I had big plans to do a big road-trip across the east of Canada but unfortunately I did not have a big budget to work with...
I initially wanted to do it in a van but I had the vw golf and was determined to make it work. This proved to be more difficult than expected because there is a lot of info on van builds out there but not much about hatchback camping conversions.
This build is all based on my imagination and creativity.
Step 1: Establish Your Available Space
I was going on a solo road trip so I wanted to leave two seats available to pick up hitchhikers along the way. That meant that the front and one back seat must be empty during driving. This lead to me having a single bed which worked out perfectly given the size of the car.
The base of the bigger back seat was removed and the back-rest was permanently set in the folded position.
Step 2: Gather Materials
I wanted to do this as cheaply as possible so I drove around Montreal on July 1st (move out day) and gathered wood that people were throwing away. This complicated things a bit as a lot of the wood was mis-matched and all different dimensions. I embraced the challenge. However, if you can afford it, this build can be done very easily with 1x4's, 2x4's and some ply.
I had one day to complete the build because I was on a tight deadline to leave for my trip. It turns out that I didn't have the inspiration that i needed on that day so i packed up the car with all my stuff, the wood, one hammer, some nails and one saw.
This actually worked in my favor as i could build based on my needs of experience and not some pre-developed notion of how things were going to work.
Step 3: Building the Main Frame
The pictures show a step by step assembly of the frame. Everything was simply cut with a hand saw and nailed together.
However, if you have access to power tools, that would make your life much easier.
Step 4: Building the Bed Extension
Keeping in mind that this was all done while traveling , it may not be the most precise or beautiful work i've done but it surely was functional. This extension piece was only mounted when the front passenger seat was pulled all the way forward. When driving, the piece was pulled out and stored below the foam mattress.
I forgot to take pictures while in the car but this is the basic concept.
This could be replicated with ply and some 1/4 scraps.
Step 5: Foam Mattress and Storage
The foam (mattress) was bought for $20 from kijiji and I wrapped it in a bed sheet.
I am 5'10'' and I had a few inches of room to spare when laying down straight.
While on the road, i cut the foam (almost) in half so that it could be folded easily. I did not cut it all the way through because I think it would have separated while I was sleeping. I personally hate sleeping between two mattresses so I would recommend cutting it about 85% through so that it can be folded but it stays intact.
The drawers were bought on kijiji for $5 and they fit perfectly in the car.
I also added the hatch mid way through the trip. This lead to much easier access to things stored below the bed. I kept my stove near the hatch because that was something I used at least twice a day.
Step 6: Awning
This was a very simple and smart concept I saw on youtube. It cost me $15 at the dollar store. I would highly recommend building one of these as the car can get really small on rainy days
-2 suction cups tied at 2 corners and stuck to the roof of the car.
-2 poles from the dollar store
-1 8x6 tarp from the dollar store
-string and tent stakes.
Step 7: Where to Sleep?...Go Explore & Have Fun!
There is an app called ioverlander and it shows you where people have camped in their cars before. It gives you updates and reviews and takes you to some incredible hidden spots. Please be respectful of others and be sure to clean up all garbage and leave no trace!!
Runner Up in the
Tiny Home Contest
IvliaB made it!