Flexcamper creates a solo mini-campervan out of Fiat's tiniest van
Small, maneuverable and inconspicuous, camper vans offer some well-established advantages over larger Class A and C motorhomes. Of late, we've seen more and more companies trying to build on those advantages by shrinking conversions down into mini-campervans like the Cascade Camper or Ursa Minor Transit Connect. Germany's Flexcamper takes it a step further, making single-person mini-campers out of some of the smallest multipurpose vehicles out there – while even managing to squeeze in a toilet.
Previously, the shortest van we'd seen in the new surge of mini-campervans was the Nest Cuckoo, based on the 172-in (438-cm) 2017 Citroën Berlingo Multispace. That Citroën MPV sizes in the same class as the Fiat Doblo, but Flexcamper drops down to ground floor in Fiat's lineup, finding the basis for its conversion kit in a 152-in (386-cm) Fiorino.
How does Flexcamper fit sleeping, cooking, eating and bathroom amenities inside a vehicle that small? By leaving one person behind, then using the same kind of strategies and equipment other camper van conversion shops do, with a little extra thought and organization.
Many small camper vans feature rear seats that fold to create a two-person bed. The Fiorino doesn't offer room for both a rear bench and camper van amenities like a kitchen block, so Flexcamper works with an empty load area, adding a non-drive seat in back. Combine that seat with the folded front passenger seat and you have the foundation for a single bed. The space between the front and rear seats gets filled by the tabletop supported by fold-out wings below. Cushions on all three surfaces line up to create a single bed measuring up to 98 in (250 cm) long.
During the day, the tabletop pops out of the bed frame and mounts to a pedestal next to the seat, completing a cozy dining/work area. The wings that support the tabletop in bed configuration swing out of the way to clear the entry.
Flexcamper could theoretically make its Fiorino mini-campervan a two-sleeper by repeating its passenger-side work on the driver side, but then there'd be no room for much of anything else. Instead, Flexcamper uses the driver side of the load area to house a narrow kitchen block with single-burner stove, sink, water system and storage space. Across the way, it slides a little 7-L fridge between the end of the rear seat and the rear door.
Obviously there's absolutely nowhere to put even the tiniest of wet baths, but Flexcamper does include a portable toilet mounted inside the driver-side doorway. And since it's a one-person van, the owner doesn't even have to worry about filling the cabin with embarrassing and inevitable odors, though he or she will have to endure them. A cover conceals the toilet when not in use.
Flexcamper finishes – or, we should say, starts – its conversion with floor paneling secured to the vehicle, with its furniture securing on top of this base paneling. Flexcamper also adds insulated wall upholstery and window coverings to complete the tiny but functional camper cabin.
And with that, you're eating, sleeping, cooking and even relieving yourself in a Fiat Fiorino. Flexcamper doesn't do pop-up roofs, so this is a sitting height camper van, but the little German shop has done a really admirable job of fitting camper essentials inside Fiat's smallest van.
Flexcamper's main package is designed specifically for the Fiorino and related Citroën Nemo and Peugeot Bipper, but the company also does conversion work on larger (but still small) vans, including the Volkswagen Caddy and Golf Plus, Fiat Doblo and new Peugeot Rifter.
Flexcamper is more of a weekend hobby/side gig for founder Stephan Kniebetsch than a full-time camper van operation. Customers source their own vehicles, and Flexcamper pre-builds the hardware after a consultation. It can do the installation itself or ship the modules out for DIY installation. The conversion materials and installation start at €5,620 (approx. US$6,380).