Home » Someone Turned This Chevy Camaro Into A Fast Camper That’s Surprisingly Nice Inside

Someone Turned This Chevy Camaro Into A Fast Camper That’s Surprisingly Nice Inside

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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.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

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:

Suburb1

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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!

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Arslan

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.

The Tour

Arslan opens up the tour with what he calls the vehicle’s main entrance.

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Arslan

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.

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Screenshot (83)
Arslan

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.

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Arslan

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.

Screenshot (12)
Arslan

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.

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Camaro2
Arslan

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.

Screenshot (113)

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.

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Screenshot (11)
Arslan

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.

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Ron888
Ron888
1 year ago

Hey,an expensive camper that’s fun to drive at least!

Erik W
Erik W
1 year ago

I can’t comfortably sit in the Camaro but he’s living in one. I salute him.

Jeff Marquardt
Jeff Marquardt
1 year ago

I love my silver Camaro, but would not love living in it. I’ve tried, but never been able to nap in my Camaro. On the other side of the world, I have a (again, silver) BMW Z4 that my wife and I take on road trips and use for camping. Once again, I love that car but don’t want to live out of it. However, I applaud his choice of vehicle and the packaging of his set up, if it works for him, that’s great! The V6 is surprisingly fuel efficient when not in city traffic, powerful enough and pretty good at handling, to me it’s a good choice.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
1 year ago

I’ve got a kit for converting the trunk and rear seat of a SAAB 96 into a sleeping area but at least the opening in the factory bulkhead is large enough to permit someone to turn over:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52733125066_095d7f2e56_c.jpg

Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
1 year ago

Enough already with the camper theme. Get back to what you used to do.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  Opa Carriker

It is a little much. I don’t read The Drive because of the war stuff and I’d hate to stop reading the Autopian out of annoyance at the camper content.

Mercedes is a good writer. Maybe she could tell us more about her own vehicles.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
1 year ago
Reply to  Opa Carriker

I hope you understand that you’re not obligated to read every single post here, including the ones with content you dislike.

Unless that’s a membership tier with which I’m unfamiliar, in which case, go nuts.

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
1 year ago
Reply to  Opa Carriker

Counter-point: keep it up with the weird and interesting camper content. I don’t care about the latest Forest River or Thor, but the forklift-company-made camper was interesting and so’s this.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 year ago

You had me until “pees in a bottle” and the photo of the bed. If this guy is fine with that lifestyle, then good for him, but if this were me I’d have to start with something like a hot hatch, wagon, or sport sedan because this looks pretty miserable. Or really, just any car where I don’t have to build such a cramped and miserable bed.

Perhaps a Mustang would be better if you want privacy, because at least then you have the option of having rear window louvers, which in addition to looking cool would provide you with privacy without the plywood divider the Camaro has.

One thought occurs to me, why not compromise and build a camper-converted compact hot hatch with sleeping area and storage, and pair that with a compact camper trailer? The cramped-ness of a compact trailer would be mitigated with the bed removed so it could function as a more complete kitchen on one side and bathroom/shower on the other.

Of course my immediate thought for a more ideal conversion candidate goes to some form of rear-engine or electric car with a frunk. Your legs can go under the frunk with the bed where the passenger seat used to be if you cut a hole in the footwell, and then you have more space in the back for kitchen and a bathroom. Imagine a Safari 911 camper… or a Corvair Monza sedan or wagon camper-ified with plenty of performance upgrades (okay that’s not ideal reliability-wise but it would be awesome). Even a VW Beetle or Type 3 could have potential. With a Beetle you could stick your legs under the frunk lid, and the little storage space behind the rear seat would be large enough for a small kitchen area.

With some clever fabrication, a large old American car with a straight six or four could be used this way, since the engine bays have so much room on either side of the engine, you could fabricate a metal box to extend the footwell far enough into the engine bay that a whole sleeping bag with mattress fits in there. For maximum comfort you could try moving the engine as close as possible to the drivers side. As a bonus, engine heat will warm your bed! A six-cylinder Chevy Nova or Dodge Dart would be ideal, though a Ford would be too difficult due to their prohibitively large shock towers.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

Or LS-swap a hearse.

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
1 year ago

This is a classic case of just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should you should do it.

Beached Wail
Beached Wail
1 year ago

What you intended to communicate: “Arslan urinates into a small jug next to the kitchen, while showering and other duties are done at Planet Fitness.”

What I read: “Arslan urinates into a small jug next to the kitchen while showering, and other duties are done at Planet Fitness.”

(Yes, I use Oxford commas. Fight me!)

Black Peter
Black Peter
1 year ago

Wow, I can’t believe all the negative comments. “just buy a house” the bed is a “fail”..

Or you know, maybe this guy isn’t looking for YOUR money or life advice in any way, but just wanted to share what he did with a little of HIS time and money? I’m not even saying “respect all builds” I just don’t get why people seem to get all bent out of shape about how someone else does something.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 year ago

If he wanted a toilet, he could finesse a small cassette under the drivers seat and bore a closable passage through the seat. Could call it the Ars Hole.

