Why Are Micro Campers So Popular?
Micro Campers are generally referred to as campers that can be squeezed inside an MVP- think smaller than a short wheelbase van and more often seen being driven by parents on the school run. Now, that’s pretty small. With the van life movement gaining in popularity younger, outdoorsy people want to get outside and go on micro adventures more regularly. An ultimate weekend warrior does not want to waste time having to rent an RV every weekend but would rather have their own camper so they can begin their off grid adventure as soon as possible after work on a Friday. However, large campervan conversions like Mercedes Sprinter conversions can be expensive and usually come as a second vehicle after your everyday car. With having two vehicles you also need the space to store them and need to be sure that you can pay for the upkeep of both. Suddenly owning a campervan is sounding like a big commitment. Well, this is where micro campers come in. By adding a camper conversion to your everyday vehicle, you can have your very own tiny home at a fraction of the price.
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Price is a huge factor as to why people might choose the micro campers over a larger RV. Even the cheapest of battered, second-hand campervans or a savvy self converts are likely to set you back by upwards of £10,000. This is a big ask if you are planning on just spending every other weekend in your van, and probably only for half of the year when the weather is good enough. For a brand new campervan you can expect to spend anything between £30k-£50k, that’s a lot of money to have sat on your driveway for 70% of the year. By owning your own (big) tiny house also come the costs associated with it- tax, insurance, upkeep and fuel. The fuel consumption of a large RV is going to be much higher than that of micro campers. By choosing a micro camper, the fuel cost is kept lower meaning you can get outside more often. Compared to a large van the cost of buying a micro camper is usually minimal; in fact, the point of micro campers is that you can just use your existing people carrier. By using your current car (or by trading in your current car for an ever so slightly larger one) you cut out the cost of having to buy and maintain a second vehicle. Not having to buy a van means your only initial cost to create your own off grid home is the conversion cost, and there are some cost-effective ways to turn micro campers into affordable tiny homes which we are going to explore below.
Another factor in why adventurers are choosing micro campers is ease. They are easy to drive and park- because they are just a car. You can park in any car park, even in those pesky underground car parks that most campers won’t fit in, which is excellent if you plan to do any city exploring. As well as being easy to drive they are easy to pack- unlike a tent. Going camping with a tent requires planning and preparation, with a micro camper everything you need is already in your car, you can even leave other essentials such as sleeping bags and outdoor shoes in the storage compartments within the conversion. You can also have your camper as your first and only vehicle- good for your wallet and the environment. Micro Campers are just as good for driving to work or the supermarket in as it is for taking adventuring. Nobody is going to look twice if you drive your micro camper to work and this means you can set off for your weekend exploring as soon as it hit 5.30pm on a Friday. I can’t think of anything much better than that! If you’re thinking about getting your own micro camper, then check out the five different options below!
Micro Campers – The Nest Box
Micro campers don’t have to be a permanent fixture in your car. If you need that space in the week to carry belongings or more people, then a removable camper might be the best option for you. In comes The Nest Box. Created by EGOE, an innovative Czech furniture design company The Next Box features a sublime design that is both stylish and practical. The Nest Box is small enough to be inserted into just the luggage compartment of your vehicle; it is simply lifted in and secured with straps and can be done in a matter of minutes. The bed that is designed to sleep two unfolds from The Nest Box and extends over the passenger seats to be spacious and comfortable. Also included in the unit is a kitchen area that can be accessed and used from the back of your vehicle. This kitchenette area includes two cooker heads, storage for food and utensils, a collapsable sink and water unit and space for a fridge or a cool box. A fabric storage case can be added between the bed and the kitchen unit, also acting as a blind if your vehicle has a back window. This gives you more privacy as well as space to store small items and clothing. We love the intelligent design of The Nest Box; it is a fantastic use of the small space within an MVP and gives you everything you could possibly need for a weekend away in the wilderness. The only negative point here is the price. Depending on the size of your car you’re looking at spending €3000-3500 on just the unit alone, you then have to pay extra for the mattress, cooker unit, water unit, fridge and fabric storage unit. Fully loaded, you could be looking at spending about €7000. With a price tag this high, you’re starting to look at the price of a second-hand RV or of doing your own self conversion, but if you love the micro camper and have the money, then this is the ultimate design.
