Microcamper Conversion

Apr 22 2019
Microcamper Conversion
Posted by Emilie

For camping season 2019, we decided we wanted to try building out a microcamper in our 2012 CRV and sleeping in the car. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Taking down a tent in the rain sucks, especially when you live in a condo with nowhere to dry it out.
  2. When road tripping to many locations, we want to be able to setup and take down our site faster.
  3. We want to go up to the Arctic Circle next year. Sleeping in a car will offer us more protection from wildlife and keep us warmer.

Because the CRV's back seats don't fold down flat, we had a couple of options for our sleeping area: either take out the seats or build up a sleeping platform. We initially wanted to take out the seats, but since they aren't designed to be removable, there was some risk in taking them out, so we decided to build up a sleeping platform instead.

To build the platform, we went to Home Depot and asked them to cut us 3 pieces of 41"x24" plywood. We wanted the sleeping platform to be in 3 sections that could come apart, as we didn't want to have one large piece in the car - the thought of being in an accident with such a large piece in the back seemed dangerous, plus it doesn't store as easily.

These dimensions would allow for a 41" wide bed, which could fit between the wheel wells and provide 6' in length, which would work as Chris is the tallest of the two of us at 5'10".

We originally planned on having them simply in a row, but then we realized we preferred more of a "T" configuration to make the space a bit wider by our shoulders.

We put the last section of the platform up on 4 milk crates that we've had since our college days. The milk crates provide additional storage underneath too.

The remaining platforms were held up with folding stools and some wood frames. We also put some non-slip shelving paper on top of the crates and stools to prevent the plywood from sliding.

Once setup we added in our usual memory foam mattress and bedding.

During the day, we can fold back the mattress to access the storage underneath.

The sleeping was quite comfortable, but we're going to make some additional improvements as the camping season progresses. Some things I'd like to do include:

  1. Adding curtains for privacy and sunlight.
  2. Adding netting around the windows so we can open them for ventilation while keeping the bugs out.
  3. Better organization and storage of all our stuff.
  4. Steps to make it easier to get in and out of the car for sleeping. It's a big step up while simultaneously trying to get your shoes off!
  5. Better spot to store muddy shoes while keeping the car clean. Right now we're just tucking them under the sleeping platform, leaving the car dirty.

Update: You can see a listing of all of our microcamper projects here.