How to convert my hatchback into a camper?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How to convert my hatchback into a camper? We will review five kits that are great for converting any type of car into a camper. We will also give you advice on how to sleep comfortably in your hatchback. 

How to convert my hatchback into a camper?

The simplest way to convert your hatchback into a camper is to use a kit that will allow you to transform your everyday vehicle into a motorhome (from city cars to vans, including recreational vehicles and SUVs). In just a few minutes, you can load the bed, the kitchen and the storage in your car trunk, allowing you to sleep wherever you want, without losing any of your mobility.

For a total budget of between $2000 and $3500, you can obtain modules including a kitchenette, bed for two people, outdoor table and storage. Occasional furnishing solutions, since after the trip, your MPV, utility or SUV becomes your everyday vehicle again.

The advantages of converting a hatchback to a camper are:

  1. You do not have to work on the conversion of the vehicle
  2. A camping kit can be assembled and then disassembled quickly
  3. Many kits include outdoor furniture, for cooking and launching away from the tailgate of the vehicle.

The downsides of converting a hatchback to a camper are:

  1. Some kits cannot be used on the rear seat
  2. With some exceptions, there is no toilet area.
  3. The costs can be high (count around $ 3,500 for a kit including sleeping for two, kitchenette and furniture. Without forgetting the storage. In most cases, shipping costs are added to the sale price, when the kits are not collected from the manufacturer). 

 What are the best kits for converting your hatchback into a camper?

Below we wrote a short review of the best five kits for converting a hatchback into a camper. As you will see, there are many different kits available for every need, preference and budget. 

BrandDescriptionPrice range
QUQUQ Camping BoxQUQUQ produces at least seven different kit models, corresponding to all categories of recreational vehicles and utilities. 
These kits consist of plywood modules including storage, a kitchenette, a bed, a table … enough to convert your everyday vehicle into a second home.
Prices: from 1300 $ (without kitchenette) to 2400 $.
CoMBEINGImagine a personalized floor arranged at the back of your vehicle (utility vehicles of any size and MPV), and an assembly of cubic modules placed on a pallet… This image sums up the philosophy of CoMBEING: you yourself choose the modules that correspond to your needs and your vehicle, among the packs offered by the manufacturer: each set is offered at different prices, depending on the size of the vehicle. 
Once home, the modules can be returned to their pallet or even be used at home. Available equipment: sink, stove, mattress, dry toilet, water reserve.
Prices: from $842 to $3291 for a complete installation.
Ludospace Camping KitThe kits marketed by this company can temporarily transform your MPV, minivan or station wagon into a leisure vehicle. 
The basic kit, the Sleeping, offers food and shelter, and you can boost it by drawing from an impressive list of accessories that enhance well-being on board. Ludospace even offers an Endormi Luxe kit, claiming high-end finishes.
Prices: from $490(for a simple removable lounge) to $3490
Nomad-AddictThis young company produces three different kits for recreational vehicles and SUVs. The Solo allows you to install a single bed and a storage module in any vehicle (from the Clio to the Van), while the Duo and Nomad kits offer double sleeping, variable-size storage boxes as well as the essential tables and Seating places. 
The stove and external shower are also included in the catalogue of equipment. 
Prices: from $599 to $1699
Swiss Room BoxThe Swiss Room Box kits do not consist of plywood modules, but of a system of grooved and hollowed out plates, made of a resistant composite material. A very original solution that takes the construction game and guarantees two users a dinette, kitchen and sleeping. 
The Free Tech kit in its most rudimentary variation (including bed and outdoor table) fits in a suitcase on wheels.
Prices: from $2046 (excluding tax)

 Tips for sleeping comfortably in your hatchback no matter the weather

Everyone wants to have a well-deserved rest in a parked car, but not everyone can. So many may choose to enjoy a short getaway using the car as a bed. This is a cost-saving advantage and a convenience disadvantage.

Making the decision to sleep in the car implies that we are aware that, depending on the destination, we are going to go through some heat or cold and that the position we are going to acquire is not going to be the best in the world. Therefore, for those who have back problems, it is not recommended to embark on an adventure in this way.

If the trip that we have proposed is made in autumn or winter, it is important to take into account certain fundamental aspects since the temperature that we are going to suffer will be very similar to that of the street:

  1. Bring a sleeping bag. It should be used for clothing. It is essential not to have to share it. If not, the safest thing is that it is twice as cold.
  1.  Place a neck warmer halfway up the face. It is also possible to use the jacket and have it cover you to the same extent.
  1. If you do not bring a blanket, you must use your own coat.
  1. The windows should remain somewhat open. It’s about avoiding a rarefied environment

But what if we travel in summer? So we must forget about the previous tips and pay attention to what is recommended:

  1. Windows should stay open slightly for ventilation.
  1. Cover the interior of the car. In this way, we avoid direct contact with the sun. In addition to maintaining a medium temperature.
  1. Park the car in a place where it is windy but safe.

Finally, the key to being able to enjoy a peaceful rest in the car is to have a comfortable position. Although surely the fundamental thing in this type of getaway is to be able to park the car in front of a beach and be able to enjoy that spectacle that is the sunrise.

The bottom line

While travelling in your car, you must know that some places do not allow sleeping in your parked car. There are some areas, such as national parks, that expressly prohibit sleeping in the car. 

In this case, it does not matter whether you are camping or not, it is a direct prohibition that must be complied with. It is worth looking for a conditioned place to sleep on these occasions, as the fines are usually quite high.

Now being clear about everything related to the legality of sleeping in the car, we have a few more tips on how to do it. 

Thus, it is better if the vehicle is specifically transformed for it, be it a caravan or camper van. If it is in a normal and contemporary car, you can sleep in the front seats, in the rear seats or in the trunk by folding down the rear seats. There are some interesting accessories like custom inflatable mattresses, that you may consider investing in. 

Do you have some insights or tips for safely sleeping in a parked car? Please feel free to share your thoughts!

FAQ on How to convert my hatchback into a camper?

Where is it forbidden to sleep in the car?

It is forbidden to sleep in the car in national parks. These are protected areas and therefore it is totally forbidden to camp and sleep (even in the car) in them.

Can cars sleep at truck stops?

It is not prohibited for cars to sleep at truck stops. The parking spots, however, are on a first-come-first-served basis, so you must think well and plan ahead your rest time on a long journey. 

Are truck stops dangerous?

Generally, truck stops are not dangerous places to rest for a few hours. Still, there are some risks that you must consider, and thus prepare yourself in order to rest. 

When you take a long trip, should you stop to rest?

Yes, when taking a long trip it is recommended to stop to rest, at least every 2 hours behind the wheel or every 150/200 kilometers traveled. In any case, the driver must rest whenever he needs it, even if the hours or kilometers indicated have not been reached.


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