How I Transformed My SUV Into A Mini Camper

SUV Into A Mini Camper


When I was younger we would go camping for entire summers. Me and my brother knew every bike trail in the state parks that we would visit. I have very fond memories of those summers. So I decided that one of my goals is to visit every state park in Texas. Texas has 89 state parks and two national parks. To be prepared for camping and because I’m not very fawned of pitching a tent, I made my SUV into a mini camper with a bed in the back. I’m going to tell you how I did my car, but my terminology isn’t the best when it comes to cars. I’m not a mechanic and I don’t say that I am. So please forgive me now.

So I first took some measurements: A). I measured from the floorboard of the back seat to the top of the back seat when it is folded in the down position. Roughly 16 inches. B) Then I took another measurement of the cargo area’s floorboard to above the “hump” if where the back seat folds down. (See the picture below). C). Lastly I measured where the front seat is to the back of the cargo area.

Off to The home improvement store. I bought two sheets of plywood, 6 inch wooden furniture legs and 16 inches wooden table legs, screws, hardware for the legs, and a piano hinge. (I’ll explain the hinge later) also got some carpet on clearance to cover the platform. I’ll have links to the things I bought that you can get on Amazon below.

16 inch table legs

6 inch wooden couch legs

Hardware to attach legs

Piano hinge

So I get back to the house and get out my drill, saw, measuring tape, and cut my plywood and attach the hardware for the legs in every corner and a couple in the middle of the cargo area is the 2 – 16 inches table legs go in the front near the front seat to give the head some support. All the legs unscrew to be able to remove easily so I could fold it up when it wasn’t in use. The 6 inches furniture legs go in the back in the cargo area. I made a front piece and a back piece and attached the two with the piano hinge. So that I could fold it up when I wanted to use the back seat.

I have used this a lot more than just camping. I used it when I worked 16 hour shifts and to tired to go home. And I have used it in an ice storm and not wanting to spend the money on a hotel room. I put a four inch mattress topper on it and it’s better than my bed at home. Also, I bought a generator and hook up a heater to it or a fan depending on the weather. I have an exhaust fan that goes on one of the windows when I sleep and I made window covers that slide on and off easily to give me some privacy. And that’s how I transformed my SUV into a mini camper. It comes in handy a lot more than just camping.


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14 thoughts on “How I Transformed My SUV Into A Mini Camper

  1. I love this idea 😍😍 I love travelling. I am still kinda young so I can’t do it without My parents, but I have always wanted to experience the camper van.
    (I know I am not the best person to know things cos I am still young, but please be careful with the heaters) stay safe, and enjoy your trip🥰

  2. Hiya Patty,

    I was wondering if you ever picked up a trailer or camper van. I guess you don’t need to now!
    If you are going to hit the road and do a lot of traveling I have a few simple tips to offer.

    First, I bought a Roadpass subscription. It covers two very useful apps I will be using on trips this year – one is Campendium and the other is Roadtrippers. It covers one or two other apps but I’m more interested in these two. Sign up for it on the Roadpass website to get access to all apps.

    Campendium covers camping all over and the reason I like it is that it has free sites at places like county parks and also lists camping in city parks as well as other public & private campgrounds. City parks can be a great value.

    Roadtrippers has POIs and trip planning capabilities, and as you build your route you can add stops.

    Also, park passes are a must. The Federal pass America the Beautiful is a great deal, as it not only covers ALL Federal lands but it can pay for itself in as little as two park visits. It covers everyone in a car or the pass holder and three others at a walk up. There are options for active military, 4th grade students, seniors as well as a free pass for those with disabilities. The last two have 50% discounted campground fees.
    Some state parks offer them as well.

    Be sure to check the regulations on stay length on Federal lands as they do vary by forest and all are different even within a state.

    Anyhoo, congrats on the conversion and I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures! Maybe we’ll run into each other on the road sometime.

    If I can answer any questions let me know.


  3. Careful with those heaters. A guy where I live had a space heater in his van, slept with it on and woke up on fire. He died a few days later. Not trying to scare you. I just don’t ever want that to happen to anyone else.

Hey ya’ll leave a comment if you wish.