As many readers know by now, I love when a person does something with a camper that you won’t find from an outfit in Indiana. I’m talking about turning an airport catering truck into a treehouse, converting a double-decker bus, or combining an Airstream with some of an Oldsmobile Toronado. We also love the idea of turning cars into stealthy campers. Here’s another variation on the idea and an unlikely vehicle was chosen for the task. A YouTuber is living inside of a 2010 Chevy Camaro that he turned into a camper and it’s surprisingly nice given the limited space.
This video comes from Arslan of the YouTube channel Solar Camper Car and he offers some backstory. Arslan, a medical technologist, says that he’s been living in vehicles for over two years. Living in a car, he says, provides him with the freedom to save the money he earns as a medical technologist without having to pay a landlord. Not being tied to a zip code also allows him to be a nomad, traveling wherever he wants. That money goes into paying school tuition.
Unsurprisingly, Arslan says that he used to live in a high-roof Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. However, he felt that the Sprinter’s size made it hard to drive and hard to park. In response, Arslan downsized into a Chevy Suburban. It was given a stealth camper conversion and, aside from the solar panels, it doesn’t look like someone lives in it:
Why Turn A Camaro Into A Camper?
So, Arslan has a more maneuverable and stealthy Suburban that’s still practical as a camper, why downsize to something as small as a pony car? After converting that Suburban and realizing that camper conversions are sizzling, Arslan decided to show that any car can be converted into a camper, even something sporty. To demonstrate this, he secured a 2010 Chevy Camaro and turned it into a camper that a single person can use. Considering the compact space, he did a decent job!
Arslan opens the video by saying that his Camaro might be the fastest and the most compact home on wheels. I can tell you that it’s definitely not the most compact; I know of more than one Smart Fortwo that was converted into solo campers. As far as speed goes, the donor car is a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro with a 3.6-liter V6. That’s making 304 HP and 273 lb-ft torque, good for a 60 mph run of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. That does make it faster than the 141.3 mph land speed record set by a Fiat Doblo camper back in 2014. Though, the Doblo has many more features than this does.
Arslan opens up the tour with what he calls the vehicle’s main entrance.
This is where the front passenger seat used to reside. Now, it’s a small cooking unit and access to the rear. The kitchen cube consists of a counter on top of a cabinet, which sits on hardwood flooring that’s essentially replacing a floormat. On top of the cube sits a sink, which has a battery-powered faucet that draws from a 5-gallon jug. The sink empties into a 1-gallon jug.
The sink is joined by an electric cooktop, which gets its power from a power station fed by solar panels.
It’s during the beginning of the tour that we see the first big downside with this conversion, and it’s that there’s no bathroom of any kind. Arslan urinates into a small jug next to the kitchen while showering and other duties are done at Planet Fitness. After Arslan crawls in, he reveals another downside in that the vehicle doesn’t have a refrigerator yet.
That means that his diet largely consists of canned foods and dry goods like ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese, though he can go to a store and purchase fresh meat for immediate cooking.
Next, let’s check out Arslan’s bed. Given the small footprint of the Camaro, Arslan built a bed out of maple plywood that passes through the passenger compartment and into the trunk. This allows him to lie down comfortably, but the vehicle’s interior structure prevents the opening from being large. Arslan says that the bed is just two inches thick with a one-inch topper. With him in it, there’s basically no extra room.
I love the bed, but it definitely means that this build works only for certain people. If you are a larger build than he is (or if you’re a side sleeper) you’re probably going to have a bad time.
In terms of power, Arslan uses magnetic rechargeable LED lights, which get recharged from an EcoFlow River 2 Max, a lithium iron phosphate power station with a capacity of 512Wh. I have this station’s bigger sibling, the 882Wh EcoFlow Delta Mini, and it’s been a camping game-changer. Arslan’s power station is fed by two EcoFlow 100W solar panels drilled into the vehicle’s roof.
In the end, Arslan says that he spent just 10 working days and $1,500 to convert the Camaro. Including the cost of the vehicle, it was $6,000. All things considered, I never thought a Camaro could be turned into a tiny house that actually looks pretty nice.
Ditching An Apartment For A Car
What I would do differently is perhaps delete some dashboard ahead of the kitchen counter and fit a small refrigerator in its place as well as insert a cassette toilet somewhere in the trunk. You might even be able to delete the unused driver-side rear seat and fit a small fridge or cassette toilet there.
For a comparison, Arslan says that he spent $5,000 to convert the Suburban and $8,000 to convert his old Sprinter van. He notes that converting a car has its advantages like a cheaper cost and better driving dynamics, but disadvantages like the fact that you’ll never be able to stand in it and you may have to pee into a bottle.
I should note that while it sounds awesome to be able to live and work anywhere, keep in mind that your overnight stops and working areas might not be glamorous and instead be the parking lots of truck stops or Walmarts. After all, you might not have an internet connection at that beautiful Instagrammable campsite.
It also means that if your car ever has an issue that requires it to spend time at a mechanic, you’re stuck wherever you are either homeless or paying for lodging at a motel or hotel. That’s to say that your life will have to be different to trade an apartment for a car. However, Arslan is correct. If you want to give your landlord the finger, you technically can turn just about any vehicle into a home, so long as you’re willing to live with the downsides.
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.
A Disturbingly Close Look At The 1970s RV Technology That Cooked Your Poop As You Drove Down The Highway
This Adorable Station Wagon-Length RV Is One Of Winnebago’s First Ever Motorhomes
Motorhomes Were So Hot In The 1960s That A Forklift Company Even Built One
This Gorgeous Turquoise Time Capsule Was Designed By The RV Pioneer Who Coined The Term “Motorhome”
Any vehicle *can* be converted to a camper. Not all vehicles *should*. Unsure why he didn’t stick with the Suburban or even a small cargo van (Transit Connect?). This thing is like a coffin.
“Unsurprisingly, Arslan says that he used to live in a high-roof Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. However, he felt that the Sprinter’s size made it hard to drive and hard to park.”
In other words, he’s not a good driver yet has lived in a vehicle for at least 2 years.