Gardenbolt
Gardenbolt
1 year ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

is ars short for arslan? sorry its my first arslan

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 year ago

You turned a DeLorean into a time machine? COOL
You turned a Camaro into a camper? NOT COOL

Ben
Ben
1 year ago

That bed looks like it violates the Geneva Convention. I have trouble sleeping in a mummy bag because it’s too restrictive, having a wooden frame locking me in place is going to give me nightmares.

Jb996
Jb996
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben

I’m guessing from the photo of him next to the car, and of him laying in the bed, that he is not nearly as tall as I am. I think that makes it easier. Still a PIA, but easier.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
1 year ago

It’s fine for a single person who wants to remain single.

‘Hey babe, wanna hop in my house and drive it back to yours?’

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 year ago

Random question about DIY campers – are there any cheap or easy ways to add air conditioning? I thought about building a cheap camper in the bed of my truck, but I haven’t found a way to have air conditioning, which I absolutely need here in Florida.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
1 year ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

Did you try Googling “camper air conditioning”? There are hundreds of options

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 year ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

I have obviously done that. It seems like most options involve permanent modifications or have substantial power requirements.

I’m being a bit generous by calling my hypothetical setup a “camper.” I mostly want to buy a truck cap and build a small removable platform for a bed with storage underneath. I still use my truck as a truck, so anything I would has to be easy to remove. I was just curious if anyone was aware of a cheap, easy, portable solution for actual air conditioning (not fans or evaporative coolers). I have seen a few portable air conditioners, but most seem to have substantial limitations (very short battery life, only cool the air a few degrees, etc.).

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
1 year ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

AC takes a lot of energy. There’s no solution to that (I guess heat pumps are a thing now, so maybe there’s a DC heat pump that you can get from China that will work for like 3 months). Any AC unit made for a slide in could be added to your cap. However you want to harness/power that is up to you. A solar panel and battery bank with a PWM would get you independent from your truck, but it’s not like wiring a harness to your truck is really that hard. Think about how towed payloads get power from a vehicle. A lot of people set up a “home” electrical system in their sleep-in vehicles.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 year ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

I’ll look into the solar panel and battery bank a bit more, but I think that might be more complicated than I am looking for. Ultimately the issue is that AC uses a lot of electricity, and what I have in my head (a small portable box that can keep my interior cool) might violate a few laws of physics.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
1 year ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

In a way, it does. You either need an efficiency that doesn’t exist, or you need a way to extend your power. You could try an independent battery/solar system that isn’t also connected to your alternator, etc. It’s dead simple. You can definitely do it
https://youtu.be/uobUwjCLfok

3WiperB
3WiperB
1 year ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

Ah… I didn’t realize you wouldn’t have a place to plug in. AC takes a lot of power and you’d probably need a generator. Most of the systems that use a battery or advertise low power are either a swamp cooler (bad choice for Florida) or some sort of scam. You’d need several kwh of storage batteries to run an AC unit overnight.

3WiperB
3WiperB
1 year ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

The easiest way to add AC is to use a indoor portable air-conditioner with the exhaust flex duct to reject the heat to the outside. There is a company called Climateright that made a ducted air conditioner that I use on my vintage trailer. That unit sits outside and ducts the air into the camper, and then has another duct to pull air out of the camper. It’s kind of like a window air conditioner box, but with 2 ducts. That is great for me, because I can just leave it at home when I am camping in nice weather and it was way quieter than a portable AC unit. I think they stopped selling the Climate Right unit a few years ago though due to tariffs on them from China, and I don’t know if they will ever start again. https://climateright.com/products/cr5000ach?variant=34672044343448

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 year ago
Reply to  3WiperB

Zero Breeze sells a very compact portable a/c unit with a built in battery pack. Think it only lasts 3 hours, maybe a little more, but could maybe knock down the worst of the heat and humidity when you first go to bed on a summer evening and, hopefully, by the time it dies, outside temps have backed off a bit more from the afternoon high.

Otherwise, you have to power and recharge it though the cigarette lighter

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I have thought about a Zero Breeze. My initial concern was that the battery only lasts a few hours, but I think I could probably find a way to make that work. I’ll try to find some reviews to see how well this thing actually works. I would just buy it see what happens, but they aren’t cheap.

NotSpanky
NotSpanky
1 year ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

I would suggest swamp cooler/car cooler, however if you’re in Florida that might not work very well, since I assume humidity is likely too high. But if you lived in a dry warm area, this might be the ticket.

Acid Tonic
Acid Tonic
1 year ago

I was there until I seen the picture of the bed being unable to roll over. Major fail there.

Jb996
Jb996
1 year ago
Reply to  Acid Tonic

I can’t imagine the contortions required to even get in and out of that bed.

JC 06Z33
JC 06Z33
1 year ago
Reply to  Acid Tonic

I felt physically claustrophobic just looking at him laying in there. There’s absolutely no way I could fall asleep in there, even if I were a back sleeper.

