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Your Simple Guide to converting your SUV into a car camper. I woke up one day and thought I want to go #camping but I can't find an open #campsite. I'd even more love to do #vanlife, but I can't afford it. So, rather than being a can't person, I decided to be a can person and converted what I owned, my 2018 Nissan Rogue SUV into a #carcamper. If I can do it so can you.

Welcome to my Nissan SUV Conversion

Solo woman car camping conversion.
SUV Conversion Complete

Let me begin with I am not a perfectionist. I am not a woodworker. I am not an expert on converting SUV's. I am a woman who said I want to go SUV Camping and just did it and it worked and I am happy and I didn't spend a lot of money. This is for the novice. Someone who wants help, but doesn't want to spend the next 3 months in their garage with some show stopping Instagramable SUV. You just want something that works.

Here is what worked for me in a simple to follow guide.

Remove the backseats.

The backseats are bolted into your car in the front and back of them. When removing the backseats SAVE the bolts in a safe location (labeled ziplock) for two reasons. First of all, I used these same holes and bolts to secure my floor. Secondly, you need to find them when you decide to have your backseats put into your car again.

You might need to push your backseats forward a bit to access the rear bolts. The seats are pretty heavy when removing.

Then, if your car is like mine you will not have a level space. Time to measure and build a platform for your floor.


Make the floor for your SUV Conversion.

This will be the hardest part of the project. If you want to be forward thinking I made my floor in two pieces to be able to open so I could access my spare tire.

The thickness of the plywood sheet would depend on your weight and how much you want to spend. I chose a 3/4 inch 4x8 Sandalwood sheet of plywood.

I had Home Depot cut the length and width for me in the store and then I just had to cut the front to fit nicely.

I cut it into 2 pieces and placed a brace in my center line. I basically made a frame for it to sit on and be level.

I had leftover 2x4's and scrap wood all over my garage, so I just used whatever I had for the brace. It is a chop meal of pieces of wood put together to make the right size, lol.

I hope the photos make sense in order to make a level platform. The wooden boards in the front were connected through the existing holes for the seats with the bolts from the car.

A guy friend who knows how to metal work made me the hinges, but I think you can just buy some?

I used Tungsten Oil on the wood to seal/stain because I already had it in the garage. I also put a cushy tape thing so it wouldn't bang.

FYI - the space under the floor is great extra storage. It is also perfect to load up with items that do double duty as insulation.

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Make a platform bed for roughly half your space if you are solo camping.

First of all you'll have to decide what will be comfortable for you. Do you want to sit up? Do you want space next to you? Do you want storage underneath? For me these were the important considerations.

First thing I did was got in the back and positioned myself exactly how I would sleep. I am a side sleeper, so it was important to see how wide I needed my platform to be. (FYI - I do this with sleeping bags in the store too). Then I measured the width and cut out my plywood. I made it fit with the form of my car.

I then started playing with the height. I placed books under my platform and decided what I thought would be the best height. Don't forget to think about the thickness of the mattress you buy and incorporate that. I can't sit up completely straight, but close enough.

Most baskets seem to be about 4" high for the shallowest. If you want storage under your bed (highly recommended) you need at least 4 1/2 inches. That's why I went with legs that were adjustable. I have about a half an inch of wiggle room.

I carpeted my platform with some cheap roll of carpet from Home Depot that I just stapled on.

Being off the floor and adding a platform bed is an important step towards insulation in winter. Having all of these extra layers really makes the difference. So far I have slept in the car at 30 degrees outside and I was toasty inside. I did not need any heat.

Continue to my next post for all the extras to make your space comfortable - COMING SOON


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