hatchback no build camper conversion3 - Sleep in any hatchback - €/£20 no build DIY camping conversion

Sleep in any hatchback – €/£20 no build DIY camping conversion

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This one is a rare find – convert essentially any hatchback to a camper without any screws, hinges or hard DIY skills. All you need is plywood, a measuring tape, a pencil and a saw. Easily adaptable to fit any boot, the car in the images/video is a Nisan Tiida, but this should be doable in any sedan or estate (combi) body style too.

Thanks to Hobocyclist for sharing his idea on YouTube.

Materials & tools needed

  • plywood – at least 15-20mm thick (~20 EUR / GBP)
  • TOOLS – you probably already have these
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • saw (manual, electric, up to you. It will be easier with an electric one)
  • drill

Instructions

This is a no-build type of construction, perhaps with one exception – you need to cut the plywood to several pieces that fit together like flatpack furniture. No excessive drilling, no hinges, no screws. All that’s needed is:

  • 5 narrow plywood boards with slots cut into them
    • A – two shorter and lower ones ( at least 10cm tall, doesn’t have to be exactly, anything up to 20cm will work too). Their length depends on the length of your boot (from the back seats towards the boot door)
    • B – two taller ones (their height should match the height of the rear folded seats minus the top plywood board (~1cm), their length should match the boot width at the rear door and just behind the rear seats, it’s likely they will be different in length
    • C – one somewhere in between A and B (goes into the middle from the boot door towards the seats). Its height should be less than B, but preferably a bit more than A.
    • D – a big board to cover it all (create a sleeping surface) – width and height depend on your boot size (minus a few centimetres on both sides, you don’t want it too tight, rubbing against your car)
  • Cut each according to the images below – measure the distances of each slot (cut) matching your car boot’s dimensions. The depth of each cut should be the same as the opposite one it slots into so that when joined, they will create an even surface. You shouldn’t go deeper than 50% of its height, but close to that.
  • Then just slot them together, like you would a child’s game or flatpack furniture (Image 2)
  • The carpet underneath it all is a good idea, but not essential (protects the car + if there are any splinters from the plywood, they won’t get caught in the car’s upholstery)

Advantages of this camper conversion

  • no screws, hinges, drilling or changes to your car
  • your car will always be a 5-seater, easily convertible to a bed (with two seats) or a 5-seater again
  • easily put together and disassembled if needed
  • good storage room whilst the boot is still usable for day-to-day tasks (shopping)
  • when not needed, it can be easily stored and flat packed, so it doesn’t take much room (i.e. fits under your bed!)

Disadvantages

  • too many partitions – you won’t be able to store longer items in there
  • might be a bit wobbly + lose structural integrity over time (also depends on how tight the slots fit each other and how hard the plywood is)
  • one big board on top might be more difficult to lift with a mattress on top of it
  • harder to reach the stuff in the compartments closest to the rear seats (although a hatchback’s boot isn’t too long, so perhaps not a big problem)

See it in action in Hobocyclists walk-through:

Made it? Share your pics with other campers and send them to info@nimblecamper.com!



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