DIY SUV camper conversion for 2023 Nissan Pathfinder
Nissan Pathfinder DIY SUV Camper Conversion: Innovative Bed Platform Build.
We converted our Nissan Pathfinder into an offroad-ready camper! So that we can experience hassle-free camping with our unique bed platform that seamlessly blends into the car’s interiors. No modifications to the vehicle, easy installation, and access to the spacious cargo storage cubby.
We absolutely love road trips. In 2017, we converted a cargo trailer into a camper to enhance our travel experiences. Our trailer is self-sufficient, with a bed, kitchen, solar power, shower, and ample storage. However, we can’t take it on every offbeat journey. So, we built a versatile and removable bed platform exclusively for car camping. It transforms our SUV into a cozy haven during our nomadic escapades, allowing us to travel further, be fuel-efficient, cook, and stay in the wilderness.
We had three design goals in our mind:
1. No permanent modifications to the car for installation.
2. Easy removal and storage when not in use.
3. Utilizing every inch of the cabin, including access to the storage cubby in the cargo area.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE PLATFORM:
First, we remove the second-row seat. Below video shows how to do that.
The platform is built as two modules. First, we place the rear module and slide it in. Next, before bringing the front module in, we add two wood leg supports into these metal brackets underneath. Basically, these are 2 inch wood dowels and closet rod brackets. Then, bringing the front module in through the side door followed by unfolding the front vertical supports. This wood plank goes under the rear module that has 4 thread inserts underneath and it connects both the modules together using 4 wing bolts. The floor bed under the second row seats is not level. So, we add two more rods propped up under the platform for additional support. These can be moved around depending upon the things we store underneath.
Finally, we fasten the platform to cargo rings at the back with turnbuckles on either side to keep the bed stable while driving.
That’s it. Our platform is ready.
The platform is designed to be just 7 inches high, with a 5-inch mattress and bedding on top, ensuring a comfortable sleeping space. It measures 4ft wide and 6ft long, and in the front there’s approximately 16 to 18 inches of clearance underneath the bed. This space is ideal for storing our duffle bags, toiletry kits, cooler, our food stash and other necessary gears.
Access to Storage
The front module is divided into two and features a flip-open design, providing easy access to items stored underneath. Similarly, about 21 inches of the rear module can be opened, revealing a convenient storage cubby where we keep our kitchen supplies and food.
Table Top Extension
We have a table top extension that rests on one side of the car and is supported by an adjustable leg from Ikea on the other. This serves as our cooktop or work top during camping, while the center of the platform offers extra storage for less frequently used items. This table top and leg can be easily removed and stored under the platform while traveling.
Materials and Protection
We used ¾ inch thick plywood and pine wood planks to build the platform. The unit is painted black on the underside and wrapped with specialized black fabric meant for vehicles, protecting the car’s interior during installation and removal. This really makes us feel it to be the extension of the car’s interior.
We’ve also added a luggage net under the roof, a clever way to store quick-grab items like jackets, hats, socks etc.
Car ceiling cargo net : https://amzn.to/47vvdlN
SUV tent : https://amzn.to/3YuOqQd
During our 5000-mile road trip from Ohio to Newfoundland and Labrador, we thoroughly enjoyed sleeping on this comfortable bed platform and waiting to travel more. In future content, we’ll showcase how we use this setup and demonstrate our packing techniques. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments, and we’ll address them in our upcoming content.
Thank you for visiting our blog, and happy travels!