How to Turn Your Midsize SUV into a Camper (The One Where They Build a House)
To help with design, construction, and general advice / guidance I asked my uncle Mario if he would be interested in the project.
Being the exceptional man he is, he accepted with enthusiasm and hardly batted an eye at the seemingly ridiculous idea. 

Our Materials:
A variety of different screws, mosquito netting, 3/4 inch plywood, two-by-fours, piano hinge, fasteners, carpet, hooks, and velcro.
In the construction we used a table saw, two drills, screw drivers, scissors, glue, and tape.


After a lot of research, a bit of hunting, and completing the sad task of selling “Summer” (my beloved 2008 Ford Fusion), we were able to purchase our vehicle, soon to be camper. Meet our 2002 Honda CR-V! The name is yet to be determined. We figure that will happen while we’re on the road. Names for vehicles come at the most unexpected of times.

The transformation began with vacuuming out and cleaning the entire car. Since we were going to be sleeping inside, we wanted it to be clean. Next, the back seats had to be completely removed. We also took out the back seat floor mats and the trunk mat.

Prying the plastic shields that cover the bolts holding the back seats down was easy. Simply wedge a screwdriver into the side and they pop right off. The bolts themselves came out with a ratchet wrench, putting up just a modicum of resistance. What was left was a whole lot of space (and ten year old food the vacuum hadn’t been able to reach – yuck).

The first two supports are pictured above. We eventually connected them and added more supports (seen in the photos below) before putting the plywood down. The neat thing we discovered about the CR-V was a section of the floor is a folding table, which can be removed to reveal extra storage for a second spare tire (or in our case, more stuff).

We secured the platform using the d-rings that were already installed in the trunk. For the front fasteners we used the holes that had bolted the back seats down. Once we added the other supports and affixed it to the bed of the truck it was solid as a rock. We added a thin carpet onto the top of the plywood not only for softness, but also to create more friction and less movement for our foam mattress.

The hinge system was set up by my uncle. We can easily push the seats forward when we’re done driving for the day and put the hinged part down, adding a full foot of extra space. My uncle also thought to stop stapling the carpet down before the hinge, allowing the wood to lay flat when folded back. We can easily flip that small portion of carpet up and down.

We added mosquito netting onto the back windows using velcro with an adhesive giving us the option to partly open them at night for air. We also outlined the velcro with duct tape (we really don’t want bugs inside).

Overall the sleeping platform is a sizeable 72″ by 48″ – almost a double mattress. Not bad at all.
It took us roughly 16 hours to design and then bring this entire concept to life.

More photos to come with the mattress, sheets, rain covers, and one with it all packed up.

Measurements and Costs

Overall the storage space underneath the platform is roughly 12-14″ tall. The bed of the truck dips about halfway through, giving us some extra space. As stated, the platform is 72″ by 48″. The total cost for all of the materials and hardware was roughly $150, purchased from Home Depot.

Thank You

The biggest thank you goes out to my uncle Mario. We have built a home that Jasmine and I will be able to experience so many memorable moments. My words cannot articulate all my gratitude, just know I could not have realized this project without you.
It was truly a blast working on it together.

8 replies »

  1. I have scoured the internet for 1st gen CRV camp builds. My main issue was losing the table since many other builds have legs there. Despite not being 1st gen, your build BY FAR makes the most sense. Great use of space and minimal footprint. Construction starts Friday and hitting the road soon after. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. That has to be the scariest thing I’ve seen for a long time. If you get rear ended by a large truck, that sheet of wood is coming through the back of those seats like a knife.

    • If this is the scariest thing you’ve seen for a long time you must be living in an interesting world, Roger. All campers with this kind of setup run risk, but I think if you’re getting hit by a large truck with enough speed to push the wood through the seats “like a knife”, you likely have bigger problems. Thankfully 7 years later and still alive. 😉

      • Glad you are safe, guess I saw too many nasty results on some of the programmes I used to see through work. Stay safe mate and good luck

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