Beached Wail
Beached Wail
1 year ago
Reply to  Acid Tonic

Good news: if he dies in his sleep he can be buried in the car with no extra effort!

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
1 year ago

Sounds like a small hell on earth.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 year ago
Reply to  BigThingsComin

I thought I read “smell hell on Earth”, and that works, too.

Wangan Tuned Kei Car
Wangan Tuned Kei Car
1 year ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Nah, there’s the plywood partition to keep the feet smell in the trunk.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
1 year ago

I have wanted to safari a Challenger for a hot minute now. It’s hard to find a purple V8 manual that is reasonably priced for such an experiment, however

Piston Slap Yo Mama
Piston Slap Yo Mama
1 year ago

If he’s t-boned he’ll become one with his “kitchen”. When the passenger side airbag deploys his “kitchen” is getting a full-send into the face of whoever might be sitting in the single back seat. Nothing about this build is kosher unless you’re just trying to make a point. If my back was against a wall thx to multiple disasters in my life and all I had was a 2010 Camaro, then sure … I guess?

At the end of the day, let’s build a society where people don’t have to live in their cars, maybe.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 year ago

To be fair, the safety of purpose-built campers is even worse. At least the Camaro HAS a crash structure, though it would definitely be a good idea to disable any airbags that could force-feed your own sink to you.

Iain Delaney
Iain Delaney
1 year ago

Ugh. Looks like something one of those nitwits would build on the old Top Gear.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
1 year ago
Reply to  Iain Delaney

lol how much attention were you hoping to dredge up by knocking the old Top Gear on a car enthusiast website?

Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
1 year ago
Reply to  Iain Delaney

Exactly. Sure, you can do it but would you want to?

The Cyclist
The Cyclist
1 year ago

I feel there is a comma missing in this sentence “Arslan urinates into a small jug next to the kitchen while showering and other duties are done at Planet Fitness.” Makes it seem like he pisses while showering …. given the clientele of PF, he may fit in nicely.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 year ago
Reply to  The Cyclist

It’s all pipes, what’s the difference?

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
1 year ago

You can’t even roll over without that plywood digging into you. I say it’s a fail

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 year ago

Seems like he could have eliminated the “secret” compartment to make the bed less of a plywood straitjacket.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 year ago

Should’ve started with a hot hatch or shooting brake… At least then you could move around a bit. The idea of building a camper out of a sports car might have some merit, but this is not the best way to do it.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
1 year ago

My friend just bought and converted his Ioniq 5 into a camper. The biggest issue for him was the low temps at night. While something like the Suburban and Sprinter will obviously do much better, he found that he didn’t want to crack a window in the very temps, but had to otherwise he felt a bit woozy in the morning with a heater running. If you live in a place with more temperate weather, I think it might be better.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wyman

you can run propane heaters with external exhaust fairly easily. There shouldn’t be CO issues if installed correctly

V10omous
V10omous
1 year ago

Camaro $6000
Convert Camaro $1500
Convert Suburban $5000
Convert Sprinter $8000

I would simply have used $20,500 as a down payment on a house rather than piss in bottles and live in a Planet Fitness parking lot sleeping in a Camaro hatch, but perhaps that’s why I don’t have a Youtube.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 year ago
Reply to  V10omous

Yeah, it’s a lifestyle choice. My old boss’s son was working as a paramedic and living out of the back of a Suburban, showering at the gym. He claimed it was to save money to put towards a house and eventually go to medical school, but I don’t know how true that was. His bachelor’s degree was totally paid for by his dad, he had a decent size trust fund from a grandparent, and bought a brand new Suburban cash, so I’m pretty sure he could have rented a modest studio somewhere and still been able to save a bit, but he seemed to just like the idea of being nomadic and not being tied down and maybe settled on an explanation he thought would sound more reasonable to other people.

Also crashed in the master stateroom on his dad’s boat from time to time, I think mainly when overnight temps were really cold

V10omous
V10omous
1 year ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

The nomad life isn’t for me, but I do appreciate that some people want to live it.

What I can’t understand, and never will, is choosing to live that life in something without a toilet or shower.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 year ago
Reply to  V10omous

Dealing with dumping the wastewater tank? I know a lot of people with RVs who absolutely refuse to use their bathrooms for that reason

Jb996
Jb996
1 year ago
Reply to  V10omous

And you have to factor in the cost of 2 years of Planet Fitness memberships so that you can actually shower.

CJ Morse
CJ Morse
1 year ago

What is this? A camper for ants?!
/Users/Morse/Desktop/Screenshot 2023-03-07 at 8.45.50 AM.png.pdf

CJ Morse
CJ Morse
1 year ago
Reply to  CJ Morse

I guess photos don’t work here?

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
1 year ago
Reply to  CJ Morse

Not yet.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
1 year ago

“Camparo” is right there. Just saying.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

I’d rather drink Campari while reading an old Cycle World sportbike comparo than have anything to do with the Camparo!

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