Automotive

Ursa Minor pops the top on the Ford Transit Connect to create versatile mini-campervan

Ursa Minor pops the top on the...
Ursa Minor offers Yakima rack hardware optionally
Ursa Minor offers Yakima rack hardware optionally
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Backpacker magazine used an Ursa Minor pop-top Ford Transit Connect for its annual "Get Out More Tour" earlier this year
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Backpacker magazine used an Ursa Minor pop-top Ford Transit Connect for its annual "Get Out More Tour" earlier this year
It certainly looks ready to "get out more"
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It certainly looks ready to "get out more"
Ursa Minor offers pop-up roof conversions for several vehicles, along with some camper accessories
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Ursa Minor offers pop-up roof conversions for several vehicles, along with some camper accessories
Ursa Minor does its work on the current-generation Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon with long wheelbase
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Ursa Minor does its work on the current-generation Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon with long wheelbase
The Ursa Minor roof gives the Transit Connect a little more attitude
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The Ursa Minor roof gives the Transit Connect a little more attitude
The Transit Connect makes what looks like a fun mini-campervan, one that can double as a serious people-mover
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The Transit Connect makes what looks like a fun mini-campervan, one that can double as a serious people-mover
A look inside the Ursa Minor Transit Connect
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A look inside the Ursa Minor Transit Connect
The pop-top expands headroom up to 6.5 feet
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The pop-top expands headroom up to 6.5 feet
Ursa Minor offers Yakima rack hardware optionally
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Ursa Minor offers Yakima rack hardware optionally
Inside the Ursa Minor Transit Connect
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Inside the Ursa Minor Transit Connect
Ursa Minor offers USB and 12V outlets in both the rear of the vehicle and in the pop-up roof
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Ursa Minor offers USB and 12V outlets in both the rear of the vehicle and in the pop-up roof
The roof has plenty of zippered windows for fresh air and views outside
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The roof has plenty of zippered windows for fresh air and views outside
Ursa Minor started selling the Transit Connect pop-top a few months ago
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Ursa Minor started selling the Transit Connect pop-top a few months ago
The Ursa Minor roofline gives the Transit Connect a little bit of a sportier, more aggressive look
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The Ursa Minor roofline gives the Transit Connect a little bit of a sportier, more aggressive look
Inside the Ursa Ford Minor Transit Connect
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Inside the Ursa Ford Minor Transit Connect
Ursa Minor brought its Transit Connect to the Ford Vandemonium event this year
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Ursa Minor brought its Transit Connect to the Ford Vandemonium event this year
A little van ready for unlimited adventure
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A little van ready for unlimited adventure
Ursa Minor's roof is a pretty good-looking addition, in our opinion
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Ursa Minor's roof is a pretty good-looking addition, in our opinion
Ursa Minor's pop-up conversion starts at $6,400 and includes the bed, lighting and installation
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Ursa Minor's pop-up conversion starts at $6,400 and includes the bed, lighting and installation
Ursa Minor Ford Transit Connect pop-top mini-campervan
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Ursa Minor Ford Transit Connect pop-top mini-campervan
The Ursa Minor Transit Connect gets all surfy for its SEMA appearance
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The Ursa Minor Transit Connect gets all surfy for its SEMA appearance
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A number of new and established camper van conversion companies are passing right over large, popular vans like the Mercedes Sprinter and Fiat Ducato/Ram Promaster and working with small vans like the Nissan NV200 and Ram Promaster City. Ursa Minor Vehicles brings its expertise in building pop-up roofs for the likes of the Honda Element and Jeep Wrangler to this lively mini-campervan space. Its pop-top Ford Transit Connect weekends as a cruisy two-sleeper made to roam highways, cities, mountains, coasts, and everywhere in between. Close the pop-top and unload the camping gear, and it turns into an everyday driver with seats for up to seven people.

Ursa Minor has developed its first Transit Connect pop-up for the 190-in (482-cm) long-wheelbase Passenger Wagon, which is just longer than the other mini-campervan we looked at this week, the 187-in (475-cm) Ram Promaster City Cascade Camper. The long-wheelbase Connect is still shorter than the all-time reigning champion of camper van conversions, the Volkswagen Transporter, which measures 193 inches (490 cm) long in modern short-wheelbase form.

Long wheelbase or not, the Transit Connect wagon makes for a compact camper van. The Passenger Wagon also makes for a versatile multipurpose van, carrying six or seven people, depending on configuration. Its rear seats fold completely flat to create an 85-in (216 cm)-long load floor.

Ursa Minor's roof is a pretty good-looking addition, in our opinion
Ursa Minor's roof is a pretty good-looking addition, in our opinion

Ursa Minor takes advantage of the Transit Connect's compact, versatile build in making an adventurous mini-campervan. Its specialty is pop-up roofs, not full interior conversions, so its Transit Connect package isn't a fully equipped motorhome, lacking amenities like kitchen equipment and cabinetry. But it does include the roof bed, so buyers drive off Ursa's lot with a van that can shelter and sleep two comfortably.

The strut-assisted pop-top opens up 6.5 feet (2 m) of standing room over top the folded seats and packs in a 48 x 84-in (122 x 176 cm) double mattress surrounded by water-resistant, breathable Sunbrella canvas. Zippered window screens on all sides keep the air circulating and views of the landscape wide open. Ursa Minor completes the package with low-current interior LED lighting wired to the van battery.

A look inside the Ursa Minor Transit Connect
A look inside the Ursa Minor Transit Connect

After rolling out of Ursa Minor's shop in their pop-top Transit Connect, buyers can keep it a simple overnight adventure van and hit the road, load it up with loose cooking and camping gear, or perhaps seek out a fuller camper conversion below the pop-up roof. And remember that flat, 85-in load floor? That's longer than Ursa's 7-foot bed. With nearly 4 feet (122 cm) of width between the wheel wells, you could throw a mattress or pair of inflatable pads down and make the Ursa Minor a four-sleeper with little effort at all.

Ursa Minor's composite roof design includes a wind deflector up front for minimizing wind noise and cutting fuel consumption increases to nil. The design also looks pretty cool, and in our opinion, gives the Transit Connect a little extra edge over the stock roof. A surfy paint job and roof rack with surfboard help, too.

The Ursa Minor Transit Connect gets all surfy for its SEMA appearance
The Ursa Minor Transit Connect gets all surfy for its SEMA appearance

Ursa Minor offers its conversion on 2nd-generation (2014+) long-wheelbase Transit Connect Passenger Wagon XL, XLT and Titanium models with standard roofs, not the sunroof offered on the Titanium trim. Prices start at $6,400, including installation, and Ursa Minor has shops in both San Diego and Portland, Oregon. It keeps its conversion simple but offers a few optional add-ons, such as paint to match (or contrast) the base van, a 60-watt solar panel, roof rack systems, and USB or 12V outlets. It also plans to launch a rear vehicle-attached tent and modular storage system early next year.

Backpacker magazine used an Ursa Minor pop-top Ford Transit Connect for its annual "Get Out More Tour" earlier this year
Backpacker magazine used an Ursa Minor pop-top Ford Transit Connect for its annual "Get Out More Tour" earlier this year

The first Transit Connect to meet the world was dressed up for Backpacker magazine's 2018 "Get Out More Tour." Ursa Minor then launched the kit more officially in July and showed a van at the SEMA Show, which wrapped up earlier this month. The company is also busy reworking its Wrangler pop-top kit around the all-new JL Wrangler and plans to have it ready in the near future.

Source: Ursa Minor

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