I’ve collected some of the best Honda Odyssey camping conversions you can get inspired by – easy to advanced. Honda Odyssey is a huge car with a lot of room for sleeping and storage – an impressive 96.5 inches (246cm) long boot. This makes it a perfect minivan camper conversion candidate for car camping, especially in the US, where it’s easy to find.
All about Honda Odyssey for camping:
Measurements, consumption, reviews, other DIY conversions – what makes the Odyssey one of the best minivan campers?
|Boot length (cm)||245|
|Boot height (cm)||118|
|Boot width [wheel arches] (cm)||122|
These conversions should also work in these cars:
1. Easy Two-Person Honda Odyssey camper conversion – the Bertha
Let’s start with an easier minivan camping conversion – “the Bertha” by Alex Watson. You will need some DIY/carpentry skills (or a friend with those!) to construct the bed platform, but that’s it – the rest is just tinkering about with bits and bobs you can purchase anywhere. To start, you need to construct a frame that extends to the side. This way you can pull out the extendable side for sleeping and push it away when not needed. All this is done just by sliding the frame boards on top of the main frame.
The Bertha Honda Odyssey camper conversion highlights:
- quick to build – no complex parts, drawers etc.
- you can keep one rear seat in if you choose to
- works as a single-person conversion too (without the extendable bit)
- also works if you want to transport a bicycle if you make a single-person setup
- plenty of storage room beneath
- can be used as a sofa during the day when not extended – sit inside comfortably during bad weather
Materials & tools
- timber – about 0.8 inches/2cm thick & 2 inches wide for the legs & frame and 0.6 inches/1.5cm thick & 4 inches/10cm wide for the bed surface (you don’t have to stick to these measurements exactly)
- screws for wood
- A combi drill / electric screwdriver
- Sandpaper / sanding machine
Centrepiece: the pull-out bed platform
No hinges are needed, I would recommend this process to build the bed frame and the pull-out mechanism:
- build the left-hand frame (image on the left or first image on mobile) first, without the top boards
- now put the top boards next to each other – but make every 2nd board stick out at least as much as the second platform’s (the extendable bit) legs + so that they sit on the main frame properly. Leave some room between the boards (up to 0.5cm)
- screw-in only the shorter boards
- add the second frame legs (only one side, 2 legs and one support board that the bed surface boards will rest on)
- screw in the remaining boards into the new 2-leg pull-out frame
- you should now be able to just pull the extendable bit out without any problems (might need to cut the top boards to the same length first)
These images show you the idea + I’ve highlighted the above steps in the third image:
🏆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
Next, add an optional drawer/kitchen counter (or just make the bed platform longer and put a box underneath for a simpler version), and plastic storage boxes/crates underneath and you are good to go! A good idea is the magnetic bug net that you can either screw to the door frame like the author did, or you could hold it in place with glue or strong magnets.
What I would do differently:
- If it is supposed to be a two-person camper van, I wouldn’t worry about the extendable/pull-out bit. Instead, I would just build a solid bed platform across the entire boot width
- you can save yourself some DIY trouble this way + still have plenty of storage room
- but you will lose the option to use it as a sofa during the day and sit inside the car comfortably (although you have the front seats for that normally)
- I wouldn’t use an inflatable mattress – here’s more detail why + better alternatives, but in short – it’s unstable, punctures easily and takes away a lot of the headroom (the mattress tends to be around 8 inches/20cm inflated.
- if you decide to do this, you will need to build the bed platform longer – further to the back to ensure you have at least 70 inches/180cm sleeping area.
- or build the kitchen counter across the entire width of the boot
2. Intermediate – Single-person Honda Odyssey Camper van Conversion
This camping conversion is from Neal @ solitudesports.com. Although he describes it as “easy and simple”, I’d call it intermediate as the drawer and/or a bike stand aren’t that easy to do (compared to an easier solution of just building a frame with no drawer). His solution was inspired by Oasiscampervans.com minivan camper conversions.
His aim was to have “a vehicle that would allow me to sleep inside, carry a variety of cargo, outdoor equipment, and camera gear, and get decent gas mileage” and one that fits into his garage. And of course, he wanted “a vehicle that could serve as a daily driver and function as a weekend or more extended camper”.
He managed to average 28 – 30.2 MPG US during his trip (cruise control most of the time), which is pretty impressive (the average MPG US I’ve found for Honda Odyssey is 22.5).
By the way, he also considered Toyota Sienna – but found a Honda faster. They are both very similar indeed.
Honda Odyssey camper conversion highlights:
- a sleeping platform for one person
- a bike stand
- a drawer for storage underneath the sleeping platform
- Optional items:
The cost of his setup without the optional items is $350, excluding the window covers and curtains I’d estimate it at $150.
- remove the middle row of seats and fold down the rear seats (you could remove the rear seats too for more storage underneath
- construct a bed and a frame
- secure it to the seat mounting fixtures using tie-down straps
- install a slide-out drawer
- 2×2’s and 1/2″ birch plywood
- front legs are pre-made table legs from Home Depot
- 36″ drawer slides with the built-in storage drawer that is made from 2×2’s, 1/2″ plywood sides, and 1/4″ plywood for the drawer bottom
- tie-down straps to secure the platform to the seat mounting fixtures on the floor
- the top of the platform is two pieces of 1/2″ birch plywood – with holes cut for ventilation and acting as handles
- and of course some screws, perhaps wood glue and standard DIY tools
3. Advanced One-Person Honda Odyssey camper conversion – the full monty!
This Odyssey minivan conversion is very advanced – the author Jay @ Journeyvision.net bought a 2003 Honda Odyssey for just $2800, ripped everything in the back out and made it into a very comfortable and impressive small camper van.
This one is for the hardcore DIY enthusiasts out there, who like to test not just their carpentry skills, but also their knowledge of car mechanics.
I won’t go into too many details as there are too many materials, tools and steps – you can find everything in Jay’s original minivan camper conversion post here.
Highlights of this Honda Minivan Camper:
- it makes the best use of the huge Honda Odyssey boot
- completely insulated, with lights, a solar panel, battery & electricity
- storage cabinets on both sides
- no bed platform – just a mattress on the (insulated) floor = much more headroom than you’d normally get in a converted minivan camper
- very good usability during the day too (sofa + a table, good for laptop work as well)
Bonus 1 – good Honda Odyssey camping conversion tricks
You can grab from these advanced minivan camper conversions: