There’s no wonder the completely kitted out Sprinters, Transits, and ProMasters get all the glory. The ingenious designs, well-crafted construction, and Instagram-worthy images can make anyone want to convert their own van in an instant. What they may not expect is the cost and the amount of work that goes into these builds. Some Sprinter builds can cost upwards of $150,000 and the cost of diesel these days doesn’t help.
The expensive Sprinters get all the glory, but there are some other stars in the conversion world.
While these beautiful vans and overland rigs can be admired, they are rarely attainable for most people. So, let’s celebrate the unsung heroes of the camper conversion world: the no-build builds. Let’s also celebrate the no-build builders in this list who all happen to be women.
Creative YouTubers such as Wonderhussy and Miranda in the Wild use simple, ready to use gear for their campers.
A no-build build is a process of using whatever current vehicle you have and whatever items or gear you have to create a capable camper. The conversion includes items that are easily purchased online, at a big box store, or from a thrift store. Very little or no building skills or tools are needed for these builds.
A no-build build uses items that can easily be moved in and out of a vehicle.
These types of builds may be more beneficial because the owner really needs to think about what they need first rather than going full-tilt into a fancy conversion that includes everything. In addition, a no-build build can be taken apart very quickly and the vehicle can be turned again into a daily driver.
While any type of vehicle can include a no-build build, some of the best are minivans, small delivery vehicles, and SUVs. These vehicles at least have enough headroom for convenient camping on the road. Check out these five no-build campers for some great ideas from some great ladies.
1. SarahLee’s Cute Hyundai Santa Fe
With a clean and feminine setup, SarahLee quickly turns her SUV into a capable camper. She just uses a few storage boxes, blowup camp mattresses, and no-fuss gadgets to create a special getaway space in a relatively small vehicle. She also adds a few special touches with a faux plant, lacy curtain, and solar string lights. The entire conversion takes a few minutes to set up.
2. Darlene’s Safari-Inspired 4Runner
This amazing conversion can be set up and taken down in about an hour. Darlene is a retired nurse who travels in her Toyota 4Runner. Her style looks like an African safari tent complete with olive green and pumpkin tones and patterns. Nothing was built inside the vehicle except for two shelves that go over the wheel wells. The rest of the camper includes simple wood boxes and duffel bags for storage.
3. Wonderhussy’s Colorful 4Runner
Another 4Runner no-build build comes from Sarah Jane, aka Wonderhussy. This YouTuber travels around the desert and mountains shooting her great exploration videos. Her camper conversion includes a comfy bed, a 12-volt fridge and Jackery combo, and a few boxes for storage. What gives it its charm are the colorful pillows and a blanket complete with a tasteful, nude photo of the owner emblazoned on it.
4. Nikki’s and Camper’s Prius
Nikki Delventhal lives full-time in her Toyota Prius with her dog, Camper. Yes, a Prius. Her tiny space has been adjusted over the years, but has stayed pretty much no-build the entire time. She has a full bed, cooler, camp chair, and other simple gear. No fuss and great gas mileage to boot.
5. Miranda’s Rented Minivan
Miranda in the Wild hosts videos on backpacking and her own converted van. However, her video on how to set up a no-build rental minivan proves how easy it can be. She uses simple camping gear such as blowup backpack mattresses, string lights, REI chairs, and a string of carabiners. Cooking and sleeping for two people in the back of a minivan. Neat!