Outdoors

Contravans turns SUVs, minivans and AWD wagons into camper vans for $995+

Contravans turns SUVs, minivan...
Contravans shows a minivan camper with some extra space
Contravans shows a minivan camper with some extra space
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Contravans Minivan Camper System includes a convertible dinette with two benches
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Contravans Minivan Camper System includes a convertible dinette with two benches
The Car Camper System is more of a kitchen box built to hold a stove, cooler and cookware 
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The Car Camper System is more of a kitchen box built to hold a stove, cooler and cookware 
The Car Camper box comes with a slide-out drawer for the stove and pots/pans
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The Car Camper box comes with a slide-out drawer for the stove and pots/pans
Contravan's car camping kit fits a dual-burner stove
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Contravan's car camping kit fits a dual-burner stove
Throw a roof-top tent up high, and you have a camping vehicle that can shelter and cook
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Throw a roof-top tent up high, and you have a camping vehicle that can shelter and cook
The Car Camper System packs neatly away with its foldaway worktop
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The Car Camper System packs neatly away with its foldaway worktop
The Minivan Camper System's kitchen falls between Contravans' car and cargo van kits, packing a built-in sink and slide-out single-burner stove
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The Minivan Camper System's kitchen falls between Contravans' car and cargo van kits, packing a built-in sink and slide-out single-burner stove
The minivan camper sink is hooked up to an 11-L fresh water tank and drains to an 11-L waste water tank
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The minivan camper sink is hooked up to an 11-L fresh water tank and drains to an 11-L waste water tank
The minivan camper includes various storage shelves and compartments
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The minivan camper includes various storage shelves and compartments
A look at the dinette inside the Contravans minivan camper
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A look at the dinette inside the Contravans minivan camper
Minivan camper ready for a good night's sleep
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Minivan camper ready for a good night's sleep
Preparing some breakfast
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Preparing some breakfast
Contravans shows a minivan camper with some extra space
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Contravans shows a minivan camper with some extra space
Contravans offers minivan kits for a variety of models, including the Honda Odyssey, Dodge Grand Caravan and Kia Sedona
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Contravans offers minivan kits for a variety of models, including the Honda Odyssey, Dodge Grand Caravan and Kia Sedona
Since it's compatible with the Toyota Sienna, the US minivan available in AWD, the Contravans kit offers a more rugged, all-terrain option
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Since it's compatible with the Toyota Sienna, the US minivan available in AWD, the Contravans kit offers a more rugged, all-terrain option
Doing some cooking with the Contravans Minivan Camper System
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Doing some cooking with the Contravans Minivan Camper System
A lazy morning in the Contravans minivan
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A lazy morning in the Contravans minivan
Exploring the world by minivan
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Exploring the world by minivan

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.

A look at the dinette inside the Contravans minivan camper
A look at the dinette inside the Contravans minivan camper

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.

Doing some cooking with the Contravans Minivan Camper System
Doing some cooking with the Contravans Minivan Camper System

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.

Throw a roof-top tent up high, and you have a camping vehicle that can shelter and cook
Throw a roof-top tent up high, and you have a camping vehicle that can shelter and cook

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.

Source: Contravans

2 comments
SDW
It's kind of a waste of money to buy that outfit and have to carry a ladder to get into it. It's just a tent off the ground that takes longer to set up than a tent on the ground. And regular tents bigger than that cost less than a hundred bucks. Just another gimmick made to sell to millennials. like Tiny houses. What a waste.
jimmy15
Starting prices of $995 for the 'wooden box' car camper and $4,400 for the mini van conversion? I built an almost identical setup into my dodge caravan and it cost lest than $700 with all the cook wear, cooler, foam mattress, water container etc. I don't know who these sell to, come to whistler and see some real cheap car/van camping innovations.