Outdoors

Modular camper boxes turn van into indoor/outdoor base camp

Modular camper boxes turn van ...
The single-bed layout saves space for a bicycle or other gear
The single-bed layout saves space for a bicycle or other gear
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The rear boxes combine with front frame members to support the entire single or double bed
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The rear boxes combine with front frame members to support the entire single or double bed
A primary component of the kitchen, the sink block includes a faucet, basin and plumbing connections
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A primary component of the kitchen, the sink block includes a faucet, basin and plumbing connections
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The top of the sink box becomes a worktop, and a sleeping platform panel becomes the table
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The top of the sink box becomes a worktop, and a sleeping platform panel becomes the table
Full outdoor kitchen and dining setup, ready for mealtime
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Full outdoor kitchen and dining setup, ready for mealtime
Boxes all packed up
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Boxes all packed up
Bed set up inside van
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Bed set up inside van
The Giravaga Box creates a two-person camper van and outdoor kitchen, but you'll need two Giravagas to recreate this particular photo
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The Giravaga Box creates a two-person camper van and outdoor kitchen, but you'll need two Giravagas to recreate this particular photo
Girovaga Box is hosting a Kickstarter campaign to launch its camper-in-a-box systems
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Girovaga Box is hosting a Kickstarter campaign to launch its camper-in-a-box systems
Dinner for two, fridge box sold separately
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Dinner for two, fridge box sold separately
The single-bed layout saves space for a bicycle or other gear
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The single-bed layout saves space for a bicycle or other gear
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The tumultuous year has left a lot of people scrambling to buy or rent RVs, the preferred means of travel and vacation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who don't have the space or budget for a full RV might want to consider another alternative as the summer travel season approaches: a camper-in-a-box system that quickly transforms an everyday van, wagon or SUV into a camper and back again. We've seen many different camper-in-a-box systems over the years, and Italian startup Girovaga Box has yet another, which comprises a series of modular cubes that combine into a double bed inside the vehicle and an in-kitchen dining area outside.

While every camper-in-a-box kit varies in design, a common element shared by many, including the German Ququq, Czech Egoé Nestbox and Austrian Qubiq, is a horizontal box or set of boxes that stretch the width of the vehicle tailgate. This wide-box setup serves as the rearmost part of the bed platform while also housing the components of the tailgate kitchen. It's a natural layout that provides the three primary parts of a mini-camper: sleeping arrangements, cooking space and storage.

Bed set up inside van
Bed set up inside van

In place of the wide box, Girovaga Box uses a square orientation of boxes to form roughly half the sleeping platform. Each box fits into a base plate on the vehicle's load floor, and a series of beams combines to form a support frame for the panels at the front of the double bed platform. Users can also create a solo camper by setting up a single bed on one side of the vehicle, leaving the other side free for a bicycle, surfboard, skis or other sports gear. Multiple cushions combine to create the mattress.

The four boxes at the rear of the Girovaga setup don't have slide-out, fold-down or flip-up capabilities for transforming the tailgate area into a camp kitchen. Instead, each one removes to stack into a kitchen and dining space outside the van. The box holding the sink stacks atop the water storage box, allowing the hoses and manual foot pump to connect the fresh water canister to the faucet and the sink basin to the waste water canister.

The top of the sink box becomes a worktop, and a sleeping platform panel becomes the table
The top of the sink box becomes a worktop, and a sleeping platform panel becomes the table

The portable gas canister stove pops out of another box and sets up on the countertop that hangs off the sink box. That empty stove box then becomes a bench, topped by one of the single-width cushions from the mattress. The final box is empty in standard configuration and becomes the second bench. One of the panels that fills in space on the sleeping platform has an adjustable leg on its base and secures to the sink block to serve as the dining table.

The Giravaga Box creates a two-person camper van and outdoor kitchen, but you'll need two Giravagas to recreate this particular photo
The Giravaga Box creates a two-person camper van and outdoor kitchen, but you'll need two Giravagas to recreate this particular photo

It only takes a few minutes to go from bed to kitchen or vice versa and a few more to uninstall the Girovaga boxes completely. The system doesn't hard-mount to the vehicle, instead securing via straps during transit. Once removed, all four boxes can stack atop each other to save floor space during storage.

Girovaga Box is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds it needs to get its camper-in-a-box off the ground. It offers two sizes — the 61-kg (135 lb) Rodos for compact vans like the Fiat Doblo, Nissan NV200 and Volkswagen Caddy and the 69-kg (152 lb) Valem for midsize and full-size vans like the Fiat Talento or Ducato, Mercedes V-Class or Sprinter, and Volkswagen Transporter or Crafter. The Rodos Deluxe kit with full cushioned mattress is available for a €2,452 (approx. US$2,900) pledge, the Valem Deluxe for €2,574 ($3,050). Girovaga Box also offers Smart kits with inflatable mattresses for €1,818 and €1,988 ($2,150 and $2,350), respectively.

Source: Kickstarter

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3 comments
TomLeeM
I think that is both neat and versatile. I wonder if it could be used in a cargo trailer?
paul314
Or I could get my own set of storage boxes and collapsible tables and other bits for about a fifth the price?
Seasherm
Yes, one could make these themself, like many other products on the market. Usually, the work in customizing those boxes might turn out to be worth the money. Everyone gets to decide. I have a cousin who travels in his van extensively. He's not handy, and wouldn't build this. Thanks for the article.