A Toyota camper is a unique combination of low consumption with good size boot, considering it’s not even a minivan. And of course, there are more benefits of it being a hybrid with a massive battery you can use whilst camping too. If you are looking for inspirational Toyota Prius camping conversions, this post is for you. I’ve ordered them from the easier ones down to the more advanced ones.
To find out more about Toyota Prius as a camper and see how it compares to other cars, check out:
|Prius boot length||190cm /75in|
|Prius boot height||79cm/31in|
|Prius boot width [wheel arches]||102cm/40in|
Key takeaways – Toyota Prius camping conversion tips:
- you can easily sleep in a Prius without having to build anything – just push the rear seats down, throw a mattress in and some storage boxes
- make sure to use the double-floor boot storage area well – plastic storage boxes that fit well will help a lot, see this video
- here’s a good tip for tall people and no-build sleeping platforms – extend your folded seat sleeping area with a piece of plywood that hands off the front seat
- Always check for battery vents and keep them clear when travelling
- Most people take out the rear seats and create a platform for more storage room
- if you’re getting a hitch-mounted cargo box, you might want to get a hitch-riser too – those boxes tend to bump into the ground occasionally, especially when off the road…
1. Easy: No-build Prius camping conversion for 1 person – no plywood, seats remain inside
What I like about this Prius camping conversion:
- the multi-functional reflecting aluminium foil on a plastic foam sheet (reflective panels) – can be used on the windows (turn the aluminium side towards the sun to keep the car cooler and the other way around to keep heat in and the car warmer) + you can also slide it under your mattress for some body heat reflection.
- a clever solution for privacy curtains in the middle
- clothes hanging rod!
- food bins serve as part of the bed platform + easy access to them by just lifting the seat back-rest
Estimated cost: ~30$ for the conversion (reflective panels, hanging rod, materials, a bunch of plastic boxes). The rest is stuff you very likely already have at home: an inflatable sleeping pad and a sleeping bag. I am not counting the sleeping mat or other regular camping gear.
2. Easy: Sleeping and camping in a Prius with a dog 🐕 – no-build, seats stay in
What I like about this conversion:
- no plywood, drilling or DIY skills are needed – just pack all your stuff and go!
- good use of space – the double-floor boot compartment and plastic storage boxes, the foldable table under the bed/mattress
- you could probably reduce the number of things down to half (based on my experience, you don’t need so many comforts – but that also depends on how long you’ll be camping and travelling).
- Nikki gives you good tips on how to live in a car long-term, check out her other YouTube videos
Estimated cost: ~10$-20$ for the conversion (some materials and a bunch of plastic boxes). The rest is stuff you very likely already have at home: an inflatable sleeping pad and a sleeping bag. The remaining gear is mostly personal preference. I am not counting the sleeping mat or other regular camping gear.
And here’s an upgraded intermediate version of Nikki’s setup – added a wooden platform instead of the rear seats for more storage:
3. Intermediate: Prius V sleeping platform by Zach Carter
The Prius V has a slightly larger boot, which is just as well because this platform lifts the entire boot floor quite a bit. There’s not as much headroom, but you gain even more storage space.
This camping conversion is good if you plan to only sleep in the car and/or need to store a lot of (not too tall) things – and the double-floor built-in storage isn’t enough. You can probably gain more storage by taking the rear seats out instead of building a platform over the boot – but not everyone wants to have a two-seater only.
🏆Best cars for camping 🏆
- Fiat Doblò camper XL, High Roof 🇪🇺 4.0/5
- Honda Odyssey 🇺🇸 4.0/5
- Volkswagen Sharan 🇪🇺 3.9/5
- Caddy Maxi Camper (Life) 🇪🇺 3.8/5
In order to get to the original Prius storage compartment in the boot, you will need to lift the entire platform together with the double-boot floor. I’d recommend therefore not to use too thick and heavy plywood – just enough to hold your weight, but ok to lift up.
What I like about this conversion:
- built for tall people (the author is 6’2”)
- easily take it out and put it back again (the whole sleeping platform has only 2 pieces)
Estimated cost: ~70$ for the conversion (plywood, wooden legs, hinges, some screws and D rings).
4. Advanced: Toyota Prius V sleeping platform tutorial
A handy platform to replace the rear seats and give you more storage, with all the lengths, materials used and instructions:
Estimated cost: ~70$ for the conversion (plywood, wooden legs, hinges, some screws).
Here’s another custom Toyota Prius camping conversion showing off a slightly different way to do this.
5. Advanced: Levi & Leah’s Prius camping conversion
This camping conversion centrepiece is the nicely finished sleeping platform in place of the removed rear seats. It opens from the sides, so it’s easy to access anything inside and it has additional storage compartments on both sides for little things you need when lying down – a phone, light, car keys or a book.
What I like about this conversion:
- the butterfly-wings style doors on both sides of the platform for easy access (or you could do it this way too)
- the additional storage compartments on its sides (“nightstand” feature)
- the external box mounted on the towbar (Hitch Mounted Cargo) – storage + worksurface for cooking, washing, eating… (although apparently, it does touch the ground sometimes – especially if you’re offroad – might need a hitch riser or get your car lifted)
- boot tent is a nice touch too!
Estimated cost: ~500$+:
– hitch mounted cargo $200 + box ~70$
– hatchback tent ~70$
– sleeping platform/deck ~150$
– storage boxes and bags ~80$
You can add other bits and bobs, but that’s up to you – a Jackery power bank, a car fridge etc
6. Advanced: Toyota Prius slide-out camping bed
This one requires quite some DIY skills + a custom-made tent. But when executed well, it can provide a lot of camping+living room, as you will sleep mostly out of the car and can therefore keep the rear seats as they are and use them for whatever else you need 🙂
7. Advanced + live-in full time: Toyota Prius with a safe, solar panels, curtains…
The author (I literally couldn’t find his name anywhere, not even on his own website, sorry dude!) is living in his Toyota Prius full-time. The car is equipped with a nicely done & upholstered sleeping platform, solar panels and an inverter + outlets, a safe to keep your things ehm, safe, a padlocked compartment, a roof box, a towbar cargo box (hitch-mounted cargo). And many more little details that are pretty cool!
Estimated cost: ~2140$ – 2640$
– perforated vinyl on windows ~50$
– hitch cargo carrier + box and accessories ~300$
– Roof cargo box ~850$
– solar panel + kit ~240$
– battery ~300$-800$
– boxes, wood, upholstery ~200$
Founder of NimbleCamper.com, avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast. Car camping and microcamping allows me to keep traveling and exploring with a much greater level of freedom & privacy – to go anywhere and sleep anywhere. I didn’t have 30K to buy a VW Multivan, so found my way to the world of everyday car camping conversions. Here I share my experiences and what I learn.