Pop-up Honda minivan RV is Japanese tiny camping at its best
"Honda" isn't a name we see very often stamped on the front of a camping vehicle, but when we do, it's usually something rather extraordinary – like a fast-converting Odyssey camper minivan or an adorable micro-pickup with matching trailer. The Deck One from Japan's White House Camper is the latest evidence of this unwritten rule. Based on the Step Wagon minivan, the pop-up Deck One camper offers four sleeping berths, up to eight seats, an interior dining area, and one of the most adorable tailgate kitchens you'll ever see.
Honda stylizes the name of the minivan in question as "Stepwgn," but we'll stick to "Step Wagon" for the sake of our eyes and yours. It introduced the sixth-generation version last year, and White House reworked its Deck One camper van package around the new van before revealing the new camper at this month's Japan Camping Car Show.
The new Step Wagon looks the part of camper van more so than the curvier Odyssey minivan familiar in the US, but it's actually well over a foot (30 cm) shorter at 189 to 190 in (480 cm to 483 cm), depending upon trim. That's large compared to a sub-4-m kei van micro-camper like White House's N-Van solo camper, but it's comparable to an American or European small van mini-camper, such as Cascade Campers' Ram Promaster City conversion.
The Step Wagon's level roofline stands 4 inches (10 cm) higher than the Odyssey's at 72.4 in (184 cm), and White House multiplies that added overhead with an available gas-strut-assisted pop-up sleeper roof with double bed. The company keeps three seating rows intact, albeit with a shortened third row that sits next to the driver-side tailgate kitchen. Both rows fold flat to create the second double bed, which stretches the width of the interior toward the front and center of the van before tapering around the kitchen block at the rear.
The kitchen block itself is the cutest little indoor/outdoor slide-out tailgate unit we've seen since the Daon Ravy Kia micro-camper from 2020. The sink is installed at the top of the block and remains inside the vehicle, fed by a 10-L water tank below. The lower slide-out includes a worktop that's used to hold a portable stove, in this case a single-burner from Snow Peak. A microwave is available to top the shelving unit next to the sink console. White House even shows the option of a small 18-L fridge box.
The Deck One kitchen may very well be more attractive in carefully staged stock photos than for actually preparing a meal, but we still appreciate the efficient use of space.
The center of the Deck One is more scrunched than that of the typical camper van, but White House still adds a removable dining table and swivel cab seats to create a functional dining area. Other Deck One equipment includes a standing heater for use at camp and a 42- or 100-Ah leisure battery, depending on trim.
One major advantage of building a camper van on the latest generation of a given vehicle is that it comes loaded with the automaker's most up-to-date tech and features. Base Deck One camper vans come with a 1.5-liter VTEC gas turbo engine, and Honda's two-motor e:HEV hybrid powertrain is available to boost efficiency up to an impressive WLTP fuel economy of 20 km/L (43 mpg). The latest in driver assistance features is included by way of the Honda Sensing suite.
Deck One pricing varies widely based on both Honda Step Wagon trim and the specific camper package tier. The base fixed-roof sleeper model without kitchen starts at ¥3,592,600 (approx. US$27,000) as a 2WD turbo. The top-tier pop-up camper with kitchen, microwave, fridge, 100-Ah battery and 1,500-W inverter starts at ¥5,660,600 (US$42,550) as a 2WD turbo or ¥6,044,500 (US$45,425) as a 2WD e:HEV hybrid. All-wheel-drive is also available with the gas engine, and optional camper add-ons include window curtains, mesh doorway fabric and solar charging.