Contravans turns SUVs, minivans and AWD wagons into camper vans for $995+
Forget camper vans, Contravans builds camper minivans, camper SUVs and camper wagons. Following up on its cargo van conversion kits, it now offers full minivan conversions and lighter utility vehicle kits, furnishing the full spectrum of vehicles to the needs of outdoor adventurers. Whether you're driving a Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner, Dodge Grand Caravan or another urban or mountain-town vehicle, a Contravans kit makes it a functional, affordable camper for whatever cross country voyage you have your eye on.
Contravans has already been doing some impressive mini-campervan conversion work with the Ram Promaster City and has expanded that kit to the Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes Metris and Nissan NV200 while working the base price down just below US$9,000. Now it's also working its way into smaller vehicles with more affordable, streamlined kits.
The most impressive new Contravans kit is the Minivan Camper System, a full-blown camper built into minivans like the Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna and Kia Sedona. This system is a more basic version of the cargo van kit, but it packs one thing the cargo van kit doesn't: a convertible dinette that turns the double bed into a dining area with dual benches (the cargo van kit has a fixed bed and no dinette). The convertible dinette also includes under-bench storage to help better utilize limited interior space.
Out back, the Contravans minivan-camper has a basic kitchen with inbuilt sink hooked to 11-liter fresh and waste water tanks, slide-out single-burner gas stove, and worktop. There are also various shelves and compartments for storing a cooler, dishes, utensils and more.
The Contravans minivan kit is built from Baltic birch and starts at US$4,395, not bad at all for a fully functional camper van interior for two people. The other Colorado-built minivan camper kit we looked at recently starts at $5,500 and rises to the $8,500 model featured. Contravans' compatibility with the Toyota Sienna means that buyers can build out a more capable AWD mini-campervan.
Those who find minivans too much "van" and not enough "mini" might prefer Contravans other new camper kit, the Car Camper System. Much simpler than its full conversion kits, this one is more of a kitchen organizer for tailgating and car camping, perhaps the start of a greater camping and adventure vehicle build. It lands between a full camper-in-a-box and a basic chuck box.
The Car Camper kit was designed around the Toyota 4Runner and is also compatible with a variety of other popular utility vehicles and wagons, including the Subaru Outback and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Contravans plans to expand the list of compatible vehicles and urges would-be buyers to let it know what vehicles inside which they'd like to install the kit.
Starting at $995, the Car Camper System is essentially a kitchen box with a portable stove slide-out, storage cubby sized for a cooler or small fridge box, second cubby sized for a 9.5-L water canister, and general storage compartment. The fold-down face secures everything in transit and works as a work surface at camp. The box is designed to be easily installed and removed, securing to the vehicle with tie-down straps.
What the Car Camper kit lacks, as compared to more complete camper-in-a-box systems like those from Ququq, is any type of fold-out bedding for the vehicle interior. Buyers would have to add a roof-top tent or alternative solution to the equation to get a proper camper with overnight shelter. Or they could go cheaper and just use the Car Camper as a kitchen organizer, sleeping in a ground tent. Either way, Contravans' kitchen box is intended to make organizing, packing and breaking camp a little quicker and easier, getting you onto the open road with minimal fuss.