Micro Campers – Dream Case
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper in the micro campers market, then the Dream Case could be for you. Much simpler in design the Dream Case allows you to turn certain cars into campers by unfolding to be a comfortable multi-layered memory foam mattress. Stored in a small, zippable unit, not much larger than a suitcase the Dream Case can make even the more modest of cars into a good nights sleep. The Dream Case is just the mattress, so you’re still going to need to bring an alternative cooking st up with you on your adventure. However, a good nights sleep is one of the most important elements to enjoying your micro holiday, and that is undoubtedly guaranteed if you have. Dream case on board. While this is one of the more basic Van Life ideas out there, the Dream Case does make camping and getting outside accessible to everyone, if you have $700 that is.
Micro Campers – Oasis Camper Vans
If you are based in the US and are looking for someone that has experience in building micro campers, then Oasis Camper Vans are worth checking out. For $8.5k they can turn your minivan into the perfect tiny camper with all of the Van Life essentials you need for an adventure. Oasis’s conversion has a smart layout that gives you enough space to have a kitchenette, bed, seating area and even a table. The bed folds out so when extended it does take up most of the room inside but, during day mode it folds back to make a nice bench seat and allows room for the table to go up. Beneath the bench that turns into the bed is plenty of storage that can be accessed from both the inside and the outside of the van, perfect for storing clothes, shoes and sleeping bags. You can also charge phones and tablets from the van with 12V sockets at the back, meaning you can keep your gadgets charged on the go. The kitchen area of the conversion is accessed from the rear- a key element in many conversion within micro campers. We think this is the perfect design as you can cook standing up, while outside allowing any cooking and gas smells to escape. It also means you have more room to move around, making cooking a more enjoyable and sociable experience. The kitchenette includes a sink, plenty of storage areas and a flip-up work-surface for more preparation space. It does look like you’re going to need to bring your own burner though. We love the look of the Oasis micro campers design with its dark wood and grey furnishings we think it looks stylish as well as being practical. This conversion has everything you need for a weekend adventure and comes with a reasonable price tag, if you want to get out there in comfort and style then this option is for you.
Micro Campers – Rockin Vans
If you’re based on the other side of The World in the UK and are looking for somewhere to buy (or rent) one of the larger micro campers out there, then look no further than Rockin Vans. Rockin Vans create perfectly formed tiny homes with everything you would need for a micro adventure; they also come with many vandwellers favourite thing- a pop top. The pop top on this VW Caddy Maxi creates so much more space inside your camper that you can even stand up. This pop top means that the kitchen in the micro camper is inside the van- perfect for unpredictable British weather. Included in the camper’s kitchen is a chest fridge, sink and water storage and a single burner hob, compact but practical. Micro campers may be small, but this one also includes a pull out bed to sleep two, plenty of storage under the bed and in cupboards, Bluetooth media system and leisure battery. The leisure battery can be charged while driving via the split charge relay or using the mains plug in if you’re staying at a campsite, perfect for charging on the go. This camper is going to be at the higher end of the price scale, but you do get more luxury for your money!
Micro Campers – Self Conversion
We’ve shown you how the professions create their micro campers but they all still come with a rather hefty price tag. To me, the point of a micro camper is to be able to get outside every weekend without spending a massive chunk of money. Most of these micro campers cost $7000 and upwards, I’d consider that a rather large chunk of money. I bought and converted my 2003 Vauxhall Movano Camper for about £6500. This is a large van (LWB maxi roof) and includes solar power, a fridge, and heater- all expensive build elements that you wouldn’t necessarily need in micro campers, not to mention the sheer amount of wood and insulation I needed for my build that you would only need a fraction of in a small vehicle. If you’re looking for for a camper on a budget, then self conversion is the way to go. I reckon you could create a micro camper with everything you need for somewhere in the region of £1-2k, if not less. It is so easy to get lost in the world of van life influencers but it is important to remember the main feature of van life- getting outside, and even the most minimal micro camper will tick this box.
We can see why micro campers are becoming so popular with adventurers, they’re more affordable than a large camper van and allow you to spend more time outside, perfect for the keenest of adventurers. Micro Campers can be stylish and cool, and there are some affordable option out there to make it work for you. Let us know what you think of micro campers and if yours helps you get out there by joining the Van Clan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.