Happier Adaptiv camper van changes the game with Lego-style modularity
It's become common to see modular vans that transform seamlessly between camping, cargo and/or passenger configurations, but California's Happier Camper hits camper van modularity from a different angle. Its comprehensive conversion kit creates camper vans that can transform into ... camper vans, of many different styles. The company is adapting the modular interior hardware from its HC1 camping trailer, making a camper van conversion that breaks down into blocks and builds up like Lego. The Adaptiv kit makes it easier to create the exact camper van floor plan you like – then blow it all up and change it when you realize you don't really like it as much as you thought. You can even adjust it on the fly at camp, creating many different layouts from first light to lights out. A truly game-changing design, the Adaptiv kit dials camper van versatility up to maximum.
Just last week, we thought we had found the most modular, flexible camper van out there in the all-new Pössl Vanster. Now Happier brings something that's even more flexible and modular, and it will actually be built and sold in the USA, unlike the Vanster and so many cool camper vans that never find their way out of Europe.
It all starts with the Adaptiv floor. Happier skips the floor rails that underpin most other modular vans and secures down a fiberglass floor with a 3x6 grid of tiles. Instead of large kitchen, bed and storage furniture attaching permanently to the van or mounting non-permanently to tie-down rails in specific locations, the Adaptiv system's small, easily-removed building blocks snap into place on the tiles, making designing a van interior much like building with Lego.
Slim storage modules cover the wheel wells, framing the flat 3x6-tile floor. Middle-row floor tiles include central cutouts for attaching the table stand, while some of the outer tiles have D-rings for lashing down gear and cargo.
Modules range from basic single-tile cubes with interior storage, to double-length bench blocks with storage, to functional units with equipment like refrigerators and sinks. Top panels and cushions work with the blocks to create work surfaces, sofas, beds and more, and carpeted panels can cover up the remainder of the bright-white floor.
By attaching and stacking individual modules, campers can create many different interior layouts. Want to move the side kitchen to the back of the van to enjoy the view out the rear doors? Make it happen right after you pull into camp. Want to enjoy dinner from this same part of the van? Move the kitchen back to the side and create a rear dinette. Want to bring along a bike or surfing equipment? Stack the camper modules aside and clear a large enough space. Want a large bed for the whole family? Fill the interior with modules, top them with cushions and you have one huge camper van bed. Not camping this weekend but need a cargo van? Remove all the modules and you have it. The interior possibilities are nearly endless with the right set of modules, cushions and accessories, and you can also use the modules outside to cook/sit/dine.
If there's one drawback to the Adaptiv design, it's that it doesn't seem like it will play nicely with a bathroom. Perhaps they could build a small, self-contained wet bath compartment, but it seems like it would stand in opposition to the flexible nature of the greater Adaptiv system. While a complete lack of bathroom is to be expected in a smaller van, the Adaptiv prototype kit is based on a 233-in (593-cm) Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 144, a van large enough to easily accommodate a wet bath, as seen on the likes of the Winnebago Revel and Hymer Free S 600. Happier Camper does offer a dry-flush toilet that mounts to the floor, plus the sink module, so owners could always add on an outdoor shower to round out all the main RV bathroom functions, but they still wouldn't have the dedicated walled-in space.
Also, unless Happier Camper has road-legal seat modules planned, it looks like the van will only seat two — great for #vanlife couples, not great for larger families or groups.
Bathroom privacy and seating issues aside, we think Happier Camper is on to something with this design. It'll have to get pricing right, and it should only help that it'll be adding the new product to its existing Adaptiv production line. With the van kit still in the prototype stage, Happier has yet to finalize specs or pricing, but it's hoping to keep the base kit under US$10K, packaging together the 3x6 floor grid, three benches and two wheel well boxes. Plans also call for a Deluxe package with sleeping and dining for four people, toilet, kitchen, fridge and ice cooler. The initial kit will be specific to the Sprinter 144, but Happier intends to add kits for other popular American-market vans down the road. We'll report back on pricing and standard features once the kit is ready for market.
The video better highlights the Adaptiv system's flexibility as used in the HC1 camping trailer.
Source: Happier Camper