How to convert a GMC Safari into a camper?

In this blog post, we will answer the question “How to convert a GMC Safari into a camper?” We will look into the steps to convert a GMC safari into a camper. We will talk about all the requirements for the conversion process. We will also list some of the key features of the GMC safari. At the end of this post, you will get to know how to convert a GMC safari into a camper.

How to convert a GMC Safari into a camper?

To convert a GMC Safari into a camper, you will need to follow the steps mentioned below. 

  • The first step will be to remove all the stuff that is not required.
  • Once you have removed everything from the inside, you will need to clean the ceiling, walls, and flooring.
  • Now that you have the seats removed and the van cleaned, you will need to measure the entire space at the back. 
  • Based on the measurements, you will be required to build a frame to hold the bed. 
  • When your frame is ready, the next step is to fix the bed. You can customize this bed according to the size of the frame. 
  • You will need to add ventilation holes at the bottom of the truck below the frame.

Removing stuff that is not required 

You will need enough space at the back to convert a GMC safari into a camper. That said, the seats at the back should be removed. The seatbelts and the carpet on the floor must also be removed. You can also remove the material on the walls of the van since you are required to make more space.

Remember that you cannot have accessories just like an RV or any other motorhome. The GMC Safari is limited in terms of space and you need to make the best of it. This van can be used only as a camper van. Hence, the maximum you can do is have a bed installed at the to sleep while camping and make some space for storing your gear.

The cleaning process

Remove any stains and rust if they are any and be sure to get rid of any dents.  You can use some cleaning solution or even soap water to wash the flooring. Make sure that the water does not enter any wiring on the sides. Clean your vehicle thoroughly including the roof, walls, and floor. 

Measuring the rear space 

Use a measuring tape and be sure to measure the width and the length. Take help from another person while measuring the van. Keep a notebook and pen handy to write down the measurements. It is also important to measure the height to build the bed frame. Be sure to keep enough space for the bed frame and the mattress. 

Fixing the bed frame 

  • A wooden frame is always preferred since it is easy to make any alterations. A metal frame might not be a good idea in this case. 
  • Build a frame based on the measurements and leave a couple of inches at both ends of the length and do the same for the width.
  • When it comes to the height, make sure that the bed occupies 20 to 30 percent of the height from the base. 
  • You can even go up to 40 percent, but more than that will not give you enough room from the roof of the vehicle. 
  • Make sure to use sturdy wooden planks and add enough support in the middle and the sides.
  • The space underneath can be used for storing your luggage and gear. 
  • You can also use hinges connected to the frame and the top surface. This will help you to open the wood sheets and store the luggage under them. 
  • The GMC Safari has a sliding door installed on the passenger side and a rear door that swings open. Storing your stuff is not going to be a hard task.

Fixing the bed and window screens

  • You can make a bed on your own by using foam or you can just purchase a bed that will match the size of the frame. 
  • You need not worry if the bed is a little smaller, just make sure that it is not too big.
  • Since you have a bed at the back, it is good to have some screens installed on the windows.
  • You can do this by adding Velcro tape at the bottom of the windows. 
  • Using a foam mattress pad for the bed is the best option. 
  • Converting a GMC safari is easy since there is nothing more you can add at the rear other than a bed and a few other features.
  • For those who are solo campers, you can easily install a bed at one end and make use of the remaining space for other necessities. 
  • Adding a wooden shelf and a small table can also be another option. While the process is simple, you will still need time to get this done. You will also need the right materials and a little help from another person.

Adding ventilation holes 

Your truck bed needs to have ventilation holes at the bottom. This will help to keep some air flowing and avoid any mold forming on the bed. Ventilation holes can be done by using a drill. Try to get the hole drilled before installing the plywood on the bed frame. You can drill around 10 to 12 holes depending on your convenience.

Decide on what you need 

Converting a van into a camper depends on what you need. You can make use of the entire space at the rear to install a bed or you use just half that space for a bed and the rest of the area to store your gear. Most people have the entire rear area converted into a bed. This can be handy because up to two people can camp and sleep comfortably.

The GMC Safari is a perfect van to convert for outdoor camping. You can also carry a tent along with a few utensils and a small stove for cooking. Apart from those you can still have your fishing gear and a few other things for outdoor activities. However, this van can be perfect only for two since there will not be a seating capacity for a third person.

Based on your requirements, you can easily convert a GMC safari into a camper. There is no shortage of conversion companies and many people get an experienced professional to complete the job. However, if you plan of doing it yourself, there are several factors to consider. Here are some of the steps to successfully convert a GMC safari into a camper.

GMC safari key features and specification 

The GMC Safari has the right features and space for a camper. This is one of the best vehicles to be converted into a camper. It has a powerful engine and also comes with a decent towing capacity. GMC is one of those recognized brands and they have a high reputation. Here are some of the key features of the GMC safari.

  • Four-speed automatic transmission.
  • Rear-wheel drive.
  • V6 cylinders.
  • 27-gallon fuel tank capacity.
  • Cam-type overhead valves.
  • 190 horsepower @ 4,400 RPM.
  • 250 lb-ft torque @ 2,800 RMP.
  • 5,400-pound max towing capacity.
  • 1,591-pound max payload capacity.

The GMC safari also has excellent safety features. It has rear headrests and child seat anchors. The electronic brake force distribution is excellent and the 4-wheel ABS adds to its advantage. It has rear and front ventilated disc brakes and rear height adjustable headrests. The engine immobilizer and the dusk sensing headlamps are some of the other features.

Overall, the GMC safari is a perfect transport vehicle and it can also be used for camping. Converting a GMC safari into a camper is not too hard. This can be one of those perfect vans for off-road and outdoor camping. It has enough storage options and it comes with the right amount of comfort.


In this blog post, we answered the question “How to convert a GMC Safari into a camper?” We looked into the steps of converting a GMC safari into a camper. We talked about all the requirements for the conversion process and listed out some of the key features of the GMC safari. Drop us a comment below with your ideas for converting a GMC safari into a camper.


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