A camping box is a lightweight and portable module, that fits behind the back seat of most mini vans or MPV's. It's a camping gear storage unit and an optional double bed all in one compact mobile camping box that will transform your daily driver in a mini camper van conversion in a matter of minutes.
The box is usually made from plywood and comes with various types of storage organizers. These can be either shallow compartments or extractable drawers, where you can fit a portable camping refrigerator, a stove, use them for your camping gear or a combination of all three. It pretty much depends on what you need for your trip.
The optional bed is fixed on the top of the box and extends over the folded rear seat for the night or whenever needed. In larger vans such as the Volkswagen Transporter, the bed can also be behind the box in various configurations. Again, it's a matter of your imagination and what can realistically be achieved inside the van.
It's an brilliant and practical solution for singles, couples or dad taking the kids on a camping trip. If you need to boost your sleeping capacity in a vehicle that already has 4 or 5 seats, try a roof top tent or a pop top roof . Or just buy a van with a high top roof and build a double bed on the roof level.
An optional camper awning placed on the back door will save you the trouble with cooking in lousy weather. There are quite a few options for transforming your favorite vehicle like the Ford Transit Connect or the VW Kombi in a camper van in a matter of minutes.
If you have freedom and adventure on your mind and don't wish to have a camper van parked on your driveway most of the year, this is as close as you will get to some real camping comfort.
I started out my camper van life with a similar homemade project years ago. Well let me tell you, nothing comes close to sleeping on a dry and comfortable mattress in the cozy comfort of your mini van. Pulling out a stove from beneath your bed for coffee and some scrambled eggs in the morning does make a whole lot of a difference compared to tent camping. You can find some cool solutions from Sipras, the guys that help me out with my campervans at all times!
Like most goodies in the camper van world, you either build one yourself, find a carpenter for example to do the job for you for you or buy one from camping enthusiasts that chose to build and sell a camping box they already tried on their own. There is only a handful of small companies out there, so I picked out some of my favorite solutions.
Amdro alternative campervans from the UK is one of those family owned companies that simply merits the attention. The camping box in the rear here opens up to make a neat living room with a table, a practical storage compartment with a stove that pulls out from beneath the bed and a comfortable double bed to spend the night on the top.
Amdro products are simple and practical to use and designed to last by using recyclable and renewable materials that includes sheep-wool for insulation in larger models. A genius solution that fits in most MPV's
The German made QUQUQ camping box is an extremely sturdy and light for handling. Appealing to the eye, this simple and yet functional module is extremely practical and fits in most European MPV's. You get a double burner alcohol stove, a 20l fresh water canister with a sink and workspace to prepare your meals. The rest of this remarkable unit is used for storage space and the folding bed is fixed on the top of the box.
The materials used are aluminum, stainless steel and waterproof plywood which is pretty much all the components that should be used for any camper van conversion for long lasting quality. Extremely easy to use and very functional for a great trip.
Van Essa is another German based family company involved in the small camper van business. Germans are avid travelers and camping enthusiasts in Europe and it's only obvious that many inventions in this segment come from this country. Their products are made and constantly improved based on their own and customer experience.
Van Essa offers a complete module system to fully enjoy your vehicle all year around. Fitting of the units is incredibly easy using the existing fixing points. You can choose or combine between the following four options:
The world famous Swiss Knife was an idea of transforming a simple knife into a multifunction tool around a 100 years ago. In today's constant quest for compact, practical and versatile solutions, another world innovation from Switzerland for campers and travelers alike came to life.
The Room Box is a highly innovative modular system that you can easily install behind the back seat of most cars and vans. It comes in a variety of options and most equipped modules offer storage, sink with hot running water, a portable stove and a hot shower with a privacy tent.
The Swiss Room Box team also provides the electrical set-up and an optional portable toilet or/and cooler. The cooler and the toilet however need a vehicle with enough space for their storage as they are not part of the modular set-up.
As you have noticed, all the above solutions are European and there are a few more of them. However, these do stand out from the crowd do to their compact and practical versatility.
Most of the prices are in the range of €2000.00 depending on the model and the chosen options. All of the above companies will also ship the components to your front door, that is if you live in Europe of course. And you can see in the video just below all the candy you get in the package...
Will it be cheaper if you build one yourself? Of course it will, but you have to remember that most of the above solutions use CAD and CNC for production and modern paper composite materials in the case of Swiss Box. Like I said before, finding a carpenter to do a similar job might be a good idea.
I'm not saying that it can't be done, after all I did my own camper van conversion, but the long lasting quality will hardly ever be the same. Do your math carefully before you get into any home build project and do consider the time that you need to put in.
After some research on the net it became obvious that compact camper solutions such as the camping box live and travel mostly in Europe. Ironically, many North American camping enthusiasts contact me frequently regarding the Ford Transit Connect camper conversion for example and it soon became crystal clear that compact campers of this type are all homemade projects.
There is obviously a demand for compact camping solutions elsewhere and somehow no one want's to deal with it. So, who will be the first one to do it?