When you bought your SUV, did your mind fill with images of driving down dirt roads and out into the wilderness? Were you considering how much you could load into the back for your next vacation?
Or have you had your eye on a converted van? People in fancy rigs can nap on comfortable beds at a truck stop while you’re stuck uncomfortably trying to rest your eyes with your front seat only mostly reclined. Does it cause you to question if an SUV was the best choice after all?
With a little bit of planning and work, you can have the best of both worlds by converting your SUV into the ultimate excursion machine. We’ve listed everything you’ll need to think about to make the process quick and easy.
Why consider an SUV conversion?
SUVs have many benefits over large vans or RVs. You can park them anywhere, they get good gas mileage, and usually have higher clearance. They enable access to everywhere with less stress and fewer expenses. Additionally, as areas are cracking down on people living or sleeping in cars, a converted SUV is much easier to keep under the radar.
What should a conversion include?
It’s possible to set up an SUV to have all the elements of a tiny house. You have to prioritize what matters to you most to keep your build functional. Consider the following features, make a list of what you care about, and you can be on the road with all the comforts of home.
Having a place to sleep that doesn’t require setting up a tent or finding a hotel is the number one motivation for vehicle conversions. For most sleeping arrangements, folding down or taking out the back seats is essential. Some people also remove the passenger seat for ultimate space options.
If you’ll be sleeping alone in your SUV, consider installing a twin-sized bed running from front to back on the passenger side of your car. This leaves lots of room for storage on the driver’s side of the vehicle. In this setup, you can either sleep flat on the floor of your car to increase your stealth abilities or build a platform to create more storage space.
If you prefer to sleep spread out, or will be sharing your space, consider building a platform that covers the entire back of your SUV. When designing your platform, it’s easy to focus on maximizing your storage space underneath, but keep in mind that the ability to sit up in bed makes a big difference in your comfort level.
Cooking outside around a campfire can be a wonderful experience. Struggling to keep your propane stove lit during a thunderstorm, not so much. The ability to prepare meals, regardless of weather, is another benefit of a converted vehicle.
Though possible, it’s not easy to build a full kitchen inside an SUV. However, you can create a kitchen setup that uses parts of the vehicle to protect your meal preparation from the elements. Consider constructing a drawer that pulls out to allow you to use your stove under the protection of your liftgate. That way, you won’t go hungry if it rains! At the very least, it’s nice to have a small table or surface that flips down to serve that purpose.
When planning the storage system for trips in your SUV, think about ease of access for the things you use most. It’s not pleasant to wake up cozy in your sleeping bag with frost on your windows and the realization that you have to step outside and reach underneath your platform to grab your clothes and jacket.
Whether you use bags, bins, boxes or baskets to store your items, it comes down to personal preference. Just remember, the less space your storage system takes up, the more you can store.
Even if you plan to sleep in the wilderness with no one else around, it’s nice to be able to block out the light of the full moon or sleep past sunrise. Plus, the option to pull over and take a nap at rest stop on a road trip, or relax in a more crowded area without others watching is worth it.
Cutting pieces of Reflextix to fit inside your windows is one of the most straightforward methods of creating privacy for your vehicle. As a bonus, this material will reflect sunlight and heat away from your SUV, keeping the temperature more comfortable.
With an SUV, you can have your adventure and comforts too. There’s no need for van envy! A few simple conversion techniques and your car will be ready for your next road trip.