My intro and my (tiny) Nissan Versa camper conversion

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Well-known member
May 24, 2020
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Hi, all,

Wow, it's great to "meet" so many like-minded people!  I've been watching Bob's videos for about a year. I had planned on buying a van or an old RV this year, but then I lost my contract job due to the pandemic. Grrrr. 

I was really bummed out, at first, because I really, really wanted to buy a van this year...and although I LOVE my little Nissan Versa, I didn't think I could possibly go camping in it. But then I thought -- well...maybe I can? So, I put down the seats and measured...and it was definitely long enough. (Good thing I'm really short. Lol.) I'm only 5'2'' - but the length from the back oof the drivers seat to the end of the hatchback is about 5'7'' or 5'8'' I even have room to spare.

 I looked online to see if anybody else had ever tried to turn a Versa into a mini-camper, and found two others. One guy is actually LIVING in his in California (wow...amazing), and another couple turned the back of their Versa into a bed, by using some plywood and some milk crates. (Brilliant...the milk crates are almost the perfect height.). 

So I did the same to mine, too....and it worked! Then I put a 3'' foam mattress topper on top...and tested it out...and hey!...It was pretty comfortable. 

Then I turned an old IKEA hanging shoe rack into hanging pocket containers for both sides.

[font=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][size=small][size=small][font=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]Then[/font][/size][/size][/font][font=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][size=small][size=small][font=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif] I made some window coverings out of reflectix. [/font][/size][/size][/font]

I was going to buy a Habi-tent for the hatchback...but I thought $99---that's a lot of money when you don't have a job. So, I went to the fabric store and got some mosquito netting and made my own mosquito net to go over the back...and ta-daaa! I have a mini-camper!

[font=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]I even knitted my own triangle-shaped cargo net for the ceiling, out of paracord. (I was going to make it a rectangle cargo net, but for some reason, Nissan only put 3 handles in the Versa....Don't ask me why....But still works.[/font]

I also unhooked the hatchback light from the wiring, so if I left my hatchback open all night on a warn might, it wouldn't drain the battery.

I think the only other thing I want to do (for now) is make an awning to go over the hatchback to create a shady area to sit (because I live in Arizona), so I am going to go back to the fabric store and get some of that outdoor tent material they have and make myself a little awning.

I was also thinking of making a shower/bathroom area out of a hula hoop and 2 shower curtains (saw it on You Tube), but for now, I have a 20 year-old Walmart tent that I'm going to bring to use as a my "bathroom" and "shower" area. 

I'm having so much fun with this, that I might even make a YouTube channel about my tiny-Versa camper, and make some videos as I camp out in various state parks in Arizona this summer.  Maybe I can get a "tiny cult-following."  (Pun intended...ha!)


P.S. I tried to upload photos...but I can't figure out how to do that on here. So I'm just going to turn my photos into a video. I'll post the link to the video in my next post.
Hello giggles - welcome to the forum. A versa sounds like a very small home. But then I am not 5' 2'' I am 5' 11' and weight 300 pounds. But it is amazing to see what people have done with their small vehicles. Look at Suanne Carlson, she seems quite happy in her prius. The way to do it is the vehicle is your bedroom and storage area. The great outdoors is where you live. That is how I feel about my full size dodge conversion van - it is a place to sleep, store my gear and to shelter in bad weather. I don't live in a van because I like living in a van. I live in a van because I love traveling and living out in God's beautiful creation. And your versa will give you many more miles to travel than my van does based on mpg. good luck.

Just an extra though for you - I see many people using milk crates to hold up the bed. It seems to me to be a waste of storage space under the bed. would turing the crates on their side work to hold up the bed? That way you could use them for storage and a bed platform. In that versa efficient use of every space is necessary. If the crates are not strong enough to support the bed as well on their side try turning them so that they face opposite directions. one facing front and the one next to it facing back, still accessible but better support fot the bed.
Welcome to the CRVL forums Giggles! Love your creativity! Looking forward to the photis.

To help you learn the ins and outs of these forums, this "Tips, Tricks and Rules" post lists some helpful information to get you started.

Most of our rules boil down to two simple over-riding principles: 1) What you post should provide good information (like your introductory post), and 2) Any response to someone else's post should make them feel glad they are part of this forum community.

We look forward to hearing more from you.
Ha! I too am short (I prefer petite LOL 5’3”) and finally good for something. I can fit in small spaces. I live in my CRV and love your clever ideas. Have to try knitting with paracord seems thick and stiff. But would love to see your YouTube!
Oops, I shouldn't have said knitting. It was more like macrame.

Anyway, I posted the video 2 posts back.
I just came up with another idea.... I might cut out a flap in the bottom of my old Wal Mart tent and try that onto to back of the hatchback. Like those larger SUV tents. I will let you know if it works!
nature lover said:
Good idea - I want to see that.

This thread reminds me of the time, many years ago, when my then-husband outfitted a Jeep CJ5 for camping. We made an extension for the bed of the jeep with a piece of plywood and two unfinished table legs. Then I sewed a canvas tent - with flat-felled seams - on my tiny Singer Featherweight machine. 

It caused A LOT of comment. And I think my sewing machine forgave me, but I'm not sure.
Use strong elastic hemmed in around the flap, like a shower cap, so it hugs the car. I have an SUV tent and it uses straps, too. I can't connect the tent until the exhaust pipe cools, though.
You need a channel for your ideas. They are so simple that people like me can do them yet very clever. Loved the mosquito net.
Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

Well, I have good news...I got a new job today! I'll be selling cars for ... get this...Nissan. Lol. I kid you not.

I'll have to tell them about my mini-Versa camper conversion. I bet they'll get a kick out of that.

Seriously, though...I am very excited, because the Nissan NV high top cargo van is a pretty good van for van life (at least, I've seen a lot of videos on YouTube that says they are), so maybe I'll be able to get my van this year, after all. :)
Giggles the NV 200 is what I have just baught and am about to start my build..

Congrsts! That's awesome!

Can your post pics or videos? Or do you have a YT channel? I'd love to watch your conversion as it happens.

I was also thinking about getting a smaller van like the NV200, or the Transit Connect, or the Promaster City. Then I was wondering if it would be big enough...but after putting in a sleeping platform in my Versa, I realized ANY van would be big enough for me at this point! Lol.

Elastic is a genius idea!! Thanks! I might try that this weekend.
Giggles said:

Congrsts! That's awesome!

Can your post pics or videos? Or do you have a YT channel? I'd love to watch your conversion as it happens.

I was also thinking about getting a smaller van like the NV200, or the Transit Connect, or the Promaster City. Then I was wondering if it would be big enough...but after putting in a sleeping platform in my Versa, I realized ANY van would be big enough for me at this point! Lol.
I have taken a few pictures  of now but cannot start the build until I have had it serviced and checked over. It is at 90000 miles so a major service. Not sure of the true condition of the vehicle but will keep you updated as I begin, thank you for your interest.
Ok. Not working for Nissan anymore. Working on a hot black asphalt car lot in June in Arizona was almost the craziest thing I ever tried in my life. Lol.

I will need to figure out another way to try to make money to buy a van....
It is such a pleasure to see you take such joy in your simple build!  (BTW, it has taken me 12 years to embrace my inner baked potato and be okay with shiny Reflectix on the inside, but I got there!)  Thanks for sharing your video.
Lol. Embrace your inner baked potato should be a van life t-shirt. :)

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