Outdoors

Happier Adaptiv camper van changes the game with Lego-style modularity

Happier Adaptiv camper van cha...
Configure the individual modules around the van however you want at the moment or use them outside
Configure the individual modules around the van however you want at the moment or use them outside
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The proprietary Adaptiv floor serves as the base of the conversion, much like the large, flat rectangle of a Lego kit
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The proprietary Adaptiv floor serves as the base of the conversion, much like the large, flat rectangle of a Lego kit
A look inside the Happier Adaptiv Mercedes Sprinter 144
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A look inside the Happier Adaptiv Mercedes Sprinter 144
Refrigerator block with worktop
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Refrigerator block with worktop
Bridge the two-high side benches and you have a bed
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Bridge the two-high side benches and you have a bed
Happier Camper makes it easier to build (and change) the camper van of your dreams
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Happier Camper makes it easier to build (and change) the camper van of your dreams
Most modules serve as both structural blocks and storage containers
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Most modules serve as both structural blocks and storage containers
Happier breaks camper van conversion down to basic blocks
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Happier breaks camper van conversion down to basic blocks
Happier will be launching the Adaptiv van system as part of its 2020 lineup, pricing and specs TBA
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Happier will be launching the Adaptiv van system as part of its 2020 lineup, pricing and specs TBA
Here's an Adaptiv take on the rear bed/front dinette layout
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Here's an Adaptiv take on the rear bed/front dinette layout
The table sets up using a leg installed in the center mount and doubles as a bed support
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The table sets up using a leg installed in the center mount and doubles as a bed support
Kitchen sink module with expandable counter
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Kitchen sink module with expandable counter
Dry-flush toilet, bench and a taller storage cabinet
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Dry-flush toilet, bench and a taller storage cabinet
Configure the individual modules around the van however you want at the moment or use them outside
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Configure the individual modules around the van however you want at the moment or use them outside
Keep adding modules and cushions, and you have an entire van full of bed
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Keep adding modules and cushions, and you have an entire van full of bed
Happier Camper presented the Adaptiv van prototype alongside its latest trailers at last month's California RV Show
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Happier Camper presented the Adaptiv van prototype alongside its latest trailers at last month's California RV Show

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.

The proprietary Adaptiv floor serves as the base of the conversion, much like the large, flat rectangle of a Lego kit
The proprietary Adaptiv floor serves as the base of the conversion, much like the large, flat rectangle of a Lego kit

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.

Here's an Adaptiv take on the rear bed/front dinette layout
Here's an Adaptiv take on the rear bed/front dinette layout

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.

Dry-flush toilet, bench and a taller storage cabinet
Dry-flush toilet, bench and a taller storage cabinet

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.

Happier Camper HC1 Adaptiv™ Modular Interior Demo

Source: Happier Camper

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