I really wish I’d found this one a few months back! The original is a Roomster camping conversion, but this clever setup is easily adaptable to any car. Lightweight, durable and works even in shorter cars!
The most significant difference to other camping conversions you’ll typically see is the material used – aluminium profiles instead of wood. The material costs a bit more but is lighter, and more durable and the biggest benefit is that it is hollow – allowing you to insert a smaller profile into a bigger one and slide it in (hide it) like a telescope.
What I like about this conversion:
- adjustable to any car – adjust the width and height based on your car’s size and folded seats’ height
- helps you sleep in any car, even a short one, even if you are 190cm+ (6.2ft+)
The basic structure is a welded frame made of square aluminium profiles (30 x 30 x 2 mm). This houses an extension, also made of square profiles (25 x 25 x 2 mm). Dimensions of the basic frame (without extension) 100 x 118 x 26 cm. Wide pull-out front: 120 cm
On top is a two-part mattress. At the back, between the wheel arches – 75 x 100 cm. In the front as a folding mattress once 62 x 120 cm and 63 x 120 cm. Altogether 200 x 120 (100) cm lying surface. In the driving position, the very front part is folded onto the middle part and the wooden support (“slatted frame”) is stowed underneath.
🏆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
Material + Costs
- aluminium profiles 45 €
- wood + cutting 30 €
- small parts 40 €
- (optional) mattress (IKEA) + fabric for cover 100 € – you could use a sleeping mat you already have or much cheaper foam sheets from any DIY store + any blankets you have at home
- (optional) blackout 35 €
- Bribing the person with the aluminium welder and the sewing machine for the mattress cover: 2 crates of beer (author’s own admission and joke!)
- Conversion sleeping/driving works in about 5 minutes
- very comfortable for two people
- enough space for luggage
- wonderfully unobtrusive when no campsite is available
What I would do differently:
- instead of using thicker wooden boards (heavy), I would put one more aluminium profile through the middle as support, then use 3 thinner plywood boards to save on weight (and not have to drill all the holes into the wooden boards to remove some weight)
- no-welding option: welding aluminium is a special skill (or you need to pay someone more to do it) – but you could fix the profiles together by drilling holes and using standard bolt screws with nuts and some L shape (or T shape where needed) connectors and right angle connectors/brackets for support:
You can try this setup using wood too:
- instead of inserting the pull-out big into the aluminium bits, when using wood, you would slide the wooden profile next to the main frame on the inside. Support it with another piece of wood from the other side, to keep it in place. I built something similar in my Sharan.
(Make sure you scroll back onto older pages on that forum thread – it’s full of good conversion ideas)
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.