer look, you will find more and more classic cars that have been converted into campers. Partly with regular equipment from the manufacturer, partly in affectionate work by the owners themselves prepared. Usually it is minibuses or vans that are used for the conversion. For the nomads living permanently in such vehicles, a separate term has now been established in the English-speaking world – vanlife.

That it does not necessarily have to be a bus for camping, however, I want to show in this overview article. Even an ordinary passenger car can be transformed into a genuine campervan without great financial outlay.

Fully equipped camping vans

The certainly simplest and with the smallest self-share connected variant represent manufacturer-sided already ex factory fully equipped camper buses. These vehicles are special equipment lines of the box-type delivery vans or high-roof station wagons of the well-known car manufacturers.

The classic here is certainly the VW bus, which has been accommodating campers all over the world for many generations. With an electrically operated pop-up roof, power connection and integrated kitchenette, the current California model series leaves nothing to be desired. A comparable offer is also available from Mercedes with the Marco Polo, which is based on the V-Class. VW also offers the Caddy Beach, a high-roof station wagon that can also be equipped as a camper ex works.

The only problem with the whole story is – these cars are expensive. Cheaper than a motorhome, of course, but especially for occasional campers the purchase of such a car will probably hardly be worthwhile. Then rather rent a real motorhome with all its advantages and disadvantages for the duration of the vacation.

Universal prefabricated constructions

In contrast, the installation of universal prefabricated constructions is more favorable. These wooden structures are available from various professional third party suppliers and can be installed in most bus-like vehicles and high roof station wagons. The advantage of this is that the constructions are usually modular, can be folded up and completely removed from the car. So the car can also be used as a normal car and easily converted to a camper. Also in the acquisition this variant is more favorable than with the fixed-installed constructions ex factory.

However, the problem is that the constructions are still anything but affordable. Depending on the equipment variant with an integrated kitchen, storage space and a bed, you are looking at a low to mid four-digit price range. And space for the folded construction must be able to be applied somewhere outside the vehicle when not in use.

Individual installation construction

The cheapest option is to build an individual construction yourself. This requires some effort, creativity and craftsmanship, but is actually quite quickly feasible. And the advantage of the whole thing: You can design the camper extension exactly as it is optimal for you and for your vehicle. With the right idea, even an ordinary car can be quickly and easily transformed into a camper that is inconspicuous from the outside.

Camping with car station wagon

I have converted my station wagon into a camper with sleeping facilities, a cool box and a kitchen. Two persons can drive and stay overnight in it without any problems. You can find a tutorial in this article. In order to be able to be completely self-sufficient on the way, I installed additionally a solar plant on the roof. This supplies me everywhere on journeys stream and finds likewise place in my station wagon. You can find instructions for rebuilding in this article.

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