For many years now I’ve had the dream of owning a camper van. The freedom to drive off and pitch up wherever I like has always appealed to me. Tent camping is fun but as I learned back at the beginning of June sometimes the British weather won’t cooperate. It rained so hard my little pop up tent flooded (I was only staying one night so don’t take the good tent) and I ended up sleeping on the back seat of the car! However, budgetary constraints mean that that dream of a little campervan are still a long way off. So I decided to work with what I had.
What I have is a five door Renault Clio. She’s a fab little car and does sterling service pootling about the country, she’s even been to France a couple of times! I decided to look at what I needed in order to simply drive off and pitch up in the car that I already had. There were a few rules: no modifications that couldn’t be undone and she had to still be a functional car with all of her seats etc attached. The more ‘stealth’ the better. So I narrowed it down: I needed a place to sleep (preferably full length), a way to cook, shelter from the elements and preferably a bathroom of sorts too.
The shelter, cooking and sleeping parts have all come together really simply. The bathroom is still a work in progress and currently consists of a small bucket with a lid and some cat litter! The shelter is very simply a canopy off the back of the car attached to the roof with magnets and held up with two tent poles. I’ve removed the parcelshelf and replaced it with wood cut to size so that my camping stove can rest on it. I also have a little table top that can be added to the back bumper for extra space. And for sleeping with the front seat pushed forwards and the back seat folded down there is enough space for me to sleep full length with a 2″ thick foam mattress that goes across the back seat of the car when not in use and either a duvet or sleeping bag as the mood strikes me. All of this fits perfectly into the car with plenty of extra space and is lightweight enough that it can stay in there so that if I ever want to hit the road, off I go! It gives me peace of mind that the car is totally waterproof and I can close the doors and lock myself in to sleep. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up and take down everything so it’s really flexible. I haven’t been on an overnight trip with it yet but it’s already proven indispensable for picnics and road trips! I plan my first big adventure at the end of the month but there are still some bits to add and sort out before then. Watch this space!