Microcamper Conversion Part 2

July 14 2019
Microcamper Conversion Part 2
Posted by Emilie

A few months ago, Chris and I built our first microcamper using our 2012 CRV. The microcamper was comfortable, but not quite as spacious as we would like. So we upgraded to the luxurious, 40 sq ft Honda Pilot. Our 3rd gen, 2017 Pilot allows us to have 6' of sleeping space and a 2' kitchen.

To build out the Pilot as a microcamper, we first created the sleeping space. This involved folding the seats down flat to make the bed. Leaving it like this wouldn't give us the full length we need though, so we built a plywood "table" to extend the flattened area all the way to the back of the fully-pulled-forward passenger and driver's side seats. The plywood has folding legs, using folding leg brackets, so that we can easily store it while driving.

Here are the dimensions of the headboard we made that fits in our 2017 Honda Pilot. The main board is a 50" x 18.5" piece of 1/2" plywood, with legs, made from 2x3s (1.5" x 2.5") held onto the plank by the folding leg brackets. Legs labelled A, B, C, F, G, and H are 17.5" long and legs D and E are shorter at only 12.5" long to account for the center "bump" on the floor of the vehicle. All of this works for our specific vehicle - if you're building your own platform, it may need to be different.

The next step for the sleeping area was putting down our double-sized memory foam mattress and topping it up with sheets, pillows, sleeping bags, and blankets. Though the sleeping bags aren't necessary for summer months, they keep us a lot warmer in the other 3 seasons! To give us some privacy and block out the front windows, we hung a thin PVC pipe between the two "dry cleaning" hooks in the front seat, then hung a thick fabric (that is printed with a map of the world!)from the pipe. As this creates a few gaps, we also hung some fabric (more map fabric!) from the front passenger and driver's side windows using suction cups.

With the sleeping area done, we focused on the kitchen area. We wanted our stuff to be easily accessible and be able to fully cook off the back if we didn't have access to a picnic table. To do this, we got a few large plastic drawers to keep our cooking supplies and other gear. We use the top plastic drawer for things we want to keep extra clean, like plates, utensils, pans, and cups. The second drawer is for everything else, like the stove, fuel, games, flashlights, and first aid. We also have a second smaller drawer system to store our compact water jug and dry food. We couldn't quite find a drawer system that fit our exact requirements, so Chris modified one by cutting out the front area to make room for the water spout. We also placed a collapsible bucket to catch the water.

Next we wanted to build out protection from bugs and create privacy We used a few different ideas here. For the backseat windows we put on "roadies". These keep out the rain and bugs, while allowing you to roll down your windows.

We then cut out some heavy cardboard and covered it in fabric to block out the back row of windows. For additional privacy we also made window covers for the front windows.

I also wanted something to separate the kitchen area from the sleeping area. So we cut out another heavy piece of cardboard to fit the space and covered it in fabric. This took some effort as the space it fits into has lots of curves and edges, but it was worth the frustration as it allows us to keep our tailgate open without having bugs go into the sleeping area.

With the kitchen and sleeping areas complete and privacy and bug protection taken care of, we added a few extra touches for comfort. We built a clothing rack to fit above the foot-end of the sleeping area using PVC piping so we can access our clothes and other belongings. We also added in a large, quiet computer fan powered by a USB battery pack to keep the air circulating.

Next step is creating a bug/rain shelter for the cooking area off the back - we have the base teardrop tent but we still need to add some mesh and nylon around the open areas. All of the builds and features mentioned in this post took us months to do. And we'll likely always have more improvements we want to make.

You can see a listing of all of our microcamper projects, including our most recent upgrades here.

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