by John Davis

As the van life trend continues to rise in popularity, more and more nature lovers and wanderers are seeking new ways to hit the road in search of adventure. But a fully outfitted van or RV isn’t cheap, and many enthusiasts must wait for retirement to realize their dreams or give up on them altogether. 

However, many intrepid explorers are choosing a different approach. Across the U.S., DIY glampers are renovating their cars into functional, minimalist campers. A simple and affordable method is building a basic sleeping and storage platform. This design is ideal for smaller SUVs and station wagons, and practically anyone can learn how to do it.

Don’t let the word minimalist fool you, though. These homemade campers are a favorite with globetrotting millennials and can be loaded with everything you need to maintain a digital lifestyle off-grid.

How can you turn your car into a camper?

A custom-built sleeping platform is an inexpensive way to turn your car into a functional camper. These platforms provide a place to sleep off the grid while leaving ample storage space beneath the bed. 


How do you do it? The most basic platforms use materials you can buy at your local hardware store, namely, a couple of pieces of plywood. Simply determine the measurements based on the space available in your car, cut the platform, and then attach a few more pieces of plywood for the legs. 

The materials needed will differ slightly depending on your vehicle and how large you want your bed to be, but for a basic, bare-bones bed, you’ll need two 4’ X 8’ X 0.75” plywood sheets, 1.5” wood screws, and wood glue. 

You can further customize this design by adding hinges, allowing you to collapse the platform for additional storage. 

How To Maintain a Modern Lifestyle in a DIY Camper

Every successful digital nomad needs a reliable source of power. A small portable generator is a great starting point, and one excellent option is the Jackery Explorer 1000. If you really want to step up your game, consider adding Jackery’s SolarSaga Portable Solar Panels to your setup. 

Once you’ve got a way to power all your devices, you’ll need a comfortable workspace. The Rhino-Rack Sunseeker Awning attaches to your car and provides a welcoming escape from the sun or rain. 

A few additional luxuries go a long way toward making your camper feel more like home. This pop-up shower/changing room and a heated shower system will have you feeling fresh and clean, even when you’re miles away from civilization.

Finally, no glamper is complete without a kitchen. This Eureka camp stove will allow you to cook delicious meals from your private retreat, and it folds up for easy storage. 

For cold storage, if you’re interested in really stepping up your food storage game, consider springing for a SetPower Dual Zone Portable Freezer Fridge

I Turned My Car Into a Camper: Now what?

Well, all that’s left to do is hit the road! 

You can plan your dream trip, or, my favorite, just wing it. The roads are all connected. All you’ve got to do is turn the key. You’ll end up somewhere, and along the way, you’ll discover all the beauty and freedom the open road offers. 

August 04, 2022 — Setpower Freezer